Monday, August 19, 2019

90% of the Racism in America Comes from the Democratic Party and the Left

This 2015 article is even more pertinent today

Roger L. Simon

Ninety percent of the racism in America today comes from the Democratic Party and the Left.  They live off it and exploit it.  It is unconscionable to the degree they do this, ruining the lives and futures of the very people they say they are helping in the process.

I am uniquely positioned to say this because I spent most of my life on the Left and was a civil rights worker in the South in my early twenties. I was also, to my everlasting regret, a donor to the Black Panther Party in the seventies.

So I have seen this personally from both sides and my conclusion is inescapable.  The Left is far, far worse. They are obsessed with race in a manner that does not allow them to see straight.  Further, they project racism onto others continually, exacerbating situations, which in most instances weren't even there in the first place.  From Al Sharpton to Hillary Clinton, they all do it.

Barack Obama is one of the worst offenders in this regard.  Recently, in reaction to the horrid actions of the deranged, but solitary racist Dylann Root, the president claimed racism is in our DNA.

How could he possibly utter such nonsense and who was he talking about?  The majority of Americans are from families that came to this country after slavery existed.  Many of those were escaping oppression of their own.  In my case my family was fleeing  the pogroms of Eastern Europe.  Many of the members of my family who stayed behind ended up gassed in Auschwitz or exterminated in Treblinka.

Is Obama telling me that racism is in my DNA?  What a wretched and insulting statement.  If he means that, he should tell it to me face-to-face.

If he does, I will tell him what I think.  The racial situation in this country has gotten decidedly worse since he took office.  And he is a great deal to blame.  Ever since the beer summit it was obvious he was disingenuous and harmful on the subject of race, seeking to stir the pot when it was actually empty or nearly.  His claim that if he had had a son he would look like Travyon Martin was ridiculous and self-serving in the extreme.  Barack Obama is a product of the fanciest private school in Hawaii and his children go to Sidwell Friends, the fanciest school in D. C.  He takes vacations on Oahu and his wife parties in Switzerland. He had as much in common with Trayvon as I do with the queen of Spain.

And speaking of foreign lands, I've spent time abroad and speak Spanish and French and if Mr. Obama thinks the U.S. is a racist country, he ought to do a little bit of traveling not on Air Force One.  Try sitting at a French dinner table for twenty minutes and listening to the casual conversation if you think America is racist.

The truth is the USA is remarkably un-racist for a country its size.  We weren't always that way, obviously, but we walked the walk and we are now.  Or were.  The Democrat Party and its assorted media hacks are trying to take us backwards.  They suffer from nostalgia for racism for the glorious days when they could assert their moral superiority.  Sorry, those days are over.  The only way to stop remaining racism is to stop it, not talk about it, impute racism to people who don't have it and generally do everything possible to divide the American people from themselves.

And, Democrats, above all if you care about black people, stop it.  All you're doing is making their lives worse.



'Red Flag' Laws Are a Scam

Seizing guns from those disputably deemed more likely than not to be a threat is a hazardous slippery slope. Democrat officials could well use the process to disarm conservtives

“We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government — even the Third Branch of Government — the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all.” —The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the Second Amendment

Following the three mass shootings in El Paso Texas, Dayton, Ohio, and Gilroy, California, Democrats are yet again exploiting tragedy to push for gun control. And this time weak-kneed Republicans, and possibly President Donald Trump, will join them in adopting a federal grant program aimed at encouraging states to embrace so-called “red flag” laws that would take guns away from people believed to be dangers to themselves or others.

Believed by whom? “State laws vary, but most stipulate that only specific people — usually family or household members — may petition a court for an extreme risk protection order,” the Associated Press reports.

Not exactly. In Colorado, which became the 15th state to adopt such a law — without a single Republican vote — family, household members, or law-enforcement officials can petition a court to have guns seized or surrendered based on a “preponderance of the evidence.” That is a civil standard whereby the individual whose guns are being seized is deemed more likely than not to be a threat.

Eagle County, Colorado, Sheriff James van Beek, who slammed the law, explains the implications. “In other words, there is just over a 50/50 chance of accuracy,” he writes, further warning that someone’s guns could be seized even without a mental-health professional making a determination of any kind. “Like the flip of a coin. Couldn’t that apply to just about anything a person does?”

It gets worse. A subsequent court hearing could extend a gun seizure for as long as 364 days. To prevent that from happening, gun owners must demonstrate the much higher standard of “clear and convincing evidence” they are not a threat.

