Friday, August 16, 2019


I think the image below is meant to be derogatory but there are a lot of fine people in America who think along similar lines



There is nothing irrational about distrusting the government

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Google whistleblower reveals tech giant DOES blacklist right-wing news sites and says the company called police when he leaked the evidence, leaving him 'fearing for his life'

A Google engineer has spoken on the record to say the web giant does blacklist certain news sites and has an 'editorial agenda'.

Whistleblower Zachary Vorhies spoke to Project Veritas after claiming the company called police in San Francisco to perform a 'wellness check' on him when he originally leaked files on their activity.

Senior software engineer Vorhies, who worked for the company for eight years, says he added a 'dead man's switch' which would activate the files in case he was 'killed or assassinated'.

Among the hundreds of documents leaked by Vorhies to Project Veritas is a document called 'news black list site for Google Now' which he claims shows a list of the web pages Google restricts.

It includes a number of conservative leaning websites such as The National Enquirer, Media Matters and Infowars.

Vorhies says the company's actions are 'hypocritical at the least and it's perjury at the worst' after CEO Sundar Pichai testified to Congress to say they do not promote left-leaning, Democratic news over that of more Conservative outlets or merely outlets it does not rate.

The insider said he spoke out amid fears the 'entire election system was going to be compromised forever by this company that told the American public that it was not going to do any evil'.

Vorhies told Project Veritas: 'This particular black list is showing which news sites aren't going to show up underneath the search bar when people are searching on their Android phone.

'And what they are doing is that they are saying "ok, well, you know, Newsbusters, the Gateway Pundit, National Enquirer, Media Matters, Infowars, they're not going to appear on their search results".

'And they are telling people that they don't have any blacklists, they don't have any political ideology, they don't have any political bias but it's really clear that they do.

'If Google wants to have political bias and if they wanna say they have political bias that is their right as a company.

'But for them to go under oath and say that theses blacklists don't exist, well employees like me are able to just search through the internal search engine of the company and see that they do, it is hypocritical at the least and it's perjury at the worst.

'If people don't fall in line with their editorial agenda then their news articles get deboosted and deranked. 'And people do fall in line with their editorial agenda then it gets boosted to the top.'

Another file appears to show ranking classifier to 'define channel quality'.

In his interview Vorhies adds: 'When they see the documents themselves they are going to be shocked and they are going to terrified. They are going to be like how can Google so blatantly lie to the American public and lie to Congress when there is a pile of evidence showing that what they are saying is untrue.'

Images shared with Project Veritas show Vorhies walking towards officers with his hands in the air after he says Google found out he leaked the files.

He told the site: '[The police] started banging on my door. 'They called in the FBI, they called in the SWAT team. And they called in a bomb squad. '[T]his is a large way in which [Google tries to] intimidate their employees that go rogue on the company.'

Vorhies claims he was targeted on Twitter by an undercover employee who outed him as the leaker as well as being sent a 'threatening' letter 'containing several demands'.

He added: 'Attorneys told me this is the first step in having your life ruined. They are going to come after you. 'Google is not who they say they are.'

SOURCE 

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Have Republicans Learned These Crucial Lessons from Obamacare?

“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period,” President Obama promised during the Obamacare sales pitch to America almost 10 years ago. But as the American people know all too well by now, the gulf between Obamacare's marketing and reality is vast.

There was “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” but that didn’t work out either. The Washington Post's fact-checkers rated that one the Lie of the Year in 2013. The fallacy behind that falsehood was that Obamacare specified exactly what health care plans would have to cover to satisfy the Obamacare individual and employer mandates.

Millions of Americans lost their health plan when the insurance companies had to cancel them because they were not in compliance with the Obamacare mandates. That problem should have been foreseeable.

Then there was the Obamacare promise that Obamacare would reduce health insurance costs by $2,500 per family per year. In reality, because of all the new regulations, the cost of health insurance soared once Obamacare was fully phased in. This is particularly true for the terribly over-regulated individual health insurance plans that the American people had to buy on their own. The American people had no choice but to buy plans with enormous deductibles of thousands of dollars a year. This made health insurance worthless for most Americans, whose average health costs per year became less than their deductibles.

Finally, there was the Obama promise that if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  But the real problem under Obamacare was whether your doctor would want to keep you, under the cost burden Obamacare regulations imposed on doctors. So many Americans lost their doctors when their health insurance was cancelled, or their doctors retired because of the cost of Obamacare regulations.

Now these problems of unintended consequences are threatening Americans' health insurance again. The federal government is considering new legislation involving costly federal regulations to address the issue of “surprise medical billing.” Surprise billing results when insured Americans suffering a medical emergency are taken to a hospital out of their insurers’ network. The trouble is that when they recover, they have a financial crisis on their hands.

Because the hospital was out of their insurance company’s network, the insurer often refuses to pay for the bill. So, the patient then gets the whole bill, which is beyond what most Americans – most of which cannot afford an out-of-pocket $400 expense – can pay without help from their health insurance. President Trump wants to address this issue. But the Senate Committee on Health Insurance, called the HELP Committee, is not offering effective help. "We're from the government, and we're here (not to) help..."

The Committee is considering the Lower Health Costs Act. This would impose price controls on doctors and hospitals, requiring them to accept the average cost that Medicare pays for the health care services received.

As the long history of price controls shows, when the price is held below costs, demand increases. But bureaucrats’ price floors always reduce supply, resulting in shortages of the service. In this case, it will be emergency health care that gets cut. That would not be good for the American people.

The problem of surprise medical billing can be and has been successfully addressed without price controls with the market incentives of arbitration. New York of all places has treated the issue this way.

Under arbitration, both parties submit an offer to an independent arbiter, and then the arbitrator picks the one that seems most reasonable. Each side has an incentive to put their best foot forward, so they both try to compromise to the extent they can.

Even the hard-nosed New York regulators report that since this process was adopted, they have rarely seen complaints. They notated that, by and large, the problem seems to have been resolved with no hardship imposed on anyone.

Competition, not more of the Obamacare status quo, is the solution to America’s healthcare problems. If liberals in New York can recognize that, so too should Republicans in Congress.

Fellow conservatives: rather than help the left dance one step closer to socialized medicine, let’s move the limited government ball down the field on this issue.

SOURCE 

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The Left Eats Its Own: NYT Editor Demoted After Tweets Attacking 'The Squad' and Justice Democrats

The New York Times has demoted its former deputy editor, Jonathan Weisman, after he pointed out a distinction between city and rural voters and after he called out a liberal group for mustering a primary challenge to a black Democratic congresswoman. He also sent angry emails to author and Times contributor Roxane Gay demanding "an enormous apology" for her attacks against him. Perhaps he thought his Jewish heritage protected him from accusations of racism from the left. If so, he was dead wrong. Gay denounced him for having the "audacity and entitlement of white men."

"Jonathan Weisman met with [Times executive editor Dean Baquet] today and apologized for his recent serious lapses in judgment," the newspaper announced in a statement. "As a consequence of his actions, he has been demoted and will no longer be overseeing the team that covers Congress or be active on social media. We don't typically discuss personnel matters but we're doing so in this instance with Jonathan's knowledge."

Weisman, who wrote a book rightly condemning the alt-right and wrongly condemning the Trump administration for supporting anti-Semitism, drew the ire of the left by accusing various Congressmen of not truly representing their districts.

First, he responded to Democratic strategist Waleed Shahid, who attempted to shoot down former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). In explaining her loss to Josh Hawley, McCaskill said, "Free stuff from the government does not play well in the Midwest."

Attempting to defeat McCaskill's argument, Shahid argued that Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) are from the Midwest, and that "Medicare and Social Security are both technically 'free stuff' and they play very well."

To this, Weisman replied, "Saying [Rashida Tlaib] (D-Detroit) and [Ilhan Omar] (D-Minneapolis) are from the Midwest is like saying [Rep. Lloyd Doggett] (D-Austin) is from Texas or [Rep. John Lewis] (D-Atlanta) is from the Deep South. C'mon."

Weisman was clearly trying to make a political point about the differences between representing a liberal urban area and representing a typically conservative rural area. In areas like the Midwest, the Deep South, and Texas, rural areas carry a state's electoral votes — and often other state-wide elections. Tlaib, Omar, Doggett, and Lewis could be said to represent islands of blue in seas of red.

But Weisman's good point does not come across, partly because the left has demonized any attacks on "The Squad" as racist, but also partly because Weisman chose Lewis — beloved as a Civil Rights hero — as an example. He later deleted that tweet "because I realize I did not adequately make my point."

Weisman's other unforgivable sin involved calling out Justice Democrats, a far-left group seeking to primary sitting members of Congress for being insufficiently progressive. "Justice Democrats has backed another primary challenger, this one seeking to unseat an African-American Democrat, Joyce Beatty, who represents Columbus," the Times deputy editor tweeted.

Morgan Harper, the candidate Justice Democrats endorsed in order to challenge Beatty, responded with a brief tweet: "I am also black, [Jonathan Weisman]." Weisman replied that the Justice Democrats endorsement "included a photo."

Justice Democrats compared Weisman's tweets to Trump's "go back" tweets, which it characterized as racist. "We must fundamentally change the idea that people of color can't exemplify the region — or the nation — in which we live," the group added, interpreting Weisman's deleted tweet as racist, rather than a discussion of political representation.

Roxane Gay interpreted Weisman's answer to Harper as a suggestion that Harper is not really black. The author suggested he was utterly unqualified for his job.

"Any time you think you’re unqualified for a job remember that this guy, telling a black woman she isn’t black because he looked at a picture and can’t see, has one of the most prestigious jobs in America. Shoot your shot," Gay tweeted.

In response, Weisman emailed Gay, her assistant, and her publisher, demanding "an enormous apology." Gay shared screenshots of the emails, tweeting that "the audacity and entitlement of white men is f**king incredible."

