Friday, December 18, 2015

Is Trump even more popular than the polls say?

FOLLOWING DONALD TRUMP’S highly publicized spiritual beheading of Muslims, he once again defied conventional wisdom, not only holding fast in the national polling but also improving. In the latest Monmouth University GOP poll this week, Trump soared to 41 percent, the first time he’s broken that barrier, putting him well ahead of his next closest rival, Senator Ted Cruz, at 14 percent. A Washington Post-ABC poll confirmed the Trump surge, though they have him at 38 percent.

Given how well Trump is doing, this may seem like an odd question to ask, but are the polls actually under-representing Trump’s support among Republicans?

One thing is for sure: Despite widespread condemnation, Trump’s proposed temporary halt to Muslim immigration seems to be working to his advantage. At Tuesday night’s CNN debate in Las Vegas, Jeb Bush deserved credit for challenging Trump and refusing to scapegoat all Muslims. However, his was a lonely voice. It’s significant that criticism from the other candidates was muted. Partly that’s because, we know from polling, a majority of Republicans agree with Trump. But it’s also true that everyone draws the line somewhere. For Trump, the line was drawn at 14 American deaths in San Bernardino. For other candidates, it may be 140, 1,400, or 14,000. If you doubt it, ask if they are willing to unequivocally take an immigration ban off the table as a wartime measure. That Trump was willing to bring it forward means something to the legion of fans that admire him for saying out loud what others are only thinking.

Because of his harsh immigration policies, openly supporting Trump for some people carries with it risk of shame and humiliation. “Fascist” and “racist” are just some of the negative terms used to describe Trump by his critics. Which leads to the first reason that Trump’s support may be undercounted: People lie, and the more ill at ease they are with the questions being asked, the more likely they are to lie in response.

Evidence from polling in Europe suggests anti-immigration candidates do better on automated and online polls than they do on polls that use live interviewers. Voters won’t reveal to a stranger that they support an anti-immigration politician, but they will anonymously record it into a machine. The same phenomenon has also been observed here. Over the weekend, The Des Moines Register’s live interview poll showed Cruz leading Trump in Iowa, 31-21. Days later, however, the robo-calling PPP poll from Iowa showed Trump leading Cruz, 28-25.

The second reason Trump’s support may be artificially low is the possibility Trump is going to bring nontraditional GOP voters into the primary electorate. I spoke to a rival campaign’s pollster who believes some of the state polls are screening so tightly for past GOP primary voters that they could be missing a chunk of Trump voters who have never participated in the primary process. Of course, the question is whether these nontraditional primary voters who have been energized by Trump will follow through and actually show up to vote on a cold, snowy day in Iowa or New Hampshire. Still, a strong argument exists they’re being undercounted in polling of likely voters.

In 2008, the energizing force in the Republican primary was the Iraq War. In 2012, it was the economy. In 2016, it’s immigration. It’s no surprise in hindsight that the candidate with the harshest immigration policies is leading the field. All along, the Washington insiders assured us Trump would self-destruct as we got closer to the first voting. Instead, the real story in 2016 may be that Trump’s true support is greater than they or anyone else thought.



Lessons of the Fifth GOP Debate

By Mark Alexander

Nine Republican candidates took the stage last night in the fifth debate of this primary cycle. The theme was national security, and there’s no question the next president will have an enormous task endeavoring to recover from Barack Obama’s years of domestic and foreign policy failures. But perhaps the overarching takeaway is that everyone on the stage brings their constituents to the election that matters most — defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Here is my summary: The most prepared were Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. The least prepared were Ben Carson and Donald Trump. Carson in particular is a smart, moral, nice guy who is painfully unprepared to be commander in chief.

Some other observations: Rand Paul too often sounded petulant, but he had the best cheerleading section. Trump and Jeb Bush hate each other — perhaps because they are most alike as silver-spoon politicos. Trump again demonstrated he is the master of sound bites but thin on any real understanding of issues. Bush, on the other hand, is knowledgeable, but comes across as whiny and mad at Trump for taking his candy. Chris Christie would have been far more formidable in 2012. John Kasich wins the “time bell violator” award.

Last but certainly not least, the most notable political phenomenon with the greatest potential consequences in 2016 and beyond would be the rocketing rise of Trump. His celebrity name recognition, contentious remarks and populist rhetoric have kept the blustering billionaire at the top of pop-presidential polls for months.

Trump’s support is a reflection of how dissatisfied millions of disenfranchised grassroots conservatives are with Republican “leadership.” The status quo represented by former House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has, in effect, underwritten Trump’s rising stardom. Despite greatly increasing the numbers of conservatives in the House and Senate in the historic “Republican Wave” elections nationwide in both 2010 and 2014, the much-loathed “establishment types” held the House reins until Paul Ryan replaced Boehner, and they still control the Senate. GOP leaders continue to marginalize or ignore the concerns of the conservative/Republican base — grassroots conservatives — and we are rightly outraged.

2016 will either provide an opportunity for the renewal of American exceptionalism in 2017 — the restoration of principles that have made our nation great — or it will end with the election of Hillary Clinton and a more precipitous national and international degradation.

Now, without further ado, here are some important remarks and exchanges:

On immigration:

RUBIO: “The American people don’t trust the federal government to enforce our immigration laws, and we will not be able to do anything on immigration until we first prove to the American people that illegal immigration is under control. … It takes at least 20,000 more additional border agents. It takes completing those 700 miles of fencing. It takes a mandatory e-verify system and a mandatory entry/exit tracking system to prevent overstays. After we have done that, the second thing we have to do is reform and modernize the legal immigration system. And after we have done those two things, I think the American people are going to be reasonable with what do you do with someone who has been in this country for 10 or 12 years who hasn’t otherwise violated our laws — because if they’re a criminal they can’t stay.”

CRUZ: “[W]e will secure the border. We will triple the border patrol. We will build a wall that works and I’ll get Donald Trump to pay for it. … [Rubio] was fighting to grant amnesty and not secure the border. I was fighting to secure the border. … I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization.”

On foreign policy regarding Middle East dictators:

TRUMP: “In my opinion, we’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems … we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.”

FIORINA: “That is exactly what President Obama said. I’m amazed to hear that from a Republican presidential candidate.”

On the Islamic State, terrorism and the refugee problem:

BUSH: “Well, first of all, we need to destroy ISIS in the caliphate. That should be our objective. The refugee issue will be solved if we destroy ISIS there.”

KASICH: “I said last February that we needed to have … troops on the ground in a coalition similar to what we had in the first Gulf War. … First and foremost, we need to go and destroy ISIS. And we need to do this with our Arab friends and our friends in Europe. And when I see they have a climate conference over in Paris, they should have been talking about destroying ISIS because they are involved in virtually every country across this world.”

TRUMP: “A month ago [in Paris] things changed. Radical Islamic terrorism came into effect even more so than it has been in the past. People like what I say. People respect what I say. And we’ve opened up a very big discussion that needed to be opened up.”

CHRISTIE: “If you listen to Hillary Clinton the other day, what she said to the American people was, as regards to ISIS, my strategy would be just about the same as the president’s. … We have people across this country who are scared to death. Because I could tell you this, as a former federal prosecutor, if a center for the developmentally disabled in San Bernardino, California, is now a target for terrorists, that means everywhere in America is a target for these terrorists.”

TRUMP: “ISIS is recruiting through the Internet. ISIS is using the Internet better than we are using the Internet, and it was our idea. What I wanted to do is I wanted to get our brilliant people from Silicon Valley and other places and figure out a way that ISIS cannot do what they’re doing. … I would certainly be open to closing areas [of the Internet] where we are at war with somebody. I sure as hell don’t want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our Internet.”

