Friday, May 25, 2018



California Dem. Claims Trump Sent Secret Messages to Russians by Telling Joke

This insistence on his story despite common sense and contrary evidence sounds remarkably like paranoid schizophrenia.  It's unlikely that the Democrats blaming Russians for Trump's success really are all schiz but the similarity does show that their mental processes are problematical

For more than a year, elected Democrats and the liberal media have alleged that President Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government to “steal” the 2016 election away from the “rightful winner,” Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a narrative that has been steadily unraveling over time.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has grown impatient at the lack of actual evidence put forward to justify such claims or the investigations that have sprung from them, so Monday he invited one of Trump’s most vociferous critics on the topic of Russia —  California Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee — to appear on his program.

Carlson asked Swalwell for any evidence he has seen after 18 months of investigation to back up the collusion case, according to BizPac Review.

Swalwell offered up nothing that hasn’t already been made known before about tenuous business connections and marginal meetings that went nowhere, and even seemed to point to an obvious joke by Trump on the campaign trail in July 2016 where he asked the Russians if they knew the whereabouts of Clinton’s 30,000 missing emails as “proof” of some sort of secret coded message to encourage Russian hacking and interference.

Carlson noted that those emails have never turned up, to which Swalwell replied, “let’s let the Mueller investigation continue,” insinuating Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation had perhaps obtained them.

He also said that the mere “attempt” by Trump to invite the Russians to hack and obtain Clinton’s emails was, in and of itself, a crime.

“I hate to inject common sense into this,” Carlson said. “If you’re trying to make secret contact with Russia, your handlers back in Moscow, wouldn’t you dial them up on the short wave in the basement? Would you really sent a coded message in the middle of a joke at a press conference?”

Swalwell replied, “I’m not saying he’s the smartest guy in the world, Tucker. Never accused him of that.”

Incredulously, Carlson asked, “So that’s — that’s the smoking gun right there?”

“No, it’s part of the evidence,” Swalwell said with all seriousness. “An invitation made by the candidate, telling them it’s OK … he’s not the smartest guy in the world.”

Carlson couldn’t help but point out the absurd duality of Swalwell’s assertion. “So he’s both a secret agent for Putin but he’s so dumb that he spills his secrets at a press conference on TV?” he asked.

Swalwell replied, “The latter,” making it clear that he is part of the camp that believes Trump is an incredibly unintelligent individual. “There’s no ‘who could be so stupid they admit the crime in public’ exception,” he added.

Carlson later pointed to several examples of how Trump has been tougher on Russia than former President Barack Obama — such as sending lethal arms to Ukraine, killing hundreds of Russian soldiers in Syria or hurting their economy with increased U.S. oil and gas production — all of which Swalwell simply dismissed as things Trump was forced to do because of public sentiment that he was too favorable to Russia.

Carlson could only laugh at the ludicrous replies from Swalwell, which was pretty much the reaction the entire interview received on social media.

Despite having ample time and countless opportunities, this Democrat representative — like the rest of his colleagues and cohorts in the media — was unable to produce any sort of compelling evidence that definitively linked Trump or his campaign with the Russian government during the election.

But that won’t stop them from continuing to insist that evidence of collusion will eventually be uncovered, just you wait and see.

SOURCE

**********************************

The NFL Just Made A HISTORIC Rule Change About The National Anthem

NFL owners unanimously approved a historic rule change on Wednesday that requires all players, coaches, and team officials to stand for the national anthem. The new rule states that if anyone associated with a team is on the field, they must remain standing for the anthem.

Players can remain in the locker room during the national anthem if they choose to do so, which will take away all of the media hype from players who are desperate for attention. Here’s what ESPN reports:

“The new policy subjects teams to a fine if a player or any other team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. That includes any attempt to sit or kneel, as dozens of players have done during the past two seasons. Those teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the massive uproar from the American people over players disrespecting the flag and anthem forced him to create the new policy. Here’s Goodell’s statement:

“This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed.

“We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it — and on our fans who enjoy it.”

SOURCE

********************************

Canadian healthcare

Like all single-payer systems, the constant problem is delays in getting attention.  I contrast that with the system in Australia, which encourages private hospitals.  A few years back I got a very painful attack of kidney stones.  I was cat-scanned and on the operating table within 6 hours of arriving at my usual private hospital

This woman spent 47 hours waiting for surgery in the Sunnybrook ER, with shattered wrists, a broken elbow, cracked ribs and internal bleeding

The day Kelly Yerxa had her accident was mostly uneventful. It was a Friday in January 2016. After finishing work in Cambridge, where she is the city’s director of legal services, she drove to Haliburton to join her 19-year-old son, a competitive snowboarder, who had spent the day training there. Yerxa is tall and lean and, like her son, athletic. She went to university on a swimming scholarship and now, in her 50s, competes as a triathlete. She was scheduled to officiate during the weekend’s snowboard events, and she met up with her son and about a dozen other parents and athletes at a cottage they had all rented. It was late when she arrived, and since everyone would be getting up early, she and the others headed off to bed. Just before midnight, Yerxa made a trip to the bathroom, and on her way back along the pitch-dark hallway, she veered slightly to her left and took a wrong step. She plunged down seven wooden stairs, hit the landing, punctured the drywall there, and then continued down four more stairs before coming to a stop in the living room.

An athlete sleeping on the couch rushed over. Bones were sticking out of Yerxa’s right elbow, and her wrists were in the shape of the letter S, her hands dangling limply. But she was in shock, and she felt no pain. She told the young man not to worry, that he should go back to sleep since he had to compete in the morning. Then she passed out.

When she came to, two of the other parents were hovering over her, and she was soon being rushed to Haliburton Hospital by ambulance, sirens blaring. Doctors there told her that in addition to the two shattered wrists and broken elbow, she had a couple of broken ribs and a lacerated kidney, and she would require complicated surgery, which was beyond their capability as a small hospital. The pain was by that point intense, and doctors gave her strong painkillers. The next day, a snowstorm hit that made an airlift impossible, so Yerxa was transported by ambulance to Sunnybrook, and her husband, Trevor Clough, drove in from Cambridge to meet her there. He sat in the ER for nearly three hours, waiting for her arrival, and he couldn’t believe the pandemonium he witnessed. “I’d never seen a hospital that busy,” he says. “I was amazed at how many people were coming in.” He remembers ambulances arriving every 15 or 20 minutes, disgorging patient after patient. There had been a major accident on the 401, which he thought explained the deluge, but the nurses told him it was always that way on a Saturday night.

In the hallway, there was no curtain, no call button, and Yerxa was next to the bedpan dumping station. Illustration by Jeffrey Smith
When he finally got to see his wife later that evening, Clough discovered that her bed was in what Sunnybrook staff call the “orange zone”—essentially a holding area for patients when no rooms are available. Her bed was pushed up against a wall, with the IV pole and other paraphernalia wedged in beside her. Clough had nowhere to sit, so he stood awkwardly next to her until a nurse kindly brought him a chair. There was a curtain, but no switch to turn off the lights at night. That location would be Yerxa’s home for the next 19 hours—and her predicament would get worse from there.

Hallway health care is epidemic in Toronto right now. Hospital administrators typically strive for an occupancy level of about 85 per cent, a rate that balances the need for efficiency with the ability to accommodate sudden surges in patient numbers. In other words, even on really busy days, a hospital should be able to find a bed when your father has a stroke or your partner contracts pneumonia. However, for most of the past year and a half, Toronto hospitals have had average monthly occupancies well above that target.

Occupancy at the University Health Network, which includes Toronto General and Toronto Western, didn’t dip below 97 per cent between January and May last year, according to documents obtained by the NDP. The three Mississauga hospitals that make up the Trillium Health Partners went as high as 109 per cent in January last year and didn’t fall below 103 per cent all spring. Etobicoke General spiked to 122 per cent last January and stayed above 106 over the next few months. The pattern has continued this year. Throughout the first half of January 2018, Toronto East General hovered between 104 and 119 per cent occupancy, and Scarborough and Rouge Hospital’s Birchmount site reached 147 per cent. Toronto’s hospitals are, in a word, bursting.

When a hospital finds itself with 147 patients and only 100 places to put them, administrators have to be creative. The first place patients are typically stowed, after being admitted through the ER, is in the emergency department itself—a terrible place for admitted patients. It’s frenetic, loud and bright, making it impossible to rest, and elderly patients, who make up the majority of admissions, often develop delirium as a result, which can take days to clear. In addition to serious privacy and dignity concerns, the cramped conditions make it hard to do the job right.

To relieve the congestion in ERs, hospital administrators have been forced to use what they euphemistically call “unconventional spaces.” In Yerxa’s case, it would end up being a spot in the hallway. In other instances, it is an office, a sunroom, a conference room, a TV room or even a bathroom, with the bed placed between the toilet and bathtub. There’s often no door, no curtain, no call button, no space for loved ones. If a wound needs inspecting or a private detail has to be discussed, it happens out in the open. If you need a bedpan, you just do your business right there.

This is no way to practise medicine, says Paul Pageau, an emergency doctor in Ottawa and president of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. But he has noticed that patients seem to be slowly resigning themselves to the inevitability of long waits and a war zone atmosphere. “I find it remarkable that the patients we see seem to a great degree to accept this,” he says. “Which in itself I find unacceptable.” He thinks if the public demanded more, things might change faster. “I don’t mean to blame the public. But I don’t want us to become too complacent.”