Weisman claimed Gay "misconstrued my rather innocuous tweet, willfully or mistakenly, accused me of racism, and incompetence, seemed to want me fired."

Racism and incompetence are serious charges, and conservatives feel a somewhat justified schadenfreude when they see a liberal accused of racism in the same way so many liberals baselessly accuse conservatives of the same charge.

"This is amazing. Weisman wrote an entire ridiculous book smearing the GOP as a bunch of Nazis, but is demoted for offending Ilhan Omar's fans," David Harsanyi, senior editor at The Federalist, tweeted.

Indeed, it seems Weisman may be experiencing some comeuppance for claiming that Trump — whose administration has heavily favored Israel and who himself is very proud of his Jewish daughter and son-in-law — harbors anti-Semitism.

Conservatives may enjoy double schadenfreude as The New York Times is struggling with accusations of racism — for reporting verbatim Trump's words condemning racism. Sadly, the Times seems to be immediately caving to the left, with no regard for the real meaning behind things denounced as racist.

SOURCE 

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The Left Responds to new immigration rules

As we reported yesterday, the Trump administration issued new rules defining what a public charge is under our immigration laws. As we also noted, this is not a new concept.

It has been part of U.S. immigration law since the 1880s and was revived during the Clinton years. The problem is that it was never seriously enforced. (By the way, the new rule also benefits immigrants who are proficient in English.)

Predictably, the left’s reaction to these reasonable rules is over the top.

For example, The Washington Post warns that the Trump administration is ramping up its “war on legal immigration,” while The Nation declares that the “war on immigrants just got a whole lot worse.” Numerous progressive politicians and special-interest groups are vowing to sue to overturn the rule.

What the left is describing as a “war on immigrants” is actually cover for the left’s war on the American taxpayer. We taxpayers are a very diverse group of people. Taxpayers include immigrants, as well as people of all races, religions, and backgrounds.

The progressive reaction is also very telling because it exposes yet again how the left goes out of its way to promote the interests of noncitizens over the interests of American citizens.

We are told over and over that immigrants pay taxes and are a boon to society. Well, to the extent that they are productive members of society and do pay taxes, that’s true. And that is why most conservatives are strong proponents of legal immigration.

But that assumes we have an immigration system that is making commonsense decisions about who gets in. That has not been happening.

We know that because Reuters tells us that “some experts say [the new rule] could cut legal immigration in half,” which means that half of legal immigrants meet the definition of “public charges."

According to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), "63 percent of households headed by non-citizens use at least one welfare program, including an astonishing 80 percent of non-citizen households with children."

CIS research also found, "The average household headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) costs taxpayers $6,234 in federal welfare benefits.”

Thankfully we have an administration that is fighting for the taxpayer. Voters who are uneasy with Trump’s style or his tweets will get a rude awakening if the left takes power and there is nothing standing in between them and their wallets.

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, August 15, 2019



Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing

Conservatives are growing increasingly uneasy with the Trump administration's new drug pricing policy.

President Trump is desperately seeking an elusive political win in his efforts to lower prescription drug costs, but he faces a hard sell to conservative groups and GOP lawmakers as he touts ideas traditionally favored by Democrats and presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

In a rare break with Trump, conservatives are now pushing back against key administration policies and accusing the president of supporting what they call Sanders-style socialism.

The president has embraced importing drugs from Canada, as well as an international pricing policy that would bar Medicare from paying more than other countries for prescription drugs.

The moves are designed to co-opt Democratic talking points and position Trump as a populist champion of the free market.

Trump has made lowering drug prices a top priority of his presidency, but he has suffered some high-profile setbacks in recent weeks.

Drug importation and the international pricing caps proposal are the only remaining policies remaining that the White House can use to make a splash heading into 2020.

Trump has frequently railed against “global freeloading” and said he doesn’t think it’s fair that the U.S. subsidizes research and development in other countries.

Last year he went to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and announced the plan to cap U.S. payments for expensive drugs, over the objections of some White House advisers. Those objections later spread to include conservative groups.

Facebook ads this year from FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy group, urged people to tell HHS Secretary Alex Azar to oppose “socialist-style price controls.” Another ad warned the administration against “importing socialist European drug prices in America.”

Separately, a website sponsored by the American Conservative Union rails against the administration’s pricing index, calling it an experiment “directly out of the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton government health care takeover playbook.”

In the GOP-controlled Senate, a bill backed by the administration is facing Republican opposition over a provision that would impose a limit on drug price increases in Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program. The legislation would force drug companies to pay money back to the government if their prices rise faster than inflation.

The Senate Finance Committee approved the measure late last month in a 19-9 vote — all Democrats voted for it, and all nine “no” votes came from Republicans. Some GOP senators said they were concerned because they think the Medicare Part D provision violates traditional free-market principles.

The bill faces long odds of making it to the Senate floor without substantial changes. “I'm not comfortable with putting price controls on drugs,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a member of the Finance Committee, told The Hill.

Toomey offered an amendment to strip out the provision, which failed on a tie vote of 14-14. All but two Republicans voted for his amendment.

Aside from capping drug payments, Trump has also softened his stance on importing drugs from Canada. The administration last week announced a proposal that would set the groundwork for states or wholesalers to launch pilot programs to safely import drugs.

Shipping in drugs from abroad has long been a goal of progressives like Sanders, but has also won the support of libertarian-leaning conservatives like GOP Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Mike Lee (Utah).

But with Trump looking for a win on drug pricing, political analysts and health experts argue he doesn’t necessarily care about gaining the support of conservatives.

“This is ... the administration throwing down a wild card,” said health care consultant Alex Shekhdar, founder of Sycamore Creek Healthcare Advisors. “In order to win in 2020, they need to take into consideration independents and anyone else who thinks drug prices are an issue.”

Joe Antos, a health care expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said it doesn’t matter if the policies Trump is embracing are traditionally Democratic ones. “Just because Democrats endorsed it in the past, doesn’t mean Trump can’t take ownership and call it his idea. He might not call them Republican ideas, but he’ll call them Donald Trump ideas,” Antos said.

But some GOP senators cautioned against letting Democrats play too much of a role.

After the Finance Committee advanced the drug-pricing bill, Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters that Republicans don’t want Trump negotiating with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

A competing bill from House Democrats is far more sweeping than the Senate’s, and includes direct Medicare negotiation on drug prices. “It seems to me that the Grassley-Wyden approach is a very moderate approach to what could come out,” Grassley said, referring to the bill backed by him and Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee.

But a stalled bill could still work to Trump’s advantage, according to Antos, who said the president doesn’t necessarily need to lower drug prices, he just needs to convince the public he is trying.

In that sense, Antos argued, Republicans haven’t offered anything better, and they will eventually support whatever the administration does. “Republicans don’t have any alternative ideas,” Antos said. “Trump has full control of Republicans in Congress, so there’s just not going to be any response other than going along with what comes along.”

SOURCE 

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Top 10 Reasons Seniors Are Benefiting From The Trump Economy

The U. S. economy made history at the end of July by sustaining the longest expansion period on record. While the benefits of this prosperity have impacted all different groups and demographics, the benefits to our American senior population in particular are considerable. Here are several ways U.S. economic growth is enabling citizens over 55 to drive even greater economic success.

1. In 2018, Americans aged 55 and older gained almost 49% of the 2.9 million jobs created in the workforce. This is the largest share of any age group, even exceeding the 25-54 age demographic, according to an analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Older managers are valuable because they have a wealth of experience and cost businesses less in terms of health care, as they qualify for Medicare at 65 yrs, according to TLRanalytics. USA Today recently noted that 39.2% of Americans 55 and older were working at the end of 2018, the highest level since 1961.

Sarah Chaney of the Wall Street Journal points to an OECD study indicating there is considerable employment upside left in this equation. For example, Japan, according to the data, continues to defy economic odds: 77% of Japanese aged 55 to 64 were active in the labor force in 2018, up from 68.2% in 2011.

2. Investment returns have flourished in the Trump administration — great news for senior and future senior retirement investments. The S&P 500 Index has returned 38%, including dividend reinvestment, and the Nasdaq has generated over 53% returns during the past two-and-a-half years.

3. The U.S. continues to offer the best environment for entrepreneurs. According to the 2018 FreshBooks report, an estimated 27 million Americans will leave the traditional corporate workforce in favor of full-time self-employment by 2020. Kauffman Index of Start-up Activity has found the highest rate of U.S. entrepreneurial activity is currently among the 55 and 64 age group. Rising life expectancy, insufficient retirement savings, as well as desire to maintain productive activity are all playing a role.

4. A Babson College study, The State of Small Business in America, confirms more than half of U.S. small business owners are now aged 50 and older. This trend could accelerate as the regulatory environment eases administrative burdens that caused great harm to mom-and-pop enterprises.

5. Senior entrepreneurs propel economic expansion and contribute more than $120 billion in federal taxes annually to support fiscal programs, thus reducing dependency on entitlements.

6. A strong economy offers more opportunities to a wider range of our population. Only 26% of small business owners have a bachelor’s degree, according to a CNBC/Survey Monkey survey — yet that hasn’t held them back from success. Five years after a business opens, 60% to 70% of ventures established by senior entrepreneurs remain in operation, compared to 28% of enterprises started by younger entrepreneurs. Skills and determination define success — and it also seems that experience that comes with age helps

7. Healthy environments boost start-up activity, and we now see venture funding geared toward our older demographic accelerating. As longer lifespans unfold, we desperately need new, low-cost technologies in areas such as caregiving, assisted-living support and end-of-life care — technologies seniors are uniquely equipped to develop and implement.

