As President, Trump will be as transformative as Reagan; He has blown the political consensus out of the water
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28 February, 2017
Decline of Unions Under Right-to-Work Laws Levels Playing Field for Trump
Donald Trump prevailed where other Republican presidential candidates failed in Midwestern states in part because of new right-to-work laws that have diminished the power and influence of the teachers’ unions, according to labor policy analysts.
“Unions have been knocked silly in Wisconsin, thanks to the one-two punch of Act 10 and right-to-work,” @workerfreedom’s Matt Patterson says.
Final election results have Trump narrowly winning Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes by a margin of 47.9 to 46.9 percent over Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate. Trump had 1,409,467 votes to Clinton’s 1,382,210.
In Michigan, the margins were even closer with Trump winning that state’s 16 electoral votes with 47.6 percent against Clinton who had 47.3 percent of the vote. Trump had 2,279,805 votes to Clinton’s 2,268,193.
“Did the labor reforms enacted in Wisconsin and neighboring Michigan help Donald Trump win those states?” Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom, said in an email to The Daily Signal. “No question in my mind. Hard to fight when your bazooka’s been replaced by a squirt gun.”
Two teachers’ unions, the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Michigan Education Association, both experienced a significant drop in membership since those states passed right-to-work legislation. Such laws prohibit employers from entering into agreements that make union membership and payment of union dues a condition of employment.
Wisconsin became a right-to-work state in 2015, Michigan in 2013. Since then, government figures show, the teachers’ unions in both states have lost thousands of dues-paying members.
The drop has been particularly precipitous in Wisconsin, where in 2011 Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation that reformed the state’s collective bargaining process. In fact, the Wisconsin Education Association Council has lost about 60 percent of its members since Walker’s reforms were implemented, an analysis of public records by the Education Intelligence Agency shows.
Under Act 10, also known as the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, most of Wisconsin’s government workers, including public school teachers, are now required to contribute more for their pension and health care benefits.
Act 10 also limits collective bargaining to wage negotiations, requires annual union recertification, ends the automatic deduction of union dues, and allows for public sector employees to decide whether they want to join a union and pay dues.
Wisconsin’s right-to-work law gives private sector employees the same right to decline union membership and payment of dues.
Diminished Union Clout
The Wisconsin Education Association Council had about 100,000 members before Act 10 passed; the latest figures show the union with 36,074. The decline reflects what has happened nationwide, the MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a free-market think tank in Wisconsin, reported.
The Wisconsin and Michigan unions are both affiliates of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union for workers in public schools.
The 3 million-strong NEA lost more than 300,000 members in affiliated state teachers’ unions from 2010 to 2015, according to the analysis by the Education Intelligence Agency cited by the MacIver Institute. That’s a membership decrease of 10 percent.
So what is the political fallout?
“There’s no doubt that with the decline in union membership here in Wisconsin, the political clout of the union bosses and their ability to automatically turn out members for Democrats has declined dramatically,” Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute, told The Daily Signal, adding:
When we look at the decline in union membership and compare it to the recent political fortunes of the Democratic Party, you can clearly see that when people are given the ability to choose whether or not they want to join a union we are seeing less people voting for Democrats.
After the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s loss of tens of thousands of paying members, it has become evident that the teachers’ union’s ability to influence the outcomes of elections and public policy decisions has waned in the past few years, Healy added.
“The Wisconsin Education Association [Council] was the single biggest political player in the capital, but after the passage of Act 10 and right-to-work, their membership, which is where they derive their political power, has declined,” he said. “A majority of teachers in Wisconsin have decided that their money is better spent in other ways rather than turning it over to union bosses.”
Act 10 has been transformative not just politically, but financially.
A MacIver Institute analysis of the legislation’s budgetary impact found that it saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $5 billion. Most of these savings were generated by requiring government employees to contribute more for their retirement, according to the analysis.
“Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature not only saved Wisconsinites an incomprehensible amount of money but they also fundamentally changed government in Wisconsin forever,” Healy said a year ago.
Trump benefited politically from right-to-work changes in Michigan just as he did in Wisconsin.
But the billionaire developer’s personal appeal with blue-collar union workers gave him an advantage other Republican candidates have not had recently, Vinnie Vernuccio, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center, a free-market think tank in Michigan, said in an interview.
“The Michigan teachers’ unions, which have led the charge politically in the state, have been weakened in recent years and that certainly helped Trump,” Vernuccio said. “But don’t underestimate the union vote for Trump in key swing states. Exit polls show he did surprisingly well.”
Among union households (where at least one person is a union member), Trump’s margins improved significantly over those of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012.
When Michigan passed its right-to-work law in 2013, the Michigan Education Association had 113,147 members, the Mackinac Center reported. By 2016, the union had 90,609 members, a decline of about 20 percent.
The Daily Signal sought comment from both the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Michigan Education Association on the right-to-work laws in their states and the impact on their membership rolls and political activism. Neither union responded.
“Unions have been knocked silly in Wisconsin, thanks to the one-two punch of Act 10 and right to work,” Patterson, of the Center for Worker Freedom, a Washington-based nonprofit affiliated with Americans for Tax Reform, told The Daily Signal:
Give people the chance to leave their union, it turns out, and lo and behold there’s a stampede for the door. And these fleeing workers take their money with them, money that unions can no longer use to buy politicians.
John Mozena, vice president of marketing and communications for the Mackinac Center, said in an email that he sees a growing separation between rank-and-file union members and union leaders that worked to Trump’s advantage:
In labor strongholds like Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, West Virginia and Missouri, union leaders have failed to turn out enough voters to create notable electoral consequences for politicians who introduced, supported, or voted for right to work or other worker freedom legislation.
That’s in part because union members have largely come to realize that these laws don’t actually hurt them or their unions. In fact, [the laws] give them as individuals more options than they had before.
Many union members also are voting against candidates that receive the lion’s share of their leaders’ support.
The contrast was most stark in the 2016 election, where almost all union leaders endorsed and used their members’ money to support Clinton. Yet in key states like Ohio, almost half of union members voted for Trump.
The only states to register significant increases in active membership in NEA-affiliated teachers’ unions over five years, according to the Education Intelligence Agency analysis, are Delaware (5 percent), Vermont (8 percent), Montana (16 percent), and North Dakota (19 percent).
Clinton won Delaware and Vermont, but Trump won Montana and North Dakota.
After spending several months combing through the U.S. Department of Labor’s LM-2 financial disclosure forms, researchers with the Center for Union Facts found that unions directed about $530 million in membership dues to the Democratic Party and to left-leaning special interest groups from 2012 to 2015.
The Center for Union Facts is a Washington-based nonprofit that advocates transparency and accountability on the part of organized labor. Every labor organization that falls under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act must file an LM-2.
“An unfortunate situation has developed where unions are more focused on politics than on collective bargaining or workplace issues,” @Richard_Berman says.
Recipients of union donations identified by the Center for Union Facts include Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Governors Association. These donations fall within labor’s political advocacy budgets, which are funded by dues and “disguised as worker advocacy related to collective bargaining—separate from direct campaign contributions,” the center said in a release.
“I do believe a very unfortunate situation has developed where the unions are more focused on politics than they are on collective bargaining or workplace issues,” Richard Berman, the center’s executive director, said in an interview with The Daily Signal.
Since surveys show that about 40 percent of union households vote Republican, this means the dues of a substantial number of union members are directed toward political causes they do not support, Berman said.
But he said he sees a strong potential for the growing right-to-work movement to level the political playing field in future election cycles, as it did in 2016.
In the meantime, Berman said, the new chairman of the National Labor Relations Board should use the board’s regulatory powers “to provide enough transparency in the area of labor finances” to inform union members of leadership’s activities.
Treasury loses £500m in tax raid on luxury homes. Increases to the tax led to a fall in the number of top-end properties being sold
Sharp increases in the stamp duty on expensive homes are costing the Treasury as much as £500 million a year, a new analysis shows.
Increases to the tax in 2014 and last year led to a fall in the number of top-end properties being sold and a decline in income for the exchequer, according to Paul Nash, a partner at PwC.
The tax take from homes worth more than £1.5 million fell to £749 million in the nine months to November 2016, from £1.08 billion in the corresponding period of 2015, Mr Nash estimated using Land Registry data. Over a year, this would be a loss of almost £500 million.
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27 February, 2017
Donald Trump claims to remake GOP as party of `the American worker'
President Donald Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.
Attempting to put a defining framework on his tumultuous first month in office, President Trump on Friday articulated a new vision for the Republican Party as a populist defender of the working class that will challenge elites at home and abroad.
Trump, speaking to GOP activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, made it clear how much the world has changed for rank-and-file Republicans since his insurgent campaign upended the party.
At times, he promoted positions that could have been ripped from the playbook of liberals Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. "The GOP will be from now on the party also of the American worker," Trump declared.
"First, we need to define what this great, great unprecedented movement is and what it actually represents," he added. "The core conviction of our movement is that we are a nation that will put its own citizens first."
In a wide-ranging, campaign-style speech, Trump bashed the media, and reiterated his promises for a massive buildup of the American military, the construction of a wall along the border with Mexico, and the renegotiation of trade deals.
He pointed to his administration's efforts to cut back regulations as a key way to promote job growth and protect workers. After his speech, Trump signed a new executive order requiring agencies to form regulatory reform task forces to assess additional ways to eliminate regulations.
The enthusiastic response to Trump's speech marked a complete turnaround for the nation's premier gathering of conservatives, which had once greeted him with skepticism.
At his first appearance at the conference in 2011, Trump walked out to the song "Money" and drew laughs and boos from the crowd. Last year, Trump declined an invitation to speak at the event. On Friday, he explained that absence by saying he worried his ideas would be "too controversial."
But Friday's remarks represented Trump's attempt to recast the Republican Party - and the conservatives who represent its base - in his own image.
At one point, he said, "Now you finally have a president, finally," and at another point, he said the Middle East is in "much worse shape than it was 15 years ago" - a timeframe that extends back to the presidency of Republican George W. Bush.
The crowd reveled in chants of "lock her up," echoing last year's campaign chants targeting Hillary Clinton, and "USA! USA!" underscoring Trump's appeals to nationalism. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's joke earlier in the week that CPAC should be renamed "TPAC" in honor of the president seemed more fitting.
Trump's appearance Friday was the first by a sitting president since Bush spoke in 2003 and the first by a president in his inaugural year in office since Ronald Reagan in 1981. In all, Reagan spoke at CPAC 13 times. Trump said he plans to make annual visits to the conference.
Vice President Mike Pence compared Trump to Reagan in his speech Thursday night. "I believe President Trump has given voice to aspirations and frustrations to Americans like no leader since Reagan," he said.
In his own speech, Trump assailed the Affordable Care Act, blamed President Obama for leaving him with "a mess," and promised to halt illegal immigration. But as he gears up to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, lawmakers are going to be looking for more specifics, including how to fund his proposals.
Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are still trying to figure out exactly how to replace the federal health care law. They're also dealing with the lingering backlash to Trump's executive order on immigration, which sought to bar immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations before it was halted by the courts.
Trump did not once mention his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court in his speech, a surprising omission given the choice was widely heralded by conservatives.
He did, however, deliver a blistering critique of the media, attacking "fake news" and journalists' use of anonymous sources.
"It doesn't represent the people, it never will represent the people, and we're going to do something about it," Trump said about the media."Many of these groups are part of large media corporations that have their own agenda."
His attack on the media's use of anonymous sources came less than an hour after White House officials held a background briefing -demanding anonymity - with journalists to dispute a CNN story.
CNN had reported that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked the FBI to push back against media reports about communications between Trump aides and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The vision Trump outlined Friday was a less extreme version of the worldview expressed by Steve Bannon, the president's chief strategist, who spoke Thursday about the "deconstruction of the administrative state."
Bannon, making a rare public appearance, took the stage with Priebus and the two played down any conflict between them.
But, a day before Trump's speech, attendees at CPAC on Thursday were still coming to grips with his new party and wrestling with questions of whether he is a true conservative.
*********************************** Champagne Time! It's a "Bloodbath" at the State Department
At least one swamp appears to be being drained.
"It's a bloodbath at the State Department," the New York Post hyperventilated last Friday: "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is cleaning house at the State Department, according to a report." In Donald Trump's America, so much has happened so quickly to set the nation on a course decisively different from the one it was on during the regime of his disastrous socialist internationalist predecessor that this particular bit of good news was largely overlooked. But if a housecleaning at the State Department isn't a cause for celebration, nothing is.
"Many of those let go were on the building's seventh floor - top-floor bigs," the Post tells us, and adds that this is "a symbolically important sign to the rest of the diplomatic corps that their new boss has different priorities than the last one."
Pop the champagne!
And not only that, but "this week's round of firings marks the second time State Department personnel have been cleared out since President Trump took office last month. Four top officials were cleared out of the building at the end of January."
Break out the hats and hooters!
We can only hope that with the departure of these failed State Department officials, their failed policies will be swept out along with them. Chief among these is the almost universally held idea that poverty causes terrorism. The United States has wasted uncounted (literally, because a great deal of it was in untraceable bags full of cash) billions of dollars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, and other countries in the wrongheaded assumption that Muslims turn to jihad because they lack economic opportunities and education. American officials built schools and hospitals, thinking that they were winning over the hearts and minds of the locals.
Fifteen years, thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars later, no significant number of hearts and minds have been won. This is partly because the premise is wrong. The New York Times reported in March that "not long after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001...Alan B. Krueger, the Princeton economist, tested the widespread assumption that poverty was a key factor in the making of a terrorist. Mr. Krueger's analysis of economic figures, polls, and data on suicide bombers and hate groups found no link between economic distress and terrorism."
CNS News noted in September 2013 that "according to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, `Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.' One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, `Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.'"
Yet the analysis that poverty causes terrorism has been applied and reapplied and reapplied again. The swamp is in dire need of draining, and in other ways as well. From 2011 on, it was official Obama administration policy to deny any connection between Islam and terrorism. This came as a result of an October 19, 2011 letter from Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates to John Brennan, who was then the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism, and later served in the Obama administration as head of the CIA. The letter was signed not just by Khera, but by the leaders of virtually all the significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief USA; and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).
The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies' "use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam." Despite the factual accuracy of the material about which they were complaining, the Muslim groups demanded that the task force "purge all federal government training materials of biased materials"; "implement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training"; and more-to ensure that all that law enforcement officials would learn about Islam and jihad would be what the signatories wanted them to learn.
Numerous books and presentations that gave a perfectly accurate view of Islam and jihad were removed from coounterterror training. Today, even with Trump as President, this entrenched policy of the U.S. government remains, and ensures that all too many jihadists simply cannot be identified as risks, since the officials are bound as a matter of policy to ignore what in saner times would be taken as warning signs. Trump and Tillerson must reverse this. Trump has spoken often about the threat from "radical Islamic terrorism"; he must follow through and remove the prohibitions on allowing agents to study and understand the motivating ideology behind the jihad threat.
The swamp needs draining indeed. The "bloodbath" at the State Department is a good sign that the U.S. is on its way back on dry land.
Who needs Nordstrom? Or Marshall's or T.J. Maxx or Belk, for that matter? After those stores (and others) bowed to pressure to drop Ivanka Trump's brand from their stores, her products are still selling well elsewhere.
In recent days, the namesake brand of President Donald Trump's oldest daughter have taken over the top two best-selling spots on Amazon.com's beauty section.
Ivanka Trump Eu de Parfum Spray for Women and Ivanka Trump for Women Roller Ball are the No. 1 and No. 2 best sellers in Amazon's "Beauty" department, respectively. They retail between $15 to $46.50 on the website.
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26 February, 2017
Do as I say, not as I do (1)
The Left love preaching civilized behaviour even while they behave in the most offensive manner possible. The election of Trump has seen them sink to the very depths of offensive words and behaviour. So what has Amnesty International got to say about that behavior? Crickets. They criticize Mr. Trump only.
There is no doubt that Mr Trump's policies have tended to make Muslims and Hispanics feel unwelcome but that is just a reflection of the fact that Muslims and Hispanics have made themselves unwelcome by their egregious behaviour. If Amnesty wants to seen as more than a Leftist propaganda mouthpiece they will have to start looking at both sides of the matter
The Left-leaning Amnesty International has accused President Trump and other “anti-establishment” politicians of “wield[ing] politics of demonization that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people to win the support of voters.”
“Donald Trump’s poisonous campaign rhetoric exemplifies a global trend towards angrier and more divisive politics,” Amnesty International said in a new annual report covering 159 countries and territories.
“Across the world, leaders and politicians wagered their future power on narratives of fear and disunity, pinning blame on the ‘other’ for the real or manufactured grievances of the electorate,” it added.
The group offered a gloomy outlook on the state of the world.
“The world in 2016 became a darker and more unstable place,” Amnesty International secretary-general Salil Shetty wrote in the report’s foreword. “The reality is that we begin 2017 in a deeply unstable world full of trepidation and uncertainty about the future.”
In a statement, Shetty named Trump, Islamist Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the provocatively outspoken Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, and Hungary’s right wing prime minister Viktor Orban as politicians who he said demonize and dehumanize entire groups.
“2016 was the year when the cynical use of ‘us vs. them’ narratives of blame, hate and fear took on a global prominence to a level not seen since the 1930s,” he said. That was the decade the Nazi Party came to power in Germany, leading to World War II.
“Too many politicians are answering legitimate economic and security fears with a poisonous and divisive manipulation of identity politics in an attempt to win votes,” added Shetty, an Indian activist who has headed the organization since 2010.
Amnesty International USA executive director Margaret Huang also weighed in, saying that “President Trump’s policies have brought the U.S. to a level of human rights crisis that we haven’t seen in years.”
“As the world braces itself for a new executive order, thousands of people inside and outside of U.S. borders have had their lives thrown into chaos as a result of the president’s travel ban,” she added.
The reference was to Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order, which barred entry to the U.S. of all refugees for 120 days and refugees from Syria indefinitely; as well as to all citizens of seven countries carrying a high terrorism risk – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen – for 90 days.
Amid protests, federal courts issued temporary stays on enforcement of the order. The administration is preparing to issue what Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly described as a “more streamlined version.”
Further to my comments above, see below a clipping from the Washington Post of Feb. 1st. It's from an editorial headed "Breaking the unwritten rules of governing" and criticizes Mr Trump's firing of Sally Yates -- an Obama relic heading the Justice Department -- when she refused to do her job. What was he supposed to say other than "You're fired"? Once again the Leftist rag is preaching the highest standards of civilized behavior -- oblivious that the Left themselves constantly do the opposite. They have the brass to say that we should not demonize political opponents. So "Trump = Hitler" and all the rest is wrong? It certainly is but the Post does not mention that.
I have not made any attempt to do a search of their own articles but I note that in yesterday's issue they had an article written by an Obamabot which was headed "The White House’s thoughtless, cruel and sad rollback of transgender rights". That's a pretty good effort at demonization -- particularly because Trump didn't roll back anything. He just reverted the matter to the States, who may or may not do something about it.
Ethics, morality, principles and decency are all alien to the left. They just haven't got it in them. Their only constancy is their hatred of others.
Two leading Swedish politicians say Trump was right about their country's problem with refugee-fueled crime
While President Donald Trump was ridiculed last week for suggesting there was a terrorist attack in Sweden, two nationalist politicians from the Scandinavian country are coming to his defense.
Per Jimmie Akesson and Mattias Karlsson, two members of parliament from the right-wing Sweden Democrats, backed Trump's characterization of Sweden as a country that is plagued by migrant-fueled crime.
Akesson and Karlsson co-wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
'Mr. Trump did not exaggerate Sweden's current problems,' Akesson and Karlsson wrote. 'If anything, he understated them.'
During a rally in front of supporters in Florida last week, Trump said Sweden was 'having problems like they never thought possible.'
Police were forced to fire warning shots after a group of rioters began setting fire to cars, throwing stones at police and looting shops in the Rinkeby district of Stockholm on Monday night.
A police officer was injured during the clashes, Swedish public service broadcaster SVT reported.
Initially, Trump was thought to be talking about terrorism in Sweden, but the president later tweeted that he was referring to a Fox News segment about crime committed by migrants from the Middle East.
'Riots and social unrest have become a part of everyday life,' Akesson and Karlsson wrote. 'Police officers, firefighters and ambulance personnel are regularly attacked. Serious riots in 2013, involving many suburbs with large immigrant populations, lasted for almost a week.' 'Gang violence is booming.'
'Despite very strict firearms laws, gun violence is five times as common in Sweden, in total, as in the capital cities of our three Nordic neighbors combined.'
The two politicians also wrote in their op-ed that the Jews of Sweden who had once lived in the city of Malmo have fled because of the large immigrant population there.
'Anti-Semitism has risen,' they wrote. 'Jews in Malmo are threatened, harassed and assaulted in the streets.' 'Many have left the city, becoming internal refugees in their country of birth.'
'For the sake of the American people, with whom we share so many strong historical and cultural ties, we can only hope that the leaders in Washington won't make the same mistakes that our socialist and liberal politicians did,' they wrote.
But a Swedish government minister from the ruling Social Democrats blasted Akesson and Karlsson, accusing them of lying in the op-ed.
Bannon Hails 'Deconstruction of the Administrative State'
People should be ruled by their elected representatives, not bureaucrats
Appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon were asked to name a few of the "most critical" things that have happened in the first month of the Trump presidency.
Priebus pointed to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court; deregulation; and Trump's executive orders on immigration.
Bannon, speaking generally, mentioned national security, economic nationalism, and "deconstruction of the administrative state," a phrase that made headlines:
I think if you look at the lines of work, I kind of break it up into three verticals of three buckets. The first is kind of national security and sovereignty and that's your intelligence, the Defense Department, Homeland Security.
The second line of work is what I refer to as economic nationalism and that is Wilbur Ross at Commerce, Steven Mnuchin at Treasury, Lighthizer at -- at Trade, Peter Navarro, Stephen Miller, these people that are rethinking how we're gonna reconstruct the -- our trade arrangements around the world.
The third, broadly, line of work is what is deconstruction of the administrative state.
More specifically, Bannon listed three of the "most important things" as Trump's immediate withdrawal from TPP; the immigration guidance issued by Homeland Security Secretary Jack Kelly this week; and deregulation:
"Every business leader we've had in is saying not just taxes, but it is -- it is also the regulation. I think the consistent, if you look at these Cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason, and that is the deconstruction. The way the progressive left runs, is if they can't get it passed, they're just gonna put in some sort of regulation in -- in an agency.
"That's all gonna be deconstructed and I think that that's why this regulatory thing is so important."
Bannon said President Trump is "maniacally focused' on fulfilling the promises he made during the campaign, even if the "mainstream media" won't report that:
"Just like they were dead wrong on the chaos of the campaign; and just like they were dead wrong in the chaos of the transition, they are absolutely dead wrong about what's going on today because we have a team that's just grinding it through on what President Donald Trump promised the American people.
"And the mainstream media better understand something, all of those promises are going to be implemented."
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24 February, 2017
When the judicial becomes the political
by Janet Albrechtsen
The bonfire of the vanities lit daily by left-liberals since Donald Trump became the US President eclipses Tom Wolfe’s novel about arrogance, sanctimony and ego in 1980s New York.
These 21st-century masters of the left-liberal universe are determined to raze Trump’s presidency and put down, like a lame dog, a revolution of deplorables. As if it’s for their own good.
There was more fuel for the fire this week with Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court. However, rather than immediately condemn all attacks against Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch as misguided left-liberal bile, this battle is both inevitable and legitimate. When the nation’s highest court enters politics, appointments become part of the political circus.
To understand the wild intersection of law and politics in the US, one needs only to recall that last July Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called for Trump to resign from the presidential race. “He’s a faker,” she said. “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” Ginsburg said in an interview with The New York Times.
The President’s pick is a 49-year-old whip-smart scholar, a deep thinker, well-educated, and a beautiful legal writer to boot. What’s not to like? He’s also a lawyer and judge who believes that judges distinguish themselves from politicians by taking an oath to uphold the law as it is, rather than reshaping it to be what they want the law to be.
Gorsuch is what legal scholars call a “textualist” who interprets the law to provide a stable, predictable set of rules according to the words of a statute and, more importantly, the words of the US Constitution.
Following in the footsteps of former Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, who died last year, Gorsuch rejects the arrogance of judges who discern the meaning of laws from the apparent brilliance of their own minds, guided by their personal social policy preferences.
For good reason, Gorsuch is favoured by constitutionalists at America’s leading think tanks such as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. In a lecture last year, Gorsuch recognised Scalia as a legal lion whose career was a reminder of the differences between judges and legislators.
Writing in the National Review in 2005, Gorsuch admonished American liberals for their “overweening addiction to the courtroom” as the arena to settle social policy when such matters ought to be determined by legislators. It leads, he said, to the politicisation of the judiciary.
While Republicans and Democrats can argue over legal method, they can’t argue with the fact that the US Supreme Court is now a political institution.
That transformation makes Trump’s presidency even more troubling to left-liberals. Gorsuch’s nomination is just the beginning of Trump’s legacy that promises to alter the direction of the Supreme Court long after he has vacated the White House.
A single new conservative justice to replace the conservative Scalia may not immediately tilt the court towards conservativism on every issue. After all, last June the Supreme Court, in a 5-3 judgment with swing justice Anthony Kennedy siding with progressives, struck down abortion restrictions in Texas. What worries left-liberals is: what happens next?
Two liberal justices, Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, are aged 83 and 80 respectively, and Kennedy is 79. If Trump has the opportunity to replace Ginsburg, that will be her worst nightmare and his sweet revenge, delivering a majority of firm constitutionalists on the bench to determine everything from abortion to gun rights. Beyond the nation’s highest court, Trump is also set to fill 128 vacancies on lower federal courts, which hear more than 50,000 cases a year and decide influential matters that stand unless overturned by the Supreme Court.
No wonder Democrats are girding their loins for a fight in the 100-member Senate. While confirmation of Gorsuch’s nomination only requires a majority vote, Democrats can try to delay the vote with the American ploy of filibustering. A cloture motion to stop the filibuster requires 60 Senate votes, meaning some Democratic support will be needed.
Yet, for all the filibuster talk, after five days of debate during the controversial nomination of Clarence Thomas — accused of sexual harassment by law professor Anita Hill — the Senate confirmed Thomas 52-48.
To be sure, Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer wants to fight Trump’s nomination “tooth and nail”. That’s easy for the senator from liberal New York to say. Those Democratic senators up for re-election in 2018 from states where Trump prevailed last year may be more cautious. Sniffing the new wind, Democratic senators didn’t follow the sore-loser House Democrats who sat out Trump’s inauguration. Already, conservative lobby group Judicial Crisis Network has said it will spend $US10 million to pressure the five or so very red-state Democratic senators to support Gorsuch’s appointment.
