Friday, April 29, 2016

When it comes to the women’s card, Donald holds all the Trumps. He knows What Women Want, and it isn’t Hillary


‘They say every powerful man is good in bed,’ I once asked Donald Trump. ‘That true?’

He smirked. ‘I think there is a certain truth to that, yes. Put it this way, I’ve never had any complaints. A lot of it is down to The Look. It doesn’t mean you have to look like Cary Grant, it means you have to have a certain way about you, a stature. I see successful guys who just don’t have The Look and they are never going to go out with great women.

‘The Look is very important. I don’t really like to talk about it because it sounds very conceited… but it matters.’

I thought of this exchange when Trump launched into Hillary Clinton today about her lack of appeal to women.

‘I think the only card she has is the women’s card,’ he scoffed. ‘She has got nothing else going. Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5% of the vote. And the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her…’

He was instantly and roundly ridiculed for being a revolting pig, of course.  Such is the habitual reaction from the sneering swathes of America’s political and media elite to everything Trump says or does.

They’re the same experts who predicted Trump ‘won’t last three weeks’ when he entered the race last summer, and who more recently predicted with equal confidence that he’d ‘never win the nomination.’  Now they assure us just as vehemently that Trump can’t beat Hillary because women hate him.

That’s what I keep reading and hearing as the cocky billionaire tycoon continues to steamroller his way to what now looks like an inevitable confirmation as Republican nominee.

(Seriously, Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich, it was over from the second you two clowns decided last week to tag-team against The Donald, thus making yourselves look utterly incapable of beating him on your own. I’d quit the race now before you both lose the last remaining vestige of dignity..)

The Women-Hate-Trump theory dictates that if he IS the nominee and comes up against Hillary Clinton, then he’ll be crushed not just because women loathe him but also because they all love Hillary.

Really? As Goldfinger used to say to 007: ‘Not so fast, Mr Bond….’

I suspect Trump’s a lot more popular with women than people think, and Hillary a lot less so.

I spent well over 100 hours observing Trump in his former Celebrity Apprentice boardroom lair. First as a (winning) contestant in 2008, then as one of his advisors in every subsequent season.

He was whip-smart, very funny and brilliantly provocative at creating compelling television drama.  He was also extremely charming when he wanted to be, especially with the female contestants. Many of them, including sports stars, actresses, supermodels and rock stars, ended up melting like fawning putty in Mr Trump’s famously delicate hands.

Even the legendarily ferocious comedienne Joan Rivers used to blush from his effusive compliments. I know, because I was there and saw it happen.

Part of this was because they wanted to win, obviously, so sought his approval. But part of it was undeniably also because Trump is genuinely at ease with women and seems to love their company – unless it’s Rosie O’Donnell - as much as they enjoy his.

I always think you can judge a man pretty well by his relationship with his former partners. Trump’s remained good friends with both his ex wives, Ivana and Marla. He even let Ivana get re-married at his Florida home.

His current wife Melania has proven to be a very effective electoral asset, combining brains with beauty and a feisty side which shows she’s no pushover.

And his daughter Ivanka is by common consent, a beautiful, vote-winning working mother superstar whose respect for her Donald is touchingly unequivocal.

Even fearsome Fox News star Megyn Kelly has made up with the man who attacked her mercilessly in public after they locked horns in a poisonously personal way after a heated presidential debate.

If Trump can get Ms Kelly back onside, after mocking her menstrual cycle, then surely he’s got a good chance of persuading millions of other women in America that he’s not such a bad guy after all?

I watch how the women behave at his gigantic rallies in all parts of America and I don’t see much hatred in those ecstatic eyes; I see fevered adoration.

Recent primary results, especially in his thumping 5-state clean sweep last night, suggest that adoration is beginning to translate into votes with more and more woman coming out for Trump.

Why?  He’s charismatic, that’s why.  They like his swaggering self-confidence, his non-PC and non-politician style, his fierce ‘I’ll make America great again’ patriotism, and his often outrageous, off-the-cuff sense of humour.

I spent some time in Texas and Florida recently and most of the women I met there were positively cooing over the prospect of a President Trump, and snarlingly scathing about the very notion of President Clinton.

Hillary likes to boast that she’s the only possible candidate for women, but I know a lot of women who can’t stand her.  They think she’s hard, elitist, they don’t really trust her after Benghazi and the email scandal, and they find it hard to forgive her own repeated forgiveness of her husband’s brazen infidelity.

They also feel she has a sense of entitlement to become the first female president, and has sold her soul to Wall Street through chums like Goldman Sachs.

This explains some of the catastrophically bad results she had early on in this campaign. In the Iowa Caucus, for example, she got just 14% of the under-30 female vote, while 74-year-old Bernie Sanders romped away with 84%.

The irony of Hillary’s position is that there’s only one man in America who can possibly compete with Trump for populist appeal right now, and indeed his ability to seduce women, and that’s her husband Bill. Unfortunately, he’s not running, she is.

If it comes down to Trump vs Clinton in November, as now seems likely, I think a lot more women are going to vote for him than she assumes.

And that could be enough for the man with The Look to win the White House.



Why the Left Loathes Western Civilization

Dennis Prager

This month, Stanford University students voted on a campus resolution that would have their college require a course on Western civilization, as it did until the 1980s.

Stanford students rejected the proposal 1,992 to 347. A columnist at the Stanford Daily explained why: Teaching Western civilization means “upholding white supremacy, capitalism and colonialism, and all other oppressive systems that flow from Western civilizations.”

The vote — and the column — encapsulated the left’s view: In Europe, Latin America and America, it loathes Western civilization.

Wherever there is conflict between the West — identified as white, capitalist or of European roots — and the non-West, the left portrays the West as the villain.

I am referring to the left, not to liberals. The latter generally venerates Western civilization. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, for example, frequently spoke of defending “Christian civilization.” Today, the left would likely revile any Westerner who used such language as xenophobic, racist, and fascist.

The left similarly describes any suggestion that anything Western is superior to anything non-Western. Likewise, it dismisses virtually all Western achievements, but regards criticism of anything non-Western as racist, chauvinistic, imperialist, colonialist, xenophobic, etc.

That is why the left is so protective of Islam. America’s left-wing president, Barack Obama, will not use, and does not seem to allow the government to use, the words “Islamic terrorism.” And, criticism of Islam is labeled “Islamophobic,” thereby morally equating any such criticism with racism. It is not that the left is sympathetic to Islam, for it has contempt for all religions. It is that many Muslims loathe the West, and the enemies of my enemy (the West) must be protected.

That is why the left loathes Israel. If the left actually cared about human rights, women’s rights, gay rights, or freedom of speech, religion and press, it would be wildly pro-Israel. But Israel, in the left’s view, is white, European and colonialist, or in other words, Western. And the Palestinians are non-Western.

So, the Big Question is, why? Why is the left hostile toward Western civilization?

After decades of considering this question, I have concluded the answer is this: standards.

The left hates standards — moral standards, artistic standards, cultural standards. The West is built on all three, and it has excelled in all three.

Why does the left hate standards? It hates standards because when there are standards, there is judgment. And leftists don’t want to be judged.

Thus, Michelangelo is no better than any contemporary artist, and Rembrandt is no greater than any non-Western artist. So, too, street graffiti — which is essentially the defacing of public and private property, and thus serves to undermine civilization — is “art.”

