Friday, September 09, 2016

What Really Creates a Peaceful, Orderly, and Prosperous Society?

The idea that genuine self-government—the system in which individuals contract for the type of governance they prefer—must fail because under such a system no one can make others obey the rules is stunningly misconceived. On any given day, even in a world pervaded by states and their dictates, nearly everything that people do or refrain from doing is so not because the state threatens them with violence for acting otherwise, but because they find conformity with rules—honesty, promise keeping, careful handling of goods, avoidance of opportunism, working hard and responsibly, refraining from shirking and malingering, and so forth—to be in their interest. The world does not run on the state’s threats of violence; it runs in spite of those threats. Notwithstanding the supercilious declaration that “you didn’t build that,” you actually did, and not because the state threatened to hurt you if you didn’t.

Many sanctions besides violence and threats of violence may be—and are even in the world in which we now live—effective incentives for adherence to law and order. Ostracization of dishonest dealers, for example, works wonders, and in the world of modern communications it can be more effective than ever. Many people conduct their affairs honorably and fairly in order to preserve an upstanding reputation and thereby to retain beneficial commercial and personal relations. Many people subscribe to religious or other moral codes that regulate their conduct and direct it into decent and productive channels. The state’s contribution to creating a successful world is, as a rule, to stand in the way and, all too often, to punish those who are trying to serve their fellow human beings in free markets and other peaceful, cooperative arrangements.

States don’t make our world peaceful, cooperative, and productive—to the extent that it is so. Insofar as the world works successfully, it does so in spite of the state’s characteristic bloodthirst, oppression, and plunder, not because of it. Upon real reflection, the puzzle is that anyone believes that the relationship is the other way around. People who think, work, create, invest, plan, and carry out productive projects make the world work. People who collect taxes, create mountains of unnecessary regulations, threatening violence against those who fail to comply with them, and devote vast amounts of extorted resources to wreaking senseless death and destruction at home and abroad also make the world work—but much, much for the worse.

So, to the extent that the state is necessary to make people obey the rules, chances are that the rules to which it compels obedience ought never to have been made in the first place. But don’t take my word for it: open up the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, the Federal Register, and the corresponding legal documents for any of the state, county, and city governments in the USA and see for yourself. If you conclude that all of this legal outrage and the police who enforce it make economic or moral sense, you may be a unique person, indeed.



Strange liberals


Post Detroit, the Press Will Redouble Their Attack on Trump as Racist


Fifty years ago exactly I spent my summer as a civil rights worker in South Carolina. I am proud of my participation, but I did one thing for which I am ashamed. I was reminded of it by Donald Trump's visit to the African-American church in Detroit Saturday when he recalled that Republicans were the party of Lincoln.

One of my tasks back then was voter registration. We would go to the cotton fields and drive black field workers to the registrar's office. Most of those workers were illiterate and I would sign for them as witness just below where they put their X.

I would also -- and here's the act for which I am ashamed -- uniformly register the field workers in the Democratic Party. In my snot-nosed, Ivy League arrogance, I thought I was doing the right thing -- for them.

My world view then was similar to the one dominating the mainstream media to this day -- though few of these journalists, to my knowledge, actually participated in the civil rights movement. Nevertheless, they came to identify with us, fighting second hand what they thought was the good fight.

But for the last fifty years that's about all they did, identify with a cause without paying any attention to the results of the policies they and the Democratic Party espoused. It was a feel-good enterprise by the press and a perpetual voter power grab by the Democrats.  We all know what the results have been for African-Americans, the inevitable fruits of one-party rule as seen today in Baltimore, Detroit, and Chicago, among so many other places.

Besides the fact that what I did taking it upon myself to register those field workers as Democrats was probably illegal, or should have been, I was helping, in my tiny way, create that situation we live in today. This is a situation that is rapidly becoming intolerable.

That is why Donald Trump's outreach to African-Americans is the most significant action of the 2016 campaign so far, especially for its potential longterm implications for our culture.

