Friday, July 28, 2017

Picture gallery

Every now and again I put up a retrospective of what I think are the "best" pictures from my various blogs.  I have just put up the selection for the second half of last year.  You can access it here or here


Democrats' 'Better Deal' — Same as the Old New Deal

Rolling out 80-year-old socialist ideas isn't the way to chart a way forward for the party in the wilderness  

Donald Trump has been president for six months now and if you listen to Democrats and the Leftmedia, you might conclude that he and the Republican-controlled Congress are destroying America. But perhaps there is no better indicator of Trump’s performance thus far as president than to hear Democrats rail about how terrible a job he has done and how horrific his policies are.

Democrats remain dumbfounded at his election and they’re even more confused that the last four special elections ended with Republican victories. Their “progressive” proposals and the millions of dollars they’ve wasted on campaigns haven’t worked.

That said, at least Chuck Schumer has enough sense to tell Hillary Clinton to stop blaming everyone else. “When you lose to somebody who has 40% popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia — you blame yourself,” Schumer said. “And the number one thing that we did wrong is … we didn’t tell people what we stood for.”

So, this week, Democrats introduced their “Better Deal” for America. But you’d be forgiven for thinking it sounds just like everything they’ve been saying for 80 years. As Jonah Goldberg quipped, “I mean, the word ‘Deal’ is hardly subtle.”

Their beloved highness Nancy Pelosi wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post to lay out this supposedly better deal. Predictably, Pelosi starts by ripping Republicans for wanting to dismantle the (Un)Affordable Care Act, claiming that they’re “trying to raise Americans’ health costs to fund tax breaks for billionaires.” Naturally, she leaves out the details of the Democrats’ health care takeover. The mandate to buy health insurance policies that cover a long list of (often unwanted) required services caused premiums to skyrocket, squeezing the very voters she’s trying to reach with this noxious class warfare.

Trump wants ObamaCare gone, though Senate Republicans failed to accomplish any meaningful repeal and so, for now, we’re stuck with the Democrats’ terrible law.

Aside from this, Pelosi and her fellow Democrats are offering three empty slogans: better jobs, better wages and a better future. All of these sound like fantastic proposals for Americans, but the methods Democrats want to use to accomplish these goals are the same ideas that had the opposite effect and brought on the 2008 financial crisis.

On jobs, Pelosi writes, “Democrats are pledging ourselves to the goal of creating good-paying, full-time jobs for 10 million more Americans in the next five years.” When is the last time that a politician created a job? Government cannot create jobs without taking money from those who are already working in order to pay for it. Her proposal offers a new tax credit for companies that train and hire skilled workers and offer them a good wage (read: higher minimum wage). Aren’t successful companies already doing this and without a tax credit?

On better wages, beyond a higher, job-destroying $15/hour minimum wage, Pelosi wants government to crack down on large corporations and monopolies that she blames for Americans missing out on opportunities. Yet she calls for more of the same central planning that has never worked and never will work. In fact, to whip these large corporations into shape she wants tougher standards and even more regulations. Well, we just had eight years of excessive regulations and government standards, and such heavy-handed policy was the primary reason for the slowest decade of economic growth in our nation’s history.

On health care, Pelosi and her fellow Democrats want to take “unprecedented action to lower the costs of prescription drugs.” Prescription drugs are far more expensive than they should be, but the biggest reason is — you guessed it — government regulation. But, as usual, rather than rein in the overbearing regulatory commissars at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Pelosi proposes doubling down. “We will leverage the power of Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices,” she writes, “force drug manufacturers to open their books and justify cost increases, and create a strong, independent enforcement agency empowered to end outrageous and unjustified prescription drug price-gouging.”

Instead, the best way to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for consumers is to keep government out. Let the free market work the way it should and allow companies to compete for better prescription drugs and the costs will go down. Democrats won’t hear of such things.

Every proposal that Pelosi and the Democrat Party have is part of the same old socialist agenda that has already been tested and failed. They want more control over the economy, more regulations, more taxes to pay for their ideas and more power over Americans. That is the Democrats’ vision for a “better” future. Nowhere in Pelosi’s proposal are the ideas of less government, more freedom and more individual rights and responsibilities. Hers is the collectivist, statist vision that is the antithesis to what our Founders intended. And it is an agenda that will make America lose, not win.

But hey, at least Pelosi didn’t blame Vladimir Putin or James Comey.



Is this anti-Soros European leader Trump's greatest ally?