Melody-free, harmony-free, atonal sounds are just as good as Beethoven’s music. And Western classical music is no better than the music of any non-Western civilization. Guatemalan poets are every bit as worthy of study as Shakespeare.

When the Nobel Prize-winning American novelist Saul Bellow asked an interviewer, “Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus? The Proust of the Papuans?” all hell broke loose on the cultural left. Bellow had implied that the greatest writers of fiction were Western.

Why such antagonism? Because if some art is really better than other art, your art may be judged inferior. The narcissism of left-wing thought does not allow for anyone to be better than you artistically or in any other way. Therefore, all art and artists must be equal.

In the moral realm, the same rejection of standards exists. Thus, the left loathed President Ronald Reagan for labeling the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” because that would mean America was morally superior to the Soviet Union. And such a judgment was unacceptable. The whole left-wing moral vocabulary is a rejection of Western moral standards: “tolerance,” “inclusion,” “anti-discrimination” (by definition, standards discriminate), “non-judgmental,” and even “income inequality,” which deems some peoples' work more valuable than others.

Every civilization had slavery. But only thanks to Judeo-Christian civilization was slavery abolished there, and eventually elsewhere. Nevertheless, to speak about any moral superiority of Western or Judeo-Christian civilization is completely unacceptable, thanks to the left’s stranglehold on education and most media.

In this regard, the protection of Islam by the left is so thorough that one cannot even say such obvious truths such as that the status of women has been far superior in the Judeo-Christian West than in the Islamic world. The veil women wear, for example, is dehumanizing. Yet, in a speech at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America, a rabbi who, at the time, was the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said that a woman’s voluntary choice to wear a head scarf “deserves our respect.”

And finally, we come to the left’s loathing of the religions of Western civilization — the Judeo-Christian religions, which have clear standards of right and wrong.

Bible-based religions affirm a morally judging God. For the left, that is anathema. For the left, the only judging allowed is leftists' judging of others. No one judges the left — neither man nor God.



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Trump’s crushing wins put him in a commanding role

Donald Trump swept all five Northeastern primaries Tuesday, cementing his position as the most likely Republican presidential nominee and giving him a big surge of delegates and energy heading into what could be a final showdown next week with Ted Cruz in Indiana.

Trump won by comfortable margins in each of the five East Coast states — Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland — and is now in a commanding role with just 10 states left to vote.

“I consider myself the presumptive nominee, absolutely,” Trump said from Trump Tower in Manhattan. “When the boxer knocks out the other boxer, you don’t have to wait around for a decision. That’s what’s happening.”

Trump has won 12 out of the last 15 primary contests, capped by his recent six-state run that started last week with New York. His sweep Tuesday was so dominant that all the races were called within 40 minutes after polls had closed. His margins were on track to be higher than they have been in previous contests, with about 60 percent of the vote in early results.

Trump — who earlier in the evening attended a gala in New York sponsored by Time magazine that honored the world’s most influential people (Trump made the list) — essentially declared himself as the winner of the race.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s over,” he said, calling for the Republican Party to unify around him. “Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich should really get out of the race. They have no pathway.”



Kansas Required Work for Food Stamps. Here’s What Happened

Abraham Lincoln once said, “No country can sustain, in idleness, more than a small percentage of its numbers. The great majority must labor at something productive.”

Over the past several years, the number of Americans on food stamps has soared. In particular, since 2009, the number of “able-bodied-adults” without dependents receiving food stamps more than doubled nationally. Part of this increase is due to a federal rule that allowed states to waive food stamps’ modest work requirement. However, states such as Kansas and Maine chose to reinstate work requirements. Comparing and contrasting the two approaches provides powerful new evidence about the effectiveness of work.

According to a report from the Foundation for Government Accountability, before Kansas instituted a work requirement, 93 percent of food stamp recipients were in poverty, with 84 percent in severe poverty. Few of the food stamp recipients claimed any income. Only 21 percent were working at all, and two-fifths of those working were working fewer than 20 hours per week.

Once work requirements were established, thousands of food stamp recipients moved into the workforce, promoting income gains and a decrease in poverty. Forty percent of the individuals who left the food stamp ranks found employment within three months, and about 60 percent found employment within a year. They saw an average income increase of 127 percent. Half of those who left the rolls and are working have earnings above the poverty level. Even many of those who stayed on food stamps saw their income increase significantly.

Work programs provide opportunities such as job training and employment search services. For example, in Kansas, workfare helped one man, who was unemployed for four years and on food stamps, find employment in the publishing industry where he now earns $45,000 annually. Another Kansan who was also previously unemployed and dependent on food stamps for over three years, now has an annual income of $34,000.

Furthermore, with the implementation of the work requirement in Kansas, the caseload dropped by 75 percent. Previously, Kansas was spending $5.5 million per month on food stamp benefits for able-bodied adults; it now spends $1.2 million.

Maine is another powerful example in favor of work over dependency. Similarly to Kansas, Maine saw a major decline in its caseload after instituting a work requirement. Within the first three months after Maine’s work policy went into effect, its caseload of able-bodied adults receiving food stamps plunged by 80 percent, falling from 13,332 recipients in December 2014 to 2,678 in March 2015.

Providing assistance to help those in need does not have to be a one-way handout. According to a Heritage Foundation survey, Americans overwhelmingly agree that able-bodied adults receiving welfare should work. However, very few of the federal government’s 80 means-tested welfare programs require recipients to work for benefits.

One of the best ways to ensure that welfare does not become a trap is to initiate reform based on the principles of work and personal responsibility. As the examples of Kansas and Maine show, good public policy can help encourage individuals towards self-sufficiency and better lives.



International Chutzpah: Russia, US to trade away Israel’s Golan Heights

As part of a possible settlement of the Syrian civil war, the United States and Russia are planning to offer a return of the Golan Heights to Syria.

Wow — talk about chutzpah!  Of course neither Russia nor the US “owns” the Golan Heights. Israel does.

And that land, captured from Syria in the 1967 war, is indeed an imposing “heights” from which Israel’s enemies have attacked Israel’s people with artillery. See the map below.* In Carol’s book, you can read the history of the Golan Heights and how Israel’s enemies have used it militarily.

Small wonder Israel intends to maintain its hard-won sovereignty over this strategic piece of land.

Yet Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin have instructed John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov to offer it up, as if it were theirs to give, as part of some hoped-for settlement.

Why doesn’t Obama throw in the Brooklyn Bridge while he’s at it?



No 9/11 for China

TWO men who allegedly tried to hijack a plane in China were beaten to death by passengers and crew. The Global Times newspaper reported that two of the suspects died in hospital from injuries they suffered during the ensuing fight with passengers and crew on board.

The men were part of a six-strong gang involved in the foiled hijack of a Tianjin Airlines flight bound for the regional capital of Urumqi last Friday.

Just minutes after the flight took off from Hetian, southwest Xinjiang, the men, all aged between 20 and 36, stood up and announced their plans to terrified passengers. The gang reportedly broke a pair of aluminium crutches and used them to attack passengers while attempting to break into the cockpit, Hou Hanmin, a regional government spokeswoman said.