The liberal media and their academic and entertainment industry allies know this and for that reason they will redouble their efforts to portray Trump as a racist.  This is not just to defend the pathological liar Hillary--can you imagine the moral cartwheels necessary to support Clinton at this point?--but to defend themselves, to justify the way they have been living their lives for decades, all the "progressive" pronouncements covering up the most comfortable of bourgeois lifestyles, as far from the inner city as Mars.

Donald Trump Should Go for the Black Vote—NOW!
The intention of the Founders was for the Fourth Estate to be the people's watch dogs on our rulers; instead they have increasingly become  the willing collaborators and enablers of elites, particularly of important Democratic politicians. Hillary Clinton's house boy Sidney Blumenthal, who began as a journalist, is the prototype, the selfish man masquerading as the "liberal" man, personified. (Perhaps we need a new Biblical injunction: "By your emails shall we know ye.")

Donald Trump has put them "up against the wall," especially by receiving a standing ovation in, of all places, a black church. My how the journos must hate him now.

I have seen this enmity personally, riding the Trump press plane on a couple of occasions. I have also noticed how the press almost never talked to the thousands of Trump supporters at the several rallies I have attended, as if these people were members of some untouchable class secretly migrated from the sub-continent. Actually, these "untouchables" were remarkably decent and open-hearted people if you bothered to communicate with them, some of the nicest I have ever met. I never heard a racist word from any of them. They were also unfailingly polite.  You wouldn't know it from the reportage, but Trump rallies have been among the most peaceful crowds I have ever been in.

Now that Trump has broken the code and actually solicited the African-American vote, going personally to Detroit with more such visits to come, it's important for all of us to support him against the coming media onslaught, especially if we care about our African-American brothers and sisters. The members of that community willing to welcome Donald are some of the bravest people in our country, just as some black conservatives are the most valuable and insightful of our pundit class.

I will conclude with a special nod to Dr. Ben Carson, whose presence on the campaign trail has turned the neurosurgeon into the moral voice of our country. Bravo!



Six Years After Obamacare, 11 Percent Remain Uninsured

Six years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, into law, nearly 11 percent of Americans remain without health insurance.

According to a new Gallup poll, 10.8 Americans are still living without health insurance in 2016, more than half a decade after the president’s health-insurance-for-all program was passed and two years after the law’s individual mandate went into effect. Gallup notes the vast majority of the still-uninsured are minorities, young adults and low-income Americans.

The U.S. Census Bureau states that in 2010, the percentage of people without health insurance was 16.3 percent. The percentage of people without health insurance in 2008 – two years before Obamacare was passed – was about 14.8 percent.

Additionally, 15.5 percent of respondents to the poll said that they had lacked the ability to pay for their health insurance or necessary medications at some point in 2016, a drop of only three percent since Gallup asked the same question in 2010. The polling group notes:

Even though fewer Americans are struggling to afford healthcare, other Gallup trends suggest that the Affordable Care Act may not be meeting its goal of reducing healthcare costs...

Gallup also previously reported that since the individual mandate took effect, there has been a rise in the percentage of U.S. adults paying for all or some of their health insurance premiums who say that their premiums have gone up "a lot" over the past year.
Gallup also recently found the number of Americans who say they're "satisfied" with the quality of their health care has dropped five percentage points since 2010.

President Obama touted Obamacare as a federal program that would ensure each and every American had health insurance, especially those who could not previously afford it. But the data shows Obama’s costly health insurance law – which has been plagued with a botched multi-million-dollar rollout, pricey penalties, costly legal battles, underestimated Medicaid expenses, ever-rising insurance premiums, deceptive marketplace costs and devastating financial impacts on some of the nation’s largest insurers – has so far failed to cut the number of Americans without health insurance in half in six years.

But it’s still the greatest federal program in the history of ever, because President Obama says so.



