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

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

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

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


30 September, 2019

'You are handing him the win!' Eric Trump says his father's reelection campaign has raised $15MILLION in the 72 hours since Nancy Pelosi announced impeachment inquiry

Eric Trump has said that his father, President Donald Trump, has raised $15 million for his reelection campaign since House Democrats announced an impeachment probe.

'We have now raised almost $15 million in small dollar donations (including 50,000 NEW donors) since @SpeakerPelosi started this impeachment charade 72 hrs ago!' Eric Trump wrote in a tweet on Friday.

'Unbelievable numbers!! Keep it going — you and the dems are handing @realDonaldTrump the win in 2020!'

Speaker Nancy Pelosi had long resisted calls for impeachment from within her party, fearing backlash in the 2020 election — but the dam broke suddenly this week after allegations that the president pressured his counterpart in Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

After Pelosi announced an impeachment probe on Tuesday, Donald Trump's campaign seized on the opportunity to bolster his reelection effort.  'I need you on my Impeachment Defense Team,' the campaign said in one fundraising text message sent Tuesday.

'Huge groundswell of support leading to Trump landslide in 2020!' Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted on Wednesday.

The swell of contributions comes right before next week's third-quarter fundraising reporting deadline and will further pad what is already expected to be a massive haul.

More than a year out from the November 2020 contest, his campaign and the RNC have already reported pulling in more than $210 million since the start of 2019, Federal Election Commission records show.

That's more than all the current Democrats seeking to replace him raised combined during that period.



Majority of Americans Favor Trump's Policy Agenda

Democrats attack Trump because their policy goals aren't winning over the American public

Why do Democrat presidential candidates think that their “vote for me because I’m the biggest hater of everything President Donald Trump” is a winning strategy? Why are congressional Democrats redoubling their efforts to impeach Trump even after Robert Mueller’s investigation blew up in their faces? Well, a recent survey conducted by Harvard/Harris may offer the best answer.

The poll of 2,531 registered voters was somewhat unique: It presented not the candidates running for office but only questions regarding policy issues without associating the policies with either political party. For example, a question stated:

Which candidate are you more likely to vote for?

"A presidential candidate who stands for the green new deal on climate change, Medicare for all, free college tuition, opening our borders to many more immigrants and raising taxes to pay for these programs.


A presidential candidate who stands for lower taxes and reduced government regulations, strengthening our military, strengthening our border to reduce illegal immigrants, standing up more to China and Iran and seeking better trade deals for the US."

For almost anyone who regularly follows politics, it’s quite clear that the first presidential candidate most accurately represents the policy proposals of the Democrat Party, while the second candidate’s policy agenda mirrors that of Trump. So, did the poll end up reflect many other national polls that show Trump trailing much of the Democrat field? Not quite.

A whopping 61% of those polled favored Trump’s agenda, which included a third of registered Democrats. And 65% of independents picked Trump’s policy agenda over what Democrats are offering. In fact, as Issues & Insights reports, “The poll went further and broke out specific policy issues. There wasn’t one item on the Democratic agenda that came in the top six. Only 38% say they were likely to vote for a candidate who promised to ‘raise taxes to pay for these programs.’ On the other hand, 83% said they’d likely support a candidate who promised to lower taxes.”

This explains why Democrats are playing up the fallacious “Trump is Adolf Hitler” narrative in the hopes that it will distract enough Americans from seeing their terrible socialist agenda. Moreover, it appears they see no other way to defeat Trump, which explains Rep. Al Green’s (D-TX) recent insistence that “if we don’t impeach this president, he will get reelected.”



US blacklists Chinese firms defying oil sanctions

The United States has blacklisted several Chinese companies and officials for allegedly shipping Iranian oil in violation of sanctions.

The sanctions, imposed by the US Treasury Department, against two subsidiaries of Cosco, a Chinese state-owned shipping giant, and four other companies, affect dozens of tankers and will further complicate talks to end the trade war.

American legislation to help protect democratic rights in Hong Kong will also heighten tensions.

Two Congress committees cleared the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act yesterday, paving the way for the bill to be voted on the floor in both chambers. The law would require an annual US review of the territory’s human rights records.

The bill follows more than three months of increasingly violent protests in Hong Kong against interference by Beijing. Joshua Wong, a leading pro-democracy campaigner, travelled to Washington this month to lobby Congress to pass the bill.

On his Facebook page he called its progress the result of “Hong Kong people’s sacrifice of blood and sweat”.

China said that its dealings with Iran were legal and should be respected and also denounced the Hong Kong legislation.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman of the foreign ministry, said: “China expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the US sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals. China has always firmly opposed to the unilateral sanction and long-arm jurisdiction by the United States. China objects to the bullying acts in which US uses its domestic law to wilfully crack down on Chinese companies.”

On Hong Kong, he added: “This act confuses black and white in disregard of facts, blatantly backs the Hong Kong violent radicals up and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs. China expresses strong indignation and firm opposition to that. Any attempt by the US to harm China’s interests will be met with a strong response.”

Carrie Lam, chief executive of Hong Kong, has withdrawn the extradition bill that first prompted the protests, but demonstrators say that they will fight on until all of their demands, including universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into police brutality, are met.

In an effort to defuse tensions, Ms Lam held her first community dialogue today. She encouraged the 150 participants, chosen by lottery from the more than 20,000 people who signed up to the event, to freely express themselves and even vent their anger. Yet she is highly unlikely to make further concessions to the protesters.

Aside from the Cosco subsidiaries, the companies sanctioned are the China Concord Petroleum Co and Kunlun Shipping Company, both registered in Hong Kong, and Kunlun Holding Company, registered in the Virgin Islands.

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said that the sanctions were intended to restrict the activities of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and punish those who continue to deal with them. “We are telling China, and all nations: know that we will sanction every violation,” he said.

The US has blamed Iran for attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities on September 14, which have rattled the Middle East and raised concerns about a broader war. Iran denies involvement.

Mr Pompeo said: “The more Iran lashes out the greater our pressure will and should be. That path forward begins now with two new actions.”

He said that Washington was also ramping up efforts to educate countries on the risks of doing business with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard entities and that it would punish those who continued to engage with them.



Kamala Harris, For Which People?

The junior senator from California has cemented herself as a presidential contender, but her history of changing her positions to secure new offices has created distrust. Harris ran to the right of former District Attorney Terence Hallinan and tacked to the center as attorney general, but now is veering to the left as a presidential candidate.
Jamal Trulove was innocent, but he spent nearly seven years in prison.

The father of four was convicted in 2010 of murdering his friend, Seu Kuka, in the Sunnydale housing project in San Francisco. Kuka was shot nine times in his head and back shortly before 11 p.m. on July 23, 2007, and, despite a crowd around the body when police arrived, only one person claimed to have seen the shooting, a neighbor who did not identify Trulove as the shooter.

The appeals court ruling that overturned Trulove's conviction found that the prosecutor had committed misconduct when she argued that the witness had risked her life and the lives of her family to testify. "This yarn was made out of whole cloth," Justice P.J. Kline wrote.

Since Trulove's release in 2015, he has resumed his acting career with a role in the 2019 film The Last Black Man in San Francisco. He also has won a $13.1 million settlement from the city of San Francisco and become a vocal critic of the chief district attorney whose office brought the flimsy case against him to trial. Just after he was convicted of a murder he didn't commit, that district attorney was elected attorney general of California. Then in 2016, she won election to the U.S. Senate.

Now, Kamala Harris is running for president of the United States, one of 19 Democrats still standing in the race to replace Donald Trump.

"Kamala Harris talks about how she's proud of her work as California AG, but never as head DA of San Francisco, where evidence of my framing by the SFPD was covered up by 'HER' office just to get a conviction," Trulove wrote on Twitter in August.

But in fact, Harris has made her experience as a prosecutor a key component of her presidential campaign. Earlier this month, she released what she called a "comprehensive plan to overhaul the criminal justice system."

Even her slogan — "For the people" — invokes the introduction of every prosecutor in a courtroom.

"I believe we must have the ability to prosecute the case against four more years of Donald Trump, and it will take a prosecutor to do that," Harris told the Democratic National Committee in San Francisco on Aug. 23. "And I'll tell you, we've got a big long rap sheet to work with."

Outside the grand ballroom where Harris gave her speech, a lone protester wandered the halls with a sign that read, "Kamala convicted innocent people in order to advance her career."

Defining Kamala Harris

Through a campaign spokesperson, Harris declined to be interviewed for this story. But she and her supporters say she worked to reform the criminal justice system from the inside as district attorney and attorney general while taking principled stances against the death penalty, targeting complex criminal enterprises, and going after big banks that hurt homeowners during the foreclosure crisis.

"She was one of the earliest leaders to fight human trafficking and invest in reentry," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said at Harris' first presidential campaign rally in Oakland in January. "She was one of the earliest leaders on criminal justice reform. Back when it was still popular to be tough on crime, she was smart on crime."

Criminal justice reform advocates, however, have pointed out that in her first race for district attorney, Harris unseated former defense attorney Terence Hallinan, who was actively working on reforms, by criticizing his conviction rate.

She took a stand early as DA by refusing to seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing a police officer. Though highly controversial with the police, it was a politically popular stance in progressive San Francisco. But as attorney general, Harris appealed a court ruling that the state's death penalty was unconstitutional. Though controversial back in the Bay Area, it was a politically popular stance at the statewide level. Advocates for the rights of sex workers note that she opposed a ballot measure to decriminalize prostitution and led the charge to prosecute Backpage, an online listing site that facilitated the sex trade but which sex workers say was paramount to their safety.

As a presidential candidate, Harris rose to double digits in the polls after the first Democratic debate on June 27, at which she confronted former Vice President Joe Biden for his historic opposition to court-mandated school busing. But Harris faltered following the July 31 debate, when she was forcefully challenged on her record as a prosecutor by U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.

Gabbard claimed that Harris jailed people for minor marijuana offenses and fought to keep exonerating evidence for death row inmates from coming to light. "The people who have suffered under your reign as prosecutor, you owe them an apology," Gabbard said.

Among the states where Harris is struggling to gain traction is California, where she trailed Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Biden in a Sep. 12-15 poll from KQED and Change Research. Harris bolstered her campaign in California in August, bringing on seven new staffers. But she remains well behind Biden, Warren and Sanders in national polls.

Joe Tuman, a professor of political communications at San Francisco State University, said most Democratic voters primarily want a nominee who can beat Trump. But polls show that most top-tier Democratic candidates could win in a head-to-head match-up, so Harris needs to find a way to differentiate herself from the moderate Biden and the progressive Warren and Sanders. Tuman believes that Trump fears Harris more than he does Biden, Warren or Sanders, pointing out that the president has yet to brand her with a nickname, such as "Sleepy Joe," "Pocahontas" or "Crazy Bernie."




SCALIA CONFIRMED: "The Republican-led Senate on Thursday confirmed lawyer Eugene Scalia, a son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, as President Donald Trump's new labor secretary. The Senate voted along party lines, 53-44, to approve Scalia's nomination." (Fox News)

MCCARTHY CONFIRMED: "The Senate has confirmed President Trump's choice to be the top civilian leading the Army. In a Thursday afternoon voice vote, the Senate confirmed Ryan McCarthy as Army secretary. McCarthy, who has served as Army under secretary since 2017, will fill the role formerly held by Mark Esper until he became Defense secretary in July." (The Hill)

IRANIANS BANNED: "The Trump administration on Thursday banned all members of the Iranian regime and their family members from entering the United States, a move aimed at stopping regime figures from sending their children to America for schooling and other opportunities. ... Iranian regime figures have long taken advantage of America's educational institutions, with many sending their children to the United States for college. This will immediately end, according to the Trump administration." (The Washington Free Beacon)

SYRIAN CHEMICAL-WEAPONS ATTACK: "Syrian government forces carried out a chlorine attack in May, the first confirmed violation of the international accord banning chemical weapons since President Trump authorized a U.S. military strike on Syria in 2018 over its alleged use of poison gas, a new U.S. intelligence assessment says. The episode took place on May 19 near the village of Kabana as President Bashar al-Assad's forces sought to subdue resistance in Latakia province, a senior U.S. official said." (The Wall Street Journal)


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

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


29 September, 2019

A small but interesting slice of history

Impeachment has become very boring.  This may be less so

On September 22nd, 1735, Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's first Prime Minister (although the title was not used until much later), moved into Number Ten Downing Street (although it did not have that number then). Its famous door (through which it was not then entered) has become an iconic symbol of Britain's democratic government. That famous door was not added until 40 years later, and was made of oak until after the 1991 IRA mortar attack on the building, following which it was replaced by bomb-proof material. The black bricks that surround the door, separated from it by the cream-coloured casing, are in fact yellow underneath. They were turned black, as were nearly all London buildings, by the 19th and 20th Century smog of the coal fires that heated every home and the smoke from industrial chimneys. Since everyone was by then used to seeing them black, when they were cleaned in the 1960s they were painted black.

Walpole, with the support of two successive monarchs, became Britain's longest-serving Prime Minister, with a spell of more than 40 years. The kings valued his ability to deliver majorities in Parliament to have bills passed to become Acts of Parliament. George II was sufficiently grateful that when Downing Street reverted to the Crown, he offered it to Sir Robert. With admirable restraint, Sir Robert declined it as a personal gift, but suggested it be reserved for holders of the office of First Lord of the Treasury, then the Prime Minister's official title, and one today's Prime Ministers still hold. A brass plate beside the door of Number Ten testifies to this.

Walpole was a moderate. When Europe was at war, he preferred Britain to be out of it, and persuaded George II to stay out of the War of the Polish Succession. In 1733 he proclaimed, "There are 50,000 men slain in Europe this year, and not one Englishman." Without the costs of war, Walpole contrived to reduce taxes. The Land Tax went down from 4s in 1721, to 3s in 1728, 2s in 1731, and finally to 1s in 1732. He also established a Sinking Fund to reduce the National Debt.

He was trying gradually to shift the tax burden away from the gentry, who paid the land tax, and onto the merchants and their customers who paid customs and excise taxes. In modern terms he was trying very sensibly to shift the tax burden from stock to flow, but doing it gradually. He pointed out that gentry "squealed like hogs" at the tax burden, whereas merchants were more like sheep, giving up their wool peaceably.

He built up the Whig ascendency, but his low-key avoidance of controversy and his granting of more tolerance to religious dissenters won him support from moderates of both Whig and Tory groups. The historian H T Dickinson, one of my teachers, wrote, "Walpole was one of the greatest politicians in British history. He played a significant role in sustaining the Whig party, safeguarding the Hanoverian succession, and defending the principles of the Glorious Revolution." 

The residence at 10 Downing Street that he occupied is not what it seems. Walpole had the architect William Kent connect two houses, making the Downing Street front one effectively a passage through to the main building behind it. A corridor connects it to the Cabinet Office much further up Whitehall, and there is a tunnel under Whitehall that we're not supposed to know about that connects it to the Defence Ministry. What is now the Cabinet Room was used by Walpole as his study.

In many ways Ten Downing Street resembles the British constitution it safeguards. There is much more to it than the outward appearance might suggest, and it adapts and changes over time to meet the new challenges it is called upon to face. Yet it preserves the outward form, providing reassurance of continuity. It is modest, rather than grandiose, reminding us that the Prime Minister is a person like us, who lives in a house, as we do, rather than some god-like remote dignitary. Its understated presence reminds us, too, that government and Parliament in this country are here to serve the people, not the other way round.

When people move house, a removal van pulls up outside their house. That is, quite rightly, what happens in Ten Downing Street when we change governments.



Democrats' Excessiveness Will Backfire

How many times do Democrats get to cry wolf before a rational body politic tells them to go fly a kite? Instead of retreating with tails between their legs over their failed Russia hoax, they're already at it again.

Did any Democrats leading the false charge that President Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election ever apologize for putting the country through this nightmare? Did any of their media water carriers ever backpedal from their anti-Trump sensationalism?

Of course not, because in their minds Trump is so evil and his presidency so bad for the country that even ignoble efforts to remove him are morally warranted. What's wrong with deceit and abuse of process if it will rid the country of the orange scourge?

Alert people should now recognize that Democrats are still willing to go to almost any lengths to undo the 2016 election -- or preempt Trump's 2020 reelection. Their raw contempt for Trump and his supporters knows no bounds, and their just-launched "impeachment inquiry" is further evidence of it.

I note in my soon-to-be-released new book, "Guilty By Reason of Insanity: Why the Democrats Must Not Win," that there is no real fissure in the Democratic Party between the old guard and the young radicals, the latter of whom are led by the "Squad." Sure, there is sometimes spirited debate between the established powers and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's socialist quartet, but in the end, the entire party has embraced a thoroughly extremist leftist agenda.

Even if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have us believe that she and her veteran Democratic colleagues are more measured, there is no doubt where her party is headed. Even if in her heart of hearts, she thinks the Young Turks are going too far too fast, which I strongly doubt, the Democratic Party base is not about to allow her to vacillate, much less to moderate.

So it is that Pelosi, despite having long resisted Rep. Jerry Nadler's and other Democratic congressional militants' efforts to initiate impeachment proceedings, has snapped to attention over these new hyped-up allegations concerning Ukraine and opened an impeachment inquiry herself.

Just like the Russia hoax, this one already involves more damning evidence against Democrats than Trump. Democrats, in a monumental act of projection, tried for three years to interfere with an election by falsely claiming Trump interfered with that same election. Now they're alleging that Trump abused his presidential power with Ukraine by trying to expose Joe Biden's possible abuse of power with Ukraine. In addition to Biden's alleged misconduct, three Democratic senators wrote a letter to Ukraine's prosecutor general in May 2018 urging him to cooperate with the Mueller investigation. This is plot thickening on steroids.

Pelosi acted precipitously, before Trump released notes from his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and before release of the whistleblower complaint against Trump, both of which are turning out to be nothing -- veggie burgers with no fries. Then again, with the liberal media in their pocket (or vice versa), Democrats have little to fear from performing such stunts.

Some commentators argue that though Democrats know they don't have the votes to convict Trump in the Senate, they are pursuing this "inquiry" because their agenda isn't resonating with the people. Corruption charges will distract from their policy bankruptcy and might cripple Trump enough to defeat him in 2020. Others say their angle is more subtle -- to snooker Trump and his officials into committing a process crime by defying court orders to produce documents, or perhaps lying to Congress or the FBI.

Of course, liberal commentators dispute that Democrats are trying to distract from their preposterous agenda, because in their view, the Democrats' insane environmental and fiscal proposals and their ruthless obsession over identity politics are winning ideas. Thus, they don't need to fabricate phony corruption charges. These allegations are legitimate. Though there was manifestly no quid pro quo in Trump's comments to Zelensky, the Trump haters divine evil intent and malice aforethought with every Trump stream-of-consciousness utterance.

That they were all embarrassingly wrong for three years over Russiagate gives them no pause. They are incorrigible and shameless.

Some Trump supporters are concerned about this, fearing that Democratic relentlessness will finally bear fruit. I honestly don't think so. Once again, the Trump haters, so consumed with venom that they've lost objectivity, have overplayed their hands. This impeachment fantasy is going nowhere. Democratic excessiveness is part of what led to Trump's rise in the first place, and there's good reason to believe it will aid in his reelection. People have had enough of this insanity. By becoming more extreme and unreasonable, the left is only solidifying and amplifying Trump support. So bring it on.



The Death of American Citizenship

The American founders institutionalized the best of a long Western tradition of representative government with the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. These contracts outlined the rare privileges and responsibilities of new American citizens.

Yet the concept of citizenship is being assaulted on the premodern side by the legal blending of mere residency with citizenship.

Estimates of the number of undocumented American residents range from 11 million to more than 20 million. The undocumented are becoming legally indistinguishable from citizens and enjoy exemption from federal immigration law in some 500 sanctuary jurisdictions. An illegal resident of California will pay substantially less tuition at a California public university than a U.S. citizen of another state.

Multiculturalism has reduced the idea of e pluribus unum to a regressive tribalism. Americans often seem to owe their first allegiance to those who look like they do. Citizens cannot even agree over once-hallowed and shared national holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.

It is eerie how such current American retribalization resembles the collapse of Rome, as Goths, Huns and Vandals all squabbled among one another for what was left of 1,200 years of Roman citizenship -- eager to destroy what they could neither create nor emulate.

Citizenship has always been protected by the middle classes -- on the idea that they are more independent and self-reliant than the poor, but can stand up to the influence and power of the elite.

Biden: Undocumented Children 'Become Americans Before a Lot of Americans Become Americans'
Yet until recently, we had seen a decade of stagnant wages and entire regions ossified by outsourcing, offshoring and unfair global trade. Historically, with the demise of the middle class so follows the end of constitutional government.

But citizenship also faces a quite different and even greater postmodern threat.

Many of our coastal elites see nothing much exceptional in America, past and present. They prefer the culture and values of the European Union without worrying that the EU's progressive utopian promises have been wrecked by open borders, economically stultifying regulations, and unapologetic and anti-democratic efforts to curb free expression and local autonomy.

Often, such "citizen of the world" mentalities fuel shame over the origins and traditions of America. Transnational organizations and accords on climate, criminal justice and human rights are seen as superior to their American counterparts.

A new progressive iconoclasm seeks to destroy statues, rename streets and buildings, and wipe away art that does not reflect more global values.

Does voting -- the bedrock right of the democratic citizen -- matter that much anymore? In California, tens of thousands of votes were "harvested" by paid campaign operatives. There was also abuse in state agencies in sending out voter registration forms to those who were not legally entitled to vote.

Lone activist federal judges frequently overturn legislation and referenda they find contrary to their own political take on legal theory -- without worry that the votes of millions are canceled in a nanosecond.

Meanwhile, the proverbial "swamp" of the bureaucratic, administrative and regulatory state is so vast and unaccountable that a few clerks can harass entrepreneurs, issue edicts with the force of legislation that ruins lives, or indict, regulate or audit a targeted individual into legal bankruptcy.

In recent years, we have seen a cake maker, a video maker, and a national security adviser so hounded by federal bureaucrats that they either were nearly bankrupted, ended up in jail or were reduced to penury through legal costs.

We still have a Bill of Rights, but many of our constitutional protections are being rendered impotent. If a rural family cannot find ammunition at the local Walmart or gun store due to organized boycotts and threats to such establishments, then the constitutional right to bear arms is not always exercisable in a practical sense.

Brett Kavanaugh was nominated, audited and confirmed by the Senate as a Supreme Court justice. But if the New York Times and cable news can relentlessly charge without proof that nearly 40 years ago he was a teenage sexual pervert, then a distinguished judge can be rendered impotent without legal impeachment.

If a student cannot safely express opposition to abortion on demand, question the global warming narrative, or object to safe spaces, trigger warnings and race-based theme houses on campuses, does it matter that there is in theory still a First Amendment?

We are unwinding at both ends. Tribalism, the erosion of the middle class and de facto open borders are turning Americans into mere residents of a particular North American region between Mexico and Canada.

Yet even more dangerously, thanks to the fiats of unelected bureaucrats and officials, along with the social media lynch mobs who boycott, harass and shame us, our constitutional rights are now increasingly optional. They mostly hinge on whether we are judged worthy by an unelected, politically correct and morally righteous elite.

In theory, American citizenship remains the same; in reality, it is disappearing fast.




ANOTHER ASYLUM DEAL: "The Trump administration signed an asylum agreement with the Honduran government Wednesday, marking the latest in a string of asylum deals with Latin American countries aimed at controlling the immigration crisis. The Department of Homeland Security announced it reached a deal with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, allowing the U.S. to send some asylum seekers from 'third' countries back to his country."

BORDER OBSTRUCTION: "The Senate again voted on Wednesday to end President Trump's emergency declaration on the U.S.-Mexico border wall, paving the way for a veto showdown with the White House," The Hill reports. "Senators voted 54-41 on a resolution to end the declaration, which Trump used to shift billions of dollars from the military toward wall construction." Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed: "The vote [yesterday] is the surest and likely the only way to restore funding the president has stolen from our troops and military projects across the country." He didn't care to mention the jobs, money, and even lives that have been stolen from the American people as a direct result of illegal immigration.

A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN: "A new national survey shows Elizabeth Warren now sitting atop the 2020 Democratic field, further cementing her ascendancy in the party's presidential primary after a pair of polls reported her leading in the first two primary states," according to Politico. "Twenty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents polled by Quinnipiac University said they favor Warren, according to a survey released Wednesday morning. Twenty-five percent said they prefer former Vice President Joe Biden." Rep. Dan Crenshaw speculates: "This impeachment inquiry seems worse for Biden than it is for Trump. Now the Hunter Biden-Ukraine issue is on everyone's radar AND we know that Democrats overstepped with their 'quid pro quo' accusation. Have to wonder whether they did this to help Warren/Sanders."

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: "The marriage vow that usually involves a variation of 'for richer or poorer' may no longer apply. Women may now want to add 'as long as you make as much money as me.' It seems many men aren't getting up to the income level that women prefer in a potential marriage partner, according to the New York Post. That has left successful ladies single and disgruntled, according to a Cornell University study." (Fox Business)

SPENDING BILL PASSES: "The Senate on Thursday cleared a spending bill that will fund the government through Nov. 21, giving lawmakers and the White House more time to reach agreement on the annual appropriations process. The vote was 82-15, with all of the 'no' votes coming from Republicans. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the continuing resolution, holding off another partial government shutdown for at least 51 more days. But this could be the first of several stopgap bills amid tense debates about abortion policy and the border wall." (Roll Call)

REFUGEE ADMISSIONS LOWERED: "The Trump administration is proposing to resettle 18,000 refugees in the United States in the new fiscal year, reducing last year's record-low refugee admission ceiling by a further 40 percent. ... The final ceiling will be decided after consultation with Congress — as required by the Immigration and Nationality Act — but the Departments of State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, in a report on Congress, are proposing an 18,000 limit. That's by far the lowest since the modern U.S. refugee resettlement program began in 1980, when the Refugee Act was enacted." (CNSNews.com)

RECORD FOREIGN-BORN RESIDENTS: "The percentage of foreign-born U.S. residents has reached its highest level in more than a century, according to estimates from the 2018 American Community Survey released [yesterday]. A record 44.7 million people are foreign-born, or about 13.7% of the U.S. population. That's the highest rate since 1910 and comes amid a highly-charged political debate over whether the decennial Census survey should include a citizenship question. A subset of the foreign-born figure — the number of people in the U.S. but 'not a U.S. citizen' held at around 22 million in 2018." (Bloomberg)


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

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


27 September, 2019

Why the Democrats Have Gone Insane

Impeach! Impeach, they say! If only he were Buckingham, they would take off his head as well. Trump has become the Democrats' version of Richard III, if he wasn't already. (Okay, he was.)

They even moved to open an impeachment "inquiry" (whatever that means -- a little bit chicken, if you ask me -- they've been doing it for the last three years anyway) after Trump announced he was making his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky public Wednesday in unredacted form. And now he's announcing the whistleblower's complaint, whatever hand it is -- second, third, who knows? -- will be released later in the week. Talk about a reckless jumping of the gun on the Democrats' parts. This reeks of outright panic.

So what's really going on here? Why have the Democrats, to put it bluntly, gone berserk? Why are they risking a backlash of cosmic proportions (other than appeasing their psychotically-inflamed base, of course)?

One, distraction. They live in absolute fear of the coming revelations about the Russia probe, from Inspector General Horowitz but even more from the DOJ's John Durham, who can actually put people in jail. The Dems know -- if they have a brain (and a few do) -- these revelations are likely to point up the line at the leaders of the Democratic Party all the way to President Obama. They were all involved to one degree or another with illegally spying on or undermining Trump and his administration and supporters before and after the election. The extent of this we are only beginning to understand.

Pelosi Makes It Official: Democrats Are Impeaching Trump

To put it mildly, not good. Whether you call this treason is up to you, but you can be sure Middle America (i.e. those elusive independent voters) will not appreciate it.

But there's something worse -- and Pelosi's knows it. The only hope for Democrats to defeat Trump is, remote and quixotic as it may be, impeachment. In the midst of the current brouhaha, Joe Biden -- their great (alas white male) hope -- is being exposed as not just a senile plagiarist, but a senile, corrupt plagiarist with a freaky family out of a Southern gothic novel with tentacles reaching into China and Ukraine. Again, not good.

Unfortunately, the rest of the Dems have tacked so far to the left that they wouldn't be able to win an election in Shenyang. Sanders, speaking of senility, is almost risible. He wants to restrict population for reasons of "climate change" when every one of the myriad social programs he so vehemently urges depends on strong continued population growth for economic survival, irrespective of taxes. (Is he that stupid? I don't think so. He's just a liar.)

As for his somewhat subtle clone, Ms. Warren, her proposals are if anything more extreme because she fails to acknowledge (though Colbert did his best to encourage her) that they are going to cost a ton of taxpayer money that approaches national bankruptcy. Even taxing the rich at one hundred percent won't come near supporting her ideas. Wait until Trump gets ahold of that.

So for the Democrats, trouble ahead, trouble behind. Ergo, impeachment.

Of course it will never happen. (Pelosi knows that too. That's why she never held a congressional vote on this "inquiry.") And indeed the whole spectacle might be amusing in a macabre sort of way if there weren't important things going on in the world. The president is engaged in negotiations of tremendous significance with the Chinese and trying to neuter as much as possible the violent mullahs of Iran, but the Democrats don't care. In fact, they would prefer he fail, and seem to be doing everything in their power to make it so. To call that un-American is an understatement. Actually, it's despicable and deeply immoral, not just for the citizens of this country, but for the world. What children!



Kamala Harris, Dianne Feinstein Fight to Keep Gay Trump Nominee Off 9th Circuit Court of Appeals


The Washington Blade, an LGBT news outlet, reports that Donald Trump has tried two times "to confirm a gay U.S. prosecutor to a federal appeals court despite objections from Sen. Kamala Harris over his qualifications for a lifetime judicial appointment."

Patrick Bumatay is a gay Filipino serving as a U.S. attorney in Southern California. He was put on a list of six individuals intended for nominations to the federal bench by the Trump administration.

Bumatay has been nominated to serve on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. If confirmed, he would become the highest-ranking gay judge serving a lifetime appointment on the federal bench.

Bumatay's nomination has been stymied by objections from both Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). This disagreement led to the president removing Bumatay's nomination for the Ninth Circuit and nominating him for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Southern California instead. However, when U.S. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski left the Ninth Circuit Court because of sexual misconduct allegations that included showing pornography to employees in his chambers, the president nominated Bumatay again.

Washington Blade reports that Harris has decided, once again, to fight Bumatays nomination saying,

"Once again, the president has put forth a highly flawed nominee to the Ninth Circuit, without the support of California’s senators. I first objected to Mr. Bumatay after his initial nomination to the Ninth Circuit a year ago and again raised concerns about his qualifications and fitness when he was nominated for the district court...A nominee for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench must demonstrate exceptional skill, professionalism and respect for the principle of equal justice under law. Mr. Bumatay does not meet this standard. Mr. Bumatay has a troubling prosecutorial record, lacks the requisite experience, and has drawn criticism from members of California’s legal community, across party lines. It is clear that he lacks the judgment and qualifications to serve on the Ninth Circuit."

The Washington Blade requested specific examples of Bumatay's unfitness for the job from Harris's office. No word on when or if Harris will respond.



“Left Wing Obsession” Leads New York Times To Libel Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh With Fake News Headline

In a brazen smear, the once respected paper has published another rape accusation without interviewing the accuser – who now denies the accusation

At least one New York Time reporter says “Every Single Person We Spoke to Said Kavanaugh Has Been a Great Person and an Exemplary Judge,” even as a key witness in Christine Blasey Fords’ congressional testimony says “I was told behind the scenes that certain things could be spread about me if I didn’t comply”

Leland Keyser, who Christine Blasey Ford said was a witness to when Brett Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her in the 1980s, now doubts that it ever happened. Meanwhile, The New York Times reporters who've written a new book about the Kavanaugh confirmation have blamed their editors for omitting a crucial fact (that the supposed female victim from the "new" accusation does not recall the alleged incident ever happening).

These events, and more, are unfolding as the US Congress is attempting to impeach Judge Kavanaugh and President Donald Trump. The entire Kavanaugh episode illustrates just how low the liberal political wing in America is willing to sink



Out-of-touch Democrats push destructive forced unionization bill

Since gaining control of the U.S. House, Democrats have clearly demonstrated that they are not fit to govern. While one might have assumed that gaining a bit of power would have caused them to behave more responsibly, that has not been the case at all. When Congressional Democrats are not busy ignoring the nation’s problems or scheming to overturn the result of the 2016 presidential election, they are pushing radical legislation that shows how just out-of-touch they are. Case in point, Democrats are supporting the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019 forced unionization bill or PRO Act, which would empower and enrich union bosses while disempowering workers and killing jobs.

Here are a few of the PRO Act’s destructive provisions:

The legislation would essentially overturn Right to Work laws in more than two dozen states and force private sector workers to pay fees to a union – even if they adamantly oppose the union – just to keep their jobs.

It would force employers to hand over workers’ contact information, including home addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Workers would have no choice in the matter, and union organizers could use this information to harass workers until they agreed to sign a union card.

It would expand the definition of employee to include more independent contractors thereby disrupting the gig economy and endangering jobs.

It would make national franchising companies, such as McDonald’s or Holiday Inn, responsible for the actions of employees of individual franchisees. This would disrupt the franchise industry and endanger more jobs as franchising companies sought to minimize their potential liability.

It would require that unionization elections occur quickly. By minimizing the amount of time that employers have to make their case against unionization – and the amount of time that undecided workers would have to make up their minds – unions gain an unfair advantage.

It would also impose harsher penalties on employers who violate the National Labor Relations Act while leaving the current penalties in place for unions who violate the same law.

Democrat support for the PRO Act is overwhelming. There are now 208 Democrat cosponsors of the House version of the bill, H.R. 2474. What that means is that over 87 percent of the House Democrat caucus supports the PRO Act. House cosponsors include House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, current presidential candidates Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), former presidential candidates Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Seth Moulton (D-MA), and over half of the supposedly centrist Blue Dog Caucus.

There are now 40 liberal Senate cosponsors: 39 Democrat and one Independent. In other words, over 87 percent of the liberal Senate caucus (which includes two Independents) supports this bill. Senate cosponsors include Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), current presidential candidates Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and former presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

The good news is that not one single Republican supports the disastrous PRO Act and that it will not be enacted this year or next; the bad news is that it could pass as soon as 2021, if the elections go poorly next year. Regardless of whether the legislation ever passes, the PRO Act shows that the Democrat Party has grown radical, and voters and donors need to accept this fact. In particular, investors and businesspeople need to recognize that these policies are bad for the economy. So even if they are liberal socially, they are voting or donating against their own interests when they choose to support them.



Overdue Tax Bill For Ocasio-Cortez’s Failed Business Remains Unpaid

Prominent Leftists don't have to obey the same rules as everyone elsde

A tax warrant against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s failed business venture remains open over six months after her office said the unpaid state taxes would be promptly paid back.

The state of New York issued a tax warrant in July 2017 against Brook Avenue Press, a Bronx-based children’s books publisher Ocasio-Cortez founded in 2012, for $1,618.36 in unpaid corporate taxes.

New York issues tax warrants against businesses if they “fail to timely resolve” their tax debt and don’t respond to notices of their debt, according to the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.

The New York Post first spotted the New York Democrat’s unpaid tax bill in early March. An Ocasio-Cortez spokesman told The Post at the time that it was the first they had heard of her business’s unpaid taxes and that the balance would be paid right away.

Former Ocasio-Cortez spokesman Corbin Trent told The Post her lawyers were looking into the matter in a March 23 story noting that the back taxes remained unpaid

Brook Avenue Press’s back taxes remain unpaid six months later.

The Bronx County Clerk confirmed in a phone call with the Daily Caller News Foundation Monday that the Brook Avenue Press tax warrant remains open and that a satisfaction of judgement has yet to be filed in the matter.

Ocasio-Cortez presumably has the means to pay off her business’s unpaid taxes with a congressional salary of $174,000.

Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

New York state dissolved Ocasio-Cortez’s company in 2016 using a procedure reserved for corporations that fail to pay taxes for at least two years or fail to file tax returns.

Ocasio-Cortez reported she was the founder of Brook Avenue Press in her financial disclosure report filed with the House of Representatives in May.

As a member of Congress, Ocasio-Cortez has called for tax rates up to 70% on income earners at the “tippy tops” to fund her signature policy proposal, the Green New Deal, which would fully decarbonize the U.S. by 2030.

Ocasio-Cortez sang a different tune on taxes as a small business owner in 2012 when she came out in support of a bill that would provide tax deductions for business start-up costs.

“You don’t really make a profit in your first year,” Ocasio-Cortez told the now-defunct DNAinfo when she was trying to get Brook Avenue Press off the ground. “To get taxed on top of that is a real whammy.”




"BILLIONAIRES SHOULDN'T EXIST": "Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday rolled out his plan to levy an 'extreme wealth tax' on millionaires and billionaires, which he plans to enforce through the creation of a 'national wealth registry,'" National Review reports, which adds, "Sanders' annual tax on the top 0.1 percent would apply to Americans with a net worth of over $32 million, or about 180,000 households, and would raise approximately $4.35 trillion over the next decade, the Sanders campaign estimates. ... Under the plan, the IRS will be required to audit 30 percent of the top one percent's wealth tax returns and 100 percent for billionaires." The senator further groused on Twitter, "Billionaires should not exist." And socialism should?

THANKS, OBAMA: "Iran has spent more than $16 billion during the past several years to fund militant terrorists across the Middle East, cash that was repatriated to the Islamic Republic under the terms of the landmark nuclear deal, according to new disclosures from the Trump administration. As Iran's economy teeters on the brink of collapse under the tough sanctions regime imposed by the Trump administration, the Islamic Republic's authoritarian leadership has spent its limited cash reserves to bolster terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as militant terrorists in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen." (The Washington Free Beacon)

FENTANYL SURGE: "The flow of the deadly narcotic fentanyl from China to the U.S. has surged despite President Trump's trade war with the communist county and President Xi Jinping's promise to crack down on the illicit trade. Customs and Border Protection agents have seized nearly 2,400 pounds of fentanyl this year through Aug. 31, enough to kill roughly 475 million people. That represents a nearly 32% increase from the same period last year. CBP's numbers represent a sliver of fentanyl flowing into the U.S. because U.S. authorities missed so much of it. China, the world's largest producer of fentanyl, accounts for 68% of the synthetic opioid's movement." (The Washington Times)

TURKEY'S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS: "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an hinted at an interest in acquiring nuclear weapons, telling the United Nations that it is unjust for the weapons to be possessed only by major powers. 'It bothers us like anyone else that the weapons of mass destruction are used as leverage in every crisis instead of their total elimination,' Erdo?an said Tuesday during the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. 'The position of nuclear power should either be forbidden for all or permissible for everyone.'" (Washington Examiner)


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

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


26 September, 2019

How To Help The Poor Without Subsidizing The Rich

If you are a high net worth individual you probably already know about it. A seminar on the subject at Manhattan’s Harvard Club attracted financial advisors to some of Americas richest dynasties – including the Pritzker and Soros families.

A Las Vegas meeting on the subject was organized by former White House aide Anthony Scaramucci and attracted such attendees as Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie. It has spurred the Swiss bank UBS to create a fund for its “ultra high net worth” clients – people who have at least $50 million in investable assets.

So, what’s all the excitement about? They are called OZs, or Opportunity Zones. They are the hottest investment opportunity around, and they were created by a mere 8 pages in the 185-page tax reform bill the Republicans passed in 2017.

Today In: Business
In theory, the idea was to provide capital to revitalize the urban areas that President Trump has portrayed as “wastelands, ravaged by crime and homelessness and infested by rats.” In practice, it’s gentrification on a grand scale – as luxury high-rises for the rich replace run-down buildings and other structures.

For example, an OZ project in New Rochelle, N.Y., is financing an upscale apartment building that has a yoga studio, 24-hour valet parking and a spa for residents’ pets. One in New Orleans’ trendy Warehouse District is building a hotel with an opulent restaurant and a roof-top pool.

As explained in a New York Times investigative report (which is the source of most of what I am relating), here is how it works. Investors in an OZ can defer any capital gains taxes for up to 7 years. After 10 years, an investor can cash out and not owe any taxes at all. On paper, an opportunity zone is a census tract where poor people live. But there can be affluent areas within the tract and that’s where the investments can be targeted.

Bottom line: A tax break meant to benefit the poor has become a boon to hedge funds, real estate developers and wealthy investors.

Here is what the tax reform bill might have done instead. Almost 40 years ago, Stuart Butler, then at the Heritage Foundation, proposed Enterprise Zones – a concept first imagined in Margret Thatcher’s Britain. Butler’s idea was to take a depressed area, remove burdensome taxes and regulations and allow laissez-faire capitalism to flourish. Within no time at all, he expected the South Bronx, for example, to look like Hong Kong.

This idea was championed by Jack Kemp, HUD secretary during the George H.W. Bush presidency, and by New York congressman Charlie Rangel. It was partly implemented during the Clinton administration.

But by most measures, the experiment was a failure. The reason? No regulations were actually repealed. What we got instead was increased spending and a few tax breaks – making government a partner in every private decision that was made. We didn’t get less government. We got more government – on top of the government we already had!

That prompted a different approach by my colleagues and me  – one called enterprise programs.

Here is the idea: instead of carving out a geographical area for deregulation, let’s carve out essential services that are needed by low-income families. All too often, burdensome regulations are pricing poor people out of the market for the services they need the most. So why not remove those regulations?

Take transportation. Did you know that low-income families use taxi cabs more than any other income group? The reason: they are less likely to own a car. So, in cities where taxi regulations have done little more than create a transportation cartel, poor people are hurt the most.

Uber and Lyft have made a huge dent in this market – but they are mainly serving the high end of the market. It’s still illegal for me (without a license) to drive a van to a low-income neighborhood in South Dallas, pick up a group of would-be workers, transport them to a job site in North Dallas, and charge each of them a couple of bucks for the ride.

Then there is medical care. Studies show that nurses following computer protocols in MinuteClinics provide care that adheres to best practices as well or better than traditional primary care physicians. Yet in most states, access to this type of high-quality, low-cost care is limited by regulation. That’s why there are virtually no MinuteClinics in rural Texas.

Housing is another example. Local governments often block the use of inexpensive modular homes, limit the number of rental housing units, create minimum lot sizes, and impose cost-increasing amenities such as landscaping requirements. All too often, regulations designed to protect property values in affluent neighborhoods have the unintended consequence of reducing housing construction and availability in non-affluent areas.