They were tackled by police and passengers who tied them up with belts before the plane, carrying 101 people, returned to the airport safely just 22 minutes later.

Hanmin added that police were still testing materials they had been carrying, thought to be explosives.

The men were reported to be Uighurs, the local Muslim ethnic minority. There have been clashes between authorities and Uighurs resentful of government controls over their religion and culture.



Nearly half of Britons pay no income tax as burden on rich increases

Proportion now similar to the USA.  "Fair"?

Almost half of Britons pay no income tax while the richest are now shouldering the biggest burden on record, a new analysis has found.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that the proportion of working-age adults who do not pay income tax has risen from 34.3 per cent to 43.8 per cent, equivalent to 30million people.

Over the same period the amount of income tax paid by the richest 1 per cent has risen from 24.4 per cent to 27.5 per cent, meaning that 300,000 people pay more than a quarter of the nation's income tax.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that the change has been driven by George Osborne's policies of tax cuts for low earners and hikes for those who earn the most.

Mr Osborne has repeatedly highlighted the fact that the richest pay more while those on lower incomes pay less as part of his bid to rebrand the Conservatives as the "worker's party".

Under Mr Osborne the personal allowance has risen from £6,475 to £10,600, lifting millions of people out of the basic rate of income tax entirely.

Over the same period 1.6million people have been dragged into paying the higher rate of income tax after the Chancellor repeatedly froze the threshold for the 40p rate.

Labour introduced the 50p rate of income tax for higher earners, which Mr Osborne cut to 45p, while pensions tax relief has also been cut significantly.

The IFS said: "The recent increase in the share of tax coming from the top 1% of taxpayers was driven by a series of policy changes.

"Some, notably the large increase in the personal tax allowance, took many low earners out of tax while also reducing payments for lower to middle taxpayers.

"While the personal allowance was increased, the higher-rate threshold was cut.

"Meanwhile, those on the highest incomes did not gain at all from the increase in the personal allowance, since a new policy introduced in 2010 means that it is gradually withdrawn once incomes rise above £100,000.

"In addition, big cuts in pension tax relief and the increase in the tax rate for those earning over £150,000 will have raised more revenue from the highest earners."

The IFS said that the increased burden on the rich is unlikely to "unwind" in future as the Conservatives have pledged to increase the personal allowance to £12,500.

It said that Mr Osborne's pledge to raise the threshold for the higher rate of tax to £50,000 will only "hold constant" the number of people paying the 40p rate.



Judge Okays North Carolina Voter ID

If Democrats can gain an advantage at the ballot box by supporting a certain voting policy, they will, whether it be illegal, unconstitutional or ethically shady. On Monday, a federal judge on Monday dealt a blow to proponents of voter fraud by declaring the changes to the voting law that North Carolina enacted in 2013 did not violate the civil rights of minority citizens in the state.

The Left had argued that minority voters would be disproportionately disadvantaged by a law requiring voters to show one of eight acceptable kinds of ID before filling out a ballot, eliminating same-day voter registration and reducing early voting periods. But these are simply common-sense verifications that preserve the integrity of elections. North Carolina is a contested state, with the state leaning Democrat by the thinnest of margins, so they need all the help from illegitimate voters they can get. But Judge Thomas Schroeder wrote that North Carolina’s law was not unusual compared to other states' voting laws and “North Carolina has provided legitimate state interests for its voter ID requirement and electoral system.”

Because it’s a presidential election year and because of North Carolina’s contested nature, this case is almost certain to head to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which is based in Richmond, Virginia. Speaking of Virginia, the commonwealth’s Democrat governor unilaterally granted voting rights to 200,000 former felons through an executive order. Again, whatever it takes for votes, Democrats will do it.



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A thought

A lot of conservatives did not like Romney because he was too much of a compromiser.  Now some do not like Trump because he doesn't compromise enough!


Are conservatives healthier?

I am indebted to Deniz Selcuk, my indefatigable Turkish correspondent, for drawing my attention to the 2007 article below.  The article argues that emotions of disgust have evolved to drive us towards being more hygienic and hence healthier.

As is, I think, well-known by now, Jonathan Haidt has found that conservatives are much more easily disgusted than Leftists.  Since even mass-murder does not seem to disgust Leftists, that stands to reason.  So are conservatives healthier and therefore more long-lived?  It is the obvious inference to be drawn from combining Haidt's work and the paper below.

I consulted Professor Google on the matter and the most useful article seemed to be This one.  It basically pointed out that most indicators did seem to confirm better health among conservatives but also pointed to a much-quoted study by Pabayo which found liberals to be more long-lived.

The Pabayo study, however, seems to have been withdrawn so there were obviously problems with it.  None of the studies, however suggest a big difference in lifespans according to your politics.  There are of course many factors influencing lifespan so that is not inherently surprising.  But, in any event, conservative are probably more hygienic.

A natural history of hygiene

Valerie A Curtis, PhD


In unpacking the Pandora's box of hygiene, the author looks into its ancient evolutionary history and its more recent human history. Within the box, she finds animal behaviour, dirt, disgust and many diseases, as well as illumination concerning how hygiene can be improved. It is suggested that hygiene is the set of behaviours that animals, including humans, use to avoid harmful agents. The author argues that hygiene has an ancient evolutionary history, and that most animals exhibit such behaviours because they are adaptive. In humans, responses to most infectious threats are accompanied by sensations of disgust. In historical times, religions, social codes and the sciences have all provided rationales for hygiene behaviour. However, the author argues that disgust and hygiene behaviour came first, and that the rationales came later. The implications for the modern-day practice of hygiene are profound. The natural history of hygiene needs to be better understood if we are to promote safe hygiene and, hence, win our evolutionary war against the agents of infectious disease.



What if the Left Doesn't Really Want to Achieve Its Policy Goals?

John C. Goodman

Here is something I bet you haven’t thought about. We naturally assume that that public policy advocates actually want to achieve the things they advocate. But there are a lot of people both on the right and the left — but especially on the left — for whom that probably isn’t true.

Suppose you could wave a magic wand and eliminate global warming forever. You might think that all the environmental organizations and all the environmental scientists would get out the champagne and cerebrate. More likely their offices would look like a wake.

Causes are vehicles to money and power. They generate millions of dollars in donations. They create high paying jobs. They motivate millions in research grants and millions in campaign contributions. If the cause goes away, money and power go away with it.

Without global warming, the donations would dry up. The jobs would go away. The research grants would vanish. The end of global warming would be an economic disaster for tens of thousands of people. Especially for someone like Al Gore — who has made a fortune on the issue.

Ditto for race relations. What would Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton do if there were no more racial discrimination? They couldn’t Mau Mau any more corporations. They couldn’t shake down any more rich white guys. They would have to …. well …. they would have to go find an honest job.

What brings this to mind is four recent items in the news.

First, labor unions in Los Angeles — the very unions that were in the forefront in pushing for California’s recently passed $15-an-hour minimum wage legislation — are petitioning to be exempted from the new law. After telling us for years how good high minimum wages are for everyone else, they are now claiming that the regulation is not good for their own members.

Second, as the New York Democratic primary election was well under way, the rhetoric became increasing shrill. Wall Street is responsible for inequality we were told by both Bernie and Hillary.

