Friday, October 04, 2019



What Happens When Top Rival American Politicians Compete to Jail Each Other?

It's been more than two years since the Belmont Club article predicting a political showdown after the election of Donald Trump was written. Since then, its scenario of top rival American politicians trying to jail each other has become an actual possibility. "Will impeaching Trump lead to indictments of Obama and Biden over Ukraine?" says an article in the Spectator. Rudy Giuliani asks: 'Shouldn't Biden be investigated over Ukraine if Trump can be impeached over it?' Hillary's in the mix too:

As President Donald Trump's presidency is threatened by an impeachment inquiry, the Republican chairmen of two Senate committees, Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley, are asking Attorney General William Barr to investigate any ties between Ukraine and Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.

To use a World War II analogy there are torpedoes in the water going in opposite directions at each fleet's battlewagons. If all strike home, a lot of damage will ensue as the different parts of the bureaucracy act against rival leaders. Not surprisingly, the term "civil war" actually began trending on Twitter. CBS News reported: "'Civil War 2' trends on Twitter after Trump quotes speculation that impeachment would spark 'civil war.'"

The very mention of the term is itself an impeachable offense according to Harvard Law professor John Coates. "This tweet is itself an independent basis for impeachment - a sitting president threatening civil war if Congress exercises its constitutionally authorized power." The fact that it was Pastor Robert Jeffress who said the offending words on a TV program -- Trump was merely quoting him -- is of no moment. The impeachment devil who no one professed to believe in has appeared at Nancy Pelosi's prayers.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Saturday that she is heartbroken and prayerful as House Democrats move forward with their impeachment inquiry and that President Donald Trump's actions left her no other choice.

There is frank hostility. "Joe Biden's campaign wrote to executives at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News to 'demand' that Rudy Giuliani not be invited on the air to discuss Ukraine and President Trump because of what they called his misleading comments about the Biden family," according to the New York Times. Giuliani responded indignantly: "Think of the Biden arrogance and entitlement to protection. They believe they own the media and they are demanding that they silence me. They know I have incriminating facts, not hearsay, because they know what they did in selling Joe’s office to a Ukrainian crook."

Politicians could be psyching themselves into the very thing they purport to abhor. If they sincerely want to step back from the brink now's the time. Otherwise, their actions may at some point unleash a runaway train. As a Harvard symposium noted, World War I started by miscalculation.

SOURCE 

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Dems Target Mike Pompeo

With the whistleblower's complaint coming up short, Dems aim for "corrupt" officials. 

In an effort to prop up their “whistleblower’s” false allegations, House Democrats have lashed out at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over his refusal to submit to their subpoena demands. Following Pompeo’s statement that he would not let State Department staff be bullied by Democrats into testifying, three Democrat committee chairmen led by Rep. Adam “B Movie” Schiff cried foul, disingenuously claiming that this was evidence that Pompeo was the one who was “intimidat[ing] witnesses.” They warned, “Any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from talking with Congress — including State Department employees — is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.”

Naturally, the mainstream media is taking cues from Democrats and is now framing the normal job-related actions of high-ranking White House officials like Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr as somehow being evidence of corruption. For example, Pompeo is alleged to have engaged in misconduct for simply listening to President Donald Trump’s infamous July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Why would this be wrong? As The Wall Street Journal notes, “Shouldn’t a Secretary of State be on a call to the new President of an important country? U.S. foreign policy is the secretary’s job.”

Why are Democrats playing this vilification game? Because their “smoking gun” whistleblower complaint failed to expose any impeachable offense. In all likelihood the Democrats knew that going in, but with a friendly press they calculated that it would serve to provide just enough of a cover story to justify acting on their long-running impeachment obsession. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and company know they don’t have any actual evidence of a crime, so they’re vilifying anyone near Trump to create the air of corruption around any action. Even innocuous job-related activities can be said to have been done with corrupt motivations to cover up Trump’s crimes. This is an effort to keep the narrative alive through the election.

Trump sees this, which is why he’s calling it what it is: “a coup.” On Tuesday, he asserted, “As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their Vote, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!” He’s right.

There may be another motive for the Democrats’ vilification of Pompeo and Barr — they don’t want them investigating the origins of the 2016 Russia-collusion hoax. In fact, The Washington Post suggests as much in an article titled, “Democrats’ worst fears about William Barr are proving correct.”

SOURCE 

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Trump Reshaping Ninth Circuit Will Be Felt for Decades

In May 2016, Donald Trump was close to securing the Republican presidential nomination but needed to shore up his support among skeptical conservatives to have even a remote chance of defeating Hillary Clinton in the general election. In an unexpected but brilliant move, candidate Trump released a list of judges that he promised to choose from in selecting a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, beloved by conservatives.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had infuriated Democrats by refusing to hold hearings on Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, so the next president would fill that vacancy. Trump’s list had been compiled with heavy input from the conservative Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society. Proving him right, conservatives rallied to Trump’s banner (even if cautiously), based on this promise.

The result has been far better that conservatives could have imagined. As president, Donald Trump has nominated two solid conservatives (an originalist/textualist in Neil Gorsuch, and a conservative institutionalist in Brett Kavanaugh) to the Supreme Court, and recently passed an impressive milestone — more than 150 nominees confirmed to the federal bench. The positive repercussions of this will be felt for decades to come.

Arguably, even more impactful than Trump’s Supreme Court appointments (replacing originalist Scalia with originalist Gorsuch, and moderate Kennedy with conservative Kavanaugh) has been his reshaping of the notorious Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, nicknamed the “Ninth Circus” because of its penchant for ultra-leftist rulings.

A week and a half ago, President Trump nominated Patrick Bumatay and Lawrence VanDyke to fill vacancies on the Ninth Circuit. This was the second time Bumatay has been nominated to that court. Trump nominated Bumatay — a Filipino-American federal prosecutor from San Diego and former counselor to the U.S. attorney general — in October 2018, but after strenuous objections by California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, the nomination lapsed without action.

VanDyke is an attorney with the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division, having served previously as the solicitor general of both Nevada and Montana, where he incurred the wrath of Democrats and radical environmentalists for litigating against Obama’s abusive land- and water-use policies.

If these nominees are confirmed, it will make the ninth and tenth Trump-nominated judges confirmed to the Ninth Circuit, meaning Trump will have appointed more than a third (10 of 29) of the judges on that bench.

The long-term benefits are enormous.

First, the Ninth Circuit is the nation’s largest circuit court, with a jurisdiction covering nine states and two island territories (40% of U.S. land mass). Its rulings impact more than 60 million Americans (roughly 20% of the U.S. population).

The importance of placing Trump’s nominees on the Ninth Circuit — judges who understand their proper role is to interpret the law as written, not twist it into what they want it to be — cannot be overstated.

Of the 7,000-8,000 cases appealed to the Supreme Court each year, only about 80 receive plenary review and are heard by the nation’s highest court.

By contrast, the Ninth Circuit last year received nearly 11,000 filings and “terminated” (rendered final judgments on) nearly 12,000 cases. Meaning, no matter how obviously unfair, ludicrous, or unconstitutional a ruling of the Ninth Circuit may be, the ruling stands and applies to 20% of the American population unless it is one of the precious few taken up by the Supreme Court.

Of its cases reviewed by the Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit is reversed a staggering 82% of the time. Yet only a tiny fraction of those cases will ever be reviewed by the Supreme Court, so the lunatic rulings stand in the vast majority of cases.

And the Ninth Circuit judges are well aware of that, and take advantage of it.

Stephen Reinhardt, appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the Ninth Circuit in 1979, served until his death in 2018. Known as one of the most leftist judges in the nation, Reinhardt once said of his high reversal rate at the Supreme Court that he would keep issuing leftist rulings because the Supreme Court “can’t catch ‘em all.” It was Reinhardt’s Ninth Circuit Court that ruled in 2002 that the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional because of the words “under God,” a ridiculous ruling unanimously overturned by the Supreme Court.

There have been calls over the years to split the Ninth Circuit into two courts, a position supported by most of the members of the Supreme Court. Aside from its far-left rulings, the Ninth is simply too big and unmanageable.

Until then though, it is undeniable that President Trump’s efforts are significantly impacting the structure and leanings of the Ninth Circuit. With a third of its judges now Trump appointees, it greatly improves the odds that a panel of Ninth Circuit judges will include those with a more conservative, originalist philosophy.

Just this year, in what would have previously been unfathomable, the Ninth Circuit handed Trump major victories in a border-wall battle with environmentalists and in upholding his “remain in Mexico” policy of dealing with asylum seekers.

Decades from now we may very well look back and see that Trump’s influence on reshaping the federal judiciary, especially the Ninth Circuit, did more than anything else to save the Constitution and uphold the Rule of Law.

SOURCE 

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IN BRIEF

ANTI-NRA U-TURN: "Remember last month when San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed a resolution declaring the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization and ordered city employees to 'take every reasonable step to limit' business interactions with the NRA and its supporters?" asks Jim Geraghty of National Review. "... The NRA sued, and lo and behold, San Francisco is backing down, before the suit even went to court." The mayor in a new memo states, "No [municipal] department will take steps to restrict any contractor from doing business with the NRA or to restrict City contracting opportunities for any business that has any relationship with the NRA." Meanwhile, says Geraghty, "The NRA is challenging a similar law passed by the Los Angeles city council that requiring city contractors to disclose any ties they have to the gun-rights group."