U.S. Military Spending Doesn’t Add Up

The Pentagon’s accounting system has long been held in low regard. In 2013, revelations surfaced that for several years the Department of Defense had falsified its books. More recently, in June 2016, the U.S. Army’s ledgers were discovered to have been “cooked”—by a whopping $6.5 trillion in a single year. Aside from intentional malfeasance and professional incompetence, at least two fundamental factors have driven the accounting scandals, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland. One is the enormous size of military budgets—a size far greater than what’s actually needed for defense.

The United States accounts for 37 percent of global defense spending, despite its having geographic advantages (such as two huge oceans and two weak neighbors) that make the nation intrinsically secure. While 9/11 proved that terrorism can pose a deadlier threat to the American homeland than most had previously believed, terrorist attacks are usually blowback in response to U.S. intervention overseas.

While defense policy is one cause of large and therefore more scandal-prone military budgets, another driver is the permissive attitude of certain politicians—namely, those who think that their advocacy of more defense spending will make them more appealing to voters than their election-year rivals. How might we stop these two drivers of fiscal recklessness? Eland calls for voters to advocate a complete restructuring of U.S. defense, such as “by transferring most of [the U.S. army’s] heavy armored and mechanized divisions into the cheaper National Guard,” Eland writes. “This would make it harder for politicians to get the country involved in overseas quagmires on the ground, but still provide a potent land force capability to mobilize in case a legitimate security emergency arises.”



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


Thursday, September 08, 2016

Happy Labor Day — If You Have a Job

The headline unemployment rate is at 4.9% after Friday’s jobs report — about where it has been for the last nine months. But, the real unemployment rate, when taking into account Americans who are now chronically unemployed and no longer looking for work, is in excess of 10%. The fact is, a record number of Americans are out of the labor force, and in a now familiar refrain, job growth slowed in August and remains stuck in the same ditch it’s been in for the last seven years — stagnating.

Cue Barack Obama’s Labor Day radio address, where even he conceded that “too many working folks still feel left behind by an economy that’s constantly changing.” Actually, they have been “left behind” by Obama and his Democrat Party — they have betrayed American workers.

Let’s look at the Democrat record. A year after they took over Congress in 2007, the housing market bubble, previously inflated by easy-lending policies enacted by Bill Clinton a decade earlier, began a rapid deflation. Democrats' answer to government-caused cascading economic crisis of confidence was, as always, more government. In 2009 Obama and his Democrat Congress passed a near-trillion dollar “stimulus spending package” that did nothing to stimulate the economy and everything to grow the size of government, while lining the pockets of leftist constituents and cronies. Additionally, Democrats passed the so-called “Affordable Care Act,” which has proven a colossal failure and an huge obstacle to economic growth. So yeah, you could say the economy is “constantly changing,” and the net effect of Obama’s policies have crushed the middle class.

In regard to labor unions, one of the Left’s most vociferous captive constituencies, since 2008 an estimated 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created, but none were union. In fact, since Obama took office, labor union membership has dropped 4% overall. Commercial sector unions are now at 7% down from 20% 30 years ago, because union labor is not competitive. But, government employee unions – federal, state and local – have now grown to 35%, because they are not subject to competition – which explains the chronic lack of productivity in the bowels of federal bureaucracies. However, state government unions will likely slide in the future, primarily due to right-to-work legislation such as that in Wisconsin, where teacher unions have sided with Gov. Scott Walker and are decertifying their unions.

And as far as working folks being left behind, Obama has undermined workers at every turn. He’s pushed for a record number of economically suppressing regulations, a higher minimum wage that will price low-skilled laborers out of the jobs market, and advocated a virtual open borders policy, which has flooded the market with low-skilled labor. In short, Democrats are bad for business, which means they are bad for labor.



Misleading Statistics

Mark Twain famously said that there were three kinds of lies — “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Since this is an election year, we can expect to hear plenty of all three kinds.

Even if the statistics themselves are absolutely accurate, the words that describe what they are measuring can be grossly misleading.

Household income statistics are an obvious example. When we hear about how much more income the top 20 percent of households make, compared to the bottom 20 percent of households, one key fact is usually left out. There are millions more people in the top 20 percent of households than in the bottom 20 percent of households.

