Thursday, February 25, 2016

Oh frabjous joy:  A psychological attack on Trump supporters!

Some PR guy has claimed that the big thing characterizing Trump supporters is authoritarianism.  Since I have had more papers on authoritarianism published in the academic journals than anyone else, I am in a good position to comment on this scurrilous attack on Trump supporters.

The article is: "The best predictor of Trump support isn't income, education, or age. It's authoritarianism" -- by Matthew MacWilliams.

Calling conservatives "authoritarian" is of course a very old Leftist slur -- tracing back to the writings of Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno and his friends in 1950.  The Adorno work has been pretty thoroughtly demolished but the accusation still pops up occasionally.

It's a tremendous example of projection that Leftists see conservatives as being authoritarian.  What could be more authoritarian than Communism or trying to "thoroughly transform" America?

Psychologists customarily measure authoritarianism in people by asking them a set of questions that allegedly indicate it. Exactly what questions MacWilliams asked he does not give but he does say that they were based on a set that have been going around for some time.

That set asks respondents to choose between paired items indicating preferences for child-rearing values. Respondents were asked to indicate which characteristic is more desirable: (1)  respect for elders or independence; (2) obedience or self-reliance; (3) good manners or curiosity.

So the questions are in fact about child-rearing.  They are not about attitude to authority or authoritarian behaviour.  It's possible that such attitudes about child rearing generalize to various authorities or types of authority but that is not shown.  It is an assertion, not a fact.

So what Mac found was simple:  Trump supporters tend to have old-fashioned views about child-rearing.  Who is to say that that is bad?  Are the permissively treated and drug-addled snowflakes of today better off than the children of yesteryear?  It would take a bold person to assert it, I think.

Even that finding does however have doubts hanging over it.  The set of questions is ipsatively scored:  They don't allow people to choose BOTH alternatives.  That can lead to very distorted findings.  I have written in the journals about such problems on several occasions -- e.g. here.  From a psychometric viewpoint, I would recommend that Mac's work be disregarded.


FBI Had a Way to Circumvent Farook's Passcode

This is of course a privacy issue and I would normally agree that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.  But with an out-of-control administration even the innocent have something to fear -- so I am in favour of hobbling their intrusions in all ways possible.  I certainly wouldn't buy a used car from them

Amidst the FBI’s demands that Apple create software to break the security the tech company engineered into the iPhone, the underreported fact is that the government bungled its initial attempts to access the cell phone the San Bernardino County Health Department gave to eventual terrorist Syed Farook. The first mistake was the county didn’t set up the phone so that it had administrative access over the device. If it had taken that preemptive step, investigators could have easily gathered everything the phone could provide.

The second mistake was hours after the shooting when San Bernardino, working with the FBI, reset the phone’s iCloud password, allowing investigators to see the data the phone was automatically backing up to a remote location on Apple’s servers. Problem was, the last time the phone updated to iCloud was on Oct. 19 — weeks before the Dec. 2 shooting. There was information still on the phone. Investigators [could have teased that information from the phone by turning on the phone’s automatic updates, going to a location frequented by Farook and the device would have automatically sent information to iCloud. Voilà! With the recent information in the cloud, then investigators could have reset Farook’s iCloud password. Instead, the government is trying to force Apple to destroy the security protocols it has built into its current devices because a series of government mistakes.



Victory as Senate Stops Obama

In the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia's untimely death, thousands of activists reached out to their elected representatives to send a message: any Obama nominee to the Supreme Court would be unacceptable. It looks like the Senate Judiciary Committee got the message loud and clear:

    The Republican Senators in charge of the Judiciary Committee just made a bold announcement after a closed door meeting today: There will be NO confirmation hearings for President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination under ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!

    The meeting took place on the first full session day since Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13th.

    This is a crushing defeat for the Obama White House, as the President is hopeful to leave a legacy on the Supreme Court that could spend the next 20-40 years enacting his radical left-wing agenda...

Special thanks to President Obama, Chuck Schumer, and Joe Biden for providing the intellectual basis for conservatives to make this move.



Democrat Double Standards

To paraphrase William Shakespeare, the villany Democrats teach, Republicans will execute, and it shall go hard but they will better the instruction. It wasn’t so long ago that the power was flipped in the Senate.

George W. Bush controlled the White House and Democrats controlled the upper chamber from 2001 to 2003. Bush nominated 32 judges during that time. Not one of them even made it to the Judiciary Committee for a hearing. In 2005, Democrats — including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton — filibustered the nomination of Samuel Alito. That same quintet is now leading the chorus calling for the Republican-controlled Senate to do its “constitutional duties” and rubber stamp whomever Obama nominates.