Most home-based businesses are started by women and they are a principal way women entrepreneurs become self-supporting. But numerous local regulations stand in the way and day care regulations are among the most severe. Suppose you offered to take care of your neighbors’ children for a modest fee during the day, while their parents are at work. In most cities that would be illegal unless you obtain a license and meet all kinds of burdensome regulations.

The Brookings Institution estimates that almost 30 percent of all the jobs in the country require a government license. Whom does that type of regulation hurt the most? People with less education, lower incomes and fewer resources. It hurts them in two ways. On the supply side, occupational licensing is a barrier to a job. On the demand side, licensing raises the cost of goods and services people buy.

Our idea is to let the middle and upper-middle class keep all the regulations they want. For them, nothing would change.

But low-income families should have access to a free market.



Wise Judge Blocks California Law Targeting Trump

We’re all used to seeing California throw its weight around, but its new law requiring a presidential candidate to provide five years of tax returns to be eligible to appear on a primary ballot is a new low. Now, however, a federal district court judge has blocked the state from enforcing it, at least temporarily.

It’s the right decision. The law is nothing more than a political attack on President Donald Trump, the federal elections process, and the right of free association of citizens and all political parties.

California is weighing its options, but if it chooses to appeal, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court should affirm the district judge’s decision because the law violates the presidential Qualifications Clause and the First Amendment of the Constitution.

The Qualifications Clause in Article II, Section 1 sets out the sole requirements to be president of the United States. You must be a “natural born Citizen,” 35 years of age, and a resident “within” the U.S. for 14 years.

The key case on this is U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton (1995). There was a movement across the country in the late 1980s and early 1990s to impose term limits on members of Congress. This political movement ended, however, when the U.S. Supreme Court held in Thornton that an Arkansas law limiting the number of terms that a member of Congress could serve was a violation of the separate Qualifications Clauses that apply to members of Congress.

The Arkansas law provided that once a representative or senator reached the maximum term, he could not have his name “placed on the ballot” — a ballot-access restriction akin to California’s new law.

Arkansas was adding an additional qualification to being a representative or a senator; the court, in a 5-4 opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens, said that “States lack the power to impose qualifications.” Although the Thornton case dealt with congressional elections, the same constitutional consideration would apply to presidential elections and the presidential Qualifications Clause.

Arkansas also tried to argue that the term limit was not an additional qualification, but simply a ballot-access requirement. But the court disagreed. States can “adopt generally applicable and evenhanded restrictions that protect the integrity and reliability of the electoral process itself.” States have the right to implement rules that are intended to avoid “voter confusion, ballot overcrowding or the presence of frivolous candidacies.”

But what states cannot do is try to disguise additional qualifications as ballot-access requirements.

In another decision in 1983 — this time involving Ohio — the Supreme Court in Anderson v. Celebrezze (also a 5-4 decision written by Stevens) threw out a March filing deadline for a presidential candidate to appear on the November ballot. The deadline placed an unconstitutional burden on the voting and associational rights of supporters of a candidate in violation of the First Amendment.

According to the court, “state-imposed restrictions implicate a uniquely important national interest” since “the President and the Vice President of the United States are the only elected officials who represent all the voters in the Nation.” Thus, “in a Presidential election a State’s enforcement of more stringent ballot access requirements” have “an impact beyond its own borders.”

So states have far less power to regulate presidential elections “than statewide or local elections, because the outcome of the former will be largely determined by voters beyond the State’s boundaries.”

Similarly, in 2001, in Cook v. Gralike, the Supreme Court, this time in a unanimous opinion written by Stevens, said that the authority of states is limited to regulating election procedures. The acceptable regulations are those necessary to impose “some sort of order, rather than chaos” on the “democratic process” as well as to protect the integrity of elections.

The new California law says its purpose is to “provide voters with essential information regarding the candidate’s potential conflicts of interest, business dealings, financial status, and charitable donations” so they can “make a more informed decision.” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in his signing statement that states “have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking higher office meet minimal standards, and to restore public confidence.”

The law’s stated purpose reveals that it has nothing to do with regulating the “reliability of the electoral process itself” and ensuring orderly voting procedures. Newsom’s statement about the law imposing “minimal standards” also shows the law isn’t about protecting the voting process — it’s about imposing California’s minimal qualifications on anyone who wants to be president.

California passed a similar bill two years ago. When then-Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill, he not only acknowledged that it might “not be constitutional,” but he expressed his concern “about the political perils of individual states seeking to regulate presidential elections in this manner.” He called it a “slippery slope.” Tax returns now, but what else might states start to demand he said. Health records? High school report cards? Certified birth certificates?

All of that might depend, as Brown warned, “on which political party is in power” and it could “lead to an ever-escalating set of differing state requirements for presidential candidates.”

Neither California nor any other state has the right to impose additional requirements for presidential candidates, whether they categorize them as “qualifications” or as restrictive ballot-access requirements.

More HERE 


A military mind that most of the world does not understand

Our military men on dire occasions do remarkable things

It was 2003 on the march into Baghdad. Brian Chontosh was a platoon leader rolling up Highway 1 in a humvee.

When all hell broke loose.

Ambush city.

The young Marines were being cut to ribbons. Mortars, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades. And the kid out of Churchville was in charge. It was do or die and it was up to him.

So he moved to the side of his column, looking for a way to lead his men to safety. As he tried to poke a hole through the Iraqi line his humvee came under direct enemy machine gun fire.

It was fish in a barrel and the Marines were the fish.

And Brian Chontosh gave the order to attack. He told his driver to floor the humvee directly at the machine gun emplacement that was firing at them. And he had the guy on top with the .50 cal unload on them.

Within moments there were Iraqis slumped across the machine gun and Chontosh was still advancing, ordering his driver now to take the humvee directly into the Iraqi trench that was attacking his Marines. Over into the battlement the humvee went and out the door Brian Chontosh bailed, carrying an M16 and a Beretta and 228 years of Marine Corps pride.

And he ran down the trench.

With its mortars and riflemen, machineguns and grenadiers.

And he killed them all.

He fought with the M16 until it was out of ammo. Then he fought with the Beretta until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up a dead man’s AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up another dead man’s AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo.

At one point he even fired a discarded Iraqi RPG into an enemy cluster, sending attackers flying with its grenade explosion.

When he was done Brian Chontosh had cleared 200 yards of entrenched Iraqis from his platoon’s flank. He had killed more than 20 and wounded at least as many more.

But that’s probably not how he would tell it.

He would probably merely say that his Marines were in trouble, and he got them out of trouble. Hoo-ah, and drive on.

“By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, 1st Lt. Chontosh reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”

That’s what the Navy Cross citation says.

And that’s what nobody will hear.

That’s what doesn’t seem to be making the evening news. Accounts of American valor are dismissed by the press as propaganda, yet accounts of American difficulties are heralded as objectivity. It makes you wonder if the role of the media is to inform, or to depress – to report or to deride. To tell the truth, or to feed us lies.

But I guess it doesn’t matter.

We’re going to turn out all right.

As long as men like Brian Chontosh wear our uniform.



NO MORE "CATCH AND RELEASE": "The Trump administration will no longer allow migrant families apprehended at the border to enter the U.S. under the immigration policy commonly known as 'catch and release.' The policy change was announced Monday by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan in remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. ... McAleenan said the end of 'catch and release' is a reaction, in part, to the record number of 144,000 migrants apprehended or encountered at the southern border in May. He said that 72% were unaccompanied children or families." (NPR)

BORDER ENABLERS: "The Marine Corps has charged 13 members with smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S., in addition to a range of other offenses including failure to obey an order, drunkenness, endangerment, larceny, and perjury, according to a statement released Friday. Lance Corporals Byron Law and David Salazar-Quintero were specifically charged with transporting illegal immigrants into the country for financial gain. The two were based in Camp Pendleton, located between San Diego and Los Angeles, Calif. The other marines included in the indictments, some of whom were charged with distributing cocaine and LSD, were not named." (National Review)

PRESS BRIEFINGS INDEFINITELY SHELVED: "White House Press Sec. Stephanie Grisham said Monday that she has no plans on bringing back the daily White House press briefings, saying reporters used them to make themselves famous. 'Ultimately, if the president decides that it's something we should do, we can do that. But right now, he's doing just fine. And to be honest, the briefings had become a lot of theater, and I think that a lot of reporters were doing it to get famous,' Grisham said on Fox & Friends. ... It has been over six months since a press secretary has held a traditional briefing in the White House press briefing room, according to Axios." (The Daily Caller)

NO RESPECT: "In August, a group of Trump supporters led by conservative activist Scott Presler went to West Baltimore for a massive clean-up operation following tweets sent by President Donald Trump highlighting the dire conditions in the area. Keeping to his promises, Presler has since led clean-up efforts in Newark, New Jersey and Virginia Beach, Virginia. And on Saturday, Presler and some 200 volunteers headed to Democrat-run Los Angeles, removing a stunning 50 tons of garbage, according to the activist. ... The impressive feat, however, has gone widely unnoticed by the mainstream media." (The Daily Wire)

NOLA CRIME: One in seven adults in New Orleans has a warrant out for arrest (The Washington Post)


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

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



25 September, 2019

More on the psychology of politics

The 2013 journal article below has just come to my attention. Its conclusion fits in well with my formulation.  When it says that Leftists have an external locus of control it says that Leftists are always blaming "society" or events in the world outside them for their unhappiness and anger.  Conservatives, by contrast, accept personal responsibility for their own lives and deeds.  They don't blame everything on others

Partisan Personality: The Psychological Differences Between Democrats and Republicans, and Independents Somewhere in Between

Kaye D. Sweetser


Focusing on the psychological underpinnings of partisanship, this study asks whether there is a difference in the personality profile for self-described Democrats and Republicans. Using a survey of young voters (N = 610), psychological measures such as the Big Five personality dimensions and locus of control were measured in conjunction with standard political interest variables such as political cynicism and political information efficacy. The results indicate supporters for the two major parties are wired differently, in line with previous findings about ideology. Democrats were driven by an external locus of control and Republicans by an internal locus. This research finds self-identified Independents as truly being somewhere in between.



Color Me Confused: Take our guns, trash our economy, change our sex, label us racist. Vote Democrat?

Lately, it seems those on the far Left have taken a vacation from reality. Whether it’s gun control, global warming, gender identity, taxes, you name it, they have become totally divorced from reality.

Leftists tell us they want “commonsense” gun control, but in reality, they are advocating taking away our Second Amendment rights. Several of those who are running for president have come out and said that’s what they would do if elected.

Beto O'Rourke, dropping the f-bomb (multiple times), recently said he would take away all “assault weapons” (meaning any weapon leftists think is scary looking). Kamala Harris said she would give Congress 100 days to do what she wants and after that, she will do it by executive order. They want more gun legislation, even though the laws already on the books are not enforced and none of the proposed legislation would have stopped any of the recent mass shootings.

Global warming is going to destroy our country in 12 years. Or is it 11 years now? It’s hard to keep up as the timeline seems to be a moving target. Personally, I would move to Martha’s Vineyard because former President Obama just purchased a $15 million mansion there, so he will probably only stop the rise of the oceans in his neighborhood! Didn’t he say that at a certain point you’ve made enough money? I guess that only means “other people!”

And why do we have to be the only nation that has to destroy our entire economy to save the world? Why would we spend trillions of tax dollars to stop a problem the majority of countries are doing nothing about? Do you remember that in past climate agreements, China and India do not have to do anything for over 20 years. If we did everything AOC and others want, it could not begin to offset these polluters. Anyone remember the Olympics in Beijing in 2008?

President Trump cut taxes and reduced regulations that strangled companies. That allowed the economy to soar. We have the lowest recorded unemployment in 50 years, as well as the lowest unemployment for African-Americans, Hispanics, women, and Asians ever! A number of candidates for the Democrat Party tell us that if elected president, they are going to undue everything Trump has done to bring about fairness.

Bill Maher and other leftists are praying for a recession so Trump will not be reelected. They openly admit they don’t care about how many people will suffer. To them it’s worth the suffering (of others) if Trump is defeated. And that’s supposed to make me excited to vote for them?

At the beginning of the year, I went in for my annual physical. On the paperwork there were over 20 boxes for “gender” plus one box for other. Thank God male and female were at the beginning so I didn’t get bogged down trying to figure out who/what I was.

For thousands of years now, being a man or woman, boy or girl seemed to work out just fine. Suddenly, there are now some 58 genders we have to recognize according to some social-media platforms.

Take our guns, trash our economy, change our sex, label us racist, sexist, Nazis, homophobes, and on and on. That really inspires me to want to go out and vote for Democrats. How about you?



Why Liberals and Progressives Lie to Blacks

In a Slate article -- "Democratic Candidates Are Misrepresenting Michael Brown's Death"-- the reliably-liberal William Saletan wrote:

Last week, in a Democratic presidential debate, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro read a list of black Americans killed by police violence. Alongside Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, and Eric Garner, Castro named Michael Brown, who was shot dead five years ago in Ferguson, Missouri. Several of the current Democratic candidates have accused the officer who shot Brown of murder. Brown’s death was a tragedy, but it wasn’t a murder.

Besides Castro, the candidates who have joined in this calumny were Kamala Harris, Tom Steyer, and quasi-frontrunner Elizabeth Warren. Saletan continued:

But at the core of the story, there was a problem: The original account of Brown’s death, that he had been shot in the back or while raising his hands in surrender, was false. The shooting was thoroughly investigated, first by a grand jury and then by the Obama Justice Department. The investigations found that Brown assaulted Wilson, tried to grab his gun, and was shot dead while advancing toward Wilson again.

Saletan, I suppose to protect his liberal bonafides, also notes: "Brown became an icon of the Black Lives Matter movement for understandable reasons." (Oh, really?) But let's leave that aside and examine why the candidates are promulgating such a well-proven lie (Saletan does a good job demonstrating its extent), not even correcting it when confronted by the press, in Warren's case most egregiously so.

The obvious is that they are fishing for votes. Warren has a putative weakness with African American voters. Tom Steyer is unknown to them (as he is to a lot of people). Harris is sinking fast and needs to shore up her rep and Julián Castro's campaign has barely been registering enough to keep him on the debate stage.

But beneath this are more disturbing beliefs, one of which is on the edge of disgusting and actually racist: that African Americans prefer to be lied to than told the truth. The corollary to this is that they are easily lied to if you stir them up. The level of disrespect in this is off the charts.

Also at play here, as it is everywhere in Democratic precincts, is Fear of Trump. African Americans are doing better under Trump than they ever have been in this country with unemployment at record lows and salaries up.

Further, Trump really did something never done before -- spearheaded and signed criminal justice reform legislation. Better not remind black people of that. Distract them or lie to them instead. Call Trump a racist, though why would a racist do such a thing?  (At the end of the first paragraph of his article, Saletan cites such reform as necessary with, unsurprisingly, nary a mention of Trump's achievement.)

This is all of a piece with the exploitation of African Americans by the Democratic Party that has been going on since the Age of Johnson, Lyndon. This only got worse under Obama when numerous prevarications and exaggerations encouraged a new separatism in a society that had made immense strides in racial equality. (A new documentary on the Trayvon Martin case explores the dishonesty behind this particular episode.)

This dishonesty to black people practiced by Warren and the others -- fomenting anger toward the police -- makes the lives of African Americans worse, frequently endangering them and resulting in their deaths, as Heather Mac Donald details so well in her The War on Cops. I often wonder how many liberals have read this book. I imagine very few because it so undermines their virtue-signaling narrative with uncomfortable and overwhelming facts. For someone like Warren to fan the flames of cop-hatred is despicable and immoral, but not surprising for someone so willing to lie about her Indian ethnicity. If black lives truly did matter to her, she would never say such a thing.

Just the other day, legendary power forward Charles Barkley, put it this way in his usually pungent manner: "Democrats only talk to black people every four years." He could have added: "And when they do, they lie."



Despite obstruction from Congress, Trump delivers on promises including building the wall

From day one of his Administration, President Trump has been working to deliver on his campaign promises. Because the hostile, liberal media does such a lousy job of informing voters of Trump’s accomplishments, a quick rundown of some of the promises he has kept is in order. As promised, Trump has rolled back numerous regulations, signed tax cuts into law, appointed conservative Supreme Court justices, approved the Dakota Access Pipeline, ended Obama’s “Clean Power Plan,” withdrew the country from the Paris Climate Agreement, negotiated the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), withdrew the country from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, labelled China a currency manipulator, withdrew the United States from the Iran “deal,” defeated ISIS, moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, has forgone his presidential salary, and has helped bring back hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs. Furthermore, as with his promises of rebuilding the military and achieving energy independence, Trump is making considerable progress on building the wall.

To date, 66 miles of dilapidated barriers have been replaced with border wall; another 167 miles of border wall are currently under construction; and, by the end of next year, 450 miles of border wall should be completed. Nor does the good news end there: the 66 miles of new border wall are already paying off—big-time. In fact, border crossings along that stretch have dropped by 86 percent. Of course, the Trump administration is doing a lot more than just building a wall. It is also building roads, installing lighting, and placing cameras along the wall to further enhance security.

The progress on the wall is especially impressive given the astonishing level of resistance to securing the border. Congressional Democrats were so adamant that the border should not be secured that they were willing to partially shut down the government, leaving many of their supporters in the bureaucracy unpaid for more than a month.

Because President Trump stood by his guns, in 2018, $1.6 billion that Congress passed in 2018 for replacing existing fencing with new steel barriers and the $1.375 billion in 2019 for more steel barriers that was approved after the shutdown. And whatever Trump couldn’t get from Congress, he is getting from his national emergency declaration, reprogramming $5.6 billion from other Defense and Homeland Security funds to build the wall.

Even with tens of thousands of people streaming over the border each month, some Congressional Democrats absurdly tried claiming that there was no crisis at the border. Many Congressional obstructionists, along with their donors, are motivated by the prospect of gaining new voters or cheap, exploitable labor. So while they would have you believe they are acting out of compassion for illegal immigrants, they are actually being quite cynical.

Just a few years ago, senior Democrats agreed that securing the border and building a border wall was prudent; now, they support open borders and call anyone who wishes to secure the border a “racist.” Some even denounce Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for attempting to enforce laws passed by Congress. Democrat officeholders have gone so far left on immigration that even senior Obama administration officials, such as Eric Holder and Jeh Johnson, have warned them that they have gone too far.

On the progress on the construction of the border wall, Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning stated the following, “ALG commends President Trump for continuing to fight against overwhelming odds to keep his promise to build the wall. Despite the efforts of Congressional obstructionists to keep our borders open to drug cartels and human traffickers, progress on the wall is finally being made.” Manning went on to say, “If the obstructionists in Congress truly cared about their constituents, they’d put aside their narrow interests and join President Trump in securing our border.”

The left has done virtually everything it can think of to prevent President Trump from securing our border, but they are failing. While a border wall, by itself, will not end illegal immigration, it is a key component of securing our border. The President deserves a lot of credit for fighting so hard to secure our border and for putting the interests of American workers and taxpayers first. Lesser presidents, at the urging of their donors and the liberal media, would have retreated on this issue long ago.




SPEAKING OF DIVERSIONARY TACTICS... According to Fox News, "Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, embroiled in a blackface picture scandal, on Friday pledged to ban military-style assault rifles in the country's most ethnically diverse city in a bid to get his campaign back on issue." The blackface kerfuffle is not what we in our humble shop would even consider a "scandal." But what is a scandal is leftist politicians' deeply entrenched hypocrisy. Once that hypocrisy — which can include cooking 10,500 steaks while simultaneously dissuading meat consumption — goes public, diversion is the only resort.

ASYLUM DEAL: "The Trump administration signed an asylum agreement Friday with El Salvador, giving the U.S. the right to repatriate migrants who cross through El Salvador to reach the U.S. and who then request asylum here. Officials hope the agreement, along with a similar one signed with Guatemala over the summer, will change the incentives that have spurred this year's illegal immigration surge at the border." (The Washington Times)

NINTH CIRCUIT OVERHAUL: "President Donald Trump named two nominees for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, tapping a federal prosecutor and a conservative appellate lawyer for the west coast court. The nominees, Patrick Bumatay and Lawrence VanDyke, are likely to elicit strong opposition for Democrats. If confirmed, the pair would raise the number of Trump's 9th Circuit appointees to nine, with one other nomination pending." (The Daily Caller)

WALMART PANDERS: NPR reports that Walmart "will stop selling electronic cigarettes, at namesake stores and Sam's Club locations. The nation's largest retailer is responding to growing health concerns around vaping, especially among young people." The ridiculousness of the anti-vaping crusade is supported by the fact that Walmart will continue to sell tobacco products that kill hundreds of thousands of people every year.

EAT MORE CHICKEN: "Chick-fil-A has more than doubled its annual sales since gay rights advocates called for a boycott of the chicken chain restaurant after it was revealed nearly a decade ago that the company donated to organizations that opposed same-sex marriage. In 2018, the company had $10.5 billion in total sales, becoming the third-largest chain in the nation behind Starbucks ($20.5 billion) and McDonald's ($38.5 billion). It was a 16.7% increase in sales from the year prior." (Washington Examiner)




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

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


24 September, 2019

Trump supporters are the new college radicals

Below is the first half of a big article in Newsweak.  It seems pretty factual

Stormi Rodriguez says she’d never been called a racial epithet before. Growing up in Mission, Texas, just 70 miles from the Mexican border, the 21-year-old daughter of a single, Mexican-American mother, had what she calls a “normal, pretty uneventful life,” in a heavily Hispanic part of the country. That changed one day in 2016, when she posted a picture of herself on Facebook wearing a red Make America Great Again cap. The student at Texas State University said she was promptly bombarded with abuse from the Donald-Trump-hating Left and called a variety of epithets, including “wetback.” “At college, some of my classmates called me a race traitor,’” she says.

Publicly supporting Donald Trump isn’t easy for young voters, especially in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Pop culture derides Trump daily. So too does much of the mass media. Pro-Trump college students like Rodriguez say their teachers are almost uniformly hostile to Trump, and so are the majority of their fellow students. It takes a fair amount of backbone to be young and a Trump supporter, even in a GOP stronghold like Texas.

But the more than a dozen young Trump supporters who spoke to Newsweek were firm in their commitment to the president and clear about their reasons. They don’t consider Trump racist and reject that label for themselves as well. They’re sick of “cancel culture” —when critics on social media call for a boycott of someone who has said or done something deemed offensive—and political correctness. “We’ve had it shoved in our faces all day every day, in school and then from the pop culture,” Isabel Brown, a graduate of Colorado State University, told Newsweek in July. They don’t share the attraction to socialism that seems to be felt by many in their cohort. And Trump’s unfiltered personality delights them.

They see themselves in the role traditionally played politically by the young: They are the rebels, the non-conformists, willing to stand up for what they believe in opposition to the establishment. Only this time, the establishment—on campus and in the broader society—is a culture that demands lockstep obedience to what Brown calls “far left ideas.” For whatever reason, she says, most people her age “aren’t rebellious, and aren’t even particularly thoughtful. They feel the need to adhere to a politically correct ‘progressive’ agenda.”

In this environment, she argues, “true rebellion is simply to say, ‘I disagree.’ I think conservatives were expected to be quietly polite, and we expected people would be quietly polite in return. Now we’ve learned that unless you boldly fight for what you believe in, the culture and the country will look very different.”

Young Trumpers are not a mere political curiosity. Voters age 18 to 29 are one of two demographics nationwide that may hold the key to Trump’s re-election, according to Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager. (Moderate independent and Republican women make up the other group.) The goal is not to win the young voter demographic outright—the campaign knows that won’t happen—but rather to limit the margin with the Democratic nominee in key states, and in so doing perhaps tip the election to Trump.

That’s close to what happened in 2016, though not because of any sophisticated effort by the Trump campaign. Hillary Clinton got only 55 per cent of the youth vote, down from the 60 percent Barack Obama won in 2012; many young people did not, to put it mildly, view Clinton as an inspiring candidate. (In 2008 Obama won an extraordinary 66 percent of the under-30 vote.)

“In what is likely to be another close election, if Trump can do better with young people than he did last time, that could be critical,” says Mary Snow, polling analyst at the Quinnipiac University presidential polling organization. “There are plausible scenarios in which it could be decisive.”

The Trump campaign won 37 percent of the youth vote in 2016 in a campaign that was shambolic and underfunded. It will not be this time. Trump 2020 has already raised more than $125 million and the campaign is making a concerted effort to target young voters in battleground states. Parscale, who headed Trump’s digital media effort in 2016, says this will happen via social media, his forte, but also with “traditional boots-on-the-ground type organizing.”

In both the virtual and real-world efforts, the campaign will have considerable help from outside groups—support it didn’t have in 2016. One of them is Turning Point USA, founded seven years ago by Charlie Kirk, then 18. The group organizes what Kirk calls “conservatives” on college campuses across the country, but “conservative” in this sense means Trump supporters. The group has more than 1,000 college chapters and claims more than 40,000 members. Kirk will lead them next year in an effort that he acknowledges is based on the 2012 “Obama for America” campaign targeting young voters. The Turning Point effort will be as much about “clip boards and tennis shoes” on campus as it is about social media, in what Kirk vows will be an “unprecedented’’ effort to muster the pro-Trump vote on campuses across the country. “There’s never been a pro-GOP effort at this scale before, targeting young voters,” he says. “This can be done. We will make a difference.”

Conservatives organizing on college campuses is not, of course, a novel concept. Young Americans for Freedom, a group founded by William F. Buckley in 1960, has had chapters on U.S. campuses for decades. The YAF was founded on and has continued to preach the standard conservative catechism: support for free markets and free trade, limited government and a robust American engagement abroad (originally rooted in staunch anti-communism). The YAF sees itself as the promoter of “true” conservatism” in the Buckley and Ronald Reagan mold, which is why some of its alumni had trouble swallowing the Trump campaign in 2016. Donald Trump is not and will never be a true blue conservative—which is why there will always be a sliver of “never Trumpers” within the GOP—but a lot of young voters don’t care about policy purity. The YAF’s membership rolls have increased by five percent since 2016. As Kirk acknowledges, there aren’t one or two defining issues among young Trump backers in the way that free market economics and staring down the Soviet Union motivated Reagan supporters more than a generation ago.

The appeal of Trump is, as much as anything, attitudinal. In an era of suffocating political correctness, on campuses in particular, the president’s incorrectness is, for many, not just refreshing but liberating. “He’s patriotic, he’s pro-America, he wants to bring back the American spirit and he’s not afraid to say it, and I’m all for that,” says Brown, a Turning Point USA alum who worked for Prager University, an online education site started by conservative talk show host Dennis Prager. In September she started graduate school at Georgetown University in biomedical science policy and advocacy.

The various ways that Trump has broken with convention don’t repel these young supporters; it attracts them. Take his addiction to Twitter. Brown, 22, who grew up in a conservative Colorado household in which her parents stressed the “importance of forming one’s own opinion at an early age,” loves the fact that Trump tweets almost daily: "It's the way he communicates directly with his supporters," she says. "We love it."

Nearly all the young voters interviewed for this article praised Trump's outspoken patriotism. "Trump loves America," says Kearyn Bolin. "I love that about him." The biracial Texas State student was raised in Houston by a single mom. She wasn't always interested in politics (and was too young to vote in 2016), but her mother paid attention to Trump. “She always said America is a business and it would be good for a businessman to run it.”

In 2017 Bolin, 20, attended a Turning Point USA meeting and liked what she heard— particularly in comparison to the anti-Trump rhetoric she encountered all the time on campus. “Trump delivers on his promises. He means what he says and says what he means. I think that’s what a president should do.”

Many Trump fans have tales of being bullied; an exchange of views doesn’t seem to be possible, they say. When Stormi Rodriquez started a Turning Point USA chapter at Texas State, she says she was physically threatened. “There were some protesters outside the meeting, including one guy who came up to me and was pounding his chest like he wanted to fight. It was very, very scary. Believe me, whatever political ideology that guy associates with, I want no part of.”

“What has happened to the left to make it so closed-minded,” asks Brown, “where if you don’t agree with every little bit of their policy agenda you’re  castigated as an evil, racist xenophobe and they just shut the discussion down?” She has lost relationships with friends and even relatives who can’t abide her support of Trump. She handles this, she says, by moving on, concluding that anyone who will let politics get in the way of friendship or familial love and respect “is not someone I needed in my life to begin with.”

Tales of friendships lost are common. Allison Ackles, 21, a senior at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, says she was very close to a group of about 10 friends at school when she went to a Turning Point USA event in Dallas two years ago. Her friends were all standard-issue college-age lefties, and when she returned from the conference—” a transforming event” she calls it—” I told my friends that I was thinking more conservatively now. All ten of them ultimately stopped speaking with me.”

To many young Trump supporters, the left has simply “lost its mind,” as Kirk puts it, on a whole range of issues. Take economics: At this summer’s Turning Point USA convention in Washington, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul brought a packed ballroom to its feet when, echoing Trump, he proclaimed that “America will never be a socialist nation.”

“It’s really strange that so many Democrats seem to embrace socialism when the economy is so strong,” Ackles says. Trump “is doing a great job…Unemployment is low for everyone—African Americans, Hispanic Americans, everyone. There are plenty of jobs. What’s not to like?”

Spencer Ross, 23, a recent college graduate from Richmond, Virginia, agrees. He grew up in a rock solid Republican household, he says, and thinks the case for capitalism is self evident: “You had to either be asleep in economics class or just be ignorant” to support some of the policies the major Democratic presidential candidates favor, he says. “Free healthcare for illegal immigrants—really?” says Ross. “Did they actually all raise their hands in support of that?” (At the June 27 debate in Miami, all 10 candidates on stage did just that.) “They all apparently believe in the magic money tree that they can shake and get whatever they need to pay for everything. It’s insane.”

More HERE 


The Anti-Trump Whistleblower Story Looks Like Another Phony Scandal

The so-called whistleblower "scandal" that the media is hyping up every which way has Democrats once again falling all over each other to declare another "impeachable offense," despite having virtually no details about the conversation between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. But, like everything else that's been thrown at Trump, this appears to be another phony scandal. The Daily Wire's Ashe Schow reported Saturday that the whistleblower complaint "is nothing more than a rumor reported by someone in the intelligence community." In fact, CNN reported this fact, but buried it in an article:

The whistleblower didn't have direct knowledge of the communications, an official briefed on the matter told CNN. Instead, the whistleblower's concerns came in part from learning information that was not obtained during the course of their work, and those details have played a role in the administration's determination that the complaint didn't fit the reporting requirements under the intelligence whistleblower law, the official said.

Schow noted, "this is yet another anonymous source giving more context on what another anonymous source told a different outlet, but it still calls the entire story into question." The original Washington Post story, despite being on the front page, was vague, relying on “two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter” who were “speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly." They alleged that Trump had made a “promise” to a world leader—which, based on what we know right now, is incorrect.

The Post filled out its story with information about a “standoff” between Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and Congress.

The Intelligence Community Inspector General, Michael Atkinson – who was appointed by Trump – determined the whistleblower complaint to be of “urgent concern,” according to the Post. But Maguire argued he was not required by law to turn the complaint over to congressional Democrats seeking to impeach Trump.

The reason Maguire didn’t turn the complaint over is because of what CNN reported – that the person who made the complaint had no direct knowledge of what was said and was merely reporting a rumor. Why the inspector general determined it “urgent and credible” remains to be seen.

All the reactions to the story since have been based on speculation as to what occurred on the call. Trump is alleged to have pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and offered a quid pro quo... which, according to the Wall Street Journal, there wasn't:

President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ’s son, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter.

“He told him that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know” whether allegations were true or not, one of the people said. Mr. Trump didn’t mention a provision of foreign aid to Ukraine on the call, said this person, who didn’t believe Mr. Trump offered the Ukrainian president any quid-pro-quo for his cooperation on an investigation…

Nevertheless, if you can dream it, someone is alleging it. Even Hillary Clinton has chimed in with an eye-roll-worthy tweet:

Just like the Russian collusion hoax, there's no evidence of this yet, but that isn't stopping people like Hillary from making her allegation, or others declaring an incident they know nothing about an impeachable offense. In March 2012, Barack Obama was caught on a live microphone whispering to then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he needed Russia to give him space on issues such as missile defense, before adding: "This is my last election, after my election, I have more flexibility.” It was on tape, but few in the media cared. Some even defended Obama, but generally, it was treated as much ado about nothing. As of this moment, all we have is speculation about Trump, and the media is once again calling for impeachment.

So far, all we know is that the whistleblower at the heart of this situation didn't actually overhear anything. The one thing we do know is that in 2016, Joe Biden successfully pressured then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to ax the country's top prosecutor, who was investigating his son's company, by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees. Biden even bragged about it.

The prosecutor, who was fired, was leading a corruption investigation into a company that employed Biden's son, Hunter

This whistleblower "scandal" may be another nothingburger for Trump, but it could be a much bigger problem for Joe Biden.



Pelosi plan takes a sledgehammer to Medicare

The proposal puts the U.S. health care system on a pathway toward socialized medicine

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is surrendering to the radical, socialist wing of the Democratic Party on health care, according to her new, $32 trillion drug-pricing proposal leaked last week.

The Pelosi plan takes a sledgehammer to the Medicare system at the expense of patients, innovators and free enterprise and puts the U.S. health care system firmly on a pathway toward Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s and Sen. Bernie Sanders-style socialized medicine.

The proposal empowers government bureaucrats to set the prices of the top 250 prescription medicines. If a manufacturer does not agree with this price or refuses to “negotiate,” the government will hit it with a 75 percent excise tax on the gross sales of a drug from the previous year — not a 75 percent tax on profits, but a 75 percent tax on sales.

The pan would also impose foreign price controls on American drugs by forcing manufacturers to calibrate prices of lifesaving medicine to those of half-a-dozen nations from Australia to Germany.

The bill would impose a retroactive inflationary penalty for drugs covered under Medicare Parts B and D. This retroactivity (which goes back to 2016) is particularly egregious because it would punish manufacturers for past decisions made, the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on ex post facto laws be damned.

The Pelosi plan does not constitute a good-faith effort to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. Instead, the proposal represents a giant step toward government controlling the means of production within the pharmaceutical industry — a textbook example of state socialism.

Medical innovation only exists because manufacturers are able to invest significant time and money in research and development. This is especially important to senior citizens, whose quality of life is often governed by access to lifesaving medicine.

On average, it takes more than a decade to bring a new drug to market. Of all the experimental drugs under development, 90 percent do not receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration and never come to market. In 2016 alone, American drug companies invested $90 billion for therapy research and development of drugs, more than three times the R&D money spent by the National Institutes of Health.

This process is inherently risky — more than 150 experimental Alzheimer’s therapies have been tried over the past 20 years. Despite these challenges, American innovators continue striving toward a cure for Alzheimer’s. This persistent search for a cure contributes significantly to the estimated $300 billion in annual costs associated with the disease.

Prescription drugs comprise just 14 percent of health care spending. Hospital services comprise 30 percent of health care spending, and is growing at a faster rate than pharmaceutical care.

The United States is a world leader and accounts for almost 60 percent of medical innovation in the world.

This innovation means more lifesaving and life-preserving medicines, and contributes to a strong U.S. economy and supports high-paying jobs across the country.

Mrs. Pelosi’s plan to impose punitive taxes, foreign price controls and retroactive penalties would cause research on drugs to fight Alzheimer’s and other diseases to come to a screeching halt.

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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


23 September, 2019

The Man Democrats Loathe More Than Trump

Sen. Mitch McConnell is in charge of a vital firewall

If you think Donald Trump is the Democrats’ Public Enemy No. 1, get one of them started on the Senate majority leader. “I would never want us to be as malevolent or cynical as Mitch McConnell is,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D., Colo.), a relatively moderate presidential candidate, told The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board this week. Underlying that hostility, Mr. Bennet immediately acknowledged, is a grudging respect for Mr. McConnell’s effectiveness: “I think we need to be as strategic as Mitch McConnell is.”

The central example is Mr. McConnell’s refusal in 2016 to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. “The worst thing that’s been done in the last 10 years, and maybe in our history, in terms of judges is what he did on Merrick Garland, ” Mr. Bennet said. (Worse than what his party did to Brett Kavanaugh, he added in response to a question.)

Mr. McConnell agrees on the significance of what he did in 2016, calling it the “biggest accomplishment of my career.” On the day Scalia died in February, the Kentucky Republican declared that no Supreme Court nomination would reach the floor that year. The next president would fill the vacancy. It was a gamble. He needed at least 50 of the other 53 Republican senators to stick with him.

They did, and one of them attributes Donald Trump’s victory to it. “That call, in a close presidential race, tipped the race,” says Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming. It clarified the choice for conservative voters who found Mr. Trump’s character appalling.

Mr. McConnell, 77, has been instrumental in Mr. Trump’s successes on Capitol Hill, too. He delivered tax reform in 2017 with a 51-48 majority and no help from Democrats. He allowed the First Step Act of 2018, a criminal-justice reform bill that he had opposed, to come to the floor and pass with bipartisan support—including his own vote. And he’s pushed through judicial confirmations at a record clip. “We intended to take full advantage of the opportunity to continue to transform the courts for as long as we have the ability to do so,” he says. His motto is “leave no vacancy behind.”

Not that Mr. Trump always appreciates his efforts. The president blamed the majority leader for ObamaCare’s survival after the late Sen. John McCain bolted. “Can you believe,” Mr. Trump tweeted in August 2017, “that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done.” But the two men put aside their differences the following month at a White House lunch. At an October 2018 rally in Richmond, Ky., Mr. Trump called Mr. McConnell “the greatest leader in history.”

In some ways Mr. McConnell is Mr. Trump’s opposite—a taciturn insider rather than a bombastic outsider. From the start of his Senate career in 1985, his ambition was to be majority leader. He begins discussing it on page 5 of his 2016 memoir, “The Long Game.” He made a name for himself by defending Kentucky’s tobacco industry and opposing campaign-finance regulations. Outside the Senate, those stances brought more opprobrium than popularity. But inside, Mr. McConnell quietly built support as he rose in the ranks to majority whip in 2003, minority leader in 2007, and majority leader in 2015 after Republicans took the Senate.

The Senate has changed dramatically in the 35 years since Mr. McConnell’s arrival. “There’s been a kind of realignment of the two parties to the point where almost every Republican is more conservative than every Democrat and almost every Democrat is more liberal than almost every Republican,” he says. Some observers bemoan this polarization, but not Mr. McConnell: “I don’t think that’s necessarily a condemnation of today’s Senate.”

It does, however, lead to condemnations from whichever party isn’t in charge. “We have the least effective Senate,” Mr. Bennet told the Journal, accusing his colleague of hypocrisy. Five years ago, then-Minority Leader McConnell inveighed against the “tyranny” of Harry Reid, who led the Democratic majority, “and the fact,” in Mr. Bennet’s words, that Mr. Reid “never let anything go through regular order, and the fact that we never had amendments.” Mr. McConnell is doing the same, Mr. Bennet said: “You’ve got all these theoretically grown-up people down there who literally never vote on an amendment.”

Some Republican senators echo these criticisms, albeit in private. Mr. McConnell declines to answer them, but an aide tells me the majority leader doesn’t plan to change course: “When he has tried open debate, it fizzles out pretty quickly because individual members block each other’s opportunities to offer amendments.”

Mr. McConnell usually manages to hold his caucus together despite the grumbling. In 2017 he rallied all 52 Republican senators to abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, allowing the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch—something he probably couldn’t have done had Mr. Reid not done the same for lower-court nominations in 2013.

Most bills still require 60 votes to reach the floor, and Mr. McConnell believes this is as it should be. “The legislative filibuster is one of the key safeguards of American government,” he says. “It makes persuasion necessary and makes policy less likely to swing wildly with every election. America doesn’t need a second House of Representatives. America needs the Senate to be the Senate.” He says he’ll fight to retain the legislative filibuster if Democrats take the Senate in 2020 but declines to discuss his strategy.

The tax bill passed with a simple majority through a process reserved for budget bills, but even that requires near-unanimity among Republicans, who now hold 53 seats. Mr. McConnell follows the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. “You wear 20% of your ties 80% of the time,” he says, “meaning 80% of your ties, you only wear 20% of the time. It applies to a group too. You spend 80% of your time with 20% of your members. Most of the time is spent with the people who are high-maintenance or who like to create challenges.” Usually, he adds, “I do things one-on-one—for a number of reasons. Because it doesn’t embarrass somebody in front of somebody else.”

The foremost member of the 20% club is Maine’s Susan Collins. Her vote is often the hardest to get and the most needed. Ask Republican senators who won the most favors in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and they’ll invariably answer Ms. Collins. It was worth it, Mr. McConnell says. Her vote was critical, and she really wanted to vote yes, so long as the bill helped Maine. “Mitch’s strength is understanding that each of us represents a state that may be different from Kentucky,” says Ms. Collins, one of only two GOP senators from states Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

Ms. Collins also saved Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination last year after he was accused of youthful sexual misconduct. “Mitch didn’t know how I was going to vote,” she says. “He did not ask and I didn’t volunteer.” She told him over lunch immediately before announcing her “yes” vote in a speech that methodically dismantled the case against Justice Kavanaugh. The vote to confirm was 50-48.

In May a constituent in Paducah asked Mr. McConnell what he’ll do if a high-court vacancy arises in 2020. “Oh, we’d fill it,” he replied. When I ask him to elaborate, he says he’d do it even at the 11th hour. Mr. McConnell allows that “it would be hard to process even a noncontroversial Supreme Court nominee”—perhaps by now an oxymoron—“in under two months. But certainly we would try if that happened.”

The left finds that prospect alarming. “If there is a SCOTUS vacancy next year and @senatemajldr carries through on his extraordinary promise to fill it—despite his own previous precedent in blocking Garland—it will tear this country apart,” David Axelrod, a top White House aide during President Obama’s first term, tweeted last month.

Mr. McConnell scoffs at the charge that he’s hypocritical and points to his statement on the Senate floor nine days after Scalia’s death. “Of course, it’s within the president’s authority to nominate a successor even in this very rare circumstance,” he said then. “Remember that the Senate has not filled a vacancy arising in an election year where there was divided government since 1888, almost 130 years ago. But we also know that Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution grants the Senate the right to withhold its consent, as it deems necessary.”