Keeping track of patients who are stashed in hallways, bathrooms and alcoves sometimes requires doctors to get creative. Illustration by Jeffrey Smith
Her first evening at Sunnybrook, Yerxa was heavily sedated, so after she was settled into her bed, Clough drove home to Cambridge for the night. The next morning, a friend drove him to Haliburton, where he picked up his son and collected Yerxa’s car. First thing Monday morning, father and son drove to Sunnybrook to visit Yerxa.

Thirty-eight hours had elapsed since Yerxa had arrived, so Clough was surprised to find that she hadn’t been moved into a room but was instead in a hallway. She had a dressing on her right arm that stretched from her bicep down to her fingers, and another on her left arm that went from elbow to fingers. There she was, lying in the hallway of one of Canada’s premier hospitals, still waiting for surgery.

The hall was noisy, with machines constantly beeping and people talking. There was nowhere for her husband and son to sit where they weren’t in the way. “It was like parking in a fire route,” Yerxa says. Worst of all, they were next to a bedpan dumping station, which stank to high heaven. Yerxa couldn’t eat or drink by herself, let alone get out of bed or go to the washroom. She was entirely dependent on the nurses, who, despite being clearly overloaded, she says, took excellent care of her. Rather than venting or getting snippy, they just kept apologizing.

After lying in the emergency department for almost two days, Yerxa finally had surgery to install plates in her wrists and to repair her elbow. Then she was moved into a room, where she stayed until her discharge, five days later. In retrospect, she is glad she was so subdued by the pain. Had she been more lucid, she says, she would have been angry.

Since her time at Sunnybrook, the hospital-bed crisis has only escalated. Typically, there’s respite in the summer, after the flu season is over, but last summer that didn’t happen. “The surge from last winter hasn’t gone away,” Anthony Dale, CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, told me in December. “All across the GTA, you’ve seen hospitals spike as high as 140 per cent at any given moment.”

When numbers surge like this, hospitals have to care for the extra patients without extra resources. Nurses, cleaning staff, clerical staff, food workers—they are all being run off their feet, says Pam Parks, a registered practical nurse and CUPE union rep who has worked at Lakeridge Hospital in Oshawa for nearly 30 years. Whereas normally a nurse on day shift might have been assigned four patients, she says, now they’re routinely getting six; on night shift, they sometimes have more than 10. They forgo their breaks. People yell at them and even throw things. “We can’t do it anymore,” she says. “We’re tired, burnt out and getting sick.”

Administrators are also exhausted. Figuring out how to accommodate all the extra patients has become a major obsession. “I can’t put in words the amount of stress I’ve witnessed on the entire hospital,” says Ari Zaretsky, who between July and December last year stepped in as Sunnybrook’s interim chief medical executive. He described hospital officials regularly having to clear their schedules and “call a huddle”—code for an ad-hoc crisis meeting to come up with a plan for how to accommodate the excess of patients without cancelling key services. Overcrowding is especially serious for a hospital like Sunnybrook, which not only accepts regular patients through the emergency department but also, as a specialist trauma centre, takes in many of the province’s car accident, burn and gunshot victims.

Part of Zaretsky’s job was to oversee what’s known as “flow and occupancy,” and when I spoke to him in December, the winter’s flu season was just gearing up. Modern hospitals have teams of specialists who use computerized bed maps to track every patient—Zaretsky likens them to air traffic controllers. As new patients arrive, these specialists have to decide how to reconfigure them according to illness type, severity, infectious disease status and likely discharge date. If someone needs to be isolated because of infection, for instance, they might jump the queue. The same is true if their condition is life-threatening. In rare cases, an extremely sick person can even bump a less sick person, ideally someone for whom discharge is imminent, out of their room and into a hallway. “It’s very contentious,” says Zaretsky. “You can imagine. You’re still ill—you have to be in hospital—but you’re not ill enough, compared to the poor person who has just been admitted.”

By the standards of most developed countries, Canada doesn’t have a lot of acute care beds: just two for every 1,000 people, compared to 4.1 in France, 6.1 in Germany and 7.8 in Japan. In terms of total beds, Ontario is one of the most sparsely bedded provinces, with just 2.3 per 1,000. The average in the other provinces is 3.5. That said, some places have low bed numbers but aren’t in crisis. Denmark, for instance, has just 2.5 beds per 1,000. The difference is that Denmark also has an extensive and well-orchestrated system of alternative care for patients who need treatment but don’t necessarily need a hospital.

SOURCE

************************************

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

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

***************************



Thursday, May 24, 2018


House votes to ease post-crisis bank rules in victory for Trump

The U.S. House of Representatives passed on Tuesday bipartisan legislation that would ease bank rules introduced in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, giving President Donald Trump a major legislative victory.

Tuesday's vote rolls back some of the 2010 Dodd-Frank rules that restricted operations by smaller banks and community lenders and keeps the Republican president's campaign promise to try to spur more economic growth by cutting regulation.

The bill, which was approved by the Senate in March, marks the first significant rewrite of U.S. financial rules introduced following the crisis, which saw Wall Street lenders bailed out to the tune of $700 billion.

Republican critics say Dodd-Frank went too far and curbs banks’ ability to lend, while many Democrats say it provides critical protections for consumers and taxpayers.

The bill, approved 258-159, raises the threshold at which banks are considered systemically risky and subject to stricter oversight to $250 billion from $50 billion. It also eases trading, lending and capital rules for banks with less than $10 billion in assets.

It does not, however, weaken the top U.S. consumer watchdog created by Dodd-Frank that has been consistently attacked by Republicans who say it oversteps its mandate.

But the bill does offer a handful of niche provisions that would help some larger banks, such as allowing custody banks like BNY Mellon and State Street Corp to exempt the customer deposits they place with central banks from a stringent capital calculation requirement.

It also offers more favorable treatment for municipal bonds, a measure that analysts say is likely to help Citigroup Inc's bond-trading business.

But backers of the bill stress that the core Dodd Frank provisions that aimed to shore up the financial system and make banks less risky, remain untouched by this legislation.

The bill also does not alter the so-called "Volcker Rule" banning Wall Street banks from making risky bets with their own money, or limit the ability of regulators to apply stricter rules to large institutions they deem critical to the financial system.

SOURCE

**********************************

Former Trump Advisor Says MULTIPLE Spies Embedded Into Campaign, They’ll “Be Wearing Orange Suits”

Former Trump Advisor Michael Caputo unleashed a tsunami on the Obama Administration and Deep State during Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News last night.

After Ingraham aired a clip of Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, justifying a spy on the Trump campaign. He even called the spying “a good thing.”

Caputo shreddded the United States government for being similar to a Russian spy agency. Hew then went on to say there were multiple spies and multiple agencies involved.

“Let me tell you something that I know for a fact, this informant, this person that planted, that they tried to plant into the campaign and even into the administration, if you believe Axios–he’s not the only person who came into the campaign!” Caputo stated. “And the FBI is not the only Obama agency who came into the campaign.”

Caputo dropped the biggest bomb of all on Clapper. “I know because they came at me. And I’m looking for clearance from my attorney to reveal this to the public. This is just the beginning and I’ll tell ya, when we finally find out the truth about this–Director Clapper and the rest of them are gonna be wearing some orange suits,” Michael Caputo added.

It certainly looks like this is just the beginning as more and more is revealed every single day. As we previously reported:

“New revelations from the 2016 campaign have exposed top-secret CIA and FBI source, Stefan Halper, a Cambridge University professor, for contacting and being in touch with Trump advisers Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and Sam Clovis.”

Now we’re finding out CNN was even in on it. This is an unbelievable abuse of power in an attempt to take down our President.

SOURCE

***************************

Trump's Not Messing Around With MS-13 'Animals'

He issued a statement titled "What You Need To Know About The Violent Animals Of MS-13."

The Leftmedia went out of its way to peddle a BIG Lie about Donald Trump and immigration last week — that he called all illegal aliens “animals” instead of simply the violent thugs of the MS-13 gang. Never one to shy away from a fight, Trump issued a White House statement yesterday titled “What You Need To Know About The Violent Animals Of MS-13.”

Trump’s statement recounts numerous incidents of “unthinkable violence of MS-13’s animals.” And he’s right — their crimes include decapitation, dismemberment and savage beatings and stabbings. “President Trump’s entire Administration is working tirelessly to bring these violent animals to justice,” the statement concludes.

Politically, this accomplishes two things beyond sending a message of law and order to illegal alien thugs. It reassures Trump’s base that he’s serious about addressing the worst elements among immigrants. And it also fires a shot across the Leftmedia’s bow that Trump won’t be intimidated by lies meant to “prove” his supposed racism. “I referred to them as animals,” he said later, “and guess what? I always will.”

Dennis Prager gets to the bottom of the issue, “Biologically, of course, we are all human. But if ‘human’ is to mean anything moral — anything beyond the purely biological — then some people who have committed particularly heinous acts of evil against other human beings are not to be considered human. Otherwise ‘human’ has no moral being.”

Meanwhile, President Trump is requesting $500 million more for the border wall.

SOURCE

******************************

China Makes Massive Cut to Car Tariffs After Truce With Trump

Bloomberg’s Tom Mackenzie discusses China’s decision to cut tariffs on imported cars to 15 percent from 25 percent.
China will cut the import duty on passenger cars to 15 percent, further opening up a market that’s been a chief target of the U.S. in its trade fight with the world’s second-largest economy.