Thus, gun owners are “guilty until proven innocent,” van Beek asserts.

Denver-based physician Brian C. Joondeph, M.D. makes it even clearer. “These laws usurp the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, the Fourth Amendment’s protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Sixth Amendment’s right of the accused to a speedy and public trial,” he states.

Moreover, unlike so many of his fellow Americans who simply want to do something that amounts to little more than virtue signaling, he sees the long-term agenda of an American Left well versed in employing incrementalist tactics to get its way. “How long will it take before states, or the federal government, if a red flag law becomes nationalized, start to view any and all Trump supporters as ‘posing a danger’ based on their skin color, gender, religion, and opposition to open borders?” he asks.

Fordham University professor Mark Naison knows the answer. “We are a country with a few million passionate white supremacists — and tens of millions of white supremacists by default,” he told CNN in 2017 following the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

And despite President Trump condemning that violence, the mainstream media took a single phrase from his speech — “you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides” — and used it to propagate one of the most contemptible hoaxes in modern history to paint the president and his followers as white supremacists.

A hoax it’s still pushing two years later.

The racist viewpoints of white supremacists are abhorrent. But are they sufficient, solely in and of themselves, to precipitate the confiscation of guns based on a preponderance of evidence? If so, what other political viewpoints would trigger such a law? In 2016, Bill Nye, the so-called “Science Guy,” expressed an openness to jailing people who didn’t believe in climate change.

Should so-called “science deniers” be targeted for confiscation?

Presidential candidate Corey “Spartacus” Booker doesn’t think red-flag laws go far enough. “We need far more bolder action to make our nation safe,” he asserts. “Red-flag laws, yes, they’re important, but they’re nowhere near enough to stop these rising levels of mass shootings.”

America certainly needs bolder action to make it safer. But that would require addressing the nation’s genuine problems with regard to gun violence — of all kinds, not just mass shootings. It would require addressing the reality that it is virtually a way of life in American cities like Chicago, where seven people were killed and 46 others were wounded in a single weekend, and Baltimore, where the murder rate is higher than the nations of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — despite the fact that both cities have strict gun-control laws.

Such action might also require addressing the uncomfortable and oh-so-inconvenient correlation between gun violence and fatherlessness, courtesy of a Democrat-led “war on poverty” that eviscerated the nuclear family, or the seemingly orchestrated indifference toward the number of mass murderers on, or just coming off, psychiatric medications.

It might also require solutions based on hard evidence, such as the reality that data obtained between 1970 and 2017 revealed that red-flag laws “had no significant effect on murder, suicide, the number of people killed in mass public shootings, robbery, aggravated assault, or burglary,” or that countries such as France, Finland, Russia, and Switzerland, many of which have much stricter gun-control laws than America, have higher murder rates from mass public shootings.

Yet what America will be subjected to instead is exemplified by a quote courtesy of former Obama administration chief of staff and former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

An opportunity to eviscerate the Constitution, perhaps?

Regardless, red-flag laws have their conservative defenders. “If legislatures compose red-flag laws with sufficient due process rights, it would be unreasonable to oppose them,” asserts Andrew McCarthy.

Why? Because “if reasonable action is not taken, it will become increasingly difficult to stave off unreasonable restrictions — which are favored by many Democrats and much of the judiciary,” he adds.

It’s precisely that kind of organized unreasonableness that precipitated the inalienable right to self-defense codified by the Founding Fathers, Mr. McCarthy — all the “interest balancing” efforts of a fascist-wannabe, exploit-a-crisis American Left and its GOP collaborators notwithstanding.



Leftmedia brands Trump a racist

Notwithstanding the cockamamie idea of impeaching Donald Trump, there are two primary strategies Democrats are using in the lead-up to the 2020 election: seeding a politically induced recession, and personifying Trump as an unmistakable racist.

The Washington Post went full throttle this week with the latter method, unashamedly asserting that Trump "is vexed by a branding crisis of his own: how to shed the label of 'racist.'" The Post pontificates, "As the campaign takes shape about 15 months before voters render a verdict on his presidency, Trump's Democratic challengers are marking him a racist, and a few have gone so far as to designate him a white supremacist." The article then claims:

Throughout his career as a real estate magnate, a celebrity provocateur and a politician, Trump has recoiled from being called the r-word, even though some of his actions and words have been plainly racist. Following a month in which he used racist remarks to attack four congresswomen of color, maligned a majority-black Baltimore district as a "rat and rodent infested mess" and saw his anti-immigrant rhetoric parroted in a statement that authorities believe was written by a mass shooter, the risk for Trump is that the pejorative that has long dogged him becomes defining. ... Trump recently called himself "the least racist person anywhere in the world," but his history is littered with racist and racially charged comments and actions. [Emphasis added.]

