Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Eradicate Poverty? We Already Know How
Want to help the poor? Champion free enterprise. That flouts the conventional wisdom — at least as it’s presented by many politicians and “mainstream” media outlets. They would have us believe that free enterprise (or to use their preferred bogeyman, capitalism) exacerbates poverty. In fact, they think we can’t help the poor without a heavy dose of socialism.

But the facts aren’t on their side. They have the equation exactly backwards. What alleviates poverty isn’t so much government doing something. It’s government getting out of the way.

“Democratic capitalism has done more to pull people out of poverty than any other system in the history of humanity,” best-selling author Arthur Brooks says in a recent video for the Daily Signal.

He recalls the stark pictures found in National Geographic magazine in the early 1970s, illustrating the famine that was killing hundreds of thousands of people in east Africa. Seeing these poor children with distended bellies and flies on their faces was heartbreaking, but the message, Mr. Brooks recalls, was that nothing could be done.

“Even as a little kid, I knew the charity wasn’t going to get it done,” says Mr. Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute. “It was a hopeless feeling.”

So one would hardly expect conditions to have improved for the world’s poor in the decades since then. And yet, unbeknownst to most people, they have.

Some 70 percent of Americans think that hunger has gotten worse since 1970. But it’s not true: 80 percent of starvational poverty has been eradicated in the last 50 years. Poverty still exists, to be sure, but has been substantially reduced since Mr. Brooks saw those searing images in National Geographic.

“Since 1970, the percentage of the world’s population living on the equivalent of less than a dollar a day has fallen by more than 80 percent,” he wrote in a 2012 Washington Post article. “Hundreds of millions of people have been pulled out of grinding deprivation.”

Can we thank U.S. foreign aid, or some well-crafted U.N. development project? Those are the remedies usually touted by pundits and politicians.

Nope. It was free trade.

In China, for example, some 400 million were pulled out of absolute poverty between 1981 and 2001, thanks to free trade and foreign investment. People can rail all they want about globalization, but it’s made a huge difference in the lives of poor people who would otherwise languish and die.

At The Heritage Foundation, we’ve been documenting the effect of free enterprise for years with our Index of Economic Freedom. This annual guide takes a hard look at the economic conditions in every country around the globe, and the evidence is unambiguous: The freer the country, the more prosperous it is.

Per-capita incomes are much higher in nations that are economically freer. Economies rated “free” or “mostly free” in the 2019 Index enjoy incomes more than twice the average levels in all other countries — and more than six times higher than the incomes of people living in economies rated as “repressed,” such as Cuba or Venezuela.

So how do we help the poor today? Not by yielding to the demands from many on the left who insist we need more government. We alleviate poverty by explaining who the real hero is: free enterprise. We highlight its successes and show that poverty persists where it is denied.

“This is not about business,” Mr. Brooks adds. “This is not about ideology. This is about human lives — real people, real faces, real stories. These are the people that we need to fight for today. And we know how to get it done.”



The left’s projection is on display over the Census citizenship question

By Bill Wilson

Like clockwork, the lunatic left mouthpiece at the Washington Post, Dana Milbank, jumped on the Supreme Court hearing over the upcoming Census like a dog to the Pavlovian bone. The citizenship question has been used in all but three Censuses in modern history. But according to Milbank, the entire intention of the Trump administration’s move to include a question on the Census about citizenship is nothing more than a nefarious stab to “preserve white power.”

Now, I doubt anyone has missed the point that in today’s America anything the radical left does not like is immediately labeled “racist,” or an expression of “white privilege.” It is a tar used to smear anyone not toeing their Maoist line. Their Cultural Revolution aims to destroy history, to alter reality, to remove all opposition and condemn any resistance to their rule. It is the ultimate lie, of course. But in the Through the Looking Glass world the radical Left is constructing, there is no room for dissent, honest or otherwise. Do as you are told or face the wrath of the mob.

The sad truth is there is some racism in this exercise but not what Milbank and his ilk want you to believe. There is overt racism from the Left. They use race like a weapon and have not a care in the world for the damage they do to the very people they purport to support. Let’s take a quick look.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development wants to institute a rule that people in public housing be citizens. Why? Because they project that 40 percent of the public housing units have illegal aliens in them. Meanwhile, we have a homelessness crisis — disproportionately affecting African-Americans — while there is no housing available. Well, if the illegals were kicked out, that would nearly double the number of housing units available for Americans. Now, that Mr. Milbank, is racism. You want to deny poor African-Americans housing so you can give them to illegal aliens.

Want more? Data now reflects the impact of Trump administration policies on illegals. While our border is under attack, the overall presence of illegal aliens is down. And what has that done? Made jobs available to millions of unemployed African-Americans, including teenagers who need that first job. And, with the reduction of the artificial lower end of the labor pool, the price of labor — wages — have been rising. Now, everyone can understand why the Open Borders crowd and their plutocrat fan-club favor flooding the labor market to reduce wages. But why, Mr. Milbank, do you and your leftist friends want fewer jobs for African-Americans and lower wages for the jobs they do get?

One of the oldest tricks in the propaganda book is to accuse your enemy of your own greatest crime. That is what we are seeing from Milbank and the radical left. The most egregious example of this was Hillary Clinton contending that Donald Trump was guilty but could never be indicted. Really? From her? That, from one of the most criminally inclined politicians in American history? No indictment for breaking the law on her keeping classified emails on a private email server, when it was obvious to even her pets at the FBI that she is guilty as sin. No indictment over the land scam called Whitewater. No indictment — no accountability whatsoever — for letting American diplomats get butchered in Libya after people begged her for more security. The list of highly questionable actions where Hillary Clinton was “let off the hook” is too long to list here but check it out. From the Uranium One controversy, to selling seats on trade missions to the outright scam that was the Clinton Foundation, for her to try to say that somehow Donald Trump is privileged and poor Hillary is just an everyday American is ridiculous to the extreme.

In a few weeks we will know if the Supreme Court allows the Trump administration to ask the simple question about citizenship. Hopefully reason will prevail and they will go forward. And should that be the case, get ready for an avalanche of denunciations from the Milbank types. But remember, virtually everything they charge, allege or slur against Trump is actually their own sins. They just hope the people won’t notice.



Medicare Trustees Report Reality-Checks Bernie Sanders’ Socialist Delusions

Medicare is basically broke already

The report once again demonstrates Medicare’s shaky financial standing, as the retirement of 10,000 Baby Boomers every day continues to tax the program’s limited resources.

Many of the left’s policy proposals come with the same design flaw: While sounding great on paper, they have little chance of working in practice. Monday brought one such type of reality check to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and supporters of single-payer health care, in the form of the annual Medicare trustees report.

The report once again demonstrates Medicare’s shaky financial standing, as the retirement of 10,000 Baby Boomers every day continues to tax the program’s limited resources. So why would Sanders and Democrats raid this precariously funded program to finance their government takeover of health care?

Medicare’s Ruinous Finances

Before even dissecting the report itself, one major caveat worth noting: The trustees report assumes that many of the Medicare payment reductions, and tax increases, included in Obamacare can be used “both” to “save Medicare” and fund Obamacare. In practice, however, sheer common sense suggests the impossibility of this scenario—as not even the federal government can spend the same dollars twice.

The last trustees report prior to these Obamacare gimmicks, in 2009, predicted that the Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) Trust Fund would become insolvent in 2017—two years ago. To put it another way, under a more accurate accounting mechanism, Medicare has already become functionally insolvent. Obamacare’s accounting gimmicks just allowed politicians (including President Trump) to continue to ignore Medicare’s funding shortfalls, thus making them worse by failing to act.

Even despite the double-counting created by Obamacare, the Part A Trust Fund faces significant obstacles. Monday’s report reveals that the trust fund suffered a $1.6 billion loss in 2018. This loss comes on the heels of a total of $132.2 billion in trust fund deficits from 2008 through 2015, as payroll tax revenues dropped dramatically during the Great Recession.

Worse yet, the trustees report that trust fund deficits will continue forever. Deficits will continue to rise, and by 2026—within the decade—the Trust Fund will become insolvent, and unable to pay all of its bills.