The choice of Supreme Court justice matters to millions of American voters in ways that don’t compute elsewhere. At the presidential election, exit polls revealed that one in five voters regarded the composition of the Supreme Court as the most important factor in their voting decision. Trump won over 56 per cent of these voters to Clinton’s 41 per cent. Can you imagine an Australian voter telling an exit pollster that he or she voted a certain way to ensure the High Court was stacked with the right kind of judges?
The polarised debate over the Supreme Court appointments is both new and inevitable. As Scalia explained to me in an interview in his chambers some years ago, he was confirmed by the US Senate 98 to 0. “I couldn’t get 60 votes today because of what has happened in the interim is that people have figured out what the name of the game is,” he laughed. “Once upon a time, presidents and senators said, ‘yeah we want to pick a good lawyer, someone who knows how to read a text, understands its history, is a fair person, you know, won’t lean to one side or the other, has a modicum of judicial demeanour’, blah, blah, blah,” Scalia said.
“But they have come to realise that basically what this court is doing is rewriting the constitution from term to term, putting in new rights, pulling out old ones. And if that’s what they’re doing, by God, the most important thing is; ‘I want someone who’s going to write the Constitution that I like.’ And that’s what’s going on.”
Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion rights case, detonated the boundaries between law and politics. When a majority of the Supreme Court reworked the words of the due process clause in the 14th Amendment to the US constitution to discover a new abortion right for women, it wasn’t just anti-abortionists baulking at the blatant judicial activism.
Constitutionalists, be they lawyers or laypeople, believe that social policies should be legislated by democratically elected politicians, rather than meddling, unelected judges. More than 40 years later, abortion rights still rage as a political firestorm because a handful of judges supposed that they should legislate their preferred social policies from the bench.
What Scalia called the “big A” explains why the number of hours judicial nominees spend being grilled by the Senate’s judiciary committee shot up from single digits between 1925 and the 1970s to double digits since the 80s. Last year Republicans refused to even allow hearings to proceed to confirm Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland. “Delay, delay, delay,’’ Trump said, echoing Republican demands that the new president pick the new Supreme Court judge.
Hence, it’s reasonable for The New York Times columnist David Leonhardt to demand that Democrats block Trump’s nomination.
“Democrats simply cannot play by the old set of rules now that the Republicans are playing by a new one.” What is entirely illegitimate is the brazen attempt by the paper and Democrats to paint Gorsuch as a legal extremist. To put it in language that The New York Times sophisticates might understand, that’s faux news.
On Thursday, Trump told Senate Republicans to “go nuclear” if they have to. That means deploying an existing Senate rule that allows for a change to the numbers so that a simple majority suffices to bring on a vote to confirm Gorsuch.
Old rules, new rules, nuclear rules, broken rules. Who can keep up? The only certainty is that Trump’s nomination of an impeccable scholar will be another ghoulish political bunfight.
How does placing sanctions on Russia help America?
Ukraine, which has neither historical nor cultural links to Crimea, holds no valid title to this piece of real estate. Crimea was part of Russia from 1783, when Russia wrested it from the Ottoman Empire, until 1954, when Premier of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev, ina symbolic gesture, transferred Crimea from the Russian Republic to the Ukrainian Republic. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukrainians gained independence and Crimea became part of a new state called Ukraine. The Russian population of Crimea found itself trapped under Ukrainian rule. Pro-Russian sentiments - ranging from recognition of the official status of the Russian language to outright secession - had always been prevalent in Crimea.
Furthermore, Russians universally perceive Crimea as an inextricable part of their patrimony; every square inch of Sevastopol's land is soaked with Russian blood spilled in numerous wars for this vitally strategic gem of Russia.
An aloofness of history led the proponents of sanctions to treat the acquisition of Crimea as a moral issue. As a consequence, they fall prey to the illusion that the benefits of the removal of sanctions will eventually outweigh its cost. In contrast, the Russians see the acquisition of Crimea as a geopolitical issue paramount to their security as well as a fulfillment of nationalistic aspirations and are ready for sacrifices beyond the West's comprehension. In this manner, the outcome of sanctions is preordained; even if sanctions are kept in place for the next hundred years, they will not weaken Russian's resolve. As far as Moscow is concerned, Crimea is a fait accompli.
Eastern Ukraine, populated predominantly by the Russians, has the same issue with the government in Kiev as does the population of Crimea, and aspired to independence and self-determination just as did the people of Cyprus, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, who were forced to tolerate a mélange of incompatibilities.
From every standpoint - political, economic and military - the imposition of sanctions on Russia was the greatest lunacy committed by American policy in the post-Second World War era. It profoundly affected the evolution of American foreign policy from harnessing American idealism toward policies inconsistent with Russian dignity and nationalistic passion. It transformed America from being loved and aspired to, to being widely hated; it inflamed militaristic tendencies and fostered Russian foreign policy in the direction of adversarial relations with the West.
Most importantly, the practical result of this ideological abdication had a devastating impact on the development of Russian democracy. Before the sanctions Russia was steadily advancing toward the club of democratic nations. While we can concede that Vladimir Putin is not Thomas Jefferson, we should also acknowledge that every subsequent Soviet/ Russian leader after Joseph Stalin was more benevolent than his predecessor, an evolution in which the moral authority of "the land of the free" has played such a decisive role.
But when President Obama joyfully announced that the sanctions were hurting the Russian economy, he confirmed Putin's narrative that the West was deliberately inflicting hardship on the Russian people. Russia against the West, a familiar chronicle of the Cold War, has consolidated Russians around their president to an extent we have not seen since the cult of Joseph Stalin. Putin's approval rating has skyrocketed, enabling him to accuse his political opponents of being in collaboration with the enemy, suppress dissent, prosecute his critics and in some instances eliminate them altogether.
The longer Crimea and Easter Ukraine stand in the way of Russian-American rapprochement, the more intransigent and authoritarian Russia becomes. In the international arena, just like during the Cold War, increased tensions will be accompanied by continued Russian attempts to achieve a strategic advantage causing upheavals in various parts of the world.
If a strategy does not accomplish its stated objectives, a reasonable observer may conclude that the strategy has failed. As Talleyrand said of the Bourbons after the French Revolution, "They had neither learned nor forgotten anything."
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23 February, 2017
Mr Trump's manner of speaking
Mr Trump's language has been much criticized. It is said to be disjointed, illogical and to ignore all rules of English grammar. Against that, it has just won the man the Presidency of the United States. What is going on?
Various people have noted some strengths in the way Trump communicates. For instance, he uses very simple words and simple sentences. He repeats himself a lot so that you will be sure to get his point. But there is more to it than that. For a start he uses concepts that have a lot of emotional power -- patriotism and safety from danger in particular.
Most important of all, however, he speaks not as a polished intellectual but as a man of the people. He speaks like a welder or a farmer or a burger flipper. Yet he has a degree in economics and has long moved in the most exalted circles. How come he speaks in such a strange way for his background?
I think it is partly learned. A couple of Australian examples are, I think, enlightening. Bob Hawke was one of Australia's most popular Prime Ministers. He had been a Rhodes scholar and came from an educated family. Yet in his speeches he always spoke with a broad Australian accent and used a lot of slang and colloquial expressions. Like Trump, he sounded like a worker, though he was nowhere nearly as disjointed as Trump.
So it was very amusing when he retired. When interviewed after his retirement, he would speak in an educated way -- both in accent and in vocabulary. He had been "putting it on" as Australians say. He had been pretending to be what he was not.
So where did he learn to do that? He had long involved himself in the union movement. And a lot of unionists were genuine working class people. Over the years, Hawke had learned to model his speech on theirs so that he would seem "One of us". It worked. It got him the Prime ministership of Australia for eight years.
Another instructive example was a long-serving Premier of the Australian state of Queensland: Sir Johannes Bjelke Petersen. Sir Joh's speech was even closer to Trump's speech: Very similar indeed. He also had a messy speech delivery that the elite all dismissed as being beyond comprehension. Journalists and others claimed it was just impossible to understand what he was saying. But Joh was a farmer and he spoke like a farmer, not like an educated man. And ordinary farmers and working people generally understood him just fine. He kept getting their vote and ended up running Queensland for nearly 20 years -- from 1968 to 1987. So who was the fool?
The Honourable Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen, KCMG
Trump comes from the opposite end of the socio-economic scale from Sir Joh so how come he talks in a working class manner? He grew up in the Queens borough of NYC, which is a very diverse place so he would have heard working class speech there pretty often and it would have become part of normality for him. He knew how to speak that way if he wanted to.
And he has always had a hands-on attitude to his building projects and has often been on site talking to the workers doing the building. So it would seem that his conversations with them have reinforced a liking not only for them and their views but also for some of their speech patterns. Their patterns became his patterns. And those speech patterns sound to large numbers of Americans as "like us". Powerful stuff. He talks to the people in their own language. His accent is New York Queens and that too conveys an image of the blunt, no-nonsense New Yorker.
So on those two Australian precedents, Trump should easily get his second term in office.
Trump has the last laugh about Sweden
Riots have broken out in the Swedish suburb that Donald Trump referred to in his speech about immigration problems.
Police were forced to fire warning shots after a group of rioters began setting fire to cars, throwing stones at police and looting shops in the Rinkeby district of Stockholm on Monday night.
A police officer was injured during the clashes, Swedish public service broadcaster SVT reported.
Donald Trump made his confusing remarks about immigration in Sweden at his Florida rally on Saturday.
Trump was initially thought to be talking about terrorism when he warned of 'what's happening last night in Sweden'.
But he later claimed he was talking about an edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight about immigrant crime in the Scandinavian country.
Trump was mocked widely for his Florida speech, in which he said: 'You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden.
'Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible.'
He later clarified on Twitter that he was denying 'fake news' claims that 'large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully.'
Police said in a statement that at least seven or eight cars were burned in the district, which has one of the largest immigrant populations in Stockholm, during Monday's disorder.
Drunk on whine: Liberal boycott of Trump wine fails hilariously
A Virginia chapter of the National Organization for Women attempted to boycott Wegmans Food Markets in the state because they sell Trump Winery products. Instead, the protest backfired and the wine sold out within hours:
A spokeswoman for Wegmans, a New York-based company, told Fox News on Monday that Trump wines flew off its shelves last week. Out of 10 locations, only its Charlottesville store did not completely sell out.
Jo Natale, Wegmans‘ vice president of media relations, told the network that 100 bottles of Trump Winery Meritage and 20 bottles of the Cru remained at its Charlottesville location as of Friday evening.
Natale also had this to say about the failed protest: “For various reasons, we are sometimes asked to stop selling a product. Our response is always the same, no matter the product: How a product performs is our single measure for what stays on our shelves and what goes,” Ms. Natale says.
It looks like Trump wine won’t be leaving Wegmans shelves any time soon.
Donald Trump and the Waterloo of the Protected Class
While critics call America “divided” and paint a hysteria-driven picture of a fraying democracy, the divide occurs less along political grounds than it does on “protected” and “unprotected” grounds.
Let me explain:
The two classes that separate America do not divide along the usual lines of socio-economic background, race or party affiliation. Rather, the two classes separate along the lines of the “Protected Class” and the “Unprotected Class.” The Protected Class represents an ideology. Those who opt-in to their ideology receive protection while those who opt-out find criticism and attack. This is why those who opted-out of the Protected Class voting habits were labeled as “deplorable,” “bigoted” and “racist.” Their change of voting habits removed them from the Protected Class and placed them into the Unprotected Class.
This also explains why Ivanka Trump has been met with scornful words and boycotts. Due to her support of her father’s presidency, the Protected Class terminated her membership as well as all rights and privileges to their club.
Bolstered by their key allies in the media, Hollywood, academia and government, the Protected Class operates to proliferate their ideas to the exclusion of any other opposing idea even if it means completely skewing, or in some cases fabricating, the news cycle.
For example, from the vantage point of the Protected Class media, it appears that the first month of Trump’s presidency has been tense and fraught with scandal, change and massive pushback. The Protected Class press wants you to believe this. They want you to believe that Trump’s presidency has been unable to make any changes, that his political appointments are incompetent and that the whole “Trump thing” was a mistake.
Yet, we must remember that what is happening is to be expected, and it all has to do with who is telling the story.
It has been said victors write the history. However, in this case, the vanquished are telling the story. Reeling from defeat, the Protected Class feels threatened, perhaps because people have begun to see inherent hypocrisy within their ideology. Donald Trump’s entire campaign put a spotlight on the Protected Class cartel (how the Protected Class exonerates their own criminals, how the Protected Class media reports what they want and omits what might hurt their agenda and how the Protected Class government officials fill the swamp and get fat off of citizens' tax dollars).
The elitist LA/DC/Manhattan Protected Class value system believes that every intelligent human being would have voted for Hillary. They cannot fathom that any reasonable person would have voted for Trump.
Several years ago, I worked with a guy from the UK. He described his U.S. travels to me in the in this manner: “I have been to New York, LA and DC, but not the bit in the middle. But that doesn’t really matter.”
The Protected Class elitists believe this as well. In their mind, there are three important places in the United States: New York, DC and LA. The rest is home to a bunch of unenlightened rabble residing in the “bit in the middle.”
I would remind those who believe such nonsense that the “bit in the middle” is America. The Protected Class media wants to paint a picture of America in which George Soros, Madonna and Chuck Schumer represent our interests. In reality, the Protected Class is more out of touch than they even know. Small business owners, teachers, moms, pest control technicians, coal miners and construction workers make up America. These people who work hard for their families and try to make a better life for their children stand as the foundation of this country.
The Protected Class is out of touch, because they keep using their old tricks: They report falsely and hope that the people buy it.
So why does it seem so messy? It seems messy because the Protected Class is making it messy. They intend to focus upon Trump fail after Trump fail, conveniently omitting anything positive coming from DC. They have put a magnifying glass on everything, focusing on fear and failures while intentionally forgetting to tell the whole story.
The Protected Class media has failed to adequately report the results of President Trump’s first month, announced in Monday’s White House press release.
* Withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
* Renegotiating with Lockheed Martin and saving the American taxpayer $700 million on a new line of F-35 fighters
* Hosting the CEO of Intel who announced a plan to invest $7 billion dollars in a U.S. factory, which will create 10,000 American jobs
* Signing an executive order establishing a task force, headed by the new Attorney General, to decrease crime and restore public safety in American communities.
Ultimately, we must realize that the victory of Trump has been the Waterloo of the Protected Class, their tactics and their deceptive rhetoric. While the news cycle appears chaotic and terrifying, we must know that this is an attempt by the Protected Class to regain the ground they have lost. May we keep our eyes above the waves and remember that Big Lies often die a slow death.
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22 February, 2017
Trump’s support base sees no crisis, urges full speed ahead
MIAMI – With Donald Trump struggling to keep his presidency on an even keel in a cacophonous first month, die-hard supporters have a message for their champion: stay on offense, never modulate, never change.
Trump is under immense pressure as missteps have plagued his debut, with opposition lawmakers and observers lobbing one assault after another at the new commander-in-chief.
They say he lies, he lacks understanding of crucial issues, his White House is already riven with scandal and warring factions, and he’s dismissing the U.S. Constitution by attacking the media.
Even some fellow Republicans are expressing alarm.
On Saturday, Trump escaped the fiery cauldron of Washington to host a boisterous rally in Melbourne, Florida, where he was greeted with open arms by loyal supporters who insist his presidency is running smoothly.
And they sniffed at charges that Trump, now the world’s most powerful man, is refusing to moderate the aggression, impulsiveness and sniping that defined his 2016 campaign, which ended in shock victory.
“I want to see more of it,” Steven Migdalski, a 53-year-old unemployed computer technician from Titusville, Florida, told AFP during his seven-hour wait to enter the Trump rally.
He gave emphatic approval of Trump’s combative tone with the press and his hasty policy steps including his controversial executive order restricting immigration.
“I am totally ecstatic that a Republican president has the balls — the fight in him — to push back against not only fake news,” but the political establishment, said Migdalski, proudly displaying his red “Built Trump Tough” shirt.
Never mind that Trump’s debut has sent jitters across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans with policy musings that contradict decades-old U.S. policy regarding the Western alliance and post-World War II order.
“He’s upsetting the globalists. And I hope they’re afraid,” Migdalski said.
Such is the damn-the-torpedoes support Trump enjoys with his core base — largely white and male, predominantly working class, and increasingly nationalistic.
In more than a dozen interviews with supporters, they said they are backing their man, despite — perhaps even because of — his controversial actions.
But supporters are aware that they too provide the energy, adulation and respect on which Trump feeds — a symbiotic relationship that was on full display in Melbourne.
Washington is not a friendly town for any occupant of the White House, and Trump appeared thrilled to return to a campaign-styled event, complete with a woman holding up a poster with the words “Hillary for Prison,” even though Hillary Clinton was defeated months ago.
“I think he needs this. Everyday he hears hatred and negativity each time he turns on the TV,” said Tammy Allen, a self-employed independent distributor in Melbourne who was in the rally crowd with three friends holding “Women For Trump” signs.
“He’s been ridiculed and put down. I mean everybody is against him. So he needs to see those Americans that support him, that love him,” she added.
“We’re the wind beneath his wings.'”
High school student Jacob Wyskoski turned 18 last year, and cast his first-ever vote in November, for Trump.
“We used to be the strongest, the biggest, the most powerful nation in all of the world. We need that back,” he said, echoing a common refrain among voters old enough to recall the U.S. power that ended the Cold War.
As for Trump appearing to live his presidency with boxing gloves on, Wyskoski said, “we need someone who’s willing to fight for this country, and I feel like he’s the guy who is going to get in the ring if we need him to.”
Several supporters brushed aside the ongoing congressional investigations about the role Russia may have played in influencing the presidential election, and potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russian officials prior to the vote.
“Knock yourself out. Get all the people you want” to investigate Trump, said Mike Sikula, a retired aerospace engineer. “I love him to death.”
That Trump irks foreign leaders, antagonizes Democrats, and blasts the media while maintaining his combative campaign style is icing on the cake.
“I think it’s good,” Sikula said. Trump “has to go out in public and counter it,” he said of the criticism. “He has to go on TV and he has to tweet just to try and level the score a little bit. If he remained completely quiet, the lie would overwhelm him.”
I've been lucky, in my time as a graduate student and now as a professor, to give talks on a variety of subjects to many different groups. From business owners, to my undergraduate students, to MBA students, to high school students and more, I never get tired of talking about what I love.
Unfortunately for me, many topics I discuss tend to rain on people's parades. Informing my undergraduate freshman, for example, that things like a $15 minimum wage and free college would hurt them and others, is not something they like to hear. (They usually acknowledge, begrudgingly, that the economics makes sense.) In a similar way, explaining how arming "moderate" rebels will likely end in disaster, and that foreign aid may do more harm than good, tends to fly in the face of a lot of "conventional wisdom."
Other topics I discuss are downright depressing. In presenting talks on things like police militarization, torture, and the surveillance state, people often ask me, "What can be done to fix the problem?" I attempt to craft an answer, but ultimately admit I have no step-by-step solution. In a world where politicians, teachers, and others freely offer their supposed solutions as gospel, my inability and unwillingness to offer prescriptions for the world's problems often leaves people feeling as though I'm holding something back.
On more than one occasion, I've been called a pessimist. Why are you so negative, Abby?! Geez!
In reality, I'm a closeted optimist. I have more faith in humanity than I probably should. But when confronted with the accusation of pessimism, I always respond with the same thing.
"I'm not a pessimist. I'm an economist."
Allow me to explain: It seems that many people today are focused on the world as they would like it to be, and not how it actually operates. I observe this all the time-and not just with students. Take, for example, the most recent election and Trump's new policies. People I follow on social media, who I would consider good acquaintances and friends, genuinely think Sanders', Clinton's, or Trump's patently insane economic ideas would be good for the economy and society. Free college, free healthcare, $15 minimum wages, mandated paid maternity leave, building walls around the border, making Mexico "pay for the wall," (and probably free unicorns for everyone,) have mass appeal.
Explaining that each of these policies would not only fail in their intentions, but would likely make many situations worse, is not a popular position. But it is not pessimistic.
I teach my students that the economic way of thinking requires us to engage in positive analysis. That is, we focus on what is. We look at how people respond to the incentives they face and how they make choices. We don't engage in normative analysis. We don't talk about how things ought to be or how they should be. We can talk about issues of "ought" and "should" all day long, but this does absolutely nothing in helping us determine what is actually possible.
We recognize that, as human beings living in a world of scarce resources, we face constraints. This leads to the fundamental question of economics: What do we produce? How should it be produced? Who should produce it? For whom should it be produced? Etc.
Good economists accept that we are limited in what we can achieve. We have to try and do the best we can, given all the constraints we face. We look at the goals of policymakers and others, and analyze if and how well particular actions achieve these goals. Unconstrained thinking, which dominates the political and social landscape, ignores that there are many things that, given the circumstances we face, are not possible, or will not work the way people wish they would. In many instances, the economist often plays the role of constant inquisitor, much to the chagrin of those in earshot.
In the coming weeks, months, and years, I image I'll have plenty of occasions to question people's ideas and policies. Last week, I wrote a piece examining the "danger" posed by refugees. Based on some of the responses I received, it looks like a lot of people weren't pleased with my analysis.
What President Trump Should Know about California's Bullet Train
In his State of the State address, California governor Jerry Brown went off on President Trump with unusual fury, but he also extended an olive branch of sorts. California has "roads, tunnels and railroads" that the president "could help us with," Brown said, and that will "create good-paying American jobs." Before he gets on board the president should take a hard look at this railroad the governor is touting.
It was pitched as a swift route from Los Angeles to the Bay Area, but construction began way out by Fresno. The land the rail project needs is still in the hands of the rightful owners, and the first 118 miles could cost $3.6 billion more than expected. The Federal Railroad Administration has already forked over grants of $3.5 billion for that very segment, supposedly the easiest to build. Other parts would require the most elaborate tunneling project in U.S. history, certain to incur massive cost overruns.
Few California commuters were panting for a 19th-century form of transportation both slower and more expensive than air travel. California's high-speed rail project is best viewed as a bait-and-switch ploy to get state voters to finance local transit projects they otherwise would not support. The state's High Speed Rail Authority has no experience building anything but has established a Sacramento headquarters and three regional offices. The Authority works well as a comfy sinecure for ruling-class retreads like board member Lynn Schenk, a former congresswoman and chief of staff for former governor Gray Davis. As we noted, a convicted embezzler also found work with the rail authority, so criminals are also all aboard.
President Trump and Congress should weigh all that before loading any taxpayer dollars on the bullet train. The president should also take a hard look at the massive tunnels the governor wants to dig under the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta, at a cost of $15 billion, certain to be higher. As for "good-paying American jobs," the president should note that California chose to use cheap Chinese steel on the new span of the Bay Bridge, which still came in $5 billion over budget, ten years late, and remains riddled with safety issues. Despite a whistleblower's call for a criminal investigation, nobody was held accountable for any of it.
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21 February, 2017
Trump criticized for something he didn't say
More fake news. They said he referred to a terrorist attack in Sweden. But he didn't. He just referred to Swedish immigrant problems in general. If they can't find anything to harp about in what he did say, they will make up stuff he did not say and report it as fact
SWEDEN is demanding an explanation from the White House after US President Donald Trump implied a major security incident had occurred.
Mr Trump was speaking at his Make America Great Again rally in Florida on Saturday, where he was promoting the message about keeping his country safe.
But it’s what he said next that left many puzzled, and prompted a please explain from the Swedish embassy in Washington.
“Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers,” he told the rally. “They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
Mr Trump didn’t give any details over the reference to Sweden or what incident this could have been referring to, but many speculated he was implying a terror attack had taken place.
Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt summed up the world’s confusion in one tweet, asking what the US President “was smoking”.
Mr Trump later tweeted that the comment was in reference to a story on Fox News about immigration in Sweden.
It is tempting to see the huge rage against Trump currently emanating from the Left as the result of how radically Trump diverges from convention. He may be the most radical President America has ever had, given the number of customs, precedents and assumptions that he has steamed right past.
But the extent of the rage may in fact not be unique to him. I have an article here which gives a lot of quotes about the outpouring of rage and hate that flowed from the election of the very mild and compromising George W. Bush. ANYTHING that undermines their delusions seems to push Leftists into foaming rage.
What Obamacare's drafters could have learned from a hairdresser
by Jeff Jacoby
LAST WEEK'S CNN debate between Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders on the future of Obamacare was a first-rate political broadcast. It was substantive, focused, and illuminating — an absorbing clash between senators representing two very different ideological approaches. It was everything last year's shallow, bicker-filled presidential campaign "debates" were not: political programming that genuinely left viewers with more insight into a pressing question of public policy.
One segment of the two-hour encounter was particularly revealing.
The subject was the burden imposed by the Affordable Care Act on small businesses — especially those with fewer than 50 employees, the threshold at which the law's employer mandate kicks in. Audience member LaRonda Hunter, the owner of five hair salons in Forth Worth, posed a question:
"We employ between 45 and 48 employees," she began, explaining that she wanted to open more salons and employ more people. "However, under Obamacare, I am restricted, because it requires me to furnish health insurance if I employ more than 50 people. Unfortunately, the profit margin in my industry is very thin, and I'm not a wealthy person. . . . My question to you, Senator Sanders, is how do I grow my business? How do I employ more Americans without either raising the prices to my customers or lowering wages to my employees?"
Here was a real-world example of Obamacare's impact. By compelling companies with 50 or more workers to offer health insurance to everyone they employ, the law creates a powerful disincentive for business owners to expand beyond 49 employees. A business owner like Hunter faces an impossible dilemma: Either give up on growing her enterprise, or try to make ends meet by charging customers more and paying workers less.
The onerous employer mandate is one of the Affordable Care Act's worst defects. The Obama administration repeatedly delayed its effective date; Republicans want it repealed altogether. Sanders must know that Hunter's predicament is not uncommon, and the CNN debate gave him the chance to explain how Democrats propose to address it. But his explanation amounted to: Tough.
"Let me give you an answer you will not be happy with," Sanders said. "I think that for businesses that employ 50 people or more, given the nature of our dysfunctional health care system right now, where most people do get their health insurance through the places that they work, I'm sorry, I think that in America today, everybody should have health care. And if you have more than 50 people, you know what? I'm afraid to tell you, but I think you will have to provide health insurance."
Hunter tried again: "How do I do that without raising my prices to my customers or lowering wages to my employees?" Sanders: "I certainly don't know about hair salons in Fort Worth. But I do believe, to be honest with you, that if you have more than 50 people, yes, you should be providing health insurance."