DEATH AND TAXES: "Americans on average spent more on taxes in 2018 than they did on the basic necessities of food, clothing and health care combined, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey. ... The $14,758.11 that the average American consumer unit paid for food, clothing and health care was $3,859.82 less than the $18,617.93 it paid in federal, state and local income taxes, property taxes, Social Security taxes and 'other taxes.'" (Terence Jeffrey)

NET-NEUTRALITY REPEAL UPHELD: "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission was mostly lawful in its rollback of Obama-era 'net neutrality' guidelines, while offering a glimmer of hope to proponents of the guidelines. In a 2–1 ruling, the court said the FCC had acted lawfully in its decision to stop regulating broadband like a utility or a 'common carrier' such as a phone service. But it said the FCC had exceeded its authority in attempting to block states from passing their own rules in contradiction of the net-neutrality repeal, as California did in 2018." (National Review)

TANTAMOUNT TO A WARREN ENDORSEMENT: "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in July that an Elizabeth Warren presidency would pose an 'existential' threat to the company, according to over two hours of leaked audio published by The Verge." (National Review)

PRO-LIFE SETBACK: "A federal judge handed an early win to abortion rights activists Tuesday by blocking Georgia's restrictive law from going into effect — but it is only the first step as a lawsuit makes its way through the court system. District Judge Steve C. Jones' ruling stops House Bill 481 from taking effect Jan. 1 while the case plays out. Anti-abortion activists are hoping the case winds up in the U.S. Supreme Court." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MURDERS DECLINE: "Murder is on the decline in America, according to a new FBI report. The nation's top federal law enforcement agency found that homicides fell by 6 percent in 2018. The decline in homicides is part of a 3 percent drop in the violent crime rate, according to the Uniform Crime Report, the FBI's annual tally of crimes reported to local police departments. The 2018 decline follows several years of slight increases in homicide and violent crime, driven largely by spikes in major cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C." (The Washington Free Beacon)

FAIRFAX FOLLY: The Daily Caller reports: "A county police department in Virginia announced Tuesday that one of their officers was suspended for turning an illegal alien over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after determining the individual had dodged a deportation hearing. Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. said the officer in question had a 'lapse in judgment' when he called ICE about the illegal alien. ... Fairfax County has a policy that limits the police department's cooperation with ICE." The "lapse in judgment" here is being directed at the wrong person.

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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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 

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Thursday, October 03, 2019



The Deep State

From the time of the campaign all the way until now, the president has been under repeated attacks from elements of America’s intelligence agencies, including the CIA and FBI. Many of the people, like Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe, and Strzok, have been removed. But there are still many more who have not been identified and “weeded out.”

The president has appointed various people he was told would clean house. Former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, an old friend of mine, was named director of national intelligence. But he quickly became a mouthpiece for the agency he was running rather than a reformer of the agency. Thanks for nothing, Dan.

Early in his administration, a CIA official resigned and wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post lambasting the president. He was promptly hired to be a commentator for NBC News. More recently, an intelligence analyst at the State Department used his resignation to make a big splash in the news.

The current controversy reportedly originated with an employee at the CIA. The current head of the CIA is Gina Haspel, a career officer and the first woman to lead the CIA.

The president was told, and we were all told, that she was the ultimate professional who would not tolerate any nonsense. Clearly, she needs to call in all agency supervisors and review the rules regarding their involvement in partisan politics.

It is worth remembering that even before the inauguration, then President-elect Trump was expressing his frustration with the intelligence community. At the time, Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer bragged to Rachel Maddow, “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

If this abuse of our intelligence agencies cannot be ended, then the globalists have won and we have lost the country. I pray and still believe that is not true. But the jury is still out.

SOURCE 

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Why Cats Pay a Lower Price for CAT Scans

Once a year, I bring my ill-tempered three-legged tabby cat (named Hopper) to the veterinarian. No one ever has a good time or particularly enjoys the cacophony of hisses, growls, and whiny meows. All the same, I can’t help but feel an “Alice in Wonderland” sort of feeling while talking to my feline’s healthcare providers. Most procedures and medical tests for our furry friends are the same as ours. But unlike the human healthcare system, prices are transparent and upfront in pet care. While no one likes hearing that Fifi’s surgery will cost $600, having costs out in the open keeps prices tethered to reality and under control. Lawmakers can throw patients everywhere a (figurative) bone by opening healthcare markets to competition and encouraging price transparency.

When most owners bring their furry nincompoops to the veterinarian, insurance simply isn’t a part of the conversation because nearly 2 million cats and dogs are covered by insurance policies in the U.S., compared to more than 180 million cats and dogs owned in total.

Compare this less-than-2 percent coverage rate for our pets to the predominance of human health insurance. Around 90 percent of Americans have health insurance, with most plans covering at least some routine doctors’ visits and predictable expenses such as medications. Americans pay even less money out-of-pocket for medical care (as a percentage of expenditures) than most of their Canadian and European (i.e. Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden) counterparts.

When the government and/or insurers are footing the bill, providers have little reason to disclose prices. Patients asking a doctor’s office or hospital for the price of, say, a CAT scan or an appendectomy will probably be stonewalled. With no price transparency and other people paying the bills, costs skyrocket out of control and healthcare expenditures climb far in excess of the rate of inflation. From 2008 to 2018, healthcare prices in the U.S. climbed 21.6 percent while prices for goods and services overall grew by 17.3 percent (measured by GDP deflator).

But not so in the pet healthcare sector, where consumers are exposed to price and veterinarians have a real incentive to keep costs low. Because pet insurance accounts for such a tiny sliver of the veterinary healthcare market, the prices that they pay for claims reflects prices that consumers are willing to pay rather than the third-party driven “prices” of the human healthcare market. For the past several years, Nationwide’s pet health insurance division has partnered with Purdue University researchers to track trends in pet insurance payouts. The researchers track a “basket” of the most commonly-utilized procedures to see how the typical veterinary visit has changed in price over time. According to their research, these ordinary expenses declined by 6 percent from January 2009 to December 2017 after adjusting for inflation.

This decrease is corroborated by less reliable sources, such as the American Pet Products Association (APPA) annual consumer spending surveys. For virtually every year tracked (accessible via web archive), cat and dog owners reported spending less money on average routine and surgical visits. The data is jumpier than the Nationwide and Purdue rigorous analysis of 30 million insurance claims but confirms an interesting – and counterintuitive – trend.  In a system where consumers and patients’ “representatives” have enough skin in the game, healthcare prices behave like they would in most other markets.

There are, of course, differences between pet and human healthcare. Owners are far less likely to spend money treating Fluffy for cancer than they would for their own chemotherapy treatments. All the same, prices continue to decline in real terms as a rapidly growing percentage of pet owners regard their companions as members of the family and worthy of medical care. As these numbers increase further, policymakers should take notice and keep tabs on price trends. Perhaps increasing consumer exposure to prices and empowering them to pay medical expenses directly via Health Savings Accounts would lead to the same declining prices seen in the veterinary world.

I’m not sure what medical surprises await Hopper in the next few years, but prices are all but guaranteed to come up for discussion in future vet visits. This norm may be unpleasant, but it sure seems to keep costs under control. Humans and their pets can benefit from a price structure that encourages competition and cost control.

SOURCE 

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Enough with Existential Crises

BY STEPHEN KRUISER

I think we can trace most of modern American society's ills back to when men decided to start hugging. OK, a lot of it can go back to when women began watching football too, but I'll try to maintain some focus here.

I remember the first time I got a man hug and I wasn't at a funeral, which used to be the only events at which they were acceptable. I knew that some sort of testosterone-based Pandora's box had been opened.

The next thing I knew, everyone had feelings and the Super Bowl became less about football and more about making the womenfolk happy with seven-hour-long halftime concerts.

Now I hug a lot, but only because people don't expect it from me and I know it makes them uncomfortable.

Back in 2015 and 2016 when I was -- to put very mildly -- a Trump skeptic, I did keep telling people that I didn't think he posed an existential threat to the Republic. I'm a grown-up who has been through too many false apocalyptic political narratives to fall for them anymore.

In yesterday's Briefing, we looked at the first installment of a full-court press by the media to woo Republicans to getting behind impeachment. The plea was a predictable one: Trump must be removed from office or the country that survived a civil war, the Soviet Union, and the heresy of New Coke will cease to exist.

That press picked up speed on Monday, with various "save the country" pleas to Republicans -- specifically GOP senators -- to save the country.

When they're not making their prom pitches to Republicans with grandiose visions of saving the country, the MSM and Democrats are concern trolling for the future of the GOP.

Jeff Flake -- my least favorite former senator -- wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post that worried about Republicans' "souls."

Nobody's soul is at stake, especially the GOP's.

The future of the United States is most certainly not in danger because of anything the president is doing. The hysteria is more boring than agitation-inducing at this point.

Look around you. The world isn't ending. The United States isn't in its death throes. The baseball season is ending and that is sad, but we can work through it.

I'm dismissive of my political opponents these days because they're more in need of diapers than careful consideration of their opinions.

My good friend, Ricochet Editor-In-Chief Jon Gabriel, summed it up rather nicely on Monday:

Impeachment has been the left’s goal since December 2016 — before Trump took office. Ukraine is just another bite of the apple after the Mueller report failed so spectacularly.
The media hysteria over Ukraine feels a lot like the recent Greta hysteria. There’s no time to absorb facts, discuss options, or weigh pros and cons. We need to act now or else!

Hysteria is a poor strategy. It didn’t work for climate change or Kavanaugh or the many other panics we’ve been subjected to since Trump took office. How Trump’s detractors think this will end well is beyond me.

That's just it: they don't think. They feel. When that's all you do, everything is the end of the world.

And when everything is the apocalypse, nothing is the apocalypse.