The Finance Ministry said Tuesday the levy will be lowered effective July 1 from the current 25 percent that has been in place for more than a decade, boosting shares of automakers from India to Europe. Bloomberg News reported last month that China was weighing proposals to reduce the car import levy to 10 percent or 15 percent.

A reduction in the import duty follows a truce between President Donald Trump’s administration and Chinese officials as they seek to defuse tensions and avert an all-out trade war. While the levy reduction could be claimed in some quarters as a concession to Trump and will be a boon to U.S. carmakers such as Tesla Inc. and Ford Motor Co., the move will also end up benefiting European and Asian manufacturers from Daimler AG to Toyota Motor Corp.

“This is, without a doubt, positive news,” said Juergen Pieper, Frankfurt-based head of automobiles research at Bankhaus Metzler. “You can’t completely disregard the fact that there are certain imbalances in China’s favor. This could be a signal that if one side is making concessions, it could lead to the Americans easing some of their pressure as well.”

Shares of Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motors Ltd. and BMW AG posted their biggest intraday gains in more than a month on the news. The Finance Ministry in Beijing said later Tuesday that the step is intended to help reduce prices and aid competition.

The import duty on car parts will be reduced to 6 percent, China’s Finance Ministry said. The shift is significant more for its optics than its potential impact given imported cars made up only about 4.2 percent of the country’s 28.9 million in automobile sales last year.

The latest round of tariff easing is part of a flurry of policy announcements in recent months aimed at demonstrating China’s commitment to opening the economy -- partly in response to the accusations of protectionism leveled by the Trump administration. Beijing has also pledged to cut ownership limits in the auto sector as well as in banking, and last November reduced import tariffs on almost 200 categories of consumer products.

China announced May 18 that it would end its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into imports of U.S. sorghum, citing the “public interest.” That move, coupled with recent steps including restarting a review of Qualcomm Inc.’s application to acquire NXP Semiconductors NV, signal a conciliatory stance from the Chinese side.

For his part, President Trump has retreated from imposing tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods because of White House discord over trade strategy and concern about harming negotiations with North Korea, according to people briefed on the administration’s deliberations.

In further evidence of an easing in tensions, China and the U.S. agreed on the “broad outline” of a settlement to the ban on China’s ZTE Corp. buying American technology after alleged sanctions infringements, the Wall Street Journal reported.

At the Boao Forum in April, President Xi Jinping reiterated China’s commitment to reduce import tariffs on vehicles.

Of the $51 billion of vehicle imports in 2017, about $13.5 billion came from North America including sales of models made there by non-U.S. manufacturers like BMW. China imported 280,208 vehicles, or 10 percent of total imported automobiles, from the U.S. last year, according to China’s Passenger Car Association, an industry trade body.

A duty cut would typically benefit luxury carmakers or manufacturers, like Tesla, that don’t have a local production site. Most automakers produce mass-market models in China.

For Tesla, a tariff cut will provide a boon until the company manages to set up local production. The Palo Alto, California-based company has been working with Shanghai’s government since last year to explore assembling cars in China. China saying that it will allow foreign new-energy vehicle makers to fully own auto factories as early as this year removed a primary hurdle for founder and billionaire Elon Musk.

Luxury sales leader Audi, part of Volkswagen, has been making cars in China since 1990s. General Motors Co.’s Cadillac, which has relegated Lexus to fifth in the luxury-car rankings, opened a factory in Shanghai in 2016.

Foreign carmakers have long pleaded for freer access to China’s auto market, while its own manufacturers are expanding abroad. In April, China announced a timetable to permit foreign automakers to own more than 50 percent of local ventures.

SOURCE

***************************

Seattle created its homelessness crisis; now it’s trying to make it worse

Seattle never learns. Seattle says it has a homelessness problem, which it does. The city says the problem is getting out of control and something needs to be done about it. Are the uber-liberal residents and politicians of the city stepping forward to house the unfortunate people? No. Seattle is failing to learn its lesson and is insisting on more bloated government to solve a problem bloated government created.

The housing crisis in Seattle is the fault of the Seattle government. The city has been on a nonstop rampage to declare itself the most progressive society in the world for the last few years. During its crusade to kill jobs and make life miserable in the city it has enacted rules and regulations that make it almost impossible to build housing there.

John Stossel, from Reason Magazine, reported the building code is 745 pages long, and the residential building code is another 685 pages. Jeff Pelletier, of Board and Vellum Architects, points to the permits as one of the main drivers in the rise of housing cost in Seattle stating, “while there is a lot of benefit to a thorough review of your project, we are seeing tremendous cost and schedule increases from local building departments.”

One way to help solve the housing problem would be to build mid and high-rise condominiums. On a plot of land that usually accommodates 3-4 single family homes, the city could allow developers to build projects that house 100+ people, getting much more bang for your buck in land use. But no, this is Seattle. Strict zoning laws have only given multi-family and commercial/mixed-use areas one-third the land use of residential land use, driving up the price of single-family homes.

The city’s recently enacted minimum wage law is also having an impact on the housing problem. On June 2, 2014, Seattle’s extremely progressive city council attempted to regulate prosperity by instituting a $15 minimum wage over time. Business owners warned about the economic impact the move would have, but not one person on the council listened, and all voted for the job-killing regulation, showing no one on the council has a basic understanding of economics.

In 2018, the full $15 per hour minimum wage went into effect, but the impact was felt much earlier. A University of Washington team completed a study of worker pay, hours, and benefits in Seattle in 2017, and found the law was a net loss for workers. The study concluded:

“Our preferred estimates suggest that the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance caused hours worked by low-skilled workers (i.e., those earning under $19 per hour) to fall by 9.4% during the three quarters when the minimum wage was $13 per hour, resulting in a loss of 3.5 million hours worked per calendar quarter. Alternative estimates show the number of low-wage jobs declined by 6.8%, which represents a loss of more than 5,000 jobs. These estimates are robust to cutoffs other than $19.45 A 3.1% increase in wages in jobs that paid less than $19 coupled with a 9.4% loss in hours yields a labor demand elasticity of roughly -3.0, and this large elasticity estimate is robust to other cutoffs… The reduction in hours would cost the average employee $179 per month, while the wage increase would recoup only $54 of this loss, leaving a net loss of $125 per month (6.6%), which is sizable for a low-wage worker.”

Keep in mind this was before the full impact of the $15 per hour minimum wage could be felt, as the law only became fully implemented this year, the situation is going to get worse in Seattle.

So now that we know Seattle’s own laws created a shortage of housing in the city while at the same time reducing the amount of take-home pay for lower-income residents, what is the city council’s solution? More government.

In 2017, King County and Seattle spent over $195 million to combat homelessness, which included city, county, state, federal, and charity spending. Surely the massive amount of spending had an impact on the problem? No, homelessness actually increased last year.

But don’t worry, the city council has a plan. All other plans have failed, this one will work. The city council had the great idea to institute another tax, known as a “head tax.” The city is going to tax its largest business $500 for every employee. This money would then be used to build “affordable housing.” It is hard to see how that could be done with the current zoning laws, the laws that helped start the crisis in the first place, still in place.

After the city council voted 9-0 for the ordinance business leaders spoke out, and Amazon paused construction on a project, pitting hard-working construction workers against do nothing, full-time protesters. After some negotiating between the city council and Mayor Jenny Durkan the tax was reduced to $275. This may seem like a win, but like everything in Seattle, all is not as it seems. Along with the lower rate, so far the funds are non-binding. Meaning there is no plan to spend the money and it could easily be spent on non-homelessness issues.

What Seattle has done is so poorly planned, even some of the homeless are calling out the city for its excessive spending. Geno Minetti, currently living out of his car, stated, “They’re wasting the taxpayer’s money. If they get more; they’ll waste more.” It is a shame this man can see the problem and knows government spending is not the answer, but the people in charge only see taxation and spending as an answer to every problem.

Businesses in the Seattle must now ask themselves some important questions, is it worth expanding if the business will get taxed for succeeding? If Seattle doesn’t want a person’s business to grow and expand, why should he or she move or start it there?

The lunacy of Seattle never ceases to amaze. Only the left would watch its taxation, zoning, and employment laws create a crisis, then advocate for more of the same. Every city should pay close attention to what Seattle is doing, and do the opposite. If a city wants to increase its tax base, decrease poverty, and increase the quality of living, don’t be like Seattle.

SOURCE

************************************

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

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

***************************





Wednesday, May 23, 2018



Farm Subsidies and the Farm Bill: Truth vs. Fiction

Farm reform will never get up without "adjustment" assistance.  The government will have to offer something to help farmers adjust to new realities.  If use of corn alcohol in motor fuel no longer becomes compulsory, for instance, something will have to be offered to make use of now surplus ethanol. 

One idea that might not be too wild would be to go to amateur distillers worldwide in search of several new forms of corn spirits for human consumption -- several new types of corn whisky, for instance. Maybe even a corn liqueur. A liqueur called "Moonshine" should be attractive if only because of the name

The government could then sponsor a big advertising blast to get people to try the new product. Success would all depend on attractive products being devised but that should not be beyond the wit of man


Like immigration, health care and other seemingly endless legislative quarrels, agriculture is a highly contentious issue every time Congress grapples with it. So this week’s House farm bill is simply par for the course. The Heritage Foundation’s Daren Bakst has produced an excellent compilation of critical amendments that should graduate to the finalized bill. Unfortunately, these amendments — just like past reform proposals — will be in the crosshairs of subsidy-obsessed special interests.