Hungary's foreign minister came to Washington last week seeking something from the Trump administration that his government is being denied by the European Union (EU)-sympathy for its sovereign right to make its own internal decisions and laws.

He deserves a hearing.

Such a return to basic relations among nation-states-let alone treaty allies and friends-is also a radical departure from the previous administration. Foreign Minister P‚ter Szijj rt¢ said the Obama administration had failed to respect Budapest's right to self-determination.

At a speech at The Heritage Foundation last week, Szijj rt¢ shared an anecdote of a meeting he had in 2014 with Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. The two were meeting because then-Secretary of State John Kerry refused to meet Szijj rt¢.

In the meeting, Nuland "threw" a piece of paper at Szijj rt¢ with a list of requirements that Hungary would have to meet before the administration would formally meet with the Hungarian Government.

"And do you know what was written on the paper?" Szijj rt¢ asked. "How to change the constitution, how to change the media laws, how to change the electoral laws, how to change regulation of churches, how to change regulation of constitutional courts."

These efforts to interfere in Hungary's domestic politics only served to alienate the Hungarian government, as is the case now with the EU.

What has Hungary done to deserve all this?

Its democratically elected prime minister, Viktor Orban, has fought for Hungary's right to self-govern. He has emphatically opposed the EU's overly permissive migrant policy, calling it "self-destructive and na‹ve."

More importantly, Orban has led the fight against the influence that left-wing billionaire George Soros wields in Hungarian domestic affairs. He's done that in several ways, but mainly by requiring the Central European University in Budapest, a university set up by Soros, to comply with current Hungarian law.

For daring to do all that, Orban has been vilified in the mainstream media and formally rebuked by the EU.

Most recently, the European Commission declared that the law passed by Hungary's parliament that is being used against the university is incompatible with "the right of academic freedom, the right to education, and the freedom to conduct a business."

Brussels declared that if Hungary did not respond to this declaration within one month, Hungary would face sanctions and could even lose its voting rights.

Despite Brussels's ham-handedness, Szijj rt¢ said Hungary will continue to press for deep reform in the EU.

"There is one consensus that is shared by everyone-that we want a strong European Union," he said. "The major debate is about how to get there."

Szijj rt¢'s five goals for the EU going forward are noteworthy in that they represent an attempt to turn the institution into less of a hidebound, anti-growth body:

    Continued enlargement of the EU

    Greater autonomy to member states to keep them strong and competitive

    Faster action on free trade agreements

    Stronger homeland security and immigration regulation; and

    A Brexit deal that imposes the least possible barriers to trade between the U.K. and the EU

As Szijj rt¢ describes it-and as is increasingly apparent to those studying the issue-EU nations are split on the question of sovereignty.

Some member states advocate for increased centralization of power at the EU headquarters in Brussels as the best path to European prosperity. Others, like Hungary, argue that Europe as a whole will be strongest with strong, sovereign member states.

Brexit is illustrative of this centralization vs. sovereignty debate. The U.K. proved unwilling to continue ceding its rights as a sovereign nation to centralized bureaucrats in Brussels.

Though some in Europe blame Brexit for the EU's current political uncertainty, Szijj rt¢ argues that these people have it backwards:

    We reject the position which says that Brexit is the reason for the serious challenges in the European Union. We say that Brexit is the outcome, is the consequence of the postponed and missed reforms.

There are good arguments behind Hungary's pro-sovereignty, anti-centralization stance. Americans can approve of it, as it both aligns with American principles and protects American interests. Stronger European countries mean stronger allies for the U.S.

It would also advance the idea that pursuing one's national interest is morally legitimate-a view that has all too often been derided.

Szijj rt¢ said that Trump's "America First" foreign policy "is much, much more important than people think."

Before President Trump used it, "if you thought or said that your country is the first for you, the interests of your nation is first for you, you had to feel ashamed, and you were considered as a dictator, as a nationalist, as in retrograde, as not modern enough and not internationalist enough, not globalist enough."

Now, according to Szijj rt¢, this has changed:

    Now we are happy to be free to say that for us Hungary is first. We always acknowledge the rights of nations to put themselves in the first place when it comes to interests, and now we are very happy that the leader of the number one superpower in the world said the same.

Szijj rt¢ sees in Trump's pro-sovereignty attitude a level of respect that was lacking in the Obama administration. According to Szijj rt¢: "Mutual respect was something that was really emphasized in the speech of your president in Warsaw, and I think that's a game changer."



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 THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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