SOURCE 

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Feds paid $1 billion in Social Security benefits to individuals without a SSN

The Social Security Administration paid $1 billion in benefits to individuals who did not have a Social Security Number (SSN), according to a new audit.

The agency’s inspector general found errors in the government’s documentation for representative payees, otherwise known as individuals who receive retirement or disability payments on behalf of another person who is incapable of managing the benefits themselves.

The audit released Friday found thousands of cases where there was no SSN on file.

Over the last decade, the agency paid $1 billion to 22,426 representative payees who "did not have an SSN, and SSA had not followed its policy to retain the paper application."

“Furthermore, unless it takes corrective action, we estimate SSA will pay about $182.5 million in benefits, annually, to representative payees who do not have an SSN or paper application supporting their selection,” the inspector general said.

The inspector general also found the agency paid $853.1 million in benefits since 2004 to individuals who had been terminated as representative payees by the agency.

SOURCE 

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Impeachment Coup and Civil War?

Donald Trump shared a warning from Pastor Robert Jeffress about a "Civil War-like fracture" given that Democrats are, again, undertaking what has all the markings of a coup d'├ętat to remove him from office. The point was to assert that using deep-state operatives to overthrow a presidency is tantamount to insurrection.

Jeffress said, "Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can't put down the impeachment match. They know they couldn't beat [Trump] in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, and they're increasingly aware of the fact that they won't win against him in 2020, and impeachment is the only tool they have to get rid of Donald Trump. And the Democrats don't care if they burn down and destroy this nation in the process."

In fact, he continued, "I don't pretend to speak for all Evangelicals, but this week I have been traveling the country and I've literally spoken to thousands and thousands of evangelical Christians. I have never seen them more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this president from office — overturn the 2016 election and negate the votes of millions of evangelicals in the process. And they know that the only impeachable offense President Trump has committed was beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. That's the unpardonable sin for which the Democrats will never forgive him." Jeffress predicted, "If the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, I'm afraid it will cause a Civil War-like fracture in this nation from which this country will never heal."

Democrats have only two things to offer in 2020: socialist redistribution of wealth by way of an endless list of "free" stuff in return for votes, and impeachment to appeal for votes from those suffering severe Trump Derangement Syndrome. And, on top of that, they are openly proposing to confiscate guns. Unfortunately, these combined threats to Liberty make the reference to "civil war" relevant.

SOURCE

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Australia Foreign Minister says helping White House probe in national interest

Australia’s offer to help U.S. President Donald Trump investigate a report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was in the national interest, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Wednesday.

The New York Times on Monday reported Trump had asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for help investigating the origins of what became Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s efforts to aid Trump in the 2016 national elections.

A spokesperson for Morrison on Tuesday said the prime minister had agreed to help, drawing criticism from Australia’s opposition Labor party.

But Payne said cooperating with Australia’s closest ally was prudent. “We are working in Australia’s interests and we are working with our closest and most important ally,” Payne told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “We should assist them as we can, we should ensure that assistance is appropriate and that’s what we’re doing.”

Trump is under mounting pressure amid an impeachment investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into reports that he sought to influence foreign governments to go after his political adversaries.

The Democratic-led House began the inquiry last week after a whistleblower raised concerns that Trump tried to leverage nearly $400 million in proposed aid for Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Trump in the 2020 election.

The Mueller report was triggered in part by former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer.

Downer was allegedly told in 2016 by George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign aide, that Russia had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Downer reported the details of the conversation, which Papadopoulos denies, to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

SOURCE 

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IN BRIEF

GIULIANI SUBPOENAED: "Democrats on Monday subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer who was at the heart of Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden's family. ... With Congress out of session for observance of the Jewish holidays, Democrats moved aggressively against Giuliani, requesting by Oct. 15 'text messages, phone records and other communications' that they referred to as possible evidence. They also requested documents and depositions from three of his business associates." (Associated Press)

HONG KONG BATTLEFIELD: "Hong Kong police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at pro-democracy protesters throwing petrol bombs in the Asian financial hub on Tuesday as its Chinese rulers celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic. ... The South China Morning Post and television reports said at least one person was wounded in the chest by police firing live rounds." (Reuters)

MANUFACTURING CONTRACTION CONTINUES: "A gauge of U.S. manufacturing slumped to the lowest level in more than 10 years in September as exports dived amid the escalated trade war. The U.S. manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index from the Institute for Supply Management plunged to 47.8% in September, the lowest since June 2009, marking the second consecutive month of contraction. Any figure below 50% signals a contraction." (CNBC)

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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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 

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Wednesday, October 02, 2019


Hitler: Reply to an anonymous critic

It has become pretty well known now among conservative commentators that Hitler was a socialist. The old Soviet disinformation that Hitler was a Rightist is slowly losing its grip.  The plain fact is that the ideas Hitler is most famous for -- eugenics and antisemitism -- were mainstream Leftist ideas in the 1920s and 1930s.  Leftism is a many-headed beast so not all Leftists subscribed to such ideas but many did. August Bebel summarized it well when he said that antisemitism is der Sozialismus des bloeden Mannes.  Leftist intellectuals sometimes rejected it but it was popular among ordinary Leftists.  Antisemitism was even a common belief among the Russian Communists of Lenin's day.

I have set out the evidence for all that in my monograph on Hitler but others, such as Jonah Goldberg, have made the same point.  Even Louder with Crowder has had a swipe at it

And there is of course online now a large number of articles furiously denying that Hitler was a Leftist, none of which is of any scholarly worth that I can see.  A curious exception, however, is a temporary blog from 2011 which is genuinely well informed.  It is anonymous and almost entirely devoted to going through my article on Hitler and questioning it detail by detail.

I must say that I am fascinated by by its anonymity.  And how come that it is in such an obscure source?  I was unaware of it and came across it only by chance a couple of days ago.  And if I was unaware of it for 8 years, who else would be aware of it?  The author has obviously put a lot of work into it.  It took him several months to put it all up. What is the point of that if nobody knows of it?  The fact that it is a blogspot blog means that Google knew of it but nobody else seems to.  Google owns Blogspot and all Blogspot posts appear to be held on Google's main servers.

From the level of detailed historical knowledge displayed, it seems very likely that the writer is a historian of some standing so the best I can make of it is that he is aware that his opus is little more than a series of quibbles but wants to record his quibbles without anybody being able to hold him responsible for them.  His modus operandi is to admit that I am right about something but then to expand the point so as to weaken it in his view.  I suppose his admissions that I am right in various ways might be another reason why he wants to remain anonymous

To reply to each and every one of his quibbles would be a book-length enterprise and I have neither the time nor the energy to do that.  At age 76 my energies are low so I have to reserve them for what I see as important things.  So I will go straight to what I see as his central objection to my thesis.  It is in his post of 5 June, 2011

I won't quote any of it as the link leads you straight to it but his objection is to the Nazis being called "brown Bolsheviks", an expression that was commonly applied to them in Germany in the pre-war era. I explained that expression by saying that "Marxism was class-based and Nazism was nationally based but otherwise they were very similar".  That is of course the headline point of my article on Hitler: That the Nazis were socialists, nearly as Leftist as the Communists

How well our erudite author gets around that is surely central to his whole argument that Hitler was not a Leftist so he needs a very strong comeback to keep his argument afloat.  His comeback is pathetic. He says that the Nazi party had "wings" and Hitler did not belong to the most extreme wing. 

So what?  All political parties have wings to my knowledge but they also have important things in common or they would not be one party.  And the policies they fought elections on in the 1930s were very reminiscent of the U.S. Democratic party in the Soviet era:  Slogans such as: "With Hitler against the armaments madness of the world" and "The Marshall and the corporal fight alongside us for peace and equal rights".  Regardless of what Hitler personally believed, he campaigned as a strong socialist. The Nazi party won power as a Leftist party.  It also had other appeals, such as its nationalism, but its Leftist identity was unmistakeable.  How is equality not a Leftist shibboleth?

I can't resist quoting something further from our opinionated author:

First, a quote from what I wrote:

In German, not only the word "Socialism" (Sozialismus) but also the word "Victory" (Sieg) begins with an "S". So he said that the two letters "S" in the hooked-cross (swastika) also stood for the victory of Aryan man and the victory of the idea that the "worker" was a creative force: Nationalism plus socialism again, in other words.

Our erudite author's comment on that:

No evidence for this at all, The only SS one can find stood for "Schutzstaffel", Not "Sieg Sozialismus" or whatever.

Now that's a real lulu.  I was quoting Hitler himself -- in Mein Kampf -- as to what the Swastika stood for and our author says: "no evidence for this at all."  So Hitler himself didn't know what the swastika stood for???

I don't think I need to go on. That's the most egregious example but his accuracy of statement is at many points very poor.

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Blumenthal's Bluster

A symphony of mindless hate
 
As the impeachment of President Trump begins, the battle lines are hardening. Sen. Lindsey Graham dismissed the allegations against the president as “a nothing burger.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal had a visceral reaction to Graham’s quip, saying:

Donald Trump is going to choke on this supposed nothing burger. He will go down with this supposed nothing burger in his throat because what it shows is repeated, concerted, premeditated criminal conduct.

I found Blumenthal’s statement very revealing. Like much of Hollywood’s “art” (here and here), it reveals the degree of hatred festering on the left toward Donald Trump.

My old friend Bill Bennett, commenting on this raw hatred, said it reminded him of the animosity Inspector Javert had for Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, which had tragic results.

Sadly, I suspect the left has given little thought as to how it might heal the wounds caused by impeachment or how it might begin to help reunite the country that has been so divided by its extreme policies and growing anti-Americanism.