Replacing One Decrepit Program with an Even Worse One
Another little-noticed element of the report also hints at the problems single-payer supporters face. For the third straight year, the trustees issued an “excess general revenue Medicare funding,” further illustrating the program’s questionable finances.

In 2003, House conservatives included this mechanism in the Medicare Modernization Act, which requires the trustees to make an annual assessment of the program’s funding. If general revenues—as opposed to the payroll tax revenues that largely cover the costs of the Part A program—are projected to exceed 45 percent of total program outlays, this provision seeks to prompt a debate about Medicare’s long-term funding.

Compare this provision, which triggers whenever general revenues (i.e., those not specifically dedicated to Medicare) approach half of total program spending, with single payer. As these pages have previously noted, here’s what Section 701(d) both the House and Senate single payer bills would do to Medicare:

(d) TRANSFER OF FUNDS.—Any amounts remaining in the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund under section 1817 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i) or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund under section 1841 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395t) after the payment of claims for items and services furnished under title XVIII of such Act have been completed, shall be transferred into the Universal Medicare Trust Fund under this section.

Both bills would liquidate both of the current Medicare trust funds—and abolish the current Medicare program—to pay for the new single-payer plan. But how do Democrats propose to pay for the rest of the estimated $32 trillion cost of their program? Sanders referenced a list of potential tax increases (not drafted as legislative language), but the House sponsors didn’t even bother to go that far.

In sum, single-payer supporters would take a program on shaky financial footing, and replace it with a program that Democrats have little idea how to fund. Apart from the fact that the American people can’t afford this “reform”—how much of that $32 trillion tax increase would you like to pay?—American seniors certainly can’t either.



Congress must find conservative solution to the entitlement crisis

Since Democrats took control of the House, there has been no shortage of bad legislation that has either been pushed through the lower chamber or advocated by progressives. Democrats were set to consider yet another “caps deal” to bust its own spending maximums set under the Budget Control Act. The Democratic leadership has pulled it from the schedule as progressives and moderates in the party disagree on spending levels. Progressives, of course, want more spending on domestic programs.

These caps only have to do with discretionary spending, excluding most of our federal entitlement programs. Make no mistake though because Democrats want to increase spending on those as well. However, lest the United States face a fiscal collision second to no other in the history of the world, we must instead reform, rather than grow, our federal entitlement programs so that we shrink our biggest federal spending programs.

The left continues to insist, with measures like Medicare for All and the Social Security 2100 Act, that it is a good idea to expand these already near bankrupt programs. Fortunately, conservatives have a plethora of ideas on the table. They would make the step of reforming entitlements, and decreasing mandatory outlays as a result, a reality. From simply decoupling Social Security from Medicare Part A benefits for retirees or implementing a per capita cap on Medicaid spending to a full Swiss style debt break or even a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution, the scope of possible reforms is broad.

All that needs to happen is for our elected officials in Washington to put their selfishly motivated political calculations aside and do what is best and what is required to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all  foreign and domestic enemies. Each member of Congress swore to do this when he or she entered our legislative body, and many have taken this oath to serve our country multiple times.

Notably, Republicans across the country campaign in election after election on fiscal responsibility. Many Republicans in state and local governments act on their promises and contribute to balanced budgets that states and municipalities are bound to follow. However, this is not the case for others. There is nothing fiscally responsible about running away from the problem at hand and, by and large, this is what Republicans, save for a few true budget hawk conservatives, continue to do in Washington.

Sometimes, the Republican leadership and rank and file members will appear interested in the issue of fiscal responsibility while in office, paying lip service to the issue or holding a vote. However, supporting a show vote every once in a blue moon on a weak balanced budget amendment that everybody knows is doomed to fail or making the occasional floor speech about our broken budgeting process is also not enough to tackle this.

Votes such as the one on the balanced budget amendment held by the Republican leadership last April following shortly after members were coerced into passing a massive omnibus spending bill are an affront to Americans who are deceived by what their elected officials choose to send in email updates. These members know that real action is what matters, but they do not want to deal with the hardship that fighting for something they may believe in requires. But no matter what they do, the facts of the case are clear and the situation is only going to get worse.

Our $22 trillion debt is entirely unsustainable. It has more than tripled in the past decade and a half alone with no signs of slowing down. It drags down our economy and dampens the positive effects of tax reform and deregulation. It is the single greatest national security threat our country faces today. Whether the solution is seeking reforms to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, ObamaCare, welfare, or any number of other drivers of our debt, inaction is simply not an option. There is no excuse for more inaction by Congress, and especially by Republicans, on reforming entitlements and getting mandatory spending on a sustainable path.

Fiscal responsibility means prioritizing our national finances, paid for by taxpaying citizens, over the selfish motives of public officials. In Congress, this may seem a tall order, but it must be done. Members should look to champions of entitlement reform ideas for guidance to see it through.



Powey Synagogue Shooter Left Manifesto With Hate Statement About Trump: a “Zionist, Anti-White, Traitorous, C*cksucker”

One women died and several injured  in shooting on Saturday at a San Diego synagogue. Police have one man in custody. The shooting took place exactly six months after the Tree of Life Shooting in Pittsburgh.

One of the victims is the synagogue’s Rabbi, Yisorel Goldstein, who founded the Chabad center in 1986.

Police said the killer left a manifesto. Authorities are also examining his social media accounts.

According to reports the manifesto was posted on Pastebin on Saturday.



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, April 29, 2019

3 of the Most Telling Failures of Socialism

Some conservatives may be discouraged by the latest surveys confirming that nearly one-half of millennials are receptive to living under socialism and regard capitalism as a captive of greed. In fact, they present us with a golden opportunity to educate all Americans about the manifold failures of socialism and the miraculous advances the world has made under free enterprise.

For example, the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson revealed at a Heritage Foundation event that between 2000 and 2012, “the rate of absolute poverty in the world fell by 50%.” That is, “the poor in the world are getting rich at a rate that is absolutely unparalleled in all of human history.”

Heritage’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom reported that the greatest advances came in African and Asian countries (such as Botswana and Taiwan) that limited rather than expanded the role of government. More than 100 countries, many of them with less developed or emerging economies, showed marked advances in economic growth and individual prosperity.

Such good news is seldom reported by the mainstream media, Peterson said, because of the technological revolution that’s occurring in every form of media. All the broadcast networks, leading newspapers, and magazines exist in a shrinking market with dwindling margins of profit. To attract attention they are turning to an old journalism axiom: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

The news media obsess over the latest school shooting and bloody street riot. And yet, Peterson pointed out, the rates of violent crime in the United States and in most places “have plummeted in the last 50 years.”

The U.S. is now safer than it has been since the early 1960s, but the reporting of violent crime in America has materially increased as the mainstream media, in pursuit of ratings and revenue, have highlighted the dark side of society.

Conservatives must step forward to tell the truth about capitalism: the better life it has brought to billions of people, the diversity and freedom of choice it celebrates, the individual responsibility it encourages, the continuing miracle of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” its rejection of government planning that always leads to dictatorship.

Which brings us to the urgent task of exposing the chimera that socialism is just another political system. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and their fellow socialists carefully omit any mention of the principles laid down by Karl Marx, the founding father of Socialism, such as the abolition of private property and the centralization of the means of production and of decision-making. But make no mistake: There are radical socialists waiting in the wings to promote these extreme initiatives.

It’s up to us to tell the truth. Socialists promise a classless society but create the prison camps of the Gulag and the Isle of Pines. They assure peace but engage in wars of national liberation. They abolish private property but depend upon the underground economy. They stamp out religion but worship Big Brother. They bring down corrupt dictators but institute a dictatorship of the Party.

Here are some of the most telling failures of socialism:

One, socialism has never succeeded anywhere, including the Marxism-Leninism of the Soviet Union, the National Socialism of Nazi Germany, the Maoism of Communist China, the Chavez-Maduro socialism of Venezuela. It has never come close to anywhere near Marx’s ideal of a classless society.

Two, Marx has been wrong about nearly everything he predicted. The nation-state has not withered away. Capitalism didn’t break down as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Workers haven’t become revolutionaries but capitalists. The middle class hasn’t disappeared; indeed, it has expanded exponentially around the world (see the above about the sharp decline in global poverty). Marx’s attempt to use Hegel to create a “scientific socialism” has been an abject failure.