Yet as Dan Henninger reminds us in a Wall Street Journal editorial, it’s the rich Wall Street types who are putting up the money to fund charter schools and other alternatives to the public schools that are failing so miserably. No one who is poor is likely to climb the income ladder without a decent education. Yet New York City liberals, including the new liberal mayor, aren’t lifting a finger to help. In fact, New York’s liberals seem quite content to let the teachers unions run the schools as they wish and leave things pretty much as they are.

Third, an editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Holman Jenkins makes a damning case against environmental advocates in Congress, who have been unwilling “to propose policies costly enough that they would actually influence the rate of increase of atmospheric greenhouse gases.” Exhibit A was Al Gore’s about face right after the 2008 election. Jenkins writes:

    [T]he closest the U.S. Congress came to passing a serious (if still ineffectual) cap-and-trade program was during the George W. Bush administration in early 2007. Then, within days of Barack Obama’s election in 2008, Al Gore announced a revelation: the “climate crisis” no longer required such unpleasant, de facto energy taxes. The problem could be solved with painless handouts to green entrepreneurs.

Then there is the issue of gun control, which Hillary Clinton has been increasingly using to attack Bernie Sanders. If you think that anything about guns proposed by those on the left is a serious proposal (gun show loopholes? The right to sue gun manufacturers?) consider the following.

Although no one knows for sure, there are apparently 310 million guns in private hands in the United States — about one for every person in the country. Further, by one estimate, private gun ownership increased by about 100 million since Barack Obama became president.

Here is the irony. It appears that every time the president talks about the need for gun control, people go out and buy more guns. Of course, the kind of measures he and Hillary are talking about are trivial. But in the attempt to fire up the Democratic base and convince them they intend to do something serious about guns, the president’s rhetoric apparently succeeds in convincing the opposition instead.

The best thing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton could do to stop the proliferation of guns is to shut up and quit talking about firearms.

What would a serious gun control measure look like? In 1996, the government of Australia imposed a virtual ban on automatic and semiautomatic assault rifles and instituted a temporary gun buyback program that took some 650,000 weapons out of public circulation. The effort seems to have had no effect on suicides or homicides, but at least one would have to agree that the effort was serious.

Is that the type of proposal we might see from those on the left in the near future? Don’t hold your breath.



Let the patient pay the piper, and the price of health care will fall

By Jeff Jacoby

SHE WENT TO the doctor, the one at the downtown hospital she’s been going to for years, for her annual physical in January. She showed her insurance card when she checked in and confirmed that the details hadn’t changed. The doctor gave her a clean bill of health, renewed her prescriptions, and updated her medical record. It was a routine visit, and she gave it little further thought.

Until a bill arrived this week.

She was puzzled. The amount due wasn’t exorbitant, but she shouldn’t have been billed at all: Under her family’s health insurance policy, a yearly physical is deemed preventive care and not subject to a copay. She examined the statement more closely and saw that it was treating her January check-up as two events. One was identified as “Preventive Care” and carried a charge of $465, which was covered by the insurance payment of $319.31 and the hospital “adjustment” of $145.69. A second item, vaguely labeled “Office Visit,” was listed as a $397 charge. Of that amount, the insurer paid $113.55, and the hospital adjustment knocked off a further $248.45. That left a $35 balance for her to pay.

She called the doctor’s medical practice. “You probably discussed something with your physician that was outside the scope of an ordinary physical,” the billing clerk surmised. “So when your visit was entered into the system, it was coded for an office consultation as well as a checkup.”

She thought that was ridiculous — what was the point of an annual exam, if not to speak freely with the doctor about anything? At all events, she had no recollection of discussing an “outside-the-scope” topic and said so to the clerk. So her account has been sent back for a “coding review.” She’ll have to wait 45 days for an answer.

Against the backdrop of $3 trillion in annual health care spending in the United States, one woman’s frustration with a medical bill may seem insignificant. But who doesn’t encounter such frustrations? On any given day, millions of Americans are tearing their hair to make sense of billing snafus and insurance deductibles, prescription co-pays and out-of-network surcharges, baffling reimbursement rules and aggravating Medicare procedures, coding mysteries and paperwork blizzards. They face a myriad of complexities and convolutions that have nothing to do with buying health care . . . but everything to do with expecting someone else to pay for it.

Americans are forever being told that health care costs are out of control and that only sweeping government intervention can bring them back to earth. Obamacare was supposed to make medical plans more affordable, but premiums are higher than ever . Bernie Sanders campaigns on a platform of “Medicare for all” — single-payer socialized health care — yet any such system would inevitably lower the quality of care while raising prices still higher.

Any health care “reform” that intensifies government regulation or enlarges the role of insurance companies only makes a bad system worse. Like the woman described above, for most Americans, even their most routine and predictable medical costs must be routed through the maddening labyrinth of insurance procedures.

But nothing could be more counterproductive.

When Americans rely on a third party — private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid — to pay most of their medical bills, they forfeit their power as consumers. Our ill-conceived system of subsidized health plans provided by employers and taxpayer-funded “free” treatment through the government ends up stripping patients of their economic clout. Doctors and hospitals have little incentive to compete by lowering prices, because patients rarely bother to ask about prices. By and large, health care providers in the United States do most of their negotiating with insurers or the government. After all, they’re the ones paying the piper.

It’s only when medical services aren’t reimbursed by a third party — think of Lasik eye surgery or veterinary care or the growing number of direct-pay “concierge” practices that don’t accept health insurance — that the consumer is king. When providers are paid directly by customers, transactions are transparent, prices fall, choices proliferate, and consumer convenience becomes a priority. Bills reflect actual prices, not inscrutable codes and deductibles and “adjustments” negotiated way over patients’ heads.

The purpose of insurance is to protect policyholders from unforeseen or catastrophic expenses. Nobody taps auto insurance to pay for tuneups or new tires; we use it when the car is rear-ended or stolen. We shouldn’t be using health insurance to pay for routine checkups, either. If it seems odd to say so, that’s only because we’ve convinced ourselves that normal medical expenses shouldn’t be treated normally. If we want health care to cost less, we should pay for it ourselves.



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mao’s vision of Utopia - torture the middle classes and bury them alive

BOOK REVIEW OF The cultural revolution: A people’s history 1962-1976  by Frank Dikotter

The problem with revolutions is that you have to keep them going, otherwise, as Chairman Mao’s ‘faithful dog’ Zhou Enlai pointed out, ‘every time the situation improves a little, the people move back towards capitalism’. How very dare they!

They go in for private property. They hold local markets. They enjoy raising their own chickens and pigs. They start acknowledging the profit motive.

As in France and Russia before, to put a stop to enterprise the Chinese authorities felt they had to unleash fresh waves of terror, cowing the populace with killing sprees, purges, arbitrary arrest and torture.

As Dikotter explains in this definitive and harrowing study: ‘The flames of revolution had to be constantly rekindled.’

Mao had already subjected his vast country to the Great Leap Forward, when tens of millions lost their lives in a mad agricultural experiment. Mass starvation and disease ensued when the peasants were compelled to hand over their harvests to the state.

Desperate men and women were executed for digging up a potato or stealing a handful of rice. Yet such exterminations, said Mao, were merely ‘an unavoidable phenomenon of our forward march’.

By the early Sixties, however, China was in danger of recovering its equilibrium, so Mao, desiring frenzy, decreed that ‘we must punish this party of ours’.