The number of households is the same but the number of people in those households is very different. In 2002, there were 40 million people in the bottom 20 percent of households and 69 million people in the top 20 percent.

A little over half of the households in the bottom 20 percent have nobody working. You don’t usually get a lot of income for doing nothing. In 2010, there were more people working full-time in the top 5 percent of households than in the bottom 20 percent.

Household income statistics can be very misleading in other ways. The number of people per household is different among different racial or ethnic groups, as well as from one income level to another, and it is different from one time period to another.

The number of people per American household has declined over the years. When you compare household incomes from a year when there were 6 people per household with a later year when there were 4 people per household, you are comparing apples and oranges.

Even if income per person increased 25 percent between those two years, average household income statistics will nevertheless show a decline. When the income of 4 people rises 25 percent, this means that 4 people are now making the same income as 5 people made in an earlier time. But not as much as 6 people made before.

So household income statistics can show an economic decline, even when per capita income has risen.

Why do so many people in the media, in academia and in politics use household income statistics, when the number of people per household can vary so much, while individual income statistics always mean the average income of one person?

Although individual income statistics can give a truer picture, not everyone makes truth their highest priority. Alarming news that household incomes have failed to rise, or have actually fallen, is more exciting news for the media, or for alarmists in academia or in politics.

Such alarming news can attract a larger audience for the media, and can justify an expansion of government programs dear to the heart of academics on the left, or to politicians who just want more power to hand out goodies and collect more votes from the beneficiaries.

Even individual income statistics have pitfalls when they lump together very different kinds of income, as is usually the case. Incomes from salaries are very different from incomes from capital gains.

A salary is usually earned and paid in the same year. Capital gains received in a given year can be paid for value accrued over a number of years. If you paid $100,000 for a home or a business in the past, and then sold it 20 years later for $300,000, have you made $200,000 per year when you sold it or $10,000 a year for 20 years?

In the income statistics, your income will be recorded the same as that of someone on a salary of $200,000 a year.

What difference does that make? It makes a big difference when most low and moderate incomes are from salaries, while incomes in the highest brackets are more likely to be primarily capital gains — whether from the sale of homes or businesses, or receiving an inheritance, cashing in stock options, or some other forms of capital gains.

This means that statistics on income inequalities are often comparing high multi-year earnings with lower single-year earnings — that is, comparing apples and oranges.

Such statistical distortions are discussed more fully in my book “Wealth, Poverty and Politics.” In an election year, it might be worth taking a look.



Labor Day: A Capitalist Holiday

How Grover Cleveland used the holiday to divide the Left

Almost no one pays tribute to the American labor movement on Labor Day nowadays because America, despite its leftward drift in recent years, is not a nation that exalts brawn over brains or socialism over capitalism.

Americans don't care about President Obama's final Labor Day message, a mixture of facts and well-worn leftist propaganda.

"For generations, every time the economy changed, hardworking Americans marched and organized and joined unions to demand not simply a bigger paycheck for themselves, but better conditions and more security for the folks working next to them, too," Obama said in his weekly address. "Their efforts are why we can enjoy things like the 40-hour workweek, overtime pay, and a minimum wage. Their efforts are why we can depend on health insurance, Social Security, Medicare and retirement plans."

"All of that progress," he added, "is stamped with the union label."

Americans are smart enough to take Obama's socialist claptrap with a grain of salt. This is a man who derides hard work, saying "you didn't built that," and "when you spread the wealth around it's good for everybody."

Americans respect hard work but they do not engage in the hateful Marxist tribalism and redistributionism that consumes backwards, kleptoparasitic states like Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea.

"I think most people consider Labor Day an end-of-summer three-day weekend," David Ray Papke, a law professor at Marquette University, told the Huffington Post. "Very few Americans stop to reflect on the working man, on labor, on the union movement or any of those things."

And that is a wonderful thing.

In America everyone is equal before and under the law, able to achieve and chase their dreams, unburdened by ancient albatrosses like class and caste. Americans don't care about the labor movement because it hasn't done anything for them. They don't care that the movement is dying, and in most cases aren't even aware it's in rough shape. And that too is a good thing.