Mr. Axelrod’s histrionics are mild compared with other attacks on Mr. McConnell. At a Louisville restaurant last October, a man snatched the takeout box from his table and emptied it on the street. Also in Louisville, a mob assembled last month outside his house, and Twitter suspended his campaign’s account after it posted a video of their obscene shouts.

He shrugs off most of it; aides describe him as impervious. “I learned a long time ago that the higher you go up in politics, the more criticism you get,” he says, “and that just sort of goes with the job. I’m largely unaffected by the criticism of those who have a totally different agenda. I get up every day hoping I can advance a right-of-center agenda. . . . And to the extent that we’ve succeeded in doing that, and I think most would concede that I have, I’ve got my share of enemies who don’t like that.”

He did respond indignantly in July to being called “Moscow Mitch” for opposing two bills intended to thwart Russian interference in the 2020 election. In a speech on the Senate floor, he called the smear “modern-day McCarthyism.” He says he opposed the bills because Democrats had stuffed them with provisions having no connection to Russia.

What got to him, he says, was being “called unpatriotic, un-American, and essentially treasonous by a couple of left-wing pundits on the basis of boldfaced lies.”

Mr. McConnell has served longer than any current senator except Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy and Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley. He arrived on Capitol Hill in 1968 as an aide to then- Sen. Marlow Cook and later worked as a Justice Department lawyer and returned to Kentucky for a stint in local government. In 1984 he challenged Democratic Sen. Dee Huddleston, known for missing votes to give paid speeches. Roger Ailes, then a GOP consultant, produced ads for Mr. McConnell featuring bloodhounds searching for Mr. Huddleston. Mr. McConnell won by 5,269 votes.

He is now in his sixth term and seeking a seventh, which he is strongly favored to win. But he worries about the majority come 2020. “Colorado is a competitive state for us, and so is Arizona, and so is North Carolina,” he says, referring to the seats now held, respectively, by Sens. Cory Gardner, Martha McSally and Thom Tillis. “On the other hand, we think we’re going to win the Alabama seat back”—the one Democrat Doug Jones holds by virtue of beating Roy Moore in a 2017 special election. Republicans will hold their majority if they lose no more than three seats, or two if a Democrat wins the White House.

Mr. McConnell credits Democrats for helping. “Our people are very energized by all this left-wing socialist talk on the Democratic side,” he says. “Not only do our voters but our donors believe that the Senate is a firewall against the very worst that could happen if the Democrats get the entire government back.”



Administration considers plan to divert billions of dollars in additional funds for barrier

WASHINGTON — Senior Trump administration officials are considering a plan to again divert billions of dollars in military funding to pay for border barrier construction next year, a way to circumvent congressional opposition to putting more taxpayer money toward the president’s signature project, according to three administration officials.

The president has pledged to complete nearly 500 miles of new barrier by the 2020 election — stirring chants of ‘‘Build the Wall!’’ at his campaign rallies. But that construction goal will require a total of $18.4 billion in funding through 2020, far more than the administration has publicly disclosed, the administration’s latest internal projections show.

Planning documents obtained by The Washington Post show the cost of building 509 miles of barriers averages out to more than $36 million per mile. The documents also show that the government would need to obtain — either by eminent-domain claims or purchases — land that lies under nearly 200 miles of proposed barrier.

At a Sept. 11 meeting at the White House led by adviser Jared Kushner, senior officials discussed a plan that would press lawmakers to backfill — or reimburse — $3.6 billion of Pentagon funds that the administration diverted this year to pay for fence construction, the officials said.

The White House also has requested $5 billion for barrier funding in 2020 through the Department of Homeland Security budget, but if that money is not approved, the administration plans to dip into the Pentagon’s construction budget for the second consecutive year to get another $3.6 billion, said the officials familiar with the plan.

The Democratic majority in the House is adamantly opposed to providing additional funding for the project.

If the administration carries out the plan, the White House will have defied Congress to divert a total of $7.2 billion of Defense Department funds over two years, money that would otherwise pay to repair or upgrade US military installations.

When the White House was asked about the plan Thursday, a senior official responded that the discussion was ‘‘a typical project-management meeting where administration officials discussed border wall progress’’ and that the goal was to ensure that border security priorities were being fulfilled ‘‘and that additional needs were being assessed in the event more funding became available.’’

Trump’s urgency about barrier construction has unnerved top aides responsible for the project’s completion, and it also has raised new concerns about potential shortcuts in contracting and procurement procedures.

Two days after the White House meeting, the head of the House Oversight and Reform Committee sent a letter to Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, the head of the US Army Corps of Engineers, asking for a briefing on border barrier procurement, saying the committee was investigating whether regular contracting processes were being bypassed to build the structure more quickly.

Committee Chariman Elijah Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, said lawmakers also were troubled by revelations in The Post that President Trump had urged the Corps of Engineers to steer contracts to North Dakota-based Fisher Industries, a company whose top executive is a GOP donor and frequent guest on Fox News.

Cummings’s letter cited concerns that the Corps of Engineers ‘‘is being pressured to bypass regular contracting processes in order to complete construction more quickly.’’

The committee gave a Friday deadline for Semonite to provide the briefing, according to the letter.

The Corps of Engineers also has been directed to hand over information about border construction bids to Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, who has promoted Fisher Industries to Trump. Cramer has said he has been ‘‘deputized’’ by the president to ensure that barrier construction remains on track.

A spokeswoman for the Corps of Engineers said the agency awards contracts through competitive procedures that provide ‘‘the best value to the government for the particular procurement action being undertaken.’’

The House this week voted down a Republican motion to ‘‘backfill’’ the military construction funds. The money has been diverted from child-care facilities and schools on military bases, as well as from maintenance and repairs on US bases.

Trump has pushed aides to build the border fencing as quickly as possible, brushing off concerns about property ownership and contracting procedures while reassuring others worried about wrongdoing that he will issue pardons if they are targeted for prosecution.

The administration has not said publicly how it plans to obtain funding next year to meet its ambitious construction targets, which will require the government to dramatically accelerate the pace of work and make aggressive use of federal authority to seize private land.




Trump tax-return victory

 According to CNBC, "A federal judge has sided with the Trump campaign's request to halt a California law that's aimed at forcing the president to release his tax returns. ... The ruling marks a major victory for Trump, who is fighting multiple Democratic-led efforts to force him to reveal the returns. California is expected to appeal." Meanwhile, NBC News adds that "Trump filed a lawsuit Thursday against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who subpoenaed Trump's accounting firm for eight years of Trump's personal and corporate tax returns earlier this month."

Fake hate groups targeted

"House Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee said on Thursday that over 60 alleged hate groups, mostly socially conservative organizations, anti-immigration entities, and religious groups should be stripped of their tax-exempt status," according to the Washington Examiner, which further notes, "The groups were designated as 'hate groups' by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that itself is controversial and whose founder was fired this year for misconduct." The SPLC is the biggest hate group of all, and yet Democrats are relying on it to destroy conservative institutions.


The triplets


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

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


22 September, 2019

How there can be an underlying stability behind policy changes

I put up a post recently in which I commented on how political parties can change their policies, sometimes into a reversal of their previous policies.  The classic  example was how the Communist party of the USA changed in an instant from Pro-Nazi to anti-Nazi when Hitler ceased to be an ally of Russia and attacked it instead

But I also said that the policy change can disguise an underlying consistent orientation.  In the case of the CPUSA that orientation was no secret.  As Communists they supported Hitler when he was allied with Communist Russia and did so for that reason only.  They were consistently Comunist in the underlying orientation behind their changing policies.

I would like to give a less obvious example as well, however: The example of Australian attitudes to immigration.

Although all white Australian are descendants of immigrants, Australians have never been generally pro-immigration.  People "like us" (British) were acceptable but not others. This was clearly seen in the first years of the 20th century, when the "White Australia" policy was enacted.  No Chinese or blacks were allowed to immigrate and even continental Europeans were looked on askance.

But, as I said previously, circumstances alter cases and when a good reason to loosen up presented itself, attitudes became more permissive.  The new circumstance was WWII, when the Japanese attacked some targets in Australia.  This drew attention to how the small population of Australia made the country hard to defend.  This led to acceptance of a new policy to take in as immigrants any whites at all, not only the British.

So a perception of foreigners as troublesome lay behind the original white Australia policy but that motive was overriden by the experience of WWII.  It came to seem imperative to expand Australia's population for reasons of national defence.  And that led eventually to the total abolition of the white Australia policy (by the conservative Holt government) with selected Asians starting to be  admitted.

And then came the boat people, initially geniune refugees from  the Vietnam war. They were all accepted on humanitarian grounds. After a while, however, various people from the Middle East started to arrive uninvited on Australian shores in ramshackle converted fishing boats -- also claiming to be refugees.

It was clear from the beginning that they were not refugees, however.  Almost all had refuge in some other country, often Pakistan, before arriving in Australia.  And they usually destroyed their identity documents before arriving so that the Australian government would have difficulty in checking their stories.

That brought out all the slumbering concern about foreigners in Australians.  With most of the immigrants likely to be unskilled parasitic crooks who would not make any positive contribution to the country, hostility to them arose.  Most of them went straight on to welfare and stayed there.  As a result, the boat people are now effectively kept out by the Australian navy, making Australia one of the few advanced countries with effective controls against illegal immigration.

So Australian policy has flipped from anti-immigration to pro-immigration and back to anti-immigration.  But underlying it all the time was a perception that immigarnts were in various ways a detriment to the existing population.  The underlying thinking and motivation did not change even though the policy did.

So does that mean that all Australians are racists?  Going by the loose definitions used by the Left it does. But opposition to immigration is not irrational.  Adding  whole glob of new arrivals does tend to take away something from the existing population. Adding  whole glob of new arrivals to an existing set of infrastructure is always going to generate some problems.  It is going to overcrowd schools, hospitals and roads that were built for a smaller population.  And the various waves of immigration have put Australia in exactly that position. Traffic, school and hospital congestion has become notably worse in recent years.

So the opposition to immigration was simply a realistic defence of people's existing good life, a fear of change that was well warranted.  And, as I have previously pointed out, that is the normal reason behind conservative opposition to Leftist proposals for change.  They may seem changeable in the policies they will support but their underlying motives remain broadly the same

I might note in passing that Australia does take in a large number of legal immigrants.  People who have been vetted in advance for their likelihood of making a good adjustment to life in Australia are accepted, though the number accepted is in dispute. So a country that welcomes large numbers of arrivals from all over the world is hardly racist.


Trump's Total Culture War

Donald Trump is waging a nonstop, all-encompassing war against progressive culture, in magnitude analogous to what 19th-century Germans once called a Kulturkampf.

As a result, not even former President George W. Bush has incurred the degree of hatred from the left that is now directed at Trump. For most of his time in office, Trump, his family, his friends and his businesses have been investigated, probed, dissected and constantly attacked.

In 2016 and early 2017, Barack Obama appointees in the FBI, CIA and Department of Justice tried to subvert the Trump campaign, interfere with his transition and, ultimately, abort his presidency. Now, congressional Democrats promise impeachment before the 2020 election.

The usual reason for such hatred is said to be Trump's unorthodox and combative take-no-prisoners style. Critics detest his crude and unfettered assertions, his lack of prior military or political experience, his attacks on the so-called bipartisan administrative state, and his intent to roll back the entire Obama-era effort of "fundamentally transforming" the country leftward.

Certainly, Trump's agenda of closing the border, using tariffs to overturn a half-century of Chinese mercantilism, and pulling back from optional overseas military interventions variously offends both Democrats and establishment Republicans.

Trump periodically and mercurially fires his top officials. He apparently does not care whether the departed write damning memoirs or join his opposition. He will soon appoint his fourth national security adviser within just three years.

To make things worse for his critics, Trump's economy is booming as never before in the new 21st century: near-record-low unemployment, a record number of Americans working, increases in workers' wages and family incomes, low interest rates, low inflation, steady GDP growth and a strong stock market.

Yet the real source of Trump derangement syndrome is his desire to wage a multifront pushback -- politically, socially, economically and culturally -- against what might be called the elite postmodern progressive world.

The European Union, not the U.S. Constitution, is seen as the preferable model to run a nation. Transnational and global organizations are wiser on environmental and diplomatic matters than is the U.S. government.

The media can no longer afford to be nonpartisan and impartial in its effort to rid America of a reactionary such as Trump, given his danger to the progressive future.

America's ancient sins can never really be forgiven. In a new spirit of iconoclasm, thousands of buildings, monuments and statues dedicated to American sinners of the past must be destroyed, removed or renamed.

A new America supposedly is marching forward under the banner of ending fossil fuels, curbing the Second Amendment, redistributing income, promoting identity politics and open borders, and providing free college, free health care and abortion on demand.

An insomniac Trump fights all of the above nonstop and everywhere. In the past, Republican presidents sought to slow the progressive transformation of America but despaired of ever stopping it.

No slugfest is too off-topic or trivial for Trump. Sometimes that means calling out former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for persuading NFL stars to kneel during the national anthem. Huge, monopolistic Silicon Valley companies are special Trump targets. Sometimes Trump enters cul-de-sac Twitter wars with Hollywood has-beens who have attacked him and his policies.

Trump variously goes after antifa, political correctness on campus, the NATO hierarchy, the radical green movement, Planned Parenthood, American universities and, above all, the media -- especially CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

For all the acrimony and chaos -- and prognostications of Trump's certain failure -- a bloodied Trump wins more than he loses. NATO members may hate Trump, but more are finally paying their promised defense contributions.

In retrospect, many Americans concede that the Iran Deal was flawed and that the Paris climate accord mere virtue signaling. China was long due for a reckoning.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation proved fruitless and was further diminished by Mueller's bizarrely incoherent congressional testimony.

Some of the most prominent Trump haters -- Michael Avenatti, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Antony Scaramucci and Rep. Adam Schiff -- either have been discredited or have become increasingly irrelevant.

Trump has so enraged his Democratic adversaries that the candidates to replace him have moved farther to the left than any primary field in memory. They loathe Trump, but in their abject hatred he has goaded the various Democratic candidates into revealing their support for the crazy Green New Deal, reparations for slavery, relaxed immigration policies and trillions of dollars in new free stuff.

In a way, the left-wing Democratic presidential candidates understand Trump best. If he wins his one-man crusade to stop the progressive project, they are finished, and their own party will make the necessary adjustments and then sheepishly drift back toward the center.



Warren's Corrupt 'Anti-Corruption' Plan

Are lobbyists corrupt? Sure, but so are the politicians taking the money and writing the rules.

Elizabeth Warren, who corruptly exploited her own bogus claims of Native American heritage to advance her academic career, has a plan to eradicate corruption from Washington. You might say she wants to borrow a popular refrain to “drain the swamp.”

Warren laments, “In 1958, the National Election Survey first asked Americans a simple question: Do you trust the government to do the right thing most of the time? That year, 73% of Americans said yes. In 2019, that number is just 17%. Five out of every six Americans do not trust their government to do the right thing. Why have so many people lost faith in government?”

The senator blames “right-wing politicians” for spending “a generation attacking the very idea of government,” before launching on her tired refrain about the “wealthy and the well-connected” — of which Warren herself is a prominent member. But we can think of two answers to her question that are intimately related. The first is this admonition from Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address: “A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

The second is that the warning issued by James Madison, author of the Constitution we celebrate today, has come to pass: “The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.”

Why don’t Americans trust the government? Because it’s doing things poorly that it was never constitutionally empowered to do in the first place. Power, meet abuse. To say so is not “attacking government.” It’s advocating a limited and constitutional one.

Virtually the entire Democrat platform since, oh, about 1958 has been along the lines of the so-called “Great Society” — unconstitutional and failed welfare programs that “take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned,” only to give it to someone who didn’t earn it. Of course, Democrats really began traveling down the “progressive” road with Woodrow Wilson’s income-tax-funded administrative state and stomped on the accelerator with Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” socialism.

Naturally, Warren only doubles down on the Democrats’ top-down, government-control approach. Regulate this, outlaw that, tax the other thing. That’s why it’s almost comical that her plan echoes Barack Obama in its call for “big, structural change to fundamentally transform our government.” How is it fundamental change to do more of what government has spent the last century doing?

In all honesty, we do indeed need a fundamental transformation — one that returns the federal government to its proper, constitutionally limited role. That means things like prioritizing national defense while ceasing the income redistribution that consumes two-thirds of the $4 trillion budget and feeds the very lobbying problem Warren claims to want to eradicate. Warren and her fellow socialists demand even more redistribution programs that would only exacerbate the corruption they claim to want to solve.

But as a final thought, the Founders thought the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (i.e., lobbying) was important enough to place in the First Amendment. Yes, lobbyists can be corrupt, but no more so than the politicians and unelected bureaucrats crafting reams of rules dictating everything from what kind of light bulb we use to how much water our toilets flush. Warren’s plan to gut the First Amendment simply because she doesn’t want to hear from lobbyists who oppose such things isn’t removing corruption; it’s adding tyranny.

The late, great Charles Krauthammer wrote this of lobbyists in 2008:

Everyone knows the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, speech, press and assembly. How many remember that, in addition, the First Amendment protects a fifth freedom — to lobby?

Of course it doesn’t use the word lobby. It calls it the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Lobbyists are people hired to do that for you, so that you can actually stay home with the kids and remain gainfully employed rather than spend your life in the corridors of Washington.

To hear the candidates in this presidential campaign, you’d think lobbying is just one notch below waterboarding, a black art practiced by the great malefactors of wealth to keep the middle class in a vise and loose upon the nation every manner of scourge: oil dependency, greenhouse gases, unpayable mortgages and those tiny entrees you get at French restaurants.

Lobbying is constitutionally protected, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it all. Let’s agree to frown upon bad lobbying, such as getting a tax break for a particular industry. Let’s agree to welcome good lobbying — the actual redress of a legitimate grievance — such as protecting your home from being turned to dust to make way for some urban development project. …

Good lobbying … is a cherished First Amendment right — necessary, like the others, to protect a free people against overbearing and potentially tyrannical government.



The Rent Is Too Darn High

Government regulation took a bad situation and made it worse with rent control.

Seems like it’s hard to find an affordable place to live these days. Sure, employment is up across the board and overall the economy looks good. So why are so many people living on the streets? For one, we can thank government regulation for taking a bad situation and making it worse by imposing rent controls in some of America’s major cities.

Megan McArdle writes at The Washington Post, “Rent control doesn’t do anything about the reason that rents are rising, which is that there are more people who want to live in desirable areas than there are homes for them to live in. Housing follows the same basic laws of economics as other goods that consumers need: When the demand for a product consistently exceeds the supply, prices will rise until the quantity demanded is equal to the amount that suppliers have available.”

McCardle adds, “If you force the price of something below market level, people will supply less of it. Since cities tend not to impose rent controls unless they’re already experiencing a severe housing shortage, that would be bad.” In other words, why would developers consider building new housing when the government stands ready to cut into their profits?

Despite the poor track record of rent controls, government officials are still promising solutions that created the problem in the first place.

For one, Bernie Sanders thinks we need more government regulation. His latest presidential plank is a $2.5 trillion plan to cap rent increases to one and a half times the rate of inflation. This comes out to about 3%, which is lower than Oregon (5%) and California (7%) — places where rent control has reduced available housing and increased homelessness. A bill currently in the California legislature is seeking to reduce the cap to 5%.

So what’s the problem with helping low-income tenants keep their apartments when they’re already struggling to pay bills and put food on the table? Sure, rent control benefits some, but it has a disastrous ripple effect across cities that make the housing crisis even worse and leave many other residents unable to find a place to live.

“Rent control has long been derided by economists as a well-intentioned policy that comes with a host of unintended consequences: Limiting the return developers can make on new housing construction disincentivizes them from building more units,” Reason’s Christian Britschgi explains. “Some landlords, unable to pass on the costs of repairs or renovations to tenants, let their buildings deteriorate. Others might convert their regulated rental units into more expensive condominiums that can be sold at any price, reducing the overall supply of rental housing.”

And that’s one reason why the majority of states have laws prohibiting rent control. Only California, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, DC and allow the practice. But that’s not stopping tenant lobbyists from pushing for a broad expansion of rent control. According to The New York Times, other states, including Florida, Washington, Colorado, and Illinois are now considering rent-control programs.



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

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


20 September, 2019

The Republican Party has no 'bedrock principles.' The Democratic Party doesn't either

Jeff Jacoby sets out below a useful history of both the Democratic and Repubican party policies.  As I have long pointed out, the Republican and Democratic parties have to a considerable extent switched places.  That is perhaps most clearly seen in policies towards America's great self-inflicted problem: Blacks.   In the 19th century Democrats wanted blacks kept on a leash whereas Republicans did not.  They even fought a bloody war over it.  And the war didn't have much effect on those attitudes, as the emergence of the KKK showed.

After the great change of the 1960s however, that substantially reversed.  Republicans continued to want to live and let live whereas Democrats became the big advocates of black emancipatuion and acceptance

So is Jacoby right? Does the Republican party have no lasting principles?  That is an interesting question but it is not the most important one.  We cannot identify the GOP with conservatives.  So we also need to ask whether conservatives have any lasting policies and principles.  And, superficially, the answer is that neither Republicans nor conservatives have any enduring policies.  Many conservative thinkers have argued over the years that conservatives have no fixed principles -- e.g. Feiling.  See also here

But that is not the whole of the answer. In my academic way, I regard the answer to one question as the starting point for another question so I immediately ask WHY the major parties have been so changeable in their policies.  And the answer is pretty clear:  Circumstances alter cases.  The realities that political parties face are always changing and it is to cope with new realities that policies are changed. 

An interesting example of that is before our eyes at the moment in Hongkong.  With the encouragement of old crooks like Bernie Sanders, Many American student radicals are advocating socialism, sometimes vociferously.  But at the same time, their counterparts in Hong Kong are demonstrating AGAINST socialism. They have seen it up close and want no part of it.  Having a socialist behemoth looming over you is a lot different from a pleasant-sounding abtraction. Circumstances alter cases. 

So is conservatism an illusion?  Is there really no such thing? If Left and Right can switch places so readily, is there anything  left to describe or talk about? Is there anything that alters how we respond to changing circumstances?

There is.  As I have repeatedly argued, we find some very strong and consistent influences if we go down to the psychological level of analysis.  In fact, as I have argued at great length elsewhere, we find that we have always had conservatives with us.  And regular readers here will be familiar with what I have proposed.  In brief:

Although particular policies change, policies called conservative do tend to have one constant characteristic: caution.  Policies referred to as conservative are normally cautious policies. Cautious and conservative are near synonyms. And to be called a conservative you are normally cautious about a lot of things.

So what makes some people systematically cautious? There could be a number of influences but I think it is mainly because they  are broadly content with their lives and the world around them. Even Leftists see that. They often refer to conservatives as "complacent". And surveys of happiness do normally show conservatives as happier.

And if you are happy with your situation, proposals to make big changes in it arouse caution. They have to be examined carefully lest they upset things you are happy with. Leftists, because they are basically unhappy people, want change with a passion. Conservatives will consider change but feel no urgency about it so need to be convinced that it will be to the good before they support it

So Jeff is right in that the policies of a political party will change as the world changes.  But just which policies will be adopted at any one time will reflect the personalities of the individuals concerned.  And conservatives are the happy or at least the contented people

OVER THE WEEKEND, the Washington Post published an op-ed column by Mark Sanford, Joe Walsh, and Bill Weld, the three candidates challenging President Trump for the 2020 GOP presidential nomination. They expressed indignation over the decision by Republican parties in Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina to cancel next year's presidential primaries and award their convention delegates to the president without any input from the voters.

"Trump loyalists in the four states that have canceled their primaries and caucuses claim that President Trump will win by a landslide, and that it is therefore a waste of money to invest in holding primaries or caucuses," the three Republicans write. "But since when do we use poll numbers as our basis for deciding whether to give voters an opportunity to choose?"

I sympathize with the challengers. They have every reason to resent the state parties' maneuver, which denies them the chance to go before Republican voters and make their case that Trump should be replaced. But it was something else in their op-ed that caught my eye.

Sanford, Walsh, and Weld condemn Trump for having "abandoned the bedrock principles of the GOP," and insist that "if a party stands for nothing but reelection, it indeed stands for nothing."

Is that true? I would suggest that when all is said and done, major parties are primarily about winning elections — and that their "bedrock principles" are usually softer and more malleable than party members think.

Faithful Republicans and Democrats generally associate their parties with certain political values, and often imagine that those values go to the party's essence. At the Massachusetts Democratic Convention on Saturday, Senator Elizabeth Warren exhorted delegates to remember that "Democrats have been on the front lines in the fight for social, racial, and economic justice." In a speech to Republican lawmakers the day before, Trump listed the values that he said unite Republicans — they "defend the Constitution ... stand up for heroes of law enforcement ... reject globalism ... respect our great American flag." This is how most of us tend to think about parties: that they embody a core philosophy, which they win elections in order to implement.

But the opposite is closer to the truth: Parties strive to win elections, and over time adapt their views and ideology to do so.

In a forthcoming book, How America's Political Parties Change (And How They Don't), the respected political analyst Michael Barone observes that the Democratic Party (which dates from 1832) and the Republican Party (born in 1854) are among the very oldest political parties in the world. As he shows in fascinating detail, both parties' basic values have changed dramatically over the generations. The only thing about them that remains constant, Barone argues, is the type of groups each appeals to: Republicans are the party of those considered to be "typical Americans," while Democrats are "a collection of out-groups."

Over time, the makeup of those categories has shifted enormously. In the 19th century, Republicans were apt to be northern, Protestant, town- and city-dwellers; in the 21st century, they are more likely to be married white, southern Christians. The Democratic Party, meanwhile, has gone from being the 19th-century party of southern slaveholders and big-city Catholics to the 21st-century party of urban blacks and affluent major-metro liberals.

Yet even more striking is how each party's "bedrock principles" have altered.

In the 1930s, Barone writes, the Democratic Party under Franklin Delano Roosevelt "stood for big government, deficit financing, and inflationary currency." A century earlier, the Democratic Party under Andrew Jackson "stood for pretty much the opposite." From the 1850s through the turn of the 20th century, on the other hand, the GOP was the big-government party: It favored the imposition of uniform policies on the states, denounced racial segregation, championed protective tariffs, and passed laws against corporate monopolies. By the 1920s, however, Republicans had morphed into a party skeptical of activist government and more inclined to focus on economic growth and lower taxes.

Changes in the parties' policy stands are often driven by the changing nature of their supporters. For example, the GOP was home to many liberals until the 1970s. They stayed Republican, Barone writes, because they detested the big-city machine bosses, the militant union leaders, and the segregationist southern politicians who were the Democratic Party's dominant players. As those elements gradually disappeared from Democratic politics, the liberal wing of the Republican Party disappeared as well.

Something similar happened with Democratic conservatives. They stuck with the party long after FDR and the New Deal did away with the party's Jeffersonian tradition of small government and laissez-faire economics. What finally drove them out, Barone writes, was not civil rights — a popular misconception — but foreign policy. Conservative Democrats were hawks, and the Democratic Party from Roosevelt through Johnson was the party of military action abroad, hefty defense spending at home, and vigorous Cold War anticommunism. But with the rise of prominent antiwar Democrats like Robert Kennedy and George McGovern, the party turned dovish — and more and more conservatives turned Republican.

The Democratic and Republican parties are always in flux. Their values, their rules, their powerbrokers, their supporters — all change over time. Only one thing remains fixed: the quest to win elections. That was true long before Trump showed up. It will be true long after he's gone.



Elizabeth Warren’s war on men is an insulting, losing strategy

Elizabeth Warren made the political calculation this week that she doesn’t need men to win the presidency.  “We’re not here today because of famous arches or famous men,” she told a rally in Washington Square Park Monday night. “In fact, we’re not here because of men at all,” she said, emphasizing the “m” word like an expletive.

Great. Then she won’t mind if men don’t vote for her, nor women who like men.

It’s a losing strategy, taken straight out of the playbook of Hillary Clinton, from whom, reportedly and inexplicably, Warren has been taking advice.

Millions of American women showed in 2016 that they weren’t prepared to vote for Clinton just because she had a second X chromosome. White, noncollege-educated women in particular voted almost 2-to-1 for Donald Trump in 2016.

Most likely, they didn’t approve of the denigration of their menfolk as “deplorables” abusing “white male privilege” when the truth is that the males they love are doing their best, even if jobs are scarce and they’re dying of overdoses.

So when a Harvard law professor stands on a stage in New York and says “we’re not here” because of men, there’s a lot of ideological baggage attached. Warren’s ­supporters in the 10,000-strong crowd understood before the words were even out of her mouth, giving her the biggest applause of the evening.

Actually, if you have an ounce of humility, you’d have to admit we probably all are here because of men, famous or not. Men who fought wars, men who drilled for oil, men who built monuments, men who cured illness, or men like Christopher Columbus, who sailed the ocean blue, and whose statue will be removed from Central Park for the crime of being male, if certain city officials get their way.

It’s hard to imagine Warren herself would be “here” without a father providing his male DNA, although the modern Democratic Party will tell you that men are not essential to the fertilization process anymore.

The Founding Fathers had a little input to our being “here,” too. But, for Warren, one of these men, in whose eponymous square she chose to hold her rally, was a provocation that had to be called out Monday night.

Immediately before saying “we’re not here because of men,” she dissed George Washington and the beautiful Tuckahoe marble arch that bears his name.

“I wanted to give this speech right here and not because of the arch behind me or the president that this square is named for — nope.”

That majestic, 200-year-old arch, under which Warren had set up her podium, flag, microphone and campaign signage, celebrates George Washington’s inauguration as the first president of the United States in 1789.

It is adorned with carvings of Fame, Valor, Wisdom and Justice, and an aspirational inscription reading: “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.”

Such sentiments are too noble and consequential for 2020’s Femocratic candidates, male and female, whose lifeblood is the dead hand of identity politics.

They malign the past as the squalid seed of the patriarchy; their woke revolution aims to erase history and replace it with a new America where none of us wants to live.

The problem for Warren is that, as Hillary Clinton discovered, most women don’t want any part of an identity politics that pitches them against men.

They don’t want men to be losers because they don’t want to marry losers, and they sure don’t want their sons to be losers.

Most women love men. They love their husbands, their sons, their fathers. They’ve had male mentors and male coaches and male teachers who’ve been good people.

Perhaps there’s something about having a bad experience with a man that propels some women into the public eye or attracts them to leftist politics.

Maybe the left has fashioned a culture in which the only way for a woman to get ahead is to ritually denounce men.

But it is perverse and goes against human nature.

In any case, if Warren really has been taking advice from Clinton, she’s a goner in 2020, regardless of poll numbers that have her biting at Joe Biden’s heels.

Even after losing the unlosable election to Donald Trump, Clinton didn’t have the grace or self-awareness to acknowledge that she was the problem.

Instead, America’s First Feminist blamed women. If they didn’t vote for her, it was because they were too weak and stupid to think for themselves. Women had been pressured by “fathers and husbands and boyfriends and male employers not to vote for ‘the girl,’?” she breezily told CBS News in the aftermath of the election.

That’s the new feminist take on democracy.

But don’t say Warren doesn’t do anything at all for men.

Her latest policy on reproductive rights ensures that all men have access to taxpayer-funded abortions.

What a relief.



Trump's welcome rule change: No more food stamps for millionaires

When Americans think of food stamp recipients, images of desperate lower-income Americans typically come to mind. Taxpayers desperately want to believe that their hard-earned dollars are helping poor people struggling to make ends meet with welfare benefits helping them get the vital nutrients they need to stay alive. Imagine the outrage, then, as taxpayers find out that some of the people on food stamps are in fact millionaires.

Because of a bizarre loophole in how food stamps (formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) are administered by states, millionaires — or even billionaires — can receive food stamps. A loophole allows bureaucrats to simply ignore federally mandated asset requirements. As a result, an estimated 3.1 million to 5 million people currently on food stamps shouldn’t be receiving this welfare benefit. Taxpayers deserve better than having to share their paychecks with well-off Americans who are unlikely to be in want of a meal.

Federal loopholes often have a Kafkaesque quality to them, creating stranger-than-fiction situations that would be hilarious if they weren’t costing taxpayers billions of dollars annually. The puzzling policy was born out of the 1990s welfare reform package, which was designed to streamline efficiency and prevent people from having to reapply for multiple welfare programs. The changes stipulated that anyone receiving assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families welfare program was also eligible for food stamps.

This made sense at the time when policymakers were laser-focused on reducing the administrative costs of the program and keeping the application process easy. But now, the 1990s are a faint memory, and welfare programs have morphed out of control. In particular, the TANF program has been expanded to the point that that the mere act of receiving a brochure or calling a toll-free number funded by a TANF program now counts as receiving a benefit from TANF. And receiving a TANF benefit makes citizens automatically eligible for food stamps often without any consideration of assets. In 36 states, rules don’t require bureaucrats to ensure that recipients’ assets aren’t too high to receive SNAP benefits.

This gargantuan oversight gap leads to all sorts of ludicrous situations. Leroy Fick received food stamps , even after winning $2 million in the Michigan State Lottery. Fick used his winnings to buy a new home and an Audi convertible, all while continuing to receive SNAP benefits.

Because the food stamp program is paid for by the federal government, but TANF benefits are distributed by the states, there is little or no incentive for states to behave with any accountability. This mismatch has resulted in wacky situations where TANF-funded family planning brochures have been distributed by one state simply to confer SNAP auto-eligibility onto eager recipients.

Fortunately, taxpayers may soon get a respite from this ludicrous loophole. The Trump Administration is finally looking into fixing this SNAP-fu, tweaking the rule so that a person can only cross-qualify if welfare benefits they are receiving under TANF are “substantial and ongoing.” By replacing the “one phone call or one brochure and you’re in” system, this proposed rule change is set to save taxpayers close to $10 billion over the next five years.

Taking advantage of the SNAP loophole is theft, pure and simple, not only from taxpayers but also from genuinely needy Americans. Reform proposals are not only common sense, but the only fair way to ensure that the SNAP program sticks around for the people who truly need it. All advocates for the less-fortunate should celebrate a much-needed change that saves taxpayers billions of dollars and helps the needy get food on the table.



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

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


19 September, 2019

Trump pushing for crackdown on homeless camps in California

President Donald Trump has ordered White House officials to conduct a sweeping crackdown on homelessness in California, citing the state's growing crisis, according to four government officials aware of the effort.

The planning has intensified in recent weeks. Administration officials have discussed using the federal government to get homeless people off the streets of Los Angeles and other cities and into new government-backed facilities, according to two officials briefed on the planning.

But it is unclear how they could accomplish this and what legal authority they would use. It is also unclear whether the state's Democratic politicians would cooperate with Trump, who has sought to embarrass them over the homelessness crisis with repeated attacks on their competency.

Trump's directive is part of his broader effort to target California and a number of major U.S. cities in recent months, including Baltimore and Chicago. He has complained about what he says are years of failed Democratic leadership that have led to sustained poverty and crime.

Top officials representing the White House and Department of Housing and Urban Development arrived in California this week for a round of meetings. A particular focus has been the "skid row" section of Los Angeles, officials said. The president is directly involved with the initiative, officials said, and has asked for updates.

Among the ideas under consideration is razing existing tent camps for the homeless, creating new temporary facilities, or refurbishing existing government facilities, two officials said. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning hasn't been publicly revealed. The changes would attempt to give the federal government a larger role in supervising housing and health care for residents.

The talks are fluid and concrete plans had not been reached.

Trump repeatedly assailed Democratic politicians in California over the state's growing homelessness issue, which he has called a "disgrace to our country." He has also criticized liberal-led cities such as Baltimore as "rat and rodent infested."



The Crackers and Frackers Could Hold the Keys to 2020

MONACA, Pennsylvania -- All Darrin Kelly wanted for the energy workers in Western Pennsylvania was that the Democratic presidential hopefuls would talk to them before going to war against shale.

That opportunity slipped away last Friday when Elizabeth Warren joined Bernie Sanders in calling for a total fracking ban.

"On my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that puts a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases for drilling offshore and on public lands. And I will ban fracking -- everywhere," Warren tweeted.

"It is disappointing that any national candidate would not come in here and want to talk to the men and women of this area first before unilaterally making that decision," said Kelly, a charismatic Pittsburgh firefighter who is also the head of the powerful and influential Allegheny Fayette Labor Council, which represents workers stretching from Pittsburgh to the borders of Maryland and West Virginia.

The rest of the Democratic hopefuls will follow suit, with the possible exceptions of Joe Biden and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan. At least, that's the prediction of Keystone College political science professor Jeff Brauer.

"The natural gas industry employs well over 40,000 people just in this region alone," Kelly said. "Countless more indirectly, providing economic opportunity for generations of families and communities that had been hollowed out by the demise of manufacturing and coal in this area."

Donald Trump won Pennsylvania with just over 40,000 votes in 2016.

Kelly doesn't think he is entitled to the presidential candidates' time. He just knows what happens when the energy labor force in Western Pennsylvania isn't behind the Democratic nominee. "You cannot win the presidency if you are a Democrat without Pennsylvania," Brauer reminds bluntly.

Democrats have won Pennsylvania in past presidential years because of outsized margins in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and their suburbs. That support has been declining since Bill Clinton won 28 of the state's 67 counties in 1996.

Barack Obama won 13 of the 67 counties in 2012.

Trump's magic came in rural and post-industrial counties such as Luzerne and Erie, but most importantly in the populous counties around Pittsburgh, where shale is king and fracking is seen as the second coming of the steel industry.

They may look like ordinary construction cranes to someone unfamiliar with the history of this region. But if you're from here, they look like something different. Building the ethane cracker plant, each of these cranes looks like a new colossus rising from the ashes of yesterday's despair.

Building the plant has brought in 6,000 good-paying jobs, with more to come. Ultimately, there will be 600 permanent jobs at the plant, with industry analysts predicting triple that amount in supporting industries.

Jobs postings are everywhere touting opportunities, no matter the skill level -- high school education, trade school certificate, chemists, engineers, information technology, labor. If you reliably turn up for work, there is likely a career for you in the oil and gas industry.

"And if you think our workers don't care for the environment or climate change you are wrong," said Kelly. "They are the ones not only working in the industry, but they live here, play here, raise their kids here, hunt, fish, boat, ski, swim, and hike. They want to be in a responsible industry," he said.

The high tides of the frackers and crackers will be offset by the sinking tide of the broader U.S. economy, experts predict. "We're going to probably enter at least a little bit of an economic downturn," Brauer warns, "which is the natural part of the cycle. And it's probably not going to be the greatest timing for President Trump since that's his strength."

"But if the Democrats continue to make these arguments and push these issues which are going to hurt the economy and these key states, then it plays right into Trump's narrative," he adds with a twist.

Brauer suggested Trump could easily argue: "This is part of the cycle and what's going to happen, but would you rather have me, who's going to have less regulations and not wipe out entire industries and try to build back the manufacturing base and try to get jobs to come back in the United States, or you have a Democrat who is so far to the Left, who's willing to get rid of entire industries because of some environmental concerns that can be addressed, without destroying the whole industry?"

That's not a tough question for most Western Pennsylvanians. But it poses a tough question for Biden and the other 2020 Democrats.



Do You Know What the Democrats Said at Their Debate?


The last debate among 10 Democrats seeking their party's nomination for president set a new low for demagoguery, contempt for America and just plain foolishness.

Here are some examples:

Andrew Yang: "In America today, everything revolves around the almighty dollar -- our schools, our hospitals, our media, even our government."

It is difficult to imagine a more contemptuous, not to mention erroneous, view of America. I would like to ask Mr. Yang: Does everything in your life revolve around "the almighty dollar"? In your friends' lives?

If his answer is yes, he is projecting the shallowness of his life onto that of all Americans -- a common trait on the left ("All whites are racists," white leftists tell us, admitting to how contemptible they are).

If his answer is no, he thinks he is morally superior to all other Americans. In either case, what is clear is his disdain for his country, a disdain that underlies all leftism.

Andrew Yang: "We have to get our country working for us again, instead of the other way around." Yang's statement is literally the opposite of one of the most famous lines spoken by an American politician since World War II: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country," from John F. Kennedy's inaugural address in 1961.

Upending JFK's message is a perfect example of what the left has done to the moral fabric of America.

Kamala Harris: "President Trump, you've spent the last two-and-a-half years full-time trying to sow hate and division among us ..."

In reality, it is the left that has spent full-time "trying to sow hate and division among us" -- and not for the last two-and-a-half years but for the last 50. It is the left that has mocked the notion of America as a "melting pot." It is the left that has defined Americans by their race and ethnicity.

Kamala Harris: "We know that the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us, regardless of our race, where we live or the party with which we're registered to vote."

This is false on two grounds.

First, the left constantly tells us that every American who voted for Donald Trump or supports him is a racist at best and a white supremacist at worst. Does Harris have more in common with people whom she considers white supremacists -- or does more separate her from them?

As I constantly note, truth is a liberal and a conservative value but has never been a left-wing value. The left's only criterion in determining whether or not to say something is not whether it is true or false but whether it is effective or ineffective.

Second, the notion that we all have more in common than what separates us is not true no matter who says it. The only thing that the left and the non-left have in common is biological -- we are all homo sapiens. Valueswise, we are utterly different.

Elizabeth Warren: "Let's be clear: I've actually never met anybody who likes their health insurance company."

One can only marvel at the ease with which leftists lie. In Warren's case, she had decades of practice, having promoted herself as one of Harvard's Native American professors of law.

The fact is, tens of millions of Americans like their health insurance company just fine (I was one of them until I was forced onto Medicare) -- far more than veterans who like their single-payer government health care.

Bernie Sanders: "'Medicare-for-All' ... allows you to go to any doctor you want."

Why did none of the moderators ask him the most obvious question: How is that possible?

Let's say an oncologist in Dallas had a stellar reputation and, therefore, tens of thousands of Americans wanted to see him either because they or a loved one had cancer. How would Medicare for All make that happen? Again, leftists will say anything to further their agenda.

Pete Buttigieg: This debate "reminds everybody of what they cannot stand about Washington: scoring points against each other, poking at each other and telling each other that -- my plan, your plan. ..."

Mayor Buttigieg seems incapable of uttering anything that isn't pablum. Even his fellow Democrat Julian Castro immediately responded: "Yeah, that's called the Democratic primary election, Pete. That's called an election."

ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis: "I'd like to start with young black voters. Several recent polls indicate their No. 1 concern is racism."

Nothing more clearly divides left from right than this statement. The left says the No. 1 problem facing black Americans is racism. No one else does. Anyone who says racism is a greater problem than, for example, the absence of black fathers (more than three-quarters of black children are born to unwed mothers) either is woefully ignorant or purposefully wants to spread racial division.