8. Only in growing economies do cities and communities have an opportunity to make infrastructure improvements. Retiring boomers will no longer accept the isolated housing options of the past. Paul Irving, chair of The Center of the Future of Aging and the Milken Institute, contends that productive integration of aging communities into housing, recreation, and transportation, to name a few areas, will not only benefit older Americans, but present new business opportunities for everyone.

9. The “longevity economy” will be a remarkable transformation in the U.S., according to an Oxford Economics report. We have 106 million people over the age of 50 responsible for $7.6 trillion of annual economic activity.

10. Finally, this unprecedented economic expansion increases the range of “purposeful activity” among retired seniors, such as volunteering, educational programs and mentoring. Pursuits like these are shown to maintain health, happiness and potentially deter or delay the onslaught of dementia, Alzheimer’s and other conditions.

It’s easy to forget the contributions of senior citizens. Our culture’s obsession with youth and novelty leads us to overlook the power of experience and continuity. But if these numbers show anything, it’s that the elderly still have the power to push us further along the path to prosperity.

SOURCE 

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Disagreement over primaries for next presidential election

As California Democrats try to keep President Trump off the state’s Republican primary ballot next year, Republicans in other states are pondering plans to cancel or modify their own 2020 presidential nominating contests and essentially affirm the party’s support for Mr. Trump before voters head to the polls.

A new California law requiring candidates to disclose five years of tax returns has raised fresh legal and constitutional questions on ballot access, while nascent proposals to scale back Republican nominating contests in states such as South Carolina and Nevada have drawn criticism from William F. Weld, the most prominent Republican challenging Mr. Trump in 2020.

Shawn Steel, a Republican National Committee member from California, called his state’s law a “political farce” and predicted it would be struck down “by Christmas, if not sooner.”

He said there is merit to simply allowing voters to express their will and that “competition’s always good,” denting the notion of state parties moving to quash dissent and save Mr. Trump from having to dispatch any primary challengers.

“I’m not worried about Trump in any way. … A lot of Republicans that were not enthusiastic for him three years ago — and there was a lot in California — they’re all on board because his production has been beyond anybody’s expectation,” Mr. Steel said. “So there is no real primary threat in any way that I can see, and my answer is, ‘Who cares?’ Trump’s going to come out looking good no matter what.”

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee sued soon after Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, signed the tax return ballot measure into law last month. The lawsuit argues that the requirement infringes on Mr. Trump’s free speech rights.

Mr. Trump, citing an ongoing IRS audit, has broken with long-standing precedent since his 2016 campaign by declining to release his tax returns. He is fighting a separate legal battle with congressional Democrats, who have sued to try to get their hands on the president’s tax information.

Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican National Committee member whose law firm is representing the RNC in its case against California, said the implications of the state law stretch beyond the presidential contest.

“If the president isn’t there, there will be a lot of Republicans who say, ‘I’m not going to bother to vote. I’m boycotting voting this year,’ ” Ms. Dhillon said. “Which means that in potential congressional races they potentially end up in Democrat-on-Democrat races because of our top-two system.”

Mr. Newsom has defended the law by saying the U.S. Constitution leaves it to the states to determine how their presidential electors are chosen.

Rocky De La Fuente, a perennial candidate challenging Mr. Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination, also sued over the California law — even as he said he plans to release his past five years of tax returns voluntarily.

“If voters want a candidate to release their tax returns, voters are free to withhold their vote from candidates who do not,” Mr. De La Fuente said. “All Republicans must stand united in demanding that state officials be held to account when they threaten fundamental rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.”

Regardless of the court outcome, the law likely won’t have much practical effect on Mr. Trump’s status as the all-but-assured Republican presidential nominee next year — though it would be notable if an incumbent president fails to get his name on the primary ballot in the country’s most populous state.

Still, Republicans in other early presidential states are weighing plans to modify or even cancel their presidential nominating contests next year and declaring their support for Mr. Trump before voters have a chance to express their choices in a primary or caucus.

In South Carolina, the party’s executive committee will decide next month whether to hold a presidential preference primary, said Cindy Costa, a Republican National Committee member from the state, which is famous for holding the first-in-the-South presidential primary.

“Democrats didn’t hold one when they had the White House in 2012 or 1996, and Republicans didn’t hold one in ‘04 or ‘84, so there is a strong precedent that the party that holds the presidency doesn’t normally have a primary,” Ms. Costa said.

Republican parties in Nevada and Kansas are also weighing plans to modify or cancel their caucuses next year.

The Nevada Republican Party is slated to decide next month whether to simply have the state central committee decide on committing delegates to Mr. Trump. The party said the move could allow them to divert resources elsewhere.

Mr. Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, said the president is trying to turn the Republican Party “into yet another of his private clubs.”

“We don’t elect presidents by acclamation in America,” Mr. Weld said in a statement to The Washington Times. “The idea that any incumbent, especially this one, should be allowed to bypass facing voters in a primary or party caucus is an insult to the Republican Party and to the millions of voters who would be disenfranchised.”

Though Mr. Weld is the most prominent Republican challenging Mr. Trump for the nomination, scores of lesser-known candidates routinely file with the Federal Election Commission to run for president every cycle and could be affected by the changes.

Mr. Trump’s campaign said it is taking no position on whether state parties should opt out of primary contests and direct the money elsewhere.

“Regardless, the President will dominate whomever has the wrong-headed idea to challenge him in whatever contest is put in front of him,” said Sarah Matthews, a spokeswoman for the president’s reelection campaign.

The RNC passed a resolution supporting Mr. Trump this year after members toyed with the idea of taking more far-reaching steps to block potential primary challengers.

“Since when do Republicans oppose competition?” Steve Duprey, a Republican National Committee member from New Hampshire, wrote this year in the New Hampshire Union Leader. “If the party starts favoring incumbents over primary challengers, then what is the case for having the first-in-the-nation primary? Who would come here to compete in a rigged system when Iowa and South Carolina offer fair contests?”

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, August 14, 2019



My pictorial home page

Each year, late in the year, I put up a collection of odd and interesting pictures -- mostly political -- from the previous 12 months.  I combine that with some basic homepage links.  I have just put up the 2019 edition.  It is here.  That is a new address for it.  The previous address was here.  All the past pages have been transferred to the new address and can be accessed from there.  Each page has a link to the previous page and you can also access particular years via the links at the bottom right hand corner of each page.  Happy viewing!

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Marxism in international organizations

Marxism has always had international pretensions

Martin Hutchinson

Kristalina Georgieva’s nomination as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund is entirely appropriate. She is a Bulgarian communist by background, for 14 years until 1993 a Professor at the Karl Marx Higher Institute of Economics under that country’s communist government. The IMF itself and its sister institution the World Bank have since their foundation been anti-market forces of central planning. It is high time the Trump Administration and other believers in the free market acted to close down these clogs to the global economy.

The influence of Communist thinking on the IMF and World Bank has always been strong. The Soviet Union were active participants in the 1944 Bretton Woods conference that established them. More important, the two Western leaders at the conference were John Maynard Keynes, not technically a Communist but sympathetic to Communist teachings since the 1930s and Harry Dexter White, undoubtedly a Communist since he was an active Soviet spy. Their influence is celebrated by the World Bank in naming its main conference room the Keynes-White Room – presumably the alternative location for big meetings is the Rosenberg-Philby Suite.

“Russia is the first instance of a socialist country in action – and it works!” enthused White. Accordingly, he sought to bring the benefits of Soviet efficiency and innovation to the whole world, by sponsoring global institutions that would plan for the world economy just as Gosplan planned for the Soviet one. Both he and Keynes supported an all-powerful institution that would regulate global balances of payments and direct the global economy accordingly. It was only Britain’s economic weakness and American strength that led to the creation of the IMF, regulating only payments deficits, rather than Keynes’ vision of a Clearing Union that would regulate both deficit and surplus countries, operating a global currency “bancor.”

Both participants rejected the pre-war Gold Standard, which had through market forces regulated payment disparities automatically (curiously enough, the third participant in Bretton Woods, the Soviet Union, was not entirely averse to the Gold Standard since it was itself a major gold producer, second only to South Africa.)

By a stroke of luck for the world, White did not become the first chairman of the IMF. By the time the appointment was made Harry Truman was President and suspicion was rising about White’s Soviet espionage. Truman had a healthy distaste for Soviet spies but realized that withdrawing White’s name suddenly might cause awkward questions to be asked. Thus, in a master stroke of diplomacy he instituted the system from which Georgieva appears about to benefit, of a European chairman for the-IMF while the United States runs the World Bank.

As a consequence of Truman’s self-denial, the IMF became a much less powerful institution than White and Keynes had intended. In its first three decades, it contented itself with providing loans to industrial countries having difficulties under the Bretton Woods quasi-fixed exchange rate system. With those loans, it provided stern advice to recipient countries about how they must cut public spending and increase taxes to get the balance of payments back in line, but that advice was inevitable under the Bretton Woods system in any case.

Britain suffered three decades of very slow growth and constant balance of payments crises, while most other countries were enjoying economic miracles, because its feeble governments could not keep public spending under control. It would have fared better under a free-floating system (as was proposed in 1952) which would have allowed the pound to sink soggily to its equilibrium level. It would also have fared better under a Gold Standard, which would have imposed the required discipline automatically on the British budget so that follies like Macmillan’s 1958 sacking of Peter Thorneycroft would have immediately been punished by the markets, forcing the inept Macmillan to resign in well-deserved disgrace.

In any case, Britain’s perpetual balance of payments crises in 1945-79 were not the IMF’s fault, but that of the Bretton Woods system itself. The IMF indeed played a useful role for Prime Minister James Callaghan in 1976 (shortly after Bretton Woods had collapsed, but before the IMF had figured out a new role) in forcing his government to abandon its wild over-spending.