American statesmen had the good sense to create Labor Day more than a century ago to help co-opt the always violent labor movement and derail, or at least slow, the frighteningly speedy headway that the radical leftists – communists and anarchists – had been making during the Progressive Era.

Today most of the Left boasts that Labor Day is their holiday. The U.S. Department of Labor's website predictably gushes that:
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.

This fetishizing of workers is what one might expect with a Marxist in the White House. So is the lie that "economic democracy," a socialist concept, is any kind of an American ideal.

Contrary to what many labor historians say, the invention of Labor Day was not a victory for the Left.

Labor Day was created as a reaction to the organized, terroristic violence of the labor movement. It was an attempt to placate the angry bomb-throwing radicals who were trying to destabilize America when parts of the country were ripe for revolt and other parts were actually in revolt.

And it worked. Labor Day defanged the American Left.

According to the Bernie Sanders fan site, Jacobin, potential trouble was brewing in the late 19th century when Labor Day was born. An article by Jonah Walters states:

At the end of the nineteenth century, the American labor movement was among the most militant in the world. From the stockyards of Chicago to the coal mines of Pennsylvania, workplaces all over the country were in open revolt. Strikes were commonplace, often leading to violent confrontations between rebellious workers and private militias like the despised Pinkertons. Even Marx held high hopes for revolution in the US, speculating that the country's long battles over suffrage ripened conditions for revolt. "Nowhere does social inequality obtrude itself more harshly than in the Eastern States of North America," he wrote, "because it is nowhere less glossed over by political inequality."

This social equality that Karl Marx bemoans, is better understood as economic equality, which, of course, is a feature of markets and proof that economic freedom exists. The fact that everyone is not forcibly brought down to the same level by socialist schemers in government is precisely what allows Americans to generate the kind of wealth never before seen in any society.

Returning to the 1890s, there was an economic contraction that cut demand for railway cars. This forced captain of industry George Pullman to reduce his workforce and cut wages. When his employees went on strike in May 1894, other unions refused to handle Pullman cars, a move that disrupted commerce nationwide. In July, President Grover Cleveland deployed U.S. troops to Chicago to preserve property rights and put down the strike. Angry mobs responded by setting railroad cars on fire.

Soon after these ugly confrontations started, Congress rushed through stalled legislation, which Cleveland signed into law making Labor Day a national holiday. Pressed by the similarly named socialist labor activists Matthew Maguire and Peter McGuire, many states had already acted on their own before that. From 1887 to that point, 23 states had created their own Labor Day holidays.

According to the House of Representatives historian, the new national Labor Day was an immediate success.
The response to the new holiday was overwhelmingly positive. Labor unions in cities such as Boston, Nashville, and St. Louis celebrated with parades and picnics. Large turnouts in Chicago (30,000) and Baltimore (10,000) underscored the holiday's popularity.

President Cleveland was no socialist. He was also no fool. Labor Day was placed in September to divide and conquer the Left.

"To disassociate American labor from any connection with socialism, the first Monday of September was chosen to honor American workers rather than 1 May, which in 1889 the Second Socialist International in Paris had designated as International Workers Day." (The Encyclopedia of New York State, by Peter R. Eisenstadt and Laura-Eve Moss, p.853)

Unlike much of the Left, the writers at Jacobin are not in denial about the origins and significance of Labor Day. They see Labor Day as a corporate holiday, or a "boss's holiday." The real day for radical labor agitators is not the first Monday in September, but is in fact May 1, which, as noted above, has been long recognized as the day for working-class solidarity. "Cleveland's choice to establish Labor Day in September deflected attention away from another explosive labor action – the Haymarket massacre of 1886, the origin of international observance of the May 1 holiday."