The exchange could not have been more enlightening. For entrepreneurs like Hunter, a mandate to supply health insurance triggers inescapable, and unignorable, consequences. For Sanders and other defenders of Obamacare, those consequences are irrelevant. They believe in the employer mandate — a belief impervious to facts on the ground.
Lawmakers so often enact far-reaching rules with worthy intentions, but little awareness of how much harm government burdens can cause.
Sometimes, belatedly, they come to understand how clueless they had been. As a congressman, New York's Ed Koch routinely voted for liberal social and welfare proposals. Only much later, after leaving Congress and observing the practical impact of all those rules and programs, did the scales fall from his eyes. "I was dumb," Koch told an interviewer in 1980. "We all were. I voted for so much crap. Who knew? We got carried away with what the sociologists were telling us."
Years later, an even more liberal Democrat expressed similar regrets.
After a long career in Congress, former Senator George McGovern tried his hand a running a business — a small hotel in Connecticut. "In retrospect," McGovern wrote after the inn went bankrupt, "I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business. . . . I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day."
Government's power to do good is limited, and heavy-handed regulation habitually proves counterproductive. If Bernie Sanders had operated a few hair salons before going into politics, he would know that, and he'd be a better senator as a result.
The Senate voted 52-47 to confirm Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) as the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Yet again the vote was along party lines. One wonders if Democrats are getting tired dragging out these hearings into the wee hours only to repeatedly lose the vote.
Now that Price has been confirmed, the expectation is that ObamaCare will be significantly impacted. Price led the fight against ObamaCare when he chaired the House Budget Committee, submitting budget proposals that called for a repeal of the law. He also offered an alternative. In any case, Republicans are still struggling to come to a consensus on exactly what that repeal and replace will look like - it could be repeal or it could be a series of (significant) amendments to the current law. Having Secretary Price lead HHS is a great first step, as the law was written granting broad provision for the secretary to issue regulations as "the Secretary shall determine." We expect what he determines won't make Democrats too happy.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says Donald Trump poses a greater threat to the left than Ronald Reagan did as president in 1981
President-elect Donald Trump poses a greater threat to the left than any other political leader in the last 100 years, Newt Gingrich proclaimed on the eve of Inauguration Day.
Speaking at The Heritage Foundation on Thursday, Gingrich predicted that the Trump administration will dismantle the Washington establishment, unlike anything America has ever seen.
"Trump is a direct moral threat to both the value system of the left-because he's so politically incorrect-and to the power structure of the left," the former House speaker said.
Trump will put an end to the liberal agenda pushed by the establishment since Franklin Roosevelt, Gingrich predicted.
"I believe it's an opportunity to end the 84-year dominance of the left starting with Roosevelt in 1932," Gingrich said. "[Ronald] Reagan didn't end it, I didn't end it. It has continued to be the dominant underlying force in American culture and government. We have a chance now to really do that."
As the media becomes increasingly terrified and the left's anticipation has risen, Gingrich said, it has become clear to me that there is no historical parallel to Trumpism.
Not even Reagan can serve as a model for a chief executive whose primary goal is to completely alter the current power structure, Gingrich noted.
"Reagan's goal was to defeat the Soviet empire and, within the context of the traditional system, to accelerate economic growth and rebuild a belief in America and American history," he said. "He didn't spend a lot of time trying to take on the core value system of the left."
Trump's tackling of the left's ideology is comparable to Margaret Thatcher's annihilation of socialism in Great Britain during her years as prime minister.
Thatcher assailed socialism, "which is exactly what Trump should do," Gingrich said. "Thatcher was a direct threat to both the value system and the power structure of the left in Great Britain."
Gingrich suggested that while Trump may not be an ideological, traditional conservative, he has the ability to not only create jobs and stimulate the economy, but also to overpower the left's agenda.
"He is not an ideological, traditional conservative, but he may be the most anti-left political leader of the last 100 years," Gingrich said. "If they come together as a team and if they really focus on large-scale change, this will in fact be a historic opportunity.
Gingrich urged Trump voters to be both "noisily supported" of the administration and heavily critical of the elite news media.
"Every time the news media does something wrong, scream at them," he said. "Just pound on them. Don't pretend that we should pay attention to them in a positive way."
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20 February, 2017
Are there costs which outweigh the benefits of free trade?
Below is an argument from a prominent British libertarian -- Sean Gabb -- which argues for trade policies similar to those advocated by President Trump. It is in a sense Trumpian economics -- though it does not make one mention of Trump and uses British examples exclusively.
Gabb writes very simply but he does to a degree assume a knowledge of economics and its language. Trump has a degree in economics too. Nonetheless, a careful reading should make Gabb's arguments comprehensible. In any case, I think I should highlight a few points.
For many years now, economists have pointed out that free trade increases wealth. It does so by making everything cost less. Older Wal-Mart customers will be acutely aware of that. I remember when an electric fan cost around $100. Now they can be had for around $10 -- because they are now made in China.
So the assumption on both sides of politics has long been that we should free up trade as much as possible. And it took the Donald to question that. He hasn't shattered the consensus yet but his is a huge innovation in policy and a big sign of unconventional thinking. Trump as innovator! And now that Trump has challenged the consensus by talking of higher tariffs and other policies designed to increase the "Made in USA" label on goods sold in the USA, other people are beginning to say: "Hey! Maybe he has got a point". And Sean Gabb below makes a very erudite argument in favour of broadly Trumpian policies.
So an argument now being made by many is that price is not the only test of how good or wise a policy is. There may be benefits of making a good in the USA that justfies a higher price for that good. Money is not everything.
That is not an entirely new argument. Economists have always allowed some exceptions to the benefits of free trade, The infant industry argument and the defence industry argument are well known and there also the less known but equally cogent case known as the Australian case. And Gabb gives further examples of potential non-price benefits from home manufacture. I think he makes the best argument yet for that case, in fact.
Much more innovatively, he makes an argument that I have not seen before which downplays the price disadvantage from home manufacture. He points to what is the undoubtedly high cost of transporting goods. A farmer can get 10c for an apple he has grown which retails in the shops for $1.00. Why? There are several reasons but a major one is the cost of transporting it to your local supermarket. The transport industry can easily take a bite out of the $1.00 that you pay which is 2 or 3 times what the farmer gets. And there is no escaping that. Truck drivers are not usually highly paid unless they work very long hours and most of what could be done to make cheaper trucks has been done.
Gabb takes up that situation and notes something that is seldom mentioned but which is quite extraordinary when you think about it. He says that transport costs are heavily subsidized by governments. Almost all of the costs of freeways, railroads, local roads and defence against piracy at sea are borne by taxpayers, not the users of those facilities. Trucking firms do pay road use levies of various sorts but such levies are tiny compared with the huge cost of building just one mile of freeway, for instance. So from that, Gabb argues that the high costs of transprt would be even higher without the extensive government provision of almost "free" transport infrastrucure.
So in an ideal world where everybody paid for what they used, high transport costs would encourage goods to be made at home. A thing might be made cheaper in China but the costs of getting it to you might make its total final cost dearer. It is an innovative and clever argument and there is undoubtedly some truth in it -- but I don't fully buy it. I am not in a position to do the numbers but I doubt that transport costs could account for the recent reduction in costs of electric fans (for instance). Most of the transport of goods from China is seaborne and that is very cheap per cubic meter on today's huge container ships. And containerization makes most of the remaining trip (on land) pretty cheap too.
But there is clearly SOME "unfair" advantage given to remote manufacturers by subsidized transport, so the remaining question is how do we account for or allow for that advantage given to those manufacturers? It would take some sophisticated econometrics to find out but there is clearly no likelihood that national trade policy will be set by econometricians. We may simply have to hope that whatever tariff Mr Trump and Congress decide on will not be too far wide of that mark.
From all the considerations given below, however, it is clear that Mr Trump's tariff proposals have substantial intellectual support. They are in no way the sheer ignorance that Leftists claim
Briefly stated, the claim is that, since about 1970, shifts in comparative advantage [under freeish trade] have brought about a swift and fundamental deindustrialisation of Britain; and that this has impoverished millions of working class people.
There is the separate claim that the globalisation of which free trade has been made a part has subjected us to a New World Order that is openly working for our destruction as a free people, or as any people at all. However, since I and many other libertarians accept this claim in full, there is no point in discussing it. I will only add that free trade has existed without a supranational government, and that opposition to the latter has no bearing on the desirability of the former. Free trade is the uncontrolled movement of goods and services across borders. It does not need treaties to harmonise the sale of Vitamin C, or armies of bureaucrats to enforce the treaties. I will move, then, to the primary claim, which is mostly in dispute – though for which there is an arguable case.
Until the 1970s, almost every manufactured good sold in this country was made in this country. In terms of price and quality, these goods were often inferior to those made abroad, and had a market only because of the trade barriers that had grown up since the 1930s. On the other hand, British manufacturing firms gave jobs, directly or indirectly, to millions. These jobs were reasonably well-paid and reasonably secure. They gave those holding them the confidence to speak their minds, and to combine in defence of their collective interests as they perceived them. No doubt, these perceived collective interests were often false, and often defended with an absence of forethought. If there was also bad management, strikes and restrictive practices had their part in the ruin of British manufacturing. But I am old enough to remember when doctors and architects did not earn incomparably more than working class people, and when it was common to believe that we were all part of one nation.
Freer trade since the late 1970s has given us manufactured goods about as good and cheap as they can presently be. Most of these are made abroad. If the extent of British deindustrialisation can be overstated – we remain one of the main manufacturing countries; and some of our manufacturing exports have no competition – mass-employment in manufacturing is a thing of the past. Unless they have the skills to make it as sole traders, working class people nowadays have three options. In the private sector, they can take jobs in which the main qualities required seem to be obedience and a pretence of enthusiasm for employers whose own sense of obligation is limited to the contractual. They can become petty functionaries in state and quasi-state bureaucracies that should not exist. They can sink into an underclass that is kept alive by a combination of welfare handouts and crime.
The progress of the past forty years has been so great, that everyone benefits to some extent. Holidays in the sun can be had for the price of a thousand cigarettes, as can 50 inch television sets. Property, though, is increasingly difficult to buy; and rents can take up half the average income after tax. Working class people are insecure in their jobs. They are usually in debt. They are easily tyrannised over. They know they cannot speak freely on a range of subjects they think important. Unless on welfare, they have fewer children than their grandparents had. They are credulous. They are superstitious. They are feared by those above them, but easily managed, and therefore despised.
The main beneficiaries of what has happened since the 1970s are those in the professions or the senior reaches of an expanded financial sector. Our incomes have risen most impressively. And far above us floats the new elite of the super rich. Men like Richard Branson and the Mittal Brothers and the hedge fund managers, and the Russian billionaires who have settled here, have been raised up by the growing importance of London as a financial centre. Whether or not they share our nationality, they live among us, but are in no sense with us. The policies they are able to buy from our rulers will have only an accidental congruence with our interests. They find Britain convenient as a trading platform and shopping centre. Unlike the rest of us, who may have little else, these rich have no country.
In part, these changes are an effect of mass-immigration. You need to be a ruling class intellectual to deny the laws of demand and supply in labour markets. But the main cause has been a shift in the pattern of comparative advantage. Even without the twenty or thirty million immigrants of the past half century, mass-employment in manufacturing would have declined. Without the newcomers, the fall in working class living standards would have been greatly moderated. But there would still be no cotton mills in Lancashire, and no computer factories to take their place. The centre of London would still be packed with rich aliens of every nationality, including our own. Free trade necessarily expands output. It does not necessarily produce benefits that are equally shared.
The depression of our working classes is a legitimate concern. These are our people. Any libertarian who rolls his eyes at the phrase “our people” is a fool. Any who starts parroting the self-righteous cant of our rulers is a villain. All else aside, free institutions are unworkable in a society where large numbers of people are going visibly down the toilet. Does this mean that free trade is no longer in our national interest? Does it mean that, if still undeniable as an abstract proposition, the Law of Comparative Advantage no longer applies in the interests of our nation as a whole?
The answer to the question may be yes. If so, I as a libertarian must choose to stand up as a wooden ideologue or as a man of sense. I have always tried to be the latter. I believe in a world where everyone has the right to do with himself and his own as he pleases – a right bounded only by the equal right of everyone else to do the same. I look forward to a world without governments, and therefore without national borders and border controls. This does not mean, however, that I believe in the immediate and unordered throwing off of the present restraints. I see no value in arguing for specific freedoms, the exercise of which would undermine the existence of liberty in general. A sensible libertarian should argue for the present enjoyment only of those liberties that can be sustained.
I give the example of a restraint that I have already gone out of my way to support. There are good reasons for letting people settle anywhere on this planet where they can, by free bargaining, find jobs and accommodation. And there are better reasons why most people should not be allowed to settle in Britain. To be blunt, I accept the need for strict immigration control, and for even stricter controls on citizenship and its resulting membership of the political nation. I am not impressed by any of the apologetics by which some libertarians claim that this acceptance is other than it is. It is a clear breach of the non-aggression principle, and should be seen as such. But not to breach it in this case strikes me as lunacy. Unlimited immigration would lead to the erasure of one of the few nations and political orders in which the non-aggression principle has been even partially accepted.
This being so, free trade cannot be immune from reconsideration. It suited us very well in the nineteenth century. We emerged as the first industrial nation in a world where we controlled the seas and much territory outside Europe. Despite claims that it did not, it continued to suit us down to the Great War; and it would have continued to suit us right into the 1980s. But times may now have altered. If they have, we must consider some form of protection. I repeat that I am not rejecting the Law of Comparative Advantage. Protection always involves costs. Even assuming better management and less obstructive trade unions, prices of manufactured good would be higher – sometimes much higher. The compensation must be higher median living standards in both the material and the immaterial sense.
Nevertheless, before throwing up the case for free trade, there are three further considerations to discuss. The first is a harder look at the costs of protection. For as long as I have known him, Robert Henderson has been arguing for a “judicious” home preference. The assumption behind this is a belief that trade policy can easily be set in the national interest. But politics is at best a dirty business. Politicians and officials are always for sale; and the acceptance of trade protection would bring a cataract of bribes from every manufacturing company with money to spend. Robert believes that protection should cover things like steel and aeroplanes and electronics – things in which we have no present comparative advantage, but which are otherwise suited to our national abilities. The reality might be the equivalent of growing grapes in Scotland. Protection might give us a trade policy not in any national interest, but in the interest of a cartel of skilled bribe-givers and experts in public relations. We may differ in regarding Imperial Germany with admiration or distaste. But the men who built up those great cartels in steel and machinery and chemicals before 1914 were broadly pro-German. In present circumstances, and for the foreseeable future, protection would add to the number of the powerful and unaccountable interest groups that are busily enslaving us.
Nor in a protected economy need there be the same incentives as under free trade to innovation and product development and the control of costs. Whatever we think of their industrial achievement, the Germans did lose the Great War; and they lost in part because their industry was less responsive and less innovative than our own. Or, for the main current example of what can happen under protection, there is India before the liberalisations of the 1990s. There is also our own example. British manufacturing suffered from the opening of trade in the late 1970s compelled by the EEC and the GATT treaties. One of the reasons it was so damaged was that it had enjoyed nearly half a century of protection in its home markets, and this had enabled the growth of bad management and bad union practices. Before it could be nearly destroyed, British manufacturing was already nearly ruined. Can we really be sure that the same would not happen again? Do we want to go to all the trouble of uncoupling ourselves from a system that brings some benefits to some people, and end up with a repeat of the British Leyland fiasco?
The second consideration is that comparative advantage is not something beyond our control. It is not like the climate, which heats and cools in time with changes inside the Sun, or with variations in our orbit about it. I have mentioned the unions and the quality of management. Luckier in both, the Germans have kept more of their manufacturing despite broad similarities of trading environment. Traditionalists and libertarians usually agree that business in this country is both over-taxed and over-regulated. Well, the health and safety laws alone may have cost us half a million jobs. Our environmental laws and energy policy may have done the same. When it was introduced in the 1960s, capital gains tax is said to have ended most non-institutional investment – that is, much investment into small manufacturing. The overall burden of tax, plus inflation, has diverted most saving and investment into the City casino banks.
Looking at opposite tendencies, comparatively free prospecting for oil and gas in the United States has brought down energy prices there; and this is bringing back manufacturing industry previously lost to China. If we were to cut taxes and regulations at least to American levels, we might have more factories and jobs in the north of England. We could do this without losing the benefits of free trade. It might mean breaking a few treaties, but would not require a siege economy.
The third consideration follows from the second, but takes a more radical path. I have argued so far on the assumption that the economic structure of this country as it emerged a couple of centuries ago is worth defending or restoring. I do not share the view taken by many traditionalists that this structure was an abusive breach with immemorial and better ways of life. The enclosures had already worked a destructive revolution in the countryside. Most people there, by about 1815, had been reduced to a rural proletariat. Industrial society, as it emerged during the nineteenth century, enabled a quadrupling of population by 1914 with a strong upward movement in living standards. But, though better than most of the alternatives, I do not think our country, as it came into the twentieth century, was living in the best of possible worlds. I believe that we, and every other country that has followed our path, took a wrong approach to the Industrial Revolution.
In every industrial country, there has been a tendency for large organisations to outcompete smaller on price, and for goods to emerge at competitive prices from supply chains that may begin on the far side of the world. For example, I live in Kent, which is one of the main apple growing areas in England. My local Sainsbury sells apples from China for less than the local farm shops can sell their own apples. Is this a triumph of free market capitalism, for libertarians to celebrate and traditionalists to deplore? Or is it the outcome of a thoroughly interventionist order, from which the big and the distant gain illegitimate advantages over the small and local?
I think the latter is the case. There are still many libertarians – and these determine how the movement as a whole is seen – for whom utopia is Tesco minus the State. They believe that doing away with taxes and regulations and privilege for the well-connected would bring into being a world recognisably similar to our own. It would be richer and more peaceful and more just. But it would have much the same structures of centralised production and widespread distribution, and of wage labour. There are other libertarians – Kevin Carson, for example – who take a fundamentally different view of what might emerge in the absence of distortions by the State. And, for all they denounce traditionalism, and see themselves as on the “left,” they are elaborating a version of libertarianism that few traditionalists might see as hostile to their own concerns.
During the past few hundred years, the British State, among others, has been subsidising road and rail and, more recently, air transport. These subsidies take the form of direct building, or of financial underwriting or other assistance, or of compulsory purchase and incorporation laws that externalise many of the private costs of construction and use and maintenance. Without subsidy, roads and railways would still have been built. But there would have been fewer of them, and full-cost charging for use would have directed a higher proportion of investment into local networks.
The subsidised infrastructure that we have is biased towards transport over long distances. It raises the maximum scale of production. Internal economies of scale in a factory are worthless if distribution costs make the price of output uncompetitive in all but very local markets. Centralised production for a national market may be worthwhile in a country where distribution costs must be reflected in price. It will be far more worthwhile in a country where distribution costs are partly met by the taxpayers.
What is true of national distribution networks is also true at the level of international trade. British and then American control of the seas has made shipping safe from piracy. British and American control of the Middle East has externalised many of the costs of oil drilling and movement. British and American armed interventions stabilised less powerful countries for the sale of our industrial output, and then for the development of manufacturing industry in places where the local ruling classes could be bribed and assisted into making labour both cheap and docile.
These facts go far to explaining why Chinese apples undercut Kentish apples in Kent, and why it is worth concentrating the manufacture of virtually all electronic goods in a few coastal regions of China, and why most of the clothes we buy are put together in Turkish and Bangladeshi sweatshops. It goes far to explaining why, when I drive home every summer from the family trip to Slovakia, I share fabulously expensive motorways with lorries that pay a pittance per mile, and burn diesel at prices – even allowing for taxes – far below the real cost of extraction and transport, and that are carrying goods to places like Manchester and Leeds where once whole armies were employed in their manufacture.
In short, the manufacturing side of the globalisation that traditionalists denounce proceeds from a pattern of comparative advantage that makes sense only on the basis of systematic externalisations of cost. This is not a natural order. It is not free market capitalism. It is instead a global mercantilism in which a cartel of ruling classes has decided that certain regions should specialise in certain activities. If notebook computers are not made in Basingstoke, it may be less because firms in Canton are better at making them than because their final prices all over the world do not take fully into account their costs of manufacture and distribution.
It may be that these interventions lead to positive externalities that outweigh the externalised costs. But this is to put a faith in the wisdom of politicians and bureaucrats that is not supported by our everyday experience. More likely, costs are not merely shifted from those incurring them, but also magnified before they are dispersed, if in ways that none of us can fully understand.
Let us try to imagine the shape of a world in which these interventions had not begun. It might now be a place of largely independent communities, with much production of food and energy and manufactured goods close to market. There would have been an industrial revolution. But it would have taken a different path. There would be advanced technology. But it would be different in its objects. There would be some centralised production, but only where its full distribution costs were reflected in price. There would be some international specialisation and trade on the basis of comparative advantage. But this would not be so omnipresent, nor so able to produce vast and sudden dislocations. There would be neither corrupt, free-floating elites nor an alienated proletariat. But there would be much freedom and much regard for tradition.
In the world as it is, the British working classes have been smashed not by free trade, but by systematic state interventions so longstanding that we are liable to take them as inevitable. The answer is not to call for the State to make up sliding scale tariffs or to set quotas on South Korean washing machines. Rather, it is for the initial interventions to be swept away. Two centuries of the world as it is cannot be undone at once. But we can hope that a root and branch attack on the enabler of that world will allow something more natural to take its place.
I have said that there are differences between libertarians and traditionalists over what constitutes the substance of the good society. Rightly considered, I increasingly wonder where the real differences need to be about the form of that society, and over how to get there.
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19 February, 2017
Observations From the Back Row: NATO and Tomorrow Land
By Rich Kozlovich
I'm convinced NATO and the U.S. will part company by 2025 if not by 2020, and it may cease to exist entirely. According to Stratfor news "U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Feb. 15 that the United States may moderate its commitment to NATO unless all of its member states boost their defense spending".
It appears there's only a few who are meeting that commitment - a "2% threshold" -including the U.S. United Kingdom, Poland, Estonia.....and believe it or not.....Greece. The article, which I didn't link because it's a subscription site, and expensive, claims Trump is already calling for less funding for all these international organizations. We're going to see all these NGOs start whining and wailing soon - with the help of their leftist friends in the main stream media - for being cut off the federal udder.
And just as we've seen how Planned Parenthood falsely claimed this would hurt the care they supply to women - care they didn't offer - we're going to see these NGOs start trying to claim the world can't survive without their support, because they believe the only support the world needs is for them to destroy capitalism, especially American style capitalism, the Constitution and their ultimate goal - Destruction of the United States as an independent entity, unbending, unrelenting in defense of individual liberty and unconquerable.
Unconquerable except by the rot and corruption from within by the media, academia, government agencies, politicians and most importantly - the judiciary. The rot has even extended to the military.....at least the military elite. The men have a different perspective. Expect to see all those PC generals and admirals looking to retire soon, as I suspect the Trump crowd will not ask them to stay and play any longer.
Trump has called NATO "an obsolete bloc", and I agree. It was formed to stop Soviet aggression against Eastern Europe. Now it's been used to impose policy that has nothing to do with defence of Europe as was done in Serbia and even in Libya......all under the guise of "protecting" the Libyan people.
The NATO mission has been corrupted and needs to be dumped by the U.S. and if Europe thinks it's still necessary - let them fund it - but with the coming disorder that might not be possible, especially since I think Europe and Russia, which are both breeding themselves out of existence, will be facing a massive civil war between the ethnic Europeans with a nationalist bent, Muslim invaders, and multiculturalists. That will bankrupt Europe and Russia. They will survive, but they will never recover the economic security of the past under Bretton Woods, and Western Europe will have to appeal to their old colonies for trade agreements. Trade agreements the old colonies may find much more favorable than in the past.
Let's try and understand what's going on in the world and why. All we see today geo-politically was a direct result of the Bretton Woods agreement in the 1944, What emerged was an unique U.S. imposed hegemony with the United States pretty much agreeing to defend the world after Germany and Japan were defeated, and in order to rebuild the allies economy they would open American markets to them. The first hegemony imposed on anyone where those it was imposed upon benefited at the expense of the one doing the imposing.
This began the Bretton Woods era, even if the official agreement was over, the umbrella continued to exist as did the concept. China was allowed under the Bretton Woods economic umbrella because it was thought this would help stand against the Soviet Union. We don't need China any longer, and forget their sabre rattling. That's all show and little go. They may perform some "object lesson" aggression as they did with India in the 60's, but China isn't capable of doing anything really big outside their immediate sphere, and that's mostly in their own land.
We're not able to continue this arrangement any longer financially - and quite frankly - we don't need any of them any longer. Russia isn't in an economic position to attack anyone, although if they did advance into Eastern Europe they would win without the U.S. involvement, but they would ultimately destroy themselves because it would be the final stake in the heart of their economy. And it's my belief Putin would face an open revolution in Russia because even if he defeated the west he would have to occupy it against underground resistance movements. He can't sustain that. Russia would be gone within ten years of that happening.
China is a corrupt economic basket that may collapse soon. That's why capital is flowing out of China - which is largely illegal in China - at a rate that clearly shows the elite in China don't believe it can last much longer.
And where are they taking all that money? The United States! It won't be long before we will see the world come begging to the U.S., the only country that's going to be able to stand against the coming disorder on it's own. And the more successfully we stand against the world's coming disorder, the wail from all these leftist loons will reach a banshee pitch. Make no mistake about it - we're going to take some bumps, but it will be nothing like the rest of the world because we don't need them!!!! We need to get that!!!!
With all the current and historical failures of the left you would think leftists - Democrats, socialists, radicals (I'm repeating myself) - would see the light and abandon their irrational views. The more untenable their position becomes the more they scream and yell, violently demanding everyone to pay attention to them and bend to their will.
For leftists to continue to hold all their views against the disastrous history of leftism worldwide, and all the disastrous reality we seen going on right in front of us, must mean they're insane.
Update: Here's an excerpt from a speech by Nigel Farage warming the European Parliament: "You're In For A Bigger Shock In 2017" I feel like I am attending a meeting of a religious sect here this morning. It’s as if the global revolution of 2016, Brexit, Trump, the Italian rejection of the referendum, has completely bypassed you.
You can’t face up to the fact that this bandwagon is going to roll across Europe in these elections in 2017. A lot of citizens now recognize this form of centralized government simply doesn’t work. … At the heart of it is a fundamental point: Mr. [name not recognized] this morning said, the people want more Europe.