Importantly, the Post isn't accusing Trump of having used racist language. It's effectively saying with certitude that he has and is using racist language. Which effectively makes him a racist. We won't debunk every incident provided by the Post, but some reflection on the first assertion — that Trump "used racist remarks to attack four congresswomen of color" — provides all we need to know about its universal lack of impartiality.

Recall that Trump stated, "Why don't [Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib] go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came[?] Then come back and show us how it is done." To which our Nate Jackson responded, "Trump said what he said poorly, leaving himself wide open for the very assault he's facing. He said what we think he meant far better in defending himself later. 'These are people that hate our country,' he said. 'If you're not happy in the U.S., if you're complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave.'"

Jackson concluded: "Buried under Trump's garbled prose is a legitimate point, and it has nothing to do with race. It has to do with loving or hating America and the political party guilty of the latter." But the Post isn't interesting in making that point, nor are any of the other Leftmedia outlets whose only agenda is portraying Trump as a racist to bolster support for Democrats in 2020 — the same strategy that's behind the Left's seeding a politically induced recession.

Amazingly, the Post in a separate piece claimed, "From race to plastic straws, Trump dials up culture wars in divisive play for 2020 votes." It was the Left that dialed up the culture wars to obtain more votes. And it's now steadfastly using the "racist" label to obtain even more votes.



Republican failure

I want to start with a rebuke to elected Republicans. In 2010, the Tea Party brought the House under your control in response to President Barack Obama’s overreach in shoving policies like ObamaCare down the throat of Americans. Instead of countering the overreach, you marginalized the new representatives. You told us we had to win the Senate to really make a difference. We won the Senate and you said we need to win the White House. We did. You did nothing.

For whatever reason, with the House, Senate, and White House, you did nothing, such as failing to repeal and replace ObamaCare as you promised for seven years. You did nothing to secure the southern border, so you lost the House in 2018. Voters are not stupid. You promised but did not deliver. Maybe you thought President Trump wouldn’t hold up against all the slanted media, or you just didn’t like his style. Whatever reason you used to do nothing, you missed the boat.

Due to the way the nation is going and the very extremes the far Left wants to take us to, you “may” have a chance to win the House in 2020. But I believe there will be no tolerance if you win and do nothing. I also believe your time in political power will be very short.

To my Democrat friends, I have to ask if you are comfortable with the changes that have taken place in recent years. President Obama said marriage was between a man and a woman. Then same-sex marriage was thrust upon us with his full support. President Bill Clinton said abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” Now, the New York Legislature stood and cheered when legislation approved abortion right up to the moment of birth. Other states discussed abortion being possible even after a child is born.

I know you hate President Trump. You don’t like his style. He’s arrogant (though I remember a very recent president who couldn’t make a speech without referring to himself dozens of times and in longer speeches, hundreds of times). He tweets too much. On some of these points I can agree with you completely. But then I look at what he actually has done, not like so many of our politicians said they would do! He keeps his campaign promises. Who knew that would be such a popular process?

Our Founding Fathers never envisioned a professional political body. If our nation has any chance of surviving the disaster that is our current political state, we need to elect those who have a track record of integrity and character. We need Republicans and Democrats who want the best for the country and leaders who have a proven track record; not those who make lofty promises that have no chance of becoming reality. That is where the far Left wants to take us. I don’t believe my Democrat friends really want to go that far left.



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

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


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Bald faced lies from two leading Democrats -- for political gain

Leftists normally have an uneasy relationship with the truth but this was egregious.  Leftist commentators argue that the lies from Warren and Harris were simply a matter of unimportant linguistics.  They were not.

The word "murderer" applied to an innocent man was wrong, not because of linguistics but because the action concerned was not a murder. Words differ because what they describe differs.  By using the word murder for a particular event that was not a murder, the Democrat lovelies accused an an innocent man of a grievous act that he did not do and which they know he did not do

The big stink this week, "largely ignored" by the Mainstream Media, is over false claims by United States senators and Democratic presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris that Michael Brown was "murdered" by a white policeman five years ago.