CARSON: “The war that we are fighting now against radical Islamist jihadists is one that we must win. Our very existence is dependent upon that.”

On the Obama/Clinton record:

FIORINA: “Hillary Clinton has gotten every foreign policy challenge wrong. Hitting the reset button with Vladimir Putin — recall that she called Bashar Al-Assad a positive reformer and then she opened an embassy and then later she said, over, and over, and over again, ‘Bashar Al-Assad must go,’ although she wasn’t prepared to do anything about it. Recall that Hillary Clinton was all for toppling [Moammar] Gadhafi, then didn’t listen to her own people on the ground. And then of course, when she lied about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, she invited more terrorist attacks.”

On the USA Freedom Act and NSA surveillance:

CRUZ: “I’m very proud to have joined with conservatives in both the Senate and the House to reform how we target bad guys. It gave us greater tools and we are seeing those tools work right now in San Bernardino. In particular, what it did is the prior program only covered a relatively narrow slice of phone calls.”

RUBIO: “We are now at a time when we need more tools, not less tools. And that tool we lost, the metadata program, was a valuable tool that we no longer have at our disposal.”

PAUL: “We are not any safer through the collection of all Americans' records. In fact, I think we’re less safe. We get so distracted by all the information, we’re not spending enough time getting specific information on terrorists.”

RUBIO: “If a regular law enforcement agency wants your phone records, all they have to do is issue a subpoena. But now the intelligence agency is not able to quickly gather records and look at them to see who these terrorists are calling.”

On allegiance to the GOP:

Co-moderator Hugh Hewitt: “Are you [Trump] ready to assure Republicans tonight that you will run as a Republican and abide by the decision of the Republicans?”

TRUMP: “I really am. I’ll be honest, I really am. … I am totally committed to the Republican Party. I feel very honored to be the front runner.”



The bill fails . . .

At 2 am this morning Congress released a $1.149 trillion, 2,009-page omnibus spending bill, a combination of thousands of spending commitments, new programs and big-government priorities.

Lawmakers failed to listen to the wishes of the American people and instead chose to cater to special interest groups. Rather than honor their campaign promises or the requests of their constituents, they caved to the Left and the Establishment.

This spending bill was a huge opportunity for conservative reform. A chance to start over and make bold spending choices to cut funding from Planned Parenthood, keep spending below budget caps, to vet the vetting process on Syrian refugees and put a stop to Obama’s executive amnesty.

The bill fails to achieve any victories on key national security issues including a more stringent vetting system of Syrian refugees.

The bill fails to block President Obama’s unlawful executive amnesty.

The bill fails to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

The bill fails to spend within our means, disregarding 2011 budget caps put in place to protect our economy.

Lawmakers will be voting as earlier as Thursday on this spending bill. Heritage Action opposes the omnibus spending bill and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

The omnibus spending bill should have been an opportunity for lawmakers to assert the power of the purse. Instead the bill falls far short of achieving substantive policy victories on the issues Americans care about.

Email from Heritage Action


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Donald Trump is a man of the people

By Wayne Allyn Root

Every Republican presidential candidate is in Las Vegas for the CNN debate.  They all came in Monday night.  They all had events.

Sen. Ted Cruz had 50 people at the home of a friend of mine. Sen. Marco Rubio had 200 people gathered in a room. I’m sure Ohio Gov. John Kasich had his wife, mom and dad. That’s 3 ... or 4 counting himself.

Donald Trump filled a casino with working class people. They came by the thousands.  I’d guess up to 7,000 showed up to rally for Trump. I know because I was Donald’s master of ceremonies. I was the opening act for Trump.

What a crowd. Thousands and thousands of adoring fans who love Donald Trump.  The new energy of the Republican Party ... not a bunch of old, rich farts. Working class stiffs. God bless them.

This is why Trump leads Cruz 41% to 14% in the latest national poll. The GOP hates him. Big donors hate him. Establishment hates him.  Media hate him. Even Fox News Channel seems to be against him.

Trump is fuelled by working class voters who have either not voted at all in recent elections, or voted Democrat.

Trump is great news for the GOP. He is best thing to ever happen to the rudderless party.  The middle class is struggling and right now their response is Trump.

Big shots in media don’t get what’s happening.  This is nothing short of the Trump Revolution.  And he’s no Ron Paul or Bernie Sanders.

Their adoring crowds never really mattered ... because they had and have no money. Trump will spend $1 billion once this race gets serious.

That’s the story.  Trump is the American Idol of working-class and middle-class Americans. I’m a witness. I saw it. I talked to them.  This is real.

Trump has a great shot to be president of the United States. And after Tuesday night’s debate, more Americans will see that too.



Will Elites Blow Up the GOP?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

There was a dinner last week at The Source on Capitol Hill where Republican Party elites discussed how Donald Trump, even if he wins the lion's share of votes and delegates, might be denied the nomination in a "brokered convention."

Assume at the GOP convention in Cleveland that Trump runs first, Ted Cruz second, Marco Rubio third and Ben Carson fourth.

Rather than wait for Karl Rove & Co. to tell us whom the party shall nominate, Trump would phone Cruz, offer him second spot on the ticket in return for his delegates, and if Cruz declined, ask for Rubio's phone number.

Candidates who have gone through a yearlong campaign, and sustained the defeats and suffered the abuse, are not going to let a Beltway cabal decide the nominee.

Carson has already warned he will walk away from the party if such a decision were imposed upon the convention.

Moreover, the old establishments are dead. Conservatives killed the GOP establishment in 1964. The Vietnam War and George McGovern killed the Democratic establishment in 1972.

What is left are elites, collectives of office-holders past and present, donors, lobbyists, think-tankers angling for jobs, party hacks and talking heads.

What the Republican collectivity has to realize is that it is they and the policies they produced that are the reason Trump, Carson and Cruz currently hold an overwhelming majority of Republican votes.

It was the elites of both parties who failed to secure our borders and brokered the trade deals that have de-industrialized America and eviscerated our middle class.

It was the elites of both parties who got us into these idiotic wars that have blown up the Middle East, cost us trillions of dollars, thousands of dead, and tens of thousands of wounded among our best and bravest.

That Republican elites would sit around a dinner table on Capitol Hill and discuss how to frustrate the rising rebellion against what they have done to America, and decide among themselves who shall lead us, is astonishing.

To borrow from the Gipper, they are not the solution to our problems. They are the problem.



Slaying or at least winging the regulatory dragon

By Martin Hutchinson

The COP-21 global climate talks ended this weekend, with a treaty that won't have much practical effect. Yet regulations to combat "climate change" have already inflicted trillions of dollars of economic damage and there seems no prospect of ending their depredations. In other areas, the regulatory state set up since the 1960s expands steadily, with only modest rollbacks likely if an anti-regulatory President is elected. Since our entire future prosperity depends on not sharing Laocoon's fate from the regulatory serpents, it is thus worth pondering how we might defeat them, and to what extent it is truly impossible.

In general, the U.S. and many global regulators have used the last seven years of pro-regulator government to entrench themselves. U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is confident that they are elimination-proof "You're going to lose and you might as well get over it" she told a Congressional hearing last week. Under the Dodd –Frank Act of 2010 regulating the banks, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau was put inside the Fed to prevent Congress overseeing it properly. The statutory and theoretical prohibitions against Congress meddling with the Fed are strong, so the idea was they would protect the CFPB also, even though the authors of Dodd-Frank knew the CFPB would spend its life imposing costs on the financial services industry and impeding the operation of the free market.