After 1979, the IMF took on a new role, that of bullying Third World governments. Whenever a government got into balance of payment difficulties, the IMF would lend it money, and impose conditions that in practice amounted to a massive tax increase, usually accompanied by wasteful spending on social and environmental projects the IMF favored. After a couple of decades of this, demand for the IMF’s services declined to the vanishing point — also money was readily available in the over-liquid international capital markets. Thus in 2000-07 the IMF’s balance sheet shrank markedly and it seemed likely that it would eventually atrophy, although it also became clear that there was no effective way of closing the institution, however useless it was.

After 2008, a wave of left-wing governments in major centers and a rather manufactured panic about the effects of the global recession, caused the IMF to be successful in its search for re-capitalization, with a massive increase in 2010-15. The demand side of the equation was solved by the EU using the IMF to fund partially the bailouts of various of its members and near members, so huge amounts were committed to Greece, Cyprus and Ukraine. In Greece, for example, IMF money was used to perpetuate Greece’s grossly uneconomic membership of the euro, which grossly overprices the lackadaisical Greek labor force, while massive haircuts were imposed on the private sector banks who had been foolish enough to lend to the country.

In Europe, the IMF has cooperated with an equally anti-market institution, the Brussels bureaucracy, to prevent market reforms in EU members and near members. More recently, it has single-handedly engaged in a bailout of the Mauricio Macri government in Argentina, to the tune of close to $50 billion. Contrary to the IMF’s past bailout patterns, this bailout enabled the Macri government to postpone essential budget-cutting from the waste of leftist administrations of Nestor Kirchner and his wife and successor Cristina Fernandez. Consequently, the country is now over-indebted and in poor shape going into the November election that will almost certainly bring Cristina Fernandez back to power, pushing Argentina into the kind of impoverished chaos that we now see in Venezuela.

The World Bank also has a thoroughly anti-market approach. It lends primarily to governments, for projects many of which are sponsored and pushed by the World Bank’s own staff. Private sector participation is very limited, and public-sector solutions preferred. This leads to huge corruption and aggrandization of governments, most of which lack the capability to manage the large percentage of the economy for which they are theoretically responsible.

In addition, the World Bank pushes projects that reflect the fashionable theories among the Western intelligentsia; thus dozens of hopelessly uneconomic steel mills were set up in country after country in the 1960s. Later, the World Bank’s emphasis switched to environmental projects, some of which (though by no means all) were indeed beneficial for the environment but produced no hard-currency income with which the World Bank debt could be serviced. Today, the emphasis is on projects that combat global warming, the fashionable nostrum of the moment. Naturally, many of these projects produce energy at hopelessly uneconomic costs, or in other ways subtract from the economic viability of the poor country in which they are situated, and which must pay back the debt it has incurred.

The World Bank and IMF did not fill an economic gap, except in the highly disturbed years after World War II. Once the private international capital markets got going again, after 1960, there was ample finance available for any economically robust project, wherever it was situated. Advice for Third World governments was also available, from the London merchant banks who had provided such advice very effectively before 1914. Once the euro-market got going, they were perfectly capable of replicating their pre-1914 function in this area. Alas, the World Bank and IMF undercut the private markets, providing advice for free (if generally of extremely poor quality) and thereby preventing the London merchant banks from re-filling their traditional market niche.

Since 1994, money has been only too available, as central banks worldwide have flooded the international financial system with spurious liquidity. As with all liquidity excesses, this has produced a gigantic wave of misguided lending and investment in Third World countries, most of which will have to be written off, damaging both the countries and their lenders.

The World Bank and IMF have contributed to this excess lending, mostly by financing countries and projects that did not deserve funding in any kind of free-market system. The countries to which they have lent have wasted the money even more grossly than their neighbors, while the projects for which they have lent have had even less economic reality than those financed by the private sector (which were at least desired by somebody, other than international bureaucrats).

In an ideal world, the next economic downturn would see the World Bank and IMF rendered insolvent as their loans went sour, while disgraceful provisions by which they cut ahead of the private sector in creditors’ restructurings would be ignored. Demands from both institutions for new capital would be firmly rejected, and they would be forced to shut up shop, forcing a mass of otherwise unemployable overstuffed officials onto the job market. Sadly, in our naughty world, this Nirvana is very unlikely indeed.

SOURCE 

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Here’s Why Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax Is Completely Unconstitutional

If any trait characterizes the far left in 21st-century America, it is plans. They have plans for the country, plans for you, plans for your kids, plans for your house, and plans for your workplace. And your property? You know they’ve got plans for that.

In the 19th-century quasi-socialist movement once made up of farmers and laborers who wanted to build, harvest, and create, planning was a piece — but only a piece — of the agenda. Democratic socialism (or whatever guise the hard left puts on these days) is the realm of people who build nothing, but they have plans upon plans for things others have built.

The leading presidential candidate of the planners is the senior senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. She has made a slogan about having a plan for this and that, and her plan likely to do the most damage to America and the rule of law is her ill-considered, demagogic plan for a wealth tax.

The plan appeals to a certain envious segment of the mob, but a few minutes’ thought reveals its manifold flaws. As her opponent and former Rep. John Delaney said in the last Democratic presidential debate, the wealth tax is both a violation of the Constitution and a crime against good sense.

A Huge Constitutional Problem

The main problem with Warren’s plan is that it violates the Constitution. Understanding why requires understanding the difference between direct taxes and indirect taxes. Warren, a Harvard law professor, surely gets this, but she’s counting on voters to not to pay attention.

Warren calls her plan the “ultra-millionaire tax,” and that certainly has a pleasant ring to it for many people. (Look! There’s even a graph! She makes a lot of graphs.) Can the super rich afford to pay a little more in taxes? Sure, they won’t starve. Do people think the top income tax rates should be higher? Polls from earlier this year show a majority of voters would be happy to raise that rate quite a bit. But that is not what Warren is calling for here.

When we say “tax the rich,” we typically mean “increase the top marginal rate of the federal income tax.” Maybe we even mean “impose a sales tax on the kind of luxury items rich people buy,” or “eliminate the favorable tax treatment for capital gains and deferred income.” These are all permissible, if not necessarily smart. Yet Warren’s tax is a wealth tax, a direct federal impost on people’s property, and that presents a huge constitutional problem.

Warren’s wealth tax would impose a 2 percent annual tax on household net worth between $50 million and $1 billion and a 3 percent annual tax on household net worth above $1 billion. According to her website, “All household assets held anywhere in the world will be included in the net worth measurement, including residences, closely held businesses, assets held in trust, retirement assets, assets held by minor children, and personal property with a value of $50,000 or more.”

Wealth Taxes Aren’t Income Taxes

The question of which taxes the federal government may impose has been debated since the American Revolution. Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress could not impose taxes but could only ask the states to give it the funding it needed to pay its expenses, including the salaries of the Continental Army.

The states were often tardy in doing so. Some did not pay at all. It was an untenable system for any government, and the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 looked to fix that.

At the same time, the delegates did not want to surrender all of the states’ powers to the new government, nor to create a taxing power so vigorous that it would make Congress too powerful. In Article I, Section 9, they split the difference, providing that “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”

Indirect taxes were allowed, but direct taxes had to be imposed proportionally across the states according to population, a formulation so bizarre that it renders the direct taxes politically unacceptable and logically outlandish.

What Is Direct Taxation?

That’s all fine, but it leads us to ask: What is a direct tax? The framers had an idea but declined to articulate it with much precision, as James Madison recorded in his notes.

Essentially, if a tax on property is a direct tax, as the court in Hylton stated, a tax on the income derived from property must also be a direct tax. This was, as Fuller explained, no more than an obvious reading of the Constitution’s words:

We know of no reason for holding otherwise than that the words ‘direct taxes,’ on the one hand, and ‘duties, imposts and excises,’ on the other, were used in the Constitution in their natural and obvious sense. Nor, in arriving at what those terms embrace, do we perceive any ground for enlarging them beyond, or narrowing them within, their natural and obvious import at the time the Constitution was framed and ratified.

Pollock reflected a court more comfortable in its constitutional role and a Congress increasingly willing to ignore the plain text of that document. In dividing all taxes between indirect taxes such as excises and duties (levied on the sale or importation of a thing) and direct taxes such as property taxes (levied on the possession of a thing), the court set income taxes in the latter category.

That remained the law, with some refinement, until 1916. By then, Progressive demands for an income tax led Congress and the states to approve the Sixteenth Amendment.

In passing the amendment, Congress acknowledged that income taxes were direct taxes and changed the Constitution to create an exception to the rule that they must be apportioned. The amendment did not so much overturn Pollock but changed the law so the logic of that case no longer invalidated the tax. It left the world of federal taxes divided into three parts:

Direct taxes on people or property: unconstitutional unless apportioned by state population

Direct taxes on income: now constitutional even without apportionment

Indirect taxes on sales and imports: constitutional, as they always had been

The most recent case to touch on the question was 2012’s National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, better known as the “Obamacare case.” In the 5-4 decision, Justice John Roberts famously ruled that while the commerce clause does not give Congress the power to make people buy insurance, Congress does have the power to tax anyone who declines to do so.

Obamacare’s individual mandate survived as a tax, but what manner of tax? As a tax on a person, was it not a direct tax? And since it was a flat amount, not a percentage of a person’s income, was it not a direct capitation, requiring apportionment by population? Using a very strained reading of Hylton, Roberts said it was not:

Roberts confused the issue considerably in NFIB v. Sebelius, but the core holding of direct tax jurisprudence from Hylton to Pollock to NFIB to today remains intact: A tax on property is a direct tax, and Congress may not levy it without apportioning it according to state populations. Because she proposes not to do this, Warren’s wealth tax must be considered unconstitutional.

The Constitution explicitly bans this tax, and every interpretation of the direct tax clause the Supreme Court has ever issued puts the wealth tax on the wrong side of the law. No reasonable interpretation of the text or the case law can save it.