Three, socialism denies the existence of an essential human trait—human nature. Marx borrowed from the Enlightenment to declare that human nature was malleable, not constant. Christian theology with its idea of a fixed God-given nature infuriated Marx.

The socialist state established by Lenin tried for seven decades to create an entirely new human being—Soviet Man. In December 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev gave up trying and dissolved the world’s most spectacular failure in human engineering.

Four, socialism depends not upon the will of the people but on the dictatorship of the Party to remain in power. In “The God That Failed,” six famous Western intellectuals describe their journey into socialism and their exit when they encountered the gigantic gap between their vision of a socialist utopia and the totalitarian reality of the socialist state.

After visiting the Soviet Union, the French Nobel Laureate writer Andre Gide said: “I doubt where in any country in the world—not even in Hitler’s Germany—have the mind and spirit ever been less free, more bent, more terrorized and indeed vassalized than in the Soviet Union.”

What price socialism? The Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang listed the “little terrors” that prevailed in China—making children of 12 subject to capital punishment, sending women to work in underground coal mines, harassing workers during their lunchtime with threats of prison if they were late returning to work. A Soviet defector said of the perpetual surveillance: “We lived in a world swarming with invisible eyes and ears.”

Given the ignorance of so many of our fellow, especially young, Americans, telling the truth about socialism has become an imperative. If we do not, Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and their fellow travelers will fill the vacuum with their misleading rhetoric. This is the truth about socialism: It is a pseudo-religion founded in pseudo-science and enforced by political tyranny.



Islamist Terrorism Remains the World’s Greatest Threat to Peace

After the horrific mass murder of 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, there was widespread coverage and a torrent of mainstream news networks contemplating the threat of white supremacy.

These conversations, completely reasonable and necessary in the face of violent attacks from a racist gunman, soon began deteriorating into politically motivated and specious claims contending that “white supremacy” had become the predominant  terror threat in the world.

Well, the coordinated bomb blasts aimed at Christian worshippers on Easter Sunday, which killed at least 290 people and injured hundreds more, demonstrates the kind of meticulous planning, funding, resources, and support that is still exclusively the domain of radical Islamic terrorism.

It’s not merely that the act was planned to maximize the death toll, but that it is a continuation of long-standing efforts by Islamists to destroy the Christian communities left in Asia.

Those who kill in the name of Islam are part of a worldwide, historic, ideological, and political movement that includes, to various degrees and various reasons, radicalized men and women from both great factions of the faith.

Then again, terrorist groups—as well as their recruitment and propaganda outfits—are often functioning in Islamic regimes, which either actively sustain terror, tolerate these groups, or pay them off to engage in terrorism elsewhere.

The Christians who remain in the Islamic world are often oppressed in other ways. In a number of these nations, publicly praying in any faith but Islam is forbidden and, in many, converting to Christianity is still punishable by death.

“Islamic extremism remains the global, dominant driver of persecution, responsible for initiating oppression and conflict in 35 of the 50 countries on the list,” according to Open Doors, a worldwide Christian group.

The idea that a similar threat exists in the West is risible. There’s not a single Western country that doesn’t afford Muslim citizens the same rights it does as all other citizens. No government on Earth supports white supremacy.

There is no funding infrastructure for those who support white power. There is no Christian or Jewish denomination, or any notable political factions, in those nations that imbue white supremacy with any theological or ideological legitimacy. There is no white supremacist government trying to obtain nuclear weapons, and none sending its terrorists to other countries. In the world’s free nations, where any political party can participate in the process, the power of racist groups is minimal.

Yet the American left continues to downplay the danger, first by arguing that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, and then by lumping every white-skinned person who commits a terrorist act into one imaginary coherent political movement to contrast against it.

It’s true that Americans have been spared much Islamic terror since 2002—a year that, curiously, nearly every graph media uses to measure domestic terrorism starts—but only because we’ve spent billions of dollars each year and immense resources, both in lives and treasure, keeping it out of the country and fighting it abroad.

Another reason the majority of Americans might not comprehend Islamic radicalism’s reach is the skewed intensity of the media coverage. Political correctness and a chilling fear of being labeled “Islamophobic” makes it difficult to honestly report on terrorism around the world.

In addition to the massacre this Easter in Sri Lanka, at least 200 Christian civilians have been murdered in Africa by Islamic militants thus far in 2019—many of them killed by machete, some by bombings. Many more Christians have been murdered during the past calendar year.

In November 2018, for example, 42 people were slaughtered in an attack on a Catholic mission in the Central African Republic. In October, 55 Christians were murdered by a group of Islamists in Nigeria. Another 29 were killed when 10 churches were burned down in Ethiopia last summer. Another seven Coptic Christians were gunned down in Egypt—and others spared only because of the good work of police.

There are pockets of racists in the world, and individuals who engage in terrible acts of violence against innocent people. These are dangerous men, capable of doing tremendous damage. But no group threatens global peace the same way that political Islam does. None has its reach or material and theological support. None has created more mayhem and death in the world since the end of the Cold War. The Sri Lankan massacre is just another harrowing reminder.



Candace Owens Attacks Joe Biden For Race Baiting

Candace Owens sent out a “wake up” call slamming Joe Biden’s race-baiting 2020 presidential campaign announcement.

“So Joe Biden jumps into the race claiming that white supremacy made him realize our nation was at stake,” the Turning Point USA communications director tweeted on Thursday in response to Biden’s third attempt to run for president.

BLACK AMERICA, WAKE UP! I am SICK to my stomach that they are going to try to use us AGAIN to gain power.

Biden launched his 2020 bid with a video message Thursday that took a shot at President Trump, slamming him for his August 2017 comments after the Charlottesville, Virginia rallies.

“He said there were ‘very fine people on both sides.’ Very fine people on both sides?” Biden said in the video. “With those words, the President of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate, and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had seen in my lifetime.”

Owens also took aim at Biden in another tweet, reminding him that “Trump just reversed your white supremacy” with the federal prison reform bill, known as the First Step Act, which the president signed into law in December.

“The man who WROTE the crime bill of 94 which led to the mass incarceration of black men is now running because he’s worried about white supremacy,” Owens mocked the Democrat, referring to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1993, Biden warned of “predators on our streets” who were “beyond the pale” in a speech on the Senate floor a day before the vote on the controversial bill.

His central role in shaping and shepherding the tough-on-crime bill will likely face scrutiny in a Democratic primary should he run for president in 2020. His 1993 comments, which were in line with the broad political consensus to tackling crime at the time, are at odds with a new bipartisan coalition of activists and lawmakers who are trying to undo what they say is a legacy of mass incarceration fostered by that era.

Many on Twitter applauded Owens’ fierce attack on Biden right out of the starting gate.

How long has Joe been around. All of a sudden he cares about (or talks about) white supremacy, as if it is a new thing (if it actually existed). How dumb are these democrats?? Total fish brains. Nobody should trust a person who “just now” cares about stupid talking points.



The ‘Empire’ Crew Want Jussie Smollett Rehired: “He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity.”

You can't makes stuff like this up

At this point, everyone knows Jussie Smollett staged his own hate crime attack for publicity purposes. It still amazes me that he can stand here with a straight face and tell us he was attacked. There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence against him. It’s like he thinks we’re all stupid or something.

Some of his former co-stars on “Empire” are demanding Fox to rehire him, even though he’s a bloody liar who will only draw bad publicity for the show.

“Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of Empire,” the Oscar nominees and the rest of the portrayers of the Lyon clan wrote in an April 19 letter obtained by Deadline that was sent to Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment chair Dana Walden, Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn, Daniels, Empire co-creator Danny Strong and various executive producers on the series.

Reiterating the support and intentions Henson briefly expressed on April 4 on The View, the correspondence signed by Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe and Nicole Ari Parker among others adds, “We understand the past months have been difficult to process—sometimes the headlines brought more confusion than clarity, yet we now have a conclusion to this ordeal.”

“Throughout Empire’s five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character,” the letter continued. “He is kind. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity.”