As Bakst explains in a Daily Signal op-ed, “Agricultural special interests try to make it sound as though touching even one farm subsidy — regardless of how unreasonable the subsidy is — will be the end of agriculture as we know it. Using scare tactics, they will assert wild claims without any support, or they will cherry-pick data to provide a misleading picture.” Sound familiar? That’s because global warming scaremongers apply the same tactic.

The truth is less menacing. For example, while special interest groups assert that farmers are financially strapped and therefore require subsidies, Bakst points to the opposite: “Farm households have far greater median income and wealth than non-farm households.” This means that, as of 2016, 70% of farm households reported higher earnings, and farmer wages averaged about 29% higher. In terms of aggregate wealth, farmers’ average of $897,000 dwarfs that of other households, which stands at a relatively paltry $97,300.

Another farce revolves around the supposedly deteriorating economy. While the agriculture economy is admittedly off its peak, Bakst notes that “key financial indicators such as debt-to-asset ratios are near historic lows.” Besides, he reminds us: “What other sector of the economy expects regular taxpayer handouts when things aren’t going well? The very assumption that taxpayers should protect farmers from competing in the market like every other business shows the egregious nature of the current subsidy system.”

A few additional pointers: The rural economy’s troubles have little to do with farming — “only about 6 percent of rural jobs are in farming,” says Bakst — and subsidies are disproportionately divided among small family and commercial farms (guess which one profits the most?). This contradicts the narrative that subsidies are primarily needed to propel small family farms. The number of family farms, by the way, is not in a tailspin, as special interests claim.

Believe it or not, there’s even a national security angle when it comes to subsidies. But as Bakst points out, “There are no national security problems for almost all commodities that receive little to no subsidies,” which happens to be most agricultural commodities.

Let’s also not belittle the most important fact — taxpayers are on the hook for every subsidiary element. Even with crop insurance, taxpayers foot 62% of the premium bill. And when it comes to sugar, the economy takes a $3.7 billion hit annually despite the special interest groups’ laughable claim that it’s a financially neutral program. The reality is that the poor are hardest hit. The farm bill is currently constructed in a way that ignores these realities. It can, however, be amended. We’ll soon see how Congress considers a priority — special interest groups, or taxpayers.

SOURCE

*******************************

Trump turns up heat on Obama, Brennan amid 'informant' questions:  demands DOJ probe

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on President Trump calling on the Department of Justice to investigate allegations the FBI spied on his 2016 presidential campaign.

President Trump sought to turn the tables on the Obama administration Monday after demanding a probe into whether his predecessor’s FBI “infiltrated” his 2016 campaign, pointedly asking what then-President Barack Obama knew about the operation – while clashing with former CIA boss John Brennan.

Following reports detailing how an FBI “informant” had multiple contacts with members of Trump’s campaign, the president said Sunday he’d formally seek a DOJ probe of whether agents surveilled the campaign for political purposes, and whether any such demands came from the Obama administration.

While the DOJ swiftly asked the department’s inspector general to handle that review, the president turned the spotlight Monday to Obama.

“The Wall Street Journal asks, ‘WHERE IN THE WORLD WAS BARACK OBAMA?’ A very good question!” Trump tweeted.

He was referring to an op-ed calling on Obama to explain “his administration’s surveillance of affiliates of a presidential campaign.” The column from James Freeman posited that Obama was likely “fairly well-informed” about his law enforcement agencies, but said if he was unaware of the Russia probe’s full history, “then it would seem a public explanation is also in order—about his management, and about just how far the ‘deep state’ went without specific presidential approval.”

Former Secret Service agent says Brennan is responsible for Americans' loss of faith in the intelligence community.
Meanwhile, another dust-up between the president and Brennan took shape as the former CIA director, and now MSNBC/NBC contributor, warned Republican leaders in Congress not to “enable” Trump, in response to his call for an investigation.

“Senator McConnell & Speaker Ryan: If Mr. Trump continues along this disastrous path, you will bear major responsibility for the harm done to our democracy. You do a great disservice to our Nation & the Republican Party if you continue to enable Mr. Trump’s self-serving actions,” Brennan tweeted, while also quoting Roman philosopher Cicero: “Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”

Trump fired back by quoting, at length, former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino on “Fox & Friends,” as Bongino accused Brennan of sparking the entire Russia probe and taking part in a politically motivated investigation.

Brennan has been a vocal critic of Trump ever since he took office.

The precise origins of the Russia probe remain unclear. Officials have previously pointed to comments Trump adviser George Papadopoulos allegedly made about Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton as touching off the investigation in July 2016. A House GOP memo released earlier this year affirmed this timeline.

But reporting over the weekend in The New York Times and Washington Post said an informant was also talking to Papadopoulos and other Trump figures in 2016. The details have raised questions about what prompted those contacts.

The revelations come amid a tense dispute between the Justice Department and House Republicans who have been seeking details about the informant’s role. Trump referenced that standoff on Saturday, tweeting: “Only the release or review of documents that the House Intelligence Committee (also, Senate Judiciary) is asking for can give the conclusive answers. Drain the Swamp!”

The FBI’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump figures would eventually be taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. The intelligence community, and Senate Intelligence Committee, have since declared that Russia did seek to interfere in the election, largely to boost Trump over Clinton.

But in looking to turn up new information on how the probe began – and suggesting political motivations were at play – Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill could undermine the Mueller’s probe just as Trump and his legal team are weighing the possibility of a Trump interview with the special counsel.

Meanwhile, Obama has said little about the probe’s beginnings, and it’s unclear if he plans to enter this highly charged debate.

One of the few references to his involvement came in texts released earlier this year from anti-Trump FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok. In one of them, the two discussed preparing talking points for then-FBI boss James Comey to give Obama, who wanted to “know everything we’re doing.”

SOURCE

********************************

Trade War Ceasefire?

From the beginning, we argued that President Donald Trump's planned tariffs were a negotiating chip with China. That became even more clear over the weekend, as China announced that it would buy "significantly" more U.S. goods and services. According to a White House statement, that will include "meaningful increases in United States agriculture and energy exports" with the goal being to "substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China." Let's hope it also brings back some American jobs.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared that the U.S. was "putting the trade war on hold" as negotiations continue, but U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer insisted tariffs remain on the table if needed to "protect our technology." Good cop, bad cop.

Keep in mind that trade is tied together with negotiations over the nuclear weapons program of China's puppet, North Korea. The upcoming June 12 summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un is crucial, and sorting things out on the trade front with China is key. Hence other chess moves like canceling a planned training exercise with South Korea.

In short, this isn't nearly as simple as the mainstream media sometimes portrays. Trump's negotiations are all part of a long game.

SOURCE

********************************

‘It’s Not a Gun-Law Issue’: 18-Year-Old Tells Texas Gov ‘Shooting Is About More Than Firearms’

While David Hogg and crew are running around the country screaming ‘Gun-Control.’ this 18-year old ‘survivor’ understands that there is so much more going on.


Of course that’s obvious to anyone who isn’t zoned in to the anti-gun rhetoric spewing forth from every channel on TV, but it’s nice to hear the truth coming from a young person who just experienced one of life’s most horrifying moments.

According to ijr.com:
.
Monica Bracknell, an 18-year-old ‘survivor’ who knew one of the teachers killed during the shooting at Santa Fe High School, told Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) that the shooting is about school security, not gun laws.
.
On Sunday, Abbott addressed members of Arcadia First Baptist Church before services began. According to the Wall Street Journal, he explained that he was there to “comfort my fellow Texans.” He also said he was open to speeding background checks and preventing people who pose a threat to others from getting firearms.
.
The Associated Press (AP) reported Bracknell, who survived the shooting, seized the opportunity to meet the governor and share her views on the issue of gun control.
.
“People are making this into a political issue,” she shared with the AP she told him. “It’s not a political issue. It’s not a gun-law issue.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, she added that the recent high school shooting shows that there’s a major problem with school safety, “It’s a, this-kid-was-able-to-get-into-the-school-very-easily, issue,” she said.

Jerl Watkins, the interim senior pastor at the church, explained that there are “no words” that can take away the pain the 10 families of the victims are feeling and called for more than just prayers.

“Do we need to do more than just pray?” he asked. “Yes, we most certainly do.”

The recent shooting reignited an already fierce debate about gun control in the country, but the Los Angeles Times reported that in the wake of the shooting, the Santa Fe students, unlike Parkland, Florida, students, haven’t vocalized a strong cry for increased gun control.

At a vigil on Friday evening, the Los Angeles Times reported the issue of guns didn’t come up, and on Saturday there were no protests, and there weren’t an expected for Sunday.

“We have created a culture that does not value life, that does not honor God, that does not respect authority,” Rev. Brad Drake, who lost a member of his congregation in the shooting.

He added that now, we’re “reaping the consequences of those actions,” and no security guard or metal detector can reverse what’s been created.

Eight students and two teachers were killed during the shooting on Friday. Accused shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis, was arrested and faces charges of capital murder and aggravated assault of a public servant.”