When Bush had a year and six months left in his last term, Sen. Chuck Schumer said unless something extraordinary happened, the Senate shouldn’t approve any Bush nominee. Going back to the last few weeks of George H.W Bush’s administration, Biden said Bush shouldn’t nominate anyone until after the 1992 presidential election was completed — the same thing Republicans are saying to Obama. But now that he’s co-captain in the Oval Office, Biden conveniently insists, “Nearly a quarter century ago, in June 1992, I gave a lengthy speech on the Senate floor about a hypothetical vacancy on the Supreme Court. Some critics say that one excerpt of my speech is evidence that I oppose filling a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year. This is not an accurate description of my views on the subject.”

When members of the current administration occupied seats in the Senate, its views on the Senate’s role in the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice was robust. After all, the Senate offers its consent and advice, per the Constitution. But the Democrats' interpretation of the Constitution changes with the political winds.



Conservative Victory in the Nation's Most Liberal State?

In a surprising recent poll, the lead candidate to replace ultra liberal Senator Barbara Boxer is....

Condoleeza Rice. As Breitbart notes:

    The leader in the race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in America’s most liberal state is… Republican Condoleezza Rice, according to a new Field Pollreleased Wednesday. Rice, the former Secretary of State and Stanford don, is backed by 49% of voters–ahead of Attorney General Kamala Harris, the liberal Democrat who was the first to declare. The poll, which sampled 972 likely voters in California, presented respondents with a list of 18 potential candidates and asked if they “would be inclined or not inclined to vote for that person,” with no limit on the number they could support.

Rice led among both male and female voters, and did well among Latino voters, though the top choice for Latinos remains former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Rice and Harris each polled 74% among their respective political parties.

    Rice has shown no political ambitions since leaving the Bush administration, though she spoke at the 2012 Republican National Convention and is frequently mentioned as a possible vice presidential contender. She is considered a moderate on many issues, including immigration, though she is disliked by the left for her relatively hawkish views on foreign policy.

Conservative activists have known this for quite some time, and there is a groundswell of support. Conservative Action Fund's Draft Condi collected thousands of signatures urging Condi to run. Theoretically, her candidacy would provide the GOP with the perfect opportunity to turn deep blue California purple.

Will she change her mind?



Here’s Why Insurance Premiums Are ‘High and Rising’ for Obamacare Enrollees

Rising health insurance premiums under Obamacare will continue to hit Americans this year, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office.

“High and rising premiums for private health insurance are a matter of concern for [Obamacare] enrollees. They also affect the federal budget, because the federal government subsidizes most premiums—directly or indirectly—at a cost of roughly $300 billion in fiscal year 2016,” the CBO said.

The nonpartisan agency and the staff of Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation projected that in 2016, “the average premium for an employment-based insurance plan will be about $6,400 for single coverage and about $15,500 for family coverage.”

By 2025, they predict, average premiums for employment-based coverage will cost about 60 percent more than this year under the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

Average premiums for individually purchased coverage aren’t expected to be as high, “mostly because nongroup coverage is less extensive and thus requires enrollees to make higher out-of-pocket payments when they receive care,” according to the Feb. 11 report.

The CBO, a nonpartisan agency, produces “independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the congressional budget process.”

“Notwithstanding the exemptions, the [individual] mandate significantly reduces average premiums … by encouraging healthier people to obtain insurance, which lowers average spending on health care among the insured population,” the CBO and Joint Committee on Taxation found.

However, the report says Obamacare regulations still will “increase premiums noticeably in the nongroup market,” and those affected represent only a small fraction of the private insurance market.

A 2009 analysis by the CBO and Joint Committee on Taxation found that regulations similar to those of the Affordable Care Act would increase nongroup premium costs by 27 percent to 30 percent this year, “although other provisions would have reduced premiums.”

“This was their stance in 2009 and little has changed, as we observe increased premiums in the [insurance] exchanges and rising deductibles in many types of insurance,” Drew Gonshorowski, a senior health policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

“The CBO again reaffirms that regulations within the [Affordable Care Act] drive up premiums,” Gonshorowski said.

The report also notes that the increase in premiums will cause employment-based insurance tax exemptions to cost more than $250 billion in fiscal year 2016 and about $40 billion for those who buy on Obamacare’s insurance exchanges.

Gonshorowski and Ed Haislmaier, Heritage’s senior research fellow in health policy, noted in a study that premiums jumped by 9 percent on average because of the health care law’s benefit mandates—which cover “essential health benefits” and “preventive services.”

If Congress eliminated the benefit mandates and requirements, the researchers estimated, “premiums for younger adults could be reduced by as much as 44 percent, and premiums for preretirement-age adults could decrease by about 7 percent.”



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