“He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped,” the letter continued. “We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.”

“It’s clearer every day that the extreme political climate in our country has only made our system of justice and the court of public opinion more unjust,” the letter added.



Leftist violence in Britain too

A Colchester election candidate is speaking out after she was punched and sworn at in what her colleagues believe was a politically motivated assault.

Conservative Carla Hales was out canvassing when she felt three punches in her side – causing injuries which required x-rays on her ribs and back.

The 46-year-old is standing for the seat of New Town and Christchurch in the Colchester Borough Council elections on May 2.

The music teacher, who is now recovering, was on the campaign trial in Bourne Road when she was attacked on Wednesday afternoon.

“I've been a victim of verbal abuse when knocking on people's doors before,” she said. “But I never would have expected anything like this.

“I was taking some pictures for social media in Bourne Mill – I didn't hear anyone coming up behind me, but then suddenly I felt three quick punches to my side.”

She said she was then sworn at and the perpetrator shouted an offensive comment about her political party.

Despite going to hospital and having x-rays on her back and ribs – showing heavy bruising – Mrs Hales was back at work the next day.

“I needed to get away from it all,” she added. “I promised a school I would do some music lessons for the kids and I wasn't going to turn back on it.

“On Saturday I will be back out canvassing – my husband John has been fantastic support and I've received lots of messages from the public asking to join me.”



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, April 28, 2019

Headline of the week


They never give up.  They live permanently in a fantasy world. They are so discontented with the real world that they create their own.  The old slogan of the German Left (including Adolf) was "Alles muss anders sein".  After thinking about it for many years off and on, I think I have finally got an exact translation of that:  "Everything has got to be different".  What unhappy souls they are!.


Jeff Jacoby has been conned

I refer to his column "Mueller's report means impeachment won't happen".  Like all sane commentors, he concludes that the Mueller report exonerates Trump from the collusion with Russia that he was accused of.  The whole accusation was a Democrat fantasy.

Jacoby has however gone through the details of the report and noted the many alleged statements by Trump's staff that cast Trump in a bad light -- including the quite absurd allegation that Trump's staff frequently disobeyed him and thus saved him from grave errors. Mr Trump has furiously denied that anybody disobeyed him and the idea that a man famous for saying "You're fired" would have tolerated disobedience for one minute is laughable.

In addition to that lulu, there were many descriptions of Trump acting in an immature way.  And Jacoby appears to believe them all and retails them in his post.

His naivety is extreme.  He overlooks what psychologists call the demand characteristics of the situation.  When Trump staffers were asked for details of what their boss said and did, what do you think would be going through their minds? 

They would be thinking that they are in a very ticklish situation.  Given the torrent of accusations against him, it seemed possible that their boss may be impeached and that they might be thrown to the wolves with him.  So to save their skins they had to pretend that they were among his critics.  But they could not go to the the point of outright lies in case he survived.  So they embroidered the truth, probably by "misremembering" much.

And given the chronic and quite improper use of leading questions by the Mueller team, it would at all times have been clear what was wanted from them.  So they did the best they could to give what was wanted.

And it is not even clear that they said what Mueller said they said.  There would have been many ways in which the Mueller team  might have done a bit of embroidering too, probably by careful omissions.

So in believing what was almost certainly a farrago of nonsense, Jacoby has done himself considerable discredit.


Trump celebrates as economy grows 3.2 per cent in first three months of 2019, with country on track for 10 YEARS of expansion by July

The US economy got off to a roaring start in 2019, breezing past President Donald Trump's extended government shutdown and wiping away fears of a slowdown in growth, at least for now, the government reported Friday.

The unexpected surge was welcome news for Trump, whose record five-week shutdown rattled the economy in December and January during a battle with Democrats over funding for a border wall.

It was also the hottest first-quarter performance in four years, but the growth estimate will be revised in May and June as more data come in.

And the rosy numbers nevertheless came with important signs of weakness -- the data were lifted by a decline in imports and a buildup in business inventories.

Trump reveled in the good news:  'Just out: Real GDP for First Quarter grew 3.2% at an annual rate. This is far above expectations or projections,' Trump said on Twitter.

And he told reporters earlier that the US is outstripping other countries. 'We're number-one economy right now in the world and it's not even close.'

However, economists warn that some of the factors that contributed to growth in the early part of the year, will become a drag in the coming months.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, called the report a 'head fake.' 'This is one of the weakest 3% growth quarters I have ever seen,' she said in a research note. 'Underlying momentum in the domestic economy was particularly weak.'

The report said growth was driven by a bump in spending by state and local governments, faster inventory building by companies and some recovery in home sales.

And the expansion could have been even stronger without the government shutdown because dip in spending by government workers likely shaved 0.3 percentage points off growth in the quarter, according to the report.

But Swonk said the economy now will have to 'deplete inventories that have been built up for the better part of a year. Our forecast holds for a slowdown in 2019.'

The White House consistently has rejected concerns about a slowdown amid signs of declining retail sales and manufacturing, and remained steadfast in its predictions that the boost from tax cuts would continue to drive growth -- despite calling on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates to help spur the economy.

As the broad field of Democratic presidential candidates begin honing their messages ahead of next year's elections, resilient US growth could offer Trump some protection from criticism of his economic stewardship.

But there are signs for concern in the data.

Consumer spending slowed sharply from the final quarter of 2018, weighed down by a 5.3 percent drop in purchases of durable goods like light trucks, electronics and metals -- the biggest tumble in more than nine years.

Corporate investments -- a principal White House argument in favor of the 2017 tax cuts -- slowed as well, with firms buying less agricultural machinery amid a protracted trade war with China and less office furniture.

In addition, the government shutdown immobilized major federal services on which much of the economy depended, such as oil drilling permits, food inspection and ice-breaking at commercial ports.

Spending by the federal government was unchanged as a result but state and local government outlays rose 3.9 percent, the largest increase in three years, as states and cities spent more on building highways and streets.

Imports, which subtract from GDP growth, also fell by the largest amount in almost 10 years, as Americans bought fewer foreign cars and took fewer vacations.

Wall Street was largely unmoved by the numbers, with the major indices trading lower toward 1400 GMT on a batch of mixed earnings reports. 



Impeaching Trump Will Only Help Him
President Trump has called the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt” nearly two hundred times on social media alone. Well, the special counsel concluded he was not a witch. After carefully scrutinizing any links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller definitively declared “the investigation did not establish that the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” He didn’t do it.

Still, several leading Democrats have called for Trump’s impeachment on obstruction-of-justice charges. This is absurd.

The lesson of Watergate, we are told, is that the coverup is always worse than the crime. But in Watergate, there was a crime to cover up. We now know that Trump committed no crime. There was nothing to cover up. As Mueller put it, “unlike cases in which a subject engages in obstruction of justice to cover up a crime, the evidence we obtained did not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.”

This lack of an “underlying crime” is the source of Trump’s justified outrage over the Mueller investigation. Imagine that you were accused of a crime you knew you did not commit, and a special counsel was appointed who spent nearly two years and more than $25 million investigating you. You’d be angry and frustrated. You’d want someone to stand up for you, defend your interests and stop the insanity.

For two years, Trump watched as the investigation dragged on, weighing down his presidency. He had to endure being accused of “treason” and crimes of “a size and scope probably beyond Watergate.” He listened as members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, and former intelligence officials, led Americans to believe that they had seen secret evidence showing he had colluded with Russia — evidence he knew did not exist.

Of course, he wanted the investigation to end. But he didn’t end it. He didn’t obstruct justice because nothing was obstructed. Mueller was allowed to finish his work. The White House cooperated, sharing millions of pages of documents and giving Mueller access to dozens of senior officials. The fact that Trump railed against Mueller to aides and told White House counsel Donald McGahn to fire Mueller (which McGahn did not do and Trump did not press the matter) is not evidence of obstruction; it is evidence of exasperation. The president has a right to vent in private to his staff. Remember, the only reason Mueller knew about his private exchanges with McGahn is because Trump put no restrictions on McGahn’s cooperation. The president could have asserted privilege, but declined to do so. He let McGahn spend some 30 hours with Mueller, sharing details, according to The New York Times, “that investigators would not have learned of otherwise.” This is evidence of Trump’s cooperation, not obstruction.