Jacobin belittles the patriotic labor leader (yes, they used to exist) Samuel Gompers, who was president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), which had opposed the Pullman strike.
Gompers immediately endorsed the president's holiday – Cleveland even presented him with the pen used to sign the holiday in law. Gompers later wrote a superlative column in the New York Times praising Labor Day as the harbinger of "a new epoch in the annals of human history." He made the absurd claim that Labor Day "differs essentially from some of the other holidays of the year in that it glorifies no armed conflicts or battles of man's prowess over man," and wrote scathingly about the "dark side of the labor movement" represented by the Pullman strikers.
Labor Day, according to the leftists at Jacobin, "marks our historic defeat, not our triumph."

Which is why every freedom-loving, patriotic American should celebrate Labor Day.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Can racial discrimination be harmless?

The Left clearly think so.  Affirmative action is nothing if not racially discriminatory.  And even racial pride is fine, as long as it is black pride.  

The Left are in fact obsessed by race.  It is on their agenda all the time.  The destruction aimed at is more subtle but they are just as obsessed with race as Hitler was.  New socialists and old socialists are not much different.

But are there other forms of racism that should get a pass?  He  is all but forgotten now but the leading racial theorist of C20 was Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who was admired not only by Hitler but also by Kaiser Bill, the nominal German leader of WWI. Chamberlain was a liberal, a passionate Greenie and a virulent antisemite.  So let me make clear at this point that I am not defending him or his doctrines.  The only thing we have in common is an admiration for the people of India.

And that is my first point.  Chamberlain was in his way positive  in what he said about race.  His antisemitism, although relentless, was incidental to his main racial theme:  That Aryans were a superior people.  And he enthusiastically included Hindu Indians among the Aryan race.  He even learned Sanskrit to study their early writings. It was probably the writings of Chamberlain that influenced the admiration of Democrat U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for Aryans.

So Chamberlain was primarily concerned not to attack "inferior" races but to build up respect and esteem for Aryans, among whom Germans were the leading lights.  He in fact saw the Prussians, the skilled warriors of Northeastern Germany as approaching an  ideal type of human being.  But he also believed that others could aspire to reach the Prussian ideal.  You did not have to be born a Prussian to be an exemplary Aryan.

So the leading theorist from the days of racial theory had primarily positive aims. He was there to praise much more that he was there to condemn.

But in Chamberlain's case, praise for one group went with denigration for another group:  Jews.  So is that generally so?   Can one think well of one's own group without denigrating other groups?  There is much evidence that you can.  

It was a topic I looked at several times when I was doing survey research among the general population.  And I repeatedly found that a person's patriotism and national pride gave no prediction of one's attitude to ethnic outgroups.  You could for instance be a proud American and at the same time have no animus against Jews.  All combinations were roughly equally probable:  Some patriots tended to be favourably disposed to Jews while others tended to be critical of Jews, with neither type of attitude being strongly felt.  And there were roughly equal numbers in both "camps". 

Examples of my research findings on the matter can be found here, here, here and here.  And simliar conclusions have been arrived at by others -- e.g. Cashdan

So I think it is clear that it is not only on the Left that racial sentiment can pass muster.  There can be favourable views of other groups with no vicious implications.  

I for instance am firmly of the view that the Han Chinese are in many ways a superior group.  I think that in most ways they will in time surpass my own Anglo-Saxon group.  In some ways they already have.  They appreciate Western classical music much more than Westerners do.  Classical music has a following in the USA of only about 2% of the population, whereas in China and Japan the figure is about 6%. And the best interpreter of much of Western piano music is in my view Yuja Wang, from Beijing.

Yuja Wang

And the rise of China has already been greatly beneficial to us all.  Almost all our electrical goods are now made there very cheaply.  And the ubiquitous presence of Chinese names in the author lists of most academic journal articles in all scientific disciplines has to be seen to be believed.

But will the Chinese rise always be benevolent?  One might think not if one knows Chinese attitudes.  Most Han Chinese see the Han as a superior race. So will that lead to aggression against other races?  The whole point of this essay is to argue that it will not.  Thinking highly of your own group does NOT automatically  imply hostility to other groups.

And there are practical reasons why we do not have to fear war with China.  For a start, why would they want to start a war with their biggest customers?  