As well as the regulators, the years of regulation have produced an appalling group of crony capitalists who benefit from it. This is clearest in the banking sector, where regulation has raised the barriers to entry to prohibitive levels – new bank formation has slipped 97% since before the crisis, from about 100 year before 2007 to THREE a year, in the entire United States, since 2010.

The combination of regulation and foolish Fed monetary policy, allowing banks to receive interest on $2 trillion of reserves kept at the Fed, and granting a permanent 2% yield curve differential between deposit rates and long-term government bond rates, has made the lives of all but the very largest banks very easy indeed. As for the largest banks, they have been subsidized in their investment banking operations, which have made trading profits based on ever-rising asset prices and huge swathes of money sloshing around the system. So when the banks and their top executives turn out to be among the largest donors to Hillary Clinton, who regularly denounces them, they are not turkeys voting for an early Christmas, but fat, corrupted, unhealthy pigs voting for the endless subsidy swill to keep flowing.

Crony capitalists have however spread well beyond banking. Elon Musk, for example, whose Tesla empire depends almost entirely on government subsidies of one kind or another is certainly more plausible than the people who ran the failed Solyndra solar panel company, but his business has yet to be tested by recession or – more difficult still – by an environment in which massive taxpayer handouts to wealthy eco-conscious consumers are no longer available.

Needless to say the crony capitalists, through massive political donations, have bought at least a substantial minority of politicians. When allied with the "green" lobby or the politically correct liberals of the big coastal cities, they are practically unstoppable. We saw their power in the U.S. Eximbank disaster, in which that crony capitalist haven died for more than five months, to the mass cheers of ordinary taxpayers, before mysteriously rising again without significant reform, its survival guaranteed for another four years.

Finally, there is the international dimension. It has now become clear from experience that international bureaucracies are much more dangerous than the domestic kind. They are responsible to nobody, so can allow their instincts for politically correct self-aggrandizement and waste full rein. They are also perpetual. I am not aware of any such body ever having been abolished; there are still League of Nations bureaucracies in Geneva, which have had no real purpose since 1945, but have continued to draw handsome salaries and allowances.

A U.S. President can refuse to fund them, but in an era of massive liquidity such as the present that is no problem; at most they slim down a little, funded by the remaining countries that still support them and possibly by a little low-cost borrowing and wait for the swing of the U.S. political pendulum, after which their full funding will be restored, probably including the arrears. Thus international regulation, especially in areas such as the environment and refugee questions, is even more unstoppable than domestic regulation.

The forces preventing significant pruning of regulations are thus very powerful. Even to consider countering them we must assume a President dedicated to doing so, a Congress in which he has safe majorities in both houses, and eight years in which to operate, during which he is able to maintain his House and Senate majorities for at least six of them. It is a lot to ask, but let assume some miracle brings this lucky combination in the fairly near future. What should this miracle President and his miracle Congress do?

The most important set of regulations to eliminate is that surrounding global warming, and the environment in general.  The reality behind global warming is difficult to establish amid all the fog. A New York Times article as far back as 1956 quoted an estimate by the British climatologist Guy Callendar that carbon dioxide emissions were warming the atmosphere by about 1.1 degree Celsius per century. That now looks a little high; the warming since 1900 is only about 0.8 degrees; in any case it does not suggest that by 2100 we will have suffered anything like the 3-4 degrees Celsius rise from present levels at which damage to our civilization could become significant. Two important factors making global warming less dangerous are that the effects of increased carbon dioxide are asymptotic, not exponential, and that plant feedback also dampens the warming effect.

Global warming is real but the "global warming" hysteria is a leftist and crony capitalist scam. Apart from doctored "hockey stick" graphs of temperature rises and now even doctored temperature observations, it includes such intellectual dishonesties as defining the temperature rise as dating from the beginning of industrialization, a period when we were in a Maunder minimum temperature phase and would thus have had significant warming even if the dinosaurs still roamed. The new Paris treaty that wants to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius from the beginning of industrialization is limiting us to warming that has already happened; if there is any warming effect of carbon at all we would have to shut down civilization completely to comply with her absurd benchmark.

The best way of ensuring that global warming and other environmental dishonesty doesn't embed itself in U.S. policy is probably structural: abolish the EPA and embed the environmental regulatory function within the Department of Commerce, whose main function is the promotion of American business. With a suitable Commerce Secretary like the 1980s Malcolm Baldridge, environmental regulations that caused economic damage would be severely pruned back. Add a requirement for proper, non-fudged estimates of regulations' benefits and costs, and a separate audit by the Government Accounting Office before they were put into effect, and you would probably have a system of environmental regulation that could survive even the return of a Democrat administration.



This Might Explain Why Obama Thought ISIS Was Contained

President Obama's assertion that ISIS was contained showed that he was either desperately trying to justify his failures or that he was seriously lacking information. A new report suggests it was the latter:

    President Barack Obama has only attended roughly 40 percent of his daily intelligence briefings throughout his presidency, according to the Government Accountability Institute (GAI).

    In September 2014, the Government Accountability Institute updated an analysis of how much time President Barack Obama has spent attending his Presidential Daily Briefs (PDBs), as recorded on the White House official calendar and Politico’s comprehensive calendar. The updated study covered the president’s first 2,079 days in office, running from January 20, 2009 through September 29, 2014. Of those, President Obama attended a total of 875 Presidential Daily Briefs for an overall 42.09% attendance rate.

    The report also found President Obama’s attendance has declined slightly in his second term from 42.43 percent to 41.26 percent.

I'm willing to bet if there was a daily global warming briefing, Obama wouldn't miss a single round of golf for it. This finding is an absolute disgrace, and should remind Americans how unserious Democrats are when it comes to keeping us safe.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Trump breakthrough?

Many skeptical of Donald Trump's ability to secure the nomination point to his inability to get more than 30 or so percent in polls. But that might be changing. As Politico reports:

    "Donald Trump just got a little more vault in his ceiling. Nationwide, the polling-obsessed Manhattan multi-billionaire and leading Republican presidential candidate broke into the 40s on Monday.

    According to the results of the latest Monmouth University poll surveying voters identifying as Republican or independents leaning toward the GOP, Trump earned 41 percent, nearly tripling the support of his closest rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who took 14 percent.

    The poll underscores Trump's success at keeping voters fixated on his unprecedented presidential campaign. The latest national survey was taken after Trump landed another whopper, proposing in an emailed statement last Monday to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. The statement gave Trump another boost of media attention, and some speculated it was designed to shift the conversation away from a Monmouth poll from Iowa released earlier that day that showed Cruz with a 5-point edge in the state."

It will be interesting to see if this poll holds up- these things tend to be unreliable, but it's a reminder that Trump won't be going anywhere for quite some time.



Cruz Compares Obama's Nuke Deal to Neville Chamberlain's Munich Pact

President Obama’s handling of the Iranian nuclear deal is akin to former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1938 Munich Pact, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told an audience at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Thursday.

“I believe today we are at a moment like Munich in 1938,” Cruz said. “That President Obama has returned from Geneva, returned from agreeing to give over $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei, promising like Neville Chamberlain peace in our time.

“If history teaches anything, giving hundreds of billions of dollars, strengthening homicidal maniacs who intend to murder you, has never, ever, ever worked out well,” Cruz said.

The Republican presidential candidate went on to decry Obama’s current handling of foreign policy, which he said has made the administration of former President Jimmy Carter look like a success in comparison.

“After two terms of an Obama-Clinton foreign policy so disastrous it makes the Carter administration look good, we are in a desperate need once again for clarity,” Cruz said.

Cruz slammed the president for refusing to acknowledge America’s enemy, accusing Obama of acting as an “apologist” for radical Islamic terrorism.