SOURCE

*********************************

CCRKBA to Antis: ‘When Will You Blame the Murderers?’

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, has issued a challenge to the gun prohibition lobby. Following last week’s attack at Santa Fe High School in Texas that left ten dead and another ten wounded, Gottlieb wants to know why anti-gun groups never seem to blame the perpetrators of such horrendous crimes.

“Time after time,” he said in a Monday news release, “with endless fund raising appeals and inflammatory rhetoric, we’ve seen these anti-rights lobbying groups immediately try to shift blame to the NRA, or the Second Amendment, or the firearms industry, or some mythical loophole in the law. But they never seem to point their fingers at the culprit, and we think it’s time for the American public to ask why?”

Why, indeed? Gottlieb suspects that the mission of these gun grabbers is not to keep “dangerous or deranged criminals off the street,” but to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of honest citizens.

By diverting public attention away from killers and toward law-abiding citizens who had nothing to do with the crime, Gottlieb suggested in his statement, “these lobbying groups have created a very strong impression that they’re not really interested in punishing criminals, but only in penalizing honest firearms owners for crimes they didn’t commit.”

“Over the weekend, Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety was quick to push its gun control agenda, and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility was asking for donations to ‘take a stand…against the gun lobby.’ When was the last time either of these groups demanded swift justice and certainty of punishment for the actual perpetrators?”—CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb

“Time and again,” he stated, “we’ve heard these groups demand a national dialogue on guns. But how do you have a rational discussion with people or groups that repeatedly demonstrate that they cannot tell the difference between the bad guys and the good guys?

“If all they can do is blame innocent citizens while diverting attention from murderous monsters, then it is time to ask these people just whose side they are on,” Gottlieb concluded.

SOURCE

************************************

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

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

***************************


Tuesday, May 22, 2018



The UN Human Rights Council slams Israel for the umpteenth times

Below is the sort of propaganda Leftists love.  It is of course totally one-sided with no reference to how Israel sees it.  The very first deception is referring to the Arabs as "protesters".  They are not.  They are violent attackers doing their best to breach and destroy the Israeli border.  If they were peaceful they would not be shot.

And nobody is giving the true reason why the Arabs are throwing  themselves onto the Israeli guns.  You are supposed to get the idea that people are throwing away their lives because of the desperation of their situation.

The real reason is jihad.  They are deliberately throwing away their lives in the belief that when they die fighting the infidel they will go straight to Paradise and be given 72 virgins to serve them.

That promise matters to the young men concerned.  Under polygamy, rich old men get most of the women -- leaving none for many of the young men.  So Paradise is the only chance they have of getting a woman. Unquiet penises are behind it all. Sick.


The UN has voted to send an international war crimes probe to
Gaza after the body’s leading human rights official slammed Israel’s reaction to protests along the border as “wholly disproportionate”.

Israeli firing into Hamas-ruled Gaza killed nearly 60 Palestinians at mass border protests on Monday.

“There is little evidence of any attempt to minimise casualties on Monday,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The council voted through the resolution with 29 in favour and two opposed, while 14 states abstained.

The resolution also condemned “the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians”.

Israel condemned the resolution, which was put forward by a group of countries including Pakistan. The United States decried it as an example of a biased focus on Israel by the council.

Both lamented that it didn’t mention Gaza’s Hamas rulers, whom Israel blames for the violence.

The “independent, international commission of inquiry” mandated by the council will be asked to produce a final report next March.

In a vigorous speech, Mr Zeid slammed the “appalling” recent events in Gaza and called for the occupation of Palestine by Israel to end.

He said the 1.9 million people living in Gaza had been denied human rights by Israeli authorities and described those living in the Palestinian enclave as “caged in a toxic slum from birth to death”.

“They are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; dehumanised by the Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason, to protest,” he said.

The vote for an investigation came days after Israeli forces shot and killed 59 Palestinians and injured more than 2,700 during mass protests along the Gaza border on the day the US officially opened its embassy in Jerusalem.

Mr Zeid said that under international law, Israel was obligated to protect the population of Gaza and ensure their welfare, “but there is little evidence of any attempt to minimise casualties,” he added.

The human rights chief said 118 Palestinians, including 15 children, were killed since protests began on 30 March. He said the number continues to climb as some of the injured die from their wounds.

He compared the Palestinians’ use of Molotov cocktails, slingshots and burning kites against the “horrifying and criminal violence” with which they were met.

“The stark contrast in casualties on both sides is ... suggestive of a wholly disproportionate response. Killings resulting from the unlawful use of force by an occupying power may also constitute ‘wilful killings’ – a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” he told the UN council.

“Nobody has been made safer by the horrific events of the past week,” he concluded.

SOURCE

********************************

Trump Campaign Spy’s Past Exposed: Veteran operative

The political scandal of the decade is brewing in Washington, D.C., and it may leave President Donald Trump in a very different position than his enemies wish: Not destroyed, but largely vindicated.

Details have finally started to emerge about an establishment-led effort to plant a “mole” within the Trump campaign, and evidence is beginning to mount that its goal was to undermine and derail his run for office.

The facts are suggesting something chillingly sinister: A government operative directed by the Obama-run FBI purposely infiltrated the campaign of a candidate with the training and background needed to destabilize elections.

In a detailed piece published by The Intercept, investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald summarized the scandal and gave a blow-by-blow account of how its beginning to unravel.

“Over the past several weeks, House Republicans have been claiming that the FBI, during the 2016 election, used an operative to spy on the Trump campaign, and they triggered outrage within the FBI by trying to learn his identity,” he explained.

“The controversy escalated when President Trump joined the fray on Friday morning. ‘Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president,’ Trump tweeted.'”

Amazingly, FBI and Department of Justice sources did not deny this claim. It’s worth remembering that while the media and DOJ insiders were laughing and dismissing Trump’s accusations a year ago — especially regarding wiretapping and the Steele dossier — he has been proven right on almost every point.

Nobody is laughing now. Instead, they’re scrambling to cover their tracks.

“On May 8, the Washington Post described the informant as ‘a top-secret intelligence source’ and cited DOJ officials as arguing that disclosure of his name ‘could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI,'” Greenwald reported.

That was almost certainly a last-ditch effort to protect the mole and save face. Then came the threats.

“The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner … actually threatened his own colleagues in Congress with criminal prosecution if they tried to obtain the identity of the informant,” Greenwald reported.

Journalists, including Greenwald and veteran gumshoes at several major media outlets, didn’t stop. After a few rounds of newspaper one-upmanship, the mole’s name has been revealed.

“As a result of some very odd choices by the nation’s largest media outlets, everyone knows the name of the FBI’s informant: Stefan Halper,” Greenwald wrote.

Here’s the truly important and shocking part: Halper is no run-of-the-mill FBI operative. He has a history of being involved in shady CIA operations to infiltrate and derail U.S. elections.

“To begin with, it’s obviously notable that the person the FBI used to monitor the Trump campaign is the same person who worked as a CIA operative running that 1980 Presidential election spying campaign,” Greenwald wrote.

Yes, it was Halper, a former Nixon insider and the same man at the center of the anti-Trump scandal today.

Nearly 40 years ago, a largely buried scandal was playing out in Washington. In involved some famous Republicans, including old names that even today are firmly in the “Never Trump” camp.

“Halper was responsible for a long-forgotten spying scandal involving the 1980 election, in which the Reagan campaign — using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA Director and then-Vice-Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush — got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration,” the Intercept explained.

In other words, there may be a structure within the foreign policy and intelligence communities that goes back to at least the time when George H.W. Bush ran the CIA.

That behind-the-scenes power structure — “Deep State,” to borrow the term — was on the side of Hillary Clinton and believed that Trump needed to be stopped at any cost.

One look at the now-public text messages from FBI officials in the weeks and months leading up to the 2016 election definitely seems to support this. And it’s worth pointing out that the now 93-year-old George H.W. Bush admitted to supporting Hillary Clinton.

By any measure, the Bush dynasty has not been friendly to Trump.

“Whatever else is true, the CIA operative and FBI informant used to gather information on the Trump campaign in the 2016 campaign has, for weeks, been falsely depicted as a sensitive intelligence asset rather than what he actually is: a long-time CIA operative with extensive links to the Bush family who was responsible for a dirty and likely illegal spying operation in the 1980 presidential election,” explained Greenwald.

“For that reason, it’s easy to understand why many people in Washington were so desperate to conceal his identity, but that desperation had nothing to do with the lofty and noble concerns for national security they claimed were motivating them,” he added.

Deep operatives. Election interference. Moles and spies deployed against a candidate by our own government agencies.

It’s a chilling picture, but one that all of the evidence so far supports. There’s a power struggle of shadows within the swamp in Washington, and it is at odds with the American people and their sovereign voice.

SOURCE

*********************************

Net Neutrality is a Fancy Term for Internet Socialism

Don’t be fooled by the terminology. Net neutrality isn’t a tech term that will be hard for you to comprehend. You will get it in an instant, I promise. It’s the same old socialism, just rebranded to make it tech-trendy.

There’s nothing neutral about net neutrality. It simply means everyone pays more, for things they need and don’t need, all indiscriminately, like taxes. Net neutrality is just internet socialism.

People who originally fought for net neutrality were afraid of “unregulated capitalism.” Red flags all over the place.

Why else did you think Democrats wanted it so badly?