As a result of this cooperation, the special counsel’s report contains some embarrassing moments for the president. But it also proves that Trump was telling the truth when it came to the central question of the investigation: He did not conspire with Russia.

If Democrats want to purse impeachment nonetheless, then to quote Ronald Reagan quoting Clint Eastwood: “Go ahead, make my day.” Impeachment over anything other than a conspiracy with Russia will backfire with the American people and help ensure Trump’s reelection. First, it will fail, because two-thirds of the Senate will not vote to convict the president. Second, Trump’s supporters will see an impeachment effort as an attempted coup d'état, energizing his base ahead of the 2020 election. And third, it will be seen as partisan and unfair by persuadable voters, who will not appreciate politicians second-guessing the conclusions of an impartial investigation. Want to push Trump’s approval above 50 percent? Try to impeach him.

While Democrats debate pursuing impeachment, they are also abusing their powers to get Trump’s tax returns in the hope they will provide what the Mueller investigation did not: evidence of something incriminating. Does anyone really believe that the House Ways and Means Committee wants Trump’s returns to assess how “the IRS audits and enforces the Federal tax laws against a president”? Please. There is no legitimate legislative purpose for this request.

Both the Democrats’ attempt to misuse a 1920s law to violate Trump’s privacy and their partisan response to the Mueller report make clear that they are seeking any pretext to oust Trump. But the only thing they will succeed in doing is eliciting sympathy for an otherwise unsympathetic president.


Trump announces US withdrawal from UN arms trade treaty/b>

President Trump announced Friday that his administration is withdrawing the U.S. signature from the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, in response to concerns from gun rights activists that it could impinge on Americans’ right to bear arms

“Under my administration we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone, we will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom and that is why my administration will never ratify the U.N. trade treaty,” Trump told an audience at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Indianapolis.

“I am officially announcing today that the United States will be revoking the effect of America's signature from this badly misguided treaty, we’re taking our signature back,” he said.

Former President Barack Obama signed the treaty in 2013 and sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification. Onstage Friday, Trump signed a notice to the Senate asking it to stop the ratification process and return the treaty to the White House, “where I will dispose of it.”

The treaty seeks to regulate international trade in conventional arms, including everything from tanks to small arms, specifically looking to “prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion.”

But, while supporters of the treaty have argued that it could not infringe on Second Amendment rights, the document had long been opposed by the NRA -- who pointed to the treaty’s call for national recordkeeping and for governments to share those records, and claimed that the treaty meant that U.S. gun policy “could become the rest of the world’s business and subject to its approval, on pain of trade restrictions if it doesn’t meet ‘international norms.’”

Trump has been skeptical of both the U.N. and multilateral agreements and supported the NRA’s concerns in his speech.

“By taking these actions, we are reaffirming that American liberty is sacred and that American citizens live by American laws not by laws of foreign countries,” he said.

A spokesperson for U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in response to questions about the U.S. move, said that the treaty is "the only global instrument aimed at improving transparency and accountability in the international arms trade.

"It is a landmark achievement in the efforts to ensure responsibility in international arms transfers," the spokesperson said. "This is particularly important in present times, when we witness growing international tensions and renewed interest in expanding and modernizing arsenals."

Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate accord. It has also withdrawn from the controversial U.N. Human Rights Council and the U.N.’s educational and cultural organization, UNESCO.

In the speech to the crowd in Indianapolis, Trump presented himself as a defender of Second Amendment rights, telling NRA supporters that it “is an honor to fight by your side” and promising to defend Americans’ rights to carry guns.



Trump Digs in Against Dems' Impeachment Crusade

The president says he will fight House Democrats over their incessant subpoenas 

President Donald Trump has been fighting against Democrats seeking to impeach him since he first took the oath of office. Following the conclusion of Robert Mueller’s report, in which Trump was exonerated of any collusion conspiracy, the wind may have been taken out of the Democrats’ impeachment sails, but that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to blow. Instead they insist that Mueller’s findings demand more investigations, as if congressional Democrats will be able to find what Mueller and his team of Hillary Clinton donors did not find: that Trump committed an actual crime.

Clearly, Trump has had enough of this partisan witch hunt. So, rather than bend to the House Democrats and their incessant subpoenas, which they dubiously justify as a needed constitutional check on his executive power, Trump has decided to dig in his heels. “We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” he stated. “Look, these aren’t … impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020. They’re not going to win with the people that I see, and they’re not going to win against me. The only way they can luck out is by constantly going after me on nonsense.” He then concluded, “I say it’s enough.”

Trump is certainly correct in noting that it has been enough, and he is right in observing that all Democrats are aiming for is to take him out. That said, by digging in too much, Trump is potentially playing into their “obstruction” game plan.

Like the Mueller investigation, Democrats don’t really have anything on Trump; their aim is to get him on some procedural obstruction “crime.” Hence, the Dems’ cynical appeal to constitutional “separation of powers.” It is a purely politically calculated strategy that assumes a criminal act on the part of Trump, when there is no actual crime on which to justify their new investigation.

By continuing to peddle the myth of Trump having likely committed a crime, they can then feign concern for constitutional fealty when he balks at their demands. It is true that Congress is a coequal branch of government that has investigative and oversight powers, but that power is grossly abused when it is applied for purely partisan reasons.



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)


Friday, April 26, 2019

Seven Times Democrats Ignored Facts or Science for Political Gain

In my many debates with left-leaning people, I’ve noticed a common trend. They seem to confuse emotional arguments with factual arguments. There’s a constant harping on the need to “do something” about some issue without any empirical evidence that supports that “something.” We’re treated to lectures about acting for future generations, “the children” and “doing what’s right,” even if those things turn out to be harmful. If you ask them, they’ll tell you, and they might even believe that they’re making factual arguments, but they’re not. This is why the right is so often accused of bigotry just for having a different opinion on various issues. It’s an emotional accusation meant to silence opposition. We don’t have conversations about issues anymore. Instead of rational discussion, political debate for the left is now a series of fact-free barrages of insults and accusations in the hopes of silencing opposition rather than opening minds to different ideas. That doesn’t stop the left from making bogus and self-righteous claims of tolerance and open-mindedness.

After thinking about this issue for a while, I came up with seven key examples where the left has simply refused to acknowledge facts or science in order to advance their political agenda. There are more examples, for sure, but these are ones I feel are at the forefront right now.

7. Minimum wage increases
Across the country, states and municipalities are passing minimum wage hikes, you know, for the working people! More pay is great for the economy and all, right? Well, no, not really. It seems like places that have passed minimum wage increases have not had the success they hoped for. Seattle lost jobs and income thanks to their minimum wage increase. Restaurants in New York are cutting staff because of the state's minimum wage hike. A minimum wage increase in California is expected to cost 400,000 jobs by 2022. Higher costs of labor (thanks to wage increases) are causing Walmart to invest in robots to do various labor tasks and self-checkout machines. Despite all the examples and studies showing minimum wage hikes having a negative impact, we're still talking about it. Well, not all of us, but Democrats are—legislation for increasing the minimum wage is currently being debated in the House. The evidence for why this is a bad idea is out there in plain sight, but they don't seem to care.

6.Transgender ideology
It seems like since the Supreme Court ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in this country, the next phase of the LGBTWTF movement has been the fascistic forcing of transgender ideology down our throats. The same crowd that argued for gay rights because gay people are “born this way” were suddenly arguing for transgender rights because transgender people weren’t born the way they should have been. This grand delusion has gotten so out of hand that people who don’t deny biology are losing their rights. Parents have lost custody of their children for not supporting their desire to transition. Biological males are allowed to compete on girls' teams and use their physical dominance to crush the competition—sometimes literally. In the UK, “misgendering” someone is now criminal—as is “deadnaming.” Meanwhile, those who come out as transgender enjoy instant status as a hero. Bruce Jenner notably declared himself a woman and quickly became 2015’s Woman of the Year according to Glamour. Bradley Manning, who was convicted for leaking sensitive government information to WikiLeaks and sentenced to 35 years in prison became a hero of the left for coming out as transgender and had his sentenced commuted by Barack Obama.