But let me remind you, my friends, that the left’s hatred isn’t just about Donald Trump. It’s about you. It’s about me. It’s about all the 63 million “deplorable and irredeemable” people who voted for Donald Trump. They tell us that all the time.

The left’s rage didn’t begin with Donald Trump. It smeared Ronald Reagan, Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, George W. Bush, John McCain, and even Mitt Romney. The left viciously attacked Brett Kavanaugh and it is still attacking him.

Friday was the anniversary of Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate hearing. And Kamala Harris is still demanding Kavanaugh’s impeachment.

Where We Stand

It is hard for anyone to keep up with all the nuances of this dispute and the developments that have taken place at such a rapid pace. Of course, that’s the left’s goal — to confuse and demoralize conservatives. But let me just summarize where we are:

An anonymous CIA employee, with an identified anti-Trump bias, has filed a complaint about a presidential phone call to another head of state.

The employee was not on the call.

His identity, and those of anyone he worked with, is being hidden.

What he alleged has been shown from the transcript to be false, and there are numerous inconsistencies in the complaint.

On this basis, we’re being told by virtually every Democrat and reporter in America that the president must be removed from office.

That’s it.

SOURCE 

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With USMCA, Japan, Brazil and South Korea trade deals, President Trump is very bad at being an isolationist

President Donald Trump is very bad at being an isolationist, in fact, he is probably one of the worse isolationists in American history.

Think about it.  President Trump is pushing Congress to pass the USMCA, which tears up the 40 year old NAFTA agreement and replaces it with one which protects our national sovereignty while expanding trade between the three countries on a more favorable footing for U.S. workers.

President Trump has talked to India’s Prime Minister Modi about building a bi-lateral trade relationship between our two nations.  He is similarly working with the President of Brazil along the same lines.  He has already rewritten the South Korean trade deal to better accommodate U.S. interests, and has expanded trade relations with Japan creating a massive corn and technology purchase. He is also negotiating deals with the United Kingdom (post-Brexit), and the European Union.

And all the while, his trade team continues to hammer away at the China trade challenge.

Rather than being anti-trade, President Trump is probably the most trade focused U.S. leader in modern history.  But his goal is different than many in the past.

The current world trading system was based upon a need to win the Cold War with the Soviet Union by spreading capitalism across the globe.  At its core, it was a transfer of wealth from the United States to the rest of the world in the guise of allowing foreign products to be sold in the U.S. with relatively low tariffs, while leaving tariffs on U.S. exports to these developing countries high — the essence of non-reciprocity.  This had the effect of allowing those countries to not face U.S. competition in their markets so their domestic economies could thrive from the trade imbalance cash infusion that followed.

For America’s part, we received less expensive items in our stores as major parts of industries like our domestic electronics manufacturing got outsourced to Asia. When China entered the world market in a big way and was granted Permanent National Trade Relations status by the U.S. in 2000 and entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, the entire world shifted.

U.S. and other foreign multi-national businesses took the certainty that Chinese goods would have inexpensive access to the U.S. markets and invested heavily in the Chinese economy, building factories knowing that they would benefit from cheap Chinese labor while exporting the once U.S.-made toys and other goods to American consumers.

What was a giant sucking sound of U.S. jobs heading south to Mexico from the Bill Clinton negotiated North American Free Trade Agreement became a tsunami as manufacturers flocked to make products in China with the promise of not only having access to U.S. markets but also being able to sell to Chinese consumers.

With China targeting key industries like steel, aluminum, rare earth mining, electronics, autos and high tech chip manufacturing, more and more blue collar jobs were exported around the globe.

A system originally designed to help get the post-World War II world back on its feet was now sucking the life blood out of America, while still delivering low cost electronics for its trouble. The ugly truth is that, as a result, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product has not exceeded 4 percent since 2000, with what used to be the expected normal growth rate of 3 percent beyond reach since 2005.

This is why President Trump is realigning our trade relationships around the world.

By emphasizing intellectual property protections, the President is ensuring that America’s ingenuity and problem solving is not stolen by foreign countries like China and then sold back to U.S. consumers at ten cents on the dollar.

By emphasizing ending currency manipulation, the President is ensuring that deliberate, foreign government created inflationary tariffs are not imposed on U.S. products.  Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the trade war with China has NOT resulted in increased costs to U.S. consumers or producers, while generating more than $30 billion in new tax revenue from the Chinese.

How is this possible?  The Chinese have forced their wholesalers to eat some of the increased tariff costs while making the Yuan even less valuable than the dollar to keep the costs of Chinese products low.

But this only serves to emphasize the importance of the entirety of the Trump trade agenda.  Passing the USMCA, and continuing to create new agreements built upon the inviolability of intellectual property rights puts up an economic wall around China, either trapping them in their anti-property Marxist doctrine or forcing them to accept private property rights for their own economic survival.

The USMCA is the first shoe to drop in this paradigm shifting strategy, and it is why it needs to be voted through the House and Senate.  Yes, more, fantastic jobs are projected to be created in the United States, and quite frankly in Canada and Mexico as well. But the language of USMCA on private property and currency manipulation will serve as the models for the entirety of a series of bilateral trade deals.

Trade deals that will encompass the largest economies in the world, except China, and which will create a freedom economic noose around Beijing’s neck.

Isolationist?  No, President Trump is an American President looking out for American economic interests while putting together a new international trade regime to replace the broken one that was crippling our nation’s economic future.

SOURCE 

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IN BRIEF

WHISTLEBLOWER ARRANGEMENTS: "House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced Sunday that the whistleblower who filed a complaint regarding President Donald Trump's call with Ukraine's president has agreed to testify before the committee, adding that it will likely happen 'very soon,'" The Daily Caller reports. News of the arrangement came two days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was subpoenaed. Meanwhile, President Trump on Sunday fumed: "Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called 'Whistleblower,' represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way." In the same vein as fraud, The Federalist's Sean Davis reveals, "Federal records show that the intelligence community secretly revised the formal whistleblower complaint form in August 2019 to eliminate the requirement of direct, first-hand knowledge of wrongdoing." No wonder Joe Biden's campaign is trying to coerce the Leftmedia into silencing Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, which sounds suspiciously like ... collusion.

CLINTON PROBE: "The Trump administration is investigating the email records of dozens of current and former senior State Department officials who sent messages to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email. ... Those targeted were notified that emails they sent years ago have been retroactively classified and now constitute potential security violations, according to letters reviewed by The Washington Post. In virtually all of the cases, potentially sensitive information, now recategorized as 'classified,' was sent to Clinton's unsecure inbox." (The Washington Post)

JUDICIAL OBSTRUCTION & ACTIVISM: "A federal judge in California ruled Friday against the Trump administration's plan to detain illegal immigrant families longer than 20 days, undercutting the president's attempt to close the chief 'loophole' that caused this year's border surge. Judge Dolly M. Gee, an Obama appointee, has long been a stumbling block for Homeland Security and its immigration plans, and the ruling was expected. The administration is likely to quickly appeal." (The Washington Times)

A 'MEDICARE FOR ALL' HARBINGER: "Federal authorities on Friday charged more than 30 individuals in connection with an alleged Medicare-fraud scheme that took as much as $2 billion out of the pockets of taxpayers before it was detected. The scheme revolved around tricking seniors into getting their cheeks swabbed for unnecessary DNA tests that would supposedly tell them whether they were genetically predisposed to serious diseases, including cancer. The defendants would then charge Medicare for the swabs. In total, they are alleged to have collected $2 billion in reimbursements, with the typical bill running between $7,000 and $12,000." (National Review)

NORTH CAROLINA GERRYMANDERING: "Democrats are headed back to court to challenge the validity of North Carolina's 13 congressional districts, just weeks after the state's highest court ruled that the Republican-controlled legislature unconstitutionally gerrymandered state-level maps. A new lawsuit filed Friday on behalf of 14 North Carolina voters challenges Republican-drawn maps that first went into effect ahead of the 2016 elections, after a court threw out a previous set of maps that were drawn after the 2010 census." (The Hill)

A TALE OF TWO SEASONS "One week after summer's end, a 'winter' storm began blasting parts of the West with up to 3 feet of snow, smashing records with low temperatures, heavy snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions forecast into Monday," USA Today reports. On the other hand, "Temperatures will soar to 10 to 25 degrees above average through much of this week across the Deep South and into the Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic and Northeast," according to The Weather Channel. For those wondering about the implications of global warming, keep in mind that extreme weather — both of the hot and cold variety — has been and always will be Mother Nature's way of finding equilibrium.

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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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 

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

Tuesday, October 01, 2019


Exclusive Excerpt—Charles Hurt: ‘Still Winning: Why America Went All In on Donald Trump—And Why We Must Do It Again’

When Trump jumped into the presidential race in 2015, he was a well-known figure. He had been in the hot glare of the New York tabloid media for decades. Everything from the unveiling of golden buildings that bore his name to raunchy details about his various divorces made headlines. His business accomplishments in the real estate world and his success as a reality television star put him on par with a tiny handful of stars known around the world by one name.

But when Trump descended the escalator in Trump Tower that day, he had made political headlines more recently for something entirely different.

Four years earlier, Trump shocked the political world by launching a campaign questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States. For the entire political-media establishment inside Washington, D.C., this merely proved that Donald Trump was some kind of crazy conspiracy loon. For these establishment people, it also proved Trump was a racist. […] But outside Washington, Trump simply proved he was willing to talk about things and ask questions about things that the entire political establishment had deemed unmentionable—even racist.

Having already demonstrated his unflinching willingness to go crashing wildly into the choppy waters of political incorrectness, Donald Trump was ready to announce his campaign for the presidency. From the first words, it was clear this would be a different kind of candidate running a different kind of campaign.