More importantly, however, the People's Liberation Army is now so large, so well-equipped and trained that any war against it would be unthinkable.  Any war between China and anyone else would have to go nuclear almost immediately.  And the Chinese know as well as anybody that there would be no winners from such a war.  Life on earth could in fact be entirely wiped out, something only Greenies would celebrate.  So there will be no war with China. Nuclear deterrence kept the Soviets at bay and it will keep China at bay.

But what about current tensions in the East China sea?  With its very large population, China has a great need for resources and it is common for nations to seek such resources from under their nearby seas.  The USA does it; The UK does it and Israel does it.  The difference on this occasion, of course, is that there are other claimants on control of the areas at issue. 

But China now has firm control of the places concerned and because of that, I also think that China has now established a clearly superior legal claim on the areas concerned.  By building up the various shoals and islets into substantial bases with extensive facilities and a population, China has simply acquired those places by right of conquest.  They took over empty territory and thus have an arguably better claim on the territories concerned than the USA has on its territory.  The USA acquired already occupied territory by right of conquest.  China acquired empty territory by right of conquest.

So for a variety of reasons, I don't think the rise of China is to be feared or denigrated -- JR.

Conservatism in crisis

The truth is that Trump articulated, if incompletely and inconsistently, the right stances on the right issues—immigration, trade, and war—right from the beginning.

But let us back up. One of the paradoxes—there are so many—of conservative thought over the last decade at least is the unwillingness even to entertain the possibility that America and the West are on a trajectory toward something very bad. On the one hand, conservatives routinely present a litany of ills plaguing the body politic. Illegitimacy. Crime. Massive, expensive, intrusive, out-of-control government. Politically correct McCarthyism. Ever-higher taxes and ever-deteriorating services and infrastructure. Inability to win wars against tribal, sub-Third-World foes. A disastrously awful educational system that churns out kids who don’t know anything and, at the primary and secondary levels, can’t (or won’t) discipline disruptive punks, and at the higher levels saddles students with six figure debts for the privilege. And so on and drearily on. Like that portion of the mass where the priest asks for your private intentions, fill in any dismal fact about American decline that you want and I’ll stipulate it.

Conservatives spend at least several hundred million dollars a year on think-tanks, magazines, conferences, fellowships, and such, complaining about this, that, the other, and everything. And yet these same conservatives are, at root, keepers of the status quo. Oh, sure, they want some things to change. They want their pet ideas adopted—tax deductions for having more babies and the like. Many of them are even good ideas. But are any of them truly fundamental? Do they get to the heart of our problems?

If conservatives are right about the importance of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character and so on in the individual; if they are right about sexual morality or what came to be termed “family values”; if they are right about the importance of education to inculcate good character and to teach the fundamentals that have defined knowledge in the West for millennia; if they are right about societal norms and public order; if they are right about the centrality of initiative, enterprise, industry, and thrift to a sound economy and a healthy society; if they are right about the soul-sapping effects of paternalistic Big Government and its cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions; if they are right about the necessity of a strong defense and prudent statesmanship in the international sphere—if they are right about the importance of all this to national health and even survival, then they must believe—mustn’t they?—that we are headed off a cliff.

But it’s quite obvious that conservatives don’t believe any such thing, that they feel no such sense of urgency, of an immediate necessity to change course and avoid the cliff. A recent article by Matthew Continetti may be taken as representative—indeed, almost written for the purpose of illustrating the point. Continetti inquires into the “condition of America” and finds it wanting. What does Continetti propose to do about it? The usual litany of “conservative” “solutions,” with the obligatory references to decentralization, federalization, “civic renewal,” and—of course!—Burke. Which is to say, conservatism’s typical combination of the useless and inapt with the utopian and unrealizable. Decentralization and federalism are all well and good, and as a conservative, I endorse them both without reservation. But how are they going to save, or even meaningfully improve, the America that Continetti describes? What can they do against a tidal wave of dysfunction, immorality, and corruption? “Civic renewal” would do a lot of course, but that’s like saying health will save a cancer patient. A step has been skipped in there somewhere. How are we going to achieve “civic renewal”? Wishing for a tautology to enact itself is not a strategy.