They don’t. The people want less Europe. We see this again and again when people have referendums and they reject aspects of EU membership. But something more fundamental is going on out there. …. No doubt, many of you here will probably despise your own voters for what I am about to say because just last week, Chatham House, the reputable group, published a massive survey from 10 Europen states, and only 20% of people want immigration from Muslim countries to continue. Just 20%. … Which means your voters have a harder line position on this than Donald Trump, or myself, or frankly any party sitting in this Parliament. I simply cannot believe you are blind to the fact that even Mrs. Merkel has now made a u-turn and wants to send people back. Even Mr. Schulz thinks it is a good idea.
And the fact is, the European Union has no future at all in its current form. And I suspect you are in for as big a shock in 2017 as you were in 2016.
Leftist hate speech is rife. Trump calls it for what it is
Here are Trump’s eight accusations of “hatred” from Thursday’s contentious press conference:
“And I’ll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word “tone.” The tone is such hatred. I’m really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such — I do get good ratings, you have to admit that — the tone is such hatred."
"But the tone, Jim. If you look — the hatred.
"Well, you look at your show that goes on at 10 o’clock in the evening. You just take a look at that show. That is a constant hit. The panel is almost always exclusive anti-Trump. The good news is he doesn’t have good ratings. But the panel is almost exclusive anti-Trump. And the hatred and venom coming from his mouth; the hatred coming from other people on your network.”
“I don’t mind bad stories. I can handle a bad story better than anybody as long as it’s true and, you know, over a course of time, I’ll make mistakes and you’ll write badly and I’m OK with that. But I’m not OK when it is fake. I mean, I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred and just the hatred.”
I mean that. I would be your biggest fan in the world if you treated me right. I sort of understand there’s a certain bias maybe by Jeff or somebody, you know - you know, whatever reason. But - and I understand that. But you’ve got to be at least a little bit fair and that’s why the public sees it. They see it. They see it’s not fair. You take a look at some of your shows and you see the bias and the hatred."
How many non-citizens illegally vote in U.S. elections? According to an extrapolation of a 2013 National Hispanic Survey, the number could be as high as 2 million:
The little-noticed Hispanic survey was conducted in June 2013 by McLaughlin and Associates to gauge the opinions of U.S. resident Latinos on a wide range of issues.
Inside the poll is a page devoted to voter profiles. Of the randomly selected sample of 800 Hispanics, 56 percent, or 448, said they were non-citizens, and of those, 13 percent said they were registered to vote. The 448 would presumedly be a mix of illegal immigrants and noncitizens who are in the U.S. legally, such as visa holders or permanent residents.
A 1996 federal law, and other statues, makes it a felony for non-citizens to register. The poll did not ask if they voted.
But James Agresti, who directs the research nonprofit “Just Facts,” applied the 13 percent figure to 2013 U.S. Census numbers for non-citizen Hispanic adults. In 2013, the Census reported that 11.8 million non-citizen Hispanic adults lived here, which would amount to 1.5 million illegally registered Latinos.
Accounting for the margin of error based on the sample size of non-citizens, Mr. Agresti calculated that the number of illegally registered Hispanics could range from 1.0 million to 2.1 million.
Agresti’s findings align with those of a controversial 2014 analysis conducted by professors at Old Dominion University and George Mason University. Based on answers to citizenship questions in the biennial Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES), the professors estimated that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in the 2008 election, while between 14.5 percent and 15.6 percent of non-citizen adults were registered to vote, ranging from 38,000 at lowest to 2.8 million at highest.
Nevertheless, the liberal media dismissed the ODU study as unreliable and declared it debunked.
But if the data are true, then it means that several close House, Senate, and governors races may have been wrongly decided by fraud.
On February 1 NRA-ILA executive director Chris Cox told Breitbart News that President Obama lacked the "political backbone" to act and keep Chicago from becoming a "national disgrace."
Cox was being interviewed for the upcoming episode of Breitbart News podcast, Bullets with AWR Hawkins.
He said, "This is very simple, you prosecute the criminals who are breaking the law, you let law-abiding people have the ability to defend themselves, because in Chicago there's a lot more bars on windows than gates around communities." He added, "This is no longer funny, it's a national disgrace and a tragedy."
He then turned to Obama's inaction:
We had eight years where President Obama could have done something about his supposed hometown. He could have worked with Rahm Emanuel, the Mayor. But he certainly could have picked up the phone to the Justice Department and said, `Look, every one of these gang members; every one of these murderers and rapists and thugs in Chicago, when they get arrested on a gun charge or a drug charge, turn it over to the U.S. Attorney [and] prosecute [them] in federal court and put them in jail.' But he didn't do that. He didn't do that because he didn't [have] the political backbone and the will to do it.
We asked Cox about Representative Luis Gutierrez's (D-IL-4) attempts to blame Chicago gun violence on the NRA. Cox said, "Gutierrez and the rest of them are playing the people for fools. People are smarter than that. People understand that you can respect the rights of law-abiding people-and our inherent, preexisting right to defend ourselves-while at the same time, going after and prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms. Those are not mutually exclusive ideas despite the left's having such a hard time wrapping their head around it."
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16 February, 2017
Outrageous! Trump enforces immigration law
U.S. authorities announced that they had arrested more than 680 illegal immigrants in several raids conducted last week. The news brought a predictable outcry from immigration activists groups who had become accustomed to Barack Obama’s increasingly limited enforcement policy on illegal immigration — they called the actions a “campaign of terror.” Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, wailed, “This is a new day. This is the deportation force that [Donald Trump] has been threatening since the campaign.” She should settle down while we look at the facts.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly pushed back against the outrage machine, framing the raids as being both in keeping with the agency’s standard operating procedures and focused on criminal illegal aliens. Kelly said, “President Trump has been clear in affirming the critical mission of DHS in protecting the nation and directed our department to focus on removing illegal aliens who have violated our immigration laws, with a specific focus on those who pose a threat to public safety, have been charged with criminal offenses, have committed immigration violations or have been deported and re-entered the country illegally.”
While the leftist narrative is that Trump has enacted a new draconian anti-immigrant policy, the reality is that he has simply removed the overly restrictive limits Obama imposed upon the Department of Homeland Security. “Trump really is, so far, just a return to normalcy in immigration enforcement,” says Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “It was Obama that was the radical break.”
Not surprisingly though, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) demanded answers for the raids. In a letter, he wrote, “Targeting law-abiding innocent immigrant families whose only wrongdoing was crossing the border to give their children a better life, instead of focusing on removing those who have been convicted of violent crimes is a waste of limited resources and undermines law enforcement in communities across the country. ICE must come clean.” It is true that most illegal immigrants are not guilty of violent crime, but by definition they are guilty of committing a criminal act. Yet Schumer seemingly has little respect for the laws of our nation.
There are an estimated 11.1 million illegal immigrants living within the U.S. A week of raids netting 680 of them — aliens who were targeted by ICE officials specifically for engaging in criminal activity beyond their illegal resident status — was enough cause for the Left to engage in hyperbolic and dishonest rhetoric. But what else is new?
We should mention that in fiscal 2013 alone the Obama administration deported a record 438,421 illegal aliens. Yet Obama released tens of thousands of criminal aliens, while sanctuary cities protected them. So what’s the deal with the over-the top outrage coming from his constituents now?
1) Trump Derangement Syndrome. Democrats and the Left are still so incensed by Trump’s shocking election victory they have made it their mission to resist and obstruct him at every opportunity. That includes creating outrage over any potentially controversial issue, irrespective of its merits, so as to destroy Trump.
2) Political strategy. Democrats have pretty much given up on winning back white middle America and have instead set their sights on creating a new voting block out of the nation’s fastest growing and largest minority group — Hispanics. If they can build a large enough coalition of minority groups, they can then afford to ignore white middle America, a group they despise anyway. This is nothing more than identity politics — supporting illegal immigration, especially if it leads to some form of “comprehensive reform” — and it plays well with Hispanics. After all, the same thing worked with blacks. Why not try again?
The right to live and work in the U.S. is reserved only for those who are citizens of our nation. It is a privilege for foreigners. Any attempt to unlawfully apply this right beyond the clearly defined law of the land, no matter how emotionally justified, is to do violence to Rule of Law and to the rights of all citizens. And those politicians who willfully promote and advocate those who break the law should be held to account. Unfortunately, the problem has gone on for so long with little being done to address it that when someone like Trump comes along to simply enforce the law, he is deemed extreme. Thankfully, Trump is serious about fixing the problem and has been sticking to his guns on the issue.
The electoral college is not the reason Hillary lost. If there would have been no electoral college before the election Hillary would still have lost.
How can that be you ask? I am crazy you say? She got 2 million more votes Steven you lunatic!
You don't live in NY or California if that is what you're thinking.
The states of NY and California, combined population of around 58 million people, were going to Clinton. Clinton was going to win those states. The most optimistic Trump fan in the world would have conceded that prior to the election.
Those states are also winner take all states. A huge chunk of Republicans in those states don't bother with voting in the general election. They know their votes don't count so they don't bother showing up. I can count on one hand how many of my rabid conservative friends in NY even bothered to vote. Virtually all my liberal friends voted.
(I didn't vote because I didn't find either candidate appealing)
No electoral college and a lot more Republicans in these two huge states would have voted. We know what Hillary's ceiling was, we don't know what Trump's could have been without an electoral college
Many political observers thought a significant number of Republicans would either vote for Clinton, one of the third party candidates, or stay home rather than casting their votes for Trump. According to the exit polls, Republicans stayed loyal to their presidential candidate. Some 89 percent of self-described Republicans voted for Trump; 91 percent of white Republicans did.
In contrast, only 84 percent of white Democrats voted for Clinton. She did win 86 percent of white Democratic women, but only 81 percent of white men.
So I don't think Texas would have made a difference for Hillary like California and and NY would have for Trump.
President Trump has announced that his administration will be launching a major investigation of voter fraud, including those who are registered in more than one state, “those who are illegal” and those voters who are dead but still registered. This followed a media firestorm in which The New York Times and others called Trump’s assertion a “lie.”
But just last week, President Obama told a whopper at his last news conference that went almost completely unnoticed, much less criticized.
He promised he would continue to fight voter-ID laws and other measures designed to improve voting integrity. The U.S. is “the only country among advanced democracies that makes it harder to vote,” he claimed.
This is demonstrably false. All industrialized democracies — and most that are not — require voters to prove their identity before voting.
Britain was a holdout, but last month it announced that persistent examples of voter fraud will require officials to see passports or other documentation from voters in areas prone to corruption.
The real problem in our election system is that we don’t really know to what extent President Trump’s claim is true because we have an election system that is based on the honor system.
What we do know, despite assertions to the contrary, is that voter fraud is a problem, and both sides of the political aisle should welcome a real investigation into it — especially since the Obama administration tried so hard for eight years to obfuscate the issue and prevent a real assessment.
Former Justice Department attorney Christian Adams testified under oath that he attended a Nov. 2009 meeting at which then-deputy assistant attorney general Julie Fernandes told DOJ prosecutors that the administration would not be enforcing the federal law that requires local officials to purge illegitimate names from their voter rolls.
This refusal to enforce the law came despite a 2012 study from the Pew Center on the States estimating that one out of every eight voter registrations is inaccurate, out-of-date or a duplicate. About 2.8 million people are registered in more than one state, according to the study, and 1.8 million registered voters are dead. In most places it’s easy to vote under the names of such people with little risk of detection.
The Obama administration did everything it could to avoid complying with requests from states to verify voter registration records against federal records of legal noncitizens and illegal immigrants who have been detained by law enforcement to find noncitizens who have illegally registered and voted.
The Justice Department has also opposed every effort by states — such as Kansas, Arizona, Alabama and Georgia — to implement laws that require individuals registering to vote to provide proof of citizenship. This despite evidence that noncitizens are indeed registering and casting ballots.
In 2015 one Kansas county began offering voter registration at naturalization ceremonies. Election officials soon discovered about a dozen new Americans who were already registered — and who had voted as noncitizens in multiple elections.
These blatant attempts to prevent states from learning if they have a real problem with illegal votes makes it impossible to learn if significant numbers of noncitizens and others are indeed voting illegally, perhaps enough to make up the margin in some close elections.
There is no question that there are dishonorable people who willing to exploit the loopholes in our honor system.
An undercover video released in October by the citizen-journalist group Project Veritas shows a Democratic election commissioner in New York City saying, “I think there is a lot of voter fraud.”
A 2013 sting operation by official New York City investigators found they could vote in someone else’s name 97 percent of the time without detection.
A second O'Keefe video showed two Democratic operatives mulling how it would be possible to get away with voter fraud.
They were both fired.
How common is this? If only we knew. Political correctness has squelched probes of noncitizen voting, so most cases are discovered accidentally instead of through a systematic review of election records.
The danger looms large in states such as California, which provides driver’s licenses to noncitizens, including those here illegally, and which also does nothing to verify citizenship during voter registration.
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16 February, 2017
Swedish healthcare is a bureaucratic nightmare. China is better
I am Swedish and enjoy free healthcare in my own country. I still prefer Chinese healthcare way above Swedish healthcare. Why?
This is what I do in Sweden:
I go to the health clinic (not allowed to see someone directly at a hospital). I only get to see a general practitioner. The general practitioner will diagnose and often get it wrong. After 2-3 visits (probably 3-8 weeks), the general practitioner will put me in the system to see a specialized doctor at the hospital. I then have to wait weeks or months to get a time with the specialized doctor. The specialized doctor will diagnose, often without any scan, because the scan is paid by taxes and should not be used unless "really needed". After a few visits to the specialized doctor without improvements, they may allow an X-ray, CT scan, or whatever. Then I need to book a time for the scan, and another time to see the doctor again. This process continues with time booking back and forth. I have a good diagnose after ~4 weeks at best, often it will take months or even years.
This is what I do in China:
I go directly to the hospital and tell the nurse at the entrance what kind of problem I have. She tell me which specialization I need to see. I go to a counter, pay about 1 USD for a ticket (with number) with the specialized doctor, then go directly to that department and queue. I usually get to see the specialized doctor within 30-60 minutes. The doctor will always let me do X-ray, CT scan, or whatever, if they think it will help to diagnose. I pay for that myself, ~70 USD, and I can go queue for that scan directly the very same day. After the scan, I go back to the specialized doctor again (no need to re-queue, just go directly). Doctor will look at the result and give a well informed diagnosis.
So with Swedish healthcare, it takes months to achieve what I can achieve in one day with Chinese healthcare.
And yes, not everyone can afford good healthcare in China, but there are very reasonable health insurance packages to buy there that the vast majority can afford.
Trump: ‘We Are Getting Such Praise’ for Our ‘Common Sense’ Stance on Immigration
President Donald Trump said Monday that his administration is receiving praise for its “stance of common sense” when it comes to immigration, adding that he will not allow terrorist attacks that have occurred in the United States and around the world to happen in the U.S. on his watch.
“We are getting such praise for our stance, and it’s a stance of common sense - maybe a certain toughness, but it’s really more than toughness. It’s a stance of common sense, and we are going to pursue it vigorously, and we don’t want to have our country have the kinds of problems that you’re witnessing taking place not only here, but all over the world,” he said in a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“We won’t stand for it. We won’t put up with it. We’re just not going to let it happen. We’re going to give ourselves every bit of chance so that things go well for the United States, and they will go well,” Trump said.
The president said he wants the U.S. to have “a big beautiful open door,” but his administration cannot let “the wrong people in.”
“We want to have a big beautiful open door, and we want people to come in and come in our country, but we cannot let the wrong people in, and I will not allow that to happen during this administration, and people, citizens of our country want that, and that’s their attitude too, I will tell you,” Trump said.
Trump said he already knew the U.S. national security situation was not good when he was campaigning.
“When I was campaigning, I said it’s not a good situation. Now that I see it, including with our intelligence briefings, we have problems that a lot of people have no idea how bad they are, how serious they are – not only internationally, but when you come right here,” he said.
“Obviously, North Korea is a big, big problem, and we will deal with that very strongly,” Trump said, referring to North Korea’s launch of a banned ballistic missile on Sunday – the first test since the president took office.
“We have problems all over the Middle East. We have problems just about every corner of the globe no matter where you look,” Trump said.
The president said the U.S. has to “create borders” and let in “people that can love our country.”
Sanctuary cities cave in face of Trump's funding threats
Several towns, cities and counties around the nation are caving to President Trump's threat to pull funding, and abandoning their "sanctuary" pledges to shield illegal immigrants from federal authorities.
Dayton, Ohio, dropped a policy that restricted the city’s cooperation with immigration officials pursuing illegal immigrants arrested for misdemeanors or felony property crimes, according to the Dayton Daily News. Police Chief Richard Biehl said federal authorities will no longer be impeded by the city when pursuing illegal immigrants being held by his department.
Other communities that have dropped policies of shielding illegal immigrant suspects from Immigration and Customs Enforcement include Miami-Dade and Dayton, are Saratoga, N.Y., Finney County, Kan., and Bedford, Penn., according to The Center for Immigration Studies, which keeps a list of sanctuary communities.
“We are reviewing policy changes at a multitude of other jurisdictions as well,” said Marguerite Telford, CIS’s director of communications, who said the organization is “being inundated” by officials on its sanctuary map who want to be taken off.
The mayor of Miami-Dade County, which was considered a sanctuary community, made headlines recently when he changed a policy that called for refusing to hold arrested immigrants for immigration officials unless they committed to reimbursing the county for the cost of detention.
Telling reporters that he did not want to imperil hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding, Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered jails to comply with federal immigration detention requests.
The changes have come on the heels of President Trump’s executive order giving the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security the power to cut federal funding to communities that are deemed sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. Trump also has authorized the DHS to publish a weekly list of sanctuary communities.
CIS, and other groups that favor strict immigration enforcement, laud Trump’s move.
“Are you really going to pick and choose what laws you’re going to enforce?” asked Telford. “If you want a change [in immigration policy], go to the legislature.”
While some communities are rethinking their sanctuary policies under the pressure of losing funding, public officials of others, particularly major cities, have vowed to defy Trump’s orders.
“We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York at a recent press conference.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also vowed to protect illegal immigrants, including ones suspected or convicted of crimes, from the feds.
“I want to be clear: We’re going to stay a sanctuary city," Emanuel said. "There is no stranger among us… you are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American dream.”
The "sanctuary" term describes cities that employ a range of uncooperation with federal immigration authorities. Some refuse to hold suspects and even convicts who have completed their sentences for the feds to deport. Others refuse to furnish the feds with information on illegal immigrants who land on their radar through more benign activity.
Forbes contributor Adam Andrzejewski reported that more than 300 government jurisdictions claim to be sanctuaries, of which 106 are cities and “the rest are states, counties or other units of government.”
Supporters of sanctuary communities say that people who are here illegally but have not posed a danger to others or had trouble with police should not be turned over to immigration authorities.
Some police and town officials further argue that working with immigration officials will make people fearful of turning to them if they are the victim of a crime or have information about one.
“It’s incredibly disappointing to see cities and counties scaling back so-called "sanctuary" policies, which were largely adopted to further public safety and ensure immigrants weren’t afraid to call the police,” Grace Meng, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, told Fox News.
Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, predicted many more communities will be dropping or dramatically modifying their sanctuary stances.
“We’re going to see more of this,” Mehlman told Fox News. “Faced with the possibility of losing federal dollars, they’ll choose to keep funding public services rather than protecting illegal aliens.”
Gallup: 62% of Americans Say Trump Keeps His Promises
A new Gallup survey shows that strong majorities of Americans believe President Donald Trump keeps his promises, is a strong and decisive leader, and can bring about the changes this country needs.
However, only 44% of Americans think Trump "inspires confidence" and "can manage the government effectively," reported Gallup, and only 42% think Trump is "honest and trustworthy."
The survey, conducted Feb. 1-5, found that 62% of Americans believe Trump "keeps his promises." Fifty-nine percent believe he is a "strong and decisive leader, and 53% think he "can bring about the changes this country needs."
"The characteristics that Americans are most likely to say apply to Trump clearly reflect the key message of his inaugural address and his actions since taking office over three weeks ago," said Gallup. "He made a large number of promises during his presidential campaign, and Americans give him the most credit for following through on those promises."
"His series of executive orders and Cabinet appointments show a president who is decisive and trying to bring about change, also qualities that a majority of Americans (59% and 53%, respectively) say apply to him," said Gallup.
"Americans are, however, less positive about his honesty -- echoing views that plagued both him and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during last year's campaign -- and majorities are not convinced that he is able to manage the government effectively, that he inspires confidence or cares about the needs of 'people like you,'" said the survey group.
Not surprisingly, there were major differences between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to Trump. The survey found, for instance, that while 91% of Republicans believe Trump "keeps his promises," only 36% of Democrats agree with that assessment. While 94% of Republicans think Trump is a "strong and decisive leader," only 29% of Democrats think that way. Also, only 9% of Democrats believe Trump is "honest and trustworthy," but 81% of Republicans think he is "honest and trustworthy."
"Trump begins his presidency with a majority of the public believing that he keeps his promises, is a strong leader and can bring about needed changes," said Gallup. "These traits fit well with his steady stream of sometimes controversial executive orders that have reflected what he said he would do during his campaign, continuing to exemplify a 'bull in the china shop' style and persona."
"Overall, it appears that one of Trump's most significant challenges will be to convince Americans that his hard-charging leadership style is ultimately going to be good for them and for the country," said the survey firm.
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15 February, 2017
Trump Should End Government Funding of NPR's Biased News
Is National Public Radio's description of an Obama urban directive as something that merely "links [government] funding to desegregation" fake news?
Well, it's so slanted that if you had no prior knowledge of the program, and heard NPR's depiction of it, you would just say to yourself, "Sounds good to me."
But to many conservatives, including the man that President Donald Trump has nominated to be the new secretary of housing and urban development, Ben Carson, the Orwellian "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" is a tortured interpretation of the Fair Housing Act.
To them, coercing suburbs to build high-density, low-income housing in order to reflect the national racial makeup-even when there isn't a hint of discrimination-is an outrageous attempt to pursue the liberal dream of closing down the suburbs by changing their nature.
To Stanley Kurtz, writing in National Review, "the regulation amounts to back-door annexation, a way of turning America's suburbs into tributaries of nearby cities."
Carson, writing in The Washington Times, said the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing directive reminded him of the "failed socialist experiments of the 1980s." That view was not reflected in NPR reporter Pam Fessler's unflattering piece on Carson following his nomination. The piece referred positively to the housing program as "stepped up enforcement of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which is intended to reduce segregation."
Like other examples of NPR's treatment of Cabinet appointments and other domestic and international news, Fessler's report echoed almost exclusively the worldview of the left.
This is a characteristic that is shared to some degree by the Public Broadcasting System, NPR's television equivalent.
And this attribute will become a problem for the taxpayer-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which oversees both NPR and PBS, as the incoming Trump administration looks to make cuts in the budget-as it should.
To be sure, NPR and PBS will have the odd National Review editorial writer or conservative scholar on as a guest commentator once in a while. But that is not the issue.
The issue is that a conservative philosophy and outlook doesn't inform the way the news is written and presented the way, say, Mother Jones seems to do.
We saw what happens when a journalist "gets" both sides. Fox News' Chris Wallace received bipartisan praise for the way he moderated the last presidential debate in October.
As The Wall Street Journal put it at the time, there was a reason he was more effective than his preceding moderators:
He asked questions that would never have even occurred to the other moderators. Mr. Wallace's personal politics are a mystery to us, but his position as an anchor at Fox News . means he is exposed to political points of view that are alien at most other media outlets.
NPR has done nothing to counter its persistent liberal bias, despite years of complaints from conservatives-including us-that its patent lack of diversity of thought was unfair and misguided for a tax-funded entity.
Several changes at the top during the past few years have had no apparent impact.
The partially taxpayer-funded public broadcaster appeared to be trying to turn a new leaf in 2011 when it brought in Gary Knell as CEO "to calm the waters," following the ouster of Vivian Schiller. Charges of liberal bias under Schiller had revived conservative calls to defund NPR.
Knell lasted only 20 months, however, and several changes later, NPR in 2014 doubled down on its worldview. It named as its CEO Jarl Mohn, a former senior official with the American Civil Liberties Union who has given at least $217,000 mostly to "Democratic candidates and political committees" by NPR's own admission.
NPR's only response to conservative complaints about its liberal viewpoint is to deny that this is the case. It's the "Who you gonna believe, us or your lying ears?" defense.
So, no wonder the reporting on the nominees was off. Carson wasn't the exception. Here are several others:
The piece on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's nomination as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, for example, lacked any kind of perspective on the harm that the agency's aggressive regulatory zeal has caused to companies large and small. Also missing was how the EPA shakes down companies and forces them either to make contributions to environmental groups or face huge fines.
Such details may have put into context the scathing, melodramatic attack on Pruitt by the Sierra Club, one of the groups that may now lose both influence and funds, which reporter Nell Greenfieldboyce included in her piece. The "conservative balance" lacked any of these details, but actually offered another negative: George Will's observation that Pruitt had been "one of the Obama administration's most tenacious tormentors."
Jessica Taylor's report on the choice of fast-food restaurant CEO Andrew Puzder as secretary of labor made note of his opposition to raising the minimum wage. The piece was remarkably neutral in that it did not reflect any assumption as to whether this policy is good or bad for employees making minimum wage. Not so for the analysis that Jeremy Hobson (host of NPR's "Hear and Now") conducted with Business Insider's Kate Taylor. There, the worries of "labor groups" about Puzder's "commitments to labor rights" were prominent.
"Anybody pushing for passage of laws that protect labor rights are going to have a bit of an uphill struggle," Taylor concluded. There was no conservative counterweight.
Nor is NPR's liberal slant limited to only Trump's Cabinet appointments.
Scott Simon's commentary on Cuban dictator Fidel Castro upon his death was actually titled, "Easy to See Why Some Loved Fidel Castro's Cuba, Many More Fled."
Right up front there was a trope about how "American mobsters used to run this place." But actually, Cuba was a thriving economy when Castro took over in 1958, one that compared favorably with Mediterranean Europe or Southern U.S. states. But you didn't hear that from Simon.
It shouldn't surprise that the views held by the left form the background of many stories, as NPR either directly quotes liberal outlets as reference points or uses language that is undistinguishable.
On the very controversial public debate over whether men should be able to use women's bathrooms if they identify as women, NPR's Ethics Handbook uses as a reference point the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association's guidelines in recommending that the debate be cast as "whether transgender people should be allowed to use public bathrooms `based on their gender identities or, instead, what's stated on their birth certificates.'"
Many Americans-and not just conservatives-however, take issue with the notion that "a man can be trapped in a woman's body" or vice-versa. Sex to them is a matter of objective biology, not a subjective social construct.
As the Washington Examiner put it before the end of the year, "Not everyone heeds the command to pretend that Caitlyn Jenner is a woman."
These are views held by millions of taxpayers. By choosing only one side, NPR's reporting can be as skewed as anything found on MSNBC-or conservative talk radio for that matter.