“Wow. Whoa,” he said, admiring the crowd cheering him from all sides and the balcony above. “That is some group of people. Thousands,” he said.

That line still gets me. Literally, within the first ten words of Trump’s campaign—even before he actually announced his intentions—Trump was focused on crowd size. Much more on that later. But suffice it to say that in the years since Trump uttered those words, he has talked a great deal about crowd sizes, and it has driven his enemies absolutely out of their minds. Which, in turn, brings wild, lusty cheers from audiences who pack monster truck arenas to see their president perform.

After admiring the assembled crowd, he thanked them. He called it “an honor” to have them in “Trump Tower.”

Never. Stop. Selling.

I think it was along about that moment in his speech that I said to myself, This guy could be our next president.

His message was simple. Clear. Pro-American. He was selling something. He was telling a story. After seven years of bitter disappointment and the wasted opportunities of Barack Obama’s nerdy, professorial, lecture-some presidency, this guy could be just what America needs, I thought.

Quickly, Trump got back to the size of his crowd.

“This is beyond anybody’s expectations,” he beamed. “There’s been no crowd like this.”

Then he attacked. Ferociously.

Some of the Republicans who had already announced for president botched their kickoffs. The air conditioner didn’t work, or something. “They sweated like dogs,” Trump sneered.

Worse, their crowds were too small for the rooms they hired.

And then the kill shot: “How are they going to beat ISIS?” he asked.

“I don’t think it’s gonna happen. Our country is in serious trouble.”

It’s a fair point. If you cannot pull off a simple announcement speech on television, then how on earth can you possibly be expected to destroy the most diabolical and determined jihad of our time?

There is a larger point here as well. It has to do with language.

In the very first moments of his announcement speech, Donald Trump was declaring a pact with American voters. Earlier, he had proved his willingness to go wildly off script from establishment officialdom when he brazenly questioned Obama’s birth certificate.

Now he was promising to use the same scalding rhetoric and blunt honesty to expose and fix a whole host of grievous maladies facing regular Americans across the country.

Maladies that had crept into American society over the decades under the blind—or, often, encouraging—eye of political leaders in both parties.

Terrorism, globalism, “free” trade, illegal immigration, legal immigration. Trump was willing to be as belligerent as he needed to be in order to finally stand up to ISIS, China, Japan, Mexico, and the entire global world order.

Trump shrewdly understood in that moment that if political candidates were incapable of speaking bluntly about thorny issues, or if they shied away from harshly identifying America’s enemies, then there would be no hope for anything ever getting better.

Standing there in my office, watching this amazing spectacle unfold, it was that different way of talking that most gripped my attention. A wildly fresh vocabulary with sharp notes of brazenly impolitic honesty.

“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problem,” Trump said, just a few lines into the speech.

My goodness, I thought. Nobody in Washington talks like this. But it sounds like exactly what you hear just about anywhere if you leave Washington, D.C., or New York City.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you,” he said, karate chopping the air.

“They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

On its face, this statement is technically true. Illegals from Mexico (and other places south of the border) come into the United States. They smuggle drugs into the country. They certainly commit crimes (including illegally crossing our border). And some of them are indeed rapists.

Trump was highlighting a real, destructive and expensive problem that a lot of American voters care deeply about. Yet almost nobody in Washington cares about fixing it.

Democrats are desperate to change the voting electorate. So, they want every warm body they can get into the country to hustle to the voting booth. Republicans, being more business friendly, are delighted to turn a blind eye on a process that floods our country with cheap labor.

The only group without a voice in this debate were millions of regular American voters. Until Trump announced his campaign.

Donald Trump’s furious assault on the political establishment brought condemnations from every corner of it. Sure, those people were perfectly content letting political sleeping dogs lie. China ripping off America was no big deal for them. Free trade was going gangbusters for the stock market and Wall Street. Everybody who was anybody was making a killing off illegal immigration. Cheap nannies for all!

But the seething rebukes of Trump and his announcement speech were about so much more than just those issues. They were about Trump’s language, his rough-and-tumble demeanor, and his willingness to court such political upheaval.

In her memoir, former first lady Michelle Obama eviscerated the man who followed her husband into the White House for just this. Trump’s questioning of Obama’s birth certificate, she wrote, “was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed.”

Again, any hint of questioning Obama’s American loyalty was deemed racist. Such a questioner was not just called out as dishonest or stupid or uninformed. They were flat-out racist for questioning Obama’s alliances.

That was not all Michele Obama had to say about Trump and his style of politics. Trump’s birth certificate inquiry “was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks,” she wrote. “What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this I’d never forgive him.”

Wow. Perhaps Michelle Obama spoke too soon when she said that she was finally proud of her country once her husband got elected.

But I have to ask: What is more incendiary? Asking questions about where a political opponent was born? Or accusing a political opponent of deliberately and willfully trying to inspire “wingnuts and kooks” to assassinate the daughters of a president?

While we’re at it, what about a president who wades into local police issues around the country and his only contribution is to inject race into them? What about a president who goes around the world apologizing for America and giving long lectures about how America is exceptional, you know, like every other country on the planet is exceptional in its own way. In other words, nothing exceptional whatsoever about America. What about a president who belittles Americans for their “guns” and their “religion”?

After eight years of insufferable academia out of the White House, it should have been little surprise that American voters would be in the mood for something very different. They would be looking for a guy who speaks bluntly and paints vivid pictures. A guy who spent years savoring his time talking to the workers and tradesmen who built his buildings, and learned to talk like them. Above all, he was listening and listening and taking to heart what he was hearing.

Every now and then, some reporter churns a Trump speech through some word program on the Internet that calculates the grade level the speech was written at. As in sixth-grade level, meaning a sixth grader could understand it. And these simpering, obnoxious, arrogant asses somehow think that speaking so plainly is an insult, when Trump—along with American voters—knows it is actually the highest, most honest achievement there is.

Independent Authenticity Voter

Strangely, this was a counterintuitive gambit for some of the very same voters who wound up stunning the political establishment by voting for Trump—after having voted for Barack Obama. Twice! I call them the independent authenticity voters. They don’t much care about parties and don’t particularly like Washington politics. But every four years they generally turn out and vote. And when the noise of the campaign gets as loud as it does every four years, they are reminded of how much they despise politics and most politicians. But they mostly turn out and vote.

Overwhelmingly, they choose the lesser bastard. The least dishonest one. The one they think comes closest to being genuine and authentic. In 2008, that was obviously Barack Obama. His hopeful campaign about neither red America nor blue America but one red, white, and blue America resonated with these voters. Funnily enough, the late senator John McCain would have appealed to these very voters eight years earlier when he was still a true political “maverick” and before he got co-opted by Democrats and the media (I repeat myself) to kneecap Republicans at every turn. As bad as things were in 2012, President Obama still had enough authenticity left in the tank to beat the hopelessly repackaged Mitt Romney.

These voters yearned for someone authentic to be president. Most horrifying to mainstream political observers is the number of voters who voted for President Barack Obama—twice!—because they thought he was that authentic nonpolitician. Oh, how they were betrayed!

The accepted language of politics is defended by those who practice it as merely polite and responsible. And this is often true. I know many decent politicians and staffers and journalists who embrace polite language. And they are disgusted by anything else in the political arena.

If the 2016 election proved anything, it proved that Donald Trump was exactly right. There was, after all, a tremendous thirst out there for something different. Something new. Above all, something authentic.

So, from the very first lines of his announcement speech that day at the foot of his glass escalator, Mr. Trump proved to be impolitic. Unpolished. Dripping with authenticity. That guy you know who talks rough, who doesn’t own a set of church clothes but would be the first person you would call if you found yourself in a life-threatening situation and needed some really dirty work handled.

Trump knew at that moment that he had to break through all the soft, white noise of modern American politics. All the fake niceties of acceptable political speech. After all, it was a lie and had been for a very long time. Behind all those fake niceties were the raw, brutal realities of vicious politics played by the nastiest of operatives going back decades. They peddled in the most dishonest, soul-crushing, character-destroying sewage that you could imagine—but then wore nice seersucker suits at garden parties, talking all sorts of high-minded pleasantries.

Yuck!

Donald Trump saw all of this for exactly what it was. It was a fraud. Whether it was trade, immigration, wars, spending, or taxes—it was all a fraud. The American people were getting taken to the cleaner’s financially, and the American people were getting sold out as losers.

And Trump wasn’t even president yet! He was still just one of sixteen people vying for the Republican nomination. If you polled the media that day, every single reporter in all of politics would have given Trump a zero percent chance of winning the nomination, let alone the presidency.

After the speech was over, I called my office at the Washington Times and told my editor to scrap the column I had filed—that a new one was on the way. I endorsed Donald Trump, something I had never done before in a newspaper column. Because, after all, who gives a crap what I think about anything? But this was clearly something different. The speech was brilliant. It was daring, to be sure, but it also reflected an enormous amount of intentional thought. Trump had been listening very closely to voters. He had also been talking to some very smart people who clearly follow politics closely and understood the political landscape far better than any of the self-anointed geniuses inside the Beltway.

So I picked up the phone and called Steve Bannon, a friend who I knew liked to dabble in the more contrarian world of counterpolitics. We agreed the speech was great and, of course, Bannon told me he had been talking to Trump. A speech had been written. Bannon had seen it as late as the night before, he said. But the speech Trump delivered on live television to the country was entirely different than the one that had been prepared.

“Yeah, he didn’t read the speech,” Bannon marveled. “He got up there and just decided to wing it!”