Anyone with a basic understanding of biology knows you can’t change from male to female or vice-versa. But, the politicization of the issue resulted in a rapid forced acceptance of transgender ideology under the guise of civil rights. Obama turned the United States government into a powerful bully, redefining Title IX to include “gender identity” and forcing schools to allow boys to be on girls' teams and use girls' locker rooms or risk losing government funds.

Any sort of balance brought to the issue is met with resistance. According to Sex Change Regret, 20 percent of those who transition regret doing so after the fact, and 40 percent attempt suicide. The high suicide rate amongst the transgender community is falsely blamed on discrimination, and not the underlying mental illness that results in gender dysphoria.  Sex-change regret is a very real thing that the transgender lobby tries to cover-up and even bullies those who do feel regret from speaking out. We’re not having a national discussion about transgender issues, we are being force-fed transgender ideology and anyone who isn’t willing to deny science is being treated as a bigot.

5. Gun control
Democrats haven’t exactly been a friend of the Second Amendment for some time now, but after eight years of Barack Obama deliberately pushing lies about gun violence and politicizing mass shootings, the base of the Democratic Party has been becoming more open to radical changes in gun laws, including gun confiscation. Obama famously and ridiculously claimed, “It is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.” Even the liberal Washington Post mocked him for that one. The common reaction from the left in response to incidents of gun violence is proposing stricter gun control laws that make it harder for law-abiding citizens to own guns—never mind the fact cities with the strictest gun control laws have the most incidents of gun-related crime or that concealed handgun owners have stopped dozens of mass shootings or that gun-free zones are overwhelmingly targets for mass shootings. The left-wing approach to addressing gun violence is completely unproductive and has the opposite result than was intended.

4. The alleged gender pay gap
The left is so committed to the belief that the government’s purpose is social justice that they seem unwilling to acknowledge when equality has been achieved. Sex discrimination in compensation has been illegal since the Equal Pay Act of 1963, yet the left still believes there is a significant pay gap between men and women. According to them, women make roughly 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. Obama himself perpetuated this myth. The first bill he signed as president was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.  But, he was eventually called out for a gender pay gap in his own White House. Their explanation for the gap was that “men and women in equivalent roles earn equivalent salaries.” I wouldn’t doubt that this accounted for the discrepancy in pay because that’s exactly what accounts for the same discrepancy in pay nationwide. Once you account for variables such as occupation, years in the workplace, and hours worked, the alleged 23-cent pay gap between men and women disappears. The Obama White House understood this when it came to defending their perceived pay gap but deliberately ignored it in order to maintain the alleged inequity as an issue that needed even more government solutions to fix. Despite the Equal Pay Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Act, Obama continued to push for more government solutions for a nonexistent problem, and the left eats it all up because solving problems isn’t really as important as maintain the illusion the problem still exists.

3. Climate change
For decades we’ve been treated to various apocalyptic predictions about what will happen to the earth “if we don’t act now” and we’ve consistently seen these predictions only come true in Hollywood movies.

The notion that we only have twelve years to fix the planet before the world ends has become the latest doomsday prediction to be popularized by the left. This prediction comes from The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 2018 UN Special Report on Global warming of 1.5ºC. Keep in mind that this is the same body that used altered climate data in order to push their own agenda—a scandal climate change radicals ignored when it broke, and have chosen to forget.

The Paris Climate Agreement was seen as the latest global effort to do something about climate change. When President Trump got us out of the illegal treaty, the left chastised him as someone who was dooming the planet. But, as it turned out, the United States, no longer a part of the accord, has led the world in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, while other countries that have signed on to the agreement have broken their promises to reduce emissions. For the left, climate change is another scheme to justify bigger and more government. Facts about climate change, its causes, or even whether it’s even actually occurring are less important than doing something about it. No one is saying we shouldn't be good stewards of the environment, but we can approach the issue in a reasonable way without infringing on people's rights or destroying our economy.

2. Abortion
Abortion is a sacred cow of the left that went from a “necessary evil” that should be “safe, legal and rare” to a divine act that should be free of any restrictions. Their increasingly radical position on abortion has gone in tandem with their denial of science.

Democrats have opposed bans on abortions after 20 weeks, the point when unborn babies are likely to be able to experience pain in the womb. While there is wide support for such legislation amongst the public, Democrats vehemently opposed such legislation. The rise of “Heartbeat Bills,” which ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, similarly has the left in a collective hissy fit. The recent passage of such a bill in the Georgia state legislature has resulted in a promised Hollywood boycott to film in the state.

Opposition to fetal pain and heartbeat bills aren’t simply a denial of science, but a denial of the humanity of the unborn. While most people accept that the presence of a heartbeat and the ability to feel pain makes you a person entitled to basic human protections, Democrats in Congress and presidential candidates refuse to make any sort of compromise on abortion.

1. The Mueller Report
For two years Democrats have pinned their hopes on Robert Mueller finding proof of Russian collusion. They clung to this idea religiously because they needed to hold onto the belief that they could oust Trump from office. Without collusion or obstruction, they had nothing. But that still hasn’t stopped unhinged Democrats from claiming two plus two equals five. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who claimed to have seen evidence of collusion, now claims that the Mueller report proves him right—which is exactly the opposite of what it actually says.

Many Democrats have since pivoted their focus to the issue of obstruction—which the Mueller report failed to prove. Instead, it documented how the Trump White House gave them access to everything they requested. If the Mueller investigation was obstructed, they’d know better than anyone else and considering it was stacked with anti-Trump partisans, it’s easy to conclude that they would have said so. Let’s not forget, the 1998 Starr report did conclude that President Clinton committed perjury, obstruction of justice, and tampered with witnesses. This ultimately laid the groundwork for Clinton’s impeachment. The Mueller report, however, offers no such roadmap for impeachment. While some Democrats in Congress grudgingly acknowledge this, 2020 Democrats continue to embrace the idea of impeachment, despite the lack of a crime. While impeachment appears to be off the table at the moment, Democrats, are still essentially thumbing their noses at the Mueller report and still plan to investigate, investigate, investigate. Democrats have decided to go on a fishing expedition—essentially using the power of government to do opposition research on Trump before the 2020 election. They still can’t get over the 2016 election and they’re in denial about the Mueller report.



Levin: Trump Has Done Nothing to Freedom of Press Compared to FDR, Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Lincoln

In a video promoting his new book, “Unfreedom of the Press,” Levin says Trump ‘directs his anger correctly” at specific news organizations and reporters – unlike the Russian tyrant:

“This president has been accused of leading a war against the media. (CNN’s) Jim Acosta will have a book out – two, three, four weeks after mine. And, it’s something I was anticipating when I wrote my book.

“Is Donald Trump a great threat to freedom of the press? What has Donald Trump done, exactly, to freedom of the press? He’s done exactly nothing.

“He directs his anger correctly, and his disappointment at specific news organizations and at specific reporters. He’ll call them, here and there, enemy of the people, and, they say, ‘That’s just like Stalin.’

“Let me tell you something, folks: Donald Trump has done nothing to the media.”

“And, I go through the history and compare what he’s done to what past presidents have done – the great John Adams, the great Abraham Lincoln. I go into what others have done: Woodrow Wilson – things that you’ve never heard of before.

“I move from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt to John Kennedy, to Lyndon Johnson, and others. They had true censorship operations that took place.

“Trump has none of these things. And, I go into detail about that so you’ll understand context.”

“I get into the issue of The New York Times, in particular. That’s the paper that leads the way, whether we like it or not. That’s the newspaper that the other news organizations look at. Well, let’s look at the history of The New Times. And I do it in a way that has never, ever been done before.”

“Have you ever heard of, in 1927 and 1928, the great genocide of Ukrainians by Stalin - how he cut Ukraine off from food, water, cut off their trains, cut off their roads? Ten million people starved to death.

“You want to know how The New York Times reported on that during the course of the year? I explain – it is atrocious.

“How about the Holocaust? You’ve heard me talk about that, too.

“Well, I did significant research on this issue, and I talk about what The New York Times did in terms of reporting the Holocaust – or not. Horrific.”

“And, yet, it’s the paper of record, and yet, it’s the paper that people want to work for if you’re a journalist and so forth. Why? So, I get into great detail about it and other news organizations, as well.”

Mark Levin’s “Unfreedom of the Press” debuts in book stores on May 21, 2019 and is currently available for preorder online.



Is Denmark Socialist?

The Left references countries like Denmark as "proof" that socialism works. It's not socialist.

I am a citizen of Denmark, the Disneyland of socialism, where everybody is happy and healthy. Forget the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela and all those power-mad Marxists who got it wrong. Denmark is the model to follow. There’s just one problem. It’s a fantasy.

For it to be true, Denmark would have to be a socialist country. But it’s not. If it were, it would have gone “Venezuela” a long time ago. Sorry to bring all the new fans of socialism the bad news. But that’s the reality.

Yes, it’s true that Denmark has high taxes and a high level of government spending – key features of a socialist mentality. But in almost every other respect, Denmark is a full-on free market capitalist country.

And it has some of the strongest protections of individual property rights in the world.

And it’s a particularly easy place to open a business. According to the World Bank, there is less bureaucratic red tape in Denmark than in any other country, except for New Zealand and Singapore.

And the labor market is less regulated than in most countries. Here’s something you probably didn’t know: there are no minimum wage laws in Denmark.

It’s not surprising then – or maybe it is surprising, given all the misinformation out there – that Denmark ranks consistently as one of the top-ranked free market economies in the world by The Fraser Institute in Canada and The Heritage Foundation.

So, if Denmark is not a socialist country, what is it? The answer is pretty straightforward: it’s a small capitalist country (about the size and population of Maryland) whose citizens pay oodles in taxes in exchange for oodles in benefits.

Well, what’s wrong with that? you might ask. Only this: for the government to pay out such benefits, you need citizens to make enough money to pay the necessary taxes. And that’s only possible through a free market economy.

Let me explain – with some Danish history. Denmark, like its Scandinavian neighbors, Sweden and Norway, made a remarkable economic recovery after the Second World War. The combination of a highly productive work force and – get this – low taxes created a lot of wealth.

So like every other wealthy welfare state, Denmark became wealthy before it created the welfare state.

Relative to Europe, Denmark’s economic high-water mark was in the 1950s; relative to the US, it was the early ‘70s. It was then, in the late '60s and early '70s, that the country’s ruling elite became preoccupied with wealth redistribution. But the price paid for this social experiment was steep and swift.

The expansion of public spending led to a severe economic crisis. The national debt skyrocketed. It took decades of consolidation, structural reforms and curtailing of welfare schemes to straighten out this mess.

This is the stuff you never hear about from the “Danish model” crowd.

The sharp tax hikes and spending also sparked a widespread popular revolt and led to the emergence of the “tax protestors” party, Fremskridtspartiet. Even though the party no longer exists, the widespread desire to cut taxes remains.

It’s worth noting that the welfare state originally began with government pension payments to the elderly. These social security-like payments are now in the process of being overtaken by private pension savings plans – the Danish equivalent to a 401K. That’s right – in reality, Denmark is gradually moving away from US-style social security. It can’t afford it. Denmark, the so-called socialist model, is returning the responsibility for retirement savings back to its citizens.

And what about health care…free – right?

Nothing is free. Danes pay for their health care through high taxes. Private health insurance is available, however. It’s becoming more and more popular as long wait times associated with government-run medical care becomes less and less popular.

But in a welfare state, education is free – right?

Well, that’s another thing about “free”: it doesn’t mean ideal. Almost one in five parents in Denmark chooses to send his or her children to private schools, paying part of the bill themselves.

Yes, college is free, and even includes a living allowance, but there is a growing problem of getting students to graduate. Many wish to stay students and be supported by the state – one of those welfare-state problems socialists don’t like to talk about.

And, again, all this “free stuff” comes with a price. The average Dane pays 50% of his income in consumption and income taxes – that’s right, I said 50% – while earning 15% less than the average American. After taxes, an average American has a 27% higher disposable income than a Dane.

Don’t get me wrong – grey winters aside, Denmark has much to recommend it. It’s just that being a socialist paradise isn’t one of them.

I’m Otto Brøns-Petersen, economist for The Center of Political Studies in Copenhagen, Denmark, for Prager University.



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, April 25, 2019

Time to Enforce the Law on Visa Overstays

Trump orders the DOJ and DHS to look for more ways to limit the number of visa overstays. 

Democrats and the Leftmedia have often sought to downplay President Donald Trump’s loudly voiced calls to tackle the problem of illegal immigration — specifically his emphasis on securing the southern border — by pivoting to point out that the “bigger” problem is visa overstays. While that is a statistically arguable observation (at least one study found that the number of visa overstays represents a higher percentage of illegal aliens than illegal border crossers do) this response is a disingenuous objection to dealing with the real crisis at the border. Why can’t both problems be addressed? Well, it appears that Trump has decided to do just that, calling the Democrats’ bluff.

On Monday, the president ordered the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to find ways to limit the number of foreigners overstaying their short-term visas. The White House stated that the administration will “find effective ways to combat the rampant number of overstays” that are “undermining the rule of law and straining resources that are needed to address the crisis at our southern border.”

In signing his executive order, Trump stated, “We have laws that need to be followed to keep Americans safe and to protect the integrity of a system where, right now, there are millions of people who are waiting in line to come to America to see the American Dream.” It will be interesting to see how many Democrats object to Trump’s latest order to enforce the law — or what judge will strike it down.



The haters have Only Just Begun
Objectivity, like Elvis, long ago left the building in Washington and so the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is being read and interpreted through mostly biased eyes.

Democrats, who had counted on Mueller to prove that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, were initially as crestfallen as they were on election night 2016. Still, they are undeterred in the pursuit of their ultimate goal: evicting the president from the White House in a political coup unprecedented in American history.

The special counsel was established to investigate collusion, though not by Trump’s political opponents during the 2016 presidential race, who allegedly funded the infamous Steele dossier, which purported to describe Trump cavorting with prostitutes and other sick behavior during a visit to Moscow.

After more than two years of investigations, subpoenas, witness testimony and millions of dollars wasted, Mueller’s report concluded, “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” As for obstruction of justice, how does one obstruct something that is not a crime?

Predictably, Democrats are not satisfied. Out of desperation and exasperation, some are alleging a cover-up by Attorney General William Barr. Others want to immediately begin impeachment proceedings. For which high crime and misdemeanor?

More experienced Democrats, such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) are rightly cautious. They remember the electoral damage to Republicans when members of that party impeached Bill Clinton. Which wing of their party will prevail?

Politico represents the fallback position for some on the left: “Forget collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice.” Say what? “The most concrete takeaway from the 448-page Mueller report is its damning portrait of the Trump White House as a place of chaos, intrigue and deception, where aides routinely disregard the wishes of a president with little regard for the traditional boundaries of his office…” Maybe so, but bad behavior and disobeyed presidential orders are not impeachable offenses. Let voters decide.

Imagine how President Trump must have felt. Not only the establishment, which includes Democrats and Republicans, but the major media were constantly assaulting him starting before the election and ever since. Some critics have accused him of paranoia, but as the saying goes, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” And out to get Trump they are.

Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel writes: “President Trump has every right to feel liberated. What the (Mueller) report shows is that he endured a special counsel probe that was relentlessly, at times, farcically obsessed with taking him out.”

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said: “It is increasingly clear that the only scandal here is the Obama administration’s repeated failure to act against Russian cyber meddling, and instead, how they prioritized spying on a political opponent — the Trump campaign — and used a phony DNC-funded dossier as justification.”

When President Obama was asked about Trump’s charge that the 2016 election might be rigged against him, Obama responded: “No serious person out there … would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections.”

Add this “witch hunt” to the long list of reasons many Americans hate Washington. None of this political show affects average citizens, who are benefitting from a booming economy, job growth, lowest unemployment in half a century (including minority unemployment) and fewer people receiving food assistance. What does this have to do with more important issues, including illegal immigration and foreign policy?

The left doesn’t want Americans to focus on the administration’s successes, because they are incapable of doing better. They can only repeat their familiar scenario of higher taxes, bigger and more controlling government and “free stuff” for all.

The president and his allies have threatened a counterattack to expose corruption at the Justice Department, which created this fiasco. They should begin immediately.



Why Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Tweeted About 'Easter Worshippers'

Sometimes, a few sentences tell you more about a person -- and, more importantly, an ideology -- than a learned thesis. That is the case with tweets from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama two days ago in response to the mass murder of more than 300 Christians and others in Sri Lanka.

Their tweets are worth serious analysis because they reveal a great deal about the left. Of course, they reveal a great deal about Clinton and Obama, too, but that doesn't interest me.

And that, too, is important. Many Americans -- especially conservatives and "independents" -- are more interested in individual politicians than in political ideologies.

Many conservatives have long been fixated on Clinton -- so much so that probably any other Democrat would have defeated Donald Trump, as conservative anger specifically toward her propelled many people to the polls. Similarly, Republican Never-Trumpers are fixated on Trump rather than policy. They care more about Trump's personal flaws than about the mortal dangers the left poses to America and the West or about the uniquely successful conservative policies Trump promulgates.

And independents all claim to vote "for the person, not the party."

Only leftists understand that one must vote left no matter who the Democrat is, no matter who the Republican opponent is. Leftists are completely interchangeable: There is no ideological difference among the 20 or so Democrats running for president. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is not one degree to the right of Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren.

That is why it is important to understand Clinton and Obama's tweets: to understand the left, not to understand her or him.

Here are the tweets:

Obama: "The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka."

Three hours later, Clinton tweeted: "On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I'm praying for everyone affected by today's horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka."

As they both spelled "worshipers" the same idiosyncratic way and used the term "Easter worshippers," it is likely they either had the same writers or Clinton copied Obama.

Here's what's critical: Neither used the word "Christians." And in order to avoid doing so, they went so far as to make up a new term -- "Easter worshippers" -- heretofore unknown to any Christian.

When Jews were murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Clinton mentioned the synagogue in a tweet. But in her post-Sri Lanka tweet, despite the bombing of three churches filled with Christians, Clinton made no mention of church or churches. In a tweet after the massacre of Muslims in New Zealand, she wrote that her heart broke for "the global Muslim community." But in her latest tweet, not a word about Christians or the global Christian community.

Obama similarly wrote in his tweet about New Zealand that he was grieving with "the Muslim community" over the "horrible massacre in the Mosques." But in his tweet about Sri Lanka, there is no mention of Christians or churches.

The reason neither of them mentioned Christians or churches is that the left has essentially forbidden mention of all the anti-Christian murders perpetrated by Muslims in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and of all the Muslim desecration of churches in Europe, Africa and anywhere else. This is part of the same phenomenon -- that I and others have documented -- of British police and politicians covering up six years of rape of 1,400 of English girls by Muslim "grooming gangs" in Rotherham and elsewhere in England.

Essentially, the left's rule is that nothing bad -- no matter how true -- may be said about Muslims or Islam and nothing good -- no matter how true -- may be said of Christians or Christianity.

Clinton's post-New Zealand tweet also included these words: "We must continue to fight the perpetuation and normalization of Islamophobia and racism in all its forms. White supremacist terrorists must be condemned by leaders everywhere. Their murderous hatred must be stopped."

She made sure to condemn "Islamophobia," but she wrote not a word about the far more destructive and widespread hatred of Christians in the Muslim world, seen in Muslims' virtual elimination of the Christian communities in the Middle East, the regular murder and kidnappings of Coptic Christians in Egypt and the murder of Christians in Nigeria. She calls on "leaders everywhere" to condemn "white supremacist terrorists," one of the smallest hate groups on Earth, but never calls on leaders everywhere to condemn Islamist terrorists, the largest hate group on Earth.

These two tweets tell you a lot about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But far more importantly, they tell you a lot about the left.




White House war on regulations poised to pass goal 'more than 31 times'

The Trump administration’s war on Obama-era regulations is set to nearly double this year’s goal — and potentially go much further — after getting off to a slow start, according to budget experts.

With plans to cut $18 billion worth of regulations in fiscal year 2019, which ends in September, the administration is poised to boost that to $33 billion, according to a mid-year review by the budget watchdog American Action Forum.

What’s more, the administration is moving toward a regulatory cut that the review said would cut an additional $561 billion, 31 times this year's goal.

But it better move fast, said analysts Dan Bosch and Dan Goldbeck. That’s because the administration is not only behind meeting its goal, it has added $10 billion in regulations.

President Trump on the 2016 campaign trail and in his administration has made slashing government regulations a key goal. He set in place a rule demanding that two regulations be cut for every new one proposed. The administration has actually surpassed that goal.

In their review, Bosch and Goldbeck found that most federal agencies are behind their regulation cutting goals.

They attribute the boost in costs to the paperwork burden in the 2017 tax cut and the creation of a new “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard.”

But they point to major cuts coming later this year, including savings from deregulating actions targeting pending water and energy programs called for under former President Barack Obama.

“Despite the current net cost figure, the administration appears poised to see net savings on the back end of FY 2019. The overwhelmingly largest component of the upcoming deregulation is the Environmental Protection Agency’s expected repeal of the ‘Clean Power Plan,’ with $51.6 billion in currently estimated total ‘avoided costs.’ Other rules with notable cost reductions include a pair of significant rules also affecting energy production as well as the first stage of the administration’s reconsideration of the ‘Water of the United States’ rule,” said the review.

And it could reach record levels if it moves faster on a pending plan to freeze fuel-economy standards at 2020 levels, junking an Obama plan to increase them.

Said Bosch and Goldbeck, “One massive deregulatory action is not included in this study’s projection. The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule, proposed jointly by the DOT and the EPA, was published in August 2018 and was scheduled to be finalized in March 2019. Though the agencies missed that date, they still may finalize the rule by the end of FY 2019. As proposed, the rule would result in an estimated $563.6 billion in total savings – an amount that would cover the entire FY 2019 regulatory budget more than 31 times.”



The Immigrants We Need Most

Stephen Moore

Of all America's immigrant visa programs, arguably the most successful for the U.S. economy has been the H-1B program. This program admits highly skilled foreign workers who fill vital employment niches to make our Made in America businesses more successful in international markets. Larry Kudlow, the director of President Donald Trump's National Economic Council, calls these immigrants the "brainiacs."

In many ways, he is right. America's high-tech companies use tens of thousands of these visas each year. The workers come for usually about six years, and those that are successful here apply for permanent residence when the visa expires.

The firms that use these visas must affirm that they cannot find workers with comparable skills and must pay a prevailing wage. There is little evidence that these foreign workers displace Americans from their jobs. Microsoft founder Bill Gates has testified that every H-1B immigrant his firm recruits translates into about four or five additional American workers being hired. If we want research labs, advanced manufacturing and scientific advances to happen here, we must have access to the world's best workers. The problem is there is a severe shortage of these visas. Today, there are some 65,000 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program immigrants admitted under this visa category. "In the first week of this fiscal year, nearly 200,000 petitions were received," according to Forbes. This mismatch between demand and supply is restraining America's growth spree.

The H-1B process is cumbersome and expensive for employers, and they wouldn't spend the money on the program if they were not desperate for these talented newcomers. In the last decade or so, the processing time and costs have nearly doubled to get an H-1B immigrant admitted to these shores. This is a drain on the economy and reduces American competitiveness.

I travel the nation from coast to coast and talk to employers, from large manufacturers to high-tech firms to engineering and financial services; most tell me their biggest challenge is finding the skilled workers they need.

The visa limits should be raised and adjusted to meet the demands. The feds should charge employers a higher fee to bring these immigrants to the country, and these funds could be used to beef up border security pay for the cost of administering visa programs.

The solution is to tilt our immigration system away from extended family immigrants and more toward skills and merit. To put America first, it makes sense to give green cards to the immigrants who will do the most good for our country.

Trump wants to shift our visa system to emphasize skill and merit, and Congress should get behind him. Skill-based immigration is one of our best weapons to keep the American economy number one in the world and to ensure we never surrender technological dominance to China or other rising nations that want to knock America off our commanding economic heights.



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