“He’s chosen not to confront the actual enemy. He’s chosen not to call the attacks in Fort Hood or Little Rock or Boston or Chattanooga concerted acts of radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruz said.

“He spent a significant portion of his Sunday address as an apologist for radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruz said in reference to the president’s speech on the administration’s counterterrorism strategy following the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

“In this context, it raises the specter that Americans will be labeled as bigots if they dare utter the world ‘Islam’ in connection with a terrorist attack.”

However, the Texas senator also criticized both parties for wanting to restrict Americans’ liberties to combat terrorism, pointing out that many Republicans want the government to collect a reckless amount of Americans’ personal records, while many Democrats want to restrict their use of firearms through gun control.

“In addition to those voices on the right who are suggesting sweeping aside citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights, there are voices on the left who are taking the same approach and want us to voluntarily surrender our Second Amendment rights,” Cruz said.

“Both of these approaches are misguided,” he declared.

“When the focus of law enforcement and national security is on law-abiding citizens rather than targeting the bad guys, we miss the bad guys while violating the constitutional rights of American citizens.”

Cruz advocated securing the border, engaging in limited records collection, and restricting refugee access to those coming from “terror-ridden” countries.

“We should not shy away from smarter policies that enhance our ability to target the bad guys while protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens,” he said.



California Knife Attack Still Not Called Terrorism

San Bernardino recently fell victim to another onslaught of Islamic terrorism right here in America, but recall just over a month ago another tragedy that struck the Golden State. In November, Faisal Mohammad, a student enrolled at the University of California, Merced, attacked four of his peers before being fatally shot by police. But because the weapon used by Mohammad was a knife, the story was mostly ignored and escaped mainstream scrutiny. It also took a while for the man’s name to be made public, for obvious reasons. The grievance industry claims the attack was motivated by Mohammad’s getting kicked out of a study group, but the ensuing investigation debunked that theory and raises questions of why investigators have yet to call it terrorism.

According to Fox News, “Mohammad, whose victims all survived, left behind a rambling, two-page manifesto in which he instructed himself to ‘praise Allah’ as he worked his way through his hit list, a photocopied ISIS flag and at least one shaken roommate who remembers him as a menacing loner.” That roommate, Ali Tarek Elshekh, added, “He was … an extreme Muslim.” He also testified that Mohammad threatened to kill a friend if he touched his prayer mat. None of that sounds like a domestic dispute.

These revelations have one of the victims' fathers, John Price, asking an obvious question: “Why don’t we just call it what it is — domestic terrorism? Everyone is afraid to be politically incorrect. I do believe in law enforcement and believe they will do their job, but it seems like to me we aren’t getting the whole story. I just wonder how much of this is driven from way higher up and is politically driven — I just don’t know.”

He’s right. Last July, an Islamic jihadist attacked two military recruiting facilities in Chattanooga, murdering five. But five months later, despite the assailant’s clear intention to commit jihad, the FBI still hasn’t classified it terrorism. In some ways, we’ve seen a similar story unfold in San Bernardino. And make no mistake: Terrorists know it’s not just guns and pipe bombs that will further their agenda, but political correctness as well.



Trump exposes elitism

In “The Myth of Sisyphus,” Albert Camus’s exploration of the role of suicide in the modern world, the philosopher of the Absurd states, “That universal reason, practical or ethical, that determinism, those categories that explain everything are enough to make a decent man laugh.” Camus was making reference to philosophical giants of western civilization whose task was to justify a universe seemingly indifferent to humanity’s yearning for meaning. All of which Camus dismissed with a rhetorical flip of his hand and a whiff of disdain; he believed magisterial cathedrals of thought were irrelevant to enlightening individuals' souls about the most important thing in their lives. Quite the contrary, their hubris induces mirth, as his cold analysis in “Sisyphus” made clear.

So what relevance do Camus’s words have for American politics in the wake of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino? Delving into Donald Trump’s recommendations about prohibiting additional Muslim immigration provides an answer. Indeed, everybody, Republicans and Democrats alike, wanted to strut their stuff, beginning with President Obama’s address about treating Muslims with respect, followed by Trump’s speech. Certainly, Trump’s address ignited volleys of censure from New Jersey to Nevada.

Lindsey Graham said Trump “has gone from making absurd comments to being downright dangerous with his bombastic rhetoric,” while Jeb Bush commented that Trump is unhinged and his proposals cannot be taken seriously. Marco Rubio declared, “I disagree with Donald Trump’s latest proposal. His habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together.” John Kasich declared Trump “entirely unsuited to lead,” and Carly Fiorina concluded that Trump’s prescription was an “overreaction.” Hillary Clinton said, “This is reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive.” And Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center Alert is stuffed with a cornucopia of media’s denunciations of Trump.

Of course Trump has his defenders, none more able than National Review’s David French, who provided a trenchant analysis of America’s (and the world’s) Muslim terrorism problem in an essay with a title that says it all: “Dispelling the Few Extremists Myth — the Muslim World Is Overcome with Hate.” Consulting polls displaying data that are devastating to politically correct views about Muslims, French maintains that, “To understand the Muslim edifice of hate, imagine it as a pyramid — with broadly-shared bigotry at the bottom, followed by stair steps of escalating radicalism — culminating in jihadist armies that in some instances represent a greater share of their respective populations than does the active-duty military in the United States.” Further, Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator reviewed Franklin Roosevelt’s wartime actions involving Germans, Italians, and Japanese, concluding that FDR made Donald Trump look like a “nerdy weakling.” These are just two examples, of course; an abundance of commentaries continue to pour forth from Trump’s detractors and allies as this is being written.

The question is what one is supposed to make of all this? Two main points stand out. First, Trump’s critics and supporters are talking about different things, actually, with the former concerned about America’s inclusiveness, “that’s not who we are,” while his supporters probe into the characteristics of radical Islam. Second, the debate over Muslim immigration demonstrates the chasm between many of America’s opinion leaders, pundits, and intelligentsia, on the one hand, and a huge hunk of the country’s rank and file, on the other.

This is where a Camus analogy comes in. Like the West’s philosophical luminaries Camus had in mind, America’s self-appointed opinion overseers — Republicans and Democrats alike — have constructed rhetorical edifices celebrating their own righteousness and moral superiority, which in their minds bestow on them the right to tell citizens what to think and what to do. Indeed, our avatars of civic virtue preach to the peasants below about threats none of the avatars will personally ever have to confront themselves. All of which, as Camus points out, would be downright amusing, if the subject matter weren’t so serious.

Except this time the peasants are having none of it. Although Americans certainly don’t want to wage war against Islam, they are also smart enough to know that the San Bernardino massacre wasn’t committed by a bevy of disgruntled Baptists, and that a culture based on Sharia is antithetical to American constitutionalism. So, they’re clinging to their guns, and religion, and many of them, to the only person who has demonstrated the guts to excoriate the elite’s view of America. This is not an argument for or against Donald Trump, about whom we all have our own opinions. It is to say, however, that his supporters are enraged about America’s elite endlessly spouting their irrelevant and scolding pieties, which are enough to make many American citizens deeply unsettled.



The Midas Paradox: How Government Caused and Prolonged the Great Depression

The Great Depression was the most disastrous economic calamity of the past century, but no one had offered a convincing explanation for every twist and turn the economy took from 1929 to 1940-until now. Independent Institute research fellow and Bentley University economics professor Scott Sumner solves the mystery of the economy's multiple ups and downs, and other puzzles that have befuddled economic historians and analysts, in The Midas Paradox: Financial Markets, Government Policy Shocks, and the Great Depression, a path-breaking book destined to shape all future research on the topic.