Villagers who had tilled their own patch of ground or woven baskets for sale were accused of ‘undermining the collective economy’. Gathering firewood was considered capitalist.

Soon, everyone was suspecting everyone else of ‘speculation’ and ‘moral decadence’. Officials who had run the communes were charged with being at the centre of ‘a nest of counter-revolutionaries’.

The police, the army, the teaching profession: suddenly ‘class enemies’ were all over the shop.

Mao, who modelled himself on Stalin, delighted in the paranoia, and people proved their loyalty to the Chairman by joining in what quickly became a seemingly endless cycle of violence.

What may have begun — when Mao became the founding father of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 — as a Communist Utopia to redistribute wealth, degenerated, as these projects always do, into widespread suffering as the messianic dictatorship increased its savage grip.

By 1966, 60 million copies of Mao’s Little Red Book had been distributed, and because ‘the thoughts of Chairman Mao are always correct’, his totalitarian slogans were endorsements for the anarchy: ‘Carry the revolution through to the end’; ‘To rebel is justified’; ‘When bad people get beaten by good people, they deserve it.’

Mao could see the young were impressionable, easy to manipulate and eager to fight. The so-called Red Guards were formed, a ‘screaming, self-righteous band’ numbering many millions, who went on the rampage.

Higher education was a particular target. Professors were spat upon and made to wear placards around their necks identifying them as ‘imperial spies’. Lecturers were beaten with nail-spiked clubs, made to crawl over broken glass and had boiling water poured over them.

‘There were even cases of people being buried alive,’ writes Dikotter.

Pensioners and those on sick leave were flung out of the cities, along with China’s ‘most eminent scientists, physicians, engineers and philosophers, who were made to clean toilets.

‘What stinks is not so much the excrement as your own ideology,’ intellectuals were told. A ‘counter-revolutionary’ came to mean anyone who ‘likes freedom’ — freedom of speech, movement, expression. It was a death sentence to be found listening to a foreign radio station. Tough if you followed The Archers.

Military drills were held in the middle of the night. ‘Class enemies’ had their tongues ripped out or eyes gouged from their sockets. The offspring of former landlords or vaguely bourgeois sorts were electrocuted. Children were hung from their feet and whipped.

In the district of Wuxuan, 60 people had their heads bashed in with hammers.

Evidence of cannibalism emerged: ‘Students cooked the meat in casseroles.’ People must have felt fortunate if they were simply deported to labour camps in Manchuria.

The Red Guard, or ‘Mao’s little generals’, were ‘enjoined to smash the old world’ and did so with alacrity. Prehistoric bronzes were melted down in foundries, exquisite porcelain and jade stamped upon.

Private printing presses were closed down, religion abolished and literature and art had to be ‘geared towards definite political lines’. The Red Guard attacked 36 flower shops in Shanghai as bouquets were ‘wasteful and bourgeois’.

They flogged malefactors with the buckle-end of their belts, slashed jeans with knives and chopped off high heels. Restaurants served only plain meals. Soon there was no music, cinema, theatre or any museum open.

Florists, cobblers, greengrocers, coppersmiths and even embroiderers were suddenly out of a job.  Toys, make-up and the keeping of domestic pets were banned. (Cats were massacred.)

School teachers, scientists and writers — ‘intellectuals’ — were ‘battered into submission’, made to pay lip service to the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’.

By June 1967, China was in chaos, says Dikotter. Approximately two million people had been killed and many more lives were wrecked by false confessions and denunciations.

Five million party members were punished in public trials, and 77,000 such citizens were then hounded to their deaths. Everything had to become ‘thoroughly proletarian’, yet what Mao and his henchmen really hated and feared, like all tyrants, was that their subjects, despite the pressure, may here and there still have harboured private thoughts, shown initiative, been capable of ingenuity and individuality.

On the other hand, don’t think we have been spared the Red Guards.  Those egregious and intolerant Oxford and Cambridge students who want to tear down historical statues of Cecil Rhodes or Queen Victoria, and ban this and censure that, and silence this person and vilify another, are behaving in a way that Chairman Mao would at once recognise and condone.



Liberty at Risk

The American Left’s desire to crush Liberty and dissent in order to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” has reached metastatic levels. In the last three weeks alone, the following stories have surfaced. All of which indicate we are well on our way toward relinquishing our birthright. Even worse, millions of Americans are apparently more than willing to do so.

First, this week the Supreme Court heard arguments in the United States v. Texas case that will determine whether a president can unilaterally rewrite immigration law. If SCOTUS rules in Barack Obama’s favor, the separation of powers outlined in the first three articles of the Constitution will be rendered moot and, as political analyst Charles Krauthammer wryly observed, “you can send Congress home.” And the Left is not content to stop there. A coalition of 118 cities and counties have filed a legal brief asserting they will lose up to $800 million in economic benefits if large numbers of illegal aliens remain subject to deportation.

Second, the IRS has admitted it abides the use of fraudulent Social Security numbers used by illegal aliens to process tax payments — and refunds.

Third, in New York and California, Democratic attorneys general Eric Schneiderman and Kamala Harris are pursuing fraud investigations against Exxon, based on the premise they can “prosecute persons and institutions with nonconforming views on global warming,” writes National Review’s Kevin Williams. “Prosecuting political institutions and businesses for political activism is brown-shirt business.”

Fourth, the Obama administration, already under fire for its determination to flood America with Syrian “refugees,” announced it will reduce its vetting process to three months, instead of 18-24 months. They claim the reduced time is necessary to handle a sped-up “surge operation” whose population is 99% Sunni Muslim. Even more insulting, Gina Kassem, the regional refugee coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, noted the administration’s target of 10,000 refugees “is a floor and not a ceiling, and it is possible to increase the number.”

Fifth, using the Fair Housing Act as a club, the Obama administration is forcing cities to embrace “diversity” that consists of building low-income housing in affluent neighborhoods nationwide. This forced integration scheme is political gerrymandering in disguise, and it is aimed at taking peoples' basic property rights and the constitutionally protected right of free association and tossing them on the ash heap of history.

Sixth, in North Carolina, the federal government threatens to withhold billions of dollars in federal aid for schools, highways and housing unless the state repeals a law restricting local authorities from over-riding state law that restricts the use of bathrooms transgender people can use. The Rainbow Mafia’s corporate hitmen are boycotting the state, aligning themselves with the idea that self-identification, and not genital makeup, is the only criterion that can be used to determine access. Not only to bathrooms, but locker rooms, and membership on sports teams as well. Tennessee will be the next state targeted by federal government’s wrath.

Seventh, when French President Francois Hollande referred to “Islamist terrorism” at a meeting with Obama in early April, the White House initially deleted the phrase from its audio translation, only to restore it when questioned about the deletion. “The Obama administration must be aware that in the 1930s, the Soviet Union wiped clean all photos, recordings and films of Leon Trotsky on orders from Josef Stalin,” writes historian Victor Davis Hanson. “Trotsky was deemed politically incorrect, and therefore his thoughts and photos simply vanished.”