Even at that point, Trump was not to be handled or scripted or managed or staffed. He was going on nothing but his own raw political instincts. And in the end, voters trusted Donald J. Trump to remain in character more than they trusted any politician to keep his campaign promises.

That turned out to be a pretty smart bet.

SOURCE
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Dems Vote To Enhance Med Care for Illegals Now, Vote Down Vets Waiting 10 Years for Same Service

House Democrats voted Thursday to fast-track an electronic medical records system that would serve illegal immigrants, something America’s veterans have been seeking for years.

The House passed the bill on a largely party line vote of 230-184, American Military News reported. Only two Republican congressmen supported the bill — Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Fred Upton of Michigan.

The proposal has yet to be considered by the Republican-controlled Senate.

The Democratic proposal would require the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to create an Electronic Health Records system.

Part of that system’s job will be to provide information to Congress on the health of migrants who enter the country illegally, according to The Hill.

The bill gives the DHS 90 days after the bill receives final approval to get the job done. In contrast, the Veterans Administration has been working for years to implement an EHR system for veterans.

Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood of Illinois said it is important for Congress to ensure that workers at the border are doing their jobs.

“As DHS works to improve its medical screening of children and migrants at the border to ensure there is a minimum standard of care, the need for proper record keeping on those screenings will only increase,” she said.

Underwood said that the bill was based on her experiences touring America’s southern Border.

“When I was at the border I saw busy, overworked Border Patrol officials having to keep health records on paper. I also saw how these records don’t follow migrants between facilities and transfers of custody,” she said.

But critics wondered how adding more responsibilities to overworked Border Patrol officials would fix anything

“I oppose this bill because it is poorly conceived, erroneously drafted and extremely risky,” Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana said.

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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 

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


Monday, September 30, 2019


'You are handing him the win!' Eric Trump says his father's reelection campaign has raised $15MILLION in the 72 hours since Nancy Pelosi announced impeachment inquiry

Eric Trump has said that his father, President Donald Trump, has raised $15 million for his reelection campaign since House Democrats announced an impeachment probe.

'We have now raised almost $15 million in small dollar donations (including 50,000 NEW donors) since @SpeakerPelosi started this impeachment charade 72 hrs ago!' Eric Trump wrote in a tweet on Friday.

'Unbelievable numbers!! Keep it going — you and the dems are handing @realDonaldTrump the win in 2020!'

Speaker Nancy Pelosi had long resisted calls for impeachment from within her party, fearing backlash in the 2020 election — but the dam broke suddenly this week after allegations that the president pressured his counterpart in Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

After Pelosi announced an impeachment probe on Tuesday, Donald Trump's campaign seized on the opportunity to bolster his reelection effort.  'I need you on my Impeachment Defense Team,' the campaign said in one fundraising text message sent Tuesday.

'Huge groundswell of support leading to Trump landslide in 2020!' Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted on Wednesday.

The swell of contributions comes right before next week's third-quarter fundraising reporting deadline and will further pad what is already expected to be a massive haul.

More than a year out from the November 2020 contest, his campaign and the RNC have already reported pulling in more than $210 million since the start of 2019, Federal Election Commission records show.

That's more than all the current Democrats seeking to replace him raised combined during that period.

SOURCE 

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Majority of Americans Favor Trump's Policy Agenda

Democrats attack Trump because their policy goals aren't winning over the American public

Why do Democrat presidential candidates think that their “vote for me because I’m the biggest hater of everything President Donald Trump” is a winning strategy? Why are congressional Democrats redoubling their efforts to impeach Trump even after Robert Mueller’s investigation blew up in their faces? Well, a recent survey conducted by Harvard/Harris may offer the best answer.

The poll of 2,531 registered voters was somewhat unique: It presented not the candidates running for office but only questions regarding policy issues without associating the policies with either political party. For example, a question stated:

Which candidate are you more likely to vote for?


"A presidential candidate who stands for the green new deal on climate change, Medicare for all, free college tuition, opening our borders to many more immigrants and raising taxes to pay for these programs.

Or

A presidential candidate who stands for lower taxes and reduced government regulations, strengthening our military, strengthening our border to reduce illegal immigrants, standing up more to China and Iran and seeking better trade deals for the US."


For almost anyone who regularly follows politics, it’s quite clear that the first presidential candidate most accurately represents the policy proposals of the Democrat Party, while the second candidate’s policy agenda mirrors that of Trump. So, did the poll end up reflect many other national polls that show Trump trailing much of the Democrat field? Not quite.

A whopping 61% of those polled favored Trump’s agenda, which included a third of registered Democrats. And 65% of independents picked Trump’s policy agenda over what Democrats are offering. In fact, as Issues & Insights reports, “The poll went further and broke out specific policy issues. There wasn’t one item on the Democratic agenda that came in the top six. Only 38% say they were likely to vote for a candidate who promised to ‘raise taxes to pay for these programs.’ On the other hand, 83% said they’d likely support a candidate who promised to lower taxes.”

This explains why Democrats are playing up the fallacious “Trump is Adolf Hitler” narrative in the hopes that it will distract enough Americans from seeing their terrible socialist agenda. Moreover, it appears they see no other way to defeat Trump, which explains Rep. Al Green’s (D-TX) recent insistence that “if we don’t impeach this president, he will get reelected.”

SOURCE 

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US blacklists Chinese firms defying oil sanctions

The United States has blacklisted several Chinese companies and officials for allegedly shipping Iranian oil in violation of sanctions.

The sanctions, imposed by the US Treasury Department, against two subsidiaries of Cosco, a Chinese state-owned shipping giant, and four other companies, affect dozens of tankers and will further complicate talks to end the trade war.

American legislation to help protect democratic rights in Hong Kong will also heighten tensions.

Two Congress committees cleared the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act yesterday, paving the way for the bill to be voted on the floor in both chambers. The law would require an annual US review of the territory’s human rights records.

The bill follows more than three months of increasingly violent protests in Hong Kong against interference by Beijing. Joshua Wong, a leading pro-democracy campaigner, travelled to Washington this month to lobby Congress to pass the bill.

On his Facebook page he called its progress the result of “Hong Kong people’s sacrifice of blood and sweat”.

China said that its dealings with Iran were legal and should be respected and also denounced the Hong Kong legislation.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman of the foreign ministry, said: “China expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the US sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals. China has always firmly opposed to the unilateral sanction and long-arm jurisdiction by the United States. China objects to the bullying acts in which US uses its domestic law to wilfully crack down on Chinese companies.”

On Hong Kong, he added: “This act confuses black and white in disregard of facts, blatantly backs the Hong Kong violent radicals up and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs. China expresses strong indignation and firm opposition to that. Any attempt by the US to harm China’s interests will be met with a strong response.”

Carrie Lam, chief executive of Hong Kong, has withdrawn the extradition bill that first prompted the protests, but demonstrators say that they will fight on until all of their demands, including universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into police brutality, are met.

In an effort to defuse tensions, Ms Lam held her first community dialogue today. She encouraged the 150 participants, chosen by lottery from the more than 20,000 people who signed up to the event, to freely express themselves and even vent their anger. Yet she is highly unlikely to make further concessions to the protesters.

Aside from the Cosco subsidiaries, the companies sanctioned are the China Concord Petroleum Co and Kunlun Shipping Company, both registered in Hong Kong, and Kunlun Holding Company, registered in the Virgin Islands.

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said that the sanctions were intended to restrict the activities of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and punish those who continue to deal with them. “We are telling China, and all nations: know that we will sanction every violation,” he said.

The US has blamed Iran for attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities on September 14, which have rattled the Middle East and raised concerns about a broader war. Iran denies involvement.

Mr Pompeo said: “The more Iran lashes out the greater our pressure will and should be. That path forward begins now with two new actions.”

He said that Washington was also ramping up efforts to educate countries on the risks of doing business with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard entities and that it would punish those who continued to engage with them.

SOURCE 

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Kamala Harris, For Which People?

The junior senator from California has cemented herself as a presidential contender, but her history of changing her positions to secure new offices has created distrust. Harris ran to the right of former District Attorney Terence Hallinan and tacked to the center as attorney general, but now is veering to the left as a presidential candidate.
   
Jamal Trulove was innocent, but he spent nearly seven years in prison.

The father of four was convicted in 2010 of murdering his friend, Seu Kuka, in the Sunnydale housing project in San Francisco. Kuka was shot nine times in his head and back shortly before 11 p.m. on July 23, 2007, and, despite a crowd around the body when police arrived, only one person claimed to have seen the shooting, a neighbor who did not identify Trulove as the shooter.

The appeals court ruling that overturned Trulove's conviction found that the prosecutor had committed misconduct when she argued that the witness had risked her life and the lives of her family to testify. "This yarn was made out of whole cloth," Justice P.J. Kline wrote.

Since Trulove's release in 2015, he has resumed his acting career with a role in the 2019 film The Last Black Man in San Francisco. He also has won a $13.1 million settlement from the city of San Francisco and become a vocal critic of the chief district attorney whose office brought the flimsy case against him to trial. Just after he was convicted of a murder he didn't commit, that district attorney was elected attorney general of California. Then in 2016, she won election to the U.S. Senate.

Now, Kamala Harris is running for president of the United States, one of 19 Democrats still standing in the race to replace Donald Trump.

"Kamala Harris talks about how she's proud of her work as California AG, but never as head DA of San Francisco, where evidence of my framing by the SFPD was covered up by 'HER' office just to get a conviction," Trulove wrote on Twitter in August.

But in fact, Harris has made her experience as a prosecutor a key component of her presidential campaign. Earlier this month, she released what she called a "comprehensive plan to overhaul the criminal justice system."