But because it is delivered in mellifluous and serene tones, a pitch which NPR staffers refer to with self-congratulation as "Minnesota Nice," and because it has the stamp of the government's endorsement, the reporting is considered objective and reflective.
The consumer, therefore, is likely not adding an extra layer of caution-the caveat emptor factor that one adds with Rachel Maddow or Sean Hannity.
To the question asked at the start of this piece: No, NPR's description of "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" wasn't fake news. But it wasn't the whole news, either.
And listeners have a right to know they must use a prism, just as taxpayers have a right not to fund a one-sided news outlet.
The 2017 federal appropriations for the Center for Public Broadcasting were $445 million. PBS gets about $300 million of that.
Defenders say that in the age of a $19 trillion debt, this is a "rounding error." Well, if it's so small, then maybe cutting won't hurt as much, and the money can be used elsewhere, or returned to taxpayers.
NPR will survive without government funding. It has a good membership model. It also offers a good product, as does PBS.
But the new conservative administration and congressional majority coming in have a responsibility to the conservative base not to continue to fund a "public broadcaster" that leaves half the nation feeling ignored.
If it doesn't, the new governing majority had better get used to seeing its policies traduced on a regular basis by NPR, the way the new Cabinet's positions clearly have been.
"Disheartening and demoralizing," wailed Judge Neil Gorsuch of President Trump's comments about the judges seeking to overturn his 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from the Greater Middle East war zones.
What a wimp. Did our future justice break down crying like Sen. Chuck Schumer? Sorry, this is not Antonin Scalia. And just what horrible thing had our president said?
A "so-called judge" blocked the travel ban, said Trump. And the arguments in court, where 9th Circuit appellate judges were hearing the government's appeal, were "disgraceful." "A bad student in high school would have understood the arguments better."
Did the president disparage a couple of judges? Yep.
Yet compare his remarks to the tweeted screeds of Elizabeth Warren after her Senate colleague, Jeff Sessions, was confirmed as attorney general. Sessions, said Warren, represents "radical hatred." And if he makes "the tiniest attempt to bring his racism, sexism & bigotry" into the Department of Justice, "all of us" will pile on.
Now this is hate speech. And it validates Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to use Senate rules to shut her down.
These episodes reveal much about America 2017.
They reflect, first, the poisoned character of our politics. The language of Warren — that Sessions is stepped in "racism, sexism & bigotry" echoes the ugliest slander of the Hillary Clinton campaign, where she used similar words to describe Trump's "deplorables."
Such language, reflecting as it does the beliefs of one-half of America about the other, rules out any rapprochement in America's social or political life. This is pre-civil war language.
For how do you sit down and work alongside people you believe to be crypto-Nazis, Klansmen and fascists? Apparently, you don't. Rather, you vilify them, riot against them, deny them the right to speak or to be heard.
And such conduct is becoming common on campuses today.
As for Trump's disparagement of the judges, only someone ignorant of history can view that as frightening.
Thomas Jefferson not only refused to enforce the Alien & Sedition Acts of President John Adams, his party impeached Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase who had presided over one of the trials.
Jackson defied Chief Justice John Marshall's prohibition against moving the Cherokees out of Georgia to west of the Mississippi, where, according to the Harvard resume of Sen. Warren, one of them bundled fruitfully with one of her ancestors, making her part Cherokee.
When Chief Justice Roger Taney declared that President Abraham Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus violated the Constitution, Lincoln considered sending U.S. troops to arrest the chief justice.
FDR proposed adding six justices to emasculate a Supreme Court of the "nine old men" he reviled for having declared some New Deal schemes unconstitutional.
President Eisenhower called his Supreme Court choices Earl Warren and William Brennan two of the "worst mistakes" he made as president. History bears Ike out. And here we come to the heart of the matter.
Whether the rollout of the president's temporary travel ban was ill-prepared or not, and whether one agrees or not about which nations or people should be subjected to extreme vetting, the president's authority in the matter of protecting the borders and keeping out those he sees as potentially dangerous is universally conceded.
That a district judge would overrule the president of the United States on a matter of border security in wartime is absurd.
When politicians don black robes and seize powers they do not have, they should be called out for what they are — usurpers and petty tyrants. And if there is a cause upon which the populist right should unite, it is that elected representatives and executives make the laws and rule the nation. Not judges, and not justices.
Indeed, one of the mightiest forces that has birthed the new populism that imperils the establishment is that unelected justices like Warren and Brennan, and their progeny on the bench, have remade our country without the consent of the governed — and with never having been smacked down by Congress or the president.
Consider. Secularist justices de-Christianized our country. They invented new rights for vicious criminals as though criminal justice were a game. They tore our country apart with idiotic busing orders to achieve racial balance in public schools. They turned over centuries of tradition and hundreds of state, local and federal laws to discover that the rights to an abortion and same-sex marriage were there in Madison's Constitution all along. We just couldn't see them.
Trump has warned the judges that if they block his travel ban, and this results in preventable acts of terror on American soil, they will be held accountable. As rightly they should.
Meanwhile, Trump's White House should use the arrogant and incompetent conduct of these federal judges to make the case not only for creating a new Supreme Court, but for Congress to start using Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution — to restrict the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and to reclaim its stolen powers.
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14 February, 2017
Perils of being a health nut
A doctor reports:
A lady came to me with renal failure many years ago, and was indignant because she was a health nut and took great pride in all the vitamins she took to "stay healthy." At that time a kidney angiogram was standard (injecting dye directly into the kidney through the blood vessels). Before I injected the first drop I noticed on the fluoroscope that both kidneys looked like great, white stones.
I asked her, "How much Vitamin D do you take?" She proudly announced that she took about 75 times the recommended dose. "Well, I said, you have turned your kidneys to stone." She pronounced me a quack and we terminated the procedure. Last I heard of her, she was on dialysis.
Another shot at the salt nonsense below. Excerpt only. The term "sodium" below refers to NaCl, table salt
Since Dahl's work in the 1960s, a steady stream of high-quality evidence has shown that dietary sodium can indeed influence blood pressure. But most showed a surprising, but statistically insignificant inverse correlation between salt and blood pressure, as well. That means some people with higher dietary sodium also had lower blood pressure.
More recent work has demonstrated that, even though groups of people averaged together may show a uniform trend in the association between sodium and blood pressure, there are wildly different blood pressure responses to dietary sodium within populations. For example, research indicates that about 25 percent of the population is "salt sensitive," meaning their blood pressure rises as dietary sodium is increased. However, most-perhaps upwards of 75 percent-are insensitive to moderate increases and decreases in dietary salt. A small percentage, an estimated 11 to 16 percent, however, are "inverse-salt-sensitive," and will experience higher blood pressure as dietary sodium is decreased. The cause of this heterogeneity in response to dietary sodium is not yet known but may be related to the other components of a person's diet, their genetic background, and other lifestyle factors.
Furthermore, an increasing body of research has shown that decreasing salt consumption-even if it does lower blood pressure-may not be associated with better health. Blood pressure is, of course, merely a marker of health not an outcome; people don't die as a result of high blood pressure, but rather from the conditions closely associated with blood pressure like heart attack and stroke.
What does all this mean? Frankly, it means the research is inconclusive for population-wide sodium recommendations. For certain individuals, like those who are salt-sensitive and consuming higher than average sodium intakes, sodium restriction may make sense. On the other hand, for certain groups, such as those who are inverse salt-sensitive, or those who are diabetic (for whom studies have found lower salt increases mortality risk) it might not be the best approach. Put more simply: the research doesn't support sodium restriction in the general population consuming average sodium levels as a means to reduce blood pressure.
Perhaps the most interesting finding, however, is that the literature has been quietly affirming the effectiveness of other-possibly more appropriate-ways to lower blood pressure. At the top of the list is dietary potassium, which researchers had identified as lowering blood pressure at nearly the same time they began studying the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Consistently, almost without fail and on both sides of the sodium debate, studies have shown that doubling dietary potassium is as effective as halving dietary sodium. More importantly, the effect has been observed in almost every population in which it has been studied, regardless of race, sex, age, location, and other genetic and lifestyle factors.
Since the dawn of Covered California, the state's wholly owned subsidiary of the federal Affordable Care Act, health journalist Emily Bazar has tracked the dysfunctions. The skyrocketing premiums, cancellations and "glitches" of the $454 million computer system were responsible for "widespread consumer misery," not exactly a ringing endorsement. Covered California also dropped 2,000 pregnant women from their plans, causing them to lose their prenatal appointments. More recently, victims of Covered California protested a massive "bait and switch" trick that makes glowing promises then sticks them with expensive, inferior coverage. On the other hand, victims who think Covered California can't get any worse are sadly mistaken.
In her most recent column, Emily Bazar charts how Covered California slammed victims by nearly doubling their premiums and depriving them of their tax credits. Covered California boss Peter Lee cited "systems issues that had never occurred before," an allusion to the $454 million computer system that Covered California blames for everything. Lee helpfully added that "real people" have been affected. One of them is Mike Connelly, 62, of Granite Bay, who like others was mistakenly kicked over to Medi-Cal. "After they have you," Connelly told Bazar, "they won't let you go," and that is not a good thing. Medi-Cal service is shaky and as Bazar noted, they "demand posthumous payback from enrollees 55 and older for a broad range of medical costs," even if they didn't use any medical services. All victims of the ACA, meanwhile, should understand that actual health concerns are secondary.
The Affordable Care Act is perhaps the greatest "taking" in U.S. history. It takes away the plans the people like and gives them only what the government wants them to have. The ACA increases the size and power of government and lays the groundwork for government monopoly health care, the "public option." The people ought to beware because once that system has you, it won't let you go. Even if you don't like the plan, you have to keep it.
Rumor has it that many Republicans in Congress are rethinking "repeal and replace" in favor of "repair." This is both unnecessary and unsound. According to Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman, GOP lawmakers can replace Obamacare without leaving anyone behind. All they need to do is to enact legislation such as the proposal that Senator Bill Cassidy introduced in the Senate and that he and Representative Pete Sessions introduced in both houses of Congress.
"The Sessions/Cassidy proposal in particular is designed to encourage employers to help their employees get health insurance," Goodman writes in Forbes. It does this through five main features: a refundable tax credit, access to group insurance, access to limited-benefit insurance, a reliable safety net, and reform of the individual market.
"Interestingly, a model for reform is the small-business section of the CURES Act, which passed with huge bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress," Goodman writes. "One way to think about the Sessions/Cassidy legislation is to see that it will extend these same features to the rest of the healthcare system."
Obama and the EU pursued trade wars long before The Donald arrived. Tariffs are only one way of burdening producers in other countries
Is Trump intent on starting a trade war? After proclaiming, in his inaugural address, that `protection will lead to great prosperity and strength', Trump has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He may impose a 20 per cent border tax on imports, starting with Mexico. He wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada. He's promised to raise tariffs on Chinese goods to 45 per cent of their value, and wants US manufacturers to reshore production back to America. Now commentators fret that Trump is walking in the `ominous' and `dark' footsteps of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which taxed some imports at 60 per cent of their value and is today widely seen as contributing to the international disorder of the 1930s.
We will have to see what Trump does. But nobody should be under any illusions: over two terms, Obama's own protectionism, much of it directed against the EU, fully prepared the world for the Trumpian protectionism of today. So too did the protectionism emanating from Brussels. The narrative that Trump is a qualitative break from a previous era of peaceful, liberal, free-trade globalisation is simply untrue.
In trade and investment, Obama always played hardball. He took sanctions against Russia and Syria. He only eased sanctions against Iran in January 2016, and left the historic US sanctions in place around Cuba. Obama also imposed tariffs of more than 500 per cent on some Chinese steel products. In the World Trade Organisation, his representatives aggressively pursued `enforcement' actions against trade rivals.
Yet Obama also played a new kind of softball. For decades, economists used to lament growing `non-tariff barriers to trade' - niggly regulations that would, for example, bar foreign carmakers if their bumpers weren't right. And for decades trade has been growing in services, where national technical regulations and standards are especially tricky for foreign firms to adhere to (the EU Single Market, for example, does not work well for services). What's more, foreign direct investment (FDI) is actually more important than trade. Apart from the imposition of old-fashioned sanctions and a few harsh tariff barriers, then, Obama repeatedly engaged in other unilateral, arbitrary and intimidating actions against foreign firms active in the US.
His people fined Britain's BP billions of dollars for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, and Obama himself castigated BP as British Petroleum. In 2012, Obama's Department of Justice (DoJ) fined UK pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline three billion dollars for bribing doctors to prescribe anti-depressants to children. On a much smaller scale, the US Securities and Exchange Commission fined Dutch auditors KPMG in 2014 for iffy accounting, going on to fine Ernst & Young for much the same in 2016. Last year, too, the Supreme Court awarded Apple $399million in damages against Korea's Samsung for making smartphones with `a rectangular front face with rounded edges and a grid of colourful icons on a black screen'. Obama's DoJ also fined Volkswagen $4.3 billion for faking its diesel emissions, arranging for a German VW executive to be shackled in Miami and threatened with life in jail. Finally, in its dying days, the Obama DoJ fined Britain's Rolls Royce $170million for bribery.
Obama's fierceness toward inward investors was only `soft' in that it singled foreign companies out for longstanding Democratic Party anti-corporate gripes around the environment, safety and corruption. In this sense, we can say that Obama initiated trade wars under the guise of culture wars against the bad behaviour of foreign firms.
The EU has replied in kind. Brussels might not agree that its measures amount to a trade war, but it has been unrelenting in its pursuit of US companies - especially IT companies. The EU issued anti-monopoly fines against Microsoft ($731million, 2013), Intel ($1.4 billion, 2009) and Google (up to $7.45 billion, 2016), and attacked Apple for not paying enough tax. It now has Google, Apple, Facebook and WhatsApp in its sights over internet privacy.
US IT companies remain, in the eyes of the EU, just a little too big for their boots. They lack the finesse of, say, European companies. In this way the EU's politically correct protectionism can distract from its failure to build a computer and software industry like the US.
The `Trump means trade war' narrative gets still more shallow when people say that just as Trump will make trade hard, so other authoritarian national leaders - not just Trump, but also Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, India's Narendra Modi, Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping - will promise to do the same. Thus Guardian economics editor Larry Elliott believes that `just as in the 1930s, there is a prevailing cult of the strong man' around the world; so if Trump could `bring the globalisation of the past quarter of a century to a juddering halt', he might be aided and abetted by multiple Trumps abroad.
This is preposterous. Even Thomas Carlyle, the father of the `Great Man' school of history, would blush at such a personalised, almost Freudian account of world trade. By focusing on easily disliked dictatorial figures, this knowing whitewash completely exonerates liberal politicians, on both sides of the Atlantic.
It is all far too convenient. Trump may well like the brutish, tariff-based protectionism of the pre-war era. But he will also continue the modern, righteous protectionism pioneered by Obama and the EU. The forces of world economy and politics are bigger than any one man.
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13 February, 2017
How Obama is scheming to sabotage Trump’s presidency
WHEN former President Barack Obama said he was “heartened” by anti-Trump protests, he was sending a message of approval to his troops.
Troops? Yes, Obama has an army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000 — who will fight his Republican successor at every turn of his historic presidency. And Obama will command them from a bunker less than two kilometres from the White House.
In what’s shaping up to be a highly unusual post-presidency, Obama isn’t just staying behind in Washington. He’s working behind the scenes to set up what will effectively be a shadow government to not only protect his threatened legacy, but to sabotage the incoming administration and its popular “America First” agenda.
He’s doing it through a network of leftist nonprofits led by Organizing for Action. Normally you’d expect an organisation set up to support a politician and his agenda to close up shop after that candidate leaves office, but not Obama’s OFA. Rather, it’s gearing up for battle, with a growing war chest and more than 250 offices across the country.
Since Donald Trump’s election, this little-known but well-funded protesting arm has beefed up staff and ramped up recruitment of young liberal activists, declaring on its website, “We’re not backing down.” Determined to salvage Obama’s legacy,” it’s drawing battle lines on immigration, ObamaCare, race relations and climate change.
Obama is intimately involved in OFA operations and even tweets from the group’s account. In fact, he gave marching orders to OFA foot soldiers following Trump’s upset victory.
“It is fine for everybody to feel stressed, sad, discouraged,” he said in a conference call from the White House. “But get over it.” He demanded they “move forward to protect what we’ve accomplished.”
“Now is the time for some organising,” he said. “So don’t mope.”
Far from sulking, OFA activists helped organise anti-Trump marches across US cities, some of which turned into riots. After Trump issued a temporary ban on immigration from seven terror-prone Muslim nations, the demonstrators jammed airports, chanting: “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all!”
Run by old Obama aides and campaign workers, federal tax records show “nonpartisan” OFA marshals 32,525 volunteers nationwide. Registered as a 501(c)(4), it doesn’t have to disclose its donors, but they’ve been generous. OFA has raised more than $40 million in contributions and grants since evolving from Obama’s campaign organisation Obama for America in 2013.
OFA, in IRS filings, says it trains young activists to develop “organising skills.” Armed with Obama’s 2012 campaign database, OFA plans to get out the vote for Democratic candidates it’s grooming to win back Congress and erect a wall of resistance to Trump at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
It will be aided in that effort by the Obama Foundation, run by Obama’s former political director, and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, launched last month by Obama pal Eric Holder to end what he and Obama call GOP “gerrymandering” of congressional districts.
Obama will be overseeing it all from a shadow White House located within two miles of Trump. It features a mansion, which he’s fortifying with construction of a tall brick perimeter, and a nearby taxpayer-funded office with his own chief of staff and press secretary. Michelle Obama will also open an office there, along with the Obama Foundation.
Critical to the fight is rebuilding the ravaged Democrat Party. Obama hopes to install his former civil-rights chief Tom Perez at the helm of the Democratic National Committee.
Perez is running for the vacant DNC chairmanship, vowing “It’s time to organise and fight ... We must stand up to protect President Obama’s accomplishments;” while also promising, “We’re going to build the strongest grassroots organising force this country has ever seen.”
The 55-year-old Obama is not content to go quietly into the night like other ex-presidents. “You’re going to see me early next year,” he said after the election, “and we’re going to be in a position where we can start cooking up all kinds of great stuff.”
Added the ex-president: “Point is, I’m still fired up and ready to go.”
Undermining Our Republic, One Lawsuit After Another
A lawless judiciary is running amok as leftists take to the courts to get their way.
In 1996, California voters approved a ballot initiative known as Proposition 209. It banned all preferential treatment based on race, ethnicity and gender in public education, employment and contracting. The decision was anathema to the progressive bean-counters and quota-mongers who did what progressives always do when the will of the people conflicts with their agenda: they found U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, who issued a temporary restraining order preventing the law's implantation. Henderson's reasoning? Because the elimination of preferences disadvantaged women and racial minorities, it violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.
Henderson's affront to logic was eventually overturned, but this saga illustrates two things that afflict the nation to this very day: Leftists remain utterly contemptuous of the democratic process when the results of that process conflict with their "enlightened" worldview; and far more important, Americans have becoming increasingly inured to Abraham Lincoln's warning that "if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court . the people will have ceased to be their own rulers."
Would that it were solely the Supreme Court. As usual, leftists were able to secure a ruling from federal district judge James Robart of Seattle restraining the Trump administration's efforts to temporarily suspend visas for aliens "who cannot be realistically vetted for security risks because their native countries are either sponsors of anti-American terrorism . or have been left with dysfunctional or nonfunctional governments because of war," as National Review aptly explains.
This is judicial abuse, and nothing makes it clearer than Section 1182(f) of immigration law, granting the president the power to "suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate."
That leftists have twisted Trump's order into an attack on religion is unsurprising. It is even less surprising that a judge with a track record of left-leaning activism would oppose it.
But this is just the beginning of the Left's effort to employ "useful" jurists willing to preserve their agenda, even if it thwarts the will of the electorate, a congressional majority and/or the Trump administration. Fred Lucas reports that there are more than a dozen lawsuits challenging Trump's executive order, and they "largely stem from organizations bankrolled by billionaire leftist George Soros and Democratic state attorneys general" have been filed for exactly that reason.
The results of Robart's injunction alone are as predictable as they are infuriating. "Lifting of Travel Ban Sets Off Rush to Reach U.S.," proclaims a New York Times headline. The Times also refers to a "vigorous" vetting process that can take as long as two years.
Not exactly. "Because of a spike in Middle Eastern refugees needing placement, the Obama administration has decided to rush their vetting process to three months, from the original 18-24 months," the Washington Times revealed - last April.
Americans should be clear about what is really happening here: progressives are once engaged in the process of finding judges willing to elevate the interests of aliens and their progressive enablers over Americans and national security.
Americans should also understand this particular battle is only the beginning of a war in which leftists will flood the courts with lawsuits aimed at undermining every facet of Trump's agenda.
In what may have been one of his most misguided assumptions, Thomas Jefferson argued "for the permanency of the judicial offices" based on the idea that "few men in the society . have sufficient skill in the laws to qualify them for the stations of judges. And making the proper deductions for the ordinary depravity of human nature, the number must be still smaller of those who unite the requisite integrity with the requisite knowledge."
The rise of moral relativism, essentially the idea that one man's "depravity" is another man's "lifestyle," has given the nation a plethora of judges completely bereft of anything resembling the union of requisite integrity and requisite knowledge. Thus, for example, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt is quite comfortable wearing her "pussy hat" while sitting on the bench. It's apparently OK because her job is largely administrative, and her judicial powers are limited to conducting marriages and administrative hearings.
Yet the ultimate judicial divide in our nation is the chasm between judges who believe the Constitution means what it actually says, and those who believe it is a "living" document rife with "penumbras" or implied rights necessitating interpretation. For the latter group, it is completely irrelevant the Framers fought over every word contained in our founding document. Moreover, members of the liberal wing of the U.S. Supreme Court have expressed their comfort with using decisions produced by foreign and international courts to inform their rulings.
The concept known as judicial supremacy began with Marbury v. Madison, the first time SCOTUS voided congressional legislation. It has now evolved to the point where Americans have been led to believe the Constitution "was deliberately framed in terms of heroic generalities precisely to give federal judges a wider scope for discretion," as Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell put it.
Columnist Clarke D. Forsythe echoes Lincoln. "Judicial supremacy fundamentally contradicts self-government," he writes.
Sadly, America's governance is often determined by who sits on our courts rather than who sits in our legislatures. This makes the selection of judges far more critical than it should be, to the point where Harry Reid invoked the nuclear option to stack the DC Court of Appeals with Democrats. Thus, Democrat hysteria surrounding the elimination of the filibuster to ultimately appoint Neil Gorsuch to the seat vacated by Antonin Scalia rings exceedingly hollow.
Article III of the Constitution grants Congress to create - or eliminate - every federal court but SCOTUS, a power that could be used to rein in much judicial overreach. But if Congress did put the judges on notice that unconstitutional rulings might cost them their jobs, Americans' focus would be on our elected representatives when divisive political outcomes arose. "Can't have that," columnist Selwyn Duke writes. "Federal judges don't have to be reelected - congressmen do."
Again, the short-term implications are clear. Progressives will employ every opportunity to use the judiciary as a bulwark against a president they despise, and an electorate that has decimated Democrat legislative power at both the federal and state level. Moreover, as SCOTUS made clear on rulings from Roe v. Wade to Obergefell v. Hodges, jurists will continue to "discover" laws that have "no basis in the Constitution," as Chief Justice John Roberts characterized the latter decision in his dissent.
That would be the same Chief Justice Roberts who also "discovered" ObamaCare's individual mandate - argued as such by the Obama administration itself - was actually a tax, making passage of the health care law possible. A law giving the federal government control over one-sixth of the nation's economy.
Long term, Americans are facing the ever-increasing reality that "five lawyers can determine what law means for 320 million Americans," Duke explains. That system of governance may be many things. A constitutional republic isn't one of them.
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12 February, 2017
Donald Trump backs down over 'one China policy' in call with China's Xi Jinping
By first making it clear that U.S. policy cannot be taken for granted, Trump has gained kudos by agreeing to the status quo after all. Good negotiation tactics. China does now to a degree owe him a favor.
The Leftist media don't or won't understand his tactics so are full of scare stories about what Trump MIGHT do. But his actions have been very conservative -- including his immigration restrictions, which are little different from actions by previous Presidents, such as Obama and Carter
There is a long article here by Daniel McCarthy, editor at large of The American Conservative which is headed: "Donald Trump: the method behind the madness. How the unorthodox US president may be one step ahead of his critics". So some people at least do get how Trump works
"Trump could have executed this better, and the courts absolutely got it wrong. But it's important to realize that this was also strategically calculated to play out in one of two ways: Either Trump got his way with the order (he didn't), or his base is (rightly) fired up about an activist judiciary just in time for Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Trump wins either way. And along the way, Trump successfully diverted media attention to a very temporary travel moratorium - i.e., not the most critical issue. The charitable view is that this is an example of one of Trump's deal-making trademarks, "managed chaos," in which he keeps his opponents off balance, distracted and unaware of the right hook that is, ultimately, going to win the match"
Donald Trump has backed down over his confrontational stance towards Beijing, committing to the `One China policy' in his first phone call with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, since taking office.
In a move that is certain to ease tensions between the United States and China, the US president "agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honour our `one China' policy," the White House said in a statement.
The "lengthy telephone conversation" on Thursday evening was "extremely cordial" and the two leaders "extended invitations to meet in their respective countries," the statement added.
Mr Xi told Mr Trump that he appreciated the president's reaffirmation of the policy, China's state news agency Xinhua reported.
Mr Trump angered Beijing by accepting a congratulatory call from the President of Taiwan in December, breaking decades of diplomatic protocol.
He has since suggested there could be a renegotiation of the One China policy, in which the US recognises Beijing's rule over the island. Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway province, which will be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.
Observers had questioned Mr Trump's apparent willingness to use the Taiwan issue as a `bargaining chip' with China, and they believe his decision to back down over the issue is the correct one.
Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy in Beijing, said: "Trump played with the notion of using this arrangement as leverage, but I think he ultimately came to the right conclusion that this is not where the US Administration can get leverage. "The One China Policy is not a card on the bargaining table - it is the table itself.
"Taiwan is also a vital US partner and thriving democracy of 23 million people. Its future is not ours to bargain away," Mr Haenle, who served on the National Security Council under Mr Bush and Barack Obama, told The Telegraph.
Bonnie Glaser, senior advisor for Asia at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said: "The US-China relationship has been on hold as Beijing waited for Trump to make this statement.
"Now the two countries can get down to business and discuss how to manage their differences on a wide range of issues," she told The Telegraph.