Senate Democrats just voted to keep their collectivist legacy. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren; all 49 of them voted in favor of keeping net neutrality regulations. Because providers can otherwise dangerously “discriminate” if people pay more or less. “Discriminate” means apportion services based on how much providers are paid. Pay more, get more is terrible discrimination, according to the Democrats.

Democrat thought process: How dare you ask for the right to pay for better service! How dare you ask to pay less to save some money and not subsidize your neighbor’s internet! Everyone pays the same and gets the same. Government tells you what you need and what you pay.

Democrats argued Wednesday that if we repeal the regulations, the internet as we know it will come to end. Net neutrality didn’t even exist until three years ago when the Democrats passed the rules through the Democrat-controlled FCC. Was anyone feeling that their internet opportunities were hindered before 2015? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Maybe if you couldn’t afford the internet. But you’re not entitled to internet. Just as with everything else, you need to earn your money and pay for it if it’s worth anything to you. Same as any other service.

Democrats disagree with me, they believe everyone is entitled to internet. They used key socialist terminology Wednesday when describing net neutrality: “public good.” That’s the socialist term for entitled.

The internet is not a commune. The internet is a marketplace. I like to keep my markets free, competitive, innovative and profitable. Socialism inhibits all of that.

SOURCE

******************************

Sugar Subsidies Should Go—Consumers And Candy Manufacturers Would Benefit

U.S agriculture policy, especially the farm bill fiasco that comes up for renewal every five years, is loaded with pork-barrel spending and reminds us of the old Soviet-era “five-year plan.” From billions in subsidies and insurance premium payments for multimillionaire corporate farmers to providing food stamps to the able-bodied—even when they refuse to seek employment—the farm bill is a boondoggle only special interests and the politicians who benefit from their campaign donations could love.

No farm group spends more on lobbying to keep its sweet tooth satisfied than the sugar lobby. A relatively small group of sugar cane and sugar beet farmers and processors haul in an inordinate amount of support in nearly every farm bill, which guarantees them a price floor for their product, cheap loans, and tariffs that help keep competitors out of their market.

U.S. consumers and candy makers suffer because of this largesse. Justin Sykes of Americans for Tax Reform found the average wholesale price of domestically produced sugar in the United States is more than double the average price of sugar elsewhere in the world.

According to agriculture Census data, the hundreds of millions of dollars in support reaped by the sugar lobby support only about 4,500 sugar beet or cane farm jobs, plus an additional 18,000 jobs in the sugar processing industry. By comparison, there are 600,000 jobs in the food and baking sector, which are harmed by ill-conceived federal sugar policies. It is not surprising then Sykes found the U.S. Sugar Program led to a loss in U.S. manufacturing jobs.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, for every sugar-growing job saved by America’s artificially high sugar prices, approximately three in the confectionery industry are lost. Analyzing U.S. Census Bureau data, Alexandra Wexler wrote in 2013 in a Wall Street Journal article that “total U.S. confectionery manufacturing employment declined by 22 percent from 1998 through 2011,” in no small part due to high sugar prices. Chocolate and candy manufacturers moved their operations to Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere overseas in pursuit of cheaper sugar—a critical, if not primary, ingredient in their products.

A coalition of environmentalists, bakers, candy and food manufacturers, and free-market research centers formed The Alliance for Fair Sugar Policy to fight for an end to Big Sugar’s stranglehold on food policy. The Heartland Institute, where I work as a research fellow, is a proud member of the Alliance.

The Alliance notes the “sugar shakedown is baked into nearly every food, snack and treat, which results in zero benefit for the American consumer. The U.S. sugar program forces manufacturers to pay twice as much for sugar as the rest of the world, putting American small businesses at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to creating jobs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the sugar program killed 123,000 jobs between 1997 and 2015. The American Enterprise Institute estimates that the program costs small businesses and consumers $2.4 – $4 billion a year.”

The U.S. Sugar Program represents crony capitalism at its worst. The program delivers unearned billions to a well-funded, politically connected industry, in the process punishing consumers, American manufacturers, and workers by imposing higher prices on consumers, diminishing competition in in the marketplace, and closing factories in the United States. It’s time to end sweetheart deals for domestic sugar farmers and processors and foreign candy manufacturers.

SOURCE

************************************

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

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

***************************


Monday, May 21, 2018


'Animals': The Leftmedia's Latest BIG Lie

The mainstream media is exposed for spinning a narrative to paint Trump as a racist 

This week we have yet another case study in the mainstream Leftmedia’s practice of dezinformatsiya in the era of #Resistance to Donald Trump. This was an irrefutable example of how intentionally quoting out of context can create an alternative narrative that is then presented as fact. In this case, the Demo/MSM propaganda machine went out of its way to bolster its narrative that Trump’s motivation for enforcing America’s immigration laws is his own racism.

The context the Leftmedia intentionally ignored: Trump was involved Wednesday in a roundtable discussion with law enforcement from across the country seeking to address the problems sanctuary cities pose for immigration enforcement. At one point, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims thanked the president for recognizing and seeking to address the problem. But she also complained about the law: “There could be an MS-13 member I know about [but] if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it.”

Trump responded:

We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy. The dumbest laws — as I said before, [we have] the dumbest laws on immigration in the world. So we’re going to take care of it, Margaret. We’ll get it done.

Cue the Leftmedia’s spin. Here are a few of the headlines:

The Washington Post: “Trump compares illegal immigrants to ‘animals’”

The New York Times: “Trump calls some unauthorized immigrants ‘animals’ in rant”

Huffington Post: “Trump refers to immigrants as ‘animals.’ Again.”

USA Today: “Trump ramps up rhetoric on undocumented immigrants: ‘These aren’t people. These are animals.’”

Vox: “Trump on deported immigrants: ‘They’re not people. They’re animals.’”

NPR: “During roundtable, Trump calls some unauthorized immigrants ‘animals’”

These constitute contemptible lies. Trump responded to the propaganda in his usual fashion, stating, “Fake News Media had me calling Immigrants, or Illegal Immigrants, ‘Animals.’ Wrong! … I referred to MS 13 Gang Members as ‘Animals,’ a big difference — and so true. Fake News got it purposely wrong, as usual!”

Not to be outdone by the Leftmedia, outlining the Senate memo to perpetuate the lie, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) declared, “When all of our great-great-grandparents came to America they weren’t ‘animals,’ and these people aren’t either.”

Over in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), effectively equating all immigrants with MS-13 gang members, doubled down, saying, “When the president of the United States says about undocumented immigrants, ‘These aren’t people, these are animals,’ you have to wonder: Does he not believe in the spark of divinity, the dignity and worth of every person?”

Pelosi added, “We are all God’s children. There is a spark of divinity among every person on earth, and we all have to recognize that as we respect the dignity and worth of every person.”

She was not talking about the “spark of divinity, dignity and worth” of children in their mother’s womb, but of MS13 gang members Trump was, in context, referencing.

SOURCE 

*********************************

Trump Uses Reagan Rule to Block Abortion Funding

Contrary to the Leftmedia narrative, this does not amount to "sweeping new abortion restrictions."   

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan used Title X regulations to prevent organizations that receive federal dollars from promoting or referring for abortions, or from sharing physical space with abortion providers. After all, the 1970 law establishing Title X states: “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” Nevertheless, abortion proponents sued. Though the Supreme Court ruled in Reagan’s favor, the policy never actually went into effect because neither President Bush followed his lead, and, naturally, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama opposed it. President Donald Trump, however, plans to resurrect that rule in an announcement today. Stand by for Planned Parenthood to sue in three, two, one…

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion mill, kills more than 300,000 unborn babies every year, and it receives $500 million in taxpayer funding to do so. Of course, the organization insists that it’s complying with federal law preventing taxpayer dollars from being used directly for abortions. As Yuval Levin explained in 2015, “Planned Parenthood gets around the legal prohibition by formally separating its abortion clinics and its other family planning services, even when those are located in the same facility and essentially funded jointly.”

But let’s be honest — abortions are what Planned Parenthood does. Other health services are a mere fig leaf designed to obscure that fact. Pouring water in the shallow end of the pool is the same as pouring it in the deep end.

Given that Republicans in unified control of Washington have failed to defund Planned Parenthood as promised, Trump’s move is a welcome one. But does it go far enough?

Well, the rule only affects $260 million in federal funding for contraception and other “family planning” services, of which Planned Parenthood receives part. The bulk of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding comes from Medicaid, and only legislation can stop it.

Furthermore, “This proposal does not necessarily defund Planned Parenthood, as long as they’re willing to disentangle taxpayer funds from abortion as a method of family planning, which is required by the Title X law,” said an administration official. “Any grantees that perform, support, or refer for abortion have a choice — disentangle themselves from abortion or fund their activities with privately raised funds.” Planned Parenthood has no shortage of private funds, either.

In other words, it seems that semantics and accounting gimmicks may still suffice, and, contrary to the Leftmedia narrative, this does not amount to “sweeping new abortion restrictions.” Even so, Trump has yet again acted where congressional Republicans (and two previous GOP presidents) failed. Let’s hope it leads to further action to stop funding mass slaughter.

By the way, on Wednesday, former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards was presented with the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Just a reminder that she oversaw the demise of 3.5 million babies in her 12-year tenure.