Drawing on financial market data and contemporaneous news stories, Sumner (ranked 15th in Foreign Policy's Top Global Thinkers of 2012) shows that the Depression is ultimately a story of horrendous policymaking-especially decisions related to monetary policy and wage rates. Gold hoarding by the world's central banks brought on the Great Contraction (1929-33), and widespread fears of currency devaluation spooked the private sector into hoarding gold; the resulting drop in total spending helped drive thousands of firms out of business and raise unemployment to historic highs. Making matters worse, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt prevented the American economy from recovering quickly with his attempt to artificially raise hourly wage rates on five separate occasions. Sumner's insightful narrative of these and related events-and his refutation of enduring historical and economic myths-makes The Midas Paradox must-reading for anyone who wants to understand how badly policymakers failed and how we can avoid repeating their mistakes.

More than a fresh contribution to the literature on the Great Depression, The Midas Paradox offers a powerful critique of modern monetary analysis-and identifies its harmful role in policymaking during the recent Great Recession. "We think we have advanced far beyond the [economic] prejudices of the 1930s," Sumner writes, "but when a crisis hits we reflexively exhibit the same atavistic impulses as our ancestors. Even worse, we congratulate the Fed for avoiding the mistakes of the 1930s, even as it repeats many of those mistakes."



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

More on the man who shouted 'You ain't no Muslim, bruv'

The man concerned has been treated as a profound theological authority on Islam by all sorts of people from the British Prime Minister down.  So who is he and what does he actually know? His identity has been kept under wraps so it has been difficult to answer that. Some information has now been released, however, so we do know a little about the man.  Excerpt below:

The man who shouted "You ain't no Muslim, bruv" at a suspected terrorist during a stabbing at Leytonstone Tube station has told how he now fears retribution. The bystander was heard in video footage of the incident in east London last weekend saying the phrase that later went viral as an attacker wielding a knife stabbed a man.

But the 39-year-old security guard from north London - named only as John as he asked for his surname to be withheld - said he has the support of his family

John is not Muslim himself, but said he is angry that terrorist groups such as Isil claim to represent Islam. "Isis should be wiped out, because they're not Muslims, because Muslims don't do that," he said. "It's as simple as that.

He told how he felt he had to voice his feelings when he saw what was happening in the station. "I saw the guy," he said. "I was like, well you ain't a Muslim... That's my views, and I had to let him know that, because he looked to be a terrorist. I don't believe in all that."

Muhyadin Mire, 29, is expected to stand trial next year charged with the attempted murder of a 56-year-old man who was attacked from behind in front of several members of the public on the evening of Saturday, December 5.

Prosecutors have alleged the attack, during which witnesses said they heard a man shout "This is for Syria", was an act of terrorism.


Some extra information:  The attacker was indeed a Muslim with a Muslim name.  He is a Muslim who came to Britain from from Muslim Somalia as a 12 year old.  He has a brother named Mohamed.  His first name is an African form of the Arabic Mujahideen, which is the term for one engaged in Jihad. Clear enough?

And the bystander is no authority on anything.  He is not even a Muslim himself. He is simply a security guard.  Security guards do not have a great reputation for intellectual profundity and this guy does nothing to disturb that impression.  He is simply a guy who has drunk deep of the official Kool-Aid. Despite massive and repeated evidence to the contrary he really believes that "Muslims don't do that".  He is as deluded as his Prime Minister.


Legal Scholars Supports Constitutionality of Trump's Muslim Ban

One of the main criticisms of Donald Trump’s proposed moratorium on Muslim immigration is that it’s unconstitutional. For example, Republican presidential candidate and law graduate Marco Rubio said that the plan “violates the Constitution” earlier this week.

However, two notable law professors — Jan C. Ting of Temple University and Eric Posner of the University of Chicago — say those critics are wrong and possibly don’t know much about legal history.

Ting, a professor at Temple University’s School of Law and a former Immigration and Naturalization Services commissioner for the Department of Justice, explained to The Daily Caller that Trump’s plan is in keeping with over a hundred years of legal precedent.

“No kind of immigration restriction is unconstitutional,” Ting told TheDC. “The U.S. government can exclude a foreign national on any basis.”

The legal scholar explained that the Supreme Court’s decisions since ruling unanimously in favor of the legality of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1889 have upheld the authority of the political branches — executive and legislative — to make immigration law as they see fit and to exclude foreigners on grounds that would not be applicable to American citizens.

“The statutes are clear: immigration is different from all other aspects of the law,” Ting said. “The Supreme Court has ruled we can enact laws against foreign nationals that would not be permissible to apply to citizens. The courts historically have no role in these decisions.”



The Hidden Reason Why Americans Dislike Islam

by David French

Yesterday, YouGov and the Huffington Post released a poll showing that large majorities of Americans — and pluralities across every political demographic — have an “unfavorable opinion” of the Islamic faith. The numbers are simply not close:

There will be no doubt some hand-wringing about “Islamophobia” and further calls to continue the American elite’s fourteen-year track record of whitewashing Islamic beliefs and culture, but I wonder if the media is missing a powerful, largely-uncovered influence on America’s hearts and minds — the experience and testimony of the more than two million Americans who’ve served overseas since 9/11 and have experienced Islamic cultures up-close.

Yes, they were in the middle of a war — but speaking from my own experience — the war was conducted from within a culture that was shockingly broken. I expected the jihadists to be evil, but even I couldn’t fathom the depths of their depravity. And it was all occurring against the backdrop of a brutally violent and intolerant culture.

Women were beaten almost as an afterthought, there was a near-total lack of empathy for even friends and neighbors, lying was endemic, and sexual abuse was rampant.

Even more disturbingly, it seemed that every problem was exacerbated the more religious and pious a person (or village) became. I spent enough time outside the wire and interacting with tribal leaders to get a sense of the reality around me, but the younger guys on the line spent weeks at a time living in the heart of the local community.

I remember one young soldier, after describing the things he’d seen since the start of the deployment, gestured towards the village around us and said — in perfect Army English — “Sir, this s**t is f**ked up.”

It is indeed. While it’s certainly unfair to judge Indonesia or Malaysia by the standards of Iraq or Afghanistan, it’s very hard to shake the power of lived experience, nor should we necessarily try. After all, when we hear stories from Syria, Yemen, Gaza, the Sinai, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, Pakistan, and elsewhere they all fit the same depressing template of the American conflict zones.

Nor is the dazzlingly wealthy veneer of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or the other Gulf States all that impressive. Tens of thousands of soldiers have seen the veritable slave labor that toils within the oil empires and have witnessed first-hand their casual disregard for “lesser” life.

But this same experience has caused us to treasure the Muslim friends we do have — in part because we recognize the extreme risks of their loyalty and defiance of jihad. That’s why American officers fiercely champion the immigration of local interpreters, even to the point of welcoming them into their own home.

That’s why there’s often an intense connection with our Kurdish allies, the single-most effective ground fighting force against ISIS.

Two million Americans have been downrange, and they’ve come home and told families and friends stories the media rarely tells.  Those stories have an impact, but because of the cultural distance between America’s warriors and its media, academic, and political aristocracy, it’s an impact the aristocracy hasn’t been tracking.

Experience trumps idealistic rhetoric, and I can’t help but think that polls like YouGov’s are at least partly registering the results of a uniquely grim American experience.



What The Founders Thought About Islam, In Their Own Words

President Obama has continually asserted that Islam was “woven into the fabric” of the United States since its founding. Obama claims that Muslims have made significant contributions to building of this nation. The claim is laughable to anyone who has studied US history. Historian David Barton spoke to Glenn Beck and tore the president’s claims apart.