The pendulum swings from left to right to left and now, back to right again
Joel Ross writes below. He is a futurist and a Democrat with no love for Trump, but his predictions about Trump are interesting and plausible. Below is from a subscription newsletter called The Ross Rant from New York City for real estate investors
The black swans held a massive victory party last night. Not because Trump won, but because they showed the world that they are the real rulers.
Being a NY real estate guy, I have always known Trump is a terrible person. My former partner who at one time was worldwide head of real estate at Citibank, hated him. She and he had bitter battles when he was bankrupt and she was seizing assets. I know other bankers, lawyers and contractors who have had dealings with him, and nobody had good things to say.
However, now he is president and we need as a nation to be fully supportive or the world will come apart. As I feared, the press is already on the attack with their usual rhetoric. CNN today was its usual self - attacking him and having Chris Cuomo and Amanpor make stupid statements, still blaming the Russians. MSNBC actually had Al Sharpton on as a commentator.
Shows you how out of touch the media is. Kelly Ann told Cuomo to stop the negativity and he went on to try to claim "it is not us, it was the campaigns". The press just does not get it. The NY Times was a loser for the last several years, and it will continue to decline at a faster pace. CNN has lost the battle to Fox and will likely have to change out the commentators who are now completely discredited.
Many years ago Connie Chung made a luncheon speech I was at, and she said the press had devolved into a bunch of lazy unprofessional kids who just rush out a story without bothering to check veracity. She decried how the press had become rumor mongers and unprofessional. They sure have. They will probably not change much until they realize the world has moved on to social media and the press has minimal credibility now.
If you have been reading The Rant for a long time you know I have been saying the world is changed and very high risk, and the black swans are circling. We just entered a major inflection point in history.
I have been reporting that in Europe the right wing is ascendant. LePen is likely to win the French election next year. The EU is going to come apart once that happens and now with Trump in power that trend will accelerate. The EU will realign into blocs and there will be massive turmoil as things sort out over the next several years.
The French will go back to the Franc. Germany will shift right as the refugees create social, crime and fiscal issues. As ISIS gets destroyed they will try to wage war in Europe thru more terror attacks.
You do not want to invest in Europe. The world is rapidly shifting right and the changes will be generational. Brussels will be neutered. NATO countries will invest much more in defense and will be forced to build up their armies.
Here is what I believe will happen in the US. Trump has two years to make massive changes and this is what I believe they may be:
Obamacare is replaced with some type of more free market plan that Ryan already has. Corporate taxes will be reduced to maybe 15% or maybe a bit higher. Personal taxes will be reduced. All executive orders by Obama will be reversed. Most of the massive regulation Obama put in place will be cancelled.
The Supreme Court will get a conservative justice right away and Ginsburg will try to hang on until she dies in office to try to deny him her seat. She will not last 4 years. Trump will get at least 2 and maybe 3 judge picks. The Supreme court will decide by what strict constructionists think the constitution says not the left wing politics of Sotomayor. It will be much more pro-business. Antitrust cases will go away.
Sanctuary cities will lose funding and San Francisco and Berkley and Boulder will go nuts. The border will somehow be secured and Mexico will not pay. Border Patrol will be materially increased. Gang members will be arrested and deported but everyone else will get to stay here. Ryan will stay as Speaker. Trump will do what any good NY real estate guy does, he will not get up from the table until he gets a deal close to what he wants.
That is key to a lot of what Trump will be able to do. If you listened carefully to what he said, it was I will redo NAFTA and will walk from the table if I do not get what we need.
There will be a revised NAFTA but Mexico will suffer a lot because many US companies will not move plants there until they see what revised NAFTA says. They will also not defy Trump early on and risk his wrath. Mexico takes a big hit.
The Pentagon and US defense contractors are big winners. Defense spending will ramp up by huge numbers. The military will add over 200,000 people over the next two years. Weapons spend will dramatically increase. This will add a lot of new jobs between the additional military and the added jobs in defense plants.
Private equity will take a big hit with carried interest going away and this will make a small part payment for the tax cuts. Estate taxes will mostly go away. Cops will be respected again And racial strife will end as Trump tries new ideas to build charter schools, and rebuild the ghettos.
There will be no more honoring the families of the thugs like Brown and Travon the way Obama and Hilary did. He will honor the cops. The downtrend in crime will get reinstated. Transgender anything will go away.
The military will be told to go win wars and not be social experiments with transgender soldiers. Rules of engagement will be changed to kill the enemy instead of cater to political correctness. There will be an infusion of another 5,000 US soldiers into Iraq and more into Syria to back up the destruction of ISIS. The bombing campaign will be stepped up to what it should be.
By March ISIS will have been defeated. They will try to carry out major terror attacks, but now the world will call Islamic terror what it is and there will be a more aggressive fight and coordination.
Putin and Trump are from the same mother and will get along. Putin is like all bullies - he will realize he cannot push Trump around like he does Obama and he will work out a modus vivendi because he knows he has at least 4 more years to deal with a new US president. Bullies back off if they find they cannot intimidate the other guy.
The Iran nuke deal will get torn up and Iran will find itself back under sanctions. The Germans will scream but Merkel is now in a very weak position so she will not be able to stop Trump from re-imposing them at least for US companies and anyone wanting to do business in the US, especially banks. This will be world changing. The Saudis won big on this, Israel won huge.
Developers win because the EPA will be defanged. Climate change legislation is dead and the Paris pact will be defunct.
College campuses will no longer have the threat that unless they find a bunch of young guys to charge with sexual whatever they lose funds. PC on college campuses will be pressured to end although for quite a while there will be protests and other such things. Today professors are telling students they do not have to take exams because they are so upset. Give me a f-ing break. This is exactly what is wrong with American colleges today. It is just telling kids boo hoo if you feel bad you get excused from work.
I still think Trump is nuts and a really terrible person, but he is president now so we need to deal with reality of what next. Paul Ryan has already reached out to heal the rift and they have already planned a quick special session to pass repeal of Obamacare and undo the regulations and do other things quickly. Ryan will remain as speaker. The SCOTUS vacancy will be filled immediately.
Most important the entire world is about to change. We will see if for good or bad but change it will in massive ways. The tide of anti-socialist, anti PC, anti-diversity, anti-entitlement, anti-establishment of the past 70 years is washing across the world and Trump is simply the ultimate example of what had already been happening with Brexit and in Europe.
As far as the stock market- it will now rise. Taxes will get cut, the Supreme Court will not be activist, anti-trust will end, some type of infrastructure program will be instituted, defense spending will jump, banks will be free to lend, regulations will be drastically reduced, and corporate profits will rise.
Go all in now. You already see the market reaction is up after the shock. Wall Street elite misplaced their bets, Hollywood and the press way over played their hands, and college professors and administrators will have to get over it. Hilary and crew go to jail.
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10 February, 2017
Leftist hate shows its face
You may have seen what happened last week when conservative Milo Yiannapolous tried to give a speech at UC Berkeley...
In a portent of things to come, a mob of masked, black-garbed left wing thugs went berserk. U.S. flags were torched, university equipment was destroyed and windows smashed – over $100,000 damage in all.
Bystanders waiting to hear Milo's speech were attacked with truncheons, one of them bloodied so badly that he lay unconscious on the ground, as the campus police stood by, ordered by administrators not to interrupt the rampage.
It was a scene out of Hitler's Germany – hatred and bloodlust on the loose; hatred at war with free speech and expression; hatred looking for someone to hurt.
But this shouldn't surprise us. Hatred has always been the lifeblood of the Left. Hate has always been the Left's political homeland and its reason for being. For the Left, hatred is never having to say you're sorry.
You see, one of the biggest of the Left's Big Lies is that conservative political groups and movements are universally motivated by hatred – of blacks, Hispanics and other ethnic groups; of homosexuals, transsexuals and other gender minorities; of immigrants, Muslims and others who are "marginalized" and therefore vulnerable.
This Big Lie is an exercise in what Freud called "projection" and which psychologists define as denying abhorrent emotions in oneself by attributing them to others.
There are indeed haters on the Right, but for the most part, they are on its fringe – demented individuals or tiny groups whose political apparatus consists of little more than an obscure post office box and a toxic website.
For the Left, however, hatred is a mass movement. Left hate groups swim successfully in the American mainstream.
And because of the Left bias in our culture and media, their followers, like those at the women's marches, can posture as idealists and protectors of the downtrodden while spewing hate. For them, hatred is no fault.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) said that Jews wanted to "oppress minorities all over the world" and referred to them as "slave traders," according to a former classmate interviewed by Mother Jones.
Ellison, one of the front-runners to be elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee in an election later this month, is one of the most liberal members of Congress and has been a vocal critic of the Jewish state of Israel throughout his decade in the House of Representatives.
Michael Olenick was the opinions editor at the Minnesota Daily at the time that Ellison, who then went by Keith Hakim as a student at University of Minnesota Law School, was submitting numerous op-eds defending Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Olenick, who is Jewish, told Mother Jones that Ellison's argument at the time was that "an oppressed group could not be racist toward Jews because Jews were themselves oppressors."
"European white Jews are trying to oppress minorities all over the world," Olenick said, recalling Ellison's argument. "Keith would go on all the time about ‘Jewish slave traders.'"
Ellison began attending a mosque when he was 19 and became more politically radical, according to the Mother Jones piece.
If most of us defied our bosses on social media we would be fired, yet apparently when it is the federal government being mocked by self-proclaimed rogue employees, it is an apparent act of patriotism. Liberal media are touting the prevalence of @RogueNASA and @AltEPA, Twitter pages aimed at delegitimizing the Trump administration; but these accounts are treading a thin legal line and simply acting as a liberal microphone.
The drama apparently began when the National Park Service’s official Twitter account was temporarily shut down by the Trump administration after it engaged in political tweets against Trump.
In an apparent response, Death Valley National Park, a government managed federal park, took to Twitter to seemingly comment on President Donald Trump’s proposed immigration policies on Jan. 25. The Death Valley Park Service tweeted a picture of a Japanese man sent to internment in the 1940s with a quotation advocating for looser immigration restraints.
The Death Valley Park Service’s decision to tweet immigration advocacy rather than their usual traffic updates and facts about flowers has spurred government employees from several other agencies to similar sponsorship of the cause.
The same day, accounts such as @RogueNASA, @AltUSNatParkSer, @AltEPA and @Alt_NASA started popping up, all claiming to be run by active or former employees of their respective departments in order to act in resistance to the Trump administration.
For example, on Jan. 25, @RogueNASA tweeted, “How sad is it that government employees have to create rogue Twitter accounts just to communicate FACTS to the American public?”
As these pages attempt to replicate the existence of real national park accounts, several have taken official logos and avatars from their official agency counterparts. Yet government trademark laws such as 18 U.S.C. Section 701 specifically prohibits the use of government insignia on non-government websites and pages.
That law states, “Whoever manufactures, sells, or possesses any badge, identification card, or other insignia, of the design prescribed by the head of any department or agency of the United States for use by any officer or employee thereof, or any colorable imitation thereof, or photographs, prints, or in any other manner makes or executes any engraving, photograph, print, or impression in the likeness of any such badge, identification card, or other insignia, or any colorable imitation thereof, except as authorized under regulations made pursuant to law, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”
While the copyright and trademark law does provide latitude for instances of parody however; As Kalev Leetaru explained on Forbes.com on Jan. 25, “The accounts in question have positioned themselves less as satiric and humorous parodies of the official accounts they mimic, but rather as resistance accounts that purport to offer the true story of those organizations. In particular, the accounts have positioned themselves in their tweets as alternative authoritative resources for those interested in their respective agencies’ research, replacing the official accounts.” This led several accounts to switch to new images.
This is a desperate attempt by liberal, apparent, government employees to resist Trump’s authority and dismiss his policies on immigration, energy, and the environment.
The worst part, as Leetaru notes, is that it is unknown if these are actual government employees from any of these agencies. They could be fakes. Although since they used real agency logos, even briefly, that would still probably violate the statute. It could be anyone hosting these “rogue” Twitter pages and, still, social media has given them a platform.
Politico writer Nancy Scola believes that the National Park employees felt particular angst surrounding Trump’s election due to his stance against EPA’s policies designed to combat climate issues. Unfortunately for these employees, Trump is president. And while they have the privilege of working for the federal government each day, thousands of Americans have been struggling due to the regulations of the Obama Administration. By whining on social media about the election, they are delegitimizing the plight of every American who lost their job because of government policies.
The presence of these rogue accounts is not only legally dubious, it demonstrates a larger problem of bureaucrats out of control — who believe they are entitled to their positions of power. This is legitimate not whistleblowing, it’s a temper tantrum.
Ironically, the whole controversy underscores the reason while millions of Americans voted for Trump to drain the swamp. Liberal government employees may believe they are creating a resistance, but in reality they are only resisting the positive change that the American people have been asking for to get the economy moving again.
New bill would limit the number of refugees, lower total immigration levels
Leading senators on Tuesday unveiled landmark immigration reform legislation that would limit the number of refugees permitted into the United States each year and eventually cut total immigration to America by 50 percent, according to a preview of the legislation viewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
Sens. David Perdue (R., Ga.) and Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) revealed the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act, or RAISE Act, which aims to boost wages for Americans by slicing immigration levels and recalibrating the system to accommodate those seeking employment in the American workforce.
The legislation seeks to build upon President Donald Trump’s immigration vision and his recent executive order placing a temporary hold on immigration for individuals coming from several countries designated as primary terrorism hotspots.
The bill would cap the number of permanent refugees permitted in the United States to 50,000 per year, which the lawmakers say is in line with average numbers during the past 13 years.
Within its first year of implementation, the immigration plan would reduce the number of individuals granted legal status by 41 percent and then steadily rise to a 50 percent reduction by its tenth year, according to a statistic provided by the senators and based on models established by Princeton and Harvard professors.
Overall immigration would be lowered to 637,960 within the first year of implementation and to 539,958 by year 10, according to these models. This would account for a 50 percent reduction over 2015 levels, which topped out at 1,051,031, according to information provided by the lawmakers.
“We are taking action to fix some of the shortcomings in our legal immigration system,” Perdue said in a statement to the Free Beacon. “Returning to our historically normal levels of legal immigration will help improve the quality of American jobs and wages.”
The goal of the legislation is to shift the immigration system in the favor of skilled workers. The net benefit of this recalibration would be to the advantage of all American workers with lower-skilled jobs, the lawmakers maintain.
Employment-based visas would become the main priority under the new plan.
Deference would be given to family households seeking to immigrate to the United States, according to the legislation, which would favor the spouses and minor-aged children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
Immigration priority would no longer be given to the extended family and adult family members of U.S. residents under the bill. This means that adult parents and siblings of current citizens would no longer receive preferential treatment.
The bill additionally would eliminate the contested visa lottery system, which allowed individuals from any country around the world an equal shot at obtaining a U.S. visa in an expedited manner.
The 50,000 visa slots allocated under the program would be eliminated and folded back into the larger immigration system, according to the bill. The lawmakers maintain that the lottery system is outdated and beset by fraud.
The legislation also would move to create a temporary visa program for elderly parents or those in need of caretaking. This would allow citizens to more easily bring a parent into the country.
Under the new legislation, an elderly parent eligible for a U.S. visa would not be permitted to work or access any public benefits.
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9 February, 2017
A Toast to California’s Secession
Robert Ringer has a "modest proposal"
There’s been a lot of talk recently about California seceding from the union. It’s akin to Hollywood celebs vowing to move out of the country if a Republican wins the White House. Meaning that it’s all bluster. Those who extol the virtues of the People’s Republic of California love to make hollow threats, but they possess neither the courage nor the financial resources to back them up.
If California were ever on its own, within six months of its “independence” it would be unable to function at even a survival level. Though it boasts the sixth largest economy in the world (larger than that of both Brazil and France!), there’s no economy big enough to keep a Marxist country afloat. This has been demonstrated time and again in such failed nations as Cuba, the Soviet Union, Mozambique, and every other country that has experimented with socialism/communism in any of its hideous forms.
The majority of California’s adult population consists of adult-children whose brains have never developed beyond adolescence. They cling to a stunted Woodstock mentality that makes them incapable of rational thought, which, if not addressed professionally, has the potential to be fatal. They live in an Oz-like land of constant frustration, which causes them to resort to tantrums and violence as the combined solution to every perceived problem.
The bottom line to all this is that a majority of Californians are not able to function as self-sustaining adults in the real world, so they irrationally dedicate themselves to the impossible task of trying to remake our imperfect world into a perfect world they create in their soiled minds.
Such an immature and naïve mental state can have dire consequences not only for the individual who is saddled with it, but for rational people of goodwill who live in the same societal space as they do. It’s dangerous to everyone, because those who are part of the Radical Left, in particular, employ lies, slander, and violence day-in-and-day-out in an attempt to achieve their impossible goal of creating the perfect world they envision in their minds.
I lived in Southern California for about 20 years, and I loved it for about ten of those years. It was a period when seemingly everything that happened was wonderful — meeting and marrying the most beautiful, kindest, most caring woman in the world, enjoying my four children as they progressed through grade school, middle school, and high school, rising from oblivion to the pinnacle of the book-publishing world by writing and self-publishing two New York Times #1 bestsellers, and much, much more.
But as we rolled into the eighties, the glitzy lifestyle of Los Angeles began to lose its appeal for me. Being surrounded by millions of Hollywood types and, worse, wannabe Hollywood types, became a painful daily task. I grew tired of seeing people with no visible means of support driving Rolls-Royces and living in rented mansions.
Above all, the left-wing political craziness and political correctness began to wear me down. I got tired of debating low-information people — and, worse, no-information people — and increasingly found myself withdrawing from the outside world.
I slowly faced up to the reality that people in Southern California had a collective mental disorder that caused them to talk and act in ways that was completely foreign to how the rest of the nation thought or behaved.
I remember many years ago Paul Newman saying that “Los Angeles is like a beautiful lady dying of cancer.” Notwithstanding his liberal credentials, Newman nailed it. For sheer luxury and beauty, it’s hard to beat Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, and Bel Air, but, with just a few exceptions, most of the rest of Los Angeles is a sewer.
I became convinced, and today am certain, that California cannot be saved. It long ago passed the tipping point, and is now a giant left-wing cauldron boiling over with hatred, intolerance, and violence. It’s gigantic GDP can’t save it, because when GDP in California increases, it always brings with it an increase in welfare benefits. The Sacramento beast has an insatiable appetite for vote-buying entitlements, regulations, and illegal schemes.
That said, given that the national debt can never repaid — and, in fact, is going to increase dramatically in the coming years — I favor killing two birds with one stone and settling our debt with our largest creditor, China, by giving it title to the state of California outright — lock, stock, and illegal immigrants. Then, let Sacramento figure out how to deal with its new Asian rulers who don’t take kindly to liberal ideas like sanctuary cities, rioting, and welfare fraud.
As I’ve written about before, it’s inevitable that the United States will ultimately break into several nations, but right now just getting the People’s Republic of California out of our lives and out of our pocketbooks would be a real boost to the average American’s morale.
So, with that delicious thought in mind, I invite you to join me in a toast to California’s secession — voluntarily or forced, I’m not particular.
With the all of the protesting and rioting across the country since Donald Trump’s election, some in the mainstream media suggest that this is evidence of a leftist grassroots political movement akin to a “progressive tea party.” While there is little question these protests and riots attract a lot of media attention, is this really an organized grassroots cohesive movement? Not exactly.
There is a profound and fundamental difference between the Tea Party movement and the current leftist “resistance” temper tantrum. The Tea Party is truly a grassroots movement born out of serious individual concerns over the ballooning national debt, government regulations and the need to lower taxes — the very ideas of Liberty that lit the fires of the American Revolution. It is a melting pot of traditional socially minded conservatives and libertarians — both concerned about the loss of individual liberty and the growing creep of socialism. It was the passage of ObamaCare that saw the Tea Party come into its own as a truly potent political force that helped lead to GOP majorities in both the House and Senate. These Republicans took office with the goal of being reformers, not revolutionaries.
Leftist malcontents currently protesting and rioting aren’t interested in connecting with traditional American values, though they like to throw around terms like “un-American.” Quite the contrary; they see traditional American values as simply codes for racism, bigotry and sexism. To this leftist grievance class everything is about “equality” or the lack thereof — an inequity of outcome, not opportunity. In reality, what the Left is after is neo-Marxism. When they talk of a grassroots movement, they are speaking of the rise of a new proletariat. They seek a complete re-ordering of society around their leftist concepts of “social justice.” In reality, these protesters are hoping to birth a red revolution, not a reformation.
It’s individual freedom versus collectivism. American history has shown time and again that Americans prefer individual Liberty with its Rule of Law over and against collectivist tyranny and its rule of men. It seems to us there is no comparison between these movements, only contrast.
Navy’s Depleted Aircraft Will Take Years to Rebuild After Obama-Era Defense Cuts
Nearly two-thirds of Navy strike fighters unable to fly
The Navy's aircraft arsenal is so depleted it would take several years to rebuild the fleet even if the Trump administration allotted the funding needed to repair inoperable aircraft, according to a policy expert and former Air Force pilot.
John Venable, a senior research fellow for defense policy at the Heritage Foundation, cited a report released Monday that found two-thirds of the Navy's strike fighter jets are unable to fly due to maintenance problems exacerbated by several years of military budget cuts.
Thirty-five percent of grounded fighter planes are waiting for parts, while 27 percent are undergoing major depot work, according to the report published by Defense News. A full 62 percent of F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet strike fighters are out of service, a concerning figure because of the essential role the planes fill in the fleet's combat power.
In all, more than half of the Navy's planes are grounded, including some 1,700 combat transport aircraft, patrol aircraft, planes, and helicopters.
"The throughput right now is so far behind and has such a backlog that it'll take them several years to refit, refurbish, and repair the F-18s that are in unserviceable condition," Venable told the Washington Free Beacon. "They can't catch up even if the Trump administration gave them all the money they need."
Naval and Air Force pilots have been unable to train adequately due to a shortage of operable aircraft in both services, impacting readiness levels and depriving the military of pilots who are unable to log needed flight hours.
With five months left in fiscal year 2017 and a readiness deficit across all four military branches, Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) has advocated an emergency $26 billion supplemental spending bill that would direct some of the funds to readiness training for pilots.
Cotton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Monday the funding has become necessary after eight years of defense cuts under former President Barack Obama.
"Trying to cut our defense spending to get a peace dividend as we did in the 1990s or to pay off domestic constituencies as Obama did is a self-defeating effort," Cotton said during a panel at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
"Your enemies get wind of what's going on, their aggression becomes vulgar, and you have to pay more to rebuild the capabilities and capacity that you lost just to get back to where you were,” he continued.
Cotton said Congress needs to increase the defense budget by at least 15 percent in fiscal year 2018 to recoup the military’s losses.
People will believe silly things when it fits their ideological preconceptions. Even when they have been debunked and are contradicted by first-hand information and news reports.
A handful of mostly left-leaning publications repeated a British tabloid’s wild claim that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch started a “fascism forever club” in high school. This bizarre smear of Gorsuch was debunked by Snopes. It was also debunked by teachers at his school, as liberal-leaning America magazine noted. And it was also debunked by a lawyer in National Review.
Neil Gorsuch is a well-respected judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he has been a judge for more than 10 years, without a hint of scandal. He was unanimously confirmed to the Tenth Circuit by a bipartisan vote, even as other, controversial judges faced filibusters. Nothing in Gorsuch’s judicial opinions or writings is in any way radical, nor does he have a history of saying radical things. Even lawyers like Radley Balko who detest President Trump think that Gorsuch is a well-qualified, judicious, and reasonable man who should be confirmed.
So there was no reason to believe this bizarre claim even before Snopes debunked it. But when I emailed two publications that repeated this bizarre claim, asking them to correct the error, one took a day to fix it, and the other one has yet to do so. Neither of the writers I emailed responded to my email. Even the publication that did fix its error dragged its feet for a day, then made the correction only after a law professor who writes blog posts for the Washington Post told them he planned to write about their false claim.
When a claim is debunked, and was implausible to begin with, those who made the claim should immediately correct what they have written – not drag their feet, or ignore emails pointing out the error. Internet rumors based on false claims like this tend to take on a life of their own. Gorsuch’s reputation is already damaged, since countless people have read these false articles or tweets linking to them.
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8 February, 2017
Fake news from the NYT
During the recent election campaign, a false story about Hillary Clinton and a NY pizza joint made news. The Left instantly called it "fake news" and were enraged at the very idea of false stories being treated as news. But misleading "news" from Leftist sources has long been common, with both outright misreporting and a relentless tendency to report only one side of a story. So it behooves us all to use the current interest in fake news to point out that fake news is an overwhelmingly Leftist phenomenon. A recent example is below
On February 2, 2017, the New York Times published on its front page above-the-fold a hit-piece under the headline, “A Sinister Perception of Islam Now Steers the White House.” The principal targets of this unflattering article were President Trump, his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and his “chief strategist,” Stephen Bannon. But at the article’s end were five paragraphs and a picture with a caption that amounted to the journalistic equivalent of a drive-by-shooting aimed at Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney.
Specifically, Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg distorted and falsely reported comments made by Frank Gaffney in the course of two recorded interviews conducted in December 2016. His article and an accompanying photo’s caption respectively asserted that Mr. Gaffney regarded “Islam” and “Muslims” as “termites [that] hollow out the structure of the civil society and other institutions for the purpose of creating conditions under which the jihad will succeed.”
Actually, as transcripts of the two conversations spanning roughly 2.5 hours make clear, Mr. Gaffney was characterizing the modus operandi of the Muslim Brotherhood, not “Muslims” or “Islam.” The misrepresentation serves the interest of the Brotherhood – which has long been determined to silence him and the Center for Security Policy – but not the interests of the New York Times’ readers or the paper’s responsibility to report the facts.
As a public service and in the interest of holding the so-called “nation’s newspaper of record” accountable, the Center today released the full transcripts of the two interview conversations between Messrs. Gaffney and Rosenberg, together with the transcript of a phone call and an exchange of emails between the two after the publication of the article on February 2nd. Together, they constitute a case study of mainstream media malfeasance that, deliberately or not, has the practical effect of helping America’s foes.
Challenges to Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning travel for people coming from seven nations have little legal support, irrespective of the recent actions by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart to block the order. The Justice Department has ably defended Trump’s EO, providing solid and substantive arguments based upon sound legal precedent — Trump’s actions were well within both constitutional parameters and the common practice of prior presidents. But honestly, that is not what all the fuss is about.
In reality, two battles are being waged. One is in the courts and the other is in that ever-shifting realm known as public opinion. The Leftmedia has long fought for control of the latter by appealing to people’s emotions rather than by presenting a rational argument. But the courts are supposed to be above this changing whim of public sentiment; in fact, they were designed to be as best as possible impervious to it, since it is the role of the courts to seek justice in an impartial manner.