SOURCE 

*******************************

Israel Deploys ‘Shoko Drones’ to Drop Skunk Water on Gaza Rioters

In response to criticism of its use of deadly weapon fire against Gaza rioters, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will begin dropping skunk water on violent protesters, Israel’s Defense Ministry announced Wednesday.

Newly-developed Shoko drones will drop bags (“shoko”) of skunk water onto the rioting crowds to disperse them by non-violent means, The Jerusalem Post reports:

“Israel has developed a new tool to assist in non-violent riot dispersal: The Shoko Drone, which will drop skunk water onto crowds, according to a Defense Ministry statement on Wednesday.” ...

“The IDF has been criticized by the international community for its use of live fire against protestors who approached or attempted to breach or damage the security fence. As such, Israel has upped its efforts to develop non-violent crowd control and dispersal techniques.”

More than one hundred rioters had been either been killed or injured on the Israel-Gaza border during the previous six weeks.

SOURCE 

*********************************

China agrees to import more from US, no sign of $200b figure

China has agreed to significantly increase its purchases of US  goods and services, the two countries said on Saturday, but made no mention of a US$200 billion ($266 billion) target the White House had touted earlier.

Beijing and Washington agreed they would keep talking about measures under which China would import more energy and agricultural commodities from the United States to close the $473 billion annual US goods and services trade deficit with China.

A joint statement issued at the conclusion of intensive trade talks in Washington did not indicate whether the two countries would delay or drop their tariff threats on billions of dollars worth of each country's goods, which has sparked fears of a wider trade war and roiled financial markets.

US stocks fluctuated, the dollar rose and Treasury yields retreated as investors assessed conflicting signals on trade talks between the world’s two largest economies.

US stocks fluctuated, the dollar rose and Treasury yields retreated as investors assessed conflicting signals on trade talks between the world’s two largest economies.

"To meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development, China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services."

US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on up to $200 billion on Chinese goods to combat what his administration says is Beijing's misappropriation of US intellectual property through joint venture requirements and other policies that force technology transfers.

Beijing denies such coercion and has threatened equal retaliation, including tariffs on some of its largest US imports - among them aircraft, soybeans and autos.

A report by China's state-run Xinhua news agency described the statement from the two governments as "vowing not to launch a trade war against each other".

While the statement said the two sides would engage at high levels and "seek to resolve their economic and trade concerns in a proactive manner," it made no mention of tariffs. It said there was consensus between Washington and Beijing on the need to create "favourable conditions to increase trade" in manufactured goods and services. This could be a reference to China's previous pledges to open up more economic sectors to services.

The United States will also send a team to China to work out the details of increased agricultural and energy exports, the countries said, without specifying timing.

A senior US official said that during discussions with a member of President Xi Jinping's office, China was considering a package that relied on major purchases of US liquefied natural gas, including a contract for a US firm to build LNG receiving and processing facilities in China.

The package, which also would include new commitments on intellectual property protections, could be agreed by a potential mid-year visit to Washington by China's Vice-President Wang Qishan, the official said.

Trump made cutting the US trade deficit with China a promise in his presidential campaign.

SOURCE 

************************************

Media Coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Clash Is Built on a Myth
   
No matter how often Hamas tells us that rioters on the Israel-Gaza border are armed, the media keeps referring to them as “protesters” and “demonstrators.” No matter how often Hamas concedes that those rioters are part of a broader “war,” the media simply won’t report it as such. And even though rioters assure reporters they have a desire to kill and burn Jews, left-wing journalists and pundits continue to frame Israel as the aggressor.

This week, a senior Hamas official bragged that 50 of the nearly 60 people killed by the Israeli Defense Forces at the Israel-Gaza border were members of Hamas. Israel has identified around 24 of those killed during the riots as Hamas members — 10 of them reportedly members of the internal security apparatus. All of this is an amazing coincidence considering how the clashes have been portraying as a massacre of innocent civilians and children.

Hamas, of course, has no problem boasting about these deaths, but it’s the goal. If you’re going to embed armed terrorists in a ginned-up mob that has been propagandized, paid, coerced and then sent toward military installations and civilian centers across the border, you are counting on causalities. Because martyrdom is the point.

Instead of taking them at their word, Hamas apologists continue arguing that Gaza is an open-air prison. This is only true if you consider people who lock themselves up as prisoners. The controlling government, which took power through a violent coup against “moderates” after the Israelis gave Gaza autonomy, won’t accept any international laws or any set of rules that would allow peaceful interaction with its neighbors. Hamas runs a proto-terror state. And Iran, a fully formed terror state, has continued to send arms to the military wing of Hamas.

Now, it’s true that this entity isn’t nearly as powerful or as advanced as its neighbors, economically or morally. But al-Qaida and ISIS and the Taliban are not as sophisticated as the United States. No one would frame those groups as victims. The idea that Israel, and Israel alone, should afford its enemies free reign over an adjacent territory does not comport with the practices or ideals of any other free nation in the world.

And although it’s rarely mentioned, Egypt has also had the border it shares with the Palestinians closed for the better part of a decade, not only because Hamas is funded by its enemy Iran but also because Hamas is aligned with numerous other groups that embrace violent theocratic methods to further its cause.

And despite what you may have heard, the United States embassy being moved to the western part of Jerusalem is not the cause of the unrest. Hamas itself didn’t recognize the American embassy in Tel Aviv, or anywhere else. It doesn’t recognize Israeli sovereignty over any territory. It is not alone. The precursor to Fatah, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, was formed before the 1967 unification of the Jewish capital. Since then there has not been a single Palestinian leader who has conceded that Israel should have sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem.

Then again, Palestinians have never defaulted to moderation on the status of Jerusalem or anything else. Their far-flung fantasies regarding the right to return (hitched to the historical myth of Nakba) consume them. This is what stands in the way of an agreement. Fatah, the moderate Holocaust-denying wing of Palestinian governance, still runs a martyr fund that pays cash stipends to the families of those killed or imprisoned for carrying out terrorist attacks against Jews. Thanks to the help of international aid, it has been able to make those payments increasingly generous.

Now imagine what the extremist wing of that movement looks like. These riots are not driven by economic destitution but rather the frustration of Hamas, whose attempts at suicide bombing have been thwarted and whose attempts to fire missiles into Israel have been stymied by the Iron Dome defense system. If this were about food and shelter, the Palestinian rioters would be headed to the government building in Gaza City rather than turning away Israeli trucks bringing them humanitarian aid. At this point, everyone knows that Israel has repeatedly shown a willingness to make peace with anyone who desires it.

The fact that those of Hamas are willing to sacrifice their lives (and the lives of their citizens) doesn’t suggest they aren’t the instigators or the guilty party. There’s an obsession in the media with the disproportionate number of Palestinians who die in these conflicts. Some can’t escape the hackneyed oppressor-oppressed news template. Others allow their obsession with Donald Trump to cloud their view of the situation — not to mention their morality. The fact is that if Hamas were to drop its claim on Israel proper and stop using every opening provided to instigate violence, not a single Palestinian would ever have to die in this war.

SOURCE 

******************************

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

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

***************************

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Putin has the last laugh

Vladimir Putin has taunted Britain after Sergei Skripal's release from hospital - suggesting the Russian spy would have 'died on the spot' if he had been attacked with a military-grade toxin.

Mr Skripal is being protected by 24-hour armed guard at an MI5 safe house after leaving hospital earlier this week, sources have revealed.

The 66-year-old, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were admitted to Salisbury District Hospital along with Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey after being exposed to the nerve agent in March.

Britain has accused Russia of being behind the poisoning, saying it was caused by a type of nerve agent known as Novichok which was developed in the Soviet Union.

Putin wished Skripal 'good health' during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today. But he added: 'God grant him good health... If a military-grade poison had been used, the man would have died on the spot. Thank God he recovered and that he left (hospital).'

Putin then accused Britain of failing to respond to the Kremlin's offer of help with the investigation. 'We have several times offered our British partners any necessary assistance in the investigation (of the poisoning). So far we have received no response. Our offer remains open,' he said.

Mr Skripal, who nearly died after being exposed to the deadly nerve agent novichok, was discharged earlier this week and was whisked to an undisclosed location.

His daughter Yulia, who was also poisoned and left gravely ill, left hospital last month.

Today, Russia's ambassador to the UK stepped up demands to be allowed to see the pair, suggesting they may be being detained by the British state.

Alexander Yakovenko said the pair were 'isolated', adding: 'You can call it kidnap.'

He welcomed the announcement that former spy Mr Skripal had been discharged from hospital. But Mr Yakovenko has claimed the UK is violating international law by not granting access to the Skripals.

The 1963 Vienna Convention gives consular officials access rights if one of their nationals is in prison, custody or detention.

SOURCE 

********************************

School Shooter Found Carrying Communist Symbol

Details about the alleged perpetrator of Friday’s school shooting are beginning to emerge, and they seem to dismantle leftist narratives about gun violence.

At least nine people were killed during an attack at Santa Fe High School in Texas. Authorities have confirmed that part of the criminal’s plot involved makeshift bombs most likely constructed from pressure cookers, and at least one armed police officer engaged the shooter at the school.

That suspected criminal has now been taken into custody and revealed as a 17-year-old student. As journalists poured over the alleged shooter’s social media accounts, they found something chilling.

It appears that the shooter proudly wore a piece of pro-Communist propaganda on his clothing as he carried out the attack.