Furthermore, if such polls exist and they are right, there is no hope for black America in this generation. It means that the left has successfully indoctrinated young Americans, white and black, into believing that a truly decent country is so indecent it hates its black population.

Beto O'Rourke (in response to Davis): "Racism in America is endemic. ... It is found in our education system, where in Texas, a 5-year-old child in kindergarten is five times as likely to be disciplined or suspended or expelled based on the color of their skin."

This is one of the left's "proofs" of "endemic" American racism: America is so racist even kindergarten teachers and school principals -- all notorious Trump supporters -- expel black students solely because they are black, not because black students are disruptive at rates higher than their percentage in the classroom. Yet, despite the contempt in which Democrats hold teachers, teachers will overwhelmingly vote Democrat.

Joe Biden: "Nobody should be in jail for a nonviolent crime."

After such a statement, that this man is taken seriously is a comment on those who take him seriously.

Unfortunately, the left and right do, in fact, have far less in common than what unites them. Reading these statements, you can see why.



Warren's Corrupt 'Anti-Corruption' Plan

Elizabeth Warren, who corruptly exploited her own bogus claims of Native American heritage to advance her academic career, has a plan to eradicate corruption from Washington. You might say she wants to borrow a popular refrain to "drain the swamp."

Warren laments, "In 1958, the National Election Survey first asked Americans a simple question: Do you trust the government to do the right thing most of the time? That year, 73% of Americans said yes. In 2019, that number is just 17%. Five out of every six Americans do not trust their government to do the right thing. Why have so many people lost faith in government?"

The senator blames "right-wing politicians" for spending "a generation attacking the very idea of government," before launching on her tired refrain about the "wealthy and the well-connected" — of which Warren herself is a prominent member. But we can think of two answers to her question that are intimately related. The first is this admonition from Thomas Jefferson's first inaugural address: "A wise and frugal government ... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."

The second is that the warning issued by James Madison, author of the Constitution we celebrate today, has come to pass: "The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse."

Why don't Americans trust the government? Because it's doing things poorly that it was never constitutionally empowered to do in the first place. Power, meet abuse. To say so is not "attacking government." It's advocating a limited and constitutional one.

Virtually the entire Democrat platform since, oh, about 1958 has been along the lines of the so-called "Great Society" — unconstitutional and failed welfare programs that "take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned," only to give it to someone who didn't earn it. Of course, Democrats really began traveling down the "progressive" road with Woodrow Wilson's income-tax-funded administrative state and stomped on the accelerator with Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" socialism.

Naturally, Warren only doubles down on the Democrats' top-down, government-control approach. Regulate this, outlaw that, tax the other thing. That's why it's almost comical that her plan echoes Barack Obama in its call for "big, structural change to fundamentally transform our government." How is it fundamental change to do more of what government has spent the last century doing?

In all honesty, we do indeed need a fundamental transformation — one that returns the federal government to its proper, constitutionally limited role. That means things like prioritizing national defense while ceasing the income redistribution that consumes two-thirds of the $4 trillion budget and feeds the very lobbying problem Warren claims to want to eradicate. Warren and her fellow socialists demand even more redistribution programs that would only exacerbate the corruption they claim to want to solve.

But as a final thought, the Founders thought the right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" (i.e., lobbying) was important enough to place in the First Amendment. Yes, lobbyists can be corrupt, but no more so than the politicians and unelected bureaucrats crafting reams of rules dictating everything from what kind of light bulb we use to how much water our toilets flush. Warren's plan to gut the First Amendment simply because she doesn't want to hear from lobbyists who oppose such things isn't removing corruption; it's adding tyranny.



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

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


18 September, 2019

The New York Times Anti-Kavanaugh Bombshell Is Actually a Dud

If you opened Twitter on Sunday morning, you were likely greeted with the bombshell headline of the top trending news story: “NYT reporters’ book details new sexual assault allegation against Brett Kavanaugh.”

The allegation, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly write in a New York Times story adapted from their forthcoming anti-Kavanaugh book, is this: “We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation. A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.”

Wait a second. Who did what to whom?  Kavanaugh’s “friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student”?

Can someone explain the logistics of the allegation here? Was Kavanaugh allegedly walking around naked when his friends pushed him into the female student?

No, if I’m reading Pogrebin and Kelly right, the friends didn’t push Kavanaugh in the back. Rather, the “friends pushed his penis.”

What? How does that happen? Who are the friends? Who is the female student? Were there any witnesses besides Stier?

All that the authors write in the New York Times essay about corroborating the story is this: “Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)”

So they corroborated the fact that Stier made the allegation to the FBI, but the authors give no indication that they have corroborated any details of the alleged incident.

The book isn’t released until Tuesday, but Mollie Hemingway got a copy, and she writes on Twitter: “The book notes, quietly, that the woman Max Stier named as having been supposedly victimized by Kavanaugh and friends denies any memory of the alleged event.” Omitting this fact from the New York Times story is one of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice in recent memory.

If you take this confusing accusation in the essay at face value, it doesn’t even appear to be an allegation of assault against Kavanaugh.

If Kavanaugh’s “friends pushed his penis,” then isn’t it an allegation of wrongdoing against Kavanaugh’s “friends,” not Kavanaugh himself? Surely even a modern liberal Yalie who’s been to one of those weird non-sexual “naked parties” would recognize both the female student and Kavanaugh are both alleged victims in this alleged incident, barring an additional allegation that a college-aged Kavanaugh asked his “friends” to “push his penis.”

The new allegation is supposed to help lend credence to the on-the-record allegation that Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez made in 2018. Pogrebin and Kelly sum up Ramirez’s allegation: “She and some classmates had been drinking heavily when, she says, a freshman named Brett Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it. Some of the onlookers, who had been passing around a fake penis earlier in the evening, laughed.”

Pogrebin and Kelly downplay Ramirez’s own doubts about whether Kavanaugh did what she now alleges, choosing rather to lard up their New York Times story with details that are supposed to demonstrate how under-privileged Ramirez was: She had to sell ice cream during the summer in high school, bought a cheap car, and only had an above-ground swimming pool as a teenager (the horror).

None of these details corroborates her accusation against Kavanaugh. But the story is framed to make it seem like Kavanaugh was the type of privileged jerk who might expose himself in front of an under-privileged college classmate.

As I wrote last October, here’s why Ramirez’s allegation was dubious:

Deborah Ramirez is the Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s who now claims that Kavanaugh exposed himself as a college freshman at a party. Ramirez’s claim was already dubious because (1) named eyewitnesses deny the allegation and (2) Ramirez herself wasn’t sure in recent weeks if Kavanaugh had done what she now alleges. “Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself,” the New York Times reported. Ramirez was only willing to make the allegation, the New Yorker reported, after “six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney.”

Pogrebin and Kelly write that a couple of students say they had heard about the alleged incident in the days after it allegedly occurred, but the authors provide no indication there is any first-hand witness to corroborate the allegation.

We already knew before Kavanaugh was confirmed last October that the “corroborating” source for Ramirez’s claim, classmate Kenneth Appold, was not present when the alleged incident occurred, but Appold told the New Yorker he was “one-hundred-percent-sure” he heard about it from an eyewitness. Shortly before Kavanaugh was confirmed, the New Yorker reported that Appold’s supposed eyewitness “said that he had no memory of the incident.”

Maybe Pogrebin and Kelly’s book is stronger than their essay. But I’m skeptical. “In the end they turn up no smoking gun,” Hanna Rosin writes in her New York Times review of the book.



Dems Concede Trump's campaigning played a Major Role in Helping GOP Win NC Special Election

Democrat's have been desperately looking for signs that a blue wave is building that will give them dominance in Congress and flip the White House to their side.

They didn't get it in North Carolina's 9th district.

A closely watched special election gave the Democrat's a perfect opportunity to strike a psychological blow against Trump and the Republicans when their candidate, Dan McReady, jumped out to a huge lead in the polls. The Democrats poured money into the race  and worked to get out their vote in the GOP-leaning district.

Then, Trump entered the picture.

Even Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairwoman Cheri Bustos acknowledged that the president contributed to Bishop's win, writing in a statement, "We fell an inch short tonight, but it took more than $6 million in outside Republican spending and a last-minute Trump rally" to seal Democratic candidate Dan McCready's fate in the 9th District.

McCready's campaign spent approximately $4.7 million on the race, while Bishop's spent only $1.9 million. Outside spending primarily from national party committees helped Bishop to the tune of $5.8 million, though, compared to McCready's roughly $1.4 million.

The clean sweep heartened the president, who has long emphasized the national implications at stake. Trump unloaded on McCready in the fiery rally on Monday night, telling attendees that "to stop the far-left, you must vote in tomorrow's special election."

That effort, Trump said late Tuesday, had clearly paid dividends.

Trump tried out some attack lines on the Democrats during his rally on Monday that we might be hearing from a lot of Republicans come November 2020.

At the rally Monday, the president specifically called out McCready as a dangerous proponent of "sanctuary cities" and rolling back gun rights.

"Just recently, Mecklenburg County set free an illegal alien charged with first-degree rape and crimes against a child," Trump said, his voice rising. "Support for sanctuary cities is disloyalty to American cities — and McCready wants sanctuary cities, with all of their protections for people who are serious criminals. Tomorrow is your chance to send a clear message to the America-hating left."

The special election was called when the Republican candidate Mark Harris's 2018 campaign against McCready was accused of fraud in winning a close race. Trump won the district by 11 points in 2016 but, like many suburban districts, it had been trending blue in recent elections.

McCready was counting on a turnout of more moderate suburban voters to put him over the top. But the energy appeared to be all on the Republican side on election day. Trump's presence put Bishop over the top.

What should encourage the Republicans the most is not just Trump's obvious ability to energize Republicans, but that the GOP message still resonates with Trump voters. Whatever hopes the Democrats had of Trump supporters losing faith will have to wait another day.



Appeals Court Judge Says Not So Fast on Pathetic 30-Day Sentence for Rand Paul's Politically Motivated Attacker

Contrary to the punchlines of late-night comics, the attack that Rand Paul suffered back in 2017 when his neighbor tackled him over landscaping disagreements was not funny at all. The crime left Paul with major complications including recurring bouts of pneumonia after damage to his lungs, and multiple surgeries including a partial lung removal and corrective surgery on a hernia. It isn’t a stretch to say that Senator Paul could have died. The attack was severe and the damage has been long-lasting.

Unfortunately, his attacker, Rene Boucher, was not only lauded by late-night comics and cruel people on Twitter as a hero, but he was only given a 30-day sentence in jail for his violent crime. An appeals court ruled on Monday that Boucher will be resentenced as his current sentence is “well-below guidelines,” as reported by CBS News.

U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani was the sentencing judge who opined that the attack was "dispute between neighbors" and claimed it was not motivated by politics. She took into consideration that Boucher was a veteran, involved in community service, a church-goer with college degrees and an advanced medical career to impose the light sentence. Unfortunately for her, the appeals judge, Judge Jane B. Stranch, disagreed, saying those facts are "almost all disfavored as grounds for a below-guidelines sentence." Then she hit the defense with jaw-dropping rationale, not often seen in our courts.

"To prioritize a defendant's education, professional success and standing in the community would give an additional leg up to defendants who are already in a privileged position...Indigent defendants are less likely to impress a sentencing court with their education, employment record or local reputation. But they are no less deserving of a reasonable and compassionate sentence."

Check your privilege, Boucher. You’re not going to get away with assaulting a sitting senator with a slap on the wrist.



Long-Sought Village Jesus Visited After Crucifixion Possibly Found

Archaeologists may have discovered the village where Jesus is said to have appeared after he was crucified.

According to the Gospel of Luke, after Jesus was crucified, two of his disciples walked to the village of Emmaus; along their walk to the village, a stranger walked beside them and asked what had just happened in Jerusalem. It wasn't until they reached Emmaus and stopped for dinner that the stranger revealed that he was Jesus, in this biblical story.

In a paper set to be published in the series "New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region," two archaeologists propose that an archaeological site called Kiriath-jearim may be Emmaus. The location of Emmaus has long been a topic of debate, with a few different sites proposed in the past.

Archaeologists now propose that the site of Kiriath-jearim (shown here) may be Emmaus — the village that Jesus appeared in after he was crucified, according to the Gospel of Luke.

Several clues point to Kiriath-jearim being Emmaus. For instance, the Gospel of Luke says Emmaus is "60 stadia" from Jerusalem, a distance about equal to the 8 miles (13 kilometers) that separates Kiriath-jearim from the Old City of Jerusalem, wrote Israel Finkelstein, professor emeritus at the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University in Israel, and Thomas Römer, a professor of biblical studies at Collège de France, in the forthcoming article.

Recent excavations at Kiriath-jearim have also uncovered a series of fortifications that were renovated during the first half of the second century B.C., and according to the Book of Maccabees, the Seleucid Empire (an empire ruled by the descendants of one of Alexander the Great's generals) controlled much of the region, fortifying several sites, including Emmaus.

Excavations indicate that these fortifications at Kiriath-jearim were renovated about 2,200 years ago, an event that appears to be described in the Book of Maccabees. Emmaus was one of the sites that was mentioned as being fortified at that time.

Excavations indicate that these fortifications at Kiriath-jearim were renovated about 2,200 years ago, an event that appears to be described in the Book of Maccabees. Emmaus was one of the sites that was mentioned as being fortified at that time.

The researchers can't be completely certain that Kiriath-jearim is Emmaus and not another site fortified by the Seleucids. But the fact that the site is located 60 stadia from Jerusalem supports the proposal. Additionally, the other sites mentioned in the Book of Maccabees that the Seleucids fortified don't appear to match up well with Kiriath-jearim.

Adding more evidence for the proposal, pottery found at Kiriath-jearim suggests that the site was inhabited around the time that Jesus is said to have lived. This means there would have been an active village at the site for Jesus' disciples to visit and where Jesus could have appeared.



Are the Democrats Committing Electoral Suicide?


Last Thursday's debate was supposed to be a boon for Democrats, but there are signs and signals everywhere that this is a party in trouble at the top -- and maybe everywhere else, too.

Presidential contender Marianne Williamson was locked out of the most recent debate, after appearing in the first two rounds, for not meeting the DNC's entry requirements. But she did watch, and concluded that "We might be in trouble here," based on what she saw -- or rather, didn't see. On MSNBC she said, "This president is not just a politician, he is a phenomenon. The Democrats are sharpening their knives and he will be bringing a gun to this battle."

I'm not sure Williamson and I watched the same debate, the debate in which the term "white supremacist" was freely thrown down at Trump by Joe Biden, the supposed moderate in the Dems' crowded field. Trump, who not only has Jewish grandkids but has worked closely with Don King and even with Al Sharpton, was called just about the worst possible thing in American politics, with zero evidence. And the rest of the candidates joined in the Bizarro World accusation. It isn't so much that the Democrats are bringing a knives to a gunfight; it's more like they're bringing kazoos to the symphony.

Jonathan Chait, another left-leaning writer, also noticed his party's predicament in his latest for New York magazine. Chait worries that Biden is the only candidate who might not be "too radical" to win in 2020, but that he might be "too old." Chait notes that "general election voters tend to punish more ideologically extreme candidates," but that the Democratic candidates are mistaken in their belief that primary voters are "ready to embrace socialism, or at least something close to it." The part of Chait's article that really caught my eye, however, is when he describes nearly two-dozen presidential contenders as "racing left, treating the consensus on progressive Twitter as though it were a simulacrum of the real Democratic Party."

It's one thing for Donald Trump to use Twitter to blast through the veil of political correctness that shades everything the Mainstream Media publishes. For Republican voters, and more than a few frustrated moderates and centrists Democrats, it's liberating. It's quite another thing when Democratic presidential candidates use Twitter to "embrace and extend" the political correctness (and the progressive radicalism) that infests left-wing Twitter -- and that the rest of the country has rightly tired of.

The question voters must ask themselves is this: Do I want a president who has made strides on restoring economic and wage growth, who is confronting China on trade, standing up to the mullahs, wiping out ISIS, hitting back against stultifying political correctness, standing out of the way of American's unprecedented energy boom, securing the southern border, cutting taxes and regulations... but whose tweets annoy me sometimes. Or do I want a president who promises to undo literally all of that -- and more?



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

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


17 September, 2019

The Leftist censors have grabbed another social media site: imgur.com

Imgur.com is the biggest image-hosting site that there is these days.  It is very easy to use so has left other image-hosting platforms -- such as Tinypic and Photobucket -- for dead.  It also offers permanence. It says that pictures you have uploaded there will stay up. 

But that has now fallen by the wayside.  Some pictures I have housed there have been replaced by an angry and unpleasant looking cartoon, presumably under the pretext that my pictures were "offensive"

One of the pictures I had up was of General Pinochet, who is/was a great Leftist boogeyman. He did solve Leftist terrorism in Chile by killing off a couple of thousand of the livelier Chilean Leftists. So I can understand his image being "disappeared".  But for most of the pictures no offensiveness is obvious.  A table of statistics that disappeared would seem inoffensive.  But it WAS a table of IQ statistics -- and IQ is as unpopular among the Left as General Pinochet. 

But the deletion that really amuses me is that they have taken down a picture I had up of myself!  I make no claim to being  good-looking but I didn't think I was that bad!    They have also taken down images of my discharge certificate from my time in the Australian army and photocopies of my university degrees. So they have been rather systematic.

Anyway, I keep very comprehensive backups so have simply rehoused all deleted images on another site so all images I had up are now back up.

So the question arises of what to do about this latest transmogrification.  In my case, I can't see any form of protest as being needed.  It is simplest just to replace the lost images from backups.  And I do have archive copies of all my blogs online which already include self-hosted picture backups.  My practice of putting up backup copies of my blog entries has probably seemed like overdoing conservative caution but it has clearly now come into its own.

Nonetheless, I will have to think in future about where I house pictures online.  I will probably host the more incendiary ones on one or another of my own sites and use imgur for the more mundane ones

It is something of an irony that I have a regular blog -- TONGUE-TIED -- devoted to coverage of censored content -- only to be censored myself


Fellow Millennials: Here’s Why We Must Reject Socialism

Reaghan Waites

Have you ever looked at your paycheck and thought, “Man, I really wish I earned less money!” I’m going to take a wild guess and say, “Probably not.”

Here’s a similar thought: Do you like big government? It seems like a loaded question, but it really isn’t.

For the vast majority of Americans, a mention of “government” or “politics” doesn’t usually elicit a warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s usually controversial, often divisive. Bring it up at Thanksgiving dinner, and you’ll likely be met with at least one eye-roll.

So, for those of us who don’t want less money and aren’t huge fans of big government, why are so many of us casting ballots for people who want us to have just that?

That’s the stark reality of socialism: less money in our wallets and more lining the pockets of congressmen and senators who complain about income equality, all while earning annual salaries of about $175,000.

You’ve probably heard the criticism before: Capitalism is about greed. Socialism is about charity. But the exact opposite is true. It is socialism that inherently fosters greed.

As noted by Andy Puzder, former CEO of CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., socialism forces individuals to compete for the limited supply offered by the government. It fosters a scarcity mentality, rather than a healthy community mindset.

Free-market capitalism, on the other hand, is focused on providing for the needs and wants of society, creating a symbiotic relationship between businesses and consumers.

Every credit card swipe is an individual vote determining which businesses succeed and which do not. If a company is not providing value for customers, it will go out of business. That compels entrepreneurs to think of the customer first.

Generally speaking, socialism is a system in which the government owns and controls the means of production. But “free stuff” is now the trendy catchphrase associated with socialism, with the result that it is rising in popularity despite being largely misunderstood.

In fact, a New York Times study found that only 16% of millennials could adequately define the term.

What many erroneously embrace as “socialism” is actually welfare-state capitalism as practiced in Nordic countries.

Advocates of socialism deceptively point to nations such as Denmark and Sweden, but those nations are both ranked as free-market friendly as the U.S.

Then-Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in 2015 noted that “some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism,” but he disputed the assertion.

“Denmark is far from a socialist, planned economy,” he said. “Denmark is a market economy.”

Citing Denmark and Sweden as successful examples of “socialism” only blinds us to the horrific effects of actual socialism.

“Health care for all”—the signature promise from socialists—sounds compassionate. Eliminating income inequality has an almost moral vibe to it. However, promises of “free stuff” are at once unrealistic and accompanied by a hefty price tag.

When added together, so-called “Medicare for All” ($32 trillion), Social Security expansion ($188 billion), “free” college ($807 billion), paid family leave ($270 billion), and student debt forgiveness ($1.6 trillion), all proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., would collectively add nearly $35 trillion to the national debt over the next decade alone.

That’s in addition to the $12.4 billion baseline deficit increase projected over the next decade and $22.4 trillion in current national debt.

The hard fact is that nothing is free. What some may perceive as a “win,” such as single-payer health care or “free” college, has to be funded by taxes taken out of our own paychecks.

So, how much more in taxes would we be looking at?  Under a Sanders presidency, middle-class Americans making $75,000 to $100,000 a year would likely pay $13,000 in additional taxes each year.

Just ask residents of Europe in general and France in particular about the true cost of a large welfare state. Europeans have to work on average more than two months longer each year than Americans to pay their tax bills. Those in France have to work more than six months of the year for their government—twice as long as Americans labor for Uncle Sam.

Do we have so little confidence in ourselves and our fellow Americans that we think the government can spend our money better than we can ourselves? That’s where socialism begins—but unfortunately, not where it ends.

Socialism is a failed experiment—it has laid waste to economies around the world. Moreover, it has come hand-in-hand with human rights abuses at the hands of totalitarian governments.

“We lived in a world swarming with invisible eyes and ears,” said a defector from the Soviet Union when asked about the constant state surveillance he lived under there.

The testimonies of the victims of socialism are chilling and provide cautionary tales of the true cost of socialism.

Take Daniel Di Martino. He grew up in socialist Venezuela and penned an opinion piece for USA Today recounting the failure of socialism in his home country. Di Martino recalls how the socialist regime imposed price controls and nationalized private industries, causing production to plummet. In response, the government placed rations on food and basic supplies. It was common for Di Martino to have to wait hours in line to buy even staples such as flour and toothpaste.

The Venezuelan government began to print more money in an attempt to compensate for massive spending increases. That added fuel to the inflationary fire, and prices began to double every few weeks.

Failing to learn from Venezuela’s experience (or perhaps being unaware of it), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has endorsed requiring the Federal Reserve to print more money for her spending proposals. But according to Di Martino, “this is exactly what produced Venezuela’s nightmare.”

The failure of socialism is widespread, and the stark differences between socialist utopia and socialist reality is the worst-kept secret of its advocates.

A recent example of socialist reality—this one from closer to home—underscores the point: Sanders had to cut the working hours of his own campaign staffers in order to pay them the $15 an hour minimum wage he has advocated other employers should be required to pay.

Therein lies the problem: What sounds good theoretically doesn’t always work in the real world. Let’s not choose that grim reality for America.



The 'moderates' in the Democrat field

An 18-year-old college freshman and the graduate student teaching assistant in her Women's Studies class are talking politics as they enter the campus coffee shop, and they have this exchange:

FRESHMAN: What exactly is "socialism"?

GRAD STUDENT: Oh, you have had a sheltered life, haven't you?  Socialism is what people need; it keeps things working by telling people what to do.

FRESHMAN: But you said you did whatever you pleased.

GRAD STUDENT: (chuckle) Touché.  Well, some people know what's best for them, and some people don't.  Besides, socialists don't tell people what to do in a mean, petty way; they tell them what to do in a kindly way...to keep them out of danger.  Latte or cappuccino?*

One of the tactics that socialists use when they discuss their creed with normal people, like conservatives, is to define "socialism" very narrowly.  They stipulate that socialism requires state ownership of the means of production.  Such an explanation, which comes to us straight out of Marxist theory, would mean that Soviet communists were socialists, while Nazi fascists weren't.  But, just as the word "socialist" is part of "USSR," it's also part of "Nazi."  Also, both regimes were totalitarian police states, but let's not get sentimental.

Regardless of who "owns" the means of production, what all forms of socialism share is central control by the central government.  Central control of the means of production means that the central government must also be in charge of the distribution of its products, its goods and services.  It's this aspect of socialism that those running for the Democrat presidential nomination are pushing.

This year's Democrat candidates are all about thousand-dollar checks each month from the feds (Universal Basic Income), universal pre-K, free college, Medicare for All (including foreigners), you name it.  Whatever folks "need," the government will provide.  But most of the central government's spending is already distribution: the "welfare state."  Democrats will tell you you've paid for your benefits, but most Americans get far more in benefits than what they paid in taxes.

The difference between the two major parties is that while Republicans want to get some control over the growth of the social programs that we already have, the Democrats are out-and-out statists who want to expand the welfare state, take over the means of production, and control everything.

The most collectivist, most "Sovietic" candidate in the Democrat field is Bernie Sanders.  Bernie will not be outdone by any of the other Democrat candidates; whatever they propose, he'll go farther.  He now wants to cancel all medical debt.  And, like Attlee in Britain after WWII, he'll attempt to nationalize key industries.  Under Bernie, the feds will own the means of production, although his apologists might call it "social ownership" or some such.

On August 23, the Washington Examiner ran "Bernie Sanders wants to nationalize at least 30% of the American economy" by Tiana Lowe, who opined: "In the ideal America outlined by 2020 hopeful Bernie Sanders, the majority of the economy would be centralized and socialized."  Under his cockamamie Green New Deal, Bernie would "nationalize most of the energy sector."  Lowe's article is very short, but she gets at the heart of what a Sanders presidency would mean for America.

One thing about Sanders that is better than the other top-tier candidates in the Democrat field is that he doesn't seem quite as much of a liar as the others.  But for Americans concerned about Russia, Sanders should be the most unattractive candidate in the Democratic field; he even took his honeymoon in Mother Russia.  For those concerned about Pres. Trump's alleged collusion with Russia, voting for Bernie would seem most inconsistent.

If a commie candidate like Sanders isn't your preferred type of socialist, then Liz Warren might be your cup of tea.  Ms. Warren is a proponent of "dirigism," a sort of soft fascism.  Warren claims to be a capitalist, but then she also claimed to be an Amerind.  (Forget the blue eyes; a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do; how else to break the glass ceiling?)  And Liz has a plan for everything.  Why, even now, she's designing your life for you; you should be grateful.

Over at National Review, Kevin Williamson writes that of the Democrat field, Warren is supposedly "the smart one."  Williamson is a NeverTrump, but his article is worth reading.  He shows us why Warren is such an unregenerate fraud and gives us a delicious little history of "dirigisme."  (Williamson's position on "economic nationalism" may be less to your liking.)

And then there's Mayor Pete Buttigeek (sic), who's onboard with all the Dems' radical plans for transforming America.  What's different about Mayor Pete is that he has a Marxist pedigree.  You see, Pete's papa was an admirer and a biographer of Antonio Gramsci, the Marxist who theorized that the way to undo capitalism is not by violent revolution, but from within. Gramsci, one of the architects of the West's current problems, was a much more prescient predictor than old Marx. So Mayor Pete is a "red diaper baby," but the Dems want you to ignore that.

In April, the Examiner ran "Pete Buttigieg's father was a Marxist professor who lauded the Communist Manifesto" by Emily Larsen and Joseph Simonson. It's an informative article, especially if one isn't up on Gramsci. What's astounding is how a socialist like the elder Buttigieg could find employment at Notre Dame, even ascending to chair the English Department. It appears Catholic colleges have the same rot as public universities.

On a side note, Democrats would be foolish to nominate Mayor Pete, because much of the Dem's base is socially-conservative minorities, and they won't be in the mood to vote for a "queer." With Queer Studies in colleges and LGBTQ, that term can't be pejorative anymore, can it? I mydamnself could vote for a queer were he a true conservative. What's repels me about Mayor Pete is his know-it-all attitude and his presumption. He can't even run a small city properly, yet he presumes to run a superpower. Amazing!

When has America ever had to endure such a field of sanctimonious, morally superior clowns as the current crop of candidates for the Democrat nomination? And here's the thing: All of them are socialists who want to take America even further into that fetid cesspool of misery. All of them want bigger and bigger government, even though time and again Big Government has shown itself to be the problem. There are no "moderates" in the Democrat field.

Why are we supposed to think that government is more moral, more competent, and more admirable than the private sector? After all, it was the government that put us $22T in debt. It was government that sent our kids off to die in stupid foreign wars that were a result of stupid foreign policy. It was government that didn't protect American citizens from being killed, raped, and brutalized by illegal aliens. Rather than nationalizing the private sector, maybe we should privatize the whole damn federal government.

With control of both the means of production and the means of distribution, socialists would pretty much control something else -- our lives. But then, some people just don't know "what's best for them."



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

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


Leftist historical revisionism again.  As Orwell predicted

A small news review in Far-Leftist e-ine "New Matilda" under the heading "CPAC & The High Court: Fighting For Australia’s Future" caught my eye.  Below is its introduction:

"As the basic freedoms of all Australians are whittled away, conservatives met to chant ‘send her back’. Stuart Rees reports.

Two events in early August cast a shadow over Australia’s supposed fair go, human rights respecting democracy. The American Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held a meeting to fight to ‘protect the future’; and the High Court ruled that the federal government may restrict the right of public servants to express political views, thereby upholding a decision to sack a public servant for anonymously criticizing her employer, the Department of Immigration.

Speakers at the CPAC meeting included Fox News commentators, gun-owning enthusiasts from the US National Rifle Association, former PM Tony Abbot, One Nation state politician Mark Latham and Britain’s Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. In Sydney in the wake of mass shooting in El Paso Texas and Dayton Ohio, the participants arrived following Trump rants about Congresswomen of the wrong colour going back to where they came from. Farage had been invited in the context of his support for English nationalism, racism and opposition to Europe.

Down With ‘Socialism’

Although advertised as fighting for Australia’s future, the conservatives’ future only emerged in comments concerning an agreed enemy, a mirage-like ghost called ‘socialism.’"

"I stopped reading at that point.  If the 20 million killed by Stalin in the Soviet Union and the 6 million killed by Hitler were a mirage, I don't know what real human beings look like.  Socialism is a dread malady of the human brain that seems to be forever lurking in the brains of a substantial number of the population.  It is no ghost. It is a dread enemy to be opposed at every step.

And Bill Shorten's range of proposed new taxes and regulations  was an unambiguous step towards it.  It was only the solid conservatism of my fellow-countrymen in North Queensland that blocked it.  In the recent Federal election, Shorten did not get one seat outside Queensland's Southeast corner. That was enough to sink him.  We sank Gough Whitlam in the same way. Shorten would have been a perfect Soviet apparatchik


Don't Move to Austin. It's Rotting from Within.

It's not only black cities that Democrat policies can destroy

I'd turned off North Lamar and was driving north on the 183 service road. It has just rained, which makes Austin traffic even more ridiculous than usual. The rumor of rain will extend your commute by 15 minutes. An actual drop, half an hour. We'd had a quick storm, plus nearly every road downtown is under some kind of construction, plus a truck had hit a power line over on 360. That shut the road down in both directions, making Austin's already sclerotic arteries fail and throw commuter traffic into cardiac arrest. It took 90 minutes to go about 12 miles.

And as I'm dealing with the nightmare on the roads, I see one of Austin's new camps. You may have heard about these. Mayor Steve Adler and the leftwing city council passed an ordinance allowing the homeless to camp out nearly anywhere they want, all over town (except at city hall). The day this camping went legal, homeless started sleeping in front of businesses and homes. Tent cities started popping up all over, in medians and under overpasses.

Most of the tent cities are just that - tents like you find at the local sporting good store, plus fabric chairs, bicycles and other visual pollution. Mayor Adler and company have paid zero heed to what's happening in Los Angeles after it allowed open camping: demon plagues now beset the City of Angels. Leprosy itself, that disfiguring disease from the first century, may make a comeback too. If Austin doesn't change its ways, soon, these medieval blights may descend on the Texas capital.

The tent city I saw on this trip was different. There were no tents. This was a series of wooden shacks hugging a beam supporting the 183 highway above. They were made of mismatched wood and particle board paneling, whatever the residents could scrounge up. My heart goes out to people in these circumstances.

'You're Our Only Hope!': Liberal Austin Cries out for Republicans to Save It from Democrat Homeless Policy
The last time I saw a shanty town like this, I was in Baghdad. That was at the height of the war in January 2007, just days after the end of Saddam Hussein. But this is Austin in 2019.

This Austinite snapped a shot of a smaller shanty than the one I saw, and asks a valid question:  "I saw this photo on reddit today. Something occurred to me: why is it homeowners have to get permits for any new construction and yet the #homeless are able to construct their own structures without regard to safety or permits?"

The point of this is not to bash the homeless. The point is to bash addle-brained people like Steve Adler, Greg Casar and others who ought to be adult enough to know better, but who have turned Austin into their socialist laboratory. Thanks to them Austin has become a basket-case so quickly it's making the city's heads spin. Austin now funds abortion with the taxpayer dollars it takes from business and property owners it is ignoring, across the board, with its clownish emphasis on bicycle lanes and homeless campouts. Austin's priorities ought to disgust all reasonable people.

Under their lack of leadership and vision, Austin is becoming undriveable, unlivable, and unsafe. The city's elected leaders aren't failing to learn, they're succeeding at learning how to destroy a city. And the voters, while they are rightfully complaining and signing the petition to rescind the insane camping policy, are likely to not only re-elect the same people again - they're probably going to vote for even worse policies and politicians next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.

If you're thinking of moving to Austin, reconsider. The job market is still hot and it's still nearly impossible to find a bad meal at any restaurant in town. It won't last forever. Like Seattle, which adopted similar liberal policies, Austin is showing signs of rotting out from the inside - starting at city hall.


16 September, 2019

Wake up, GOP challengers: This is Trump’s party now

The Trump campaign in 2016 did not transform the Republican Party: It revealed the Republican party.

The elements of Trumpism already were there: the skepticism of trade and the loathing of multilateral trade pacts; the hostility toward immigration, which is not limited to illegal immigration; the nickel-and-dime attitude toward US leadership abroad and our relationships with our allies; the hysterical dread of China as an economic competitor; the implacable hatred of the commanding heights of American life from Silicon Valley to the Ivy League; the cable-news histrionics; and, above all, the desire to be led in a social-media Kulturkampf against progressive condescension and self-righteousness.

Trump’s union with the Republican Party was neither a hostile takeover nor a marriage of convenience — the embrace was mutual and ecstatic.

And that is why the half-hearted primary challenges to Trump are going nowhere. The GOP is not William Weld’s party of WASP propriety and Chamber of Commerce libertarianism, and it hasn’t been for a long time. (Alas.) Neither is it the party of former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, with his quaint scruples about debt and the deficit. Sanford is typical of the craven posture of contemporary conservatives: He already has vowed to vote for Trump just as soon as he loses to him.

Former Republican contender Carly Fiorina may complain about Trump on social media, but she apparently has no interest in challenging him. (Making a big noise on Twitter while doing approximately squat in the real world — who does that remind you of?) It is not John Bolton’s party, even on foreign policy, as Bolton has been forcibly shown.

On the other hand, Dan Bishop just enjoyed a come-from-behind victory in a North Carolina congressional race by promising to make himself as abject and slavish as possible in service to Trump, whom he celebrates as “the greatest fighter ever” to serve as president, Generals Washington and Eisenhower be damned.

Trump was a genuine celebrity before he was president, and Republicans have a weakness for that kind of thing. (Cf. Nugent, Ted.) But, personality cult aside, the Republicans are victims of their own success: They succeeded with Trump’s nationalist-populist agenda in 2016 and may very well succeed with that again in 2020. So, that becomes the playbook. They didn’t win on balanced budgets, constitutionalism or George W. Bush’s foreign policy.

The question for Republicans going forward will be whether “Build the Wall!” and the talk-radio drum circle will be sufficient to carry them forward without the novelty and celebrity of Trump.

A smaller related question is whether Buckley-Goldwater-Reagan conservatives can be kept in the Republican coalition and whether there are enough of them to bother with.

Those of us who saw Trump as an aberration in 2016 were wrong. A predominant number of Republicans hunger for exactly what Trump is serving up. We’ll see how that tastes to them on Nov. 3, 2020.



Here Are 4 Ways the Left Is Grabbing Power in America

The left is setting aside constitutional norms in a ruthless power grab according to a recently retired Congressman.

Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R.-Utah, who served on and chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and is now a Fox News contributor, made the case that the left is using a variety of underhanded strategies to fundamentally change American elections and tilt them in their favor.

Chaffetz lays out his argument in a new book, “Power Grab: The Liberal Scheme to Undermine Trump, the GOP, and Our Republic.” He argues that the left is using underhanded strategies to fundamentally alter the nature of U.S. elections, making them less stable and subject to rigging.

Chaffetz explained his argument in a talk at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday. Here are four of the tactics he highlighted on the left.

1. Trolling at Town Halls

One of the left’s more effective tactics, Chaffetz said, is using activists and media allies to go after conservative politicians at town hall events.

That’s what happened to Chaffetz during his last term in Congress.

He said Democrats mobilized a group called Indivisible Utah, which “had a specific manual to take over a town hall meeting.'”

Their strategy was to create the impression that Chaffetz was being attacked by his own constituents on account of President Donald Trump, even though he represented a predominantly conservative district.

“[T]hey wanted to create this illusion that a conservative Republican in a safe district—who just happened to be chairman of the Oversight Committee with the newly minted president of the United States, Donald Trump—that his voters were mad,” Chaffetz said.

“It was used as a tool and a prop. They paid people to come in. There were people from all kinds of states there,” Chaffetz said. “But they wanted to create this media illusion that it was an organic Utah phenomenon in a conservative Republican’s district.”

2. Weaponizing Nonprofits for the Democratic Party

In addition, the left has been effective at manipulating loopholes to weaponize nonprofit groups, Chaffetz said.

Nonprofit groups often hire for-profit groups to do fundraising using what’s called a 990 form, and one of the most prominent fundraisers for liberal groups is Grassroots Campaigns Inc.

“They will put on t-shirts—ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood—and then they’ll start knocking on doors,” Chaffetz said.

“Planned Parenthood will say ‘Hey, we’re raising money, 50 bucks, you know, for Planned Parenthood. You with us or against us?”

The person then might reply: “Oh, I love Planned Parenthood. Yeah I’ll give you $100.’ What does that tell you about that voter? … You think they are going to vote for a Democrat or do you think they are going to vote for the Republican?”

This process allows Grassroots Campaigns Inc. to collect data on voters that can help predict voting behavior. The problem, Chaffetz said, is that people working for these groups can then carry the collected voter data when they go to work for campaigns or a political party, like the Democratic National Committee, “bypassing all of the campaign finance rules.”

3. Nationalize and Skew Elections

Another big initiative of the left, according to Chaffetz, is to change the rules of elections to stack the deck in favor of Democrats and progressives.

This strategy can be seen in the legislative priorities of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Chaffetz said:

“If you look at the priorities that they have put forward in Congress and you look through any poll that’s out there about what are the most important issues, you’re going to hear about health care, you are going to hear about the economy, you’re going to hear about immigration.”

But this isn’t what the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives prioritized.

“Why is it that Nancy Pelosi has H.R. 1, House Resolution 1 … what is her first bill? Does it have anything to do [with] Pew’s top 20 or top 50 issues? No, it doesn’t,” Chaffetz said.

“H.R. 1 is about how to reconfigure elections. [Pelosi] wants to reconstitute how we do elections in this country because it’s their calculus. This is my theory that I lay out in the book, that they have to reconfigure how we do voting in this country for them to win long-term.”

H.R. 1, which the House passed but was never brought up for a vote in the Senate, would have made a number of changes to America’s election system. Among them are mandatory voter registration, a mandate that states allow felons to vote, and a ban on states setting their own rules about voting by mail.

These are just a few of the bill’s many proposals. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the bill a “naked attempt to change the rules of American politics to benefit one party.”

4. Ballot Harvesting

A fourth strategy is the practice of “ballot harvesting,” which H.R. 1 did not address, Chaffetz said.

Ballot harvesting is when an individual doesn’t have to be present to cast a vote. Instead, their vote can be cast by someone else.

“Democrats, in legislation, have supported the idea. They want to make this [the] law everywhere you go, that you do not actually have to be present to vote,” Chaffetz said.

“Vote harvesting allows someone [to] go around … collecting ballots from all of you. [They] can go knock on your door and say, ‘I know that you didn’t get to the poll, I know that you didn’t fill out your ballot, I know it’s inconvenient for you, but if you just give me your ballot, you know, fill it out, I’ll turn it in for you.”

A lot can go wrong with this process, Chaffetz said. He noted that even in Utah, thousands of votes for Democrats are alleged to have rolled in “after the deadline.”

Ballot harvesting made a huge impact in recent California elections, where the tactic threw a huge number of House Republican seats to Democrats. Thousands of new and unexpected voters showed up to certain districts and flipped seats.

“I don’t know how you win an election in California when Democrats play by different rules than Republicans and engage in this type of vote harvesting,” Chaffetz said.



Democrats Finally Fly Their Gun-Control Fascist Freak Flag in the Open

In all of the decades that the modern version of the contentious debate in America over guns, freedom, and the Second Amendment has been going on, the gun-control advocates have repeatedly assured gun owners of one thing: they don't want to take our guns away from us.

My, what a difference one presidential primary full of unabashed Democratic statists makes.

After years of being told that we are paranoid for saying that the anti-gun Left wants to confiscate our weapons, the anti-gun Left is letting us know in no uncertain terms that they want to confiscate our weapons.

Loudest among them is Robert Francis "Horse Mouth" O'Rourke who, seeing his relevance as a candidate dwindling by the hour, has decided to go all-in on making a pitch for being America's gun-grabber-in-chief:

This Soviet turn marks a departure for Beto in a couple of ways.

Last year, when the only constituency he was trying to woo consisted of residents of the great state of Texas, O'Rourke was still paying lip service to being a supporter of legal gun owners.

So much for that.

As recently as a few weeks ago, Beto was talking about a federal "buy-back" of AR-15s. Yes, that's euphemistic garbage -- the government can't buy back something it never owned in the first place. It's semantic whitewashing of what the program really would be: a huge first step to federal gun confiscation.

As of Friday, Cory Booker was still pretending a bit, but tipping the Democrats' hands nonetheless:

"Yeah, it’s mandatory. You have to set up a system to pull them off. But this idea, this imagery that the fearmongers and demagogues try to say of somehow armed police officers showing up & confiscating weapons, that’s the fear mongering."