More HERE 

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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, August 13, 2019


Guns Saved These Americans From Assault and Robbery in July

In the wake of tragic mass shootings, such as those occurring in recent days in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, it’s understandable that the nation would search for answers.

It’s easy to blame the tools used in the killings and call for measures that would broadly restrict public access to them, instead of focusing on the more complex reality of why these individuals committed such horrible crimes in the first place. 

Communities are grieving, and everyone with a beating heart and an ounce of humanity grieves with them. We cannot, however, allow our grief to blind us to the important role firearms play in defending the rights and liberties of law-abiding Americans.

Yes, firearms can be used to carry out horrific acts of violence, and we should absolutely pursue ways of ensuring that individuals who pose serious risks of danger to themselves or others are disarmed long before they can commit these types of atrocities.

But the vast majority of lawful gun owners will never use their firearms for unlawful purposes. In fact, they are much more likely to use their firearms for self-defense than criminals are to use firearms to harm innocent people.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted in a 2013 report, almost all national studies of defensive gun uses have found that firearms are used in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times every year in the United States.

Even the center’s own internal data indicates that firearms are used defensively about 1 million times a year.

And, of course, this doesn’t include the countless number of times that tens of millions of Americans use their firearms for other lawful purposes, such as hunting or recreational target shooting.

In an effort to keep the national conversation grounded in this important context, every month this year we’ve highlighted just a handful of the many times law-abiding citizens have used their firearms in defense of their rights or the rights of those around them.

Here are the January, February, March, April, May, and June examples. July was no different.

In recent weeks, while firearms were used to commit several high-profile, heinous acts against innocent people, they were also used by many innocent people to fight back against those seeking to do them harm.

July 3, Summerville, South Carolina. Concerned neighbors went to check out loud noises that they thought might be someone breaking into the local church, only to discover a very drunk trespasser roaming through a nearby backyard.

The drunk trespasser began attacking one of the neighbors, who then shot the drunk man in self-defense after his warning shot went unheeded.

Law enforcement officers determined the neighbor acted justifiably, and the drunk man is facing charges related to the incident.

July 5, Danville, Kentucky. A homeowner held a would-be thief at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived, after investigating why his gate intercom rang at 4 a.m.

The homeowner looked outside and saw that his vehicles had been moved, then found the cars parked away from the house, with the thief still inside one of them.

July 10, Summerfield, Florida. A disabled 61-year-old homeowner kept his AR-15 loaded by his bedside after a suspicious interaction earlier in the day with a man who was looking through the sliding glass door on his back porch.

When the homeowner awoke to loud noises that night, he grabbed his rifle just in time to defend himself from four armed men who had broken into his home.

He killed two of the armed intruders and sent the other two fleeing, until they were tracked down by a police K9 unit. Despite being outnumbered and wounded himself, the homeowner survived. 

July 11, Tampa, Florida. A pastor, joined by a deacon, held an intruder at gunpoint for nearly 10 minutes after responding to the church’s alarm system and discovering a man who had used a brick to break in. The intruder was in the process of stealing electronics from the place of worship.

July 15, Phoenix. A retired military law enforcement officer acted quickly to defend himself and his family against a home invasion, drawing his handgun from his bedside table and chasing the intruder out of the house.

After running, the suspect broke into another home and attempted to sexually assault a woman before being arrested by police, who the first homeowner had called.

July 16, San Diego. A man armed with a knife broke into a home and began stabbing the 54-year-old homeowner until the homeowner’s son was able to intervene, shooting and killing the attacker with his father’s gun.

The home invasion caused some residents to question the logic of a proposed local ordinance that would require gun owners to keep their firearms locked in a safe or left inoperable when not on their person.

July 17, Oneida, Tennessee. A man rushed to his mother’s home after receiving a phone call from the mother’s caretaker about hearing suspicious talking from other parts of the house.

He discovered a woman in the process of burglarizing the home who was armed with a pocket knife, and held her at gunpoint until police arrived.

July 24, Rochester, New Hampshire. A father, whose two young children were in the car with him, spotted a would-be burglar while pulling up in the driveway of his home.

The father confronted the man and held him at gunpoint while waiting for law enforcement. He told reporters that while he wished he had not needed to draw his gun in the presence of his children, he hopes it taught them a valuable lesson.

“I don’t carry a gun to kill people. I carry a gun to neutralize threatening situations,” he said.

July 27, High Point, North Carolina. A woman fatally shot an ax-wielding man who broke into her property and charged at her. The man had assaulted the same woman earlier that night but was able to elude police.

July 29, Prospect, Kentucky. A homeowner brandished his handgun to chase away a man attempting to break into his home. The incident was captured by a security camera, and the homeowner believes that the presence of the firearm allowed him to scare off the suspect without putting himself in danger.

July 31, Nashville. An Uber driver defended himself and his passenger by shooting a man who opened fire on the driver’s vehicle. The man—who had a long history of violent crimes, including armed robbery—said he had felt “disrespected” by the Uber driver’s passenger and followed the car to exact revenge.

Neither the passenger nor the Uber driver was harmed, but the perpetrator was later treated at a local hospital for wounds to his chest and arm.

These types of everyday, lawful gun uses are not something we can afford to forget in our desire to just “do something” about mass public shootings, which, while statistically incredibly rare, still strike terror into our souls and break our hearts.

Every day in this country, law-abiding gun owners rely on their Second Amendment rights to stand up against the very types of evil that have so deeply horrified us in recent national headlines.

Neither these Americans, nor their firearms, are the enemy of a free nation. They are, rather, an important and regular deterrent to those who would infringe on the inalienable rights of others.

SOURCE 

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Trumponomics is no flop

Back in the summer of 1982, about 18 months into the Reagan presidency, the Washington Post wrote an editorial that sneered, “Reaganomics is now a failure for all to see.” Two months later began one of the strongest and longest economic revivals in American history, with growth rates that surged above 7 percent.

Whoops! The timing of the Washington Post editorial could hardly have been worse. I framed that old editorial and kept in my office for many years. Reagan used to say joyfully, “I knew our economic plan was working when they stopped calling it Reaganomics.”

I was thinking of that editorial the other day after someone sent me a recent column in the New York Times by the economist Paul Krugman entitled, “Why was Trumponomics a flop?” It is fair to say that Krugman has never been anything but a savage critic of the economic agenda of President Trump, and he has rooted against the economy ever since Election Day 2016. The day after Trump beat Hillary Clinton, the Nobel prize winning economist predicted a stock market collapse, which was slightly off the mark, given that the stock market is up near 50 percent and $10 trillion in wealth has been created since Trump was elected.

But that did not stop the Krugman screed from going viral, as liberals celebrated the news that Trumponomics has crashed and burned. What struck me about the column, and the joyous response to it, is just how divorced it is from the reality that most normal people see and feel every day. We have today the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years, low and stable inflation, the biggest wage gains in a decade, the highest stock market ever, and a record 7.5 million unfilled jobs. Those blue collar jobs in construction and manufacturing that President Obama declared would never come back are up by almost 1.2 million jobs in less than three years.

Recent Commerce Department revisions in income gains during 2017 show 5 percent gains for the middle class, which is significant given that inflation is almost nonexistent outside of education and health care. So is Trumponomics really a flop? Only in the sense that “Gone with the Wind,” “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, and LeBron James can be called flops.

This is not to say that we have an A+ economy. Krugman is right that the trade war with China and other tariffs have subtracted from growth this year. Business investment, which is greatly incentivized under the Trump tax cuts, has been decent but not as strong as we had hoped so far. Federal deficit spending is way too overboard. Still, if Obama had ever produced economic prosperity as we have today, he would have led an entire marching band down Pennsylvania Avenue playing “Ode to Joy.”

Krugman grudgingly admits the obvious that unemployment is lower and growth is higher under Trump than under Obama. But he ascribes the Trump prosperity to high budget deficits and easy money Federal Reserve policy. This is absurd for two reasons. First, government spending and printing money does not cause growth. If it did, Venezuela would be the richest nation on the planet. Second, the budget deficits under Obama were almost twice as high as a share of gross domestic product during his first term than they have been under Trump. Big federal borrowing and “shovel ready” projects should have sent the economy out of this world under Obama. Instead, we got the flimsiest recovery in half a century.

A recent Gallup poll found 70 percent of Americans rating the economy as good or great, roughly double the number during the Obama presidency. The disparagement of the Trump record by Krugman reminds me of the old joke about an eternally joyful fellow who is always full of cheer, and the miserable people grouse, “He thinks he is happy, but he really is not.”

Why the Republicans are so incompetent in trumpeting this blockbuster economy is one of the great modern mysteries of life. Their unwillingness or incapacity to take credit for good times and defend the tax cuts that have helped families only lends credence to the curmudgeonly Krugmans of the world. If Republicans do not change their message soon, Trump may lose to one of the Democratic socialists, and then Americans will know what a real belly flop economy feels like. Finally, about 24 hours after the Krugman piece about Trumponomics flopping was published, the latest jobs report came out with 160,000 more jobs added. Whoops!

SOURCE 

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How much would 'Medicare-for-all' REALLY cost the middle class? The answer is shocking

Justin Haskins

During the most recent round of Democratic presidential debates, nearly all the leading candidates reiterated their commitment to transition the U.S. health insurance industry to a "Medicare-for-All," government-run model. Some promised to do it more quickly than others, but in the end, the result would be the same: the federal government would control health care within a decade.

Single-payer health care systems are plagued by countless problems that should make them an unattractive option for lawmakers—including rationing, service shortages, and bureaucratic inefficiencies. But perhaps the question most important to many 2020 voters, especially those with full-time jobs, will be how Democrats plan to pay for a gargantuan government takeover of health care, one that would include paying for nearly all health care services, reproductive care, and even pharmaceuticals.