The legal definition of murder is "the killing of a human being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought (prior intention to kill the particular victim or anyone who gets in the way) and with no legal excuse or authority." Or murder in the second degree, which "is such a killing without premeditation."

Brown, a young black man shot to death by Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, was not murdered. Wilson, as the facts eventually made plain, fired in self-defense while under attack by Brown. That's a legally justified killing, which is pretty much the exact opposite of murder.

You'd think that for a fact-checking organization, this would be an open-and-shut case. And for at least two lefty publications, it was.

But apparently all that's not good enough for PolitiFact's Louis Jacobson, who chose instead to muddy the waters with his so-called "fact check."

Now if it were me running a fact-check site, I'd look at the claim ("he was murdered") and the facts ("the law says that a legally justified shooting isn't murder"), and tell my readers whether the claim stood up to the facts. Which seems to me not-at-all-unreasonable for a fact-checker.

But here's Jacobson's not-quite just-the-facts-ma'am take:

"In discussing the case with legal experts, however, we found broad consensus that "murder" was the wrong word to use — a legal point likely familiar to Harris, a longtime prosecutor, and Warren, a law professor.

In fact, two other Democratic senators with law degrees now running for president — Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand — more accurately referred to it as a killing.

That said, experts who have studied police-related deaths and race relations said that focusing too much on the linguistics in controversial cases comes with its own set of problems."

Let me parse that for you. Jacobson admits that Brown was not murdered, but then goes on to argue that "murder" might be a good word to use anyway, because doing so fits a particular agenda.

Jacobson then quotes Jean Brown, a communications instructor (not a legal scholar) at Texas Christian University arguing, "I don’t know if the legalistic distinction intensifies the anger, but it does feel like an attempt to shift the debate from a discussion about the killing of black and brown people by police." Which is a fancy way of saying, "Brown wasn't murdered, but it suits my agenda to say that he was." And that's a fancy way of saying, "I'm not going to let the facts get in the way of stoking racial hatred."

"Quite frankly," she says, "it’s a distraction that doesn’t help the discussion."

Precisely, although perhaps Brown admitted more than she meant to.

Muddying the waters further, Jacobson says that "some legal experts argued that there’s a difference between being legally precise and using language more informally."



Federal Court Orders Maryland to Produce Voter Registration List Data to Judicial Watch

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that a federal court has ordered the State of Maryland to produce voter list data for Montgomery County, the state’s biggest county. The court ruling comes in the Judicial Watch lawsuit filed July 18, 2017, against Montgomery County and the Maryland State Boards of Elections under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division (Judicial Watch vs. Linda H. Lamone, et al. (No. 1:17-cv-02006)). The decision follows NVRA-related Judicial Watch successes in California and Kentucky that could lead to removal of up to 1.85 million inactive voters from voter registration lists. The NVRA requires states to take reasonable steps to clean up its voting rolls and to make documents about its voter list maintenance practices available to anyone who asks.

Judicial Watch had sought the Maryland voter list data after discovering that there were more registered voters in Montgomery County than citizens over the age of 18 who could register. U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Lipton Hollander rejected Maryland’s objections to providing the voter list information under Section 8(i) of the National Voter Registration Act:

If Judicial Watch had submitted requests for voter registration data, corresponding to the thousands of Montgomery County voters, the State would have been required to produce each record, pursuant to Section 8(i). Instead, Judicial Watch merely submitted a single request for a voter list containing and compiling the same information about the thousands of voters in Montgomery County. Although both scenarios seek the same information, defendants believe that the NVRA would require compliance with only one of them. Rejecting Judicial Watch’s request based on semantics would be tantamount to requiring Judicial Watch to make thousands of separate requests. Neither the NVRA, the Court, nor common sense can abide such a purposeless obstruction.


Organizations such as Judicial Watch have the resources and expertise that few individuals can marshal. By excluding these organizations from access to voter registration lists, the State law undermines Section 8(i)’s efficacy. Accordingly, [Maryland election law] is an obstacle to the accomplishment of the NVRA’s purposes. It follows that the State law is preempted in so far as it allows only Maryland registered voters to access voter registration lists.

The dispute over the voter registration list arose from an April 11, 2017, notice letter sent to Maryland election officials, in which Judicial Watch explained Montgomery County had an impossibly high registration rate. The letter threatened a lawsuit if the problems with Montgomery County’s voter rolls were not fixed. The letter also requested access to Montgomery County voter registration lists in order to evaluate the efficacy of any “programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of Maryland’s official eligible voter lists during the past 2 years.”