Photos and descriptions from the accused criminal’s Facebook page show an unmistakable Soviet “hammer and sickle” pin placed prominently on the lapel of his jacket — the same jacket that witnesses said he wore during the rampage.

The “hammer and sickle” is the exact same symbol used by many far-left anti-Trump activists, including “Antifa.”

Metro UK newspaper published screenshots of the suspect’s account and showed a red Socialist star with the hammer and sickle. The student’s own description confirmed what the pin meant. “Duster Hammer and Sickle = Rebellion,” he wrote.

The star pin appeared to be identical or similar to items available from MarxistBooks.com and other pro-socialist propaganda outlets.

More recently, the symbol has become the de facto icon of radical anti-Trump protesters. There are numerous examples of liberal protesters waving the hammer and sickle flag or using the iconography on banners protesting the president and conservatism.

It appears that wearing the trench coat with its pro-socialist propaganda was common for the alleged shooter.

“Dustin Severin, a 17-year-old student, told local NBC affiliate KPRC that he saw (the shooter) in the hallway shortly before the bullets started flying — and that he was wearing his usual outfit,” reported NBC.

“He wears a trench coat every day, and it’s like 90 degrees out here,” the witness said.

The jacket also had other pins, including a rising sun that symbolizes “kamikaze tactics,” and Baphomet, an idol of the Occult that is associated with evil.

More details about the shooter and this horrible crime will emerge over the coming days. What is already clear, however, is that this was a disturbed person bent on carrying out harm … and the liberal media’s narratives about conservatives being to blame for these crimes just does not hold water.

SOURCE 

*****************************

My Country or My Tribe?

The real divide in America? The Right believes the Left is wrong. The Left believes the Right is evil.

“Tribalism, it’s always worth remembering, is not one aspect of human experience. It’s the default human experience.” —columnist Andrew Sullivan in 2017

If one were to believe much of the Leftmedia’s take, America was a reasonable nation until Donald Trump was elected. Yet the tribalism we now call identity politics has been nurtured for decades, engendered by the change from one simple idea to another: a nation once urged to embrace assimilation in all its “melting pot” permutations became one where “celebrating our differences” was deemed the more enlightened approach.

It was a total fraud.

One that is reaching epic proportions. Did we really have a presidential candidate willing to completely dismiss millions of Americans as “deplorables” simply because they disagreed with her political philosophy, and/or disliked her personally? How do Hillary Clinton, her media allies and her legions of supporters account for the fact that many of those same deplorables voted for Barack Obama?

“Trump ran and won as, among other things, a white racial demagogue who mocked and insulted minorities on his way to the White House; while the left, as it has grown more diverse, has become accustomed to periodic spasms of hostility and mutual recrimination among its various minority groups and their white allies,” asserts columnist Paul MacDougald.

Really? A majority of Trump voters embrace racial demagoguery? And the Left’s understanding of diversity consists of sub-tribes jockeying for primacy, largely based on which one can elicit the most guilt from all the others?

Such clich├ęd cynicism, and the unending torrent of political correctness needed to sustain it, was as much a driver of Trump’s victory as anything else. And adding to leftist despair is the reality that Trump’s coarseness — seen as the antidote to political correctness — was not a bug but a feature of his success.

The real divide in America? The Right believes the Left is wrong. The Left believes the Right is evil.

Thus, leftists believe it is their sacred duty to impose their beliefs on the nation whether it wants them or not. And because of that sacredness, executive orders, court decisions, bureaucratic fiats and everything else that can be used to thwart the constitutional order is perfectly acceptable — when leftists do it.

Thus, a Supreme Court that usurps states’ rights and changes the 5,000-year-old definition of marriage is to be applauded. The same Court upholding an individual’s right to keep and bear arms? A travesty of justice. Barack Obama implementing DACA by executive order? Enlightened. Donald Trump demanding Congress decide the issue? Anti-immigrant bigotry.

Nor is the divide simply about differing worldviews. Many progressives themselves once had traditional beliefs regarding subjects like marriage and gender. But since they’ve “evolved,” every American must follow suit — within a progressive-defined timeline. Those who don’t? As contemptible as those who resist completely.

Imposing arbitrary timelines on societal change, no matter how worthy, virtually guarantees a tribalist response. Nonetheless, the Left remains obsessed with pushing the envelope. “Is Your Script Gender-Balanced? Try This Test” states a New York Times headline. It speaks to Hollywood screenwriter Christina Hodson’s development of gender analysis software that keeps track of how many characters are male and female, how many lines are spoken by each character, and eventually, “other issues of representation, like race and ethnicity,” as the Times puts it. “It’s a tool for people to self-police and look at unconscious bias in their own work,” Hodson insists.

More like a tool to make story-telling indistinguishable from progressive virtue-signaling.

If such tribalist-inspired nonsense were limited to Hollywood scriptwriting, it would be amusing. Yet as columnist Heather MacDonald reveals, the identity politics imposed on social science and humanities courses at America’s colleges is bleeding over into the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), now seen as insufficiently “diverse.”

How does one engender sufficient levels of diversity? By eliminating meritocracy. “Medical school administrators urge admissions committees to overlook the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores of black and Hispanic student applicants and employ ‘holistic review’ in order to engineer a diverse class,” MacDonald explains.

Will Americans countenance a nation where ideological imperatives for a movie script become indistinguishable from those for an operating room?

“When civil rights shifted from punishing mandatory segregation to punishing the lack of integration, it ceased to be a movement pursuing freedom and instead became a totalitarian movement,” asserts columnist Daniel Greenfield.

That totalitarian movement has pushed millions of well-meaning Americans into tribalist enclaves, where safety becomes more important than freedom of expression. And that retreat is often justified by what many Americans perceive is a double-standard with regard to accountability. Did the Trump campaign collude with the Russians, or is a Ruling Class long used to getting its way seeking to nullify the 2016 election? Are we an exceptional nation built on an unprecedented understanding of human rights and the limits of government power, or one built on the “genocide of native people and slavery,” where the “cradle of democracy is "bulls—t,” as filmmaker Spike Lee asserts? In America today, one’s answers to such questions are more often than not determined by one’s tribal allegiance.

As Sullivan reminds us, tribalism is not necessarily a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with “unconditional pride, in our neighborhood and community; in our ethnic and social identities and their rituals; among our fellow enthusiasts,” he writes. By contrast, he warns, when it calcifies and “rivals our attachment to the nation as a whole” and “turns rival tribes into enemies” it ultimately destabilizes the nation.

Of course, Sullivan blames both sides for the divisiveness but holds the Right more accountable — or so he thinks. “One of the great attractions of tribalism is that you don’t actually have to think very much,” he asserts.

The American Right can be blamed for a great many things with regard to tribalism. But dumbing-down public schools and colleges that routinely turn out legions of weak-thinking but well-indoctrinated social justice warriors isn’t one of them.

Is there a truce to be had? Oddly enough, the most recent Supreme Court decision striking down a federal law prohibiting sports betting epitomizes the “live and let live” federalism the Founding Fathers were prescient enough to make an integral part of governing documents. Yet federalism is only part of the equation. “Nurturing your difference or dissent from your own group is difficult; appreciating the individuality of those in other tribes is even harder,” Sullivan explains.

Individual thinking would undoubtedly be fatal for tribalism. But if the Left’s reaction to Kanye West is any indication, tribalism in America will last as long as leftists view a heckler’s veto as a reasonable substitute for debate.

It’s not. Not by a long shot.

SOURCE 

*****************************

Wasserman Schultz Calls Five Million Americans 'Terrorists'

"The NRA is kind of just shy of a terrorist organization," declared Debbie Wasserman Schultz. "They have done everything they can to perpetuate the culture of violence that we have in our country with the spread of assault weapons across the nation." She was responding to Oliver North, the NRA's new president, who said recently of gun-controllers, "They call them activists. That's what they're calling themselves. They're not activists — this is civil terrorism." He accused them of "intimidation and harassment and lawbreaking."

North has a point, especially in light of the recent hate-filled boycott campaign against the NRA and the ignorant political pawns marching against our constitutional rights.

But we want to rebut Wasserman Schultz's gross slander more specifically. The nearly 150-year-old NRA is made up of roughly five million Americans who love our Constitution and stand in particular for the Second Amendment — the right that secures all the others. Those Americans commit crimes at a far lower rate than the general population. In fact, as a subset, concealed-carry permit holders are more law-abiding than the police. No NRA member has ever perpetrated a mass murder, though an NRA instructor did stop the one in Texas last year. When the annual NRA convention comes to any city, that city's crime rate drops. The NRA spends millions instructing Americans of all ages how to responsibly handle firearms, both for recreational purpose and self-defense. That reduces crime.

By contrast, most crime in America — and particularly gun crime — is committed on urban poverty plantations that Democrats have run for decades. That crime is not committed with what Democrats have misnamed "assault weapons," either, but by illegally owned handguns often wielded by drug dealers and gangs. Democrats perpetuate the culture of death through their rabid support of abortion. When political violence is committed, it's usually against Republicans. And as for actual terrorists, well, Democrat Barack Obama funded it with billions of dollars.

"It's kind of like a spoiled child stamping their feet on the ground, insisting that something right in front of their face isn't true," Wasserman Schultz said. Yes. Yes it is. But it's worse than that. Her hateful slander of law-abiding Americans is utterly contemptible.

SOURCE 


************************************

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

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

***************************