Eighth, an astounding video taken at the University of Washington shows students struggling to disagree with a 5'-9" Caucasian male’s assertion that he is a 6'-5" Chinese female first-grader. “These are actual college students,” writes columnist Rod Dreher. “Adults who have the right to vote. And their reason is so compromised that they are unsure what the man in front of them is, so terrified are they of saying the wrong thing. … These people are ripe for dictatorship. They will not let themselves see reality if it offends against the party line.”

Ninth, in a vote at Stanford University, efforts by a group of students to restore a class requirement in Western Civilization was rejected by 85% the student body, and a student suspected of writing an article in support of the measure was suspended from a low-income advocacy group known as the Stanford First-Generation Low Income Partnership. A column in campus newspaper, The Stanford Daily, warned that passing such a proposal “would necessitate that our education be centered on upholding white supremacy, capitalism and colonialism, and all other oppressive systems that flow from Western civilizations.”

And tenth, in a speech at the Vatican, Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders insisted that Americans “must reject the foundations of this contemporary [capitalist] economy as immoral and unsustainable,” further insisting that we must “redirect our efforts and vision to the common good.” Perhaps Sanders could explain why forcibly taking the fruits of one American’s labor and giving it to another is moral, and which group of leftist elites who believe they own the franchise on “enlightened thinking” gets to define “common good” — using coercive government as their vehicle for doing so.

Make no mistake: The same American Left that purportedly champions dissent, diversity, tolerance and inclusion utterly rejects anyone or anything that deviates from their definition of the terms. Moreover, they are at best intent on intimidating those opposing views — or, at worst, criminalizing those views at worst.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” Thomas Jefferson reminds us. Ronald Reagan put it this way: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Those sunset years are upon us. It’s time to fight back.



Enough said


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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, April 25, 2016

GOP elite warms to once-unthinkable Trump nomination

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — The country’s top Republicans gathered last week at a posh resort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, dining at restaurants where porterhouse steaks go for $105 and sipping martinis in a hotel atrium filled with palm trees and gurgling fountains.

Outwardly, then, it seemed like business as usual for the power brokers and influentials of the Republican National Committee attending their spring meeting. It was anything but.

Hurricane season is upon the GOP, with the old order at risk of being swept away as the concluding round of state primaries looms. There were clear signs here that elements of the party elite are starting to buckle under the pressure.

Many are beginning to adapt to the notion — preposterous not so long ago — that Donald Trump will probably be their presidential nominee, the face of the party in 2016, and that continued efforts by the party establishment to sabotage his campaign or block him at the convention may not only be futile but also counterproductive and ultimately bad for the party.

Party committee members, in nearly two dozen interviews, said they still have serious doubts about the professionalism and tone of Trump’s campaign and fretted about his ability to beat the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. But almost none of the GOP leaders from around the country said they were still trying to block Trump from rising to the top at the Cleveland convention in July.

“There are some people who probably didn’t give him a lot of chance at the beginning,” said George Leing, a committeeman from Colorado. “But he’s certainly proven to have resiliency. He’s obviously the leader right now.”

“He is going to be the nominee,” said one longtime establishment Republican who previously worked for a rival campaign but wasn’t ready to put his name to that statement.

Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich made personal appeals to the committee members over the course of the three-day conference, and the nominating contest is far from over. Trump could still fall short of the 1,237 delegates he needs, triggering a contested convention.

But at the same time an alliance of grudging realists appears to be forming. Republican insiders are settling on something approaching acquiescence to the billionaire’s insurgency.

Even while Trump notably did not join his rivals in making an appearance at the event, he dispatched advisers to court the party officials he has lampooned during his front-running rocket ride, the same GOP grandees that he accuses of overseeing a “rigged’’ nominating system.

“People are warming to the idea,” said Don McGahn, a party insider and top Washington election lawyer who is advising Trump, as he roamed the hallways of the Diplomat Resort & Spa. Ada Fisher, a committeewoman from North Carolina who went public with her support for the New York businessman after her state’s primary, wears a Trump pin on her shirt.

“I like Donald Trump,” she said. “Donald Trump defies traditional Republican stereotypes. . . . He will win. He will bring change to America.”

Others gave Trump some credit for identifying and appealing to populist undercurrents in the angry conservative base that candidates like establishment favorite Jeb Bush missed.

“Here’s a guy who had no political background. And he’s about to become perhaps the nominee of the party,” said Ron Kaufman, the Massachusetts committeeman. “He’s a very savvy guy. Here’s the thing about Trump: He understands what a lot of people don’t understand, about where the country is and why they’re angry and why they’re upset.”

Trump has moved into a new phase of his campaign in which he is trying to navigate that dichotomy and make the transition from outsider to party leader, showing the GOP leaders that he is capable of playing a grown-up role.

On Thursday at the Republican National Committee meetings, members packed into a third-floor corner room with views of the Atlantic Ocean. An open bar was set up. A tray of refreshments — overflowing with shrimp, oysters, and crab legs — was so heavy it required two waiters to lug it into the room.

Team Trump had arrived.

Trump’s new senior adviser, veteran political consultant Paul Manafort, had spent the day roaming around the hotel toting a briefcase bearing his initials as he held one-on-one meetings. He, along with former RNC political director Rick Wiley, have been acting as emissaries sent by Trump to try to persuade establishment Republicans to get aboard with the insurgent candidate.

For about an hour, Manafort and Wiley — who were also joined by former candidate and Trump backer Ben Carson — explained in the closed-door meeting how Trump is evolving as a candidate, according to interviews with members who attended the session.

They started by reassuring members that they wanted to work with the RNC, not against it. As part of a PowerPoint presentation, they displayed a map of bellwether states that they believe Trump can carry in the fall election. Rather than just six or so swing states, they said, Trump would turn more than a dozen states into competitive races in the general election against the Democratic nominee.

His advisers believe that Rust Belt states, along with much of New England, would be receptive to the blue-collar message Trump has carried.



Rights Versus Wishes

Here is what presidential aspirant Sen. Bernie Sanders said: “I believe that health care is a right of all people.” President Barack Obama declared that health care “should be a right for every American.” The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “Every person has a right to adequate health care.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his January 1944 message to Congress, called for “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.” And it is not just a health care right that people claim. There are rights to decent housing, good food and a decent job, and for senior citizens, there’s a right to prescription drugs. In a free and moral society, do people have these rights? Let’s look at it.

In the standard historical usage of the term, a “right” is something that exists simultaneously among people. As such, a right imposes no obligation on another. For example, the right to free speech is something we all possess. My right to free speech imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference. Similarly, I have a right to travel freely. Again, that right imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference.

Contrast those rights to free speech and travel with the supposed rights to medical care and decent housing. Those supposed rights do impose obligations upon others. We see that by recognizing that there is no Santa Claus or tooth fairy. If one does not have money to pay for a medical service or decent housing and the government provides it, where do you think the government gets the money?

If you agree that there is no Santa Claus or tooth fairy and that Congress does not have any resources of its very own, the only way for Congress to give one American something is to first take it from some other American. In other words, if one person has a right to something he did not earn, it requires another person’s not having a right to something he did earn.

Let’s apply this bogus concept of rights to my right to speak and travel freely. Doing so, in the case of my right to free speech, it might impose obligations on others to supply me with an auditorium, microphone and audience. My right to travel freely might require that others provide me with resources to purchase airplane tickets and hotel accommodations. If I were to demand that others make sacrifices so that I can exercise my free speech and travel rights, I suspect that most Americans would say, “Williams, yes, you have rights to free speech and traveling freely, but I’m not obligated to pay for them!”