So...it's a mandatory surrendering of the guns to the federal government that will no doubt be unpopular with 99.9999999999% of the people it targets and we're supposed to believe that there will be no heavy-handed enforcement by the feds.

Has this clown even met the Internal Revenue Service?

Kamala Harris got out in front of everything earlier in the year when she promised that she would almost immediately become an executive-action nightmare on gun control if Congress didn't give her what she wanted.

While the Democrats keep referring to the AR-15 specifically, they also repeatedly use the phrase "weapons of war," which puts the slippery in "slippery slope."

"Weapons of war" is a catch-all that can also refer to sidearms, knives, and anything else ever used in a battle. They used to use rocks back in the catapult days, you know.

They naturally dismiss this idea as just more paranoia, even as they work to prove that none of us are actually paranoid.

Even -- let's just pretend for a moment -- if they were sincere and didn't intend to come after all firearms, when has the federal government ever shown restraint in matters like this? Give the bureaucratic behemoth an inch and it will immediately seek ways to take every mile on Earth.

The obvious takeaway from all of this is that we were right all along about the Democrats' intentions, which provides a perfect example for future debates when they're pretending to be anything other than what they truly are: Soviet-esque control-freak statists.



A rare Trump fan in the media

Lou has always been big on immigration restrictions

On Friday evening, Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs told his viewers, “Have a great weekend. The President makes such a thing possible for us all.” Dobbs did not elaborate as to why or how President Donald Trump makes weekends possible.

Dobbs is a strong supporter of the President and often praises him on his show Lou Dobbs Tonight. His show has faced controversy in the past; he has argued that a “deep state” exists in the Justice Department to undermine Trump and he has been criticized for using anti-semitic language against Democratic donor George Soros.

On Sept. 12, Dobbs concluded his broadcast by praising Trump and the White House, adding, “The joint is hopping.”



Attacks on Saudi oil facilities by Iran-backed Shi-ites

Saudi Arabia's crown prince has told US President Donald Trump the kingdom was "willing and able" to respond to the latest attacks by Yemeni rebels on its oil facilities, state media reported.

"The kingdom is willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression," Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) told Trump during a phone call on Saturday, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

MBS was referring to Yemen's Houthi rebels, who earlier in the day attacked two state-owned Saudi Aramco oil plants, triggering enormous fires and disrupting global energy supplies.

According to a release by the Saudi embassy in Washington, Trump told MBS that Washington was ready to cooperate with the kingdom to protect its security in the wake of the drone attacks.



Trump has confirmed Hamza bin Laden, son of slain Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and suspected leader of the militant group, was killed in a US counterterrorism operation

In a statement issued by the White House, Mr Trump said the operation took place in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, but he offered no further details.

"The loss of Hamza bin Laden not only deprives Al Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group," Mr Trump said.

The group was responsible for orchestrating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US, which remain the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history, with almost 3,000 casualties.

A US official said Hamza had been killed months ago near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mr Trump was briefed at the time on the operation.

Washington believes Hamza, who is thought to have been about 30 years old, had succeeded his father as the head of what remains of Al Qaeda, the official said. Osama was killed by US forces in 2011 at his Pakistan compound.



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

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


15 September, 2019

An evangelical Christian conservative versus a Catholic conservative

There are probably as many flavours of conservatism as there are conservatives.  The attempt to categorize them is always going to be approximate. So the recent debates between David French and Sohrab Ahmari are interesting.  Both seem to feel that they represent the REAL conservatism. French is the evangelical and Ahmari is the Catholic.

I think both have good points.  The emphasis on civility and principle by French does indeed strongly distinguish conservatives from the abusive and unprincipled Left.

Ahmari thinks the times are too urgent to stand on such principles.  He thinks we are in a war which we could lose unless we go for the jugular.  He thinks we have to use every strategy we can if we are to win.  I am inclined to agree with him.  My own writings are pretty savage at times.

But I think the great mistake is to claim that there is such a thing as conservative politics.  In the last few hundred years all sorts of doctrines have been identified as conservative and many of them would get little respect from modern-day conservatives.  There are, for example, still some people concerned about the gold standard but not many.  And who even knows about the silver standard?

So conservatism is not an unchanging ideology.  It is a tendency.  And that tendency can only be described at the psychological level.  Liberals and Conservatives may agree or not about political policies but at the psychological level they are as different as chalk and cheese.

To put it most starkly, conservatives are the happy people and Leftists are the miserable people.  Stark as that sounds, it is actually repeatedly shown in surveys of happiness.  It is always the consevatives who are shown as happiest.  So what might seem as a vague psychological statement is actually something verifiable by empirical research 

And another common finding of happiness research is that happiness is dispositional:  It changes little though your lifetime.  As even Gilbert and Sullivan saw, you tend to be born either a liberal or a conservative.  So the idea that a conservative is a constitutionally happier person is remarkably well grounded in the research.  Conservatives are happier and happiness is dispositional, genetic .

Most people, of course fall somewhere in between but the poles are the ones I have identified.  And it is the poles that we mostly encounter in political debates.

And given that psychological basis of politics, how those two types of personality play out in policy prescriptions will vary according to the time and place.  So on neither side is there a fixed set of principles from which all policies can be deduced.

And that suits Leftists very well.  They usually blame their unhappy feelings on things in the world about them rather than working on themselves. And because they are so unhappy, they want to tear down those things that they blame for their unhappiness. They think that if they could possibly get rid of that awful thing (e.g. Donald Trump) they would be happy or at least happier. 

So they put great energies into their tearing-down activities.  And the psychological accompaniment of their wish to tear something down is hate.  Particularly if something resists being torn down, they come to hate it with a passion, as we see from the Leftist reaction to Trump.  They loathe every little thing about him.  Even his remarkably successful economic policies win him no praise from them.  Their hate has become obsessive.

Because they do not have a fire of unhappiness burning inside them, conservatives, on the other hand, can pay more attention to the full picture and note both the good and the bad in a particular situation or policy.  They see, for instance, that limited welfare for the poor is regrettable but also see that more generous welfare provisions would lead to "dole bludging": people who decide to live on the taxpayer's dime when they are perfectly capable of earning their own living.  So conservatives seek a middle way.  Just tearing down one side of the problem seems brain dead to them.

That is very much in evidence in America right now.  The Democrats see a degree of suffering among illegal immigrants held at the Southern border and simply wish to tear down the border as a solution.  No thought to how the USA would be overrun by people with little to contribute seems to occur to them. Conservatives, in the person of Mr Trump, take a middle way and say that only genuine refugees and not economic migrants will be accepted.

So that history leads up to where David French goes wrong and Ahmari is right.  The old principles of a liberal order have served well in the past but it is now time to move on.  New circumstances require new responses -- and conservatives are once again trying to be pragmatic and seek a middle ground.  As an example, Mr Trump has responded to the continuing onslaughts on Americans by Jihadis not by trying to keep all Muslims out of America but by keeping out people from particularly troublesome Muslim nations.  That was one of his first actions on coming to office.

I am particularly interested in Ahmari's comment on the First amendment.  That Amendment must be the most regularly butchered law that there is.  It has regularly been used to attack Christians when it says you must not do that and  has been regularly defied by speech restrictions on American university campuses.  So if the Left can regularly defy it, might not conservatives stretch it too? 

I would pass Federal legislation to forbid any kind of political bias on campuses and allow speech and performances that offend public decency and morality to be banned whenever and wherever they occur. New circumstances can require new legal principles and that may possibly be done by modifying old laws.  Traditions can be powerfully useful and informative but they are not a straitjacket.

And I might perhaps note in passing that this idea of a middle way being desirable is very Catholic.  It underlay two encyclicals a century apart:  De rerum novarum and Centesimus Annus.  And, yes, I have read both of them, though not in the original Latin.


When Government Runs Health Care

DUBLIN—”When would you like to schedule your knee replacement surgery?” asked my American doctor before I left for Ireland?

I gave him a date that works for me (I’m calling it the result of an old basketball injury, not advancing age). His office scheduled it for that date.

Contrast this with a headline in the Irish Independent newspaper: “Surgery delays are ‘cheating elderly out of precious time.'”

While I’m not ready to claim “elderly status,” the story is a preview of what could happen in the U.S. if enough of us buy into the notion that government knows best when it comes to our health and longevity.

The head of the Irish Medical Organization, Dr. Padraig McGarry, is quoted as saying that older people are frequently waiting well over two years just to see a specialist before being consigned to another waiting list for surgery.

Ponder that for a moment. How would you react should your current doctor (assuming you are allowed to keep him/her) tell you to get in line and wait until further notice?

McGarry says he has seen patients deteriorate while waiting for surgery and many return to their general practitioner “who gives them medication which can affect their health in other ways…”

And Ireland isn’t even a part of Britain’s National Health Service. They’ve got their own system, part public, the Health Service Executive, and part private option. It’s the public system wherein the problems lie.

The most recent figures examined by the newspaper found 564,829 patients in the queue to see a specialist and another 68,807 patients waiting to have surgery.

Ireland’s population is less than 5 million. The population of the United States is just over 329 million. If tiny Ireland can’t make it work, what makes so many of our politicians think it will work in the U.S.?

Across the Irish Sea, the U.K. has its own horror stories about health care run by the government. Canadians who can afford it often come to the U.S. rather than wait for their government to approve and schedule surgery.

Adding to the dysfunction is the overregulated Irish system in which people don’t want to become doctors or serve in other health care capacities. Low pay is only one reason.

According to the Independent, there are “527 vacancies for hospital specialists,” as well as a “pay gap between newly recruited consultants and longer serving colleagues.”

The question endures: With governments doing so few things efficiently and at reasonable cost, why do so many turn to it first? Government has become its own type of religious cult. No matter the evidence to the contrary, many people continue to place their faith in it.

People who see government as a cure-all don’t always practice what they preach. We’ve seen that with some environmental activists who promote certain forms of transportation and alternatives to fossil fuels, along with more restrictive gun laws, while transporting themselves on gas-guzzling private jets and in SUVs, accompanied by armed guards.

One of the latest examples of such hypocrisy is the aging rock star Mick Jagger, who, as a British citizen, has access to his country’s National Health Service. Jagger apparently believes the National Health Service is for the “little people,” as the late hotel magnate Leona Helmsley said about income taxes.

When Jagger needed a heart valve replacement, he didn’t wait in line like so many others in Britain; he had the surgery in the United States. After recovering, he added criticism of President Donald Trump to his concerts, citing specifically the current administration’s policies on the environment and immigration.

How’s that for gratitude?

If I had to choose between the National Health Service and American health care, I’d stick with the system, if the government allows, where appointments can be made and kept and the only wait is in the doctor’s outer office.



Once again the media blame Trump for things that began under Obama

Eager to unearth presidential misconduct, Maddow accused members of the United States Air Force of abandoning their “integrity.”
To a certain kind of Rachel Maddow viewer, there are few more titillating preludes to a news segment than the one she delivered Monday: “If you have not seen it yet, you are going to want to sit down.”

Maddow’s story began, as many of her stories do, with President Trump, this time focused on his hotel in Scotland. The Turnberry Resort, a Trump golf hotel, is located some 50 miles south of Glasgow. Not far from that resort is the charming, if small, Glasgow Prestwick Airport; with a population under 10,000, the town of Penwick is not exactly a tourist destination, and the town’s airport has teetered on the brink of financial insolvency for nearly a decade. Because Glasgow Prestwick Airport is relatively close to the Turnberry Resort, fiscal issues at the local airport would portend similar doom for the Trump hotel, which relies on potential customers who fly in and out of Prestwick.

Here, in Maddow’s telling, is the rub: The United States Air Force refueled one of their C-17 aircrafts at Prestwick Airport on a return flight from Kuwait this spring. Maddow insists that it would have been “much cheaper” to fuel up at a military base — a supposed fact that heightened her alarm about the propriety of the stop in the first place. If this seemingly strange choice in fuel station weren’t enough, the Air Force subsequently stayed overnight at the Trump-owned Turnberry Resort. Both of these actions, said Maddow, were highly unusual and enough to arouse suspicion of malfeasance. Indeed, it was proof that the “U.S. military is in on it now,” the “it” being the Trump administration’s “corruption” and violation of the emoluments clause. The event might even reveal endemic corruption in the armed forces and could serve as a broader indictment of “the U.S. military and its integrity.”

I’m glad I sat down.

Indicting “the U.S. military and its integrity” is a rather serious charge to levy against the nation’s most respected public institution, but Maddow doubled down, bringing on her show one of the co-authors of the initial story from Politico, Natasha Bertrand, who called Maddow’s summation of events “absolutely perfect.” But reporting from Byron York at the Washington Examiner has brought the “perfection,” and indeed, the basic accuracy of Maddow and Politico’s story, into question.

The Air Force replied to the Politico report by challenging several key assertions made by both Maddow and Politico. First, the Prestwick Airport was independently contracted by the Department of Defense, and both parties agreed to terms that would allow the department to refuel at “standardized prices” — precisely the going rate that Maddow scoffed would be available only at a military base. Next, the Air Force’s use of the airport adjacent to the Trump hotel does not appear to be a novel phenomenon meant, as the Politico article speculates, to “line the president’s pockets.” Instead, well before the president’s inauguration, records show that the Air Force had used the small airport 95 times in 2015 and 145 times in 2016. While the number of stops there has since increased — the Air Force reports stopping in Prestwick 259 times through August of this 2019 — it is not as though the location was unknown to the Air Force or the Department of Defense until the president roped them into a secretive money-funneling gambit. And there are strategic features that make the otherwise obscure airport in Prestwick a preferable location for refueling. From the Air Force’s statement:

Additionally, Air Mobility Command [AMC] issued a flight directive to mobility crews in June 2017 designed to increase efficiencies by standardizing routing locations, with Prestwick being among the top five locations recommended for reasons such as more favorable weather than nearby Shannon Airport, and less aircraft parking congestion than locations on the European continent that typically support AMC’s high priority airlift missions. By considering factors like these to save costs and increase operational efficiencies, Air Operations Center contingency planners have increasingly turned to Prestwick to develop route plans for lower priority contingency needs such as training, deploy/redeploy and Guard airlift missions.

York’s report at the Examiner examined documents sent by State Department inspector general Steve Linick to Congress, responding to members miffed by a presidential visit to the Turnberry Resort. The document cites lower relative costs at the Trump hotel, compared with other inns in the area. From York:

During the visit, Linick said, State rented three rooms at Turnberry for two nights. The total cost was $728. Citing invoices from the hotel, Linick said the room rate for the night was 95.06 pounds, or $121.40, per night. Linick said the State Department looked at other hotels, including the Blythswood Square Hotel in Glasgow, which charged 215 pounds per night; the Hilton Glasgow, which charged 249 pounds; the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor at 229 pounds; the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow at 185 pounds; and the Raddison Blu in Glasgow at 179 pounds per night. Other State Department employees detailed to the president’s trip stayed at some of those hotels.

As York observes, “at least on the president’s trip, Turnberry was a good deal.” The Air Force, which generally makes earnest attempts to be judicious in its use of taxpayer monies, likely made their lodging decision based on similar price realities.

None of this is to condone the prudence of staying at a Trump resort in such partisan and polarized times; York notes that “the publicity surrounding the new story appears to have made the Air Force nervous.” But it’s a stretch to insist that this is a coordinated Ponzi scheme to enrich the president, with the willing and eager help of the United States Air Force. Maddow finished the segment by insisting that “if this story were fiction, “you would walk out, because it’s too blunt.” It’s possible she was too clever by half.



Median income hit record high in 2018 while poverty declined

Median U.S. household income reached $63,200 in 2018, the highest figure on record, new data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau revealed.

The official poverty rate also reached its lowest level since at least 2001, dropping to 11.8% of Americans, or 38.1 million people who are in poverty, according to the Census Bureau measurements. The number of people in poverty in 2018 decreased by 1.4 million people from 2017 levels.

Between 2014-2018, the United States experienced the strongest four-year improvement in the official poverty rate in decades.

With the significant improvements to median income and poverty witnessed from 2015-2017, 2018 was not a particularly unusual year in terms of economic growth trends. It represents the cumulative effort of the economic recovery that started in 2009.

In 2015, for example, the poverty rate dropped from 14.8% to 13.5%, more than any other year since 1969. Also, the median household income rose by a record amount in 2015, with figures dating back to 1967.

California has the highest levels of poverty, with 18.2% of its people, or 7 million, in poverty. This is essentially due to the high cost of living in California versus other states.



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

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


13 September, 2019

Image hosting

I don't put a lot of pictures up on this blog but I do put up some. I usually host the images on Imgur.com, the number one image host at the moment. An encouraging feature of their service is that in early 2015 they announced that all images will be kept forever and only removed if deletion is requested.

Someone must have requested that some of my images be deleted and Imgur has obliged, putting up an ugly and offensive replacement image instead of the original.  I keep pretty good records, however so I have replaced the lost images with backup copies hosted on another server.  I have so far noticed only about half a dozen affected images, however, so I would be obliged if people would let me know if they come across any other offensive images that I have not so far noticed. 

We conservative bloggers are definitely under attack.  There was nothing egregious in any of the deleted images.  One was just a table of statistics.  Facebook has also banned all posts that link to my Greenie Watch blog. Questioning global warming is the unforgiveable sin. All my graphs and tables of statistics were in vain. There are a lot of things that the Left don't want to know about.


Bruised Trudeau to call Canada election

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, admired abroad for his progressive policies but damaged by scandals at home, will kick off a six-week re-election campaign- on Thursday with opinion polls suggesting his hold on power will be weakened.

Mr Trudeau, who swept to office- in November 2015 promising "sunny ways" and stressing the importance of gender equal-ity, gay rights and the environment, faces an electorate more focused on the economy and -affordability when it votes on October 21.

The 47-year-old married father- of three, whose classic good looks are often splashed across the global media, may have history on his side. Not since 1935 has a Canadian prime minister who won a majority in his first term been booted from office in the next election.

But Mr Trudeau may not win enough seats to govern by himself, after a series of missteps that called into question his leadership while cutting into his once sky-high popularity. That would leave him and his Liberal Party weakened, relying on opposition MPs to push through legislation.

A Nanos Research poll released- on Tuesday showed the Liberals at 34.6 per cent and the main opposition Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, at 30.7 per cent. That margin would not be enough to guarantee a majority in the House of Commons.

Senior Liberals say they are quietly confident of victory and predict Mr Trudeau will campaign more effectively than Mr Scheer, 40, who is fighting his first election as Conservative leader. But Canadian campaigns can produce major surprises. The Liberals trailed in third place when the 2015 election was called but steadily improved to pull off an outright victory.

"This is not a `Throw the bums out' election. This is a `Punish the bums' election," said analys-t Nik Nanos.

Mr Trudeau's challenge is that he is running on his record rather than the uplifting message of hope and change that helped the Liberals attract record- numbers of green, youth and indigenous voters in 2015.

Since then, Mr Trudeau has broken campaign promises by scrapping plans to introduce voter reform and allowing budget- deficits to mushroom. He angered environmentalists by buying an oil pipeline to ensure crude exports could increase.

The worst moment of his tenure- came in February, when former justice minister Jody Wilson--Raybould accused the Prime Minister and top officials of inappropriately pressuring her to ensure that construction firm SNC-Lavalin Group avoid a trial on corruption charges. Last month, a top watchdog ruled Mr Trudeau and his team had -indeed breached ethics rules.

Mr Scheer's popularity had surged after the SNC-Lavalin affair-, but he appears to be struggling in Ontario, the most populous of Canada's 10 provinces, where a conservative premier is pushing through unpopular spending cuts.



Supreme Court allows Trump to deny asylum to almost all migrants at the Mexican border after he pledged to crackdown on immigration

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday granted a request by President Donald Trump's administration to fully enforce a new rule that would curtail asylum applications by immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, a key element of his hardline immigration policies.

The court said the rule, which requires most immigrants who want asylum to first seek safe haven in a third country through which they traveled on their way to the United States, could go into effect as litigation challenging its legality continues.

Among the nine judges on the court, liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.

The court's ruling handed a victory to Trump at a time when much of his immigration agenda had been struck down by lower courts. BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!' Trump said on Twitter.

The rule would bar almost all immigrants from applying for asylum at the southern border. It represents the latest effort by Trump's administration to crack down on immigration, a signature issue during his presidency and 2020 re-election bid.

The American Civil Liberties Union and others who challenged the administration's policy in federal court said it violates U.S. immigration law and accused the administration of failing to follow the correct legal process in issuing the rule, which was unveiled on July 15.

In her dissent, Sotomayor said that the government's rule may be in significant tension with the asylum statute.

'It is especially concerning, moreover, that the rule the government promulgated topples decades of settled asylum practices and affects some of the most vulnerable people in the Western Hemisphere - without affording the public a chance to weigh in.'

Eight days after the rule went into effect in July, California-based U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar issued a nationwide injunction blocking it.

Then began a back-and-forth between Tigar and the 9th Circuit, which scaled back the injunction so that the Trump rule was blocked in the border states of California and Arizona while in effect in Texas and New Mexico.

Tigar ruled to restore the nationwide ban on Monday, but the 9th Circuit scaled it back again on Tuesday night.

They were both trumped by Supreme Court, which will allow the asylum restriction to remain in place until the underlying legality of the rule is determined at trial.

'This is just a temporary step, and we're hopeful we'll prevail at the end of the day,' ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said. 'The lives of thousands of families are at stake.'

The Republican president's administration issued the rule in an attempt to reduce the surging number of asylum claims primarily by Central American migrants who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in large numbers during his presidency.

The rule would block nearly all families and individuals from countries like El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala from entering the United States as asylum seekers after crossing through Mexico. The rule would keep asylum protections for Mexican citizens.

The rule drew legal challenges including from a coalition of groups represented by the ACLU. They accused the administration of pursuing an 'asylum ban' and jeopardizing the safety and security of migrants fleeing persecution and seeking safety in the United States.

In the administration's request to fully enforce the rule, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the Supreme Court to issue a stay blocking the injunction while litigation over the issue proceeds because the judge's order interferes with the government's authority to establish immigration policy.

The administration said the rule screens out asylum claims that are unlikely to succeed and 'deters aliens without a genuine need for asylum from making the arduous and potentially dangerous journey from Central America to the United States.'

The Supreme Court in December rebuffed a bid by the administration to implement a separate policy prohibiting asylum for people crossing the U.S.-Mexican border outside of an official port of entry, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joining the four liberal justices in denying the request



Polite Persuasion is Wasted on the Shrieking Left

Comment from Australia

Like Jordan Peterson's reputation, Lionel Shriver's conservative credentials were burnished by leftist idiocy. In Peterson's case it was his interview on the UK's Channel 4 by Cathy Newman. In Shriver's case it was Yassmin Abdel-Magied walking out of the Brisbane Writers' Festival in 2016 in protest at Shriver's views on identity politics and cultural appropriation.

Neither Peterson nor Shriver are my kind of conservatives and, to be fair, I am sure they would not claim to be or would want to be. That's fine. What I would like to say is that conservative warriors are now needed more than ever. Much less useful are prominent notables on the conservative side who come over all reasonable in the face of those intent on our destruction.

Peterson lost his standing with me when he suggested that Brett Kavanagh should first win his confirmation to the Supreme Court but then immediately resign to clear his name. That was a ridiculous suggestion, to put it extremely mildly. Clearly Peterson has no idea about the enemy we face.

I caught Shriver on Q&A last week. True, I could only stand five minutes or so before turning it off. Any longer spent watching Q&A is injurious to my peace of mind. Nevertheless, I saw enough to sense that Shriver was trying hard to appear "reasonable" to other panellists and to the usual green-leftist ABC audience. Hint for Shriver: Prostration is pointless. They'll always despise you. Look to, say, Michelle Malkin for a role model.

Did I get a false impression of Shriver's demeanour? I think not. The following evening I attended the Bonython Lecture in Sydney, where she explained that her engagement, front and backstage, with other Q&A panellists was civil; and, furthermore, she made a point of extolling the need for civility generally in political debate.

I want to be clear. Come the witching hour I believe I will find myself on the same side of the barricades as Peterson and Shriver. After all, where else could we be? But I would like to think that we can avoid arriving at the witching hour. And we won't if our side is populated by those falling over themselves to be civil.

Civility is paramount among people of sound mind and goodwill. Those of the new progressive Left don't qualify. They need to be fought, not reasoned with. Reasoning with a poisonous serpent is useless. You have to chop its head off. And, being religiously minded, I choose the metaphor of a serpent advisedly.

Go to the US to see the progressive Left at its most transparent. It's here in Australia, in the UK and in Europe in full-enough measure, but only in America has it the chutzpah to stand in the spotlight. Anyone who caught any of CNN's seven-hour town-hall meeting on the "climate crisis" with the top ten Democrat presidential candidates would know what I mean. They have no shame.

They tell blatant lies, like Hurricane Dorian is a product of climate change, which are easily exposed. Yet they will simply go on repeating them. It is lying in the name of saving the planet. Taqiya for Gaia. The destruction of America's economy, and, with it, Western civilisation, is collateral damage apparently. Or is that all part of the plan? It surely must be.

Run down the list (in no particular order and without attempting to be exhaustive): the `green new deal', pulling down border security, providing free health insurance to illegal immigrants, publicly funding abortion up till the moment of birth, slashing military spending, funding more and more `free stuff' through greatly increased taxation (and, no doubt, through untrammelled money printing as per leftist modern monetary theory[i]), persecuting those with the temerity to practice Christian beliefs, marginalising the traditional family, insidiously siding with Palestinians over Israel, and hiking minimum wages to add to the rampant unemployment which will follow, as night follows day, from the other ruinous environmental and economic policies.

Quite simply America as we know it would cease to exist. It would be crippled. America stands between Western civilisation and the Islamic and the Chinese-communist barbarians. We would fall as other civilisations have fallen. At some point the Islamists and Chinese would turn on each other. But, by that time, we would be vassal states watching the big boys duke it out. I will go back to my start.

I am generally polite and civil, even after a few drinks. But I ask this question. How civil is it proper to be to those who espouse policies which, if ever enacted, would put our grandchildren's lives at risk?



Obsession: Broadcast coverage of Trump 11 times greater than Democratic hopefuls

And there's mostly no such thing as bad publicity

Trump-bashing has become a tradition in broadcast news, with anchors, correspondents and pundits supplying near non-stop negative coverage of President Trump and his administration. The coverage has been, on average, 90% negative according to a series of studies by the Media Research Center.

These days, the Democratic presidential hopefuls are paying a price for this obsession. Networks' "fixation on Trump" is leaving comparatively little airtime for his would-be presidential challengers, the conservative press watch dog says in a new analysis released Monday.

"From June 1 through August 31, analysts found the networks devoted 838 minutes of airtime - nearly 14 hours - to coverage of President Trump personally, the vast majority of which was negative," writes Rich Noyes, who led the study.

"The airtime devoted to Trump was eleven times greater than that spent on the leading Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden (just under 74 minutes), and vastly more than the networks gave California Senator Kamala Harris (30 minutes), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (15 minutes) or Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (just under 14 minutes)," Mr. Noyes said.

"Overall, 21 Democratic candidates (including some who have since departed the race) shared 187 minutes of evening news airtime this summer, less than one-fourth of that of Trump alone," he continued.

"On the GOP side, former Congressman Joe Walsh received a scant 35 seconds of coverage after he announced his candidacy in late August, while the campaign of former Massachusetts Governor William Weld has yet to be acknowledged by any of the three evening newscasts."

The coverage, Mr. Noyes explains, is not meant to help Mr. Trump, with the content dwelling on "alleged scandals and racism" for the most part.

"The media mania over Trump is more intense than that of four summers ago, but the pattern is similar. After Trump joined the race in mid-June 2015, he immediately dominated network news coverage with 232 minutes of airtime, twice that of the leading Democrat, Hillary Clinton, and six times more than his nearest Republican challenger, Jeb Bush," Mr. Noyes said.



One America News Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Rachel Maddow, MSNBC And Other Entities

One America News Network, a right-leaning cable news outlet, on Monday filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against Rachel Maddow, Comcast Corporation, NBC Universal Media and MSNBC Cable in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

According to the lawsuit, Comcast refused to carry OANN as part of their cable programming package because the conservative network frequently rebuked MSNBC's liberal politics. The lawsuit also claims that MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said OANN is "really literally is paid Russian propaganda." Her comments came after OANN's President, Charles Herring, sent a letter to Comcast objecting to their refusal to carry the conservative network. Herring referred to their refusal to carry OANN as "anti-competitive censorship."

OANN argues the defendants knew their statements about the conservative network were false but were made as a means of damaging OANN's business and reputation. Specifically, OANN states the comments were made in retaliation for calling out Comcast's refusal to carry the conservative cable network in its programming packages.

"One America is wholly owned, operated and financed by the Herring family in San Diego," said Skip Miller, a partner at Miller Barondess, who is representing OANN. "They are as American as apple pie. They are not paid by Russia and have nothing to do with the Russian government. This is a false and malicious libel, and they're going to answer for it in a court of law."



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, 2019

The example of Zimbabwe refutes both Keynes and the monetarists

Where are the Zimbabweans? According to Financial Times reporter Joseph Cotterill, millions can be found in neighboring South Africa, along with other more economically vibrant locales. Cotterill notes that the Zimbabwean "diaspora" is the result of "decades of turmoil" within the formerly prosperous country.

That more and more Zimbabweans exit their country in order to work rates discussion in consideration of how all too many economists and politicians think of economic growth. According to those with a Keynesian orientation, it's consumption that powers growth. Others, of the monetarist persuasion, believe that growth in so-called "money supply" is what keeps the economy moving. Neither religion acknowledges that both consumption and money aren't instigators of growth as much as they're a consequence of it.

If consumption and soaring money supply were certain growth ingredients, prosperity would be simple. Politicians could demand that the citizenry consume more, and to enable the buying, they would instruct a central monetary authority to boost money in circulation. Of course to anyone with a pulse, such a scenario would fail with blinding speed. Most of us intuitively know that our ability to consume is a function of our ability to produce. To pretend otherwise is the equivalent of assuming the only difference between Lake Forest and Cabrini Green is that government-engineered money supply increases in the former enable greater consumption than takes place in the latter. No, money supply is abundant in Lake Forest, and so is consumption, precisely because the residents of Lake Forest are rather productive. Zimbabwe instructs on the matter.

Zimbabweans are able to consume more and more thanks to production of Zimbabweans not working in Zimbabwe. This is an important distinction to make. Paul Krugman argues endlessly for increased government spending to boost economic growth, but does so without acknowledging that the growth already occurred. Governments can only spend insofar as economic growth showers them with revenues to spend. Production first, then the spending.

To Keynesians like Krugman, the answer is always more outlays from politicians. If there's consumption, prosperity will ensue. Zimbabwe is a reminder of how unrealistic such a belief is. No doubt Zimbabweans are able to consume wealth to a greater degree than they produce wealth, but this ability to buy in greater amounts isn't thanks to magic; rather it's a consequence of the productivity of Zimbabweans toiling outside of the country. To be clear, there's no such thing as consuming. Behind every act of consumption, whether it's government enabled or enabled through remittances, is an act of production first.

Readers might consider the above the next time they witness some economist or politician on TV talking about boosting the economy through more government spending. They're confused, or they're lying. They can do no such thing. The consumption they aim to generate through government largesse is only possible insofar as private actors produced the wealth first. Government spending can't stimulate growth as much as government can arrogate to itself the right to allocate wealth already created; usually at the expense of entrepreneurs and businesses. Never forget that entrepreneurs compete with consumers (private individuals, along with governments that confiscate wealth in order to shift consumption to others) for always limited resources.

Considering money, it too has no use absent production. Money can't be eaten, or slept with; instead money is just an agreement about value among producers, along with those empowered to consume as producers do thanks to shifts of money. In Zimbabwe's case, money has use there to a high degree because of production that doesn't take place there. As Florence Ncube explained it to Cotterill, there "is no food that side," as in little food produced in Zimbabwe. Groceries are purchased in South Africa, and then sent to Zimbabwe. Money supply can be found in Zimbabwe not because some central bank decreed it, but once again because of production that didn't place in Zimbabwe. Money earned outside of Zimbabwe, and goods and services produced outside of the country, give money a purpose in Zimbabwe.  Production first, then money supply. Monetarists, like Keynesians, get the drivers of economic growth backwards.

Readers might remember this the next time some wise pundit or economist in a developed country laments impossibilities like "money shortages" or "insufficient money supply" in countries they don't live in. The reality is that money, like consumption, is a consequence of production. Where there's production there will always be abundant money to facilitate exchange of it, and where there's little production is where money will always be scarce. Politicians and central bankers can't alter economic reality through magic despite what we're told.

Bringing it back to Zimbabwe, it has neither a problem of insufficient demand nor insufficient money supply as the twin ideologies that are Keynesianism and Monetarism would contend. What really ails Zimbabwe is a lack of production; the latter increasingly being made up for by enterprising Zimbabweans living and working outside their home country.



The Equation That Explains Evil

Our age loves scientific equations. Here's one you weren't taught at college but which affects you as much as the law of gravity:

GI - W = E
Good Intentions (GI) minus Wisdom (W) leads to Evil (E).

You weren't taught this rule at college because the modern university believes only science has rules. "Rules of life" is another term for wisdom, and there is no wisdom -- or even pursuit of wisdom -- at our universities.

Life has rules just like the natural sciences do. Examples include:

Ingratitude makes happiness impossible.

Corrupt people think everyone else is as corrupt as they are.

Human nature is not basically good.

Feelings are far less important than actions.

Most men need a woman to mature.

Most women need a man to mature.

The list is long. And the more life rules people know and live by the better people they'll be -- the better the world will be.

There is a reason Jordan Peterson's book "12 Rules for Life" has sold millions of copies, mostly to young people. It is the same reason PragerU has a billion views a year, mostly among people under 35. Many young people are sensing they have been cheated by the adults that have taught them, for example, to pursue self-esteem rather than self-control -- a "rule" guaranteed to lead to moral and professional failure.

But one rule almost no one was taught, that explains most organized evil and the left in particular, from the Bolsheviks to Mao to Castro to Chavez to your everyday leftist in New York or Iowa: Good intentions without wisdom leads to evil.

Communism, the greatest mass murder ideology in history, was for almost all its rank-and-file supporters rooted in their desire to do good. (This was rarely true for its leaders, whose greatest desire was power.)

The many millions of people all over the world who supported communism did not think they were supporting unprecedented levels of mass murder and torture or an equally unprecedented deprivation of the most fundamental human rights of a substantial percentage of humanity. They thought they were moral, building a beautiful future for humanity -- eliminating inequality, enabling people to work as hard or as little as they wanted, providing their fellow citizens "free" education and "free" health care. They were convinced that the moral arc of history was bending in their direction and that they were good because their motives were good.

That's why leftists have such moral contempt for those who differ with them. Because those on the left are so good, only bad human beings could possibly oppose them. That is the position of virtually every editor and columnist at The New York Times.

The problem with communists and with leftists who don't consider themselves communists is not that none of them mean well. It's that they lack wisdom. There are wise and foolish liberals, wise and foolish conservatives; but all leftists are fools. Every one of the Democrats running for president is a fool.

This is not, however, a description of their totality as a human being. Fools may be personally kind and generous, may be loyal friends and devoted spouses, and of course, they may be well-intentioned. But in terms of making the world worse, there is little difference between a well-meaning fool and an evil human being. Tens of millions of well-intentioned Westerners supported Stalin. The Westerners who supplied Stalin the secrets to the atom bomb were not motivated by evil. They were simply fools. But few evil people did as much to hurt the world as they did.

They are fools partly because they believe good intentions are all that matter. Therefore, they never ask perhaps the most important moral question one can ask: What will happen if my policy is enacted? Leftist supporters of communism never asked.

Democrats who push the country-bankrupting Green New Deal provide a contemporary example. They not only deny the economy and society-crushing consequences of the Green New Deal, they deny any price will be paid. Every home, office, hospital, school and business will be forced to stop using fossil fuels, yet only good will come from that. Giving that amount of coercive power to the state is of no consequence to leftists. In their make-believe world, no one will suffer. On the contrary, America will become richer, and millions of jobs will be created while we destroy our economy. Poor Africans trying to electrify their countries will be told not to -- yet they, too, will somehow become rich using only wind and sun.

If the Green New Deal is enacted, the American economy will tank -- and with it, much of the rest of the world. Tyrannies like China and Iran will be emboldened, as will dictatorships like Russia.

On every issue in which the left differs from conservatives (and often from liberals), they are fools. They push for a Palestinian state although even Israelis on the left know this would mean a Hamas-Hezbollah state on the Israeli border. But they know they mean well.

They routinely label the beacon of freedom on Earth racist, misogynistic, homophobic, imperialistic, genocidal; cheapen the label "Nazi"; promote all-black dorms and graduations; promote preteen boys' performing drag shows; tell young women career is more important to happiness than marriage; believe a country can remain a distinct nation with open borders; condemn parents who try to reassure their 3-year-old son that he is a boy; and ruin the university, the arts, late-night comedy, pro football and religion.

But they mean well.



Border Apprehensions Plummet Thanks to Trump Deal with Mexico

Back in June, many on the left pooh-poohed Trump's deal with Mexico to avoid tariffs in exchange for stronger efforts by Mexico to curb the flow of immigrants through their country into the United States. While the positive impact of that deal became apparent almost immediately, we now have a much clearer picture of the impact of the deal Trump struck with Mexico, as border apprehensions have plummeted the past three months.

Immigration officials apprehended just over 64,000 migrants at the southern border in August - a dramatic drop that the Trump administration is presenting as a sign its diplomatic engagement with Mexico and other countries is having positive effects on the ground.

The 64,006 migrants apprehended or deemed inadmissible represents a 22 percent drop from July, when 82,055 were apprehended, and a 56 percent drop from the peak of the crisis in May, when more than 144,000 migrants were caught or deemed inadmissible. While the numbers typically drop in the summer, the plummet is steeper than typical seasonal declines.

Meanwhile, the number of caravans has also dropped. In May, 48 caravans of migrants were recorded coming to the U.S. In August, the tally was six. Border Patrol now has fewer than 5,000 migrants in custody, down from 19,000 at the peak in the spring.

The numbers are still technically at crisis levels, but nevertheless, the trend is clear and proves that Trump's policies are working. "That international effort is making an impact. Mexican operational interdiction is certainly [the] highlight of that effort, but the shared responsibility we're seeing in the region, governments stepping up and saying we also own this," said Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Monday while on Fox News. Another senior administration official said that "the tariff threat with Mexico changed the dynamic significantly with our partners."

Trump announced in May that he intended to impose tariffs on Mexico if it did not help the U.S. combat the migration crisis. Trump ultimately suspended the tariffs days before after a deal was reached that included Mexico taking "unprecedented steps" to boost enforcement, including deploying its National Guard, while the MPP, known informally as the "Remain in Mexico" policy, was expanded.

Mexico has now been giving those migrants a permit to remain, work authorizations and social security and providing free transportation to anyone who wants to return to their home countries.

A senior administration official pointed to engagement with countries in Central America and agreements made with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador on issues such as human smuggling - the main countries sending migrants to the U.S. The official said that Honduras has so far more than doubled its border force after the U.S. requested they triple it.

A long-term solution to the problem of illegal immigration must still come from Congress, which seems unlikely as long as Democrats control the House. Thankfully Trump is doing something to solve the problem.



Who's benefiting from Trump's economy? Minorities and the poor 

The Washington Post reports, "For the first time, most new hires of prime working age (25 to 54) are people of color, according to a Washington Post analysis of data the Labor Department began collecting in the 1970s. Minority hires overtook white hires last year." If, as the Leftmedia loudly insists, President Donald Trump is a racist only interested in promoting white nationalism, he's evidently doing a terrible job of it. In fact, under Trump's leadership, black unemployment has hit record lows. And it's not just blacks; minorities in general are enjoying record employment levels, as are white Americans.

Meanwhile, as the economy under Trump has surged, the number of Americans on food stamps has dropped by over six million since January 2017. The Daily Caller notes, "In February 2017, the first month after Trump took office, 42,297,791 persons were participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. As of June 2019, 36,029,506 persons were participating in the program."

Yet during Barack Obama's long "recovery," the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps doubled, from 1.9 million to 3.9 million. One of the main factors for this increase can be tied to Obama's waiving of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act's work requirements. While Obama increased the number of Americans who depended on the federal government (and, by extension, the Democrat Party), Trump's actions have reversed this trend and now fewer Americans find themselves on the government dole.



Roughly 6.2 million people have dropped off food stamps since President Donald Trump's first month in office

Data from the USDA shows 6,268,285 individuals have left the food stamp program since Trump took office.

In February 2017, the first month after Trump took office, 42,297,791 persons were participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. As of June 2019, 36,029,506 persons were participating in the program.

Similarly, 20,937,903 households were participating in the program in February of 2017 - a number which slimmed down to 18,230,968 by June 2019 revealing that 2,706,935 households dropped out of the food stamps program since Trump took office.

Under the Obama administration as part of a 2009 stimulus package, states were allowed to waive work requirements for food stamps and the number of childless adults on food stamps doubled.

The number of able-bodied adults on food stamps doubled from 1.9 million in 2008 to 3.9 million in 2010 when Obama signed his stimulus bill and suspended a rule under the 1996 Welfare Reform Law that regulated how long able-bodied adults without dependents could collect food stamps.




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, 2019

New York to commemorate 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks by disciples of Satan

It's been 18 years since the September 11 attacks left nearly 3,000 people dead in the worst act of terrorism the nation has ever experienced. On Wednesday, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum will commemorate the lives lost with a ceremony honoring those killed at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and aboard Flight 93 - as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

CBSN New York will live stream the ceremony starting at around 8:25 a.m. ET from the 9/11 Memorial plaza in lower Manhattan

As has happened in years past, the names of those killed will be read during Wednesday's ceremony



"The Trump "dynasty" will "last for decades""

I think the Donald is a rare original with no member of his family a patch on him.  Even his Veep is not up to his standard.  It's early days but I like Ted Cruz as his successor -- JR

Paul Mirengoff

AP reports that Brad Parscale, President Trump's reelection campaign manager, said yesterday that the president and his family are "a dynasty that will last for decades, propelling the Republican Party into a new party." It never hurts for the campaign manager to flatter the candidate and his family, especially when the candidate's two sons are key members of the campaign team.

Is Parscale's prediction sound? Arguably, Trump by himself is propelling the GOP "into a new party." Whether this effect will endure and whether it will be carried forward by members of his family may depend on how the Trump presidency ends.