Even her slogan — "For the people" — invokes the introduction of every prosecutor in a courtroom.

"I believe we must have the ability to prosecute the case against four more years of Donald Trump, and it will take a prosecutor to do that," Harris told the Democratic National Committee in San Francisco on Aug. 23. "And I'll tell you, we've got a big long rap sheet to work with."

Outside the grand ballroom where Harris gave her speech, a lone protester wandered the halls with a sign that read, "Kamala convicted innocent people in order to advance her career."

Defining Kamala Harris

Through a campaign spokesperson, Harris declined to be interviewed for this story. But she and her supporters say she worked to reform the criminal justice system from the inside as district attorney and attorney general while taking principled stances against the death penalty, targeting complex criminal enterprises, and going after big banks that hurt homeowners during the foreclosure crisis.

"She was one of the earliest leaders to fight human trafficking and invest in reentry," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said at Harris' first presidential campaign rally in Oakland in January. "She was one of the earliest leaders on criminal justice reform. Back when it was still popular to be tough on crime, she was smart on crime."

Criminal justice reform advocates, however, have pointed out that in her first race for district attorney, Harris unseated former defense attorney Terence Hallinan, who was actively working on reforms, by criticizing his conviction rate.

She took a stand early as DA by refusing to seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing a police officer. Though highly controversial with the police, it was a politically popular stance in progressive San Francisco. But as attorney general, Harris appealed a court ruling that the state's death penalty was unconstitutional. Though controversial back in the Bay Area, it was a politically popular stance at the statewide level. Advocates for the rights of sex workers note that she opposed a ballot measure to decriminalize prostitution and led the charge to prosecute Backpage, an online listing site that facilitated the sex trade but which sex workers say was paramount to their safety.

As a presidential candidate, Harris rose to double digits in the polls after the first Democratic debate on June 27, at which she confronted former Vice President Joe Biden for his historic opposition to court-mandated school busing. But Harris faltered following the July 31 debate, when she was forcefully challenged on her record as a prosecutor by U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.

Gabbard claimed that Harris jailed people for minor marijuana offenses and fought to keep exonerating evidence for death row inmates from coming to light. "The people who have suffered under your reign as prosecutor, you owe them an apology," Gabbard said.

Among the states where Harris is struggling to gain traction is California, where she trailed Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Biden in a Sep. 12-15 poll from KQED and Change Research. Harris bolstered her campaign in California in August, bringing on seven new staffers. But she remains well behind Biden, Warren and Sanders in national polls.

Joe Tuman, a professor of political communications at San Francisco State University, said most Democratic voters primarily want a nominee who can beat Trump. But polls show that most top-tier Democratic candidates could win in a head-to-head match-up, so Harris needs to find a way to differentiate herself from the moderate Biden and the progressive Warren and Sanders. Tuman believes that Trump fears Harris more than he does Biden, Warren or Sanders, pointing out that the president has yet to brand her with a nickname, such as "Sleepy Joe," "Pocahontas" or "Crazy Bernie."

SOURCE 

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IN BRIEF

SCALIA CONFIRMED: "The Republican-led Senate on Thursday confirmed lawyer Eugene Scalia, a son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, as President Donald Trump's new labor secretary. The Senate voted along party lines, 53-44, to approve Scalia's nomination." (Fox News)

MCCARTHY CONFIRMED: "The Senate has confirmed President Trump's choice to be the top civilian leading the Army. In a Thursday afternoon voice vote, the Senate confirmed Ryan McCarthy as Army secretary. McCarthy, who has served as Army under secretary since 2017, will fill the role formerly held by Mark Esper until he became Defense secretary in July." (The Hill)

IRANIANS BANNED: "The Trump administration on Thursday banned all members of the Iranian regime and their family members from entering the United States, a move aimed at stopping regime figures from sending their children to America for schooling and other opportunities. ... Iranian regime figures have long taken advantage of America's educational institutions, with many sending their children to the United States for college. This will immediately end, according to the Trump administration." (The Washington Free Beacon)

SYRIAN CHEMICAL-WEAPONS ATTACK: "Syrian government forces carried out a chlorine attack in May, the first confirmed violation of the international accord banning chemical weapons since President Trump authorized a U.S. military strike on Syria in 2018 over its alleged use of poison gas, a new U.S. intelligence assessment says. The episode took place on May 19 near the village of Kabana as President Bashar al-Assad's forces sought to subdue resistance in Latakia province, a senior U.S. official said." (The Wall Street Journal)

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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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 

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Sunday, September 29, 2019


A small but interesting slice of history

Impeachment has become very boring.  This may be less so



On September 22nd, 1735, Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's first Prime Minister (although the title was not used until much later), moved into Number Ten Downing Street (although it did not have that number then). Its famous door (through which it was not then entered) has become an iconic symbol of Britain's democratic government. That famous door was not added until 40 years later, and was made of oak until after the 1991 IRA mortar attack on the building, following which it was replaced by bomb-proof material. The black bricks that surround the door, separated from it by the cream-coloured casing, are in fact yellow underneath. They were turned black, as were nearly all London buildings, by the 19th and 20th Century smog of the coal fires that heated every home and the smoke from industrial chimneys. Since everyone was by then used to seeing them black, when they were cleaned in the 1960s they were painted black.

Walpole, with the support of two successive monarchs, became Britain's longest-serving Prime Minister, with a spell of more than 40 years. The kings valued his ability to deliver majorities in Parliament to have bills passed to become Acts of Parliament. George II was sufficiently grateful that when Downing Street reverted to the Crown, he offered it to Sir Robert. With admirable restraint, Sir Robert declined it as a personal gift, but suggested it be reserved for holders of the office of First Lord of the Treasury, then the Prime Minister's official title, and one today's Prime Ministers still hold. A brass plate beside the door of Number Ten testifies to this.

Walpole was a moderate. When Europe was at war, he preferred Britain to be out of it, and persuaded George II to stay out of the War of the Polish Succession. In 1733 he proclaimed, "There are 50,000 men slain in Europe this year, and not one Englishman." Without the costs of war, Walpole contrived to reduce taxes. The Land Tax went down from 4s in 1721, to 3s in 1728, 2s in 1731, and finally to 1s in 1732. He also established a Sinking Fund to reduce the National Debt.

He was trying gradually to shift the tax burden away from the gentry, who paid the land tax, and onto the merchants and their customers who paid customs and excise taxes. In modern terms he was trying very sensibly to shift the tax burden from stock to flow, but doing it gradually. He pointed out that gentry "squealed like hogs" at the tax burden, whereas merchants were more like sheep, giving up their wool peaceably.

He built up the Whig ascendency, but his low-key avoidance of controversy and his granting of more tolerance to religious dissenters won him support from moderates of both Whig and Tory groups. The historian H T Dickinson, one of my teachers, wrote, "Walpole was one of the greatest politicians in British history. He played a significant role in sustaining the Whig party, safeguarding the Hanoverian succession, and defending the principles of the Glorious Revolution." 

The residence at 10 Downing Street that he occupied is not what it seems. Walpole had the architect William Kent connect two houses, making the Downing Street front one effectively a passage through to the main building behind it. A corridor connects it to the Cabinet Office much further up Whitehall, and there is a tunnel under Whitehall that we're not supposed to know about that connects it to the Defence Ministry. What is now the Cabinet Room was used by Walpole as his study.

In many ways Ten Downing Street resembles the British constitution it safeguards. There is much more to it than the outward appearance might suggest, and it adapts and changes over time to meet the new challenges it is called upon to face. Yet it preserves the outward form, providing reassurance of continuity. It is modest, rather than grandiose, reminding us that the Prime Minister is a person like us, who lives in a house, as we do, rather than some god-like remote dignitary. Its understated presence reminds us, too, that government and Parliament in this country are here to serve the people, not the other way round.

When people move house, a removal van pulls up outside their house. That is, quite rightly, what happens in Ten Downing Street when we change governments.

SOURCE 

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Democrats' Excessiveness Will Backfire

How many times do Democrats get to cry wolf before a rational body politic tells them to go fly a kite? Instead of retreating with tails between their legs over their failed Russia hoax, they're already at it again.

Did any Democrats leading the false charge that President Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election ever apologize for putting the country through this nightmare? Did any of their media water carriers ever backpedal from their anti-Trump sensationalism?

Of course not, because in their minds Trump is so evil and his presidency so bad for the country that even ignoble efforts to remove him are morally warranted. What's wrong with deceit and abuse of process if it will rid the country of the orange scourge?

Alert people should now recognize that Democrats are still willing to go to almost any lengths to undo the 2016 election -- or preempt Trump's 2020 reelection. Their raw contempt for Trump and his supporters knows no bounds, and their just-launched "impeachment inquiry" is further evidence of it.

I note in my soon-to-be-released new book, "Guilty By Reason of Insanity: Why the Democrats Must Not Win," that there is no real fissure in the Democratic Party between the old guard and the young radicals, the latter of whom are led by the "Squad." Sure, there is sometimes spirited debate between the established powers and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's socialist quartet, but in the end, the entire party has embraced a thoroughly extremist leftist agenda.

Even if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have us believe that she and her veteran Democratic colleagues are more measured, there is no doubt where her party is headed. Even if in her heart of hearts, she thinks the Young Turks are going too far too fast, which I strongly doubt, the Democratic Party base is not about to allow her to vacillate, much less to moderate.

So it is that Pelosi, despite having long resisted Rep. Jerry Nadler's and other Democratic congressional militants' efforts to initiate impeachment proceedings, has snapped to attention over these new hyped-up allegations concerning Ukraine and opened an impeachment inquiry herself.