Trump, unlike prior Republican presidents, is more than willing to jump into the fray. That’s good given how poorly the mainstream media has treated him and Republicans for years.
It is with some justice that Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called Neil Gorsuch, the president’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, outside the “legal mainstream.” Given the murkiness of that water, however, this is not a bad thing. According to Independent Institute Research Fellow William J. Watkins, Jr., author of Crossroads for Libertyand Reclaiming the American Revolution, it is precisely because Judge Gorsuch does not subscribe to the ruling legal orthodoxy that sitting him on the Court is a simple, open-and-shut case.
A judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Neil Gorsuch holds a judicial philosophy that is distinctly (and oddly) in the minority: He strives to interpret provisions of the U.S. Constitution according to their original public meaning. This is anathema to many in the legal mainstream. Influential legal thinker Ronald Dworkin, for example, implores judges to make their decisions by striking some sort of “balance” among competing core principles. In practice, this approach opens the floodgates to subjectivity. Judges who, in Watkins’s words, “employ a creative interpretation of the law that eschews original intent” end up making laws and crafting social policy—in other words, imposing their own values. It is the rightful job of the judiciary, however, to interpret laws and the Constitution objectively, not to treat them like a de facto Rorschach inkblot on which they can impose their own meaning.
“As a man outside the legal mainstream, Neil Gorsuch is a needed addition to a Supreme Court that is too often engrossed with its power and authority,” Watkins writes. “Confirmation will be a fight, but this herculean battle will be well worth the effort.”
Recent scandals in the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Internal Revenue Service demonstrated that it’s almost impossible to fire federal employees, many of whom reportedly intend to go rogue by not implementing President Donald Trump’s agenda.
“It’s hard to argue we have an accountable government when someone can’t be fired for years at a time,” @bgwilterdink says.
Conservatives are hopeful the time has come for civil service reform that would rein in this permanent class of government workers who have voiced outright hostility to the new administration. Some have even called it the “fourth branch of government” or “alt-government.”
“This is a situation where people voted and elected a president who is lawfully trying to complete those tasks [he promised in the campaign], while unelected bureaucrats are willing to overturn the will of the people,” Ben Wilterdink, director of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Task Force on Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development, told The Daily Signal.
Among federal employees, about 95 percent of political contributions went to Democrat Hillary Clinton during the presidential race, according to an analysis by The Hill.
Some of those federal workers are now in consultation with departed Obama administration officials to determine how they can push back against the Trump administration’s agenda, The Washington Post reported last week.
At the State Department, for example, nearly 1,000 government workers signed a letter protesting Trump’s executive order on refugees. A few days later, Trump had to fire acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she announced she wouldn’t defend the administration’s refugee policy.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said State Department employees who oppose the policy “should either get with the program, or they can go.”
“If a federal employee doesn’t like the ideological foundation or likely outcomes of a presidential directive, it doesn’t mean that the directive is not legal. It means that the views of the federal employee are in conflict with the views of the president who runs the federal government,” said Neil Siefring, vice president of Hilltop Advocacy and a former Republican House staffer, in a column for The Daily Caller.
“In that instance,” Siefring added, “the solution should not be to resist the actions of the president in their professional capacity as a career civil servant in the workplace. The solution is for that federal employee to honorably resign, not actively or passively hamper the White House.”
What if an employee won’t resign? Addressing the problem with the federal workforce won’t be easy, according to experts interviewed by The Daily Signal.
“You can fire federal employees, it’s just that nobody wants to put up with the process,” Don Devine, former director of the Office of Personnel Management during the Reagan administration, told The Daily Signal.
Multiple appeals can be made through the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the National Labor Relations Board.
“It’s almost impossible to discipline employees because it can be appealed to through the merit system, the labor relations systems, or through the EEOC,” Devine said. “We don’t have a civil service system; we have a dual civil service-labor relations system.”
During the Obama administration, two of its biggest scandals involved the IRS and Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2013, a Treasury Department inspector general report determined the IRS had been targeting conservative groups. In 2014, a VA inspector general’s report revealed falsified appointments in which some veterans died while waiting for care.
Years later, conservatives remain frustrated that federal workers weren’t held accountable.
“I will take your IRS employees and raise you the EPA, where story after story, a worker was viewing porn on work time and couldn’t be fired because the process is fraught with appeals,” Wilterdink said. “It’s hard to argue we have an accountable government when someone can’t be fired for years at a time.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. House revived the Holman Rule, named after a Democrat congressman who introduced it in 1876. It would allow lawmakers to cut the pay of individual federal workers or a government program.
There are other proposals for holding federal workers accountable. House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced a bill in January to hold seriously tax delinquent people ineligible for federal civilian employment, federal contracts, or government grants. This bill was proposed in response to IRS data that found more than 100,000 federal civilian employees owed more than $1 billion in unpaid taxes at the end of fiscal year 2015.
Adding to the challenge is the process commonly known as burrowing. Frequently, political appointees from one administration convert to a career position that comes with civil service protections, allowing them to continue implementing policy—or resisting the new administration’s approach.
The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 was passed to stop raw political party appointments from securing federal government jobs, or a spoils system. The law introduced the merit system into hiring practices and made numerous civil service positions untouchable after they were filled.
However, burrowing has caused a de facto spoils system, Wilterdink said, because, “the pendulum has swung so far to protecting federal employees” that it allows administrations to keep their people in office long term.
Significant reform doesn’t mean recreating a spoils system, according to Robert Moffit, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation who was an assistant Office of Personnel Management director during the Reagan administration. Moffit said a balanced approach would be more desirable.
“You need to have strong managers in each agency to make sure the president’s agenda is properly executed,” Moffit told The Daily Signal. “You must also have a bright line between career and non-career staff so there is no politicization of the merit system.”
Moffit also supports legislation to allow the president to order the firing of career officials who either “broke the law or severely undermined the public’s trust.”
“Even President [Barack] Obama referred to what IRS officials did as outrageous and nothing happened,” Moffit said. “The VA matter is still unresolved. The people responsible for those waiting lists aren’t accountable and people died.”
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7 February, 2017
A major foreign policy triumph: Trump brings improved relationships with problem countries
Hillary talked about a "reset" but it took Trump to deliver one. The various leaders appear to see Trump as a strong man where Obama was just a spineless nagger. They respect strength
Suddenly, leaders who have previously expressed nothing but contempt for the US are showcasing a desire to engage rather than intimidate or retract, and establish common ground with President Donald Trump.
The New York Times suggests some of the world’s most brutal autocrats could be welcoming the rise of Mr Trump as a chance to avoid being held accountable for their authoritarian tendencies and poor human rights records.
Others, it says, may wish to forge new alliances and a new geopolitical order, which could effectively restructure the world as we know it.
“Many appear to see a Trump presidency as an opportunity to engage with a like-minded leader who has stated nationalist aims,” the article states. “Others may hope for respite from criticism over their human rights records or authoritarian tendencies.”
Mr Trump already has a history of praising harsh dictators — both dead and alive.
In 2015, he said the Middle East would “100 per cent” have been better today if Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein were still in power.
Later that year, he said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is “getting an A in terms of leadership”, comparing his leadership favourably with that of Barack Obama.
He even once retweeted a Mussolini quote.
Evidently some of the world’s more hostile global figures see this as a positive thing.
They seem more keen to collaborate with the US leader and get on his good side — even those who were contemptuous of him when he was considered unlikely to win.
Writing in The Guardian, historian Timothy Garton Ash said Mr Trump’s election win signifies he now joins “a score of other nationalist leaders around the globe”, saying “the nationalists are giving one another the Trumpian thumbs-up across the seas”.
So who are these non-western leaders taking an interest in Mr Trump?
VLADIMIR PUTIN (RUSSIA)
The seemingly-cozy relationship between Mr Trump and Vladimir Putin has been well-documented over the past two years.
Throughout the election, the pair frequently exchanged compliments and expressed visions of a mutually-agreeable future, bonding over their shared interests in their own countries and power.
Mr Putin first praised the US President publicly back in 2015, describing him as “talented” and the “absolute leader” in the GOP race for the White House.
Mr Trump has in turn described the Russian autocrat saying: “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, you know, unlike what we have in this country. I think our country does plenty of killing also.”
After the election, Mr Putin expressed an interest in a form of Russia-US alliance, saying he hopes him and Mr Trump can “work together to lift Russian — US relations out of the current crisis”.
On November 14, the pair had a phone call. According to a Kremlin press release, during the call they “expressed support for active joint efforts to normalise relations and pursue constructive co-operation on the broadest possible range of issues”.
According to the Times, Mr Putin may see this relationship as a way to further Russian aims and build a new geopolitical order.
KIM JONG-UN (NORTH KOREA)
North Korea’s regime has declared itself a sworn enemy of America, and its leader Kim Jong-un has made numerous nuclear threats over the years.
Despite threatening the isolated country and describing its leader as a “maniac”, Mr Trump has expressed an interest in meeting Mr Kim.
He even once praised the swift way the dictator took power after his father’s death, saying he deserves “credit” for that.
“You’ve got to give him credit. How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden ... he goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss,” Mr Trump said. “It’s incredible. He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. I mean this guy doesn’t play games. And we can’t play games with him.”
Now, Mr Kim is apparently experiencing a change of heart towards his country’s relations with the US. According to The Yong Ho, the most senior North Korean diplomat to defect in almost two decades, Mr Kim wishes to have a civil conversation with the US President and potentially work together.
That said that after his initial surprise that Mr Trump won, Mr Kim now sees it as “a good opportunity for him to open a kind of compromise with the new American administration”.
Not even Chinese President Xi Jinping or Russian President Putin have met with Mr Kim, and the US does not officially recognise North Korea as a state.
Mr Trump has been urged to make North Korean human rights a key part of his policy going forward, but his plan here remains unknown.
RODRIGO DUTERTE (PHILIPPINES)
Rodrigo Duterte — also known as The Punisher — cast the future of traditionally strong US-Philippines relations into doubt when he came to power.
He was openly critical of the Obama administration, described the former US leader as “a son of a wh*re” and publicly allied himself with China and Russia on the South China Sea.
He publicly announced his “separation” from the US last year, saying a three-way alliance with China and Russia is “the only way”.
But since Mr Trump came to power, Mr Duterte seems to have taken a positive step back towards the US.
He acknowledged he called Mr Trump following his election win, and sang him glowing praises. “I said, ‘Mr. President, this is President Duterte. May I be privileged to congratulate you?’”
At the birthday party of Philippine National Police chief Ronald deal Rosa, Mr Duterte said of Mr Trump: “He is a billionaire. His wife is very beautiful. I envy him. “If you’re a billionaire, you speak like that, you became a president, and you have a beautiful wife, then you’re like in heaven already. That’s his edge over me.”
He’s praised Mr Trump’s tough stance, saying: “Look at his inaugural speech. He will stop drugs. We’re no different,” he said, implying the US had its own problem with illegal drugs. “He’s also tough. He will also kill you.”
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN (TURKEY)
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the controversial leader of Turkey. He arrested and fired more than 100,000 opponents to his leadership and jailed 40,000 more following a military coup midway through last year. He’s also jailed more journalists than any other leader over the past year.
When Mr Trump first proposed his Muslim ban during his presidential campaign, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded with outrage.
He demanded Mr Trump’s name be removed from Trump Towers Istanbul, blasting the then-candidate for having “no tolerance for Muslims in America”.
“They put that brand on his building and it must be swiftly taken down,” he said, according to the website of Turkey’s state broadcaster.
But Mr Erdogan, once a fierce critic of the Republican billionaire, appears to have changed his tune since November.
Earlier this month, he said he believes Turkey’s dialogue with the United States will gain pace under Mr Trump’s presidency and they will reach a consensus on regional issues. “I believe we will accelerate dialogue when Mr Trump takes office. I believe we will reach a consensus with Mr Trump, particularly on regional issues, and make rapid headway,” he told Turkish ambassadors gathered in Ankara.
While he did describe Mr Trump’s recent travel ban confirmation as “disturbing”, he just said Turkish authorities are “watching” his statements.
Oh, and the name of Trump Towers in Istanbul remains unchanged.
NURSULTAN A NAZARBAYEV (KAZAKHSTAN)
The Kazakhstan leader’s human rights record has been described as abysmal.
According to Human Rights Watch, the central Asian country “heavily restricts freedom of assembly, speech, and religion, and torture remains a serious problem”.
The human rights organisation describes Mr Nazarbayev’s rule as “heavy-handed”, criticising highly-restricted media freedoms, the pressing issue of torture and a poor record on civil and workers’ rights.
Despite this, Mr Nazarbayev claimed Mr Trump called him in December to say he’d accomplished a “miracle” over his 25 years of governance. “U.S. president-elect brought congratulations to the Head of State on the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s Independence,” the Kazakh presidential press office’s readout said.
“D. Trump stressed that under the leadership of Nursultan Nazarbayev our country over the years of Independence had achieved fantastic success that can be called a ‘miracle.’”
The Trump administration did not acknowledge the term “miracle”, simply saying the pair had “addressed the importance of strengthening regional partnerships”.
The Times suggested Mr Trump’s presidency could provide a respite from criticism for governments like Mr Nazarbayev’s.
But that also depends on how long the cosiness lasts, and whether these warm relationships are sustainable or not is yet to be seen.
As we’ve noted already this week, President Donald Trump has taken the issue of immigration head on. First it was the border wall. Then came Trump’s executive order on interior enforcement, which includes pulling funding from so-called sanctuary cities. According to The Washington Times, the order “calls on Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly and the new attorney general to cut off all federal funding they control under existing federal laws.” Anything further will require congressional action. Trump also ordered DHS to create a “name and shame” list of sanctuary cities, including publicizing the names of aliens who’ve been released and the crimes they’ve committed.
“Cities” is an understatement. California, Colorado, Connecticut and New Mexico do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities, as is the case with cities and counties in 25 other states and DC. Yes, that’s right, the seat of the federal government is a “sanctuary city.” Leftists in these jurisdictions like to frame their actions as simply not cooperating — as in police not checking immigration status when making arrests or traffic stops. But it’s far more insidious. These cities often actively resist when federal authorities come looking for specific illegal aliens.
The horrific results are clear, as illustrated by the widely reported murder of Kate Steinle by a five-time-deported illegal alien felon two years ago in San Francisco. But that’s just one case. The Obama administration released thousands upon thousands of illegal alien criminals. Over a two-year period, more than 66,000 illegal alien criminals were set free — and there were 166,000 convictions among them, including 11,000 rapes and 395 homicides. Thousands of them were rearrested after committing further crimes.
Yet leftists insist they’re the compassionate ones.
It’s important to note that Trump isn’t making law here. Everything he’s called for is already the law — the wall, deportation, all of it. Enforce the law and you solve most of the problem. He’s off to a good start.
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6 February, 2017
Leftist aggression escalating
An unhinged liberal movement is growing more violent, and now pro-life lawmakers are being placed under police protection after terrorist threats:
State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, has been placed under the protection of the Texas Department of Public Safety after receiving death threats following his filing of a bill to criminalize abortion in Texas.
“Representative Tinderholt and his family have received multiple death threats leading to his family being placed under DPS protection on multiple occasions,” Micah Cavanaugh, Tinderholt’s chief of staff, said in a statement Monday. “Specifics to the threats cannot be discussed due to an ongoing investigation, and we do not intend to speak on behalf of law enforcement.”
Tinderholt’s bill, the Abolition of Abortion Act, would criminalize abortion in Texas to the extent that both abortion providers and women who receive an abortion could be charged with murder.
If there ever were a case to demonstrate how pro-abortion liberals value their own personal “choice” over another person’s life, it’s this one.
Trump Refugee Order Balances Security and Compassion
Read any commentary on the just signed executive order on visa and refugee vetting from several countries in the Middle East and odds are the assessment will tell you more about the writer’s politics than be an analysis of the order.
I confess: I have a perspective as well. Mine comes from working on the presidential team on both foreign policy and homeland security from after the Republican convention up to the inauguration. I can’t share the detailed workings of the team. But what I can share, having worked on the issues, is what I believe guided the work.
And it all started with making America safe.
Not campaign promises, anger at any religion, or prejudice of any kind impacted our thinking on the transition team. What we were worried about were future threats.
As the space for the Islamic State, or ISIS, gets squeezed in the Middle East, the remains of the tens of thousands of foreign fighters will have to flow somewhere. Every nation, not just the U.S., believes they are most likely to flow to the countries cited in the order. That fact, and only that fact, is why those countries are included on the list. Indeed, when it comes to visa vetting, that’s why the European Union has restrictions that are comparable to the United States.
The reason why we all worry is because, from those countries, foreign fighters could well try to flow to the West, principally by using visas or posing as refugees. When they get to the West, they could carry out terrorist acts. We know that because they already have—specifically in Western Europe.
They haven’t come to the U.S.—yet. Right now, our primary threat is Islamist-related terror plots that are organized by terrorists who are already here.
What this administration is doing is making sure we are ready for the next wave of terrorism as well—the outflow of terrorists from the countries of conflict where the foreign fighters are likely to go first.
There are already cries that the precautions are unfair—creating hardships. Fair enough, but terrorists attacks (like those at the Bataclan in France by the followers of ISIS) create unbearable hardships as well—and the government has the responsibility to find the right balance between security and compassion for its citizens as well as consider how U.S. actions impact others around the world.
One area where the order tries to get that balance right is to ensure future refugee processing prioritizes addressing the plight of religious minorities. That is particularly crucial in the Middle East where the remnants of the region’s Christian communities are under severe threat.
Worldwide persecutions against Christian minorities have been rising for four straight years. It’s particularly problematic in the Middle East. The administration is making an extra effort to address that crisis.
While critics will continue to demonize the administration’s policies because they don’t fit their politics, Americans who crave a foreign policy that prioritizes American interests, puts a compassionate face on statecraft that reflects our values, and acts responsibly will find much to respect in the order.
Fake news as media wilfully lie about Social Security gun ban
The U.S. House of Representatives Thursday repealed a discriminatory Social Security rule denounced by mental health experts and the anti-gun American Civil Liberties Union.
If you didn’t know that, it’s because liberal media outlets reported it with headlines like this:
BREAKING: US House of Representatives has voted to roll back background checks for gun ownership
The reaction was instantaneous, and intentional. Social media was flooded with rabid leftists hurling death threats at Republican lawmakers — accusing them of abolishing background checks at gun shows.
It was a complete lie.
There was no change whatsoever to background check requirements.
The rule in question automatically listed Social Security and Veterans Administration beneficiaries as banned gun owners if they had named someone else to handle their finances.
Under this Obama administration proposal, bureaucrats within the SSA and VA would automatically deem someone as “mentally incompetent” if they had a fiduciary handling their benefits and they would be entered into the National Instant Check System as prohibited persons.
According to Federal law, those deemed “mentally incompetent” are prohibited from purchasing, owning or possessing firearms.
The rule would strip 4.2 million Americans of their right to keep and bears arms, just among those on the Social Security list.
Millions of Americans would be denied their constitutional rights, without a medical examination or due process of law.
It brought the immediate denunciation of mental health experts, who are among the most anti-gun of any profession. They slammed the Obama administration for falsely concluding that problems performing math or balancing a checkbook made one “mentally incompetent” or a threat to others.
It also brought challenges from the ACLU, another reliably anti-gun group.
“All individuals have the right to be judged on the basis of their individual capabilities, not the characteristics and capabilities that are sometimes attributed (often mistakenly) to any group or class to which they belong. A disability should not constitute grounds for the automatic per se denial of any right or privilege, including gun ownership,” the ACLU wrote in an announcement endorsing the congressional bill.
None of that mattered to the mainstream media, who used the vote as another opportunity to spread Fake News intended to escalate threats against the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers.
Be Careful What You Wish For (especially if it is Hitler)
By Scott Adams (Dilbert author)
As a trained persuader, I’m seeing a dangerous situation forming that I assume is invisible to most of you. The setup is that during the presidential campaign Trump’s critics accused him of being Hitler(ish) and they were sure other citizens would see it too, thus preventing this alleged monster from taking office.
They were wrong. The alleged monster took office.
Now you have literally millions of citizens in the United States who were either right about Trump being the next Hitler, and we will see that behavior emerge from him soon, or they are complete morons. That’s a trigger for cognitive dissonance. The science says these frightened folks will start interpreting all they see as Hitler behavior no matter how ridiculous it might seem to the objective observer. And sure enough, we are seeing that.
To be fair, Trump made it easy this week with his temporary immigration ban. If you assume Trump is Hitler, that fits with your hypothesis. But of course it also fits the hypothesis that he’s just doing his job. We’re all seeing what we expect to see.
But lately I get the feeling that Trump’s critics have evolved from expecting Trump to be Hitler to preferring it. Obviously they don’t prefer it in a conscious way. But the alternative to Trump becoming Hitler is that they have to live out the rest of their lives as confirmed morons. No one wants to be a confirmed moron. And certainly not after announcing their Trump opinions in public and demonstrating in the streets. It would be a total embarrassment for the anti-Trumpers to learn that Trump is just trying to do a good job for America. It’s a threat to their egos. A big one.
And this gets me to my point. When millions of Americans want the same thing, and they want it badly, the odds of it happening go way up. You can call it the power of positive thinking. It is also the principle behind affirmations. When humans focus on a desired future, events start to conspire to make it happen.
I’m not talking about any new-age magic. I’m talking about ordinary people doing ordinary things to turn Trump into an actual Hitler. For example, if protesters start getting violent, you could expect forceful reactions eventually. And that makes Trump look more like Hitler. I can think of dozens of ways the protesters could cause the thing they are trying to prevent. In other words, they can wish it into reality even though it is the very thing they are protesting.
In the 3rd dimension of persuasion, the protesters need to be proven right, and they will do whatever it takes to make that happen. So you might see the protesters inadvertently create the police state they fear.
If you are looking for the tells that this dangerous situation is developing, notice how excited/happy the Trump critics seem to be – while angry at the same time – that Trump’s immigration ban fits their belief system. If you see people who are simply afraid of Trump, they are probably harmless. But the people who are excited about any Hitler-analogy-behavior by Trump might be leading the country to a police state without knowing it.
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5 February, 2017
British politician defends Trump in the European parliament
Farage and Trump get on well and have similar views. So it is amusing to hear Trump heavily promoted and defended in a British private school accent. And Farage is as blunt as Trump. At one point in his speech, he refers to the chairman of the European parliament as "Mussolini". For the EU politicians, it must have felt like having Trump himself in their midst and roaring at them. Europeans, particularly the French, have long been perturbed by "les anglo-saxons" and their tendency to support one-another -- so this will entrench paranoia among EU denizens even further
British politician Nigel Farage, who represents South East England in the European Parliament, dropped a truth bomb on the EU Commission on Wednesday.
While many unelected European bureaucrats have spent the last week criticizing President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, the fact of the matter is they’ve done absolutely nothing to prevent radical Islamic terrorism in Europe.
Let's be clear: a significant number of Americans, both on and off America's college campuses, do not believe in other people's right to give speeches with perspectives and ideas they oppose. The boss noticed how frequently the term "un-American" is thrown around these days in the debates about immigration law. Physically attacking people because they have different beliefs is about as un-American as it gets.
Kiara Robles braved the crowd wearing a red "Make Bitcoin Great Again" hat in the style of President Trump's red hats, which made her and our crew a target. The video in the player above shows the graphic exchange between a protester and Robles, who was pepper sprayed. "I'm looking to make a statement by just being here and I think the protesters are doing the same. Props to the ones who are doing it non-violently, but I think that's a very rare thing indeed."
She later told ABC7 News she was alright.
She was not the only person attacked at the protest Wednesday.
"I hope I don't have a broken nose over this," said Joe Scherer, an observer. "The first amendment is fundamental to our Constitution."
By 9 p.m. protesters had taken to the streets of Berkeley carrying protest signs. Some marched while others threw rocks at buildings. A Chase location and a Wells Fargo location were vandalized. Broken glass could be seen flying into the streets from Sky7.
Officials held a news conference while the protests were happening saying it wasn't a proud moment for the city.
The violence and vandalism spread far beyond the school's campus.
U.C. Berkeley police and university officials issued warnings to the students not to exit their dorms. A shelter-in-place was ordered as well.
When you are willing to pepper-spray right in front of the television cameras, you're not just attacking that person; you're trying to intimidate everyone else who sees that image, too. It's a signal to everyone else - if the angry hard-Left mob thinks you're against them, they won't wait to read the fine print on your red cap. They will inflict pain on you and not even bother to ask questions later.
The San Francisco police department is suspending ties with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. The announcement comes amid growing concerns of spying on Muslim Americans by the new Trump Administration.
While you're at it, why not paint a bull's-eye on the TransAmerica building?
Blue-collar Democrats are delighted they chose Trump
President Trump’s shock-and-awe assault on Washington has rattled Republican leaders, foreign policy heavyweights warn that he risks alienating US allies and the tycoons of Silicon Valley have condemned his restrictions on immigration.
However, his first fortnight in the White House has pleased one important group: the voters who put him there.
“He’s been outstanding,” said Fred Wiseman, 51, a factory worker in Macomb County, Michigan, a working-class sprawl of modest suburban homes, strip malls and car assembly plants that, it can be argued, pushed Mr Trump to the presidency.
“I feel safer,” Sally Armstrong, 37, a waitress, said. “Give him this,” Ron Syme, 52, an architect, said: “He’s done what he promised.”
There are accusations being fomented by the Leftmedia that claim President Donald Trump’s first counterterrorism order resulted in a disastrous yet preventable episode in Yemen — the consequence, we’re now being told, of sheer negligence. Tragically, the operation took the life of SEAL Team Six’s Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens and other innocent bystanders. But the situation all came to a head when Reuters reported that “U.S. military officials [said] Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.” This appears to be a blatant attempt to smear Trump’s reputation and further portray him as unsuited for the role of commander in chief.
First, The New York Times says, “Barack Obama’s national security aides had reviewed the plans for a risky attack on a small, heavily guarded brick home of a senior Qaeda collaborator in a mountainous village in a remote part of central Yemen. But Mr. Obama did not act because the Pentagon wanted to launch the attack on a moonless night and the next one would come after his term had ended.” In other words, the attack was planned before Trump even entered the Oval Office. So it wasn’t some hastily concocted operation.
Second, veteran David French. who has actual experience in combat, warns against buying the Leftmedia’s narrative. He writes, “Absent truly extraordinary circumstances not outlined in the report, these officials seem to be relying on reporters' ignorance and willingness to believe anything about Trump … to deflect criticism of a dangerous operation that turned out to be even more dangerous than anticipated. That happens in war. It happened all the time when I was in Iraq.”