Or it may not. George H.W. Bush's presidency didn't end well. Yet, one of his sons became president and another became a popular governor of a large state.

Bill Clinton's presidency ended better. He served two terms and was popular at the end of the second. Yet, Hillary Clinton never became president and, in fairly short order, the Democratic party moved well to the left of where it was during the Clinton presidency.

But the Trump presidency represents a sharper break with his party's past than the Bush 41 and Clinton presidencies did. So I do think the extent to which the Trump transformation endures and is carried further by members of his family depends on how successful his presidency is deemed.

In thinking about a Trump dynasty, we probably should distinguish among potential dynasts and, especially, between his two adult sons on the one hand and Ivanka/Jared on the other. Ivanka strikes me as clearly to the left of Don Jr. and Eric. Reportedly, she likes to tell people that she's not a conservative.

Thus, the desirability of a Trump dynasty probably depends on which family members would ascend.

The Trump dynasty Parscale envisages is "one that will adapt to changing cultures." "One must continue to adapt while keeping the conservative values that we believe in," he explained.

That's true. But a dynasty can't maintain conservative values if it adapts too much to "changing cultures."

Ivanka seems already to be adapting to changing sub-cultures. So if there is to be a Trump dynasty, I hope the dynasts won't include her.



Jobs Report Blows Away Recession Fears as Trump Economy Continues to Soar

Rick Manning

There were fewer people unemployed in America in August 2019 than there were in August 1975 when we were just shy of 69 million fewer people in the economy.

I graduated from Norco High School in 1975. I am now eligible to collect Social Security. And there are fewer Americans unemployed today than the summer I graduated high school.

If this doesn't shock you, then nothing will.

Economies can be measured by many things, the number of people who want a job but can't find one is perhaps the most important political and human measure.

To provide a shorter time frame, there are 4.2 million more Americans in the civilian labor force since January 2017, when Donald Trump became President, and there are 1.5 million fewer Americans who are unemployed today than then. Even as the labor participation rate (percentage of people 16 and older who are in the workforce) has risen from 62.9 percent to 63.2 percent.

A total 5.7 million more jobs have been created.

What we are witnessing is almost an economic miracle. More people are working today at 157.8 million than at any time in history. Fewer people are unemployed this August than in any August since 1974. The last time fewer Americans were unemployed during this month, the pet rock was a popular gift, the Godfather Part II and Blazing Saddles were the two most popular movies and the Vietnam War was still raging.

For all the economic doom and gloom Eeyores, try to find your inner Tigger, because America is working, wages continue to climb, and inflation remains low. And the economy is defying the gravitational expectations of the regular business cycle, largely because Americans are coming back into the workforce; and in spite of the constant negative Nancy news, they are positive about the future.

One final nail in the partisan pessimists down talking the economy coffin is the simple fact that the unemployment rate of 3.7 percent marks the fifteenth time in 18 months that the unemployment rate has been below 4 percent. The last time prior to this run that the unemployment rate was below 4 percent was in January of 1970, almost 50 years ago.

As proof, the much disliked Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with their intrusive blue gloves, reported that the nine busiest days in their history occurred this summer. Note to CNBC: People don't decide to travel by plane when they believe that their incomes are in jeopardy. Instead they do the staycation which became so popular during the Obama era.

The simple fact is that Americans are not only working but they are making more money today than they have in the past. The household median income rose to a record $61,372 in 2017, as more Americans are benefitting from wage gains earned. The 2018 number will be reported in October, and given the on-going 3.2 percent year over year increases reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is obvious that 2018 and 2019 will have been even better years for American's pocketbooks.

With all of the down talking of the economy by political and economic pundits, it is important for people to understand that what they are experiencing in the personal lives is what others are - this economy rocks. If you want a job, you can get a job, and you are getting paid more for the same work today than you were last year without inflation eating away all or more of your wage gains.

Yet, problems still remain. Opioid and other addictions continue to have a hollowing out effect on our workforce. As large as the labor force is, and it's never been larger, there would be about 6.9 million more people aged 16-64 in the workforce today if the labor participation rate for that age group was the same today as it was in 1997. This addiction crisis is also fueling a homeless problem which HUD Secretary Ben Carson is striving to address.

Here's the good news, that number used to be 9.7 million, meaning 2.8 million working age adults have reentered the labor force and have jobs, with 16-64-year-old labor participation rising from 72.7 percent in 2015 to 73.8 percent in 2018. The restored hope that this represents is the untold story of renewal that is hidden by a media animus toward Donald Trump that refuses to deliver good news.

But even in a time of unprecedented low unemployment rates, work still remains to be done to bring people who have been left behind, like those with disabilities, out of the shadows and into the workforce. The fact that almost 36 million Americans remain on food assistance programs shows that the economy has not yet lifted enough boats to self-sufficiency. The fact that 8.1 million fewer people are on food assistance than when President Trump took office shows that our nation is heading in the right direction.

America should be celebrating the Trump economic success story, and judging by the summer vacation travel reports, it appears that the people get it, even if the media doesn't.



Black Unemployment Rate Hits Record Low

Let's keep the MAGA train rolling, folks. After the great news that the Fed is not predicting a recession anytime soon, the latest jobs numbers also indicate that black unemployment is the lowest its ever been in the United States since the government began tracking this figure.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that black unemployment fell to 5.5% in August.

As Richard Walters of the GOP said, "New jobs report shows higher wages, higher labor participation rate, and lowest black unemployment ever on record. @realDonaldTrump  continues to deliver for all Americans on the economy!"

Even CNN admitted this was good news. Here's part of the breakdown they gave:

The previous record low of 5.9% was set in May 2018.

The unemployment rate for black women fell to a record 4.4% from 5.2% in July. The unemployment rate for black men crept up to 5.9% from 5.8%. But the previous month's rate was a record, so the rate is still near its historic low.

Unemployment among workers who identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino also fell in August to 4.2%, which matched a record low set earlier this year.

Responding to this news, the president on Twitter said, "The Economy is great. The only thing adding to 'uncertainty' is the Fake News!"



U.S. Announces Its Withdrawal From U.N. Human Rights Council

Happy days!

After more than a year of complaints and warnings - some subtle and others a little less so - the Trump administration has announced that the United States is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley announced the decision in a joint statement Tuesday.

"I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from human rights commitments," Haley told the media. "On the contrary, we take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights."

The move comes as little surprise from an administration that frequently has lambasted the 47-member body for a gamut of perceived failures - particularly the dubious rights records of many of its member countries, as well as what Haley has repeatedly called the council's "chronic bias against Israel."

Haley harked back to a speech she delivered to the council one year ago this month, in which she laid down something of an ultimatum. At that point, she told members that they must stop singling out Israel for condemnation and must clean up their roster - which includes Venezuela, China and Saudi Arabia, among others - or the council could bid the U.S. farewell.

In remarks to the Graduate Institute of Geneva, given the same day as her council speech, Haley made the matter plain.

"If the Human Rights Council is going to be an organization we entrust to protect and promote human rights, it must change," she said. "If it fails to change, then we must pursue the advancement of human rights outside of the council."

In the year that has elapsed since those speeches, such reforms never happened. Instead, she said, the council stayed silent on violent repression in Venezuela, a member state, and welcomed another country with a problematic record of its own, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"The council ceases to be worthy of its name," Haley said, explaining the U.S. withdrawal. "Such a council in fact damages the cause of human rights."



Who is Elizabeth Warren? her fundraising tactics provide a clue

Paul Mirengoff

It's not easy to distinguish the policy positions of Elizabeth Warren from those of avowed socialist Bernie Sanders. Yet, the establishment fears Sanders and seems comfortable enough with Warren.

Why? I think it's because they suspect that Warren's radicalism isn't nearly as sincere as Sanders's.

This New York Times article about Warren's fundraising confirms both the establishment's comfort with Warren and her lack of sincerity. The Times documents that Warren raised large amounts of money from establishment donors during her campaign for reelection to the Senate in 2018:

"On the highest floor of the tallest building in Boston, Senator Elizabeth Warren was busy collecting big checks from some of the city's politically connected insiders. It was April 2018 and Ms. Warren, up for re-election, was at a breakfast fund-raiser hosted for her by John M. Connors Jr., one of the old-guard power brokers of Massachusetts.

Soon after, Ms. Warren was in Manhattan doing the same. There would be trips to Hollywood and Silicon Valley, Martha's Vineyard and Philadelphia - all with fund-raisers on the agenda. She collected campaign funds at the private home of at least one California megadonor, and was hosted by another in Florida. She held finance events until two weeks before her all-but-assured re-election last November"

Bernie Sanders has never raised that kind of money from this donor class. He hasn't wanted to, and couldn't if he did.

Soon after securing reelection, Warren announced her bid for the presidency. She funded her campaign, in the first instance, with the money she had raised from big donors when running for the Senate. At the same time, Warren made a splash with the Democratic left by announcing that her presidential campaign would not raise money from big donors:

"The open secret of Ms. Warren's campaign is that her big-money fund-raising through 2018 helped lay the foundation for her anti-big-money run for the presidency. Last winter and spring, she transferred $10.4 million in leftover funds from her 2018 Senate campaign to underwrite her 2020 run, a portion of which was raised from the same donor class she is now running against"

The early money Warren transferred to her presidential campaign has made a big difference. According to the Times, Warren was able to invest early in a massive political organization - spending 87 cents of every dollar she raised in early 2019 - without fear of bankrupting her bid. The money also gave her a financial backstop to lessen the risk of forgoing traditional fundraisers.

Ed Rendell, the epitome of an establishment insider, says of Warren: "Can you spell hypocrite?" Rendell recruited donors to attend an intimate fund-raising dinner for Warren last year at a Philadelphia steakhouse where the famed cheese steak goes for $120. He said he received a "glowing thank-you letter" from Warren afterward.

But when Rendell co-hosted a fundraiser for Joe Biden this spring, the Warren campaign derided the affair as "a swanky private fund-raiser for wealthy donors." Says Rendell:

"She didn't have any trouble taking our money the year before. All of a sudden, we were bad guys and power brokers and influence-peddlers. In 2018, we were wonderful"

Warren's hypocrisy bothers Rendell and, I assume, certain other donors who are supporting Biden. But there's little evidence that they fear what she would do in the White House.

Sure, they would prefer Biden, whom they see as safer and more likely to defeat Trump. But Warren doesn't alarm them the way Sanders does. Otherwise, presumably, they would not have been so generous to her in 2018.

Who is the real Elizabeth Warren, the friend of the Democratic establishment or its scourge? To me, she's just an ambitious pol who, if elected president, will try to straddle the line. Just as she has with her fundraising.



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, 2019

Can Americans discuss race?

There is a Newsweek article here under the title 'FEEL HOW THAT FEELS' A young woman of color's take on why the fight against racism has to start with owning it written by a black woman called Nadira Hira.  It starts from the view that we are all racists to some degree, a view long held by most psychologists.  She includes herself and other blacks in that. And she thinks we should talk about it.

The article is long and rambling so I won't reproduce any of it here but I think I can see a large problem in it. A large part of what she writes hinges on definitions.  There are many ways you can define racism and it matters. She strongly argues that whites normally define racism too narrowly -- as bad things done by bad people -- and that blacks tend to disown their racial biases also.  So she wants all of us to discuss openly the many ways we are racist -- in the view that we will make it less harmful by doing so.

But there is a big obstacle to that.  Leftists ALREADY define racism very broadly and, the way they do it, no dialogue will ever come out of it. Leftists call just about EVERYTHING they disagree with racist and condemn it sweepingly.  If she wants to get any dialog about race going, she has somehow to shut up the race-baiting Left. And that will be hard -- as the Left are so bereft of ideas that they would often be left with nothing to say if you took that robotic insult away from them.

So it's an essay that I mostly agree with but it is pissing into the wind.  The Left have effectively shut down almost all intelligent dialog about race in America. Just mentioning the word "race" will normally expose you to a tirade of abuse. And the claim that blacks are racist too will cause many of them them to go completely off their brains


Did Trump Rallies Really Increase Hate Crimes by 226%?

The short answer is "of course not." And you don't even have to work very hard to debunk it.

After the tragedy in El Paso, the media went absolutely berserk.


"The president cannot be absolved of responsibility for inciting the hatreds that led to El Paso," read a  New York Times piece. Democratic presidential contenders echoed this sentiment, with Beto O'Rourke  saying Trump's rhetoric "has a lot to do with" the shooting and Kamala Harris  alleging that Trump was "tweeting out the ammunition" used by the El Paso shooter.

Blaming the words of controversial politicians for the acts of terrorists and lunatics without hard evidence is not new. However, a recent academic paper, reported on by numerous outlets before it went through the peer-review process, suggests that Trump actually is to blame.

What the...? Read on, Macduff:

Studying the effects of Trump's many campaign rallies on reported hate incidents, three professors at the University of North Texas and Texas A&M-Ayal Feinberg, Regina Branton, and Valerie Martinez-Ebers- claim that Trump rallies are associated with a 226 percent  increase in such incidents.

Naturally, their study went viral. Vox, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and CNN all published articles reporting that Trump's words are so bad that exposure to them leads to a wave of hate crimes.

What in the wide, wide, world of sports are those numbskulls saying?

Using the same data and statistical procedures as Feinberg et al.,  we replicated their study's headline result. Since we did not have access to the original paper's data and code, this involved collecting each of the variables mentioned in the original paper, and then independently performing the same analysis. Wherever possible, we copied the decisions that are mentioned in the original paper. Our headline results were very close to those reported in the original paper.

So Trump rallies really do increase "hate crimes"? In the immortal words of Defense Secretary Albert Nimziki from Independence Day, "that's not entirely accurate":

Using additional data we collected, we also  analyzed the effect of Hillary Clinton's campaign rallies using the identical statistical framework. The ostensible finding: Clinton rallies contribute to an  even greater increase in hate incidents than Trump rallies.

This should be enough to give any reader pause. The implied reasoning of those who cited the initial study was that Trump's caustic and seemingly racist rhetoric contributed to a crueler, more discriminatory climate, ripe for hate crimes.

If this interpretation is correct, why did Clinton inspire as many, if not more, hate incidents as Trump did? Did calling millions of Americans "deplorables" promote violence?


As you can see, the left brings Mark Twain's words to life: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." In this case, you have to ask are the professors that stupid? Or do they think that we are?

Trump makes use of the phrase "fake news" all too often. But this is definitely one instance that Trump would be correct in calling out the media for reporting "fake news." It's not only "fake," it's an outright lie.



Josh Hawley and Rick Scott's bizarre support for socialist price controls

Democrats are reaching as far to the Left as possible to appease their radical liberal base heading into the 2020 presidential primaries, whether it's through "Medicare for all," the Green New Deal, or Sen. Elizabeth Warren's plans for "big, structural change" in America. Unsurprisingly, Republicans are attempting to frame the 2020 election cycle as a fight to defeat socialism. But are they really committed to that effort?

Not all of them. Senate Republicans such as Josh Hawley of Missouri and Rick Scott of Florida are pushing for socialist price controls on prescription drugs that would cause shortages and make it financially impossible for drug innovators to invent new life-saving medications. Both of these senators were strongly opposed to a government healthcare takeover at the beginning of this year, but have since changed their positions.

Welcome to the swamp.

Hawley and Scott want the Department of Health and Human Services to control drug prices under Medicare Part B using an International Pricing Index. The index would set drug prices based on their costs in other countries, many of which have socialized healthcare systems. This includes the cost of lifesaving medications such as vaccines and cancer treatments.

In other words, they're basically saying, "Believe in the principles of small government and free markets, but only sometimes." This is not a message that will inspire the Republican base to show up at the ballot box in 2020. When Republicans abandon their small government principles, they take a beating at the polls

This is more GOP hypocrisy: Price controls are the antithesis of a free market.

Hawley and Scott are trying to have it both ways, but they cannot support individual freedom in one breath and call for a government takeover of the healthcare market in the next. Republicans understood this when they unified in strong opposition to Obamacare. Why the sudden change in position? Why are state-mandated price controls suddenly fine now?

The Republican Party needs to get its policy agenda in order, or they risk heading into the 2020 elections missing one key component that will make or break their success on election night: credibility.

When Republican lawmakers seeking reelection stand for nothing, their words mean nothing on the campaign trail. This is the root of frustration among our entire FreedomWorks community of grassroots activists - it's the reason why citizens are putting their support behind dedicated free market conservatives who will take the fight to big government policies put forward by either party.

Many of these principled conservatives, and future leaders of the Republican Party, are members of the House Freedom Caucus. They understand the swamp has a way of making lawmakers forget what ideas got them sent to Washington in the first place. They are committed to holding each other accountable to the promises they made to constituents back home.

If the Republican Party wants to restore its credibility with fiscal conservatives in 2020, it needs to stop echoing the ideas of socialist Democrats and strengthen its commitment to free markets by going back to its small government roots. When it comes to healthcare, Hawley and Scott offer a perfect example of what not to do.



With Their 'Wealth Tax' Plan, Democrats Put A Bull's Eye On Those Without It

Taxing the rich is to tax investment and there is no economic progress without investment.  And investment means job creation

Who knows who coined the phrase, but "W-2 wealth" and "you don't get rich off of W-2 income" is increasingly a thing. Or it seems that way. Executives (W-2) are often extraordinarily well-to-do, but if you want to be truly, filthy rich you must have an equity stake in something. Professional baseball players are W-2 rich and can sometimes claim tens of millions worth of annual income, but their employers are generally billionaires.

There's rich, and then there's superrich.

All of this rates discussion in consideration of how prominent Democrats increasingly view taxation. A recent Wall Street Journal report explained their vision for taxing the rich, and it's apparent that income will no longer be enough. Democrats recognize that size amounts of wealth can't really be found in W-2 income, but in ownership wealth. Ownership of a business, equity in a certain business, or highly appreciated shares in a company. About the rich, the Journal reports that the "Democrats want to shift toward taxing their wealth, instead of just their salaries and the income their assets generate." Translated, the Democrats want to go after the wealth of billionaire MLB owners. The millionaire players aren't rich enough.

Voters should be worried. Or skeptical. Or something. There's no escaping taxation, and that's true even if the vast majority of us won't be taxed. If the Democrats ever succeed in imposing a "wealth tax" that actually succeeds in confiscating the wealth of the richest, watch out. No one will be spared.

Many moons ago Joseph Schumpeter observed that the "means required in order to start enterprise are typically provided by borrowing other people's savings." This shouldn't require explanation, but companies and the jobs they must create in order to grow are a consequence of abstinence. That's why everyone is victimized when politicians go after the rich. Think about it.

The above runs counter to what's taught in economics class, or what's read in the newspaper. What we read and what we're taught is that tax cuts only work if they're directed toward middle earners and the poor since each demographic will spend a lot of the untaxed income. But consumption doesn't power economic growth. Investment is the source of growth. Tax the rich who have enormous unspent wealth, and you're taxing investment.

Readers should remember this the next time some dopey economist or economist-worshipping pundit claims that consumption powers economic growth. To believe what is absurd is the equivalent of believing that Haiti's poverty is a function of the people not getting the consumption memo from economists. No, Haitians consume very little precisely because they produce very little.

Importantly, another economic truth that cannot be refuted is Schumpeter's about savings being a requirement for starting a business. For there to be entrepreneurs there must be abstinence on the part of someone or many someones so that an idea can morph into reality. And if anyone disagrees with any of this, please produce the list of prominent businesses that got that way sans copious investment.

So the Democrats want to tax wealth? That's what they say. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and others say they want to go after the wealth of the superrich. It's only fair, or something like that. They're only going after the big fortunes. Ok, but if they do they're saying they want to tax opportunity for everyone else. Sorry, but it's true. Those with immense wealth have the means to invest immense amounts of wealth. Behind every great business is a story of a visionary founder or CEO finding the investment necessary to stave off bankruptcy. If wealth is taxed as the Democrats claim they'd like to do, there will necessarily be fewer dollars finding their way to innovative businesses with expansive visions for growth.

Notable here is that some Dems are allegedly more moderate, claim their vision is one of boosting the middle class, but their message is really no different from those more up front about their redistributive visions. Joe Biden comes to mind here. Though it's unlikely he touches a fraction of the common hands he claims to, Biden fancies himself a man of the people. Apparently the truly na‹ve believe him. Eager to curry favor with the regular people, Biden argues that the "middle class" built America, not Wall Street. Actually, that's not true. Wall Street's core function is directing the savings of others to today's and tomorrow's companies. What investment bankers do is kind of heroic with the latter in mind, and very pro-middle class. Businesses are endlessly in search of unspent wealth, and Wall Street's crucial role is one of skillfully helping large, small, and in-between corporations to attain capital in ways that maximize their ability to grow.

Biden is making the same argument as Sanders and Warren, but in stealth fashion. Yet anyone with a pulse should be able to see through the argument. They're all saying they love jobs and opportunity, but with forked tongues. Out of the mouth's other side, they're saying opportunity will somehow be abundant in concert with the confiscation of wealth held by the proverbial MLB owner. Except that what they promise cannot be.

It's the unspent wealth that is the source of all company formation, expansion, innovation. Abstinence once again fuels economic growth and the Democrats want to tax abstinence. Unknown is if any of the Democrats promising to tax savings will be asked about this obvious contradiction during the debates. The question is rhetorical.

Still, readers shouldn't be fooled by the Dems' rhetoric. Opportunity springs not from the W-2 rich, but from the owner/investor/inherited wealth rich. Keep this in mind the next time some politician promises to spread the wealth around through force. We all suffer taxes levied on those with the most.



Socialism Runs Wild: NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Mulls Requiring Licenses For Bicyclists

From the same man who brought "Meatless Monday" to New York City schoolchildren, Mayor Bill de Blasio seeks to expand the choking death grip of socialism to Big Apple residents with another authoritarian idea.

Hizzoner's 2020 presidential run has imploded like the farce that it always was and now that he has inhaled the gaseous emissions from other socialist candidates, he has plenty of time to focus on additional ways to inflict misery on his own constituents.

Now de Blasio is mulling mandating bicycle riders to be licensed by his crooked big city government and to face serious consequences if they fail to comply with his coming decree.

"We have to think about what's going to be safe for people first, but also what's going to work," the mayor said of the helmet requirement. "Is it something we could actually enforce effectively? Would it discourage people from riding bikes? I care first and foremost about safety




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, 2019

The one thing everybody missed in Brexit chaos

Although I have always followed British politics closely, I have usually found the Brexit discussions far too boring to comment on.  There is however what I see as a particularly insightful comment below by Australian commentator Joe Hildebrand

The British Prime Minister has lost three key Brexit votes in parliament in just two days - and they potentially just scored him an election win.

George W. Bush once profoundly observed: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me . er, you can't get fooled again."

What the eloquent former president meant to say was: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." In other words, if you get tricked by someone once it means they're an a**ehole. But if you get tricked twice it means you're a sucker.

This handy saying came back to me amid the rolling wall-to-wall coverage of Boris Johnson's "humiliating defeat" this week.

Indeed, the phrase "humiliating defeat" was used so universally you'd think a memo had gone out. Not even the Chinese media has such remarkable editorial consistency.

Needless to say, it is not the first time the media and political commentariat has reached such a consensus. It pretty much universally declared that Donald Trump could not be elected US President and Scott Morrison could not be elected Australian Prime Minister.

I should know - I was one of those commentators.

And of course, it was only three years ago that virtually the entire UK political establishment was convinced that the Brexit referendum would not succeed - indeed, so convinced that they were the ones who put it to a referendum in the first place.

Now those same voices are saying that Mr Johnson's Brexit plans are in tatters and his prime ministership has been dealt a crushing blow. As George W. Bush said: "Fool me once ."

In a world where all the smart people keep getting it wrong, sometimes it takes an idiot to get it right. And this is where I come in.

I am far from an expert in the ancient art of British politics, but for the life of me I cannot see a scenario in which Johnson's position isn't manifestly stronger after his supposed "humiliating defeat".

Indeed, it is hard not to suspect that Boris planned the whole thing himself.

Before the predictable accusations of bias come out, let me state yet again that I am anti-Brexit, I have always been anti-Brexit and even if I was pro-Brexit, I would be anti-Hard Brexit. The only difference between me and the current rump of Remainers is that I am also pro-democracy.

And it seems to me that a bunch of politicians trying to stop the result of a referendum being enacted, trying to stop an election being called to resolve the matter and, failing that, trying to make one of its two potential outcomes illegal is not exactly democratic. But we'll get to that later.

There are three very good reasons Boris Johnson would dearly love an election.

The first is the natural human instinct of a newly installed party leader wishing to give his prime ministership legitimacy, an instinct that is obviously amplified in both narcissists and populists (and Boris is at least one of those two things).

The second is that by almost every measure, the Conservative Party is enormously likely to win majority government under Mr Johnson - something it spectacularly failed to do under Theresa May in yet another poll shock that defied all expectations.

And, thanks to the expulsion of all the Tory MPs who crossed the floor, all newly preselected Conservative candidates would be, by definition, Johnson loyalists, thus tightening his grip on the party.

The third, and most critical, is that an election campaign under Mr Johnson would serve as a defacto second referendum on Brexit and give him an undeniable mandate to press ahead with Britain's departure from the EU under any circumstances - not to mention the numbers to do so - without having to resort to an absurd "do-over" referendum that would be harder for the Leave camp to win.

And so an election for Mr Johnson is the ultimate magic bullet. It would strengthen his leadership, his party and his cause. It would be his political Holy Trinity.

The only thing standing in his way is that the UK has fixed five-year terms and so Mr Johnson would need an extraordinary trigger for being able to justify calling one. Something like, for example, a "constitutional crisis".

This is almost certainly what Mr Johnson intended to manufacture when he announced his shock parliamentary shutdown and, sure enough, the hysteria of his opponents gave him precisely the crisis he wanted. They even christened it for him.

Now, instead of looking like he's making a cynical power play to prop up his parliamentary numbers, Boris can play the reluctant hero, appearing befuddled and besieged and attempting to resolve this historical impasse by humbly submitting to the judgment of the people - a judgment that virtually every poll shows will deliver him a thumping win.

But Boris' bonanza doesn't end there. The technical process for forcing the election requires a two-thirds majority of parliament, a safeguard designed to ensure it is a bipartisan decision and prevent precisely the sort of political opportunism Mr Johnson is trying to engineer.

Any half-smart political leader would of course deny an ascendant opponent the chance to go to the polls, which was the genesis of Paul Keating's magnificently sensual pledge to John Hewson: "I want to do you slowly."

Hand-in-hand with this concept goes the other universal rule of Westminster politics: that is, you want to avoid an ascendant opponent in the first place. You want to keep your opponent weak enough to get beaten on polling day but not so weak that their own party replaces them with someone who could beat you.

This is precisely why the Coalition never went for the jugular on Bill Shorten.

But of course both these concepts are far too complex for Jeremy Corbyn, a man whose density is rivalled only by the bottom half of the periodic table.

The UK Labour leader's refusal to co-operate with Theresa May on a soft Brexit both dramatically increased the likelihood of a hard one and rendered her position so untenable that it effectively ensured her replacement by the far more popular Boris Johnson.

Not only that, Mr Corbyn's own position on Brexit was so hopelessly compromised and confused that his only tactic of the past two years was to loudly and constantly demand the Conservatives go to the polls, apparently blissfully unaware of the possibility that when they finally granted his wish, it might be under a different leader.

Now of course his bluff has been called and sooner or later, he will have no choice but to send himself to his doom. Honestly, anyone who ever gets the chance to play cards with this guy should immediately take him up on it and chuck their car keys in the pot. A five-year-old could beat him with pair of deuces.

As a result, Corbyn has already been forced to declare that he will support the election bill once another bill has passed - banning the UK from "crashing out" of the EU - which is a rather strange caveat given that that's precisely what a huge number of people voting in the election will be voting for.

Yet even this oddly anti-democratic act - waved through in a bizarre tableau of sleeping bags and toothbrushes by the House of Lords - is utterly meaningless.

Notwithstanding the UK's somewhat unusual understanding of democracy, a re-elected Conservative government with a majority in the House of Commons could simply reverse the legislation - and it would take a very suicidal or very sleepy Lord to stand in the way of that.

In short, it appears right now that Mr Johnson will get the election he wants, will win that election with party unquestionably loyal to him, will have a mandate to do what he wants and will have the numbers to do it.

If that's a humiliating defeat then I'll have a double.

The only thing it looks like Mr Johnson might not get at this stage is his preferred exit date of October 31. Hopefully he will be able to come to terms with this with therapy and time.

The far more disturbing thing to emerge from this whole sorry sh*tshow is the outrageously elitist attitude that the masses were not educated enough to know what they were voting for in the 2016 referendum and their error must be corrected by their intellectual betters.

Even Orwell himself would marvel that in 21st century Britain, supposedly enlightened politicians are arguing that people should be able to vote any way they want as long as it's the right one. Some pigs are indeed more equal than others.

The good news is that if these people really want a government that decides what's good for them without the pesky nuisance of democracy, then there's a very big and powerful country they can move to.

The only catch is it's not in Europe.



Protesters at Chick-fil-A greatly outnumbered by a throng of customers

Chick-fil-A opened its first franchised location in Canada on Friday and was met by both a line of eager customers and a crowd of protesters.

The popular fast-food chain, famous for its Christian values, is no stranger to protests. For years, the company has been met with opposition from LGBT activists and others on the left.

Despite extensive criticism, however, Chick-fil-A has continued to prove wildly popular, besting In-N-Out this year as America's favorite fast-food restaurant, according to one major survey.

When the company's new Toronto location opened at 10:30 a.m. local time, customers "streamed in," the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Meanwhile, protesters chanted "shame" at the waiting customers and waved signs that read "Cluck-off" in the restaurant's signature font. Local LGBT activists denounced Chick-fil-A's arrival in the Canadian city.

"The fact that Chick-fil-A is opening on the streets of Toronto is something that is quite alarming," Justin Khan, who works at Toronto LGBT organization The 519, told the CBC.

Protester Tommy King said that the company has "fought against equal rights in the states, and if they're here, they're probably going to do the same."

Protesters also chanted "we will not be silenced," though it was not clear who, if anyone, was attempting to silence them.



Farmers are facing persecution in South Africa

A delegation of 30 South African farming families has arrived in Russia's farmbelt Stavropol region, Rossiya 1 TV channel reports. The group says it is facing violent attacks and death threats at home.

Up to 15,000 Boers, descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa, are planning to move to Russia amid rising violence stemming from government plans to expropriate their land, according to the delegation.

"It's a matter of life and death - there are attacks on us. It's got to the point where the politicians are stirring up a wave of violence," Adi Slebus told the media. "The climate here [in the Stavropol region] is temperate, and this land is created by God for farming. All this is very attractive."

The new South African government lead by President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to return the lands owned by white farmers since the 1600s to the black citizens of the country. The government said it is planning to put an end to what it calls the legacy of apartheid, where most of South Africa's land is still in the hands of its minority white population.

Rights groups have said the initiative incites violence. There were 74 farm murders and 638 attacks, primarily against white farmers, in 2016-17 in South Africa, according to data by minority rights group AfriForum.

The farmers are ready to make a contribution to Russia's booming agricultural sector, according to Rossiya 1. Each family is ready to bring up to $100,000 for leasing the land.

Russia has 43 million hectares of unused farmland. The country has recently begun giving out free land to Russian citizens to cultivate farming. The land giveaway program, which began in 2014, has been a huge success



Students who never go on dates are happier and more sociable than their peers in relationships

Score 1 for Christians

Teenagers who avoid dating aren't necessarily socially awkward, experts have found.

In fact, they sometimes have better mental health than their romantically-linked peers and are equally well-adjusted.

That's the conclusion reached by researchers at the University of Georgia, who studied nearly six-hundred tenth grade students.  

As a result, experts say schools should promote being single as a viable option of healthy development among adolescents.    

Researchers at the University of Georgia studied nearly six-hundred tenth grade students.

They first identified four distinct dating trajectories from 6th to 12th grade: low, increasing, high middle school and frequent.

Investigators then compared the four dating groups using teacher ratings and student questionnaires. 

The researchers identified four distinct dating trajectories from 6th to 12th grade: low, increasing, high middle school and frequent.

Investigators compared the four dating groups using teacher ratings and student questionnaires. 

The data found that adolescents who were not in a romantic relationship had good social skills and low depression, and fared better or equal to peers who dated.

'In the end, school health educators, mental health professionals, and teachers should affirm social norms that support adolescents' individual freedom to decide whether to date or not, indicating that both are acceptable and healthy options,' said lead author Brooke Douglas, of the University of Georgia.

The study was published in the Journal of School Health.

Meanwhile, a separate study from February 2019 found that a woman's willingness to engage in casual sex at college depends on how romantically active they were at school.

Dr Laurie Hawkins from the University of Essex conducted 45 interviews with undergraduate women at a large public Western United States.

They were asked to give their views on sexuality in adolescence as well as their sexual and romantic relationships in college.

Classified into five categories - religious, relationship seekers, high school partiers, late bloomers and career women - the late bloomers were the most frivolous with sexual partners, suggesting they were making up for lost time.

Meanwhile, women who were sexually experienced in high school were less concerned about casual encounters.  

Dr Hawkins told MailOnline: 'The late bloomers were an interesting group. They pretty much ignored sex but once they did engage in sex/hookup culture at university, they jumped into it more than others and were among the most sexually active of all the groups.

'However, since they had fairly negative feelings about the appropriateness of sex, they needed a way to justify their own behaviour so they engaged in slut shaming of other women in order to make themselves feel better about their own behaviour - they might be having sex, but others were doing it more and therefore their sexual behaviour was better.

'I think they talked about it more as it was a way to engage in social comparison so they could bolster their feelings about their own participation in casual sex culture.'



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

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


8 September, 2019

Sharpie President? Alabama National Guard Mobilized for Hurricane Dorian

On Thursday, Twitter lit up with the hashtag #SharpiePresident, as people mocked President Donald Trump for drawing a circle around the path for Hurricane Dorian, showing the hurricane threatening the Great State of Alabama. The memes are hilarious, but the hurricane really did threaten Alabama, as Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown said in a letter defending the president. In fact, the Alabama National Guard mobilized for the hurricane days before Trump's infamous Sharpie snafu.

On Wednesday, Trump shared the original projections, to which someone added a circle in Sharpie to emphasize the threat to Alabama. Note: in the video, Trump does not claim that Dorian was still headed toward Alabama, only that the original projections suggested it would be.

The president told The New York Times he did not know who added the Sharpie circle to the map. Liberals rushed to mock the president on Twitter, however, sharing memes about "President Sharpie."

Liberal commentators had a field day, with Stephen Colbert joking that Trump would be going to "weather jail." Democratic members of Congress also attacked the president over the image, claiming he had committed an illegal act by doctoring the map.

Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown, Trump's homeland security and counterterrorism advisor, released a statement explaining the president's position.

"As the Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, I briefed President Donald J. Trump multiple times concerning the position, forecast, risks, and Federal Government preparations for and response to Hurricane Dorian," Brown wrote. He noted that Trump's comments on September 1 "were based on that morning's Hurricane Dorian briefing, which included the possibility of tropical storm force winds in southeastern Alabama. In fact, from the evening of Tuesday, August 27 until the morning of September 2, forecasts from the National Hurricane Center showed the possibility of tropical storm force winds hitting parts of Alabama."

Yet perhaps the most important piece of evidence came from the Alabama National Guard itself. The state's National Guard started mobilizing for Hurricane Dorian because the storm was projected to hit their state.

"[Hurricane Dorian] is projected to reach southern Alabama by the early part of the week. We are watching closely and [ready] to act. Are you?" the Alabama National Guard tweeted.



DNC Resolution Takes Aim at Christians, Warning Against 'Religious Liberty'

Last month, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) passed a resolution praising the religiously unaffiliated, saying their values align with those of the Democratic Party and recognizing them as the largest religious group in that party. Yet the resolution also took up arms against "misplaced claims" of "religious liberty," warning that religious freedom threatens the "civil rights and liberties" of many liberal interest groups.

"[T]hose most loudly claiming that morals, values, and patriotism must be defined by their particular religious views have used those religious views, with misplaced claims of 'religious liberty,' to justify public policy that has threatened the civil rights and liberties of many Americans, including but not limited to the LGBT community, women, and ethnic and religious/nonreligious minorities," the DNC resolution states.

The DNC likely intended this clause to appeal to the religiously unaffiliated - better known as "nones" - but it also represents the cementing orthodoxy of the Democratic Party. Democrats have united around H.R. 5, the so-called "Equality Act," which would enshrine in American law a vision of gender identity as more important than biological sex. A broad coalition of feminists, pro-lifers, and religious freedom advocates have united to oppose this bill, including outspoken Democrats like feminist lawyer Kara Dansky.

Senate Democrats have launched attacks on the religious faith of Trump nominees, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) infamously saying, "the dogma lives loudly within you." Former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) compared a conservative Christian law firm to the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot, and many Democrats have repeated the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) "hate group" accusation against conservative Christian groups, something that's  been outed as a cynical fundraising scheme.

The type of religious liberty the DNC attacked as "misplaced" likely refers to the very public court battles over whether or not religious artistic professionals can opt out of endorsing same-sex weddings.

Christian baker Jack Phillips, for example, refused to bake a custom cake for a same-sex wedding, although he gladly sells all sorts of pre-made cakes to LGBT people in his shop. Yet the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that he had discriminated against people on the basis of sexual orientation. He appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court and won - because members of the commission displayed animus against his religious faith, comparing his views to those of the Nazis.

Even after this Supreme Court victory, Phillips again faced the commission. A transgender lawyer asked him to bake an obscene custom cake celebrating the lawyer's gender transition. Phillips refused, citing his free speech right not to be forced to endorse a view with which he disagrees. The commission again found him guilty of discrimination, but it dropped the complaint in March 2019. The lawyer promptly sued Phillips.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represented Phillips and many similar cases. The SPLC has accused this group of being a "hate group," leading Franken to demonize it on the scale of Pol Pot. Yet ADF's ideological opponents - former ACLU president Nadine Strossen and Mikey Weinstein, current head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (a secularist group) - have insisted that ADF is not a "hate group." The demonization rapidly gaining steam in the Democratic Party goes too far for some outspoken secular lawyers.

Of people like Phillips and those who defend them, like ADF, LGBT mega donor Tim Gill said, "We're going to punish the wicked."

The DNC also mentioned attacks on women, likely a reference to the religious liberty of doctors, nurses, and Catholic medical facilities to opt out of performing or assisting in abortions in violation of their consciences. Yet pro-abortion activists have dressed up as handmaids from The Handmaid's Tale in protest of such liberties, suggesting that any restriction on abortion is tantamount to a misogynistic dystopia where women are ritualistically raped in order to bear children at the dictates of a conservative Christian government.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, compared the Trump administration's refusal to pay for an illegal immigrant woman's abortion to - you guessed it - The Handmaid's Tale.

According to research by sociologists George Yancey and David Williamson, animus against conservative Christians is just as strong as animus against other religious groups besides atheists. This "Christianophobia" is mostly directed against "fundamentalism," and those with such animus "are more likely to be white, well educated, and wealthy." The factor most connected to Christianophobia in their study was politics: "Nearly half of the anti-fundamentalists in our sample were political progressives."

Jack Phillips Opens Up About Being Compared to a Nazi, Though His Dad Liberated a Concentration Camp
In fact, one of Yancey's studies showed that some people who did not have a high view of LGBT people nonetheless supported LGBT activism while reporting high levels of animus against conservative Christians. Yancey suggested that "hatred of Christians" can lead to "support for sexual minorities."

Many liberals do genuinely fear that religious liberty protections will make it impossible for LGBT people to find and keep a job, to find a place to live, and to flourish in society. Current activism goes far beyond these legitimate concerns, however.

Cases like that of Jack Phillips represent an overreach far beyond a "live and let live" compromise. These cases are less about making sure that LGBT people can thrive and more about forcing Christians to violate their consciences.

Liberals often claim that religious liberty is a tool to protect religious minorities, and it seems that argument is on full display in the pro-nones resolution. Indeed, it is fundamentally important to protect the religious liberty of all.

But the logic of opposing religious liberty for Christians - who are nominally a majority in the U.S. despite the stigma against conservative Christians - would also result in a loss of religious liberty for religious minorities like Muslims, Jews, and even nones.

Last year, lawyers for the State of Minnesota argued that the state should be able to force a Christian media company to make videos celebrating same-sex weddings in violation of its Christian beliefs. In arguments before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, those lawyers admitted that if the state could force Christian filmmakers to violate their religious beliefs, it could force a Muslim tattoo artist to write a message that tattoo artist disagrees with, like inking "Jesus Christ is the Son of God" on a Christian customer.

Religious liberty must be for everyone or no one. Democrats want to excoriate Christians when they want to live according to their consciences, but they want to champion religious minorities in the same struggle. This is rank hypocrisy.

The DNC could have welcomed religious nones into the party without a gratuitous attack on the religious liberty claims of conservative Christians. Instead, it arguably appealed to a Christianophobia that has gone too far, even for prominent secular lawyers like Mikey Weinstein.

And some people wonder why evangelicals are flocking in droves to Donald Trump.



The Left Has a $500 Million Dark Money `ATM Machine' Called Arabella

A largely unknown, massively funded strategy company pushing the interests of wealthy leftist donors has been quietly behind a hydra-like dark money network of pop-up groups designed to look like grassroots activist organizations. These front groups push everything from opposition to President Trump's proposed border wall to support for Obamacare to gun control to government control of the Internet to pro-abortion activism and other leftwing causes.

The secretive Arabella Advisors may be one of the most impactful and sophisticated leftist funding outfits that you never heard of, a centralized hub that runs nonprofit arms that in turn have spawned a nexus of hundreds of front organizations outwardly designed to appear grassroots but that evidence the common theme of more government control in the lives of Americans.

Arabella's vast network was unmasked in an extensive expos‚ by conservative watchdog Capital Research Center, which documents the shadowy system developed by, housed in, and staffed by the for-profit, privately held Arabella Advisors.

The Arabella firm in turn manages four nonprofits: the New Venture Fund, Sixteen Thirty Fund, Windward Fund, and Hopewell Fund. It is these nonprofit entities that play host to hundreds of groups and projects that promote interests and political movements strategically deployed in an ongoing campaign to nudge the country to the left.

Arabella's nonprofits spent a combined $1.16 billion from 2013-2017 alone with the aim of advancing "the political policies desired by wealthy left-wing interests through hundreds of `front' groups," according to the report. "And those interests pay well: the network's revenues grew by an incredible 392 percent over that same period."