Barton found the first real contribution any Muslim made was in 1856 (80 years after the founding) when then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis hired one Muslim to help train camels in Arizona. Not exactly a resounding contribution, since the plan to fight Native Americans via camelback was soon dismissed.

But Muslims did have an influence on early America, and that influence was one of a foe. After winning its independence from England, American vessels no longer enjoyed British protection. France, dismayed that the US would not aid it in its war against England, also ceased protection of American ships. The result led to American vessels being raided and plundered by Muslim pirates from the Barbary Coast.

After agreeing to pay 10% of the new nations dismal GDP in exchange for passage, attacks continued. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin were sent as representatives to mediate the problem. It was there that they discovered that the Islamic law the pirates followed made it their duty to attack non-Muslims.

“The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise,” Jefferson wrote to Secretary of State John Jay, explaining peace was not possible.

Ben Franklin wrote of his experience: “Nor can the Plundering of Infidels be in that sacred Book (the Qur’an) forbidden, since it is well known from it, that God has given the World, and all that it contains, to his faithful Mussulmen, who are to enjoy it of Right as fast as they conquer it.”

John Adams, in his report to Jay, wrote of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, and called him a “military fanatic” who “denies that laws were made for him; he arrogates everything to himself by force of arms.”

By the time Jefferson became president the Barbary coast was extorting 25% of US GDP and attacks were still occurring. Jefferson wasted no time in signing a war powers request which launched the US’s entire naval fleet to wage war on the Barbary pirates. Jefferson saw the fleet off, ordering the US sailors to chase the pirates all the way to Tripoli, giving rise to the famed verse from the US Marines’ anthem.

President Obama is correct when he says that Muslims shaped this country, just not in how he means. They provided the context and need for the US Marines and provided our first lesson in battling extremism: It cannot be appeased. Extremism must be routed out through force.



The runaway tyranny of an unelected bureaucracy

California Coastal Commission (CCC) is an unelected body of regulatory zealots that overrides the elected governments of coastal counties and cities on issues of land use and property rights. As we recently noted, the powerful CCC is moving into animal management, trying to leverage SeaWorld into killing off its orca shows. Now the CCC is expanding into sports management and gender quotas.

At Mavericks, on the California coast just north of Pillar Point Harbor near Half Moon Bay, the waves break huge in the winter. For more than 15 years, surfers have held a big-wave competition there, but as Samantha Weigel of the Daily Journal notes this year "was the first time organizers were required to obtain a permit from the Coastal Commission." As Kristin Bender of the Associated Press observes, the CCC granted a permit but told organizers, "they better have a plan for including women if they want a permit to hold the event next year." Commissioner Mark Vargas told reporters, "there ought to be some sort of consideration for equal opportunity or at least transparency for their selection process to ensure there is no discrimination." As organizers explained, women can participate in the competition. Women have surfed Mavericks before but no woman has ever made the top 24 in the competition. A push for women to have a heat of their own led to the Coastal Commission demand. Do it our way, the unelected CCC says in effect, or no permit. This is hardly the CCC's only power surge.

As we noted, the unelected Commission is claiming jurisdiction over inland projects such as landfills on the grounds that rivers flow through the coastal region en route to the ocean. As Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee warned, this means the Commission could expand to the nearly entire state. In reality, elected governments are entirely capable of handling their land use and environmental affairs. SeaWorld is capable of managing its own shows and the Mavericks organizers can run their event all by themselves. A responsible, accountable government would eliminate the Coastal Commission at the first opportunity.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, December 14, 2015

Trump maintains poll lead among Republicans after call to ban Muslims entering the US

Donald Trump held onto his commanding lead in the Republican race for the White House after his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States was condemned worldwide, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, the first national survey conducted entirely after the billionaire's remarks.

Trump led the pack of candidates seeking the Republican Party's nomination in the 2016 election with 35 per cent of support from Republican voters, the opinion poll released on Friday found, the same lead he held before Monday, when he said Muslim immigrants, students and other travellers should be barred from entering the country.

Most Republican voters said they were not bothered by his remarks, though many said the comments could still hurt Trump's chances of becoming president. Twenty-nine per cent of Republicans, who will pick the party's nominee for the November 2016 election, said they found Trump's remarks offensive against 64 per cent who did not.

"He's really saying what everybody else is feeling," said Donna Fee, 57, a personal caregiver from Missouri. Fee, a Republican, said she supports Trump and agreed with his proposal to bar Muslims. But she said his bluntness could hurt him with other voters. "I really think he needs somebody to calm him down, you know. I really think he needs to learn to use a filter."

Still, in a sign of how Trump's rhetoric has polarised the electorate, 72 per cent of Democrats and 47 per cent of voters overall said they were offended by Trump's comments.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson came in second among Republicans with 12 per cent in the Reuters/Ipsos poll, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush tied with 10 per cent.

Trump's statement was by far the most dramatic response of a U.S. presidential candidate to last week's shooting spree in California by a married couple whom the FBI later said had become Islamist militants some time ago.

Leaders in Britain, France, Israel and Canada denounced him, and the fallout hurt the real estate mogul's global brand. A Dubai firm building a $6 billion golf complex stripped Trump's name from the property.

But Trump's standing in opinion polls of Republican voters was unchanged in the data released on Friday, which covered responses from Dec. 8-11. He had more than double the support of his nearest rivals in the online poll of 481 Republicans. The poll had a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 5 percentage points.

Alan Abramowitz, a political-science professor at Emory University, said Trump's comments on Muslims were not that different from previous statements, pointing to Trump's idea to establish a registry of Muslims in the United States as an example.  "There's clearly a large segment of the Republican electoral base that responds very positively to the things Trump has been saying," Abramowitz said.



Immigration and Our Founding Fathers' Values

Founding Father James Madison argued that America should welcome the "worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us," including immigrants who would assimilate.

President Obama claims that restricting immigration in order to protect national security is "offensive and contrary to American values." No-limits liberals have attacked common-sense proposals for heightened visa scrutiny, profiling or immigration slowdowns as "un-American."

America's Founding Fathers, I submit, would vehemently disagree.

Our founders, as I've reminded readers repeatedly over the years, asserted their concerns publicly and routinely about the effects of indiscriminate mass immigration. They made it clear that the purpose of allowing foreigners into our fledgling nation was not to recruit millions of new voters or to secure permanent ruling majorities for their political parties. It was to preserve, protect and enhance the republic they put their lives on the line to establish.

In a 1790 House debate on naturalization, James Madison opined: "It is no doubt very desirable that we should hold out as many inducements as possible for the worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us, and throw their fortunes into a common lot with ours. But why is this desirable?"

No, not because "diversity" is our greatest value. No, not because Big Business needed cheap labor. And no, Madison asserted, "Not merely to swell the catalogue of people. No, sir, it is to increase the wealth and strength of the community; and those who acquire the rights of citizenship, without adding to the strength or wealth of the community are not the people we are in want of."

Madison argued plainly that America should welcome the immigrant who could assimilate, but exclude the immigrant who could not readily "incorporate himself into our society."

George Washington, in a letter to John Adams, similarly emphasized that immigrants should be absorbed into American life so that "by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures, laws: in a word soon become one people."

Alexander Hamilton, relevant as ever today, wrote in 1802: "The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of the citizens from foreign bias and prejudice; and on that love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education and family."

Hamilton further warned that "The United States have already felt the evils of incorporating a large number of foreigners into their national mass; by promoting in different classes different predilections in favor of particular foreign nations, and antipathies against others, it has served very much to divide the community and to distract our councils. It has been often likely to compromise the interests of our own country in favor of another."