“People who haven’t been exposed to war with jihadists tend to think of firefights as precise affairs,” French continues. “Instead, they’re extraordinarily destructive, and the battle is waged against an enemy who intentionally and flagrantly violates the laws of war.” In conclusion: “None of this sounds unusual. … [I]t’s an impressive feat of arms to assault an alert enemy in a prepared defensive position, defeat that enemy, and leave with valuable intelligence. So, no, don’t believe claims that Trump botched the raid in Yemen. He didn’t plan the operation, and we don’t want him planning operations. We want presidents to rely on professionals. But those same professionals will tell you that war is terrible by its very nature, and no president can guarantee victory without cost.”
By the way, the media outlets peddling these dubious reports are the same outlets that did everything they could to avoid covering Benghazi. Which truly was a preventable disaster.
With all the Democrats' and Leftmedia’s hysterics over Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration, travel restrictions and reforming of visa vetting, combined with an over-the-top freakout of many Hollywood elites calling for resistance to Trump, one can hardly be faulted for wondering if there are any out there who are happy with Trump beyond those “deplorables” who voted for him, sizable though they may be.
Well, there is at least one government agency where members are reporting quite a boost in morale after Trump’s recent executive orders — the Department of Homeland Security. Over the last eight years, Border Patrol agents have felt like they were fighting a losing battle. Under Barack Obama’s “catch and release” directive, up to 80% of those illegals caught trying to enter were let go. Agents said that they felt handcuffed, unable to do their jobs. But now, says Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, “When Trump was elected, there was an increase in optimism among the agents, but nothing like what we’ve seen in the past few days.”
The DHS, once considered one of the worst places to work within the federal government according to staff surveys, has seen a sizable shift in morale. One Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, after hearing new DHS Secretary John Kelly’s public remarks to reporters on enforcing laws to protect Americans, said that it “re-energized a lot of us because for so long we’ve been vilified for doing our jobs, and here was someone finally standing up for us.”
As Trump said when he spoke last week at DHS headquarters, “Agents haven’t been allowed to do their jobs. That’s going to change.” And indeed, it looks like those at DHS are happy he’s been true to his word
Now We Know: Those 'Spontaneous' Anti-Trump Airport Protests Weren't Spontaneous At All
There was always something fishy about the outbreak of "spontaneous" protests at airports around the country in the immediate wake of President Trump's executive order pausing visas and refugees from terror-prone countries.
But these protests weren't spontaneous at all. They were, in fact, the result of months of careful planning by hard-core left-wing activist groups.
Suebsaeng notes that "professional organizers had been waiting and planning for this type of mass, direct action — ready-made to go viral on social media — even since, well Nov. 9." These professional organizers, he says have been "anticipating and mapping out their battle plans for Trump's orders on deportations, bans, and detention."
Since Trump had made clear that he planned — on day one, in fact — to issue a temporary ban on visas and refugees from terror prone countries, all these groups had to do was wait until he made good on that pledge to spring into action.
Making the protests appear spontaneous gave them a sense of urgency and legitimacy they otherwise wouldn't have had.
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3 February, 2017
Senate panel suspends a rule to OK Trump Cabinet picks
Once again, Democrats are undone by their living in an eternal present, with no thought of yesterday or tomorrow. What the GOP did here was follow a precedent set by Harry Reid, when he showed that you could bypass important checks and balances through a simple rewriting of the Senate rules.
Reid had no respect for precedent and now the GOP have followed suit. Reid quite amazingly abolished the filibuster for all but approval of SCOTUS judges. That insouciance has now come back hard to bite the Donks on the butt. They set a dangerous precedent for temporary gain and now are virtually disarmed in resisting Trump appointees
This is of course not the end of Senate scrutiny for the appointees but it clears away a roadblock. And final approval should now follow easily
Republicans muscled through committee approval of President Donald Trump’s nominees for Treasury and Health on Wednesday, suspending a key Senate rule in the latest escalation of partisan tensions in Congress.
Democrats boycotted a Finance Committee meeting and Republicans responded by temporarily scuttling a rule requiring at least one Democrat to be present for votes. The committee then approved Representative Tom Price to become Health secretary and financier Steve Mnuchin to be Treasury secretary.
Hoyer: U.S. Should Not Give Priority to Refugee Claims of Persecuted Christians
Hoyer is Jewish. I'm guessing that he would make an exception for endangered Jews. When Britain controlled Palestine, they tried to send back Jewish refugees. Does Hoyer agree with that?
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that the United States should not give priority to the refugee claims of persecuted religious minorities.
Doing so is one element of the execuitive order that President Donald Trump issued Friday to protect the United States from entry by foreign terrorists.
At his weekly Capitol Hill press briefing, CNSNews.com asked Hoyer: “President Trump’s order on protecting the U.S. from foreign terrorists calls for prioritizing the refugee claims of persecuted religious minorities. Do you agree that the U.S. should prioritize refugee admissions for persecuted religious minorities?”
“No,” Hoyer said. “I think the criteria should not be religion.”
Levin on Trump’s Refugee Executive Order: Nobody Has a Right to Come Into America – None
On his nationally syndicated radio talk show Monday, host Mark Levin ripped the Left for their onslaught against Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees saying, “Nobody has a right, of any kind, to come into America – none.”
“Nobody has a right, of any kind, to come into America – none,” said Mark Levin. “Now I know the crackpot ultra-Libertarians and the crackpot ultra-Leftists seem to think that people can come willy-nilly, but they’re wrong. That’s never been American history, and no nation can survive that. None. That’s why no nation does it. None.”
Below is a transcript of Levin’s comments from his show:
“Now, let’s start from the beginning so I can unravel all of this and then ram it down their throats.
“What’s the purpose of government? Its primary purpose is to secure America and to protect the life, liberty and property of the American people. I said, the American people.
“What’s the purpose of immigration? It is to improve America, to improve America.
“No society is immortal. None. No nation is immortal. None.
“And yet, there are people who keep preaching the transformation of America. They’ve been eviscerating our Constitution. They are eviscerating our borders, and they’re doing the latter through immigration. They lecture us about the Constitution.
“Foreign citizens who’ve never set foot in America don’t have constitutional rights. Seven billion people who aren’t Americans don’t fall within the jurisdiction of our Constitution or our statutes.
“Nobody has a right, of any kind, to come into America – none.
“Now I know the crackpot ultra-Libertarians and the crackpot ultra-Leftists seem to think that people can come willy-nilly, but they’re wrong. That’s never been American history, and no nation can survive that. None. That’s why no nation does it. None.
“All you’ve heard today is about the poor, would-be immigrant – not the actual immigrant – the poor, would-be immigrant from seven countries, six would be for a four-month temporary ban, not permitted to come into the country. In Syria it would be indefinite, until the situation settles down.
“And you would have thought Donald Trump was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. You would have thought Trump was rounding up Muslim-Americans and Americans of Muslim decent, ordering his military to issue an order like 9066, rounding up Muslim-Americans and bringing them to internment camps in the center of the country.
“Did he do that? No.
“No, he didn’t do that.
“He hasn’t violated anybody’s rights. He hasn’t violated anybody’s due process. There aren’t any rights. There isn’t any due process. The people aren’t even here yet. The people aren’t even here yet.
“And they say this is un-American. What’s un-American. There’s nothing un-American about this.
“I don’t know what the courts will do now, but in the past the courts have upheld every single syllable of what Donald Trump did with his executive order.
“Nobody has a right to come into this country. Nobody has the right to demand to come into this country. I don’t give a d--- what their faith is, or their race, or their ethnicity.
“This country belongs to the American citizen. The citizen of America comes first, not the citizen of Yemen, or Libya, or the Sudan, or Iran, or all the rest of it.
“The problem we have, ladies and gentleman, is that we have people who are trying to blow up our cities and cut the throats of your children, and we can’t simply identify them because they won’t self-identity. They don’t wear scarlet letters.
“They’re terrorists. And terrorists, unlike a standing military, secrete themselves among the people. They hide among the people in order to slaughter the people. So when you have people coming into this country from parts of the world where we cannot be sure who they are because there’s no effective government, or there’s a hostile government, or there’s no effective database, what’s a president of the United States supposed to do? ‘Hey, come on in. We’ll ask you 12 questions.’ And that will be that.
“Trump is trying to prevent carnage in the United States of American citizens on his watch, and he’s being brutalized for it. He’s being attacked for it. “I’ve never seen anything so disgusting.”
The Left are full of fake horror over an affectionate pat on the bottom
Ivanka's husband still finds her attractive
It is good to see such magnetism between them after years of marriage and three children
Very selective horror. By contrast, ripping a baby out of its mother's womb and killing it is no trouble at all to the Left.
Ivanka still Daddy's girl too
How idiotic are the feminists who say Trump is a misogynist
Trump took her with him when he made an unannounced trip to honor the returning remains of a U.S. Navy SEAL killed during a weekend raid on an al-Qaida base in Yemen
Columbia invited Iranian President Ahmadinejad to speak. He spoke. Milo Yiannopoulos got the reception below at UC Berkeley. The Nazi-Left prevented him from speaking
The demonstrating Left and their supporters are the true heirs of Nazism in America today
A Trump supporter was giving her statement to ABC7 News when someone pepper sprayed her on camera
BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Violent protests moved through downtown Berkeley Wednesday night after the cancellation of a speaking engagement scheduled for controversial Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
There were plenty of sub-plots at the protest against Yiannopulos, but also against people who were protecting the suppression of free speech. The conflict arrived in the form of polytechnics, smoke, strife, and anger--not only about the speaker and what he might say, but also about his right to say it, even in the birthplace of the free speech movement.
"Well I carried my sign, Free speech is protected even for Milo," said Mike Sherman, a protester.
The protests began at U.C. Berkeley in front of the Martin Luther King Student Union around 5 p.m. and left only after U.C. Berkeley police threatened to arrest anyone who remained.
As to what happened in between, there may have been 400 active protesters and some 300 people looking on. Some of them came hoping to hear the speech.
Kiara Robles braved the crowd wearing a red "Make Bitcoin Great Again" hat in the style of President Trump's red hats, which made her and our crew a target. The video in the player above shows the graphic exchange between a protester and Robles, who was pepper sprayed. "I'm looking to make a statement by just being here and I think the protesters are doing the same. Props to the ones who are doing it non-violently, but I think that's a very rare thing indeed."
She later told ABC7 News she was alright.
She was not the only person attacked at the protest Wednesday. "I hope I don't have a broken nose over this," said Joe Scherer, an observer. "The first amendment is fundamental to our Constitution."
By 9 p.m. protesters had taken to the streets of Berkeley carrying protest signs. Some marched while others threw rocks at buildings. A Chase location and a Wells Fargo location were vandalized. Broken glass could be seen flying into the streets from Sky7.
The violence and vandalism spread far beyond the school's campus.
U.C. Berkeley police and university officials issued warnings to the students not to exit their dorms. A shelter-in-place was ordered as well.
In a free country with free speech in iconic Berkeley, no matter what a person's politics we were all witness to violence
Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)
2 February, 2017
Message to the Trump-haters
by Paul Genova
I'm noticing that a lot of people aren't graciously accepting the fact that their candidate lost. In fact you seem to be posting even more hateful things about those who voted for Trump. Some are apparently "triggered" because they are posting how "sick" you feel about the results. How did this happen you ask? Well, here is how it happened!
You created "us" when you attacked our freedom of speech.
You created "us" when you attacked our right to bear arms.
You created "us" when you attacked our Christian beliefs.
You created "us" when you constantly referred to us as racists.
You created "us" when you constantly called us xenophobic.
You created "us" when you told us to get on board or get out of the way.
You created "us" when you attacked our flag.
You created "us" when you took God out of our schools.
You created "us" when you confused women's rights with feminism.
You created "us" when you began to emasculate men.
You created "us" when you decided to make our children soft.
You created "us" when you decided to vote for progressive ideals.
You created "us" when you attacked our way of life.
You created "us" when you decided to let our government get out of control.
You created "us" the silent majority.
You created "us" when you began murdering innocent law enforcement officers.
You created "us" when you lied and said we could keep our insurance plans and our doctors.
You created "us" when you allowed our jobs to continue to leave our country.
You created "us" when you took a knee, or stayed seated or didn't remove your hat during our National Anthem.
You created "us" when you forced us to buy health care and then financially penalized us for not participating.
And we became fed up and we pushed back and spoke up.
And we did it with ballots, not bullets.
With ballots, not riots.
With ballots, not looting.
With ballots, not blocking traffic.
With ballots, not fires, except the one you started inside of "us".
"YOU" created "US".
It really is just that simple
Trump travel ban: Prince Charles says we are in danger of forgetting the lessons of the past
He seems to have forgotten the lessons of the present: worldwide Jihad
Prince Charles has warned the "horrific lessons" of the Holocaust and World War II "seem to be in increasing danger of being forgotten" in what is being interpreted as a veiled reference to the rise of nationalism, populism and US President Donald Trump.
The heir to the throne, who was speaking at a fundraising dinner for the World Jewish Relief charity in London on Monday night, also urged people of faith to "extend a helping hand" "across the boundaries" of their own religions to wherever aid is needed.
In his speech, the Prince of Wales paid tribute to the work of the charity as well as a number of Jewish refugees and survivors of the Holocaust he had met throughout his life, including champion weightlifter Ben Helfgott.
"To meet Ben, and others who, like him, have endured indescribable persecution, is to be reminded of the danger of forgetting the lessons of the past," he said.
"The work of World Jewish Relief enables us to rally together, to do what we can to support people practically, emotionally and spiritually – particularly at a time when the horrific lessons of the last War seem to be in increasing danger of being forgotten."
IF THE Left wants to see Donald Trump elected to a second term, it should continue its current antics. Every Trump move, no matter how benign or insignificant, has been met with a reaction ranging from agitation to full-blown hysteria.
There’ll be plenty more protests to come as the Trump administration implements its “America-first” policies. The so-called “Muslim ban”, which is, in fact, nothing of the sort, has elicited the strongest response and much of it is based on misinformation, half-truths and imagined injustices.
For the record, I don’t support blanket bans on travellers from particular countries, or religions, but only a naive fool would deny that Trump’s policy is popular among voters — and not just in the US. Trump is doing precisely what he promised during the marathon presidential election campaign.
He is executing policies, including limiting migration from terror hot spots, until improved vetting practises can be established.
Did Trump’s political opponents think he was bluffing or expect him to abandon the populist policies that got him elected?
According to the independent Quinnipiac University Poll released earlier this month, 48 per cent of Americans support “suspending immigration from terror prone regions, even if it means turning away refugees”, while 42 per cent are opposed.
Of the Republican voters polled, 72 per cent supported the bans with only 17 per cent opposed.
The poll also showed that 53 per cent backed “requiring immigrants from Muslim countries to register with the federal government”, with 41 per cent against the idea.
A poll released on Tuesday by Rasmussen Reports, considered a conservative polling company, showed even greater support for the measures. Of likely US voters, 57 per cent were in favour of the bans on refugees until the federal government can better screen potential terrorists, with 33 per cent opposed to Trump’s policy.
The bans were hugely popular with Republican voters (82 per cent) while 59 per cent of voters not affiliated with either party also backed the move.
It’s worth noting that the seven countries affected by the 90-day travel ban — Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen and Syria — not only support terror but most have chaotic governments unwilling or simply incapable of providing pertinent information about citizens travelling to the US.
Trump’s immigration crackdown also included a ban on refugees from the seven banned countries for 120 days and the suspension of the Syrian refugee admissions program indefinitely.
Those countries were selected not because they are Muslim-majority but because they were identified by the Obama administration as “countries of concern”. The asinine argument that such measures will lead to the “radicalisation of more Muslims” are best ignored; there has never been an anti-terror policy that has not been derided as “playing into the hands of terrorists”.
I wonder if the Left realises how Islamophobic it is to suggest that otherwise peaceful Muslims will become jihadis if they are banned from entering the US for a few months. The same people who tell us terror has no religion are warning that Muslims will react with violence to the bans.
Why do so many progressives use the bigotry of low expectation when speaking about the Muslim world? Do Israelis, banned from multiple Muslim-majority countries, turn to terror? Indeed there are many Muslim nations that ban anyone who has been to Israel from entering their country, which is why the Israelis no longer stamp the passports of visitors.
Despite the reports of worldwide chaos, there were relatively few passengers, a few hundred, immediately affected by Trump’s sudden announcement.
By Monday night the media was becoming desperate for tales of traumatised passengers caught up in the confusion. The Independent reported on Iranian-born BBC journalist Ali Hamedani being detained for two hours and “subjected to invasive checks” before being released.
Two hours? I’ve been held up longer in Heathrow and as for the invasive checks, the US officials checked Hamedani’s phone and social media accounts.
For a couple of days there were about 110,000 Australians, including my parents, born in the banned countries who may have been affected. However, on Tuesday the Turnbull government confirmed that Australian dual citizens would be exempt from the visa restrictions. It remains to be seen whether the negative media coverage will sway public opinion.
One wonders why we didn’t hear sob stories from those affected by the Obama administration’s visa restrictions and record number of deportations. Yes, Obama, hero of the tolerant Left, deported more people than any other US president — but that wasn’t met with massive protests and media campaigns.
Trump is clearly not the type of politician to be swayed by political protests, nor will he try to appease those who loathe him.
One significant achievement for which he deserves praise is securing agreement from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to set up safe zones in Yemen and Syria, a move that would ease the refugee crisis.
Early this week Donald Trump leveled the claim that three to five million illegal votes were cast during this past election, and he has called for an investigation into voter fraud. That stunning accusation — stunning only for the high numbers claimed — predictably brought howls of outrage from the Leftmedia, which lambasted Trump for yet more fake news and baseless claims. Hypocritically, the Leftmedia offered no evidence to prove that Trump's accusation was "baseless."
And it's not as if there are no facts supporting at least the need for a greater investigation into voter fraud, as several recent lawsuits brought by the Public Interest Legal Foundation demonstrate. In fact, why did the government see fit to pass the National Voting Registration Act of 1993 if it wasn't intended to combat potential voting fraud? In other words, it would be ridiculous to assert that voter fraud didn't happen. The real question is just how bad of a problem it is. If no comprehensive investigations are done, then the argument merely continues to be the spitting contest it currently has become.
It's rather dubious for the Leftmedia to call out Trump as a liar and yet argue against investigating his claims. The truth is, the Leftmedia isn't interested in knowing the actual number of illegal immigrants who voted or how many votes dead people cast or how many individuals voted multiply times. So long as official data is unavailable, leftists can continue to claim voter fraud is really not a problem — that it's simply the boogie man conservatives like to drag up as a political scare tactic designed to disenfranchise minority voters. The Leftmedia's stance essentially cheapens the unique privilege of American citizenship.
Because of some prominent examples of psychopaths who have high IQs, there has developed an impression that psychopaths are generally of above average IQ. It is always unsafe to generalize from a few examples, however, so a paper that looks at a full range of the evidence on the subject is very welcome. And the finding (see below) is that ON AVERAGE, psychopaths are in fact a bit dim.
On the relationship between psychopathy and general intelligence: A meta-analytic review
Olga Sanchez de Ribera et al.
Over recent decades, a growing body of research has accumulated concerning the relationship between indicators of general intelligence and the personality construct known as psychopathy. Both traits represent key correlates of life outcomes, predicting everything from occupational and economic success, to various indicators of prosocial behavior (including avoiding contact with the criminal justice system). The findings to date regarding the association of the two traits, however, have been somewhat inconsistent. Thus, there remains a need for a more systematic investigation of the extant empirical literature. The current study reports a meta-analysis conducted to evaluate the direction and overall effect size of the relationship between these two constructs. Our analyses revealed a small, but significant, negative effect of intelligence on psychopathy. The results and impact of possible moderating variables such as type of intelligence test used are discussed. Finally, the study limitations, and possible directions for further research on this issue are detailed prior to concluding.
There was much vitriol surrounding the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. One thing that struck me was the frequency with which commentators threw around the words fascism and fascist. For example, The Huffington Post warned that Trump’s Emerging Fascism Threatens the Nation; Salon chastised the country with the headline Congratulations, America– you did it! An actual fascist is now your official president; The Nation predicted that Anti-Fascists Will Fight Trump’s Fascism in the Streets. There is even a website called refusefascism.org that urges Americans to “stay in the streets to stop the fascist Trump/Pence regime.”
With all the voices warning of the rise of fascism in America, it would serve us well to define fascism to ensure we understand each other and can discuss the matter with intelligence and civility. Our friend Sheldon Richman is helpful on this point with his thorough entry in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Here is an excerpt:
"As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer. . . . Fascism substituted the particularity of nationalism and racialism –”blood and soil”–for the internationalism of both classical liberalism and Marxism. . . .Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. . . . Under fascism, the state, through official cartels, controlled all aspects of manufacturing, commerce, finance, and agriculture. Planning boards set product lines, production levels, prices, wages, working conditions, and the size of firms. Licensing was ubiquitous; no economic activity could be undertaken without government permission. Levels of consumption were dictated by the state, and “excess” incomes had to be surrendered as taxes or “loans.”
Trump is undoubtedly a nationalist and protectionist and proudly declared during his inauguration address that he would put “America First.” Inasmuch as nationalism is a critical ingredient of fascism, it is indeed present. But notably absent from the Trump agenda is cartelization of American business, planning boards, or control of economic activity or consumption. Instead, Trump seeks to reduce government regulation, has imposed a hiring freeze on federal agencies, and advocates cutting taxes–the lifeblood of the state.
While there are many criticisms one can raise about Trump and certain of his policies, fascism is not one of the them. Unfortunately, fascism has become a label attached to anything a speaker does not like. Modern use of “fascism” is empty and imprecise. If you want to criticize Trump feel free to do so—but please offer reasoned arguments rather than lazily labeling the man as something that he clearly is not.
That Time Clinton Got Tough on Illegal Immigration
If Trump is a reprobate, what does that make former president Bill Clinton?
“All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected, but in every place in this country are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public services they use impose burdens on our taxpayers. That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more, by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens. In the budget I will present to you, we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace as recommended by the commission headed by former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.” —Bill Clinton, 1995 State of the Union
Compare Bill’s remarks to Hillary’s immigration platform. Contrary to the Left’s narrative that accuses today’s Republicans of being hostile and unsympathetic, it’s liberals whose worldview is now unrealistic and, as Bill put it, ultimately self-defeating.
For the record, The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel points out: “Barack Obama put a pause for six months on refugees coming from Iraq back in 2011. I don’t remember protestors and I don’t remember lawsuits.” There’s hypocrisy alright — on the Left.
Trump's travel ban on foreigners is not what the Left claims it is
From references made by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to the Statue of Liberty crying to CNN running the headline, “Trump bans 134,000,000 from the U.S.,” the Left and the mainstream media are jumping up and down in hysteria over Donald Trump’s Friday executive orders on vetting refugees. Adding fuel to the controversy were stories of green card holders being prevented entry, forcing the administration to offer a clarification, with Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly stating,
“In applying the provisions of the President’s executive order, I hereby deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest. Accordingly, absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.”
Even The Wall Street Journal headlined a story that read, “Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban Sows Chaos.”
So what’s the deal here? Are Trump’s actions as “extreme” as the mainstream media insists? Has the White House been taken over by a nativist? Is Trump Hitler 2.0? The facts reveal quite a different story from the hysteria currently being peddled by the Leftmedia.
First, motive. Trump maintained during his entire campaign that the safety of Americans would be a top priority. The order states in part, “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its found principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law.
In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including "honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.“
His actions on Friday are yet another example of him following through on his promises. Trump has correctly assessed that Washington’s politically correct attitude toward immigration has created a climate ripe for a Trojan horse-like infiltration taking advantage of the nation’s lax controls. His order is not an attack on a religion, ethnic group or region of the world.
Trump’s concerns or actions are not new or unprecedented, as Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and, yes, even Barack Obama enacted similar temporary bans, and justified those bans out of concern for the safety of Americans. And Trump is rightly acting within the president’s legal authority.
Second, the "extreme” adjective that has been bandied about by media pundits from all sides is quite simply absurd. A quick look at history and numbers confirms this. Trump’s capping of refugees at 50,000 per year is nothing new. Both George W. Bush and Obama averaged the same number until 2016, when Obama expanded the number significantly. In reality, Trump is simply bringing the numbers back down to previously established levels. If anyone is to be faulted for extreme actions on refugees, it’s Obama.
Third, the order will seek to revamp the refugee processing in order to prioritize those of minority religious groups fleeing the persecution of radical Islamists. This will specifically help Christians but also other minorities who have suffered from rising persecution over the last few years. This is a significant change from Obama’s policy that did not favor minority religions in the refugee processing.
Fourth, the ban is temporary — 120 days — as DHS determines the “information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.” And the ban has an exemption clause: “Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.”
In reality, the Leftmedia’s exasperation over Trump’s actions is a strategy aimed at delegitimizing Trump in a effort to subvert his unapologetic “America First” policy. The Left is committed to its globalist vision and will do everything it can to derail Trump.
In hindsight, Trump may have acted too quickly, especially if he failed to fully vet the plan internally. This has allowed the Leftmedia to unleash a barrage of misinformation that is proving to sow confusion and creating the false perception of the order being extreme.
Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.
As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.
So the essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do
The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them
Leftists are the disgruntled folk. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears
Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics
Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit
The difference in practice
The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality
Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today
The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.
R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason
Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale
So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story
We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it.
A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested
Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.
A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds
In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive
Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism
Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?
And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama
That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"
Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out
Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility
Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.
If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.
The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that
Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it
Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.
Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech
Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs
"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.
Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.
Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves
Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"
In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"
Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong
Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.
A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.
What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.
Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.
Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".
"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals
Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?
MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.
The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)
Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate
Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”
Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists
The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.
Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):
Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House
Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".
Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."
The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.
Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.
It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.
People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.
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.”
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?
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
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"
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
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
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
THE FALSIFICATION OF HISTORY HAS DONE MORE TO IMPEDE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT THAN ANY ONE THING KNOWN TO MANKIND -- ROUSSEAU
"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.
The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload
A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here
Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16
Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.
Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."
Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable
Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary
How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes
Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"
"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"
The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"
"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"
Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)
First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean
It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier
If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.
3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):
"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)
"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"
During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out
"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer
JEWS AND ISRAEL
The Bible is an Israeli book
To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities
My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.
"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3
"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.
If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)
Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder
To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.
I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.
Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen
If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!
And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!
Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.
I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.
The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned
Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death
"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.
Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being
Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel
Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.
Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.
If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.
Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?
The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"
UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.
I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.
I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)
The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it
Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia
Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain
Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.
IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.
I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.
I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.
I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address
Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.
"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit
It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.
"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation
A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.
As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows
Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry
My academic background
My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here
I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.
Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide
Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals
As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway
I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.
COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.
You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way
There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)
Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: