Friday, June 28, 2019


Where Keynes and the Keynesians get it wrong

I learnt my economics from a school that respected Keynes.  They were quite clear that Keynes had become an excuse for willy-nilly government spending but still accepted that Keynes was right in how to cure a deflation or a recession. Spending up big during a recession was good but not during more prosperous times. Politicians of course want to spend up big at all times.

There is a long article here that sets out in detail why Keynes was wrong altogether. He should not be followed even during a recession.  I am going to be so bold as to try to explain why in just a few paragraphs.  If I seem to be missing something please go to the long article that I have mentioned.

Keynes was a Leftist and his thinking was typically Leftist and wrong.  Leftists think only in big aggregates like race, class, Kulaks and sex. Considering the individual seems to be beyond them.

And Keynes did exactly that.  Instead of looking at the complexities of a modern industrial economy he looked at one of the biggest aggregates of all:  Aggregate demand.  So to him recessions and depressions were not explained by the myriad details actually at work in an economy at the time.  He saw recessions as glaringly simple: A recession was a deficiency in aggregate demand.  And that was easy to fix:  Let the government spend up big and thus increase aggregate demand.

But if it matters at all, aggregate demand is a symptom not the  problem itself.  You have to look at what in detail has damaged economic activity.  You have to go into that boring nitty gritty activity of looking for the source of the problem or problems.

And you will very often find that the problem is some sort of government meddling.  The great crash of 2008, for instance, was the result of huge Federal interference in the housing market.  Banks were virtually forbidden from lending carefully.  Checking whether a person would likely be able to afford his mortgage payments was "racist".  And housing is a BIG sector of the economy so when the inevitable crisis resulting from many loans in default arrived, the crash and losses were very big indeed.

So the cure for a depression will often be a REDUCTION of government activity, not an increase in it. Keynes got it exactly wrong.

And Keynes also overlooked that recessions have a function.  If there are businesses that are no longer prospering, a recession will normally send them broke.  And the resources (manpower, real estate etc) freed up by that collapse will become available for use by startups who can use them more productively: Schumpeter's "creative destruction".  And if such a reallocation of resources is allowed to run its course without interference it will normally be short-lived.  Business will pickup again within as little as a year.

So Keynes was wrong at the most basic level. Recessions are not a problem at all.  They are a normal, natural and desirable process of reallocating resources more efficiently. They are a healing episode wherein senile businesses are put out to grass while new businesses take over. They do give pain in some quarters but there is no gain without pain

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Dems' 'Fake Border Crisis' Turns Out to Be Real

Detention centers are overrun and people are dying while trying to cross the border.   



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed the “fake crisis at the border.” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer called it “a crisis that does not exist.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said, “There is no crisis at the border.”

Byron York highlights those and many other Democrats (and a few Republicans) utterly denying the crisis at our southern border. But many of those same people are now decrying that crisis, particularly so they can blame President Donald Trump, who just happens to be the only one trying to stop the crisis.

Kevin Williamson explains the foundation of it all: “The problem of illegal immigration is itself the result of massive administrative failure in the United States. By systematically failing — and refusing — to enforce our own immigration laws, we have created the international equivalent of what the tort lawyers call an ‘attractive nuisance.’ There are jobs, homes, support, and (in spite of the law) benefits to be had in the United States, with relatively little prospect of serious consequences for those who are caught. If you are a poor Guatemalan without much in the way of economic and social prospects, illegal immigration to the United States is a perfectly rational choice. Guatemala has its own deficiencies, to be sure, but the situation here is Washington’s creation, not Guatemala City’s.”

With that, we come to the latest news on the immigration front.

First, Trump has named Mark Morgan, Barack Obama’s former Border Patrol chief, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection after its current acting commissioner, John Sanders, announced his resignation effective July 5. Morgan had just taken over at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) earlier this month. Here’s how The Washington Post “reports” the move:

A week after beginning his reelection campaign with promises of mass deportations, President Trump sent the agencies responsible for immigration enforcement deeper into disarray on Tuesday, replacing his interim border chief with a figure he plucked from cable news punditry last month.

You know where the Post mentions that Morgan was Obama’s guy? The 25th paragraph.

In any case, Trump’s move does come amid continued bad Leftmedia publicity for his border policies, particularly regarding detention of illegal border crossers. Perhaps his strategy with personnel changes is to keep moving the lightning rod.

Beyond the kerfuffle over “concentration camps” at detention facilities, the latest bad publicity is the horrific photo of the Salvadoran father and toddler daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande. “This photo of a dead father and daughter shows the true nature of Trump’s immigration policy,” reads the headline at Vox. No it doesn’t. Why was this Salvadoran man and his family allowed to get through Mexico and then escape a holding facility? Poor enforcement there, for one thing, but also because Democrats invited a border invasion.

Don’t believe us? Take Elizabeth Warren’s word for it. She backs the proposal of fellow Democrat presidential candidate Julian Castro to repeal the federal law criminalizing illegal border crossing. “We should not be criminalizing mamas and babies trying to flee violence at home or trying to build a better future,” Warren says. Well, they’re dying on the way here trying to follow her advice, all while leftists are standing on the caskets of the dead to politically attack Trump.

Meanwhile, before tonight’s presidential debate, several candidates attempted to gain access to detention facilities for political photo ops — like the pathetically embarrassing one staged by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

What happened to this father and daughter shouldn’t happen to anyone. The question is what are government officials going to do to stop it? The Trump administration, despite being utterly overwhelmed with illegal crossings and managing detention centers well over capacity, wants to close the border to such crossings. Democrats want to fling wide the gates.

As for legislation, the House passed a $4.5 million emergency border bill Tuesday, but it includes so many mandates to provide free stuff for border crossers while lacking key enforcement provisions that Trump has threatened a veto. To be clear, there should be money allocated for true humanitarian relief, and detained migrants should be treated humanely. But a U.S. detention center is not the Ritz-Carlton, and people who cross the border illegally have no “right” to be here.

This humanitarian crisis is largely the result of Democrats, who advertise “free” stuff and sanctuary policies if only migrants can reach American soil. That’s a cynical ploy for votes and it’s having serious and deadly consequences.

SOURCE 

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SCOTUS Deserves Praise for Reversing Itself on Takings Clause Injustice

Our constitutional system assumes that federal courts serve to remedy an injustice created by officials in the legislative and executive branches. Unfortunately, federal courts, even the Supreme Court, sometimes are responsible for creating an injustice.

Thirty years ago, the Supreme Court did that for property owners in Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City. On Friday, in Knick v. Township of Scott, the court ended that injustice by overruling Williamson County by a 5-4 vote.

For more than 30 years, people with claims under the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause have been told, “Get in the back of the bus. You are not allowed to go to federal court to seek relief for a claim that a state official has taken your property without just compensation.”

A reasonable person might say, “Huh? How can that be? Everyone else can go to federal court to sue the state over a constitutional violation. People can sue in federal court for a First Amendment free speech clause violation, a Fourth Amendment search and seizure violation, and so forth. Even a prisoner convicted of murder can sue the state for an Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishments clause violation. Why not me?”

Those are fair questions. The answer is that the Williamson County decision—a ruling only a lawyer could love—was responsible for that outrage.

Before I discuss that case—and its offspring, San Remo Hotel, L.P. v. City and County of San Francisco—let me mention three settled background principles.

First, the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause expressly prohibits federal and state governments from taking someone’s private property without providing “just compensation.”

Second, overly burdensome state regulations can amount to a “taking” of private property if those rules deny someone the opportunity to make use of, or make a profit from, his land without guaranteeing him “just compensation.”

Third, federal law—the Civil Rights Act of 1871—expressly guarantees everyone a right to sue for relief for a state or local federal constitutional violation.

Together, these three well-established principles should permit someone to claim that a state or local statute, ordinance, or regulation, or the action of an executive official, has the effect of taking his land, which would then entitle him to some type of relief for the harm he has suffered.

This may seem simple, but few legal issues can’t be mucked up by judges, even those on the Supreme Court.

In Williamson County, the Supreme Court concluded that a person has not stated a takings clause violation until he proves that the state will not compensate him for his losses, and he cannot know the answer to that question until the state courts have rejected his takings clause claim.

That is far from obviously reasonable. If the state has not already paid the property owner, and if there is no state law equivalent of a workers’ compensation system—that is, if a property owner cannot just file a claim and receive payment—there should be no doubt that the state will not pay him. Requiring him to ask the state courts to tell him the obvious is just a waste of time.

The one saving grace of the Williamson County decision is that it appeared to give the landowner the opportunity to return to federal court once the state courts told him the government would not compensate him.

Rather than cutting him off at the knees, Williamson County seemed merely to order the landowner to wade out to knee-level before returning to federal court.

But that’s not how it worked out.

This brings us to the Supreme Court decision 20 years later in San Remo Hotel, L.P. v. City and County of San Francisco. There, the court held that a person whose just compensation claim is rejected by the state courts cannot relitigate that issue. Why? Because the state court decision is final and cannot be relitigated in federal court.

The average person would find it shocking to see a lawyer try to persuade a court to adopt such an obvious catch-22, but the Supreme Court bought the argument and this injustice was allowed to stand for over 30 years.

Rose Mary Knick owns land in Pennsylvania on which a graveyard might contain the ancestors of her neighbors.

In 2012, the township passed an ordinance saying that cemeteries must be open and accessible to the pubic during daytime. The township later told Knick that she was in violation of the ordinance. She sued to have the township’s actions declared a “taking,” but ultimately lost because of Williamson County.

On Friday, the Supreme Court finally owned up to the mistake it made in the Williamson County decision.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts reasoned that, “Contrary to Williamson County, a property owner has a claim for a violation of the takings clause as soon as a government takes his property for public use without paying for it.” The text of the takings clause makes that obvious.

The clause reads: “[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” It does not say: “[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without an available procedure that will result in compensation.”

The rationale underlying the takings clause, the court reasoned, also demanded that result. Once the state has taken someone’s property, the owner enjoys “an irrevocable” federal constitutional “right to just compensation,” regardless of whatever procedures the state might adopt to pay him.

As Roberts quite colorfully put it, “A bank robber might give the loot back, but he still robbed the bank.”

After finding its decision in Williamson County to be wrong in a variety of ways, the court decided that stare decisis—or respect for precedent—principles did not prevent overruling it.

“Williamson County was not just wrong,” the court concluded. Its “reasoning was exceptionally ill-founded” and inconsistent with the court’s earlier takings clause cases.

The Williamson County “state-litigation requirements has been a rule in search of a justification for over 30 years.” Stare decisis considerations also count for less when remedial decisions are at stake, because they “do not ‘serve as a guide to lawful behavior.’”

Justice Elena Kagan, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor, dissented. She concluded that Williamson County was correctly decided and that, in any event, stare decisis principles militated against overruling it.

The Knick majority deserves kudos for its action. For more than 80 years the Supreme Court has relegated property rights claims, as the court noted in that case, “to the status of a poor relation.”

Members of the intellectual class have long deemed property rights too plebian to be worthy of their interest or robust legal protection, notwithstanding the fact that only a strong, legally protected system of property rights enables the academy to be both condescending and employed because of the contributions made by people who own property.

Property rights, they contend, must be gradually withered in the same way that a slowly dripping stream of water will erode the strongest boulder onto which it falls.

Were it not for public interest organizations, such as the Pacific Legal Foundation, which represents people such as Knick for free, state officials would, through litigation, wear out all but the wealthiest property owners.

After all, the Knick case was captioned “Rose Mary Knick v. Township of Scott,” not “Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, or Sergey Brin v. Township of Scott.” Any one of them could buy a county or state that sought to take their land. People like Knick cannot even defend their own land in court.

Finally, the court properly decided that stare decisis considerations did not justify leaving in place the “preclusion trap” set by Williamson County and sprung by San Remo.

I have harshly criticized the court’s decision in Williamson County because its ill-considered ruling jeopardized the property rights of average people.

It is always difficult to admit that one made a mistake, particularly a big one, and the Supreme Court consists of nine people, so it is difficult for them to confess that they flubbed one. That the court did so in Knick is praiseworthy.

Courts expect people to “fess up” when they go astray. Just ask any offender facing sentencing. It is only reasonable to expect the same response from a judge who makes a mistake.

Five members of the Supreme Court did just that Friday. We owe them our thanks for doing what they expect everyone else to do in the same circumstances.

SOURCE 

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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)

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Thursday, June 27, 2019



Former Trump Aide Loses Job After Calling New York Rep. Jerry Nadler A ‘Fat F*ck’

This gave me a laugh.  I think I share his opinion of Nadler.  Calling him fat was of course the worst.  Nadler is lucky Hope Hicks did not walk out on him after his insulting way of addressing her.  But she was too much of a nice lady to do that , of course.  I would have called him a pig -- at risk of being unfair to pigs

A few days ago, former Trump campaign aide Jason Miller went on a profanity-laced Twitter tirade against House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler.

During last week’s closed-door testimony with Hope Hicks, Nadler referred to her more than once as “Ms. Lewandowski.” Miller bashed Nadler in response, in tweets repeatedly calling him a “fat fuck.”

Miller ended up taking down his Twitter account.

Now The Daily Beast is reporting that Miller is no longer working at the consulting firm Teneo:

“I have parted ways with Teneo by mutual consent and look forward to formally announcing my next move in the coming weeks,” Miller said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Teneo is an incredible firm and without a doubt the premier CEO consultancy on the planet. They have always been great to me and I’m proud to have called them teammates for the past two and a half years.”

Miller also called Nadler a “fucking scumbag” and said, “We’ll call Mr. Nadler ‘Mr. MuffinTop.’”

SOURCE 

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Trump Signs Executive Order Imposing ‘Hard-Hitting Sanctions’ Against Iran

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday issuing what he described as “hard-hitting sanctions” against Iran.

“In a few moments, I’ll be signing an executive order imposing hard-hitting sanctions on the supreme leader of Iran and the Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran and many others. Today’s action follows a series of aggressive behaviors by the Iranian regime in recent weeks, including shooting down of U.S. drones,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

“You shot down the drone. It’s—I guess everyone saw that one, and many other things and done many other things. Aside from the individual drone, you saw the tankers, and we know of other things that were done also, which were not good and not appropriate,” he said.

The president said the Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is ultimately “responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime.”

“He’s respected within his country. His office oversees the regime’s most brutal instruments, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Sanctions imposed through the executive order that I’m about to sign will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader’s office and those closely affiliated with him and the office access to key financial resources and support. The assets of Ayatollah Khamenei and his office will not be spared from the sanctions,” Trump said.

The sanctions “represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions,” the president said, and he promised to continue to apply pressure on Tehran “until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and its aspirations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement in and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts, and belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies.”

Trump criticized the nuclear deal signed by former President Barack Obama, calling it “a disaster.”

“It was not doing what it was supposed to do. Many bad things were taking place, and most importantly, it was so short-term that within in a very short number of years, they would be able to make nuclear weapons, and that’s unacceptable. Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon,” the president said.

“Also included in this is we want the stoppage immediately of their sponsoring of terrorism. They sponsored terrorism at a level that nobody’s ever seen before, and that’s been over the last number of years, and they’ve taken all of that money that was given to them by the past administration, and much of it was given out to terrorist organizations,” he said.

Trump also criticized former Secretary of State John Kerry for acknowledging that Iran will probably use some of the money to fund terrorism.

“In fact, I remember when John Kerry was asked a question about whether or not this money will be spent for terror. He actually said yes, or at least he was referring to some of it, but he said, yes, it will be used for terror. If you can believe that, we’re giving them money, and we’re saying, yes, it can be used for terror. That was not a good answer, but that was the least of it frankly,” the president said.

Trump said the U.S. is a “a peace-loving nation” and does not “seek conflict with Iran or any other country.” He also said that he looks forward to the day when the sanctions can be lifted “and Iran can become a peaceful, prosperous, and productive nation. “

“That can go very quickly. It can be tomorrow. It could also be in years from now. So I look forward to discussing whatever I have to discuss with anybody that wants to speak. In the meantime, who knows what’s going to happen. I can only tell you we cannot ever let Iran have a nuclear weapon, and it won’t happen,” the president said.

Trump also said he doesn’t want money to be spent on sponsoring terrorism and noted that Iran is the number one sponsor of terrorism worldwide. He said the U.S. has shown “a lot of restraint,” but that doesn’t mean it would show restraint in the future.

“I felt that we want to give this a chance, give it a good chance, because I think Iran potentially has a phenomenal future, just – and I say that about North Korea too. I’ve said it about North Korea. I think North Korea has a phenomenal future, and I think Iran also has a phenomenal future,” the president said.

Asked whether his goal is to negotiate a new deal with Iran, Trump said, “We would love to be able to negotiate a deal if they want to. If they don’t want to, that’s fine too, but we would love to be able to, and frankly, they might as well do it soon.”

He praised the Iranian people as “great people,” adding that he knows “many of them” from living in New York. He also criticized Obama’s deal with Iran again, saying, “The deal should have never been done.”

“It wasn’t ratified by Congress, wasn’t properly done as you know. As a treaty, it wasn’t properly done. It was incorrectly done, but we’ll get it properly done, so we’ll see what happens. I hope it’s going to be for the good,” the president said.

When asked whether the sanctions were in response to Iran shooting down the U.S. drone, Trump said, “This you could probably … add that into it, but basically, this is something that was going to happen anyway.”

As far as what message he has for the supreme leader and whether he wants a one-on-one meeting with him, Trump said, “My only message is he has the potential to have a great country and quickly, very quickly, but I think they should do that rather than going along this very destructive path – destructive for everybody. We can’t let him have a nuclear weapon.

“He said he doesn’t want nuclear weapons. It’s a great thing to say, but a lot of things have been said over the years, and it turns out to be not so, but he said very openly and plainly for everyone to hear that he does not want to have nuclear weapons, so if that’s the case, we can do something very quickly,” the president said.

SOURCE 

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Retraction of 13 ‘Glowing’ Disaster Reports Throws Light on Dysfunction of Bureaucracy

Another bureaucratic fiasco simply reinforces why the nine most terrifying words in the English language are still: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

The number of declared national emergencies—and how much we spend on them—is rising, yet one of the agencies tasked with handling national emergencies has been particularly opaque about its effectiveness.

A recent news report about the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, highlights how dysfunction within an administrative agency can get papered over for years without any kind of accountability.

According to The Washington Post, an internal investigation of a Department of Homeland Security watchdog found that the agency “whitewashed” a series of internal reports about FEMA’s disaster response. FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

The disclosure led to the resignation of John V. Kelly, a career government auditor and the department’s acting inspector general, who had ordered the reports.

The Post reported that Kelly “chose to flatter FEMA’s staff in some reports, instead of hold them accountable.”

As bad as that is, it gets worse.

“Investigators determined that Kelly didn’t just direct his staff to remove negative findings,” according to the Post. “He potentially compromised their objectivity by praising FEMA’s work ethic to the auditors, telling them they would see ‘FEMA at her best’ and instructing supervisors to emphasize what the agency had done right in its disaster response.”

This led to the extraordinary action in which the inspector general’s office retraced 13 FEMA reports.

Jennifer Costello, the deputy inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, was undoubtedly correct when she wrote that the inspector general’s retraction of the FEMA reports was “not an insignificant matter” and that the reports “represent millions of wasted taxpayer dollars and understandably cast doubt on our credibility.”

So, basically, the glowing FEMA reports left the American people with no idea how to assess the work of our federal disaster response agency, which has a budget of $18 billion as of 2018.

Accountability developed only in 2016 when, according to the Post, House Republicans began to ask questions about a response to flooding in Louisiana that had received a glowing inspector general report based on an internal audit.

Something clearly was wrong with the FEMA reports, Mike Howell, senior adviser on executive branch relations at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email. Howell previously was oversight counsel in the Department of Homeland Security and senior counsel at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“A few years ago when I was on House Oversight, we were reviewing the federal response to major flooding in Baton Rouge, [and] we found tons of issues, tons of wasted money, fraud, etc.,” Howell said, adding:

The inspector general then issued a report that said FEMA did a great job. We flipped out and confronted them with the obvious evidence of FEMA not doing a great job. The result was they retracted the report and then began a look back at the series of after action reports the office of inspector general was issuing post disaster. Turns out nearly every one gave FEMA shining stars.

Americans generally expect the federal government to play an active role in responding to natural disasters and crisis.

The resources drawn from taxpayers are vast, but they aren’t infinite and shouldn’t be treated as such.

As the nation’s debt piles up, we need to be more cautious before we throw our hard-earned money into the salad bowl of endless acronyms that defines the modern federal government.

Even causes that have broad support can become wasteful calamities.

It’s clear that handing enormous power solely to unchecked bureaucratic agencies opens the path for both monumental waste and outright abuse of power.

This is not the constitutional system of checks and balances that the Founding Fathers had in mind.

The FEMA report disaster is just the latest evidence that demonstrates the need for Congress to more actively take back the power it has surrendered to the “fourth branch” of government—our vast and growing federal bureaucracy.

SOURCE 

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LOL: Trump’s Supreme Court Pledge Just Triggered The HELL Out Of Democrats

President Donald Trump made a huge pledge about Supreme Court this week, and it likely just triggered Democrats in a huge way.

During an interview on Monday with The Hill, the president said he would make a nomination to the Supreme Court if there is a vacancy before the 2020 presidential election.

“Would I do that? Of course,” Trump said in response to being asked if he would try to fill a SCOTUS vacancy during a presidential election.

When asked about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell not allowing a hearing on Merrick Garland — the judge President Obama nominated during the 2016 election to fill the seat after Justice Antonin Scalia passed away — Trump said the circumstances are different now.

“They couldn’t get him approved. That’s the other problem because they didn’t have the Senate. If they had the Senate, they would have done it,” Trump said, referring to Democrats.

“It depends. I mean, we have the Senate. We have a great Senate. We have great people. If we could get him approved, I would definitely do it. No, I’d do it a lot sooner than that. I’d do it. If there were three days left, I’d put somebody up hoping that I could get ’em done in three days, OK?” he continued.

Since Trump took office, the Senate has confirmed over 100 of Trump’s nominees to serve on powerful courts across the country.

Trump also has two Supreme Court nominees: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Here’s more from The Hill:

Three of the nine current justices on the Supreme Court are 70 or older, though none have indicated they are preparing to retire. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 86, Stephen Breyer is 80 and Clarence Thomas is 71. Ginsburg and Breyer are both members of the court’s liberal wing, while Thomas is a conservative.

Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 seats. A nominee needs only a simple majority for confirmation.

The confirmation process typically lasts weeks or months, with individual senators seeking meetings with the nominee before they advance to a hearing before the Judiciary Committee and a full vote in the Senate.

The president was also asked about the 2020 presidential election and said he hopes former Vice President Joe Biden “does very well” in the Democratic primaries, but he thinks “there is something going on in that brain of his.”

“How he doesn’t get President Obama to endorse him — there has to be some reason why he’s not endorsing him,” the president said.  “He was the vice president. They seem to have gotten along. And how President Obama’s not endorsing him is rather a big secret,” Trump mused, adding, “Then he goes and lies and said, ‘I asked the president not to endorse me.’ Give me a break.”

SOURCE 

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Trump Weighs In On Reparations; Dems Won’t Be Happy

He politely calls it BS

It is an idea that was once so far outside of the mainstream that even the hallowed Barack Obama wasn’t keen to it but the 2020 Democrats and a radicalized base will be pushing reparations in a cynical effort to pander to the all-important black vote even if it is a loser outside of coastal elite cultural enclaves and the Twitterverse.

The House Judiciary Committee held the first hearing on the issue in a decade earlier this month, and a handful of Democratic presidential candidates seeking to challenge Trump in 2020 have broached the idea.

“I think it’s a very unusual thing,” Trump said of the possibility of reparations. “You have a lot of — it’s been a very interesting debate. I don’t see it happening, no.”

The Democrats are delusional if they actually believe that reparations and thinly-veiled Holocaust denial with their invocation of concentration camps is going to resonate in a national election and even HBO’s smarmy host Bill Maher warned them that the clown car is speeding for the edge of a cliff if a course correction doesn’t take place.

SOURCE 

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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)

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019


Where "blue" Bostonians are coming from

Martin Hutchinson

Harvard University last week rescinded its acceptance of Parkland-shooting survivor Kyle Kashuv on the grounds of offensive tweets made when he was 16. This resulted in considerable media criticism that, in imposing political correctness codes and denying free speech, Harvard was betraying its beliefs. But that is nonsense. Harvard was founded in the Massachusetts Bay Colony of 1636. Bigoted small-minded intolerance and persecution of dissidents are central to its founding traditions.

One of President Ronald Reagan’s most implausible flights of rhetoric was his frequent invocation of Massachusetts Bay Colony founder John Winthrop’s aim to create a “shining city on a hill.” To me, this made very little sense as an aspiration for Americans in the modern age – 1630s Boston was not a place in which you would have wanted to live.

Winthrop’s Massachusetts Bay Colony had very few of the freedoms for which the United States would later become famous. Religious dissidents were either expelled from the colony, or, in the case of a few unlucky Quakers, hanged. People could be and were prosecuted for smoking tobacco, profane dancing and sleeping in church. 31 people were executed for witchcraft over the course of the 17th Century, including but not limited to the notorious 1692 Salem Witch Trials. Those executed included the unfortunate Congregationalist minister George Burroughs, who was gender-inappropriately hanged for witchcraft so the locals didn’t have to pay the tithes that supported his church. Finally, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was the first in North America to institute slavery in its legal code.

Harvard University was an enthusiastic participant in the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s intolerance and cruelty. The University’s President for 20 years (1681-1701) was Increase Mather, whose 1684 book “Remarkable Providences” proclaimed the reality of witchcraft, quoting liberally from the Catholic witchcraft handbook “Malleus Malificarum” (thus showing his ecumenism in this area) and inspired the Salem trials, which were directly encouraged by his son Cotton Mather. It should be noted that witchcraft trials had more or less died out in the civilized parts of Europe, including Britain, by this time; Malleus Malificarum having been written as long previously as 1487.

The early Harvard, therefore, was not a place of renaissance of ancient learning and formation of new science, like Oxford, Cambridge or Bologna; it was a place of stultifying religious conformity and utter intolerance of dissent. We should thus not be surprised that today’s Harvard follows its own early traditions rather than those of more broad-minded European seats of learning.

The Enlightenment, with its moderation, skepticism, tolerance and enthusiasm for new ideas, came very late to the Harvard community; it is now clear that in some respects it never really arrived. This lack shows itself in many ways; if you have Increase Mather managing your endowment, he will lack intellectual flexibility and you must expect to underperform seriously the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index.

The continuing influence of 17th Century Puritanism explains much that is otherwise inexplicable about American history. One understands why Thomas Jefferson chose independence in 1776, and Washington appears to have been subjected in early life to stultifying British Army snobbery that was intolerable to him as a Virginia gentleman. However, it was never clear why the conservative and rationalist John Adams should choose to overthrow the established order as he did – until you realize that he was brought up among 17th Century Puritans, and thereby hated both the Church of England and still more the ecumenical tolerance of Catholicism demonstrated by the 1774 Quebec Act. Even in Adams, a civilized and moderate man who would be much liked by George III when he was Ambassador to London after the war, Winthrop’s intolerant Boston was present to warp his judgement.

The intolerance of Winthrop’s Boston survives in today’s world, but it is aggressively secular. That does not mean it is rationalist; the left believes in global warming just as strongly as Increase Mather believed in witchcraft, with just as little evidence. Colleges, and Harvard in particular, no longer select on merit but using all kinds of diversity algorithms, whose reinforcement of existing prejudice would be highly recognizable to Increase Mather, even if he would find their precise motivations peculiar.

SOURCE 

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Trump Warns Iran: I’m Not Looking For War, But If One Breaks Out ‘It’ll Be Obliteration’

President Trump told the Iranian regime during an interview aired on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday that he was not looking for war – but that if war breaks out, “it’ll be obliteration like you've never seen before.”

“But I’m not looking to do that,” he added, in remarks directed at supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “But you can’t have a nuclear weapon. You want to talk? Good. Otherwise you can have a bad economy for the next three years.”

Trump reaffirmed that he was willing to sit down with the Iranians with “no preconditions.”

“Look, you can’t have nuclear weapons,” he repeated. “And if you want to talk about it, good. Otherwise you can live in a shattered economy for a long time to come.”

The interview was recorded on Friday, the same day Trump confirmed on his Twitter account that he had approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for its shooting down of a military surveillance drone, only to call it off shortly before it was to go ahead.

Host Chuck Todd asked the president whether he felt any of his advisors were pushing him to take military action against Iran.

Trump replied that he had “doves” and “hawks” among them, adding that “[National Security Advisor] John Bolton is absolutely a hawk.”

“If it was up to him he'd take on the whole world at one time, okay?” he said. “But that doesn’t matter, because I want both sides.”

Trump then recalled his longstanding opposition to the Iraq war launched in 2003, and repeated his frequent assertion that the U.S. has spent $7 trillion in the Middle East.

Visiting Israel at the weekend, Bolton had a warning for Iran too, saying that neither the regime in Tehran “nor any other hostile actor, should mistake U.S. prudence for weakness.”

“No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East,” he said in comments alongside Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Bolton then quoted an excerpt from Trump’s Friday morning tweet: “our military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting and more added last night. Iran can never have nuclear weapons, not against the USA, and not against the world.”

“And as he made clear yesterday, referring to his earlier remarks,” Bolton added, “the president said, I just stopped the strike from going forward at this time.”

Bolton was apparently quoting from a tweet by the president on Saturday, in which he said, “I never called the strike against Iran ‘BACK,’ as people are incorrectly reporting, I just stopped it from going forward at this time!”

Bolton also indicated that the new sanctions against Iran, referred to by Trump since Friday, would likely be publicly announced on Monday.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, reacting to news of an imminent sanctions announcement, said Sunday the U.S. has already slapped all the sanctions it can on Iran, and there are none left to impose.

In comments at the White House, in his tweets, and in his NBC interview, Trump indicated several times that the fact the drone shot down by the Iranians over the Persian Gulf was unmanned had been a factor in his decision not to carry out a punitive strike.

On Friday an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander said that a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon spy plane had been accompanying the RQ-4A Global Hawk drone but had deliberately not been targeted by the surface-to-air missiles used to bring down the drone.

Trump told reporters at the White House on Saturday that the Iranians had been “very wise” not to shoot down the P-8, which he said carried a crew of 38.

“They had it in their sights, and they didn’t shoot it down,” he said. “I think that was a very wise decision – and I think that’s something that we very much appreciate.”

Trump also described himself as neither a “warmonger” nor a “dove,” as he said some people call him. “I think I’m neither, if you want to know the truth. I’m a man with common sense, and that’s what we need in this country.”

SOURCE 

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Border Chief Announces A Decline Of One-Third Of Illegals Crossing Border Since Mexico Deal

Brandon Judd is the president of the Border Patrol Council.  He appeared on Fox Business to make a bombshell announcement.

Thanks to President Trump’s deal with Mexico, illegal border crossings are now dropping bigly.

Judd noted, “There’s not going to be a deal that gives President Trump a win. Democrats are just not going to do that. Going into 2020 they are doing everything they can to take this president apart and so they’re not going to give him a win… I don’t see Democrats giving him any wins going into 2020… He was able to strike a deal with the Mexican government that any president prior to him would have loved to have had. And since he’s been able to strike that deal we’ve seen a drop in nearly a third of people crossing the border prior to the month of June. So we’re already seeing the huge dividends of that experience that President Trump brought to the Oval Office.”

No matter how you slice it, this is huge for America. It’s also great for Trump’s re-election hopes come 2020.

This was his biggest promise years ago and he is delivering.

In just a few days, the private group “We Build the Wall,” led by triple-amputee Brian Kolfage, constructed a full mile of wall on America’s southern border.

They have reported zero crossings, thus far.

SOURCE 

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Mexico Sends 15,000 Troops To U.S. Border To BLOCK Illegals From Entering America

Because of President Trump’s recent deal with Mexico, America’s southern neighbor is now officially stepping up to the plate to curb the flow of illegal immigration.

All it took was the threat of tariffs.

Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 troops to the US-Mexico border, according to the country’s Secretary of Defense Luis Sandoval.

“In the northern part of the country, we have deployed a total of almost 15,000 troops composed of National Guard elements and military units,” Sandoval announced today in Cancun.

Approximately 2,000 National Guard members have already been deployed to Mexico’s southern border with Belize and Guatemala, he noted, adding to the 4,500 troops already spread across the area. Many migrants begin their journey in Central America and even further south, passing through Mexico on their way toward the United States.

Getting things done. That’s how Americans can sum up the bulk of Trump’s first term in office.

There’s no reason to assume the same won’t happen in his second term, God-willing.

Once again, the mainstream media got it wrong when it comes to Trump. This is just further proof that they aren’t even trying.

The latest nothingburger is that 45 was holding a blank piece of paper after signing an agreement with Mexico to curb illegal immigration…

Mexico said “NOOOOOOO! We’ll do whatever you want.”

Trump then got America’s southern neighbor to agree to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.

His tough stance worked.

SOURCE 

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Just-Promoted DCCC Official Has History of Homophobic, Racist Comments

A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee official tapped last week to lead a new multimillion-dollar initiative to connect with "people of color and younger Americans" deleted thousands of old tweets after the Washington Free Beacon reached out regarding many homophobic and racially insensitive posts.

Tayhlor Coleman, a longtime staffer at the committee, was named the DCCC's first director of the cycle of engagement, a role DCCC chairwoman Rep. Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.) said would be a "tremendous challenge."

"I want to thank Tayhlor Coleman for taking on this tremendous challenge at this critical moment," Bustos said. "I can think of no one more prepared to lead this effort than her."

Coleman took to Twitter this month to express her support for the gay community, but her previous posts give a different perspective of her views.

In February 2010, for example, she tweeted out concern about "giving a lesbian" her phone number, tagging the tweet with "#homophobia."

SOURCE 

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US Officials Reveal Retaliatory Strike in Response to Iran’s Drone Attack

Even though President Donald Trump canceled plans Thursday to conduct a retaliatory airstrike against Iran, the U.S. military did carry out a cyberattack against the Islamic Republic.

“Sources said U.S. Cyber Command launched the cyberattack targeting the Iranian intelligence and radar installations used to down the U.S. Navy drone last week,” Fox News reported, referring to the $130 million drone that Iran downed.

Citing two former intelligence officials, Yahoo also reported the news, noting a “retaliatory digital strike against an Iranian spy group that supported last week’s limpet mine attacks on commercial ships.”

Iran claimed that no successful cyberattack on any its assets has occurred.

In addition to the reported cyberattack, the president announced on Monday new sanctions aimed at denying Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office access to “key financial resources.”

“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and its aspirations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement in and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts, and belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies,” Trump said.

Trump described the Iran nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration as a “disaster,” because it would allow Tehran to develop nuclear weapons within a relatively short period of time.

Further, it did not address the other bad conduct by the regime, such as ballistic missile testing and the support of terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East.

“Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon,” Trump said. “I think a lot of restraint has been shown by us,” he added. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to show it in the future.”

Fox reported that the U.S. currently has about 70,000 military personnel stationed in the region, along with the USS Abraham Lincoln strike group, which has been dispatched to the Persian Gulf.

According to The Associated Press, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks with the king and crown prince of Saudi Arabia on Monday to discuss countering the military threats posed by Iran.

Pompeo tweeted, “Productive meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud today to discuss heightened tensions in the region and the need to promote maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz. Freedom of navigation is paramount.”

SOURCE 

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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)

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019



IN MEMORIAM: HERB LONDON

I have just heard that Herb London died late last year, aged 79.

He was an historian by training, came from a Jewish family and was a tireless campaigner for conservative causes for 50 years or more.  I myself was reading his articles for over 40 years.  The last one I reproduced was on October 09, 2015.  I am genuinely sad that I never got to shake his hand.

I have put online some time ago a 1980 article from him titled My life with "the kids".  It tells of his encounters with student radicals in the '60s and '70s.  It is eerily reminiscent  of the student Left today so is rather encouraging.  Society survived the '60s and '70s reasonably well so presumably the present ructions will do no unsurvivable harm.

I was amused by this little episode that Herb related:

"Two days later a contingent of revolutionary action students visited my office, again demanding that my files be opened for inspection. I smiled, clenched my fist, asked them whence they derived the authority to make this "request," and invited them to leave. They refused. A spokesman, obviously trying to muster all the courage he had, said, "Suppose we take matters into our own hands." I softly responded, "You're welcome to try." There were no takers"

Why did the students cave in so readily? To understand, you need to know that Herb was 6'5" and an athlete in his youth -- JR.

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Mike Lee’s New Bill Would Enforce ‘No Regulation Without Representation’

Americans should not have to put up with so many  government regulations imposed by unelected bureaucrats, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said Tuesday while outlining a legislative remedy at The Heritage Foundation.

“If the Founders’ rallying cry was ‘No taxation without representation,’ ours must be, or must at least involve, ‘No regulation without representation,’” Lee said at the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters.

Lee said he introduced the Take Care Act as the third part to a conservative legislative program that seeks to reduce the size and impact of administrative agencies, what he called the “headless fourth branch of the federal government.”

The Utah Republican officially introduced the bill June 12 with Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.

“We’ve given the modern administrative state 80 good years. That’s a nice long try,” Lee said. “It’s bad. We’ve got to undo it.”

Lee told his Heritage audience that regulatory rules written and enforced by unelected administrators violate Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution, which declares that all laws must be passed through both chambers of Congress and be signed into law by the president.

The proposed Take Care Act, Lee said, would solve this problem by allowing the president to use his constitutional power to remove upper-level agency officers who aren’t “faithfully executing the law.”

Currently, Lee said, executive branch officials may be removed only for committing an act of misconduct such as “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office,” and are protected against being removed for political reasons. 

He argued that this change would make the bureaucracy accountable to the people again.

“The way to accomplish that goal, while not easy by any stretch of the imagination, is itself straightforward,” Lee said. “We need only look to the structural design of the Constitution, and the form of the administrative state equivalent. This is so simple. It’s one of the simplest features of our Constitution, and it’s also the most important.”

Lee, author of the related book “Our Lost Declaration: America’s Fight Against Tyranny from King George to the Deep State,” said that because Congress today delegates the majority of its lawmaking to unelected, unaccountable regulatory agencies, this abuse of legislative power is much more concerning than executive tyranny.

“Our constitutional obligation to write laws we have handed over to bureaucrats who are in no way chosen by the people, in no way accountable to the people,” Lee said, adding:

We’ve delegated that which [18th-century French political philosopher] Charles de Montesquieu described as something that cannot, should not, must not be delegated. … The power to make law involves the power to destroy all sorts of things. And so that’s why it was entrusted only to that branch of government most accountable to the people at the most regular intervals.

Lee said that although some have expressed concern that his bill would give the president too much power, political constraints (such as the Senate’s “advise and consent” role in executive nominations) would ensure that agency officials could fulfill their responsibilities without undue interference.

“I’d still rather have the president act as president,” Lee said. “And I’d say that even if we’re talking about some future president, with whom I would likely disagree a lot. Let’s say future President Elizabeth Warren; I would rather have even that president wield the executive power than an unknown technocrat.”

Lee went so far as to say that a more powerful executive is preferable to the so-called “expert” government administrator, and that’s why Congress should pass his legislation.

“The unknown, nameless, faceless bureaucrat, however well educated, well intentioned, hardworking, and highly specialized, would not have to answer to the American people, not ever,” Lee said.

SOURCE 

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Judge Jeanine Mocks ‘Stupid’ Lunchbucket Joe; ‘Stick To Making Friendship Bracelets'

It’s been a long time since a serious presidential contender had this bad of a week this early in the campaign but Joe Biden’s past seven days have been an unmitigated catastrophe by anyone’s standards.

Already stumbling despite an abundance of fawning media coverage, the former vice president stepped in it big time when on Tuesday he glowingly spoke of pro-segregationist Dixiecrat senators and ignited a firestorm when some of his fellow 2020 candidates all but accused him of being a racist.

Promoted as the left’s best hope to beat President Trump in next year’s election, lunchbucket Joe is facing friendly fire which will only intensify at next week’s debates. It will be in Miami where the already hobbled presumptive nominee will be ripped to shreds by the likes of black candidates Cory Booker and Kamala Harris in an event that will be partially moderated by MSNBC’s conspiracy queen Rachel Maddow.

It’s hard to see the geriatric gaffe machine making it through the next year and to Milwaukee where the nominee will be crowned and some including Judge Jeanine Pirro are already mocking the idea that good old Joe with the donkey teeth believes that he has a realistic shot at returning to the White House.

In the latest installment of “Justice With Judge Jeanine” the popular Fox host delivered a verdict of ridicule on Biden while delighting in the spectacle of the Democrats already tearing each other to pieces in what she called an “all-out bare-knuckled, beat down clown show” during her opening statement monologue.

“Like cannonballs, their plan not so much to promote themselves as it is to eat each other alive. Example. As if their supposed front-runner Joe Biden doesn’t have enough problems just being who is, past plagiarisms illustrate his lack of depth on important subjects. His penchant to stick his nose in women’s necks — I still haven’t figured out what the man is sniffing for!”

“I don’t remember things being this bad 15 months before the Republican primary”

She saved her best for last with a taunting reference to Biden’s former boss Barack Obama – a man who he made a friendship bracelet for but who to this point is avoiding his ex-veep like he has the Ebola virus.

“Even Joe’s best pal Barack is uncharacteristic all silent these days. Joe has to remind him that they are besties with the best friend forever bracelet. Joe, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for your best pal Barack to endorse you, so stick to making your friendship bracelets and wishing and hoping. America doesn’t need a best friend.”

Judge Jeanine also predicted that Trump would have smooth sailing to reelection thanks to the infighting among Dems:

SOURCE
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The American Presidency has become a sort of kingship -- as Obama vividly demonstrated

Regulation has come to be used instead of legislation. Obama boasted of it - saying he had "a pen and a phone". Trump is the only one who is trying to rein regulations in but to undo the destructiveness of the Left he too sometimes has to use their methods

Jeff Jacoby

'After four years of Donald Trump," declared Senator Amy Klobuchar in a statement on Tuesday, "a new president can't wait for a bunch of congressional hearings to act." To that end, the Minnesota Democrat, who hopes to become the new president in January 2021, issued a 16-page list of all the "concrete steps she will take in her first 100 days" if she is elected to the White House.

Some of Klobuchar's promises are wholly conventional ("Visit our troops") or matters of routine management ("Reduce State Department vacancies"). A few are about as noteworthy as calling water wet ("Fill judicial vacancies").

Many, however, would represent real shifts in US policy. Klobuchar's pledges include the immediate importation of prescription drugs, a boost in the hourly minimum wage for federal contractors to $15, an end to the trade embargo on Cuba, the addition of transgender identity as a protected civil rights category, and a return to the Iran nuclear deal. Those aren't modest adjustments; they would significantly change the way the federal government currently operates. Obviously that's Klobuchar's objective — and for many voters, the undoing of President Trump's work can't begin soon enough.

But do Americans really want their government to operate on the basis of unilateral presidential decrees? When Klobuchar dismisses any thought of waiting "for a bunch of congressional hearings" before upending the government's priorities and principles, what she is really dismissing is the constitutional order, which puts Congress, not the president, in charge of changing US law. There is nothing ambiguous about Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution. "All legislative powers," it begins, "shall be vested in a Congress of the United States." All — not just the ones a president isn't too impatient to wait for. Yet Congress is almost an afterthought in Klobuchar's approach.

The senator from Minnesota is far from alone. Most of the leading Democratic presidential candidates are vowing to bypass Congress and use executive orders to get what they want.

Senator Elizabeth Warren says that on her first day as president, she'll order a "total moratorium" on new fossil fuel leases, closing the door to drilling for energy offshore and on public lands. Senator Bernie Sanders will ban companies that outsource American jobs from qualifying for federal contracts. Beto O'Rourke would direct US officials to release from detention any undocumented immigrants with no criminal background. And Kamala Harris threatens an ultimatum: If members of Congress don't "get their act together" and pass new gun-control laws within 100 days of her inauguration, she warns, she will impose the restrictions without them.

This tide of executive unilateralism rises with each incoming president.

George W. Bush authorized the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques," including waterboarding and other practices widely considered torture, notwithstanding the prohibition of torture under longstanding US law and treaty. Barack Obama insisted many times that he had no authority on his own to waive the deportation of youthful undocumented immigrants — but then did so anyway by executive order in 2012. After Congress refused to fund a massive wall on the Mexican border, Trump declared that a national emergency empowered him to spend the money just the same.

For every such high-profile example of a president making law by edict, many more occur out of the spotlight. Increasingly, the vast powers of the federal bureaucracy are deployed not as Congress directs through legislation, but as presidents command through executive order. One of the first priorities of each incoming president now is to sign a slew of new directives countermanding the old ones. Before Trump entered the White House, he excoriated his predecessor for "constantly issuing executive orders that are major power grabs." That hasn't stopped him from spending the last 30 months engaged in power grabs of his own. It won't stop his successor from going even further.

This is not a partisan complaint. Democrats and Republicans are equal offenders. Presidents are growing more and more autocratic, and that should alarm all Americans, whatever their political leanings. "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1788. Could even he have imagined, though, just how much liberty Americans would eventually yield? Or just how much power they would allow presidents to amass?

There was a time when even the most dominant presidents took it for granted that they could not simply act without regard to Congress. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln had no choice but to move unilaterally, since the nation was under attack and Congress was out of session. But as soon as legislators returned to Washington, he took pains to secure congressional legitimacy for his actions. The same was true of Franklin Roosevelt. "Even through the World Wars and Depression," writes Bruce Cannon Gibney in The Nonsense Factory , his sweeping new study of America's legal system, "FDR accomplished most of his work through Congress . . . returning time and again to Congress and voters for support."

Today's presidents and would-be presidents, by contrast, make no secret of their intention to sidestep Congress

SOURCE
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President Trump Scores Highest USA/Suffolk Approval Rating Ever, But It’s Not News To USA Today

President Donald Trump has scored his highest approval rating ever in a key national poll, but the media outlet that produces it, USA Today, never mentioned that fact in its write-up.

This week’s USA/Suffolk poll, taken from June 11 through June 15 and presented by RealClearPolitics along with other polling, had the president at a 49 percent approval rating versus 48 percent who disapprove.

The rating is a marked increase from the president’s lowest points in that particular poll. August 2018 saw Trump’s approval at 40 percent, and his score of 38 percent in February 2018 was the lowest rating of his presidency.

While Trump’s highest approval seemingly wasn’t news to USA Today, the 38 percent from last February certainly was. From the outlet’s February 2018 write-up:

"As President Trump sends mixed signals about what he’ll support when it comes to gun legislation, his approval rating has fallen to its lowest level in the USA TODAY survey since he was inaugurated last year. Just 38% now approve of the job he’s doing as president; 60% disapprove."

Wednesday’s USA Today article on the latest poll, titled, “Poll: What do Democrats want to hear about at the debates? (Hint: It’s not Trump.)” did not specifically mention the president’s approval rating, but rather focused on issues Democratic presidential candidates should discuss in the debates.

Another USA Today article on the topic, by Suffolk Political Research Center director David Paleologos, also focused on Democratic candidates.

"The latest Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll of registered voters identifies a “Starting Five” on the proverbial Democratic team: former Vice President Joe Biden (30 percent), Sen. Bernie Sanders (15 percent), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (10 percent), Mayor Pete Buttigieg (9 percent), and Sen. Kamala Harris (8 percent), with 17 percent undecided. On the bench and ready to join the fray are Sen. Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke at 2 percent each, while the other 17 candidates together drew support from just 7 percent of likely Democratic primary/caucus voters."

SOURCE
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Rape accuser wimps out of pressing charges on absurd grounds



Trump wouldn't drill anything that rough

Elle magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll said Friday that she would not press charges against President Donald Trump for allegedly raping her in the mid-1990s because that would be “disrespectful” to immigrant women who are victimized by rape, noting that her alleged rape only lasted “three minutes.”

SOURCE 

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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, June 24, 2019


'Everyone I Don't Like Is Hitler'



Totalitarian leftists keep wrongly throwing around the "Nazi" label over any disagreement. 

It’s nothing new for leftists to hurl the “ultimate” insult at conservative opponents — the inevitable comparison to Nazis generally or Adolf Hitler specifically. As we’ve noted before, they root this insult in decades of propaganda in American schools mislabeling the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazis) as “right wing.” Wikipedia’s definition is both typical and particularly hilarious for its incoherence: The Nazi party “was a far-right political party in Germany … that created and supported the ideology of National Socialism.”

Read that again.

The bottom line is that leftists don’t want to be associated with ideologues who murdered millions based on race/ethnicity. Never mind that National Socialism’s leftist ideological sibling, Marxist Socialism, resulted in the murder of tens of millions based on politics and power.

Thus, leftists accuse anti-totalitarian Republicans of being totalitarian Nazis. President Donald Trump has been slapped with this label more times than we can count, even though if he’s trying to be a Nazi, he’s doing it all wrong. This week brought several new comparisons.

It all started with the obnoxious and ignorant representative from the Bronx, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who declared that the U.S. Border Patrol is “running concentration camps on our southern border.” For good measure, she added that Trump’s is “an authoritarian and fascist presidency.”

Likewise, CNN’s Don Lemon, while lecturing about Trump and race, said, “Think about the despicable people we’ve had in history. … Think about Hitler.” His argument was essentially that Trump and conservatives who say things he doesn’t like should be censored because they’re just like Hitler.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo — we can’t believe we’re saying this — got it right, firing back at Lemon, “Comparing anything to an extreme like a Hitler weakens the argument.” He added, “A guy who says things I don’t like … is not necessarily a step away from a genocidal maniac.”

As for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she’s smart enough not to invoke the Nazis, but she did nearly everything but and didn’t exactly rebuke Ocasio-Cortez for her hateful hyperbole. Instead, Pelosi added to it, calling Trump’s plan to uphold the law by deporting illegal aliens “cruel,” “discriminatory,” “an act of utter malice and bigotry,” and “inflicting inhumanity.” She then had the gall to accuse Trump of “sabotaging good-faith efforts” to solve the immigration problem.

If it’s “good faith” to call Trump a Nazi — or even just the relatively mild epithets Pelosi hurled — we’d hate to see an ugly attack.

To tie this all together, it’s more than ironic that the Democratic Socialists are screaming that Trump’s enforcement of immigration law — never mind his agenda of deregulation and smaller government — represents totalitarianism, while it is their party advocating not just government control of our lives and redistribution of our income but censorship and punishment for all who dare disagree.

Who are the real totalitarians?

SOURCE 

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Newt Gingrich On The Anti-American Sentiment Pervading The Left: ‘The number of lies’ is ‘astonishing’

Some Democrats are telling lies about America and President Trump is exposing those defaming the country, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday.

Comparing U.S. border detention facilities to Nazi concentration camps and denying America is “great” — as the president’s slogan declares — are two top examples of such, Gingrich told host Laura Ingraham on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

Fox News Reports:

“The number of lies being told right now about the United States is astonishing,” he said. “But all Trump is doing is, he’s drawing to the surface the deep hatred which on-campus had certainly began by the middle of the 1960s and has grown and grown like a cancer.”

“If you are a Democrat today and go to a normal Democratic meeting and start talking about how wonderful America is, how great the Founding Fathers were, how remarkable the Constitution is, you’d be booed off the stage.”

Ingraham pointed to several examples of Democrats she considered to be defaming America.

In one clip, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appeared to criticize President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

“We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great,” the third-term Democrat said.

In another clip, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., claimed, “There are things that are savagely wrong in this country.”

Gingrich claimed Trump is able to fire up his opponents by using slogans like “MAGA.”

“I think it’s amazing that President Trump has this knack for framing things in such a way that his opponents go crazy,” said the former Georgia congressman, whose books include “Trump’s America” and “Understanding Trump.”

“You now have, for example, the president says, ‘Keep America Great,’ which I think is a great campaign slogan for next year. The Democrats promptly say, ‘No, keep America weak.’ The president says, ‘I’m proud to be an American,’ the left says, ‘I’m ashamed to be an American’.”

SOURCE 

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Trump Just Revolutionized Health Care — And Nobody Noticed

Few have ever heard of “Health Reimbursement Accounts,” but they could fundamentally change the nation’s health care system — for the better — and destroy the Democrats’ case for socialized health care.

Late last week, the Trump administration finalized rules that will let companies put money into tax-exempt HRAs that their employees could then used to buy an individual insurance plan on their own. Seems like no big deal, right? Except it will start to unravel a 77-year-old policy mistake that is largely responsible for many of the problems the health care system suffers today.

Back in 1942, the Roosevelt administration imposed wage and price controls on the economy. But it exempted employer-provided benefits like health insurance, and the IRS later decreed that these benefits wouldn’t be taxed as income.

The result was to massively tilt the health insurance playing field toward employer-provided insurance. Today 88% of those with private insurance get it at work.

The massive tax subsidy — now valued at more than $300 billion — also encouraged overly generous health plans, because any health care paid by insurers was tax exempt, while out of pocket spending had to come from after-tax dollars.

So not only did this Roosevelt-era mistake create an employer-dominated health insurance market, it made consumers largely indifferent to the cost of care, since the vast bulk of it was picked up by a third party.

But while health care experts across the political spectrum recognize this mistake, Democrats’ response has been to get the government even more involved in health care, with the latest proposal a total government takeover under the guise of “Medicare for All.”

Republicans, to their credit, have been pushing in the opposite direction. The introduction of Health Savings Accounts — a GOP reform idea Democrats fiercely opposed — 14 years ago helped to remedy one of the tax distortions, by allowing some people to pay out of pocket costs with pre-tax money.

Even with all the restrictions Congress put on HSAs, the market for high-deductible HSA plans exploded — climbing from nothing in 2005 to nearly 30% of the employer market today. By the end of last years, consumers had saved up $10 billion in these accounts.

The rise in these “consumer directed” plans was at least partially responsible for the slow-down in health spending in recent years, according to official government reports, as consumers increasingly started shopping around.

Trump’s HRA rules will have a far more profound impact.

Under the plan, employers will be able to fund tax-free Health Reimbursement Accounts for their workers, who can then use the money to buy an individual insurance plan — thereby taking another step toward fixing the 77-year-old tax distortion. The rule also lets employers fund a different account to buy cheaper “short-term” plans.

“This subtle, technical tweak has the potential to revolutionize the private health insurance market,” wrote Avik Roy, one of the smartest health care experts around, in the Washington Post.

The administration figures that 800,000 employers will eventually move to HRA plans, and 11 million workers will get their benefits this way.

At the same time, Trump also loosened the federal rules that had needlessly impeded “association health plans.” These are plans that let members of various groups band together to buy insurance. The result will be more competition, and more affordable choices for millions of people.

The Democrats’ response? Attack these changes as another attempt by Trump to “sabotage” Obamacare. What they really fear, however, is that the two new rules will destroy their case for socialized medicine.

As Roy put: “Together, over time, these changes would give workers more transparency into — and more control over — the health-care dollars that are now spent by other people on their behalf. That transparency and control, in turn, would create a powerful market incentive for health-care payers and providers to lower prices and increase quality.”

Once that happens, the last thing these millions of newly empowered health care shoppers will want is to be shuffled into a one-size-fits-all government plan designed for the masses by socialists like Bernie Sanders.

SOURCE 

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Like Ike, Trump moves towards mass deportation of ‘millions of illegal aliens’ as Mexico cracks down

Taking a page from the playbook of Dwight D. Eisenhower, President Donald Trump announced on June 17 that the federal government will be undertaking a massive operation to remove millions of illegal immigrants from the United States. Once derided as impossible by Trump’s opponents, this may be the most major undertaking at deportation in more than 60 years.

On Twitter, Trump wrote, “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in.”

At the moment, the current rate of apprehensions is more than 144,000 a month in May, up from 109,000 in April, 103,000 in March and 76,000 in February, according to data compiled by Customs and Border Patrol. That’s on top of the millions of illegal immigrants already here. So, off the bat, that is hundreds of thousands of removals needed on a monthly basis to keep up with the flow.

The announcement came on the heels of a joint agreement between the U.S. and Mexico to dramatically curb illegal immigration after Trump had threatened Mexico with up to 25 percent tariffs on goods by October if no deal was made. Per the agreement’s text courtesy of the U.S. State Department, “Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border. Mexico is also taking decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks.”

In addition, the U.S. will be expanding the Migrant Protection Protocols, per the agreement, “those crossing the U.S. Southern Border to seek asylum will be rapidly returned to Mexico where they may await the adjudication of their asylum claims… [And,] Mexico will authorize the entrance of all of those individuals for humanitarian reasons, in compliance with its international obligations, while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims.”

Trump praised Mexico in his tweet, writing, “Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people… long before they get to our Southern Border.”

The overall program of mass deportation was once said to be impossible by Trump’s opponents in the 2016 GOP primary. One of those skeptics was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. At the Fox Business-Wall Street Journal Republican Presidential Debate in Milwaukee, Wis. on Nov. 10, 2015, Bush expressed his skepticism, saying, “12 million illegal immigrants, to send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not — not possible.”

Bush was responding to Trump’s call for the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants at the debate, when he cited the Eisenhower program: “Let me just tell you that Dwight Eisenhower, good president, great president, people liked him. ‘I like Ike,’ right? The expression. ‘I like Ike.’ Moved 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country…”

Now, it looks like Trump is actually moving forward with the plan, which harkens back to the 1954 Eisenhower deportation program in Border States, which came after more than a million estimated migrant workers had crossed into the U.S. illegally in the prior decade as illegal immigration exploded under the U.S.-Mexico Bracero guest worker program.

The deportation program appears to have been designed to scare people away, notes the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) in a 2010 article by Fred L. Koestler: “The forces used by the government were actually relatively small, perhaps no more than 700 men, but were exaggerated by border patrol officials who hoped to scare unauthorized workers into flight back to Mexico. Valley newspapers also exaggerated the size of the government forces for their own purposes: generally unfavorable editorials attacked the Border Patrol as an invading army seeking to deprive Valley farmers of their inexpensive labor force.”

As for the number actually deported by the government in the operation, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) reported a little more than 80,000 apprehensions in all of Texas outside of El Paso and the Trans-Pecos. But, notes the TSHA article, “It is difficult to estimate the number of people forced to leave by the operation. The INS claimed as many as 1,300,000, though the number officially apprehended did not come anywhere near this total. The INS estimate rested on the claim that most undocumented immigrants, fearing apprehension by the government, had voluntarily repatriated themselves before and during the operation.”

The same thing might be happening here with the Trump plan, where a major crackdown on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border may result in more self-deportations. There is some evidence, with the number of voluntary departures accelerating in the first two years of President Trump’s term, according Justice Department data compiled by the Marshall Project and Github. The number of voluntary departures hit 29,818 in 2018, up from 13,898 in 2017 and 8,556 in 2016.

A piece from Politico in May certainly highlights the advantage of illegal immigrants leaving voluntarily, “Under immigration law, voluntary departure is considered a kind of privilege. If you are deported, you have to wait years to apply for a visa to reenter the United States, but those who leave voluntarily don’t have the same wait.” Now, with the odds of deportation rising under Trump, many are choosing to leave before they are removed.

SOURCE 

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West Point graduate becomes defense secretary

President Trump nominated Mark T. Esper, the secretary of the Army and former West Point classmate of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on Friday to be the next defense secretary.

If confirmed, Mr. Esper, an Army infantryman who fought in the Persian Gulf war of 1991 before becoming a lobbyist for Raytheon, would succeed Jim Mattis, who resigned in December during a dispute over pulling American troops out of Syria.

Mr. Esper is set to become acting defense secretary on Sunday, after the abrupt resignation of Patrick Shanahan, who was also nominated by Mr. Trump to the top Pentagon job. Mr. Shanahan withdrew on Tuesday amid news reports about his 2011 divorce.

SOURCE

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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)

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Sunday, June 23, 2019


Four reasons why Trump is cruising toward re-election

A rather surprising realistic view coming from The Guardian

Remarkably, given the traumatic experience of 2016, many Democrats have still not learned the key lesson of US democracy: elections are not won by passive majorities but by mobilized minorities. And while the passive majority might be with the Democrats, or at least not with Trump, the mobilized minority is. There are (at least) four reasons why, at this moment, Trump is cruising towards re-election.

The first reason is, of course, the economy. While we can argue about how meaningful and solid the current economic growth is, there is no denying that, in terms of the conventional economic indicators, the state of the US economy is excellent. Consequently, prediction models based primarily on economic indicators, which correctly predicted the 2016 elections, predict a resounding Trump victory in 2020.

Second, Trump has so far delivered to his non-traditional base. The average Republican, commonly referred to as the “moderate Republican”, is still not a fan of President Trump, who is seen as too confrontational and vulgar, but got the one thing they care about: a tax cut. Scared of a “socialist backlash” within the Democratic party, they will come out to protect their new gains by voting Trump.

Similarly, the Christian right will once again come out strong. While the support for Trump by religious voters puzzles liberals, it is pretty straightforward: the supreme court. Here, again, Trump has delivered. He has appointed two staunchly conservative anti-abortion judges to the supreme court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and promised to appoint more. And with the possibility of (at least) one position possibly becoming vacant in the next presidential term, ie Ruth Bader Ginsburg (perhaps also Clarence Thomas), the Christian right mobilization will run on full cylinders again. The reward for the faithful: overturning Roe v Wade!

Finally, there is the real Trump supporter, the mostly blue-collar and lower-middle-class white voters who want to “build the wall” (nativism) and “drain the swamp” (populism). So far, they have not really gotten what they wanted. The swamp has barely been drained – rather, it has been expanded by corrupt Trump appointees – while, despite all of Trump’s grandstanding, the wall is still mostly a fence-in-building. In short, the real Trump voter is left wanting – as is at times loudly proclaimed by their media voices like Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson. But where can they go? To the most diverse party in US history? The party of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Stacey Abrams and Elizabeth Warren?

But maybe they will stay at home, disappointed? Not really. They have not been betrayed by Trump. He can rightly claim that he has done all he could to keep the wall on the political agenda and push through a brutal anti-immigration agenda. He will claim that he has been “sabotaged” by the “deep state” and their corrupt helpers in Congress (including “weak” Republicans). Hence, he needs a second term to break the last resistance so that can make good on his promises.

Third, against this mobilized minority stands a majority of Americans unhappy with Trump but largely uninspired by the Democratic party. They see a party without a clear profile, divided over more than 20 primary candidates, who differ on more than they agree on. Moreover, with still some 500 days to go until election day, Democrats are already turning against each other – with anti-Sanders donors trying to co-opt candidates, while Democratic insiders are feuding with the Sanders camp, which is fundraising against the Democratic establishment.

All of this is putty in the hands of the Trump campaign, the fourth reason the president is set for re-election. As should be clear by now, Trump actually ran a good campaign in 2016 – clearly much better than Clinton, who misread the rust belt states, among others. Trump has been running a “permanent presidential campaign” since his inauguration, which has picked up financial steam more recently. The campaign has been raking in money by the tens of millions, including from key Republican campaigners and donors who had spurned him in 2016.

Trump may be historically unpopular, but he is popular enough to be (comfortably) re-elected. His supporters have agency and urgency, the two things the Democrats are still lacking. They have 500 days left to create this, together, rather than apart.

SOURCE 

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Slavery Reparations are back in Congress

David Horowitz

They're at it again. Yesterday the Democrat controlled House of Representatives held hearings on a commission to consider reparations for slavery – a guilt-fest of attacks on white America propelled by the brain-dwarfing idea that more than 150 years since its abolition, the consequences of slavery continue to get worse with each passing day.

The idea of reparations is absurd on its face—payments to people who were never slaves by people who were never slaveholders.

Only one in five whites in the antebellum South was a slave owner. Are the 80 percent who had no slaves just as guilty as the 20 percent who did?

What about the 350,000 Union soldiers who died to free the slaves? Should their descendants pay in money now after already having paid in blood?

And what of the waves of immigrants who came to America long after the abolition of slavery? Are those who entered the melting pot at Ellis Island to get a bill?

And will the Vietnamese boat people, the refugees from communism and the undocumented Mexican immigrants of today also be required to pay up?

And in fact have reparations not already been paid in the form of the trillion dollars in transfers to black people in the form of welfare benefits and racial preferences resulting from the Great Society legislation of the 1960s?

Is it not relevant that the GNP of today's black American “nation” is the tenth highest in the world, resulting in a per capita income between 20 and 50 times higher than that of the African countries from which the slaves were originally taken?

Reparations comes up again before the U.S. Congress today not because it is a good idea or a moral one. It is, in fact, intellectually incoherent and morally corrupt.

It comes up for one reason-- because the Democrats who control the House want to energize a black constituency for the elections while mobilizing the “Socialists” and others who believe America will always owe a debt to the history of its founding.

It is no accident that almost all the major Democrat candidates for president have made a self abasing visit to Al Sharpton, kissed the racial arsonist's ring, and signed on to the demands of his National Action Network—chief among them the demand for reparations.

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O'Rourke are already on board. Sen Corey Booker one upped them all by testifying at today's hearings that he was “broken hearted and angry” that reparations were not already in effect.

These hearings may be a political puppet show, but even stupid ideas have consequences. Recent polling show that a majority of Democrat voters now favor of reparations for slavery

Via email: info@horowitzfreedomcenter.org

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Congress Reins in IRS Abuse of Federal Forfeiture Laws

Long overdue

Last week, the Senate very quietly passed the Taxpayer First Act, H.R. 3151. The bill, which now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature, seeks to improve customer service and better assist taxpayer appeals. The bill included other provisions, however, that seek to rein in the Internal Revenue Services abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws.

Several years ago, the media began reporting on small business owners whose bank accounts were seized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) because the depositor had made frequent deposits or withdrawals below $10,000. This dollar threshold requires the bank to submit a report under the Bank Secrecy Act.

Intended or not, this is called “structuring,” and it’s illegal, although one would imagine that the vast majority of Americans aren’t aware of this. The reports keep track of these deposits and withdrawals to monitor for suspicious activity related to money laundering or fraud. If suspicious activity is suspected, the IRS will seize the account of the owner, as well as the money in the account. The IRS can take permanent possession of the money through federal civil asset forfeiture laws.

A 2017 audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that roughly 91 percent of the 278 sampled structuring cases involved funds that were legally obtained. Although the IRS’ Criminal Investigations Division did find tax violations in 21 of these cases, the TIGTA noted, “In the remaining 231 legal source cases, there was no evidence that the property owner structured funds to hide income from illegal activity (other than structuring) or to underreport income on their tax return. Current law does not require that the funds have an illegal source (e.g., money laundering or criminal activity other than the alleged structuring). In these 231 cases, $17.1 million was seized and forfeited to the Government.”

Basically, the IRS stole $17.1 million from people who did nothing wrong.

Take the case of Andrew Clyde. A veteran, Clyde runs a legitimate business -- a gun store -- in Athens, Georgia. Back in late 2012 and early 2013 his shop, Clyde Armory, had seen good business because of the fear that then-President Barack Obama would try to push Congress to pass additional gun control measures. Clyde made frequent transactions under $10,000 because of his insurance policy wouldn’t cover more than that threshold for off-premise losses.

In April 2013, the IRS seized Clyde Armoney’s bank account because of the deposits under $10,000, and the $940,313 in it. Eventually, Clyde settled, surrendering $50,000. He called this “a tactical retreat” during his February 2015 testimony before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight. “I did not serve three combat tours in Iraq only to come home and be extorted,” Clyde said.

Clyde wasn’t alone. During that same hearing, he testified alongside Randy Sowers, a dairy farmer from whom the IRS wrongly seized $60,000, and Jeffrey Hirsch, part owner of Bi-County Distributor, from whom the IRS wrongly seized $446,000. The federal prosecutor who oversaw that case was Loretta Lynch. The case against the money went away in 2015 while Lynch was being considered to serve as attorney general.

The IRS made a policy change in October 2014 in which the agency said that it would no longer pursue seizure and forfeiture of bank accounts in structuring cases “unless there are exceptional circumstances justifying the seizure and forfeiture.” In March 2015, Attorney General Eric Holder placed limits on the use of civil asset forfeiture in banking. The Department of Justice wouldn’t pursue civil or criminal forfeiture until formal charges were brought against an individual suspected of illicit activity.

Essentially, structuring deposits or withdrawals couldn’t be the primary offense, and the suspected structuring had to be tied to another offense, such as money laundering.

This policy change, however, was only administrative. It could be easily changed by a future administration. Congress had to codify it, as well as reform the underlying issue. Although the House passed the Restraining Excessive Seizure of Property through the Exploitation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Tools (RESPECT) Act in 2016 and again in 2018, the Senate didn’t act on the legislation, and thus the RESPECT Act’s prospects in the past two congresses died.

In February 2019, at the outset of this new Congress, Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and John Lewis (D-Ga.) reintroduced the RESPECT Act. The RESPECT Act is a modest bill. The bill simply requires a federal prosecutor to demonstrate by probable cause that the funds are connected to illicit activity and codifies the IRS’s policy change from October 2014. It also allows the individual from whom the money has been seized to immediately challenge the seizure.

Although the RESPECT Act hadn’t moved as a standalone bill in this Congress, the text of the bill was included in the Taxpayer First Act in sections 1201 and 1202. The House passed the Taxpayer First Act by a voice vote on June 10. On Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) brought the bill to the Senate floor and passed it by a voice vote.

Although the Taxpayer First Act is now headed to President Trump’s desk for his signature where he is expected to sign it, there is still much more left to do to reform federal civil asset forfeiture laws. Although several states have passed civil asset forfeiture reforms in the past five years that increase evidentiary standards and strengthen reporting requirements, Congress has failed to move forward on the issue.

Thankfully, two amendments have been introduced to the Commerce, Justice, and Science division of H.R. 3055, the second appropriations “minibus” bill for FY 2020, to address civil asset forfeiture. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) has filed an amendment to prohibit the transfer of assets from the Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund to a state or local law enforcement agency. Reps. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) have filed an amendment to prohibit adoptive seizures. The House Rules Committee will meet on June 18 at 5:00 pm to begin determining which amendments will be considered on the floor of the House.

SOURCE 

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AOC Makes Moronic Claim That The USA Has Concentration Camps On Southern Border

One does not expect Leftists to be patriotic but comparing your country to Nazi Germany is borderline deranged

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez illuminated her relative lack of knowledge of human history yet again last night, this time telling her Instagram Live followers that the United States is "running concentration camps" on the southern border. Not only does Rep. Ocasio-Cortez cheapen the significance of the Holocaust with this remark, she also damages the Democratic Party who in previous years has caged illegal aliens children in the exact same detention facilities but more recently has denied billions of dollars in funding to address the migrant crisis.

The Washington Examiner's Jerry Dunleavy drew attention to this last night after AOC, who has stylized her modern-day fireside chats in the manner of Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (you know the hero of leftists who first put Japanese-Americans in the internment camps), made the absurd remarks to her followers. First, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez sat in her "ReMatriate the Land" tee shirt and began assembling a piece of furniture while slipping into a stream of consciousness thought regarding the economy and why she fights against President Trump. According to the freshman congresswoman, President Trump is an authoritarian and fascist because she says the detention facilities to house thousands of asylum seekers are modern day concentration camps.

"The United States is running concentration camps on the southern border. And that is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps," she said. "And if that doesn't bother you, I don't, I got nothing. Like we can have -- I wanna talk to the people who are concerned enough with humanity and that never again means something"

"And that the fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the home of the free is extraordinarily disturbing. And we need to do something about it," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explained.

"This week immigrant children were moved to the same internment camps where the Japanese were held [By a Democrat president] in the early twentieth century," she continued.

Matt covered last week how these exact same leftists and Democrats were silent when President Obama placed illegal aliens and migrant children in the exact same military base during his presidency. [So Obama is a Nazi too?] The Democratic Party had nothing to say then, but now their standard-bearers warn that America is losing the values which made us America.

As AOC told her followers, "This is not even about a crisis, this is not just about the immigrant community being held in concentration camps and if America will actually remain America, or if we are losing to an authoritarian and fascist presidency."

"I don't use those words lightly, I don't use those words to just throw bombs. I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is," she remarks before getting back to putting together a chair.

First, six million Jews and at least five million more non-Jews killed were killed in Nazi concentration camps in these via gassing, starvation, death squads, abuse, unsafe sanitary conditions, and more. Likewise, estimates are that a total of 17 million died at the hands of the Nazi regime during World War II.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility, while in some parts overcrowded, is nothing near that. In fact, it is arguably the exact opposite. Asylum seekers and detained illegal aliens are given meals, healthcare, clothing, shelter, and are released into America after a certain time period. Many are never detained in these facilities at all and are freely allowed to travel the country to generous cities like Portland, Maine where welfare programs are established for asylum seekers. It is a gross mistake of the Congresswoman to equate the problem at the southern border with Nazi Germany. Her comparison shows she is either flippant about the horrors of the Holocaust and does not take it seriously, or is severely ignorant about what truly happened.

But more to the point, it also seems that she is painstakingly unaware of what is happening within her own party today. As mentioned, there have been problems of overcrowding in certain facilities. However, House Republicans have tried 15 times this year to secure $4.5 billion dollars specifically to "feed and shelter migrant families and unaccompanied children, fund urgent medical care and transportation, and pay for growing overtime cost for DHS men and women on the frontlines." 

Whatever mistreatment of these migrant families that AOC says is proof of concentration camps is being caused by the Democratic party. Her party refuses to work with Republicans to provide the necessary funding thus resulting in the crisis.

For all the bluster from the left about how President Donald J. Trump's Twitter account is dangerous, it would appear that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Instagram feed is where truly delusional and harmful comments are flung onto the American people who are often young and impressionable followers who will actually believe her comments.

UPDATE: Rep. Ocasio-Cortez defended her position after initial backlash by claiming it was the Republicans who are actually morons on this subject for not understanding that by concentration camps, she did not actually mean the ones like in Nazi Germany rather she was referring to the technical definition

SOURCE 

Not quite sure where she has found a technical definition but the term goes back to the Boer war, when such camps were set up by the British to remove and isolate Boer women and children from their homes.  The present American facilities, by contrast, are to accommodate people who have VOLUNTARILY left their homes

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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)

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