Democrat Maryland officials, in response, attacked and smeared Judicial Watch by suggesting it was an agent of Russia.

“Now that the court has cleared the way for Judicial Watch to obtain the Montgomery voter data, our efforts to force the State of Maryland to comply with the NVRA and clean up its voter rolls may proceed,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “After our successful efforts to bring Kentucky, California, Ohio and Indiana into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act, it’s time for Maryland politicians to stop the politics, see the light, get right with the law and clean up the State’s voter rolls. If they don’t, we’ll see them in court again.”

Judicial Watch is the national leader in enforcing the provisions of the NVRA, having also filed a successful NVRA lawsuit against Indiana, causing it to voluntarily clean up its voting rolls. Judicial Watch also settled successfully with Ohio.



National Review: 'There Will Be No Republican Challenger to Trump Because the Right is Satisfied'


National Review has, from the very start of the Trump phenomenon, been one of the conservative outlets most critical of the man who ended up a) the Republican presidential nominee and b) president. Many writers of the magazine have explained in recent years why they can't support the man and why they believe he is no friend to traditional conservatism.

Even NR has to admit now, however, that former Congressman Joe Walsh is delusional if he thinks that there will be a Republican challenger to Trump. As the magazine's roving correspondent Kevin D. Williamson explains:

Walsh has gone one way since 2016, and the Republican party has gone another. There were a lot of heaving sighs and melancholy little gestures of resignation in 2016 — “It’s Trump or the commies!” they told us. A lot of people seemed to think that the word “binary” offered a smart-sounding way out of that. That was then. But unless I grievously misread the mood of Republicans, that’s not really the case anymore. The Republican party has embraced not only Trump but also Trumpism. It is his party now. There is not likely to be any challenge to Trump from the right because the Right is, by all indicators, satisfied with him.
That's exactly right. Back in 2016, I wasn't exactly a Trump fan. Quite the opposite, even: I was highly critical of the man. The main reason for this attitude of mine toward Trump was that I was afraid he was lying about his views in order to get nominated and, after that, elected. He would, I was almost sure, rapidly transform into a moderate Democrat once in office.

I'm happy to admit that I was wrong. Okay, sure, Trump hasn't been as conservative as president as, say, Ted Cruz would've been, but he has certainly done a very decent job. He was elected as a Republican and he has governed as one. That's all we could've asked for... and he has clearly delivered. At the same time, he's constantly bringing it to Democrats in a way that we could only have dreamed of a few years ago, with the willy-nilly, weak Republican leadership.

Trump has made America respected again on the world stage. The economy is booming. In Gorsuch and Kavanaugh he has added solid constitutionalist judges to the Supreme Court. And we get some anti-Democrat red meat thrown at us every single day. What more could we have possibly hoped for (in a president whose name isn't Ted Cruz)?

It should be obvious, then, that Williamson is 100 percent correct. There will not be a serious challenger to Trump from within the Republican Party. Trump is doing quite well. You'd have to be an utter fool as a Republican to risk dividing the party and, by doing so, handing the White House over to the Democrats, who have truly gone insane with all their SJW crap.



Senior citizens for Trump

They’re out there, in their millions—President Trump’s base.

But it is the older members of that constituency—senior citizens—that will put 45 over the top in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Trump’s older voters generally support his policies and proposals, but it's his leadership and performance on the economy that has inspired the most abiding faith. These seasoned Americans, people that the hard left hopes will die off soon, are watching and listening. They’re watching their children and grandchildren do better. They’re seeing a country freed from dependence on foreign oil. They see new international respect for the stars and bars, and a country that is no longer being taken advantage of in the global marketplace.

They’re biding their time until Election Day.

Now, with the clock ticking, Mueller crashed and burned, and the anti-Trump “racist” epithet thrown so often as to have become meaningless, the Democratic Socialist left now turns to its last-best scare-tactic: There’s going to be a recession!

On Wednesday, a panel of nervous-nellies on CNN, having come out in solidarity with comedian Bill Maher, are unable to mask their destructively partisan interest in ginning up a looming recession. Their latest conniption fit is focused on the assertion that Trump’s “trade war” with China will somehow result in a global economic meltdown that will have dire impact on the United States. How convenient, as we approach peak election season.