As human beings, we all have certain natural rights. Of the rights we possess, we have a right to delegate them to government. For example, we all have a natural right to defend ourselves against predators. Because we possess that right, we can delegate it to government. By contrast, I do not have a right to take one person’s earnings to give to another. Because I have no such right, I cannot delegate it to government. If I did take your earnings to provide medical services for another, it would rightfully be described and condemned as an act of theft. When government does the same, it’s still theft, albeit legalized theft.

If you’re a Christian or a Jew, you should be against these so-called rights. When God gave Moses the eighth commandment — “Thou shalt not steal” — I am sure that he did not mean “thou shalt not steal unless there is a majority vote in Congress.” The bottom line is medical care, housing and decent jobs are not rights at all, at least not in a free society; they are wishes. As such, I would agree with most Americans — because I, too, wish that everyone had good medical care, decent housing and a good job.



HBO:  Democrat propaganda machine

HBO should stand for History Bungling Office. Over and over again, they have abused their disclaimer that certain films are "fact-based dramatizations."

They re-litigated Al Gore's 2000 "victory" in "Recount." They viciously cartooned Sarah Palin's vice-presidential candidacy in "Game Change" without putting up any such disclaimer. Now, they're smearing Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as a pervert and painting Anita Hill as a saint of sexual harassment in "Confirmation."

The makers of this "fact-based" movie claim it's balanced. Baloney. The advertisements alone give away the game. Over the face of actress (and executive producer) Kerry Washington, who played St. Anita, are the words, "It only takes one voice to change history."

This ignores the obvious: Liberals lost the Thomas fight more dramatically than they lost the 2000 election. It wasn't just that he won his confirmation. The American people didn't believe Hill's lurid and unsubstantiated tales of "Long Dong Silver" chatter. Even the CBS-New York Times poll found 58 percent believed Thomas, to only 24 percent for Hill. Only 26 percent of women believed Hill.

But HBO is rewriting history to make Hill's unpersuasive smear a dramatic turning point of women's rights. Cue the violins!

Early on in the movie, Hill is reluctant to testify, saying, "When someone comes forward, the victim tends to become the villain." That's exactly what HBO is doing to Justice Thomas with this movie: villainizing the victim.

Appearing on Fox's "The Kelly File," the film's executive producer and writer Susannah Grant claimed she was never certain about who was telling the truth during the Hill-Thomas hearings. She insisted that the truth wasn't really that interesting. "What I think is interesting about these hearings that they were a watershed event in our collective cultural history. They completely changed how we perceive and talk about women's rights in the workplace."

Grant and HBO predictably ignore everything that's happened in America since the Hill fiasco that ruins their leftist narrative. The film ends with the happy note that sexual-harassment complaints quickly doubled at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency Thomas led during the Reagan years. The film doesn't breathe a word about all the sexual harassment and rape charges against, yup, Bill Clinton, and how Anita Hill came to Slick Willie's defense in op-eds and TV interviews and shredded the consistency of feminism in the process.

HBO would never do a film about Paula Jones or Kathleen Willey or Juanita Broaddrick with the words, "It only takes one voice to change history" over their face. Bill Clinton's alleged harassment of them in the workplace and hotel rooms could never make them feminist icons like Hill. Feminists put female accusers down when they question the behavior of "feminist" male politicians.

Why at this late date would HBO dredge this garbage up again? This is obviously an election-year ploy in a year with a female Democratic Party nominee. Liberals can easily compare Hill and Hillary Clinton as misunderstood feminist heroines facing down abusive Republicans. Kerry Washington is a huge Clinton backer, posting gushy notes on her Instagram account when Clinton appeared with her in Hollywood in February: "A good friend came by set today. Proud to say... #imwithher".

When NBC's Matt Lauer surprisingly asked Washington if the film was propaganda, Washington shot back, saying: "For me, I've always felt it's important for me to not hold back on my political beliefs because of what I do for a living. I don't think that I should have to be any less of an American because I'm an actor." But "Confirmation" insists that what Americans thought of the real Hill-Thomas hearings in 1991 is less worthy of consideration than Washington's fictionalized history.



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, April 24, 2016

A touching moment:  The people of Paris applauding their police

The police have never been popular in France but, four days after the Charlie Hebdo massacre - 11 January, 2015 -- something extraordinary happened.  There was national unity rally. The police escorted  families and relatives of the victims through the streets of Paris. And people filled the streets to show their sympathy for the the victims and demonstrate their support for the police.

The crowd parts. There are women running - some of them laughing.  And then, police - in vans and on foot. Their black rubber shoulder protection giving them the kind of silhouettes usually associated with science fiction heroes. And the crowd starts to chant, "Merci, merci" - Thank you, thank you.

"I couldn't believe it," says Jean-Marc Berliere who was there. "Here was a young, urban, intellectual crowd applauding the police! I saw women giving them flowers. I saw people shaking their hands. I saw women kissing them. And you could see how moved the police were. It was so unexpected."

Three of the victims in the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket attacks were police officers, and the live TV coverage of their colleagues storming the shop to save hostages led many to see them as heroes.

SOURCE (Edited)


It is the Trumpkins they fear

Don Surber

Donald Trump was a bundler who raised lots of money for McCain and Romney, men who seem honorable. Yet they turned their back on Trump and actually worked to block his nomination. Theories abound as to why that may be. I will offer this one: It is not that Trump is about to be elected president -- it is about the people who will elect him. McCain outright called them "crazies."

The hoi polloi scare the foie gras out of the hoity-toity who run this nation.

This is an idea I have toyed with off and on as I write my book on this nomination. I began by thinking Trump's critics in the media live in a bubble -- you know the usual stereotype of Pauline Kael covering politics. But as Trump rose and nears the nomination, that mask fell. Never Trump is not about him. It is about us, his supporters. Kevin Williamson of the National Review pleasured his bosses at the National Review by writing, in his "Father Fuhrer" piece last month, that rural towns that white people live in deserve to die. He is from Amarillo, so he can get away with this, right?

Just as Obamacare's destruction of the nation's health system was by design, not accident, so we see the results of free trade and illegal immigration are not unintended consequences, but rather by design. Their message to America is:
Wages are lower as is the standard of living in America, but hey, you can get an iPhone for $399, so what are you complaining about? You're an ingrate who hates capitalism and the free market, you damned Marxist.

Die, rural white America, die.  More to the point: Die, Poca, die. [Poca is a small town in West Virginia]

What bothers Washington is Trump is the worst presidential candidate in American history and yet he is winning and will win the White House because the people have had enough of the race-baiting politics of division in America and appeasement overseas. That shows the power of a people who are the last group you can mock in a politically correct nation. They are rising. His message resonates because it comes not from him but from the people. He heard you. We hear you. Soon the whole world will hear from us.

That is what soils the underwear in Washington.

Vanity Fair had a piece on the fallout from New York:
Rich Americans still have it pretty good. I don’t mean everything’s perfect: business regulations can be burdensome; Manhattan zoning can prevent the addition of a town-house floor; estate taxes kick in at over $5 million. But life is acceptable. Barack Obama has not imposed much hardship, and neither will Hillary Clinton.