"Together, these groups form an interlocking network of `dark money' pop-up groups and other fiscally sponsored projects, all afloat in a half-billion-dollar ocean of cash," states the report. "The real puppeteer, though, is Arabella Advisors, which has managed to largely conceal its role in coordinating so much of the professional Left's infrastructure under a mask of `philanthropy.'"

A specialty of the Arabella network seems to be the quick turnover of hundreds of "front" groups, especially websites timed to impact current events and designed to look like "grassroots" Astroturf organizations but that actually function as part of an orchestrated movement to advance the political interests of hidden leftist donors.

"At a glance, these groups - such as Save My Care and Protect Our Care - appeared to be impassioned examples of citizen activists defending ObamaCare," according to the report. "In reality, neither `not-for-profit' advocacy group appears to have paid staff, held board meetings, or even owned so much as a pen."

In one case, an organization calling itself Demand Justice, founded by former members of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, quickly thrust itself into the center of opposition to Trump's Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh.

Even before Trump announced Kavanaugh as his nominee, Demand Justice committed to spending about $5 million to oppose the eventual pick. As soon as Kavanaugh's name was selected, the organization immediately deployed an anti-Kavanaugh website and helped lead news making national activism during the confirmation hearings.

Yet what the news media missed is that Demand Justice is fiscally sponsored by the Sixteen Thirty Fund, one of Arabella's nonprofits, as the Capital Research Center report reveals.

The report shows similar setups have spawned organizations that serve as the backbone of the Obamacare support network, promote gun control, support pro-abortion activism, champion open border policies, and even advocate for a centralized government role on the Internet.

Arabella nonprofits also evidence close financial workings with initiatives for the Democracy Alliance, another network of highly influential donors, including billionaire George Soros. Democracy Alliance itself coordinates funding to even more leftist outfits.

Arabella Advisors was founded by Eric Kessler, whose bio on the firm's website identifies him as "a serial entrepreneur who has started, led, and advised organizations pursuing social change across the country and around the globe."

Curiously missing from his official bio, but documented in the Capital Research Center report, is the detail that Kessler served as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, an arm of the controversial Clinton Foundation.

The report concludes by asking, "Given that many of the groups managed by Arabella frequently call for transparency in the funding of campaigns and policy advocacy, they may first consider voluntarily disclosing their own funding sources. Why shouldn't transparency begin at home?"



$3 Billion State Stem Cell "Flop" Now Wants $5.5 Billion More

This month, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), California's state stem-cell agency, hands out its final grants. By the count of Anna Ibarra of California Health Line, that marks $3 billion CIRM has spent-"6 billion with interest"-with scant returns for California taxpayers. In 2004 Proposition 71, which authorized CIRM, promised a host of life-saving cures for cancer, Alzheimer's and other diseases, but the FDA has yet to approve "any treatments funded by CIRM."

In similar style, founder Robert Klein, a wealth real-estate developer, promised a stream of fees and royalties that would make CIRM self-supporting. The stem-cell agency reported no royalties until 2018, and only in the amount of $190,345.87. That is less than the salary of former state senator Art Torres, whom CIRM hired when it had a biotech professional willing to work for no salary. With royalties amounting to chump change, and none of the promised cures in the offing, CIRM bosses have a plan.

"Supporters already plan to go back to voters in November 2020 to ask for even more money than last time," Ibarra explains, "$5.5 billion, plus interest." As Marcy Darnovsky of the Berkeley Center for Genetics and Society told Ibarra, "it's a lot of money, even for the state of California." The original $3 billion was redistributed to cronies.

In 2012, it emerged that CIRM was handing out more than 90 percent of its grants to institutions with representatives on its governing board. That was the sort of thing that got state education superintendent Bill Honig busted on felony conflict-of-interest charges in 1993. In 2012, state Attorney General Kamala Harris looked the other way at CIRM, and so did legislators. Klein wrote Proposition 71 to install himself as chairman, and he kept CIRM from legislative oversight by requiring a 70 percent supermajority of both houses to make any structural or policy changes.

As it happens, Robert Klein was also the prime mover of the California Housing Finance Agency, the state's "affordable housing lender." CalHFA claims to be "a completely self-supporting state agency, and its bonds are repaid by revenues generated through mortgage loans, not taxpayer dollars." CalHFC's 15-member board of directors includes former assemblywoman and current state treasurer Fiona Ma, who is also on the "audit committee." CalHFA does not indicate whether it ever directed public funds to projects in which board members have a financial interest, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has not tasked state auditor Elaine Howle to investigate.

Meanwhile, $5.5 billion is a lot of money, even for California, and especially for a state agency that Marcy Darnovsky describes as "a flop."



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, 2019

Sirach 44

A Roman Catholic Bible has a number of books that Protestant Bibles do not have.  The church calls them deutero-canonical books: ancient books of wisdom that do not have the same authority as the rest of the Bible. The acceptance of some of these books among early Christians was widespread, though not universal. Martin Luther considered these books very good and useful reading; John Calvin considered them as work of Satan.

They are clearly later than the generally accepted books of the Old Testament.  For a start, they have mostly come down to us in Greek, with only fragments extant in Hebrew.  They also recount events much closer to the time of Christ. -- such as the revolt of the Maccabees

For the first thousand years of Christianity, there was no general agreement about what books rightly belonged in the Old Testament.  The various church fathers all had their own lists and some of the deutero-canonical books were normally included -- though not always the same deutero-canonical books.

But when Jews formulated their Masoretic text -- ending in the 10th century -- their selection of books gradually gained authority.  Protestant Bibles are based on it. Since the deutero-canonical books were widely accepted among early Christians, however, they are clearly part of the Christian tradition and deserve respect for that.

I am not well-read in the deutero-canonical books but I rather like chapter 44 of Sirach. Below is an excerpt in a modern translation:

1 Now allow us to praise famous people and our ancestors, generation by generation.

2 The Lord created great glory, his majesty from eternity.

3 They ruled in their kingdoms, and made a name with their power, some giving counsel by their intelligence; some making pronouncements in prophecies;

4 some leading the people by their deliberations, and by their understanding of the people's learning, giving wise words in their instruction;

5 others devising musical melodies, and composing poems;

6 rich people endowed with strength, living in peace in their dwellings-

7 all of these were honored in their generation, a source of pride in their time.

8 Some of them left behind a name so that their praises might be told.

9 For some there is no memory, and they perished as though they hadn't existed. These have become as though they hadn't been born, they and even their children after them.

10 But these were compassionate people whose righteous deeds haven't been forgotten.

11 This will persist with their children; their descendants will be a good legacy.

12 Their descendants stand by the covenants, and their children also, for their sake.

13 Their descendants will last forever, and their glory will never be erased.

14 Their bodies were buried in peace, but their name lives for generations.

15 The people will tell of their wisdom, and the congregation will proclaim their praise.

It seems to me that this passage constitutes an exact repudiation of Leftism. Leftists want everybody to be equal and loathe success wherever they find it.  Far from praising and remembering great men, they mock them as "dead white males".  Leftists envy great men.  They do not honour them. As Gore Vidal said:  "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little"

But I agree with Sirach.  We SHOULD remember great men -- because we may be able to learn from them.  They represent excellence and we should aspire to excellence.  So the passage above is an emphatic expression of values that we may never hear so strongly put today but which should be part of a healthy scale of values.  It is wisdom from the Christian tradition.


The trade war may not be worth it for Wall Street, but it is worth it to Americans who have lost their jobs and towns

If you Google Peter Navarro, President Donald Trump's trade guru (he is actually called "assistant to the president and director of trade and manufacturing policy,") you might read that he is considered a "heterodox" economist. We suppose this means out of sync with many or most professional and academic economists. They regard "free trade" or unregulated, un-negotiated trade, as an article of faith.

But shouldn't economists, of all people, be the opposite of doctrinaire? Should economics not be utterly empirical? And shouldn't the national interest outweigh any abstract doctrine?

As the national media piles on regarding Mr. Trump's trade policy - protectionist in the words of some pundits and negatively nationalist in the minds of others - Mr. Navarro has become the whipping boy for an approach to trade that we are told is impractical, naive and bound to trigger a recession.

Actually, to assume that any market will entirely regulate itself, righting any and all unfairness or inequality, has long been thought naive by liberal economists and social critics. And the result of most of the "free trade" agreements made in the last 30 years would seem to verify that critique.

In truth, the gradual and structural recession that has plagued the American worker for those same years - known as deindustrialization - is the permanent recession; the recession that keeps on hurting.

Mr. Navarro is portrayed by some of the media as an economic gadfly (read "nut") when he is actually a Harvard Ph.D. whose views were, for a long time, very much in the mainstream. They may again become the prevailing common sense. That is because they are sensible.

"This country is built on manufacturing," he has said again and again. "I'm talking about a constant renewal of manufacturing. High-tech manufacturing. And what we've seen since 2000, 2001, is we've seen the exodus of our factories and jobs."

This is fact. It is empirical. This nation had some 17 million manufacturing jobs in 2000, considered the (down) turning point, and has a little under 12 million now. We've lost 5 million factory jobs in less than 20 years.

At one point - the late 1970s - almost 20 million Americans worked in manufacturing. In 1960, 1 in 4 Americans were factory workers. Today, 1 in 10 are.

Mr. Navarro, a liberal Democrat, makes what used to be a classical liberal Democratic argument about the multiplier effect of manufacturing jobs. "A manufacturing job," he told NPR a few months ago, "has inherently more power to create wealth."

"If you have the manufacturing job as the seed corn, then you have jobs in the supply chain. Then towns spring up around that where you have the retail, the lawyers, the accountants, the restaurants, the movie theaters. And what happens is when you lose a factory or a plant in a small- or medium-sized town in the Midwest, it's like a black hole. And all of that community gets sucked into the black hole and it becomes a community of despair and crime and blight rather than something that's prosperous."

This, too, is simply true.

He makes a second classical liberal Democratic argument - that by surrendering in the trade war, the U.S. government transferred wealth overseas and from American workers to foreign companies. If calling that stupid and irresponsible is"protectionist," so be it. If our government is not here to protect us, what is it here for?

Finally, Mr. Navarro makes the point that deindustrialization is a national security issue. During World War II we vastly outproduced Germany and Japan. This would not be possible today. We could not - we probably would not have the resources or the heart - fight the war today.

To view the industrial base as central to the nation's defense is not radical or new. It is rational and traditional. In 1952, when faced with a strike by the United Steelworkers, Harry Truman issued an executive order for the secretary of commerce to seize the nation's steel mills to ensure the continued production of steel. Our industrial base is our security base.

Finally, some 60 years ago, when the writer Michael Harrington's book "The Other America" (praised by John F. Kennedy) was published, it was considered enlightened, or simply decent, to have concern for the poverty of rural America, though there was no power elite there. Yet when Mr. Navarro and Mr. Trump seek to revive the emptied out heartland, and its silent factories, we are told they are selling empty promises.

Why should this be so? Why shouldn't America build things again, even if it cannot regain its once overwhelmingly dominant position in manufacturing? Why should it not be considered mainstream to protect the economic future of Americans who are not powerful and progressive to seek to create jobs, real jobs, for Americans who have, for so long, been forsaken?

We are told that fighting the trade war just isn't worth it. It makes Wall Street nervous. Maybe if your job and town are gone, the fight is worth it.



Nothing Protects Tenants Better than Adding Supply
Many Californians are clamoring for more tenant protection legislation. Lawmakers are currently considering AB1482, which aims to limit rent hikes and unfair evictions. Last year, California tenant advocates failed to pass Proposition 10, which aimed to expand rent-control.

Earlier this month, Alameda landlords Margaret and Spencer Tam made news for attempting to evict 87-year-old Holocaust survivor Musiy Rishin in order to replace him with higher-paying tenants. Then in late August police arrested a Mountain View landlord and her friends after they staged a violent home invasion in order to scare a family out of the home they were renting.

Keeping low-income families in their homes is a worthy goal. Displacement separates families from their jobs and social support systems. It exacerbates poverty and increases homelessness.

More than 16,000 households in San Francisco depend on rent control to stay in their homes. Ending it immediately would consign every low-income family in SF to either homelessness or crushing commutes. But keeping it going traps families in apartments which may or may not suit their current needs and raises rents (by a small amount) on average.

Rent control is a Band-Aid solution to the growing, nationwide problem of rent burden. Incomes among the bottom half of earners haven't grown since the Great Recession. Rents, meanwhile, are skyrocketing across the US. They're growing fastest in the cities that are creating the majority of new jobs.

Rents are increasing because high-demand cities aren't building enough new homes. Rent control attempts to keep long-term residents in their homes, but rent control without new supply creates a huge gap between market rate rents and what low-income families pay.

This disparity pits landlords against rent-control tenants. Unfortunately, when landlords go up against tenants, they nearly always win. For example, landlords are nearly always represented in wrongful eviction cases, whereas tenants can rarely find a lawyer. And where they can't prevail in court, they can always make life miserable for tenants by cutting off power like the Mountain View landlords. Or failing to maintain the property in the instance of the Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 people in Oakland in 2016. Rent control also tends to benefit older, wealthier tenants who are better able to fight evictions and don't have to move as often for work or family changes.

Limits on when and why landlords can evict tenants are supposed to protect them from displacement. But until market rates come down, landlords will be strongly incentivized to remove tenants who pay far below-market rates and replace them with market-rate tenants. And they're likely to often prevail, as the above cases show. Unfortunately, even the strongest tenant protections can't do the job of a housing market where landlords compete for tenants and not the other way around.

Rent control and tenant protections in San Francisco raise rents less than 10% on average, according to Stanford Researchers. They're the only thing keeping low-income tenants in their homes in SF. But they alone will not be enough to keep low-income renters safe. The only thing that will work for all families, long-term, is to build more housing.



Unions are the enemies of the people

I didn't have a choice about joining a union when I was hired by CBS and then ABC. They told me that if I wanted to work, I had to pay dues to AFTRA (the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists). "I'm not an 'artist'!" I complained. "I don't want to pay a middleman, and I don't want some actor setting my working conditions."

"Too bad," was the answer. "This is a union shop."

Today, 28 states no longer force workers to join unions. Last year, the Supreme Court declared that unions forcing government workers to pay dues is unconstitutional. After that, hundreds of thousands of workers stopped paying union dues. Good. Unions tend to be enemies of workplace innovation and individual choice.

Also, some of their leaders are thieves. Last week, the FBI raided homes of United Auto Workers leaders. The investigation, begun by the Obama administration, suggests Fiat Chrysler Automobiles paid union leaders millions in bribes to stay "fat, dumb and happy," as prosecutors put it, instead of protecting union members' interests.

Yet, this week, Elizabeth Warren (now the clear Democratic presidential frontrunner), said that "more than ever, America needs a strong labor movement."

This is a popular argument, fueled by the media's bashing of President Donald Trump and anyone else who supports markets. A recent Gallup poll found labor unions now have a 64% favorability rating -- the highest in 16 years.

Warren went on to say that America needs unions because "the playing field today is tilted against working families."

That's utter nonsense. The playing field is better for working families today because the animal spirits of capitalism create more wealth and opportunities in spite of unions.

Of course, unions were once needed. More than 100 years ago, the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company got the National Guard to send men with machine guns into tents occupied by strikers. They killed at least 20 people, including children and wives of miners who were burned alive.

Today, however, violence is more likely to be initiated by unions.

When I worked for ABC, delivery trucks for the New York Daily News were attacked with sticks, stones and fire on the first day of a strike. Some drivers were beaten.

Not satisfied with attacking the company and threatening violence against "scabs" who want to work, union protestors threatened newsstands that continued to sell the Daily News. Protestors seized copies of the paper and set them on fire.

Police did little to quell the violence.

No wonder many companies prefer to work with nonunion labor.

The legally mandated bureaucracy, and all the lawyers surrounding labor disputes, is another infuriating obstacle to anyone who just wants to work out a contract or get a project done.

One-size-fits-all union contracts aren't great for all workers, either. They make it tough for individuals to have their own way.

If the union at your workplace says everyone works an eight-hour day, you can't make your own deal to work a 12-hour day with higher pay. You and your boss might prefer that, but you don't get the option. The union might even call you a troublemaker, saying you put pressure on everyone to work longer hours.

In a pure free market, every entity -- whether individual or a group of individuals -- is able to make whatever contracts they like, so long as the other party agrees.

That system would include you getting to decide whether you want to join a union or remain a free individual operator.

More controversially, it would also include the right of business owners to fire people for trying to organize unions.

In a true free market, workers and management are both allowed to be tough negotiators and make demands. But neither side should have the right to get the government to dictate the terms of a contract.

Keep government out of it, so long as people stick to their contracts and refrain from violence.



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, 2019

Just TWO glasses of diet drinks each day raises the risk of an early death, reveals study by the World Health Organisation

I append the original journal abstract below. My comments at the foot of the abstract

The global study of more than 450,000 adults in 10 countries - including the UK - found that daily consumption of all types of soft drinks was linked with a higher chance of dying young.

But the rates for those drinking artificially-sweetened beverages were significantly higher than those consuming full sugar versions.

The scientists, from the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, said it would be 'prudent' to cut out all soft drinks and have water instead.

And they said taxing sugary drinks - as is done in the UK - could boost diet drink uptake for which the 'long-term' health implications' are unknown.

The research, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, is the largest study to examine links between soft drink consumption and mortality. Previous smaller studies have suggested a link, but have not found such dramatic differences.

The new research found those who consumed two or more 250ml glasses of diet drink a day had a 26 per increased risk of dying within the next 16 years. And deaths from cardiovascular disease went up 52 per cent. [Off a very small base]

For those who had two or more sugary soft drinks a day, the risk of death in the same period was raised by eight per cent.

Study leader Dr Neil Murphy, said: 'The striking observation in our study was that we found positive associations for both sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened soft drinks with risk of all-cause deaths.'

He said it is 'unclear' exactly why this is, but pointed to previous studies which suggest the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks 'may induce glucose intolerance' and trigger high blood insulin levels.

'Additional studies are now needed to examine the long term health consequences of specific artificial sweeteners that are commonly used in soft drinks, such as aspartame and acesulfame potassium,' he said.

Similar studies in the past have been criticised because experts said people who drink diet products are more likely to be unhealthy to start with.

But the new study found the link between diet drinks and death rates persisted among those of a healthy weight.

The study also raised concerns about policies that drive people from sugary drinks to diet drinks.

The authors wrote: 'Reformulation of sugar-sweetened soft drinks, in which sugar is replaced with low- or no-calorie sweeteners, is being driven by consumer awareness and fiscal instruments, such as taxes.

'Artificially sweetened soft drinks have few or no calories; however, their long-term physiological and health implications are largely unknown.'

Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: 'This study reports a possible association between higher consumption of soft drinks and an increased risk of mortality, but does not provide evidence of cause, as the authors readily admit.

'According to all leading health authorities in the world, as well as Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK, low- and no-calorie sweeteners are safe.' 


Association Between Soft Drink Consumption and Mortality in 10 European Countries

By Amy Mullee plus Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all


Importance:  Soft drinks are frequently consumed, but whether this consumption is associated with mortality risk is unknown and has been understudied in European populations to date.

Objective:  To examine the association between total, sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened soft drink consumption and subsequent total and cause-specific mortality.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  This population-based cohort study involved participants (n?=?451?743 of the full cohort) in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), an ongoing, large multinational cohort of people from 10 European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), with participants recruited between January 1, 1992, and December 31, 2000. Excluded participants were those who reported cancer, heart disease, stroke, or diabetes at baseline; those with implausible dietary intake data; and those with missing soft drink consumption or follow-up information. Data analyses were performed from February 1, 2018, to October 1, 2018.

Exposure:  Consumption of total, sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened soft drinks.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Total mortality and cause-specific mortality. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs were estimated using multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for other mortality risk factors.

Results: In total, 521 330 individuals were enrolled. Of this total, 451?743 (86.7%) were included in the study, with a mean (SD) age of 50.8 (9.8) years and with 321?081 women (71.1%). During a mean (range) follow-up of 16.4 (11.1 in Greece to 19.2 in France) years, 41?693 deaths occurred. Higher all-cause mortality was found among participants who consumed 2 or more glasses per day (vs consumers of <1 glass per month) of total soft drinks (hazard ratio [HR],?1.17; 95% CI, 1.11-1.22; P?
Conclusions and Relevance:  This study found that consumption of total, sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened soft drinks was positively associated with all-cause deaths in this large European cohort; the results are supportive of public health campaigns aimed at limiting the consumption of soft drinks.

JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 3, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.2478

There is a constant attempt in the medical literature to discredit fizzy drinks.  They are very popular so must be wrong. Sadly, most effects observed are very weak and hopelessly confounded with other factors.

The report below is of that ilk.  The hazard ratios are all close to 1.0, indicating very weak effects, too weak to support sound policy prescriptions.  Given such weak effects, any differences could be traceable to third factors, such as income, social class  and IQ, factors not controlled for in the present research.  In other words, dumb, lower class and poor people in the study probably drank more fizz so what was observed was not the characteristics of fizz drinkers but the result of the drinkers being poor etc. Without comprehensive demographic controls, the study proves precisely nothing.  Enjoy your fizz!  I do


The Left Can't Stop Lying About the Tea Party

"In the late summer of 2009, as the recession-ravaged economy bled half a million jobs a month, the country seemed to lose its mind," The New York Times says, kicking off its 10th anniversary retrospective of the tea party movement. As you can imagine, the rest of the article continues in this vein, portraying conservatives who organized against Obamacare as a bunch of vulgar radicals.

Yet even this kind revisionism wasn't enough for most contemporary leftists, who see everything through the prism of race.

"A fundamental flaw in this analysis is there is no mention of race and how much racism drove the tea party movement," ABC's Matthew Dowd claimed. "You can't talk about the rage politics and leave out race."

"How do you write a 10-years-later piece on the tea party and not mention-not once, not even in passing-the fact that it was essentially a hysterical grassroots tantrum about the fact that a black guy was president?" asked nonbiased Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery, calling it journalistic "malpractice."

Well, you get the idea.

In the first draft of this column, I joked that The New York Times might add a line about tea party "racism" before the day was over to placate the Twitter mob. It did it before I could even publish.

But it doesn't change the fact that there's no evidence that a "good deal"-or any substantial deal, for that matter-of the tea party's popularity was propelled by racism.

For one thing, the wealthy white leader of Congress at the time was just as unpopular among tea partyers as the black president. And as we've seen, had Hillary Clinton won the 2008 election, she would have generated no less anger among conservatives.

No, it was Barack Obama's leftist rhetoric and unprecedented unilateralism-he had, after all, promised "fundamental change"-that ignited what amounts to a renewed Reaganism, a fusing of idealistic constitutionalism and economic libertarianism.

Tea party protesters not only felt like they were under assault from Democrats but that they had been abandoned by the GOP establishment. If you really wanted to hear them "rage," though, you could always bring up the Caucasian former Republican president, George W. Bush, who had "abandoned free market principles to save the free market system."

As with any spontaneous political movement, some bad actors glommed onto protests. The New York Times article, for instance, informs us that "one demonstrator at a rally in Maryland hanged a member of Congress in effigy" and that a "popular bumper sticker was `Honk If I'm Paying Your Mortgage'"-as if we're supposed to be offended by the latter.

Left-wing protesters, no matter how puerile, hateful, or bigoted, are typically depicted as righteous agents of change. Conservatives and libertarians, on the other hand, "rage." The "summer of rage" typically refers to the riots that swept a number of American cities in 1967.

The tea party protests never turned violent. There were no riots. No broken Starbucks windows. It was the most peaceful "rage" you're ever going to see.

A CBS/New York Times poll at the time, in fact, found that the average tea party activist was more educated than the average American, and their concerns mirrored the mainstream. Although a majority was more socially conservative than the average voter-particularly on abortion-8 in 10 of them wanted their burgeoning movement to focus on economic issues rather than social ones.

Hardly the anarchists depicted in the media, a majority of tea partyers wanted to reduce the size of government rather than focus on cutting budget deficits or even lowering taxes, the poll found. A majority, in fact, believed that Social Security and Medicare were worthy taxpayer burdens.

Not even clamping down on illegal immigration, often the impetus for charges of racism these days, was a big topic among these activists.

The tea party had three main grievances: Obamacare, government spending, and "a feeling that their opinions are not represented in Washington."

The protests were fueled by Democrats' unprecedented action on a health care policy. A decade later, the tea party's suspicion that the health care law was merely an incremental way to move toward socialist policies turned out to be correct, as most of the Democratic Party presidential field can attest.

One thing is true, though: The majority of tea partiers were white. You know what that means, right?

And as those of us who covered the Obama administration remember, no matter how historically detailed or ideologically anchored your position might be, the very act of opposing a black president was going to be depicted as act of bigotry.

This cheap and destructive rhetoric now dominates virtually every contemporary debate, most of which have absolutely nothing, even tangentially, to do with race. It's a kind of rhetoric, in fact, that retroactively dominates our debates, as well.



Spice Company Says Republicans Are More 'Calculated' Than Nazis

Bill Penzey undoubtedly knows a lot about spices but his history is woefully lacking. That Hitler was a socialist seems to be unknown to him.  Whatever else he might be, Trump is no socialist. And that Donald Trump is as keen on deregulation as Hitler was keen on controlling all businesses also seems unknown to him.  So what is Left?  Whom has Trump gassed?  Nobody. Bill should stick to his spices.  He lives in his own little fantasy world where any mention of ethnicity leads directly to Auschwitz.  He would apperar to be a typical under-educated Leftist

He certainly would not understand why or how a conservative New Zealand blogger once started up a fake-Leftist site called Progressive Essays. The amusing part was that the content on the blog in fact consisted of recycled speeches by Hitler and various other Nazis and Fascists of history. Apparently no one spotted the difference. It was routinely linked as just another Leftist blog!

A Wisconsin-based spice company published a scathing attack on President Trump and the Republican Party - accusing them of leading the nation on a path towards "1930s German-style nationalism."

"The reality of what America's Republican Party has become stopped being deniable," Bill Penzey of Penzey's Spices wrote on the company's Facebook page. He referenced the domestic-terrorist attack in El Paso.

"As the president's intentional creation of fear and dehumanizing of Hispanic Americans turned into mass murder, what may well have been the last chance to turn the party away from the path towards 1930s Germany-style nationalism quite probably ended in the silence of Republican Party leaders," he wrote.

Penzey, who has a history of using the company's platform to attack gun-toting, Bible-clinging conservatives, called for an intervention.

"Yes, today's republicans are not yet 1943 Nazis, but no one honest is denying the parallels between the two parties," he wrote. "Today the only real debate is how far along the Nazi timeline republicans are. But as much as the 1930s Germany comparison is accurate, the value of the analogy is somewhat limited because no one in 1930s Europe had any successful idea on how to stop them."

Penzey went on to suggest that Republicans are even more evil than the Nazis.

"Plus, for all the buffoonery of the president, the actual workings of the Republican Party in the age of unlimited political spending and targeted social media are far more calculated and far more sophisticated than anything the Nazis of eighty years ago ever dreamed of. We are up against something quite formidable," he wrote.

Mr. Penzey and his company have every right to condemn President Trump and the Republican Party. But it should also be noted that President Trump and his supporters have every right to buy their spices someplace else.

And a personal note to Mr. Penzey - you might want to ease up on the smoked Paprika.




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, 2019

Labor Day outlook

Today is Labor Day, and that means the unofficial end of summer on a day of celebration of the American worker. The holiday originated in the late 19th century and was born of the labor movement, though many Americans, led by President Grover Cleveland, pushed for and secured a September date to distinguish it from the socialist/communist "International Workers Day," or "May Day," on May 1. Labor Day was made an official federal holiday in 1894.

As we mark the day, let's take a quick look at a few related topics.

First, Hurricane Dorian, currently a Category 5 monster, is heading for Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas - not exactly a welcome holiday event. The days and weeks ahead with be filled with the extensive labor and massive expense of recovery, but Americans are a resilient lot.

As for the economy, as we've hammered home in recent weeks, the positive outlook is exactly why the Leftmedia is incessantly running reports of economic doom and gloom on the horizon. A good economy is bad news for Democrats. If their prophesies come true, it will be because they succeeded in undermining consumer confidence.

Well, here are the facts: The August jobs report won't be released until this Friday, but the employment picture is largely a good one - even if recent revisions are being used by Democrats and their Leftmedia propagandists to forecast a recession. The unemployment rate stands near a 50-year low of 3.7%, meaning one of the biggest hurdles for increasing employment is that companies are finding it difficult to fill jobs with workers. Manufacturing has taken a hit because of President Donald Trump's tariffs, which are also hurting American consumers with higher prices. But Trump is calculating that the U.S. economy can withstand a needed battle with China that he didn't start.

Third, wages are growing and consumers are generally confident. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reports, "American workers under 35 report being happier with their paychecks than people over 55 for the first time since at least 2011, according to a new report from the Conference Board, a business-research organization that polls U.S. employees about workplace satisfaction. Overall, the share of workers satisfied with their paychecks rose to 46.4% in 2018, from 43% in 2017, an increase that mirrors federal data showing that wage growth accelerated in 2018." Furthermore, "Nearly 54% of U.S. workers said they were satisfied with their jobs in 2018, the highest share reported in more than two decades."



Daring to suggest that all cultures aren't equal

The Acting Provost of DePaul University issues a formal censure against me

Jason D. Hill (Who is black)

It is a common canard among the educated cognoscenti that all cultures are equal. Indeed, a few weeks after writing an article in which I declared that not all cultures were equal, the Acting Provost of DePaul University-where I am a full tenured professor of philosophy-issued what I and many others considered to be a formal censure against me. She declared that at her university it is considered an accepted truism that all individuals are valued equally, and that she was truly disheartened that a member of the academic community would assert that "not all cultures are indeed equal."

I had stated that some cultures are abysmally inferior and regressive based on their comprehensive philosophy and fundamental principles, or, lack thereof-that guide or fail to protect the inalienable rights of their citizens.

Therein lay the category mistake that an educated academic along with countless others commit conflating the individual with the cultural. A culture may be described as a multiplicity of complex systems that include the arts, laws, customs, practices, norms, mores, beliefs, knowledge, and human capabilities acquired by human-beings in society. Culture also includes language, ethical systems, and religious institutions. One can indeed say that all persons are endowed with equal and intrinsic moral worth as human beings which they may corrupt by committing morally egregious acts; but as human beings, they are possessed of inviolable moral worth and dignity.

It is, however, a category mistake to transfer this innate respect and reverence for the individual on to the landscape of culture which is not an indivisible whole, and which possesses none of the requisite attributes of individuals that make them deserving of such unassailable respect. Persons' identities are not reducible to the practices of their cultures. Some cultural practices are downright horrific and evil; some are better than others. Persons in their respective cultures are free to identify themselves with those cultural practices that align themselves with their moral identities, and distances themselves from those they find repulsive.

The Unites States of America is not a perfect civilization; however, as a rights bearing culture in which the inalienability of rights are observed, a country in which civil liberties such as freedom of speech ( for now) is still upheld, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religious association or lack thereof respected, it is vastly superior to barbaric and primitive cultures that have yet to discover the individual and his or her inviolate dignity. The United States is a republic devoted to the inalienability of those rights that are conducive to human survival and flourishing. The United States, through its Constitution and Bill of Rights, is the first political system to discover the direct correlation between the rational nature of man qua man, and the exact political milieu in which that nature has to properly live and function if it is to live rather than perish.

Sudan, Nigeria, Mauritania, Libya and Algeria -all countries which still practice and/or tolerate chattel slavery by Arab and black Muslims against other Muslims and Christians-are not the moral, political or cultural equals of the United States, Israel, Great Britain and, say, France. Those countries are vastly superior to Saudi Arabia or Iran, or North Korea and Gaza, which do not permit religious reciprocity. Its political leaders permit the beheading of homosexuals in the streets, legalize torture, and have some of the most egregious records of gender inequality in the world. In the cases of Iran, Qatar and Saud Arabia, we witness them as sponsors of world-wide terrorism, and of placing restrictions on civil liberties and a free press.

Cannibalistic Aztec culture could never and will never be the cultural equal of any civilized and free culture existing anywhere in the world today. Cultures that permit freedom of association, respect equality for all citizens and legal residents before the law, that uphold gender equality as an unsalable moral axiom, that allow  individuals to cultivate their unique life plans-generally speaking-cultures that have discovered the fact that that an environment in which freedom and liberty are the milieu in which the individual needs to cultivate his or her rational nature qua human being and live an optimal existence, are undoubtedly, superior cultures, morally, spiritually and politically speaking.

It is a mark of sheer cognitive malarkey to claim that all cultures are equal. Just as some cultures are technologically more advanced than others, so some are politically more distinguished in their record on individual rights and the protection of private property and personal liberties than others. Rape cultures, that is, cultures in which rape is sanctioned by law such as in several parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, are not moral equivalents of any western democratic countries in which rape, though committed by moral deviants, is illegal and punishable by objective law.

Brunei practices a Sharia penal code under Islamic law that allows death or stoning for adultery, homosexuality and even apostasy. Hamas continues to pose an existential threat to Israel by pounding the latter, (unprovoked), with a barrage of deadly rockets so often that one can barely keep track of the war attacks. Hamas routinely arrests and tortures peaceful critics of its totalitarian government with impunity. It is a blatant advocate and practitioner of Jihadism. There is no culture, so to speak, inside Gaza. It is defined, incidentally, by its absence of any significant life and culture. Nevertheless, even countries that lack a significant culture can wreak havoc on the lives of others.  A rich culture is potent because it creates life. One that is an ecological sociopolitical   ballast, or worse, evil, can destroy life.

The question remains, too, of not only how to think about cultures that are unequal to others but: what to do about those that are evil; cultures that exist as moral rogue states that betray the civilizational maturity expected by an international order that protects the well-being of the global commons? We are talking here of morally inverted states that pose a serious threat to the international order; evil cultures that are political sinkholes that lie outside the process of history, and that are reverting to pre-modern ages. The goals of such cultures -among other things-are to eradicate the individual, and practices of freedom and liberty from the earth.

Evil cultures are drainage systems that tax the existential, spiritual and psychological resources of their citizens who must expend a disproportionate amount of energy just to stay alive-let alone flourish.

So, what is the antidote? In a forthcoming article on moral rogue states that pose existential  threats to the global commons, countries that violate the conditions of their own sovereignty which is secured by objective constraints of justice, I will outline and philosophically defend a process of what I call: global incarceration. This involves an ethical defense of placing intolerable, incorrigible and politically inverted countries into a state of political receivership by any free and civilized country willing and able to do so based on criteria of political expediency, and military and technological capability.

Until such time, let us rid ourselves of the simplistic egalitarian idea that all cultures are equal. That some are moral and political sinkholes from which millions seek to flee is obvious. That such escapees or freedom seekers aspire to self-actualize in other cultures that, in their judgments, are better suited to their aspirations, hopes and dreams constitutes enough proof that some cultures are inimical to human well-being, and others better suited for the development and practice of human agency.



America's Poor Fare Better Than Average Persons in Canada, the UK

Sometimes the key to success is being "less worse" than your competitors. So while I'm critical of many bad policies in the United States, it's worth noting that America nonetheless ranks #6 for overall economic liberty according to the Fraser Institute.

As such, it's not surprising that America has higher living standards than most other developed nations according to the "actual individual consumption" data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

And America's advantage isn't trivial. We're more than 46 percent higher than the average for OECD member nations.

The gap is so large that I've wondered how lower-income people in the United States would rank compared to average people in other countries.

Well, the folks at Just Facts have investigated precisely this issue using World Bank data and found some remarkable results.

". after accounting for all income, charity, and non-cash welfare benefits like subsidized housing and Food Stamps-the poorest 20% of Americans consume more goods and services than the national averages for all people in most affluent countries. . In other words, if the U.S. 'poor' were a nation, it would be one of the world's richest. . The World Bank publishes a comprehensive dataset on consumption that isn't dependent on the accuracy of household surveys and includes all goods and services, but it only provides the average consumption per person in each nation-not the poorest people in each nation. However, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis published a study that provides exactly that for 2010. Combined with World Bank data for the same year, these datasets show that the poorest 20% of U.S. households have higher average consumption per person than the averages for all people in most nations of the OECD and Europe . The high consumption of America's 'poor' doesn't mean they live better than average people in the nations they outpace, like Spain, Denmark, Japan, Greece, and New Zealand. . Nonetheless, the fact remains that the privilege of living in the U.S. affords poor people with more material resources than the averages for most of the world's richest nations."

There are some challenges in putting together this type of comparison, so the folks at Just Facts are very clear in showing their methodology.

They've certainly come up with results that make sense, particularly when comparing their results with the OECD AIC numbers.

Here's one of the charts from the report:

You can see that the bottom 20 percent of Americans do quite well compared to the average person in other developed nations.

By the way, the report from Just Facts also criticizes The New York Times for dishonest analysis of poverty. Since I've felt compelled to do the same thing, I can definitely sympathize.

The bottom line is that free markets and limited government are the best way to help lower-income people enjoy more prosperity.

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy and is Chairman of the Center for Freedom an



The hazards of government healthcare: The Veterans Administration failed to stop pathologist who misdiagnosed thousands - and showed up drunk for work

It took more than three thousand misdiagnoses, a dozen or more patient deaths, and multiple alerts before the Veterans Administration caught up with its chief pathologist Robert Morris Levy. The Washington Post offers a lengthy expos‚ of the VA's internal inertia as well as the ineffectiveness of its quality controls, all of which took a terrible human cost on thousands. And the worst part is that VA officials got warned repeatedly that Levy was a problem before finally getting fired last year . over a DUI.

On the Fayetteville campus, rated one of VA's best, Levy's supervisors failed to heed early warnings that he was endangering patients and then were slow to act, according to internal VA documents, court filings and interviews with 20 congressional officials, veterans and current and former VA employees.

Federal prosecutors charged Levy, 53, last week with three counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of three veterans. VA officials now acknowledge that he botched diagnoses of at least 15 patients who later died and 15 others whose health was seriously harmed.

The number of those affected, however, is much greater, and the full repercussions of Levy's actions may not be known for years. VA officials say Levy made 3,000 errors or misdiagnoses dating to 2005.

If Levy's on trial for involuntary manslaughter, others should be charged as accomplices. VA officials got several warnings that Levy was working while intoxicated, records indicate, starting as early as 2012. One incident in 2016 showed Levy with a 0.4% blood alcohol reading, which is five times higher than needed in most states to get a DWI. Rather than put this together with all of the other alerts, the VA paid for a three-month inpatient treatment center and then put Levy back on the job.

It never occurred to anyone, apparently, to double-check Levy's work after finding out that he showed up to work drunk. Supposedly Levy had a very low incidence of mistakes in his work, but the system used to determine competency was absurdly easy to game. The VA used a peer-review system to sample work by specialists, which meant that Levy's work was spot-checked by the deputy who reported to him. Levy simply changed the conclusions of his deputy's reports in order to maintain a very low error rate - and was rewarded with large bonuses based on those ratings.

When Levy began showing up impaired for work in 2017 and 2018, the VA finally did an independent check of his work. It turned up red flags - which the VA ignored until after he got dismissed:

In January 2018, after multiple staff reports that he was still impaired, the hospital's professional standards board continued Levy's suspension. Spot checks of his cases showed "no evidence of patient harm," according to the minutes.

Still, Worley brought in a pa-thol-ogist from VA's division headquarters for another review of Levy's work. She found more than a dozen misdiagnoses.

"Dr. Levy's actions have negatively impacted patient care outcomes," Worley and the medical director at the time wrote in a memo on Jan. 11, 2018.

It would be six more months before VA began a deeper review of his work.

Even when the VA finally did get around to checking Levy's work, it initially limited the review to his last year in the system. Only after the inspector general intervened did the VA conduct a full review and find the thousands of misdiagnoses Levy produced. The VA also waited months to alert medical boards in three states to Levy's incompetence.

Unfortunately, this hardly qualifies as a shock. The VA has had so many scandals surrounding incompetence and corruption that it's tough to keep track. This episode, as with others, demonstrates the lack of accountability in government-run single-payer systems, and the instincts of government bureaucracies to protect themselves rather than their patients.



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, 2019

The Left's "Phantom Recession"


Newsrooms won't be saved by Bernie Sanders' socialist nostrums

by Jeff Jacoby

WHEN YOUR only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail to be pounded. When you're Bernie Sanders and your only tool is socialism, every problem looks like a capitalist to be bashed.

The septuagenarian senator from Vermont is an unabashed lifelong socialist, whose solutions to most problems involve more government, less freedom, and higher taxes. This week, in a 1,700-word essay published in the Columbia Journalism Review, he proposed a "plan for journalism" involving - can you guess? - more government, less freedom, and higher taxes. The capitalist-bashing begins in the second sentence: "Today's assault on journalism by Wall Street, billionaire businessmen, Silicon Valley, and Donald Trump presents a crisis - and [is] why we must take concrete action."

But Sanders, like Trump, is quick to impugn journalists' motives. And much of the "action" he proposes would interfere with media companies that try to save themselves.

If elected, Sanders says, he would use the power of the federal government to crack down on media mergers that would lead to layoffs, consolidate news outlets under fewer owners, or "adversely affect" women and minorities. He would "reinstate and strengthen" the old cross-ownership rule that blocked TV and radio stations from owning newspapers in the same market. And he would require the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to "more stringently" pursue antitrust litigation against Facebook and Google, whose success has come in part at the expense of traditional media outlets.

Sanders also raises the prospect of taxing online ads and using the revenue to fund "nonprofit civic-minded media" and to "substantially increase" government subsidies for public journalism. That won't do anything for struggling private newspapers and magazines, but it will certainly boost the power of PBS and NPR and their decidedly left-wing worldview.

Nothing in Sanders's plan is fresh or novel. How and whether to rein in Big Tech, to expand racial and gender diversity in the media, to tax advertising and Internet services, to underwrite nonprofit media - all of these have been perennial topics of debate when the agenda turns to the ailments of the news business. In his essay, the senator vowed to impose an "immediate moratorium" on corporate media mergers like the proposed combination of Viacom and CBS. But media consolidation has been a left-wing bugbear forever. "Remember back in 2000 when the merger of AOL and Time Warner spelled the absolute doom of an independent press?" asks Nick Gillespie in Reason magazine. "Better yet, can you even remember AOL or Time magazine, once massive presences in media that are now desiccated ruins of their former selves?"