Just like the Russia hoax, this one already involves more damning evidence against Democrats than Trump. Democrats, in a monumental act of projection, tried for three years to interfere with an election by falsely claiming Trump interfered with that same election. Now they're alleging that Trump abused his presidential power with Ukraine by trying to expose Joe Biden's possible abuse of power with Ukraine. In addition to Biden's alleged misconduct, three Democratic senators wrote a letter to Ukraine's prosecutor general in May 2018 urging him to cooperate with the Mueller investigation. This is plot thickening on steroids.

Pelosi acted precipitously, before Trump released notes from his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and before release of the whistleblower complaint against Trump, both of which are turning out to be nothing -- veggie burgers with no fries. Then again, with the liberal media in their pocket (or vice versa), Democrats have little to fear from performing such stunts.

Some commentators argue that though Democrats know they don't have the votes to convict Trump in the Senate, they are pursuing this "inquiry" because their agenda isn't resonating with the people. Corruption charges will distract from their policy bankruptcy and might cripple Trump enough to defeat him in 2020. Others say their angle is more subtle -- to snooker Trump and his officials into committing a process crime by defying court orders to produce documents, or perhaps lying to Congress or the FBI.

Of course, liberal commentators dispute that Democrats are trying to distract from their preposterous agenda, because in their view, the Democrats' insane environmental and fiscal proposals and their ruthless obsession over identity politics are winning ideas. Thus, they don't need to fabricate phony corruption charges. These allegations are legitimate. Though there was manifestly no quid pro quo in Trump's comments to Zelensky, the Trump haters divine evil intent and malice aforethought with every Trump stream-of-consciousness utterance.

That they were all embarrassingly wrong for three years over Russiagate gives them no pause. They are incorrigible and shameless.

Some Trump supporters are concerned about this, fearing that Democratic relentlessness will finally bear fruit. I honestly don't think so. Once again, the Trump haters, so consumed with venom that they've lost objectivity, have overplayed their hands. This impeachment fantasy is going nowhere. Democratic excessiveness is part of what led to Trump's rise in the first place, and there's good reason to believe it will aid in his reelection. People have had enough of this insanity. By becoming more extreme and unreasonable, the left is only solidifying and amplifying Trump support. So bring it on.

SOURCE 

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The Death of American Citizenship

The American founders institutionalized the best of a long Western tradition of representative government with the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. These contracts outlined the rare privileges and responsibilities of new American citizens.

Yet the concept of citizenship is being assaulted on the premodern side by the legal blending of mere residency with citizenship.

Estimates of the number of undocumented American residents range from 11 million to more than 20 million. The undocumented are becoming legally indistinguishable from citizens and enjoy exemption from federal immigration law in some 500 sanctuary jurisdictions. An illegal resident of California will pay substantially less tuition at a California public university than a U.S. citizen of another state.

Multiculturalism has reduced the idea of e pluribus unum to a regressive tribalism. Americans often seem to owe their first allegiance to those who look like they do. Citizens cannot even agree over once-hallowed and shared national holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.

It is eerie how such current American retribalization resembles the collapse of Rome, as Goths, Huns and Vandals all squabbled among one another for what was left of 1,200 years of Roman citizenship -- eager to destroy what they could neither create nor emulate.

Citizenship has always been protected by the middle classes -- on the idea that they are more independent and self-reliant than the poor, but can stand up to the influence and power of the elite.

Biden: Undocumented Children 'Become Americans Before a Lot of Americans Become Americans'
Yet until recently, we had seen a decade of stagnant wages and entire regions ossified by outsourcing, offshoring and unfair global trade. Historically, with the demise of the middle class so follows the end of constitutional government.

But citizenship also faces a quite different and even greater postmodern threat.

Many of our coastal elites see nothing much exceptional in America, past and present. They prefer the culture and values of the European Union without worrying that the EU's progressive utopian promises have been wrecked by open borders, economically stultifying regulations, and unapologetic and anti-democratic efforts to curb free expression and local autonomy.

Often, such "citizen of the world" mentalities fuel shame over the origins and traditions of America. Transnational organizations and accords on climate, criminal justice and human rights are seen as superior to their American counterparts.

A new progressive iconoclasm seeks to destroy statues, rename streets and buildings, and wipe away art that does not reflect more global values.

Does voting -- the bedrock right of the democratic citizen -- matter that much anymore? In California, tens of thousands of votes were "harvested" by paid campaign operatives. There was also abuse in state agencies in sending out voter registration forms to those who were not legally entitled to vote.

Lone activist federal judges frequently overturn legislation and referenda they find contrary to their own political take on legal theory -- without worry that the votes of millions are canceled in a nanosecond.

Meanwhile, the proverbial "swamp" of the bureaucratic, administrative and regulatory state is so vast and unaccountable that a few clerks can harass entrepreneurs, issue edicts with the force of legislation that ruins lives, or indict, regulate or audit a targeted individual into legal bankruptcy.

In recent years, we have seen a cake maker, a video maker, and a national security adviser so hounded by federal bureaucrats that they either were nearly bankrupted, ended up in jail or were reduced to penury through legal costs.

We still have a Bill of Rights, but many of our constitutional protections are being rendered impotent. If a rural family cannot find ammunition at the local Walmart or gun store due to organized boycotts and threats to such establishments, then the constitutional right to bear arms is not always exercisable in a practical sense.

Brett Kavanaugh was nominated, audited and confirmed by the Senate as a Supreme Court justice. But if the New York Times and cable news can relentlessly charge without proof that nearly 40 years ago he was a teenage sexual pervert, then a distinguished judge can be rendered impotent without legal impeachment.

If a student cannot safely express opposition to abortion on demand, question the global warming narrative, or object to safe spaces, trigger warnings and race-based theme houses on campuses, does it matter that there is in theory still a First Amendment?

We are unwinding at both ends. Tribalism, the erosion of the middle class and de facto open borders are turning Americans into mere residents of a particular North American region between Mexico and Canada.

Yet even more dangerously, thanks to the fiats of unelected bureaucrats and officials, along with the social media lynch mobs who boycott, harass and shame us, our constitutional rights are now increasingly optional. They mostly hinge on whether we are judged worthy by an unelected, politically correct and morally righteous elite.

In theory, American citizenship remains the same; in reality, it is disappearing fast.

SOURCE 

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IN BRIEF

ANOTHER ASYLUM DEAL: "The Trump administration signed an asylum agreement with the Honduran government Wednesday, marking the latest in a string of asylum deals with Latin American countries aimed at controlling the immigration crisis. The Department of Homeland Security announced it reached a deal with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, allowing the U.S. to send some asylum seekers from 'third' countries back to his country."

BORDER OBSTRUCTION: "The Senate again voted on Wednesday to end President Trump's emergency declaration on the U.S.-Mexico border wall, paving the way for a veto showdown with the White House," The Hill reports. "Senators voted 54-41 on a resolution to end the declaration, which Trump used to shift billions of dollars from the military toward wall construction." Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed: "The vote [yesterday] is the surest and likely the only way to restore funding the president has stolen from our troops and military projects across the country." He didn't care to mention the jobs, money, and even lives that have been stolen from the American people as a direct result of illegal immigration.

A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN: "A new national survey shows Elizabeth Warren now sitting atop the 2020 Democratic field, further cementing her ascendancy in the party's presidential primary after a pair of polls reported her leading in the first two primary states," according to Politico. "Twenty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents polled by Quinnipiac University said they favor Warren, according to a survey released Wednesday morning. Twenty-five percent said they prefer former Vice President Joe Biden." Rep. Dan Crenshaw speculates: "This impeachment inquiry seems worse for Biden than it is for Trump. Now the Hunter Biden-Ukraine issue is on everyone's radar AND we know that Democrats overstepped with their 'quid pro quo' accusation. Have to wonder whether they did this to help Warren/Sanders."

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: "The marriage vow that usually involves a variation of 'for richer or poorer' may no longer apply. Women may now want to add 'as long as you make as much money as me.' It seems many men aren't getting up to the income level that women prefer in a potential marriage partner, according to the New York Post. That has left successful ladies single and disgruntled, according to a Cornell University study." (Fox Business)

SPENDING BILL PASSES: "The Senate on Thursday cleared a spending bill that will fund the government through Nov. 21, giving lawmakers and the White House more time to reach agreement on the annual appropriations process. The vote was 82-15, with all of the 'no' votes coming from Republicans. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the continuing resolution, holding off another partial government shutdown for at least 51 more days. But this could be the first of several stopgap bills amid tense debates about abortion policy and the border wall." (Roll Call)

REFUGEE ADMISSIONS LOWERED: "The Trump administration is proposing to resettle 18,000 refugees in the United States in the new fiscal year, reducing last year's record-low refugee admission ceiling by a further 40 percent. ... The final ceiling will be decided after consultation with Congress — as required by the Immigration and Nationality Act — but the Departments of State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, in a report on Congress, are proposing an 18,000 limit. That's by far the lowest since the modern U.S. refugee resettlement program began in 1980, when the Refugee Act was enacted." (CNSNews.com)

RECORD FOREIGN-BORN RESIDENTS: "The percentage of foreign-born U.S. residents has reached its highest level in more than a century, according to estimates from the 2018 American Community Survey released [yesterday]. A record 44.7 million people are foreign-born, or about 13.7% of the U.S. population. That's the highest rate since 1910 and comes amid a highly-charged political debate over whether the decennial Census survey should include a citizenship question. A subset of the foreign-born figure — the number of people in the U.S. but 'not a U.S. citizen' held at around 22 million in 2018." (Bloomberg)

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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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 

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