He predicted, correctly, that "The permanent effect of such a policy will be, that in times of great public danger there will be always a numerous body of men, of whom there may be just grounds of distrust; the suspicion alone will weaken the strength of the nation, but their force may be actually employed in assisting an invader."

The survival of the American republic, Hamilton maintained, depends upon "the preservation of a national spirit and a national character." He asserted, "To admit foreigners indiscriminately to the rights of citizens the moment they put foot in our country would be nothing less than to admit the Grecian horse into the citadel of our liberty and sovereignty."

On Thursday, a bipartisan majority of U.S. senators on the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest adopted a stunningly radical amendment by Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., to undermine the national interest in favor of suicidal political correctness. The measure would prevent the federal government from ever taking religion into account in immigration and entrance decisions "as such action would be contrary to the fundamental principles on which this Nation was founded."

This pathway to a global right to migrate runs contrary to our founders' intentions as well as decades of established immigration law. As Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., pointed out in a scathing speech opposing the Leahy amendment: "It is well settled that applicants don't have the constitutional right or civil right to demand entry to the United States. ... As leaders, we are to seek the advancement of the Public Interest. While billions of immigrants may benefit by moving to this country, this nation state has only one responsibility. We must decide if such an admission complies with our law and serves our national interest."

Put simply, unrestricted open borders are unwise, unsafe and un-American. A country that doesn't value its own citizens and sovereignty first won't endure as a country for long.



This Terror Expert Backs Trump's Immigration Plan, for One Simple Reason

Part of what's made Donald Trump so popular is the failure of any one of the so called brilliiant experts in Washington D.C. to get ANYTHING done. Now, the experts are taking notice. Bernie Kerik, who served as New York Police Commissioner and as interim minister of the interior in Iraq had this to say about Trump:

    Donald Trump has "exposed the members of Congress for their failure in protecting the homeland" and that is why he is resonating strongly with American voters, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

    "Why aren't the borders secure?" Kerik, who commanded the city's officers during 9/11, asked "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth. "How did this woman get into the country on a K-1 visa, investigated by everyone under the sun and it turns out she's a radical extremist?"

    Kerik was referring to Tashfeen Malik, 29, who killed 14 people and injured 21 others in the San Bernardino shooting rampage last week.

    Malik, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group on Facebook before the shootings at the Inland Regional Center with her husband, Syed Farook, 28, immigrated to the United States from Pakistan on a K-1 visa.

    The visa is issued to men or women who seek to come to the U.S. to marry a citizen. Farook was born in Illinois.

    The couple, who met online in 2013, was killed hours after the rampage in a gun battle with police.

    "How are we going to bring in tens of thousands of refugees if we don't have the ability to properly vet them and investigate them?" Kerik asked. "That's what Trump exposes."
Kerik's comments expose the underlying silliness of the current GOP. Candidates like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are on the one hand promising security by projection of force overseas, while at the same time encouraging the sort of open border policies that make it so easy to attack us at home. Trump gets that the two are related, as anyone should.



CBO: ObamaCare May Eliminate Two Million Full-Time Jobs

Last year, a Congressional Budget Office study found out what’s in ObamaCare. To summarize: “CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 to 2 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024… The reduction in CBO’s projections of hours worked represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024.” The Office has just updated those figures through 2025, and the outlook even bleaker. The new report says, “The labor force is projected to be about 2 million full-time-equivalent workers smaller in 2025 under the ACA than it would have been otherwise.” Furthermore, “[T]he estimated effect on the labor supply will be larger — a drop of 1.7 — if measured by the decline in total hours worked.” The report flags three specific reasons:

*    “Health insurance coverage expansions — comprising exchange subsidies, rules governing health insurance, and an expansion of the Medicaid program — are together expected to reduce the labor supply by 0.65 percentage points.

*    "The HI surtax is expected to reduce the labor supply by 0.12 percentage points.

*    "Other major provisions — a penalty on larger employers that do not offer insurance coverage, an excise tax on certain high-premium insurance plans, and a penalty on certain individuals who do not obtain coverage — are together expected to reduce the labor supply by 0.10 percentage point.”

This should provide Republicans more ammo as they work to repeal the law. Obama, of course, would never repeal his own signature achievement. But evidence of its harmful effects is working against Barack Obama, and Republicans — assuming they don’t implode — have a good shot at taking the White House in 2017, at which point repeal is more attainable. The Hill reports, “Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) pledged last week, during his most significant speech to date, that he planned to roll out a replacement plan for the healthcare law next year.” If — and that’s a huge if — the GOP plays its cards right, we can be rid of this colossal failure as early as 2017. And the equivalent of two million full time jobs could be saved as a result.



Fed Used Made-up Data to Sue for Racial Discrimination in bank lending practices

These will be some tough cases to prove, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been suing over “racist” lending practices but only guessing at the data to do so. The Bureau was supposed to ensure the companies that issued auto loans did so without racial discrimination. Under its mandate, the bureau accused companies associated with the auto sales business of engaging in racist business practices, ruining reputations and raking in millions of dollars for the federal government.

Only one problem: The data the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau used was bad. Instead of verifying the race or ethnicity of the Americans who took out car loans, the bureau simply looked at their names, analyzed what neighborhoods they lived in … and then guessed. And they were even bad at that, as an analysis of the system showed that the bureau’s system was wrong 54% of the time when it guessed that a lender’s race was black.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote of the practice, “This illegal guessing game of name-that-race underscores how much antidiscrimination law has become a political shakedown, and how the consumer bureau is a lawless body that needs to be reined in if it can’t be eliminated.” And we can’t help but wonder if the system the bureau created was itself racist.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Boston Globe is afraid of The Donald's cheering crowds

I read a fair bit of Leftist media, even some far-Leftist stuff.  Unlike Leftists, I don't live in fear of having my beliefs knocked out of their orbit by some awkward fact.  So I can do that.  Facts are what I go by -- pace Mr Gradgrind. And one of my regular reads is The Boston Globe from the Massachusetts heartland of liberalism.

So I was amused to see a letter from a Jewish lady in the "Globe" under the heading "Donald Trump’s cheering crowds stoke fear of a witch hunt".  The letter is below.  I have some comments at the foot of it.


AS THE daughter of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, I shudder at Donald Trump’s remarks about Muslims (“Raising rhetoric, Trump calls for ban on Muslim travel to the US,” Page A1, Dec. 8). His latest call to deny entry to the United States for all Muslims and to require Muslims here, even US citizens, to be on a national registry is over the top. What is even more distressing is the applause he gets at rallies for these proposals.

My parents, who escaped from Germany just in time, urged me to always keep my passport current. “You never know when things turn against Jews and you’ll have to leave this country,” they stressed. “A witch hunt, like happened to us in Germany, can erupt at any time, against any group.”

I thought they were paranoid. But I don’t think this anymore. Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and the cheers he gets for it eerily sound like the kind of 21st-century demagogue my parents warned me about. I am frightened even though I am not Muslim.

I just checked that my passport is up to date, and my husband’s too. I hope we won’t have to use them. My children probably think I am paranoid. I know otherwise.

Miriam Stein, Arlington


The Donald has clearly not won Miriam's stony heart. But what else is new? Fully 78% of the Jewish vote went to Obama in 2008 and The Donald is the anti-Obama. Why their G-d made Jews so stupid politically, I will never know. The diaspora Jews almost all think the Left are their friends! Even after a socialist incinerated 6 million of them! Even Karl Marx despised Jews and he was a Jew himself!