Sanders acknowledges the ravages that the news industry has undergone in recent decades. "Over the past 15 years, more than 1,400 communities across the country have lost newspapers, which are the outlets local television, radio, and digital news sites rely on for reporting," he writes. "Since 2008, we have seen newsrooms lose 28,000 employees - and in the past year alone, 3,200 people in the media industry have been laid off." But Sanders seems far less interested in the plight of journalists than in exploiting their excruciations to score ideological points.

Like so much of what America's best-known socialist says and writes, his media plan drips with hostility for capitalists and capitalism. He repeatedly decries the lack of "real journalism" in America, and blames it on his standard villains: the "forces of greed that are pillaging our economy," the "corporate conglomerates and hedge fund vultures," the "oligarchic business models," the "billionaires who ... use their media empires to punish their critics and shield themselves from scrutiny." Sanders is particularly hostile to Jeff Bezos, the billionaire who owns the Washington Post. He suggested recently that his criticism of Bezos is the reason the Post "doesn't write particularly good articles about me." At times, his attacks on the integrity of publishers and the motives of reporters have been almost indistinguishable from President Trump's.

Lord knows the news business is in dire straits these days, but socialist nostrums aren't going to stop the cataclysmic changes unleashed by the digital revolution. As someone who has worked in newsrooms for more than three decades, I mourn for the lost era when nearly every home subscribed to a newspaper. I wince with vicarious pain at every newspaper shutdown or round of layoffs. But the media aren't in extremis because they weren't regulated enough. If anything, some daily papers might yet be alive if, for example, the cross-ownership rule hadn't deprived them of a potential lifeline.

Trashing the entrepreneurs and investors who are keeping some of the nation's legacy news organizations alive admirably suits Sanders's anti-capitalist shtick, but it will do nothing to save the business of journalism. "We cannot sit by and allow corporations, billionaires, and demagogues to destroy the Fourth Estate," says Sanders. That's the way he always talks - a one-tool politician with the same scapegoat for everything.



Trump Supporters Have ALL The Moral High Ground. Don't Cede One Inch Of It To The Left

Despite the fact that roughly three out of four evangelical Christians support President Donald Trump and most of his policies, the #NeverTrump "right" and the anti-Trump left have somehow managed to fool people into thinking they have at least a solid piece of high ground when it comes to "principles," "morality" and "values." I purposefully put those three words in quotes because their mere utterance doesn't mean the people who pronounce them have an iota of a clue what they really mean. Nevertheless, anti-Trump folks of all political persuations love tossing them around as a way of signaling their "virtue" to the rest of us.

"Muh principles!" bleats the #NeverTrump "Republican," as if they are some sort of special light shining in a Trumpian-world-gone-mad.

"Muh values!" screeches the open-borders leftist politician, as if letting the entire Third World come to America is the definition of "loving thy neighbor."

"Muh morality!" shrieks all of them, yet the "New Morality" they espouse has nothing to do with the God of the Bible (its original author) and everything to do with achieving power for the left.

In an age where real virtue is a rarity, yet our leftist would-be rulers love signaling, nay proclaiming theirs from the rooftops, one might be forgiven for being even temporarily fooled by it all. Maybe Nancy Pelosi really IS a good person when she lectures us about border walls being "immoral." Maybe Saint Pete really does have the hot new take on "values." Maybe the likes of Joe Walsh, Bill Kristol, George Will, and John Pavlovitz - randomly selected Trump haters all - really DO put the "principles" they supposedly have first, and that's why they oppose the president at seemingly every turn.

Especially given a leftist-controlled mainstream press all-too-willing to portray the president as a monster and his policies as monstrous, you may be forgiven for thinking all of those things. But the reality, however, is actually the exact opposite of what they would have you believe. In fact, it is Trump's supporters who truly have every inch of the moral high ground. In fact, it is Trump's policies that are the very definition of objective principles, morals, and values, even if his presentation at times gives his haters ammunition by seeming to belie that fact.

Consider the three "unalienable rights" the Declaration of Independence acknowledges as having come to humans unconditionally from their Creator - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness:


It's a pretty good place to start, especially considering we're dealing with a literal death cult that relishes the notion of killing as many unborn babies as possible. Start there, and any attempts they make to portray themselves as "good people" fall flat, but there's oh so much more. Consider communism, you know, the ideology whose adherents gleefully murdered over 100 million people over the last century. Ever hear these would-be paragons of morality condemning communism these days? No? Could that be because they want to give it another try but don't want to be so obvious about it? Could it be because the socialism they espouse is but a mere step away from the totalitarian kind of communism that slays millions in the name of "equality"?

Every time these jackals politicize mass shootings to call for more gun control, remember that they really don't care about any of the lives such legislation would save, especially considering they know full well the legislation they espouse wouldn't actually save any lives. In their unquenchable thirst for control, leftists would happily take away the right to defend oneself against rogue criminals or rogue governments. They cry alligator tears at the deaths of gun victims while ignoring those who successfully defend themselves with guns or the unarmed who die from a senseless home invasion.

And then there's their relentless calls for unlimited immigration from the Third World, ignoring the plight of the American middle and lower classes, despite the fact that Third Worlders would be better served by helping them there instead of bringing them here. It's all for power, of course, because they know these folks tend to lean left, but they pretend it's about "morality."

Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness

Whether it's the liberty to defend yourself, make your own decisions, run your business as you see fit, or even keep most of your own earnings, it's no secret that leftists want to take it all away (except for certain, leftist-approved "liberties" like "changing" sexes and murdering unborn babies, of course). In other words, the liberty issue is a slam dunk for a belief system that generally believes the fundamental concept of individual liberties. Want to keep a rogue government from running roughshod over and even murdering millions of its own citizens? Allow citizens to own guns. And if you have a problem with this, dear Leftist, what are you afraid of?

The liberty to pursue happiness according to one's own bent, so long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others, is ingrained in our nation's founding documents, and yet leftists would take all that away if they could.

Bottom line: Those who refuse to support President Trump based on optics alone are completely missing the big picture. Whether you consider some of his tweets and comments "presidential" or not, the policies Trump espouses and helps to implement through executive orders, signed legislation, and appointing judges result in by far the greatest good for the greatest number of people, full stop.

No, there's no reason why we should ever cede one inch of moral high ground to godless leftists, ever.



Top Dem Jerry Nadler Unveils Another Ridiculous Probe Into President Trump

Now that the House Of Representatives has devolved into the old Soviet Politburo under Democrat control, there is yet another investigation into President Trump that will soon be launched.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler is looking to jumpstart the ridiculous argument for impeachment under the obscure Emoluments Clause over Trump's possible invitation to world leaders to host the G7 at his golf resort in Florida.

Following a successful visit with the leaders of the free world in France last week, the gracious POTUS suggested that the next meeting could take place at Trump National Doral in Miami.

In normal times this would be recognized as diplomacy but for Commissar Nadler it is yet one more avenue to settle decades-old scores with his longtime nemesis from New York.

According to Nadler and his fellow neo-Stalinists on the committee, the invite is "only the latest in a troubling pattern of corruption and self-dealing" which means that Dems will spend the next several months pissing away millions of taxpayer dollars on yet another ridiculous probe.

House Democrats derided the move as "only the latest in a troubling pattern of corruption and self-dealing" by the president.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee slammed President Donald Trump's push to host the G-7 summit next year at his Doral resort in Miami, deriding the move as "only the latest in a troubling pattern of corruption and self-dealing" by the president and pledging to consider it as part of their impeachment investigation.

Though Trump has not said that the decision is final, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who leads the committee's panel on the Constitution, said in a statement Wednesday that selecting Doral as the host of the next summit would be a potential violation of both the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments clauses in the Constitution, aimed at barring presidents from taking outside gifts.

"More importantly, the Doral decision reflects perhaps the first publicly known instance in which foreign governments would be required to pay President Trump's private businesses in order to conduct business with the United States," the pair said, pledging to schedule a hearing on the issue next month.

Nadler and Cohen said that Trump's comments this week prove the president's "personal financial interests are clearly shaping decisions about official U.S. government activities," concluding that "this is precisely the type of risk that the Constitution's Emoluments Clauses were intended to prevent."



Tough-Talking Leftist Turns into Sniveling Coward When Steven Crowder Finds Him

Antifa members are just interested in fighting fascism. Don't you get that? They're looking to fight the rise of fascism in the United States and that's it. Period.

Oh, and they're looking to light conservative pundits they don't disagree with on fire, that too.

As followers of Steven Crowder will know, he enjoys confronting members of the left who make physical threats against him. The latest is a member of antifa who threatened Crowder during a recent trip to Austin, Texas, where he was filming a "Change My Mind" segment at Google headquarters.

The antifa member - who has a criminal history, which includes throwing tomatoes at President Trump and assaulting police officers - gave away Crowder's location and posted that he hoped people would "milkshake" him. ("Milkshaking," in antifa vernacular, doesn't refer to throwing a Shamrock Shake on someone but instead a mixture of cement and other chemicals that can cause burns.)

Furthermore, the individual said, "I hope someone lights Steven Crowder on fire."

So, Crowder did what any of us would do. He dressed up as the Heat Miser from the 1974 Christmas special "The Year Without a Santa Claus" and goes to a coffee shop to confront the young man:

At first, the man denies sending the messages on Facebook, calling Crowder a "fascist" and walking in and out of the coffee shop to avoid the pundit. Apparently indecisive, he then walks back in.

Eventually, both are kicked out and Crowder has a walk-and-talk with the antifa member.

Crowder wants to talk the whole thing out. The antifa member doesn't, but he also torpedoes his denials of egging his supporters on to milkshake Crowder and set him on fire by saying he wishes he had said these exact same things or that Crowder deserves it. This isn't exactly the most convincing denial.

"How do you not see yourself as a fascist when you encourage acts of violence?" Crowder asks at one point in the video.

The antifa member doesn't have an answer for this, or what fascism is or, well, pretty much everything.

This isn't the first "Crowder Confronts" video, for those of you who have followed the kerfuffles of the past. It's not even the first one involving a member of the left who threatened Crowder with some form of intimidation or physical harm.

In fact, another one happened in Austin when a juice bar barista who threatened to slash Crowder's tires was confronted:

Both of these instances are object lessons in how members of antifa are vicious in groups and absolute cowards on their own. No matter how you feel about Crowder, these kinds of threats are antithetical to civil political discourse. For right now, it's mere incivility. When these threats are acted upon, however, they should scare everyone.



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, 2019

Christ's last lesson

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"

At the very end of his life Jesus said the above.  For him to say that displayed a remarkably insightful heart.  He thought of their motivations as well as their deeds and in thinking of those motivations could not condemn their deeds.  It is a lesson to us all.  We need to forgive because we may not know what was/is driving the other person. Even under the most grievous provocation, we must keep that in mind. It is a most powerful teaching indeed.  Could we have forgiven in his situation?

Forgiveness can be so powerful.  It is particularly good at restoring relationships.  I have been married and divorced four times.  But there has never been any anger in me towards the ladies concerned.  We have remained on good terms to this day.  I didn't consciously forgive any of them anything.  I just did not judge or condemn their motivations at all in the first place.  I accepted that they had a motivation that was right in their eyes.

I gained so much by being forgiving.  And the wonder of it is that it is contagious. Any anger that they had towards me faded away too.  Christian teachings work.


The hypocrisy of the liberal Left

by Rep. Andy Biggs

The liberal Left is steeped in moral relativism and relies on its Platonic elitism to such a degree that it fails to recognize its blatant hypocrisy.

Leftists such as Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and even former President Barack Obama often tell us that the rich are too rich or that some people can have too much. Obama even suggested that "There's only so much you can eat," implying that any more than a full stomach is too rich within the United States.

But all of them are rich by any standard. Elizabeth Warren's reported average net worth is $8.75 million. Bernie Sanders' net worth might be up to $2.5 million. Joe Biden has acquired almost $15 million in income since leaving office in January 2017. Certainly, to the rest of the world, the aforementioned folks are rich. Even by America's high standard of living, Warren, Sanders, Biden, and Obama are considered wealthy.

So, why is it that they continually rail against the haves? Why do they insist on pushing an agenda of class warfare?

Their bankrupt political ideology demands division. Their theme is always "us vs. them." Unity of purpose, culture, nationhood, and citizenship undermine the socialist dogma that permeates their respective interpretations of liberal political ideology.

Their first cause is always tolerance - tolerance of any who agree with them. Because they are elitists after Plato's model, they believe they know better than anyone else. Plato's ideal separated the elite, the guardians of society, from the dross below them. That is infused in the hearts and minds of the liberal Left.

Any who disagree are so undermining to the Left's agenda as to be intolerable. Or, in Hillary Clinton's vernacular, "deplorable."

People on the Left are tolerant of only those in agreement with their positions. Their opponents deserve to be persecuted and ostracized. Thus, the justification for enforcing their beliefs through whatever means is born, because failure to conform to theliberal Left's ideology is subversive and must be defeated at all costs.

This produces Rep. Maxine Waters' calls for verbal and mob attacks on conservatives. To the Left, this justifies Rep. Joaquin Castro's doxing of Trump donors in order to publicly shame and ostracize them.

Similarly, the political elite of the Left excuse themselves for their hypocritical, do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do actions as acceptable because they are the Platonic guardians. They truly believe that they are better and thus deserving of the special dispensation that Plato afforded his elites.

This inherent failing of the liberal Left is why we see Bernie Sanders demanding an increase in the national minimum wage (that he wasn't even giving his own campaign staff) but being forced to raise wages and cut hours to pay for it.

Then there's Obama telling the world that a person can have too much, while he and his wife gain a net worth over $100 million and purchase a $15 million mansion in Martha's Vineyard.

It is why the Left wants to confiscate guns from everyday people while employing armed security guards. They build walls and live in bubbles of security but argue against a border wall.

It is why they argue against a parent having the right to choose the best school for their child while the leftist elites enroll their children in the best schools they can find.

The Left rails against money in political campaigns while raising hundreds of millions of dollars for their campaigns.

That is why Warren, Sanders, Biden, Obama, and others have no problem amassing wealth while demonizing others who are successful. I have no problem with these folks being wealthy or successful. I have a problem with their continued personal use and exploitation of the free market system for themselves, while trying to prevent everyone else from having the same opportunities.

The liberal Left, as evidenced by the modern day leading Democratic voices, is a bankrupt political philosophy that is inherently hypocritical. It claims to be based on tolerance but is only tolerant of those who agree with them. It asserts equality, except when the elites amass huge fortunes. And, in the end, it attempts to, by necessity, compel compliance with its redistributive and intolerant policies.



Google discriminates against conservatives and climate skeptics

We must understand how Google does it, why it is wrong and how it hurts America

David Wojick

Several months ago, Google quietly released a 32-page white paper, "How Google Fights Disinformation." That sound good. The problem is that Google not only controls a whopping 92.2% of all online searches. It is a decidedly left-wing outfit, which views things like skepticism of climate alarmism, and conservative views generally, as "disinformation." The white paper explains how Google's search and news algorithms operate, to suppress what Google considers disinformation and wants to keep out of educational and public discussions.

The algorithms clearly favor liberal content when displaying search results. Generally speaking, they rank and present search results based on the use of so-called "authoritative sources." The problem is, these sources are mostly "mainstream" media, which are almost entirely liberal.

Google's algorithmic definition of "authoritative" makes liberals the voice of authority. Bigger is better, and the liberals have the most and biggest news outlets. The algorithms are very complex, but the basic idea is that the more other websites link to you, the greater your authority.

It is like saying a newspaper with more subscribers is more trustworthy than one with fewer subscribers. This actually makes no sense, but that is how it works with the news and in other domains. Popularity is not authority, but the algorithm is designed to see it that way.

This explains why the first page of search results for breaking news almost always consists of links to liberal outlets. There is absolutely no balance with conservative news sources. Given that roughly half of Americans are conservatives, Google's liberal news bias is truly reprehensible.

In the realm of public policies affecting our energy, economy, jobs, national security, living standards and other critical issues, the suppression of alternative or skeptical voices, evidence and perspectives becomes positively dangerous for our nation and world

Last year, I documented an extreme case of this bias the arena of "dangerous manmade global warming" alarmism. My individual searches on prominent skeptics of alarmist claims revealed that Google's "authoritative source" was an obscure website called DeSmogBlog, whose claim to fame is posting nasty negative dossiers on skeptics, including me and several colleagues.

In each search, several things immediately happened. First, Google linked to DeSmogBlog's dossier on the skeptic, even though it might be a decade old  and/or wildly inaccurate. Indeed, sometimes this was the first entry in the search results. Second, roughly half of the results were negative attacks - which should not be surprising, since the liberal press often attacks us skeptics.

Third, skeptics are often labeled as "funded by big oil," whereas funding of alarmists by self-interested government agencies, renewable energy companies, far-left foundations or Tom Steyer (who became a billionaire by financing Asian coal mines) was generally ignored.

In stark contrast, searching for information about prominent climate alarmists yielded nothing but praise. This too is not surprising, since Google's liberal "authoritative" sources love alarmists.

This algorithm's bias against skeptics is breathtaking - and it extends to the climate change debate itself. Search results on nearly all climate issues are dominated by alarmist content.

In fact, climate change seems to get special algorithmic attention. Goggle's special category of climate webpages, hyperbolically called "Your Money or Your Life," requires even greater "authoritative" control in searches. No matter how well reasoned, articles questioning the dominance of human factors in climate change, the near-apocalyptic effects of predicted climate change, or the value and validity of climate models are routinely ignored by Google's algorithms.

The algorithm also ignores the fact that our jobs, economy, financial wellbeing, living standards, and freedom to travel and heat or cool our homes would be severely and negatively affected by energy proposals justified in the name of preventing human-caused cataclysmic climate change. The monumental mining and raw material demands of wind turbines, solar panels, biofuels and batteries likewise merit little mention in Google searches. Ditto for the extensive impacts of these supposed "clean, green, renewable, sustainable" technologies on lands, habitats and wildlife.

It's safe to say that climate change is now the world's biggest single public policy issue. And yet Google simply downgrades and thus "shadow bans" any pages that contain "demonstrably inaccurate content or debunked conspiracy theories." That is how alarmists describe skepticism about any climate alarm or renewable energy claims. Google does not explain how its algorithm makes these intrinsically subjective determinations as to whether an article is accurate, authoritative and thus posted - or incorrect, questionable and thus consigned to oblivion.

Google's authority-based search algorithm is also rigged to favor liberal content over virtually all conservative content; it may be especially true for climate and energy topics. This deep liberal bias is fundamentally wrong and un-American, given Google's central role in our lives.

Google's creators get wealthy by controlling access to information - and thus thinking, debate, public policy decisions and our future - by using a public internet system that was built by defense and other government agencies, using taxpayer dollars, for the purpose of ensuring the free flow of information and open, robust discussion of vital policy issues. It was never meant to impose liberal-progressive-leftist police state restrictions on who gets to be heard.

According to its "How we fight disinformation" white paper, Google's separate news search feature gets special algorithmic treatment - meaning that almost all links returned on the first page are to liberal news sources. This blatant bias stands out like a sore thumb in multiple tests. In no case involving the first ten links did I get more than one link to a conservative news source. Sometimes I got none.

For example, my news search on "Biden 2020" returned the following top ten search results, in this order: CNN, the New York Times, Vice, Politico, CNN again, Fortune, Vox, Fox News, The Hill and Politico. The only actual conservative source was Fox News, in eighth position.

Of course conservative content would not be friendly to Mr. Biden. But if Google can prominently post attacks on skeptics and conservatives, why can't it do so for attacks on Democrats?

The highest conservative content I found was one link in eight or 12 percent. About a third of my sample cases had no conservative sources whatsoever. The average of around 7% measures Google's dramatic bias in favor of liberal sources, greatly compounding its 92.2% dominance.

The lonely conservative sources are more middle of the road, like Fox News and the Washington Examiner. Google never found or highlighted a truly conservative (what it would call "right wing") source, like Brietbart, Townhall or the Daily Caller. It just doesn't happen, and the algorithm clearly knows that, as does Google. As do other information and social media sites.

Of course, I'm not alone in finding or encountering this blatant viewpoint discrimination.

When coupled with the nearly complete takeover of UN, IPCC, World Bank and other global governance institutions by environmentalist and socialist forces - and their near-total exclusion of manmade climate chaos skeptics, free market-oriented economists and anyone who questions the role or impact of renewable energy - the effect on discussion, debate, education and informed decision-making is dictatorial and devastating.

No free, prosperous, modern society can survive under such conditions and restrictions. It's time for citizens, legislators, regulators and judges to rein in and break up this imperious monopoly.

Via email


Japan's Naval Counterweight to China

Building up Japan's navy gives the U.S. an ally that can project power in the region.

With all the discussion of the G7 economic summit, there was other news that didn't receive much attention but has to be causing some heartburn in Beijing. No, not the trade deal, but a United States Naval Institute report that Japan is willing to let the United States Marines operate F-35B Lightnings off Japan's four "helicopter destroyers."

Japan has four such vessels, two of which are the 13,500-ton Hyuga-class helicopter destroyers Hyuga and Ise, and two 19,500-ton Izumo-class vessels, Izumo and Kaga. While the reports center on the latter two vessels, the former two can't be discounted for F-35B operations. It should be noted that vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) aircraft have operated off ships like the Italian Navy's 10,100-ton Giuseppe Garibadi that saw combat service in 2002 during the Global War on Terrorism and in the 2011 Libyan intervention.

The Marines operating F-35Bs off these ships could be a preparation for Japan to bring back a fixed-wing carrier arm. Japan's order of 100 F-35s reportedly includes some of the F-35Bs in the mix. While not as capable as a United States Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, this can still put some real hurt on the People's Liberation Army Navy.

Now, let's be honest, Japan's "helicopter destroyers" are really light aircraft carriers and were intended to be from the start. History has seen Japan play fast and loose with arms-control treaties in the past (its heavy cruisers flaunted the restrictions of the London Naval Treaty), so is it no surprise that euphemisms would be employed to allow the use of aircraft carriers.

What does this mean for America? It gives the United States an ally that can legitimately project power in the region. Given that the United States Navy is desperately short on hulls in the water, this is a good thing - two light carriers can, for instance, keep China off balance in the South China Sea. That's just the beginning.

Japan is also acquiring the V-22 Osprey - the game-changing tiltrotor that has given the Marine Corps new advantages in combat and non-combat operations. Those will also be able to operate off these ships, as Marine Corps Ospreys already have. Japan has a trio of Osumi-class amphibious ships, which look like carriers but have no hangars; instead, flat decks provide landing platforms for helicopters - and helicopters used on naval ships can handle sea water for a bit.

Japan's military growth is mostly very good news for the United States. The only hiccup is that neighbors of Japan, particularly South Korea, have been nervous about that, given what happened in World War II. South Korea has made a similar growth as a military power, and the chance that these American allies could have drama akin to that of Greece and Turkey from past decade is a little greater than America would like.

The Beijing regime already had to worry about the way Hong Kong has trapped Chinese President Xi Jinping in a tough spot, and President Donald Trump taking on China's unfair trade practices with the aid of a militarily stronger Japan doesn't make things easier for the red commies. So, despite the historic concerns with South Korea, the rise of Japan's capabilities as a better-armed Asian partner of the United States is all-in-all a good thing.




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

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


1 September, 2019

Why Republican Governors Are More Popular

The explanation offered below is that they make fewer promises that they have no way of keeping.  That is certainly part of the story.  It is an entirely political explanation. But, as ever,  the psychological level of explanation is powerful too.  As all the polls show, conservatives are simply happier people and that makes a much more pleasant and attractive personality.  As the proverb goes: "Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Cry and you cry alone"

The classic example of a pleasant conservative personality  was the Gipper. With his sunny personality he got amazing stuff -- including vast tax cuts -- through a Democrat-controlled Congress.  He made them feel good and they wanted to laugh with him.  And you will note that even Trump, who must have the most unlovable personality of any President ever, constantly uses feelgood talk. And he is loved for that, to the total incomprehension of Leftists.

Just two days ago, I put up the following quote from Trump:  "Our movement is built on love. We love our family. We love our faith. We love our flag and we love our freedom, and that's what it's about. We love our neighbors and we love our country."  Beat that for positivity!  People can overlook a lot in a man with that attitude.  Among his followers, he has a depth of popularity that other politicians can only envy

WHEN the pollster Morning Consult published its latest round of approval ratings for the nation's 50 governors in July, it revealed a couple of interesting findings: Eight of the ten least popular governors were Democrats, while the ten most popular governors were all Republicans.

What explains this phenomenon? Clearly it's not random chance. Does that mean conservative governance is really so much more popular than liberal governance at the state level? There's something to that, but a closer look reveals the answer is not quite that simple. The ten most popular Republican governors can be separated into three categories: red states, blue states, and purple states. There are five red-state governors whose approval ratings of 57 percent to 59 percent and low disapproval ratings land them spots on Morning Consult's top-ten list: Greg Abbott of Texas, Doug Burgum of North Dakota, Mark Gordon of Wyoming, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, and Bill Lee of Tennessee. They are all conservative governors working with conservative legislatures to give conservative voters what they want on fiscal and social issues.

The blue-state GOP governors succeed not so much by advancing conservatism as by tapping the brakes on their Democratic legislatures.

You might discount the popularity of Republican governors in red states: Is it really a big deal that Republican voters are happy with Republican governors? But then you must also ask: Why aren't Democratic governors just as popular in blue states? One answer is that states are subject to greater fiscal constraints than the federal government, and those constraints mean that Democratic governors can't really satisfy their voters the way that Republican governors can. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, "49 states must balance their budgets, with Vermont being the exception." Even without a balancedbudget requirement, progressive dreams have been shattered in Vermont by cold, hard math. The state's former Democratic governor signed into law a singlepayer health-care plan in 2011, but he had to abandon it in 2014 when he couldn't figure out a way to come close to paying for it. The state has had a Republican governor since 2017.

Budget gimmicks are still possible at the state level, but states can't simply rack up debt the way the federal government can. If schools can't be funded and roads can't be built with existing revenues, taxpayers are going to feel it very soon and blame their governors accordingly.

Republicans can also become unpopular by taking their own ideology too far: For example, steep tax cuts in Kansas resulted in budget shortfalls; those tax cuts were repealed by a bipartisan supermajority in the legislature in 2017, and the state elected a Democratic governor in 2018.

But overspending is much more typically the cause of a state's budget woes. "Some states have consistently performed poorly, such as Connecticut, Illinois, and New Jersey," the Mercatus Center reports in its latest ranking of state fiscal health. "They have experienced ongoing structural deficits, a growing reliance on debt to fund spending, underfunded pensions and other postemployment benefit liabilities, or some combination of these problems." And, sure enough, the Democratic governors of Connecticut, Illinois, and New Jersey all showed up in Morning Consult's bottom ten list.

It is, of course, possible to govern a state that is a fiscal mess and still be a very popular chief executive. And that brings us to the three deep-blue states where Republican governors have skyhigh approval ratings: Charlie Baker of Massachusetts (73 percent approval), Larry Hogan of Maryland (70 percent approval), and Phil Scott of Vermont (60 percent approval). These governors have a few things in common. Hillary Clinton won each of these states by 26 to 27 percentage points in 2016. Each governor is a social liberal or, in the case of Hogan, has promised not to alter the status quo on social issues. None of them support the sitting Republican president (Hogan publicly toyed with primarying Trump).

The blue-state GOP governors succeed not so much by advancing conservatism as by tapping the brakes on their Democratic legislatures. In Massachusetts, for example, spending has grown at 3.7 percent per year (down from about 4.5 percent under Baker's Democratic predecessor), according to Boston Herald columnist Michael Graham. Baker, first elected in 2014, also vetoed a bill providing driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. Other than that, Graham contends, Baker has pretty much governed as a Democrat. Baker signed an $800 million- a-year payroll-tax hike to fund a paid-family-leave benefit in 2018, and Massachusetts still ranks 47th in terms of fiscal health, according to the Mercatus Center. But Baker's approach has been good enough to win the support of Democratic and Republican voters.

In Maryland, Hogan described his approach as that of a "goalie" before he was first elected in 2014. "Right now it's an open net. It's just every single crazy thing that they want to get in just gets done," Hogan told the Washington Times. "One major thing we can do is play goalie. There's not going to be a huge offensive game. We're going to be able to score here and there and we're going to stop bad things from happening and continuing to drive our state into the ground." As governor, Hogan has balanced the budget and used his executive authority to cut tolls, but his plan to cut taxes was blocked by the legislature in 2016. Earlier this year, Hogan vetoed a bill to create a minimum wage of $15 (more than double that of neighboring Virginia). Hogan offered a compromise at $12.10, but Democrats overrode the veto to pass the $15 minimum wage. Playing goalie is a difficult job when the opposing team has the ability to pull you.

In Vermont, Scott was first elected in 2016 and had some success playing goalie during his first two-year term. He issued 14 vetoes, according to the Burlington Free Press. Scott stopped bills to raise property taxes, establish a $15 minimum wage, and raise taxes to enact a paid-family-leave program. In 2018, the same electorate that sent Bernie Sanders back to the U.S. Senate by a 40-point margin reelected Scott by a 15-point margin. The bad news for Scott is that in 2018 Democrats and progressives achieved the supermajority necessary to override Scott's vetoes.

Perhaps the most interesting popular Republican governors are the ones who have found success in the purple states. In New Hampshire, Chris Sununu's 65 percent approval rating made him the third most popular governor, according to Morning Consult. The state voted for Hillary Clinton by three-tenths of a percentage point in 2016, when Sununu won his first two-year term by 2.3 points. In 2018, New Hampshire's legislature flipped to the Democrats, but Sununu was reelected to a second two-year term by a seven-point margin. Sununu's popularity can be attributed in part to the state's economic success and his fiscal restraint. "We are the most probusiness state in the Northeast and we brag about that a lot," Sununu tells NATIONAL REVIEW. "We're lowering business taxes, we have no sales tax, we have no income tax."

He says he vetoed the recent Democratic budget because it was structurally imbalanced and would have raised business taxes. He also vetoed a paid-family-leave bill that would have raised taxes and has instead proposed a public-private partnership. New Hampshire's 2.5 percent unemployment rate is the fourth lowest in the country. Beyond the economy and the budget, another key to Sununu's success is his accessibility. "I give my cell phone to everybody," he says. Surely this is some gimmick, right? He must have two cell phones and hands off one to a staffer? Nope. "I have one phone, one number," he says. "People are actually very respectful of it. Very rarely do I have people who are constantly calling me."

New Hampshire's geography and small population (with 1.3 million residents, it has about as many people as the city of Dallas) allows Sununu to operate more like a mayor than a governor. "We're like the tax-free suburb of Boston," he says. If Sununu were not pro-choice on abortion, he'd be a plausible GOP presidential candidate. He says the thought of running for president hasn't crossed his mind.

Florida's Ron Desantis's popularity has surprised many observers. He won a bitterly fought first term in 2018 by less than half of one percentage point, but he is the tenth most popular governor on Morning Consult's list, with 57 percent of Floridians approving and only 20 percent disapproving. "He's recognized a lot of the challenges Florida takes on the environmental front. I think it surprised a lot of folks from the environmental left," says Sal Nuzzo of the James Madison Institute, a conservative think tank in Florida. Desantis has taken climate change seriously but also focused on issues unique to Florida, such as blue-green algae and red tide. He's also appealed to voters by enacting a large expansion of school choice.

Arizona's Doug Ducey (with a 53 percent approval-29 percent disapproval rating) didn't make the top-ten list, but given the political aphorism that "the only poll that matters is on Election Day," his popularity also deserves mention. In 2018, Ducey won a second term when he defeated Democrat David Garcia by 14 percentage points at the same time that Republican Martha Mcsally lost the Arizona Senate race to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema by 2.4 points. "He's been extremely good on dismantling the administrative state, particularly when it comes to occupational licensing," says Victor Riches of the conservative Goldwater Institute in Arizona (Riches formerly served on Ducey's staff). Ducey turned a billion-dollar deficit into a surplus with across-the-board cuts and has benefited from welcoming an influx of tech companies fleeing California's high taxes and cost of living. He has taken a tough approach on border security but has also developed strong relationships with Mexican-government officials. He won 44 percent of Hispanic voters in 2018, according to exit polls.

All the popular Republican governors are worth watching to see what conservative reforms they can actually accomplish. With gridlock dominating Washington for the foreseeable future, the states are where real innovation may occur. But Ducey, Desantis of Florida, and Abbott of Texas deserve special attention because they are governing states that will be key battlegrounds in future presidential elections and are themselves the sitting governors who are the most plausible future Republican presidential nominees.



Comments from a Trump convert

Prof. Budziszewski is a professor of natural law at the University of Texas, Austin

The only excuse for broadcasting how one thinks about the upcoming election is that plenty of other people are probably having the same difficulties.  If this sort of disclosure bears no interest for you, try again next week.

The last presidential election was the first in which I did not support either of the two major candidates.  Low character is a grave disqualification for public trust.  So far as I was concerned, that wiped both of them off the slate.  Although Mrs. Clinton was beyond dreadful, I couldn't then imagine that Mr. Trump would be better.

Of course character is not the only consideration in voting, especially when the character of both candidates is base.  The strongest reasons for voting for Mr. Trump, had I done so, would have been his promises concerning judicial appointments and regulatory reform - and those would have been very strong reasons indeed.  But he said so many contradictory things to different audiences, and he spoke in such a demagogic way, that I didn't believe any of his promises.  I expected his style of governance to be as erratic as his campaigning, and I thought -- because of some of his own statements -- that he would try to govern by decree, as his predecessor had.

It turns out that my expectations were wrong.  He has not tried to govern by decree; on the contrary, he revoked many of his predecessor's decrees.  He has, in fact, nominated the sorts of judges he promised to nominate, a fact which among other things translates into a lot of babies' lives.  He has vigorously pursued regulatory reform, and it is no surprise that the economy is doing better as a result.  I hope I have not become jaded, but though his manner of speaking still leaves much to be desired, these days it is more often merely juvenile than demagogic, and on rare occasions it even rises to the dignity of his office.  Nobody would describe his way of governing as smooth, but as he has gained experience in choosing compatible advisors and subordinates, it has become a lot smoother.  Though he zig-zags a great deal in negotiations with other countries, some of this appears to be strategic, for there is much to be said for keeping one's opponents off-balance.  For the chaos at the border with Mexico, there is plenty of blame to go around.  However, considering the reluctance of his opponents to properly fund shelters for the detainees, it seems due less to a desire on his part to keep everyone out, than to a desire on the part of his opponents to abandon even the pretense of border security and let everyone in.

Although I never expected to have sympathy for this president, that changed when his opponents set in motion plans for impeachment before he had even taken office.  Their attempt to use fraudulent evidence to frame him -- with the connivance of justice officials, intelligence officials, and even the intelligence agencies of other countries -- is an existential threat to self-government.  So are the more mundane aspects of how his opponents play the political game.  Today, a public figure who is not a so-called progressive can expect to face not just political criticism, but attempts to destroy the lives of his wife, his children, his associates, his supporters, and even people who merely know him.

And how have we got to the point where asking one's lawyer what the law permits is classified as a crime, on grounds that the questioner must have been thinking of doing something wrong?

One might wish that free government had more attractive representatives, but one cannot always have what one wants.  I still do not like Mr. Trump, but unless things change radically, the next time around I will vote for him.

For several months each year I live in a high-government dependency, high-drug addiction, high-family disorder region of Appalachia.

Yes, there are jobs.  At present the unemployment rate here is only a little higher than what economists call full employment.  Just like everyplace, lots of folk work hard to make a living and raise their kids, God bless them.

Lots of others don't.  They don't show up in the unemployment figures because they aren't looking for jobs.

The rate of opioid abuse is sky-high.  Everyone, including the police, knows where the dealers live.  Everyone also knows that it isn't a good idea to inform on them.  Your house may be burned down.

Observation of my neighbors suggests that many of those who do use opioids use them because they are bored and have no hope.  They are bored and have no hope because they don't work.  They don't work because getting on the dole is more attractive, or so it seems.

Getting on the dole?  How is that possible?  "Everyone knows" that in 1996, welfare was reformed by the abolition of the government program called Aid to Families with Dependent Children.  From now on only genuinely needy people would receive aid, and there would be work requirements.

In this case, what "everyone knows" is false.  The abolition of AFDC accomplished nothing but to shift monetary handouts from one government program to another.  In the name of helping the poor, multigenerational AFDC dependency has been replaced by multigenerational Social Security Disability dependency.

You genuinely disabled people, I am not writing about you.  Many of you live bravely under stupendous disadvantages.

But a great number who claim disability are not disabled.

In my Appalachian neighborhood, quite a few people go through life with no higher aspiration than to convince the government that either they or their children are disabled.  This is easier than you might think, because many of the bureaucrats want to be convinced, and their lawyers are eager to help.  One of my neighbors got her children signed up for disability payments on grounds that they all had strabismus, which means crossed eyes.  Although Medicaid would pay for corrective surgery, which is fairly simple, she didn't want their condition corrected.  Then the checks would stop - checks, mind you, which were supposed to be used for the children but which the parents used as their source of family income.  Why work if you don't have to?  The shame of it was that failure to correct strabismus early in life can lead to permanent vision loss.

The fraud associated with the program is spectacular.  You may have heard of the scandal associated with attorney Eric C. Conn, who was sentenced to 27 years in prison for defrauding the government of over $72 million by submitting false documentation to support clients' claims of disability.  Conn -- whose "law complex," a set of three double-wide trailers, was just down the road from us - is reported to have paid more than $600,000 in kickbacks to David B. Daugherty, an administrative law judge who for years approved over 95 percent of the applications from Conn's clients.  The national average is about 60%, but Daugherty's rate of approval was not unusual.  What Mr. Conn, Judge Daugherty, and cooperating doctors were up to was common knowledge.  The government paid attention only when extremely persistent whistleblowers within the agency made it impossible to continue ignoring it.

I don't mind the fraud so much.  The government is always defrauding us.

I do mind the destruction of ambition, the uprooting of meaning in life, and the generation of perverse incentives that undermine families and ruin lives.

And I especially mind the lie that this is the meaning of compassion for the poor.  A better word for the attitude would be contempt.



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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Social justice is injustice. What is just about taking money off people who have earned it and giving it to people who have not earned it? You can call it many things but justice it is not

But it is the aim of all Leftist governments to take money off people who have earned it and give it to people who have not earned it

At the most basic (psychological) level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. Conservatives don't think the world is perfect but they can happily live with it. And both those attitudes are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

As a good academic, I define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

The fundamental aim of Leftist policy in a democracy is to deliver dismay and disruption into the lives other people -- whom they regard as "complacent" -- and they are good at achieving that.

As usual, however, it is actually they who are complacent, with a conviction of the rightness and virtue of their own beliefs that merges into arrogance. They regard anyone who disagrees with them with contempt.

Leftists are wolves in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

Because they claim to have all the answers to society's ills, Communists often seem "cool" to young people

German has a word that describes most Leftists well: "Scheinheilig" - A person who appears to be very kind, soft natured, and filled with pure goodness but behind the facade, has a vile nature. He is seemingly holy but is an unscrupulous person on the inside.

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family -- "Better together" in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

Equality: The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is "all men are equal". And that is the envier's gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. They deny the very differences that give them so much heartburn. "Denial" was long ago identified by Freud as a maladaptive psychological defence mechanism and "All men are equal" is a prize example of that. Whatever one thinks of his theories, Freud was undoubtedly an acute observer of people and very few psychologists today would doubt the maladaptive nature of denial as described by Freud.

Socialism is the most evil malady ever to afflict the human brain. The death toll in WWII alone tells you that

American conservatives have to struggle to hold their country together against Leftist attempts to destroy it. Maduro's Venezuela is a graphic example of how extremely destructive socialism in government can be

The standard response from Marxist apologists for Stalin and other Communist dictators is to say you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. To which Orwell retorted, ‘Where’s the omelette?’

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug

"The tendency of liberals is to create bodies of men and women — of all classes — detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion — mob rule. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined." —T.S. Eliot

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others" -- Cicero. See here

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Definition of a Socialist: Someone who wants everything you have...except your job.

ABOUT: Postings here from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

Let's now have some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

'Gay Pride' parades: You know you live in a great country when "oppressed" people have big, colorful parades.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

"Those who see hate everywhere think they're looking thru a window when actually they're looking at a mirror"

Hatred has long been a central pillar of leftist ideologies, premised as they are on trampling individual rights for the sake of a collectivist plan. Karl Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” In 1923, V.I. Lenin chillingly declared to the Soviet Commissars of Education, “We must teach our children to hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.” In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin went so far as to assert that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

Chesteron's fence -- good conservative thinking

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Mostly, luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

A Conservative manifesto from England -- The inimitable Jacob Rees-Mogg


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they (under the chairmanship of Ulric Neisser) have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The heritability of general cognitive ability increases linearly from childhood to young adulthood

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

At the beginning of the North/South War, Confederate general Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. Union General Ulysses L. Grant did.

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Revolutionary terrorists in Russia killed Tsar Alexander II in 1881 (after three prior assassination attempts). Alexander II was a great reformer who abolished serfdom one year before the US abolished slavery. If his democratic and economic reforms had continued, Russia may have been much less radical politically a couple of decades later, when Nicholas II was overthrown.

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Some rare Leftist realism: "God forbid if the rich leave" NY Governor Cuomo February 04, 2019

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ? Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

"Foreign aid is the process by which money is taken from poor people in rich countries and given to rich people in poor countries." -- Peter Bauer

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

There is a view on both Left and Right that Jews are "too" influential. And it is true that they are more influential than their numbers would indicate. But they are exactly as influential as their IQs would indicate

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

It’s a strange paradox when anti-Zionists argue that Jews should suffer and wander without a homeland while urging that Palestinians ought to have security and territory.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

Some personal background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

In my teenage years, however, I was fortunate to be immersed (literally) in a very fundamentalist Christian religion. And the heavy Bible study I did at that time left me with lessons for life that have stood me in good stead ever since

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

A real army story here

It's amusing that my army service gives me honour among conservatives but contempt from Leftists. I don't weep at all about the latter. I am still in touch with some of the fine people I served with over 50 years ago. The army is like that

This is just a bit of romanticism but I do have permanently located by the head of my bed a genuine century-old British army cavalry sword. It is still a real weapon. I was not in the cavalry but I see that sword as a symbol of many things. I want it to be beside my bed when I die

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

And something that was perceptive comes from the same chapter. Hitler said that the doctrines of the interwar Social Democrats (mainstream leftists) of Vienna were "comprised of egotism and hate". Not much has changed

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


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To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
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