But something happened—is still happening-- on the way to CNN and MSNBC’s Great Recession II. Something they never report on, but can’t make go away. Trump’s boomer allies know a strong economic vision when they see one.

While the left harangues about the wealthy paying their “fair share,” duplicitously omitting the fact that in 2018 the top one percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (37.3 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (30.5 percent), Trump’s elder demographic sees that the president has actually done something about real imbalances in the fair-share arena.

China One-Ups Trump in Trade War as Beijing Suspends All Imports of U.S. Farm Products
The president is getting NATO to pay up, and has stripped regulations that yoked U.S. corporations and businesses to an unequal playing field. On the campaign trail, he minced no words when calling out American companies that would repay the greatest capitalist infrastructure on earth with a “see ya later,” only to call back from across the border, or the ocean, with a sales pitch. With exceptions, they came into line.

He’s worked tirelessly to ensure that nation-busting trade deals like NAFTA got consigned to that dusty repository where humankind’s bad ideas are archived. As part of that accomplishment, in his resolve to reverse years of $500-billion-dollar trade deficits with China, Trump is taking our most adversarial global competitor to the precipice.

To repay the president for all he has done to strengthen the homeland’s economic outlook, Trump’s aging troopers plan to sit tight. They’ve been to a few political rodeos They won’t fall prey to Anderson Cooper’s hysteria. They know that the globalist schematic that has been foisted on the nation has been evolving for decades, and cannot be undone in a heartbeat. Like with Britain’s Brexit, there are short-term exigencies to be accounted for, status quo disruptions to absorb.

To appropriate an old Merrill-Lynch tag line, Trump’s scrappy oldsters are bullish on America. At the same time, they’re savvy enough to recognize that along with the winning, there will be the need for sacrifice.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) appeared on Fox News Sunday a few weeks ago to field questions from Chris Wallace about the economic jitters farmers are experiencing as a result of Trump’s tariff crackdown on China’s unfair trade policies and practices. Cotton patriotically introduced the concept of sacrifice, a point he’s been making since at least May of this year.

To extrapolate from Cotton’s argument, he believes that to right marketplace wrongs and ensure prosperous sailing for our economic ship of state, Americans may have to ride out some storm-tossed waters. He hopes that farmers hit by the disruption of trade policies that have stripped the nation of jobs and intellectual property will look at the big picture: that the globalist trade environment Trump inherited is not in the long-term interest of the United States.

Here’s a direct Cotton quote from the CBS interview linked above: "There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans, I will grant you that," said Cotton, who served in the U.S. Army in both Afghanistan and Iraq from 2005 to 2009. "But also, I will say that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas, that our fallen heroes who are laid to rest in Arlington make."

Trump’s senior citizen brigades are ready to make that sacrifice. And they’ve been around long enough to know that sacrifice must go hand-in-hand with strategy.

They realize that when the president makes a trade policy adjustment, like ordering a delay of new tariffs on certain Chinese products until December 15, it is not a sign of weakness, but an indication of flexibility, a reflection of reprised vigor on trade policy, as differentiated from the lock-step, kowtowing of previous leaders, who seemed never to have met a lousy trade deal they wouldn’t sign.

As an unprecedented investigatory regime has shown, to the confounded disappointment of his leftist, Deep State, and complicit media adversaries, Trump has come out free and clear. Russian collusion has become a punchline. Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign is amassing record-setting amounts of money for the coming struggle.

He’s bullish on America too, but his campaign is loaded for bear.

America First isn’t something that can be wished into being. Trump’s Gray Column understands this, and, seeing what they’ve seen, and knowing what they know, will vote to stay the course.



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

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


Friday, August 16, 2019

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

There is nothing irrational about distrusting the government


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Have Republicans Learned These Crucial Lessons from Obamacare?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The Left Responds to new immigration rules

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Top 10 Reasons Seniors Are Benefiting From The Trump Economy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Disagreement over primaries for next presidential election

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

My pictorial home page

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


Marxism in international organizations

Marxism has always had international pretensions

Martin Hutchinson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

A Huge Constitutional Problem

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

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

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

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

Wealth Taxes Aren’t Income Taxes

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

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

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

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

What Is Direct Taxation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Direct taxes on income: now constitutional even without apportionment

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

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

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

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

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

More HERE 


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

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


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Guns Saved These Americans From Assault and Robbery in July

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Trumponomics is no flop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Justin Haskins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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