And what about Donald Trump? Will rich people suffer if he is elected president? Well, yes. Yes, they will. Because we all will. But that’s a pat answer, because Trump and Trumpism are different things. Trump is an erratic candidate who brings chaos to everything. Trumpism, on the other hand, is the doctrine of a different Republican Party, one that would cater not to the donor class, but rather to the white working class. Rich people do not like that idea.

Yesterday’s primary handed victories to Trump and Clinton, and, if Michael Lind is right, Trumpism and Clintonism are America’s future. Lind’s point, which he made last Sunday in The New York Times, is that Trumpism — friendly to entitlements, unfriendly to expanded trade and high immigration — will be the platform of the Republican Party in the years going forward. Clintonism — friendly both to business and to social and racial liberalism — will cobble together numerous interest groups and ditch the white working class. Which might be fair enough, but Lind didn't mention rich people. Where will they go?

The Democratic Party has not been a total slouch, offering policies friendly to health-care executives, entertainment moguls, and tech titans. In fact, financial support for Democrats among the 1 percent of the 1 percent has risen dramatically, more than trebling since 1980. Traditionally, though, the Republican Party has been seen as the better friend to the wealthy, offering lower taxes, fewer business regulations, generous defense contracts, increased global trade, high immigration, and resistance to organized labor. It’s been the buddy of homebuilders, oil barons, defense contractors, and other influential business leaders.

The article went on to say: "In a world of Trumpism and Clintonism, Democrats would become the party of globalist-minded elites, both economic and cultural, while Republicans would become the party of the working class. Democrats would win backing from those who support expanded trade and immigration, while Republicans would win the support of those who prefer less of both. Erstwhile neocons would go over to Democrats (as they are already promising to do), while doves and isolationists would stick with Republicans. Democrats would remain culturally liberal, while Republicans would remain culturally conservative."

I doubt there is one conservative in Washington who is happy with that arrangement. Trump is bringing people to the party, but not the right kind of people. The party of the working class? Ew. And so the Conservative Commentariat fights on.

They call Trump vulgar. No profane or obscene, but vulgar. The reason is that vulgar means of the common people, which is the last thing they want for their little party.

Which is why they hope to hell Hillary Clinton wins and saves their insider jobs.



Trump Vs. The Banana Republicans


There’s a difference between (small r) republican principles and the Republican Party’s rules of procedure. But National Review neoconservative Jonah Goldberg doesn’t see it.

Or, maybe Goldberg is using America’s founding, governing principles to piggyback the Republican Party’s oft revised and rigged rules to respectability.

Conservatives who harbor the quaint expectation that voters, not party operatives, would choose the nominee stand accused by Goldberg of fetishizing unfiltered democracy.

“America is a republic not a simple democracy,” says Goldberg, in motivating for Grand Old Party chicanery.

Goldberg’s argument is a cunning but poor one. It confuses bureaucratic rules with higher principles: the republicanism of America’s Constitution makers.

Through a Bill of Rights and a scheme that divides authority between autonomous states and a national government, American federalism aimed to secure the rights of the individual by imposing strict limits on the power of thumping majorities and a central government.

The Goldberg variations on republicanism won’t wash. The Republican Party’s arbitrary rules relate to the Founding Founders’ republicanism as the Romney Rule relates to veracity.

The Romney initiated Rule 40(b) is a recent addition to the Republican Party rule book. It stipulates that in order to win the nomination, a candidate must demonstrate he has earned a majority of delegates from at least eight different states. Rule 40 (b) was passed post-haste to thwart libertarian candidate Ron Paul.

Party crooks and their lawyers now find themselves in a pickle, because Governor John Kasich, candidate for the establishment (including the New York Times and the Huffington Post), has yet to meet the Republican rule du jour.

So, what do The Rulers do? They plan to change the rules. Again.

Pledged delegates are not supposed to act as autonomous agents. Their voting has to be tethered to the candidate whom voters have overwhelmingly chosen. But not when The Party parts company with The Voters. Then, delegates might find themselves unmoored from representing the voters.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has hinted at allowing pledged delegates the freedom to betray their pledge.

No doubt, the villainous Ben Ginsberg, the Romney campaign’s chief counsel, will be called on to facilitate the Faustian bargain. Ginsberg lewdly revealed to a repulsed crew at MSNBC how he could make mischief with Trump’s delegates, during the “pre-convention” wheeling-and-dealing stage, much as he did with Ron Paul’s delegates. Host Rachel Maddow—she’s vehemently opposed—appeared both fascinated and appalled, as were her co-hosts.

Republican Party apparatchiks have always put The Party over The People and The People are on to them.

Still, most media—with the laudable exceptions of Sean Hannity and the MSNBC election-coverage team—have united to portray the Republican Party apparatus as an honest broker on behalf of the Republican voter. (Indeed, the “dreaded” Donald has forced some unlikely partners to slip between the sheets together.)

In truth, the GOP is a tool of scheming operatives, intent on running a candidate of their own choosing.

The sheer force of Trump, however, is deforming this political organ out of shape. The Trump Force is exposing for all to see the ugly underbelly of the party delegate system. As party rules go, an American may cast his vote for a candidate, only to have a clever party functionary finagle the voter out of his vote.

Too chicken to admit this to Sean Hannity’s face, Reince Priebus has said as much to friendlies like Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes (who’s having a moment).

Priebus has finally seconded what his lieutenants have been telling media all along: “This is a nomination for the Republican Party. If you don’t like the party,” then tough luck. “The party is choosing a nominee.”

Before Priebus came out as a crook, there was popular Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse. As a “real” conservative, Sasse would like nothing more than to dissolve the Republican voter base and elect another, more compliant segment of supporters, to better reflect his ideas (a sentiment floated, in 1953, by Stalinist playwright Bertolt Brecht, when East Berliners revolted against their Communist Party bosses).

Sasse phrased his goals more diplomatically:

“The American people deserve better than two fundamentally dishonest New York liberals” (Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton).

It fell to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd to put Sasse on the spot:

Let me ask you this. If you have—what is a political party? And I ask it this way. Is it a, is it a party who [sic] gets its principles and its ideals from its leaders, or is it ground up? What if this is the people speaking and the people are basically handing the nomination to Trump? You may not like it, but is it then fundamentally that the Republican party is changing because the people that are members of it have changed?

Sasse, who speaks the deceptive language of fork-tongued conservatives so much better than Trump, conceded that “a political party is a tool, not a religion,” but went on, nevertheless, to dictate his terms to the base:

“Find the right guy.” Trump’s not it.

Exposed by the force of the Trump uprising, this is the ugly, Republican, elections-deciding system. The Constitution has nothing to do with it. Decency and fairness are missing from it. And crooks abound in it. (Prattle about who is and who’s not an authentic conservative is redundant if you’re a crook fixing to steal the nomination.)

Contra Goldberg, this enervating Party Machine—operating on state, national and conventional levels—relates to small r republicanism as the Republican Party rulebook relates to the U.S. Constitution: not at all.

Party Rules have no constitutional imprimatur.

In a banana republic, despots deploy crude tactics to retain power. Banana Republicans are similar, except they hide behind a complex electoral process, maneuvered by high-IQ crooks.



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)