And have Jews forgotten how harshly Russian Communists treated Soviet Jews?  Do they not know why most Russian Jews live in Israel these days -- to the extent that there are some streets in Israel where the shop signs are just as likely to be in Cyrillic as in Hebrew?  Hashem gave his chosen people many great gifts but basic political awareness seems to have been denied to most of them

And it is precisely that mental muddle that lies at the heart of Miriam's possibly genuine fears.  She can't distinguish between a socialist who incinerated train-loads of Jews for ideological reasons and a practical politician who wishes no harm to either Jews or Muslims but simply wishes to keep out of his country a group who include known hostiles.  Poor Miriam!  Miriam is a klutz -- JR


Sen. Sessions: ‘It’s Appropriate to Begin to Discuss’ Muslim Immigrants, and Trump ‘Has Forced That Discussion’

Commenting on Donald Trump’s proposal to halt immigration into the United States by Muslims until a safe vetting system can be established, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said the real estate mogul was “treading on dangerous ground” because of religious freedom issues, but added that in this dangerous time it is proper to discuss the topic and Trump “has forced that discussion.”

On Breitbart News’ SiriusXM radio show on Thursday, host Stephen Bannon asked Sen. Sessions about Trump’s idea and the controversy it has sparked.

Sessions, who supports a secure border policy and strong national defense, said, “Well, he’s treading on dangerous ground because Americans are so deeply committed to freedom of religion. That is a major part of who we are.”

“But, at the same time, we’re in an age that’s very dangerous and we’re seeing more and more persons enter and a lot of them have done terrorist acts and a lot of them believe it’s commanded by their religion,” said Sessions.

“Their faith commands them to do these things,” he said. “They’re not committing suicide on the assumption that this is the end. They’re doing it because they believe that their faith will reward them for doing it.

“So I think it’s appropriate to begin to discuss this, and he has forced that discussion,” said the senator.  “We may even have a discussion about it in Judiciary Committee today.”

“But, you know, it’s time for us to think this through and the classical, internal American religious principles I don’t think apply providing constitutional protections to persons not citizens who want to come here.”

“They’re not in the United States and they’re not entitled to the constitutional protections of the United States,” he said. “But as a principle, we want to be not condemnatory of other people’s religion.

“And there are millions of wonderful, decent, good Muslims, hundreds of millions worldwide, and so we’ve got to be really careful that we don't cross that line, and I guess Mr. Trump has caused us all to think about it more concretely,” said Senator Sessions.

Jeff Sessions, 68, is in his fourth term as the junior senator from Alabama. Prior to entering Congress, Sessions served as the 44th attorney general of Alabama. He also served as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve (1973-1986). He is married and has three children.



An Establishment Unhinged

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Calling for a moratorium on Muslim immigration "until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on," Donald Trump this week ignited a firestorm of historic proportions.

As all the old hate words — xenophobe, racist, bigot — have lost their electric charge from overuse, and Trump was being called a fascist demagogue and compared to Hitler and Mussolini.

The establishment seemed to have become unhinged.

Why the hysteria? Comes the reply: Trump's call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration tramples all over "American values" and everything we stand for, including the Constitution.

But is this really true?

The Constitution protects freedom of religion for U.S. citizens. But citizens of foreign lands have no constitutional right to migrate. And federal law gives a president broad powers in deciding who comes and who does not, especially in wartime.

In 1924, Congress restricted immigration from Asia, reduced the numbers coming from southern and Central Europe, and produced a 40-year moratorium on most immigration into the United States.

Its authors and President Coolidge wanted ours to remain a nation whose primary religious and ethnic ties were to Europe, not Africa or Asia.

Under FDR, Truman and JFK, this was the law of the land. Did this represent 40 years of fascism?

Why might Trump want a moratorium on Muslim immigration?

Reason one: terrorism. The 9/11 terrorists were Muslim, as were the shoe and underwear bombers on those planes, the Fort Hood shooter, the Times Square bomber and the San Bernardino killers.

And as San Bernardino showed again, Islamist terrorists are exploiting our liberal immigration policies to come here and kill us. Thus, a pause, a timeout on immigration from Muslim countries, until we fix the problem, would seem to be simple common sense.

Second, Muslims are clearly more susceptible to the siren call of terrorism, and more likely to be radicalized on the Internet and in mosques than are Christians at church or Jews at synagogue.

Which is why we monitor mosques more closely than cathedrals.

Third, according to Harvard's late Samuel Huntington, a "clash of civilizations" is coming between the West and the Islamic world. Other scholars somberly concur. But if such a conflict is in the cards, how many more millions of devout Muslims do we want inside the gates?

Set aside al-Qaida, ISIS and their sympathizers. Among the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide are untold millions of followers of the Prophet who pray for the coming of a day when sharia is universal and the infidels, i.e., everyone else, are either converted or subjugated.

In nations where Muslims are already huge majorities, where are the Jews? Where have all the Christians gone?

With ethnic and sectarian wars raging in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, Libya, Nigeria and Somalia, why would we bring into our own country people from all sides of these murderous conflicts?

Many European nations — Germans, French, Swedes, Brits — appear to regret having thrown open their doors to immigrants and refugees from the Islamic world, who have now formed unassimilated clusters and enclaves inside their countries.

Ought we not explore why, before we continue down this road?

In some countries of the Muslim world, Americans who embrace "Hollywood values" regarding abortion, adultery and homosexuality, can get their heads chopped off as quickly as converts to Christianity.

In what Muslim countries does Earl Warren's interpretation of the First Amendment — about any and all religious presence being banned in public schools and all religions being treated equally — apply?

When is the next "Crusade for Christ" coming to Saudi Arabia?

Japan has no immigration from the Muslim world, nor does Israel, which declares itself a Jewish state. Are they also fascistic?

President Obama and the guilt-besotted West often bawl their apologies for the horrors of the Crusades that liberated Jerusalem.

Anyone heard Muslim rulers lately apologizing for Saladin, who butchered Christians to take Jerusalem back, or for Suleiman the Magnificent, who conquered the Christian Balkans rampaging through Hungary all the way to the gates of Vienna?

Trump's surge this week, in the teeth of universal denunciation, suggests that a large slice of America agrees with his indictment — that our political-media establishment is dumb as a box of rocks and leading us down a path to national suicide.



Realism from Israel


Is Slavery Really Gone?

Wednesday marked the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which banned slavery. Barack Obama observed the occasion, saying, “A hundred and fifty years proved the cure to be necessary but not sufficient. Progress proved halting, too often deferred. Newly freed slaves may have been liberated by the letter of the law, but their daily lives told another tale.” He’s right that systemic oppression has often been a part of America — indeed, the human experience. He called slavery “our nation’s original sin” and described all the ways the struggle against it has unfolded over the years. It should go without saying that slavery was (and is) a vile institution.

What Obama failed to mention, however, is his own party’s long history of guilt on the matter. The Democrats' “Great Society” has done nothing but run up trillions in debt to continue poverty. As Mark Alexander wrote on the 50th anniversary of that travesty, “The human tragedy of LBJ’s soul-crushing ‘welfare’ programs is incalculable. A rapidly growing permanent underclass, one utterly dependent on the state for its day-to-day existence, now constitutes the Great Society.” By design, Democrats benefit politically from that dependence and permanent racial grievance. Also by design, the first black president has only made race relations worse.

Ironically, Obama also noted that former slaves “couldn’t protect themselves or their families from indignity or from violence.” That would be thanks in part to gun control. And that terrible circumstance remains today on Democrats' urban poverty plantations, where gangs often rule the streets and the law-abiding are subject to severe gun restrictions to go along with high crime. Gun control began as a racist proposition, and it effectively remains one.

While our nation has sometimes fallen short of its own ideals (we are human, after all), rather than perpetually fomenting racial discontent we should remember that Liberty is colorblind and strive to achieve it in every arena.



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