Many of the leading presidential candidates—from Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker to Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren—have repeatedly and adamantly denied their single-payer plans will raise health care costs for the middle class. In fact, they have promised it will save middle-income earners thousands of dollars.

However, my new analysis of the costs of single-payer health care, which is based on well-established existing studies from think tanks on both sides of the aisle, shows that tens of millions of American families would end up paying significantly more for health care under a model similar to the "Medicare-for-All" plan proposed by Sanders and endorsed or slightly modified by most of the other leading presidential candidates.

My analysis is straightforward. Using IRS data, I calculated how much in additional taxes each IRS income bracket would need to pay to cover the costs of "Medicare-for-all" in 2022, the first year of full implementation under the legislation previously proposed by Sanders. I assumed Democrats would require tax filers to cover roughly the same proportion of the costs for "Medicare-for-All" as they paid for total federal income tax revenues prior to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I also assumed businesses would pay $400 billion in new taxes in the first year of implementation, a figure that’s in line with Sanders’ own estimates.

If "Medicare-for-All"’s total cost for the first 10 years is in line with projections produced by the American Action Forum, Mercatus Center, and Urban Institute—roughly $32 trillion to $38 trillion—I estimate 40 million to 60 million households would end up paying more in new taxes than they would receive in health care benefits. Millions of these households would lose more than $10,000 annually, even if it is assumed they would otherwise need to pay a full health insurance deductible and some out-of-pocket expenses under a private health insurance model.

Contrary to the claims made by the leading Democratic candidates, millions of middle-class earners would be hit particularly hard under "Medicare-for-All." For example, filers earning $50,000 to $75,000 would likely need to pay on average $7,773 to $9,171 more in new taxes. Those families earning $75,000 to $100,000 would pay $12,612 to $14,880 more. Most households with more than $100,000 income would pay close to or more than $20,000 in additional taxes.

In many cases, these costs far outweigh the projected average employee contribution for employer-provided health insurance—about $1,965 for individuals and $6,752 for families.

Although some proposals would offset these costs by imposing wealth taxes and additional business taxes not included in my analysis, I found that these would have a relatively small effect on the tax burden imposed on individuals and families. The wealthy and businesses simply do not have enough money to cover the massive costs of single-payer health care.

To illustrate this reality, consider the following: Even if the federal government were to confiscate every penny belonging to every single one of the richest 400 Americans—including billionaires like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos—it would only amount to less than $3 trillion, which is less than 10 percent of the cost of single-payer health care in the first 10 years alone, even under the most optimistic scenarios.

"Medicare-for-All" wouldn’t only create significant problems for the health care industry, it would financially decimate millions of middle-class households, many of whom already have access to health insurance plans they like.

So, why would Democrats support such a disastrous policy? The answer should be obvious to anyone who has been paying close attention to the Left’s array of recent radical policy proposals: because they are primarily concerned with increasing the power of the elites in Washington, D.C., not providing people with affordable health care.

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, August 12, 2019


The "Racist" Democrats "War On White People"

Watching the ultra-left Democratic Party presidential candidates attempting to come up with a strategy that would give them ANY chance, at all, of getting a candidate elected President in 2020 is getting VERY interesting. It has brought them all out of the closet, so-to-speak.

At first, the counter-move to OUR electing Donald Trump as our President in 2016 was to make the claim that "Trump is an agent of the Russian government."

When that STUPID story was shown to be nonsense the liberals had massive egg on their faces - so they IMMEDIATELY came out with a new thing.  Trump, and by association, all of his supporters, are "Racists."

Their latest gambit is to try and set up a HATRED of all white people who want to "Make, and Keep, America Great Again."  Think about that.  Somehow, in the minds of Democrats, a strong America, with people working, buying homes, buying cars, is a BAD thing.  Blacks, whites, browns, yellows, etc. working together as one nation is, to a "Progressive" Democrat, a bad thing. Huh?

There is NO question that MOST 2020 Democrat presidential candidates want America destroyed in favor of total UN-Run (Agenda 21) One-World Soviet Style Communism.

The wild-eyed "Green New Deal" would completely bankrupt America in a matter of months, shutting down MOST of America's industries, putting MOST Americans out of work, giving Mainland Communist China the ability to crush America overnight.  And, for the "Anti-White" Democrats, the result would be sweet - the end of Western Civilization.

"Medicare For all" is another nation buster.  Just envision millions of out-of-work people standing in line

"Free College for all" is another line of BS.  American Universities have become nothing more than a baby-sitting service for liberal Prima-Donnas whining about how hard their privileged lives are as they dope-smoke their way between safe-spaces. 

The idea of graduating from college and getting an actual job is simply NOT in their plans.  with "Free College for all" they could stay right there, as a student, until their hair falls out.

"Mass Shootings" - Liberal Democrats are completely responsible for this situation.  Every person killed or wounded can be traced back to "liberal" values.  Our country is faced with the liberal's long-term plan to destroy family units, removing the guidance of fathers from the child-raising picture.

"We Want America Destroyed" is the war cry of almost every 2020 Democratic Party Presidential Candidate.

Top Democratic Party leadership screams out "America was never great." on the nightly news.  The Democratic Party's "Beto" O'Rourke" claims (laugh here) that "This country was founded on white supremacy."

Yeah, "Beto," you dumb-ass, our Founding Fathers and Mothers created this country to promote "White Supremacy?"  Try reading a history book you jackass.

What "Beto" is against is "Freedom."

There is no doubt that the Democratic Party is trying to foment a race war in the racial/cultural "Melting Pot" of America.  In a way this attempt is hilarious.  Why?  As Victor David Hanson of the Hoover Institution states:

"The United States has always cherished its "melting pot" ethos of *e pluribus unum* - of blending diverse peoples into one through assimilation, integration, and intermarriage.

When immigration was controlled, measured, and coupled with a confident approach to assimilation, America thrived. Various ethnic groups enriched America with diverse art, food, music, and literature while accepting a common culture of American values and institutions. Problems arose only when immigration was often illegal, in mass, and without emphasis on assimilation."

But to the liberal Democrat's complete chagrin, those new DNA tests (23 and Me) are VERY CLEARLY showing that the people of America, themselves, personally, almost en-masse, decided to assimilate with other races and cultures in their sexual congress (smile here).  Which translates to the simple fact that Americans are NOT, as crap-for-brains liberals claim, "racist."  They are, in fact, just the opposite  (smile again.).

Those tests are CLEARLY showing that America is now, and has been, for a very long time, a true "Melting Pot" - and we obviously have, and had, FUN doing it.

SOURCE 

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Blame California’s Housing Shortage on Dubious Regulations
   
California is considered by many to be a beautiful and desirable place to live. Much of the state benefits from a very temperate climate featuring mild summer and winter temperatures and a landscape that can accommodate a wide variety of popular recreational activities from snowboarding to surfing. Economically, the state is home to many strong industries whose combined output is so large that if the state were a country, it would rank as the fifth largest economy in the world.

On paper, this combination of pleasant environment and economics should mean that California would rank very highly among all states for its business climate thanks to its established relative advantages. In reality, the state ranks among the worst, thanks to a tax and regulatory regime that puts it in dead last place among all states for its cost of doing business in CNBC’s Top States for Business in 2019.

Responding to California’s dismal ranking in this category, the editorial board of the OC Register point their fingers at the “crippling cost of doing business in California”:

... consider the costs of doing business in a state consistently ranked by the American Tort Reform Association as the nation’s leading “judicial hellhole,” where businesses are routinely forced to fend off lawsuits.

Add in costs imposed by the California Environmental Quality Act, which desperately needs revamping, and you have a splendid mix of laws and regulations that would give even the heartiest business owner pause.

If Sacramento lawmakers have taught us anything, it’s that they cannot, they will not, surrender their central planning urges, which of course much be fueled by more and more taxes and manifest in greater laws and regulations of dubious value.

Coming on the heels of a World Bank study that connected the reduction in regulatory burdens for creating businesses with the escape from extreme poverty for millions of people, it might be useful to consider how California’s increasing regulatory burdens harm the state’s residents.

James Broughel and Emily Hamilton described the state of California’s overall regulatory environment in a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times:

The California Code of Regulations—the compilation of the state’s administrative rules—contains more than 21 million words. If reading it was a 40-hour-a-week job, it would take more than six months to get through it, and understanding all that legalese is another matter entirely.

Included in the code are more than 395,000 restrictive terms such as “shall,” “must” and “required,” a good gauge of how many actual requirements exist. This is by far the most regulation of any state in the country, according to a new database maintained by the Mercatus Center, a research institute at George Mason University. The average state has about 137,000 restrictive terms in its code, or roughly one-third as many as California. Alaska and Montana are among the states with as few as 60,000.

Local zoning codes justifiably receive a lot of blame for the state’s high housing costs. They restrict new home creation—particularly multifamily homes, from duplexes to large apartment buildings. There’s no doubt that zoning rules are a key driver of California’s sky-high housing costs, as economists have found extensive evidence that regions where land-use regulations stand in the way of new housing supply suffer from high house prices and rents.

But California’s state building code is also especially restrictive and deserves scrutiny from policymakers concerned about housing affordability. By itself, this section of the Code of Regulations contains more restrictive terms—more than 75,700—than some states’ entire codes. The residential housing subsection alone has nearly 24,000 restrictions.

These restrictive regulations have resulted in California’s failure to build as much new housing as required to support the population’s need for shelter. City Journal‘s Kerry Jackson’s story of how the planned construction of 21,500 new homes in Santa Clarita has been stalled for nearly 25 years illustrates the challenge to build faced by Orange County’s FivePoint Communities:

Though the developer tirelessly met environmentalist demands and generated “green” credibility, the project has endured more than a quarter-century of roadblocks and red tape, courtesy of California’s mammoth bureaucracy—including “lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit,” says Wendy Devine, who oversees a website focused on Newhall Ranch news. The litigation primarily addressed environmental issues, as is typical for California, where the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has delayed housing development, reduced it in scope and size, and even shut it down. The developer produced more than 109,000 pages of documents, navigated the review of 25 government agencies, appeared at 21 public hearings, and attended over 700 meetings. Finally, the project broke ground last year.

While ground has finally been broken, it will still take years for the builders to construct all these homes, during which they will almost certainly face new regulatory hurdles to overcome before they are done, adding to their costs.

If not for the state’s growing mountain of restrictions that held up their construction for decades, the planned houses at Newhall Ranch could easily be home today to more than 53,000 Californians. If these houses had already been built, as they would have in a more sane world, not only would they be housing thousands of Californians, the homes and apartments where many of these future residents are living today would have been freed up to house others at more affordable prices and rents.

Instead, California’s regulatory regime has helped inflate the state’s cost of housing far above the levels that would be affordable to many of the state’s households, which has had dire consequences for the most marginal parts of the state’s population, with homelessness shooting up to a crisis level.

Homeless in California, 2009-2019 Point-In-Time-Counts

California’s state and local governments were already spending billions to address the problems of the state’s homeless population, even including building new housing, but have gained no ground because of the regulatory barriers they put in their own way. Worse, rather than making positive progress, they have lost ground and ended up even further behind, bearing a heavy human toll.

Returning to the OC Register‘s editorial, which concludes:

Indeed, California has many advantages over other states. But rather than use those strengths to facilitate even greater economic activity, California’s politicians have instead exhibited a tendency to take California’s advantages as a given and use California’s businesses as piggy banks for their grand visions.

Someday, we’d like to see California’s politicians realize that pulling back and letting markets work will yield more benefits over the long-term than perpetually using the force of government at every opportunity.

California’s problems have not arisen by chance. Its housing shortage is a political choice, just as are many of its other problems. There is so much more the state could be for the people who live there, if only its politicians and bureaucrats would choose instead to restrict themselves from imposing such a regulatory burden on others.

SOURCE 




Mass Shootings Aren’t Growing More Common – and Evidence Contradicts Common Stereotypes About the Killers

When 22 people were killed in El Paso, Texas, and nine more were killed in Dayton, Ohio, roughly 12 hours later, responses to the tragedy included many of the same myths and stereotypes Americans have grown used to hearing in the wake of a mass shooting.

As part of my work as a psychology researcher, I study mass homicides, as well as society’s reaction to them. A lot of bad information can follow in the wake of such emotional events; clear, data-based discussions of mass homicides can get lost among political narratives.

I’d like to clear up four common misconceptions about mass homicides and who commits them, based on the current state of research.

Violent Video Games Cause Mass Homicides?

By Monday morning after these latest shootings, President Donald Trump along with other Republican politicians had linked violent video games to mass shootings.

I’ll admit my surprise, since only last year the Trump administration convened a School Safety Commission which studied this issue, among many others. I myself testified, and the commission ultimately did not conclude there was sufficient evidence to link games and media to criminal violence.

Long-term studies of youth consistently find that violent games are not a risk factor for youth violence anywhere from one to eight years later. And no less than the U.S. Supreme Court declared in 2011 that scientific studies had failed to link violent games to serious aggression in kids.

A 2017 public policy statement by the American Psychological Association’s media psychology and technology division specifically recommended politicians should stop linking violent games to mass shootings. It’s time to lay this myth to rest.

Mass Shooters Are Male White Supremacists?

Early reports suggest that the El Paso shooter was a white racist concerned about Latino immigration. Other shooters, such as the perpetrator of the Christchurch, New Zealand attack, have also been white supremacists.

Overall, though, the ethnic composition of the group of all mass shooters in the U.S. is roughly equivalent to the American population.

Hateful people tend to be attracted to hateful ideologies. Some shootings, such as the 2016 shooting of police officers in Dallas, were reportedly motivated by anti-white hatred. Other shooters, such as the 2015 San Bernardino husband and wife perpetrator team, have espoused other hateful ideas such as radical Islam.

Most mass homicide perpetrators don’t proclaim any allegiance to a particular ideology at all.

Of course, mass homicides in other nations – such as several deadly knife attacks in Japan – don’t involve U.S. race issues.

As far as gender, it’s true that most mass homicide perpetrators are male. A minority of shooters are female, and they may target their own families.

Mental Illness Definitely Is Or Is Not To Blame?

Whether mental illness is or is not related to mass shootings – or criminal violence more broadly – is a nuanced question. Frankly, proponents on both sides often get this wrong by portraying the issue as clear-cut.

As far back as 2002, a U.S. Secret Service report based on case studies and interviews with surviving shooters identified mental illness – typically either psychosis or suicidal depression – as very common among mass homicide perpetrators.

As for violence more broadly, mental illness, such as psychosis as well as a mixture of depression with antisocial traits, is a risk factor for violent behavior.

Some people suggest mental illness is completely unrelated to crime, but that claim tends to rely on mangled statistics. For instance, I’ve seen the suggestion that individuals with mental illness account for just 5% of violent crimes. However, that assertion is based on research like one Swedish study that limited mental illness to psychosis only, which is experienced by about 1% or less of the population. If 1% of people commit 5% of crimes, that suggests psychosis elevates risk of crime.

It’s also important to point out that the vast majority of people with mental illness do not commit violent crimes. For instance, in one study, about 15% of people with schizophrenia had committed violent crimes, as compared to 4% of a group of people without schizophrenia. Although this clearly identifies the increase in risk, it also highlights that the majority of people with schizophrenia had not committed violent crimes. It’s important not to stigmatize the mentally ill, which may reduce their incentive to seek treatment.

So improving access to mental health services would benefit a whole range of people and, by coincidence, occasionally bring treatment to someone at risk of committing violence. But focusing only on mental health is unlikely to put much of a dent in societal violence.

Mass Homicides Are Becoming More Frequent?

Mass homicides get a lot of news coverage which keeps our focus on the frequency of their occurrence. Just how frequent is sometimes muddled by shifting definitions of mass homicide, and confusion with other terms such as active shooter.

But using standard definitions, most data suggest that the prevalence of mass shootings has stayed fairly consistent over the past few decades.

To be sure, the U.S. has experienced many mass homicides. Even stability might be depressing given that rates of other violent crimes have declined precipitously in the U.S. over the past 25 years. Why mass homicides have stayed stagnant while other homicides have plummeted in frequency is a question worth asking.

Nonetheless, it does not appear that the U.S. is awash in an epidemic of such crimes, at least comparing to previous decades going back to the 1970s.

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, August 11, 2019


Political values

At first sight, the general population survey below is very old hat.  They find that Leftists want people to be equal and conservatives want people to work for what they get.  Ho Hum!

But there was an interesting quirk.  Leftists tended to like people to work for what they get nearly as much as conservatives did.  So there is some hope for the Left.  The ratbags who are at present vying for the Democrat presidential nomination may be very unrepresentative. Democrat voters are much more reasonable


All Things Being Equal: Distinguishing Proportionality and Equity in Moral Reasoning

Chris Skurka et al.

Abstract

Moral foundations theory (MFT) has been a useful framework for understanding moral judgment and its relationship to political leaning. However, some have argued that MFT omits key domains of moral reasoning. We explored the utility of two candidate foundations (Proportionality and Equity) with a national sample of U.S. adults recruited through Nielsen’s Harris Panel, randomly split into calibration (n = 1,499) and replication samples (n = 1,499). We find that Proportionality and Equity are conceptually distinct from the original foundations (as measured in the Moral Foundations Questionnaire [MFQ]) but relate to them in predictable ways. Equity consistently predicted political leaning above and beyond covariates and the original foundations, but Proportionality only distinguished conservatives from liberals in the calibration sample, which suggests Proportionality may be highly relevant to moral judgments regardless of political ideology. Our findings also indicate potential bias when using one of the MFQ’s screener items to filter out unengaged participants.

SOURCE 

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It's an invasion! ... of moronic arguments

Ann Coulter

BREAKING NEWS: MASS SHOOTING IN DAYTON, OHIO, LAST SATURDAY NIGHT. (This may not be news to you, but I watch MSNBC, so I didn’t find out about the Dayton massacre until yesterday.)

There were two horrifying mass shootings recently, but our media are fixated on only one -- the one in El Paso, Texas -- because the shooter, Patrick Crusius, issued a “manifesto” that contained some of the same arguments made by Trump about illegal immigration.

Crusius began: “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”

Wait a second! Didn’t Trump use the word “invasion” to describe our wide-open border? Why, that makes him a co-conspirator in the white supremacist’s slaughter!

Of course, if we believe the part of Crusius’ manifesto that talks about an “invasion,” I don’t know why we’re required to disbelieve the part where he says his ideas have nothing to do with Trump -- or the part where he denies being a “white supremacist.”

But those are the rules. A white supremacist, who committed mass murder in El Paso, made arguments that “echoed” those made by President Trump -- and pay no attention to the avowed socialist and Elizabeth Warren-supporter who committed a mass shooting in Dayton later that day.

The hunt is on to find anyone who has ever used the I-word about illegal immigration.

(How about the “British Invasion”? Do we owe the Rolling Stones reparations now, too? Evidently a perfectly good word, appropriate in a million other contexts, suddenly becomes “racist” if applied to Hispanics.)

According to the Trump hysterics, if a terrorist cites X as the reason for his attack, then: 1) that constitutes definitive proof that X is false; and 2) anyone who agrees with X is providing “material support” to terrorists.

So, I guess I’d be in trouble if I were to say, “The El Paso shooting was an awakening, a moment of reckoning with politicians’ broken immigration promises and the avenging hatreds it arouses.”

That's a paraphrase of what Michael Ignatieff wrote in 2003 in The New York Times magazine about the American Empire provoking the 9/11 terrorists.

Or how about this:

“It is not only Patrick Crusius who feels this anger and resentment. Throughout the country there is widespread bitterness against our politicians, even among the pragmatic and well-educated, who may sincerely deplore the recent atrocity ... but who still resent the way the government has refused to secure our border.”

That's a paraphrase of what author Karen Armstrong wrote in 2001 in The Guardian about the 9/11 terrorists’ resentment of American power.

They weren’t making unreasonable points, but clearly no one held back for fear of “echoing” the beliefs of terrorists who had just murdered 3,000 Americans.

To the contrary, in the words of leftist professor Todd Gitlin in 2002, his fellow liberals felt the 9/11 attack was a “damnable yet understandable payback ... rooted in America's own crimes of commission and omission ... reaping what empire had sown. After all, was not America essentially the oil-greedy, Islam-disrespecting oppressor of Iraq, Sudan, Palestine? Were not the ghosts of the Shah's Iran, of Vietnam, and of the Cold War Afghan jihad rattling their bones?”

Liberals did not feel it incumbent on them to hate America any less just because the 9/11 terrorists hated it, too. Why should immigration patriots reconsider their views one iota because Crusius agreed with them? So do a lot of voters -- not too many, just enough to put Trump in the White House.

In November 2009, Major Nidal Hasan shot up Fort Hood military base while shouting “Allah Akbar!” killing 13 people and wounding 32 others. He did so primarily because he was angry about America’s war in Iraq.

Had Obama created a “toxic” environment with his campaign pledge to pull all our troops out of Iraq? Was that policy proved wrong because Hasan agreed with it? I don’t recall anyone saying, Well, now we’ve got to stay in Iraq FOREVER because a terrorist didn’t want us to!

(And, by the way, contrary to the nonsense repeated every six minutes on TV about white killers being called “mentally ill” while poor, put-upon Muslim killers get called “terrorists,” for months and months, The New York Times and President Obama assured us that Hasan was mentally ill, not a terrorist.)

Just two years ago, a gung-ho Bernie Sanders supporter, James Hodgkinson, drove to the nation’s capital and gunned down Republicans on a Virginia baseball field, leaving House Majority Whip Stephen Scalise in critical condition, requiring multiple surgeries. Several others were also injured in the hellfire of bullets.

Hodgkinson was inspired to commit attempted mass murder by his passionate desire for universal health care and his hatred of Republicans (especially Trump). These toxic beliefs were regularly reinforced by his favorite TV programs, "The Rachel Maddow Show,” "Real Time With Bill Maher” and "Democracy Now!”

You want “material support”? All those shows are still on the air! And the hosts still hate Trump! Indeed, every single Democratic presidential candidate is promoting an agenda that could have been lifted directly from Hodgkinson's Facebook page, from government-run health care to hiking taxes on “the rich.”

Does this mean universal health care is, ipso facto, a hateful, terroristic idea because of Hodgkinson’s support of it?

A few months before shooting up a GOP baseball game, Hodgkinson wrote on his Facebook page: "Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”

Based on the new El Paso standard for branding beliefs “hateful,” “toxic" and “material support” for terrorism, every Democratic presidential candidate should be on a terrorist watch list right now.

SOURCE 

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Leftists putting their hate into action

As ever, they fail to foresee the probable consequences of their own actions. They  fail to see that their own tactics could be used against them. There has been a fair bit of doxxing from the far Left recently so it may not be too long before some Trump supporters start doxxing Leftists

House Republican leaders and President Trump’s campaign lashed out at Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), the brother of Democratic presidential candidate Juli├ín Castro, for tweeting out the names and business interests of dozens of donors to the Trump reelection campaign.

Joaquin Castro late Monday used his Twitter account to publish the names of 44 Texans who donated the maximum $2,700 to Trump, specifically calling out the owners of several prominent businesses in San Antonio, where the Castro brothers are from.

“Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders’,” the lawmaker tweeted.

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh accused Castro of “endangering the safety of the people he is supposed to be representing.”

“Democrats want to talk about inciting violence?” Murtaugh said. “This naming of private citizens and their employers is reckless and irresponsible. He is endangering the safety of people he is supposed to be representing. No one should be targeted for exercising their First Amendment rights or for their political beliefs. He should delete the tweet, apologize, and his brother’s campaign should disavow it.”

The Trump campaign also reported Castro’s tweet to Twitter, saying it broke the company’s abuse and harassment provision.

Candidates are required to disclose the names and employers of donors who give $200 or more in Federal Election Commission filings, which are available online for anyone to see.

However, it is unusual for a lawmaker to publish the names and business interests of individual donors of another campaign.

Tensions are running hot between Trump and the Democrats, who blame the president's rhetoric for having contributed to a mass shooting over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, which left at least 22 people dead.

Administration officials, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, have called those attacks unfair.

Police say the suspected shooter had written a manifesto warning about an “invasion” of Latino immigrants, mirroring some of the language the president has used on immigration. However, the shooter also said some of his views preceded Trump's election.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who was nearly killed in a politically motivated shooting two years ago, called Castro’s tweet “dangerous.”

“People should not be personally targeted for their political views. Period. This isn’t a game. It’s dangerous, and lives are at stake. I know this firsthand,” Scalise tweeted.

Meanwhile, McCarthy said in a tweet, "Targeting and harassing Americans because of their political beliefs is shameful and dangerous."

SOURCE 





Warning: How the VA ‘Red Flags’ Patriots

Gun-grabbing crisis vultures just can’t let the latest mass shootings go to waste. “Red flag” laws are now all the rage in the Beltway as the magic pill to prevent homicidal maniacs from wreaking havoc on the nation.

Even President Donald Trump has endorsed the idea of preemptively confiscating people’s firearms if they are deemed a “threat.”

But if you want to know how this American version of China’s social credit system would work in practice, let me remind you of how Veterans Affairs recklessly red-flags “disruptive” citizens without due process, transparency, or accountability in the name of “safety.”

Government bureaucrats routinely deprive our nation’s heroes of medical treatment based on arbitrary definitions of who and what constitutes a mental health menace.

I first reported on the VA’s secretive database on “disgruntled” and “disruptive” vets five years ago. Under the VA policy on “patient record flags,” federal bureaucrats can classify vets as “threats” based on assessments of their “difficult,” “annoying,” and “noncompliant” behavior.

The VA manual says the flags “are used to alert Veterans Health Administration medical staff and employees of patients whose behavior and characteristics may pose a threat either to their safety, the safety of other patients, or compromise the delivery of quality health care.”

What a crock. It’s precisely because so many vets receive inferior care from the feds that they have been forced to raise their voices.

Have we all forgotten the 40 veterans who perished at the Phoenix, Arizona, VA, which relegated patients to a bureaucratic black hole through secret waiting lists?

Among examples of patients’ behavior referred to the red-flaggers in the VA’s “Disruptive Behavior Committees” (Orwell couldn’t have cooked up a better name): venting “frustration about VA services and/or wait times, threatening lawsuits or to have people fired, and frequent unwarranted visits to the emergency department or telephone calls to facility staff.”

Disabled Air Force veteran and veterans advocate/attorney Benjamin Krause has exposed the Soviet-style targeting of veterans flagged for exercising their First Amendment rights or threatening to sue the VA over neglectful care or for simply being too “expensive.” He calls it “straight out of a totalitarian regime.”

In 2013, the VA inspector general concluded that the bureaucracy “does not have a comprehensive definition of what constitutes disruptive behavior.”

In January 2018, a VA Office of Inspector General report found that large numbers of flagged veterans were being left in the dark about being placed on dangerous patient lists—with no recourse to remove phony flags or appeal in any meaningful way.

Despite rules requiring the Disruptive Behavior Committee to notify flagged patients of their status and informing them of their right to amend their reports, the Office of Inspector General found no evidence in 49% of electronic health records that the panels had provided such notice and disclosure.

In 25% of medical records reviewed, the Office of Inspector General “found no evidence that patients were informed they had the right to request to amend or appeal” special orders restricting care of flagged patients.

There are undoubtedly patients in the system who may pose real threats. But the “problem with the process is that it is secret,” Krause explains at DisabledVeterans.org.

The review process is done in secret and the veteran will not know who sat on the committee or what the evidence presented was prior to the decision. Only after the decision is made are veterans informed of the outcome and given a chance to appeal the vague allegations. That seems like a due process violation if I have ever seen one.

Army vet David Scott Strain of Virginia told me recently that he was a flagged veteran. “My grave sin?” says Strain. “I tried to report the abuse of a deaf, infirm, World War II veteran. He was approximately 95 years of age. A male nurse stood behind his waiting room chair and shouted down at the top of his head, ‘Hello! Hello! Hello! If you can hear me, you can come in now!'”

Strain describes how the elderly vet “could not hear this, and the nurse went through three iterations, while giggling and looking at the wait room personnel as if we were a comedy club audience. It was one of the sickest displays I’ve ever seen.”

For blowing the whistle on VA elder abuse, Strain says, he was banned from all satellite clinics and only granted access to one main facility.

VA flaggers can “manufacture tone, the content of what you’re saying, and will even ascribe actions to you that you did not perform,” Strain warns.

“The potential red flag laws concern me deeply,” Strain told me. “Why any citizen would think it wise to let the government screw such handles to our backs, to threaten and wag us any which way, is beyond my understanding. However, I fully understand why politicians want it.”

Complain too much. Criticize the powers be. Ask too many questions. Boom! You’re a threat.

If such tyranny is allowed among those who volunteered to protect and serve our country in the name of safety, imagine how it will be implemented among the law-abiding, gun-owning general populace.

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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