Continetti trips over a more promising approach when he writes of “stress[ing] the ‘national interest abroad and national solidarity at home’ through foreign-policy retrenchment, ‘support to workers buffeted by globalization,’ and setting ‘tax rates and immigration levels’ to foster social cohesion." That sounds a lot like Trumpism. But the phrases that Continetti quotes are taken from Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam, both of whom, like Continetti, are vociferously—one might even say fanatically—anti-Trump. At least they, unlike Kesler, give Trump credit for having identified the right stance on today’s most salient issues. Yet, paradoxically, they won’t vote for Trump whereas Kesler hints that he will. It’s reasonable, then, to read into Kesler’s esoteric endorsement of Trump an implicit acknowledgment that the crisis is, indeed, pretty dire. I expect a Claremont scholar to be wiser than most other conservative intellectuals, and I am relieved not to be disappointed in this instance.

Yet we may also reasonably ask: What explains the Pollyanna-ish declinism of so many others? That is, the stance that Things-Are-Really-Bad—But-Not-So-Bad-that-We-Have-to-Consider-Anything-Really-Different! The obvious answer is that they don’t really believe the first half of that formulation. If so, like Chicken Little, they should stick a sock in it. Pecuniary reasons also suggest themselves, but let us foreswear recourse to this explanation until we have disproved all the others.

Whatever the reason for the contradiction, there can be no doubt that there is a contradiction. To simultaneously hold conservative cultural, economic, and political beliefs—to insist that our liberal-left present reality and future direction is incompatible with human nature and must undermine society—and yet also believe that things can go on more or less the way they are going, ideally but not necessarily with some conservative tinkering here and there, is logically impossible.

Let’s be very blunt here: if you genuinely think things can go on with no fundamental change needed, then you have implicitly admitted that conservatism is wrong. Wrong philosophically, wrong on human nature, wrong on the nature of politics, and wrong in its policy prescriptions. Because, first, few of those prescriptions are in force today. Second, of the ones that are, the left is busy undoing them, often with conservative assistance. And, third, the whole trend of the West is ever-leftward, ever further away from what we all understand as conservatism.

If your answer—Continetti’s, Douthat’s, Salam’s, and so many others’—is for conservatism to keep doing what it’s been doing—another policy journal, another article about welfare reform, another half-day seminar on limited government, another tax credit proposal—even though we’ve been losing ground for at least a century, then you’ve implicitly accepted that your supposed political philosophy doesn’t matter and that civilization will carry on just fine under leftist tenets. Indeed, that leftism is truer than conservatism and superior to it.

More HERE  


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Taiwan’s Social Safety Net Is the Street Market

Free-marketers are often ridiculed for suggesting the welfare state can be substantially replaced by free enterprise: that we’re smoking funny weed to even suggest that able-bodied adults would be better off with more invigorating freedom instead of a debilitating dole.

The Case of Taiwan

Well, we have a fantastic case study in exactly this: Taiwan. With a GDP per capita about half US levels -- between Spain and Portugal -- Taiwan has a tiny welfare state paired with regulations that are both light and lightly enforced.

Result? An explosion in commerce, and apparently near-zero homelessness. Walk anywhere in a Taiwanese city and the streets are alive, all day and all night, with a rotating cast of pop-up businesses that employ mainly low-skill labor while making life a joy for consumers.

Hundreds of jobs, small rivers of entrepreneurial income all running off one little street.

To give a flavor, take one street near my university, Wenhua St. in Taichung. Starting around 5am, farmers drive in and spread out their produce on folding tables along the street. Shoppers are diverse: elderly who can walk instead of driving out to a megastore, mothers with kids, fathers cooking up breakfast.

Around 7am the farmers pack up and in move the breakfast joints, unloading folding tables and stacking chairs off their pickup trucks. Sandwich places, noodle shops, omelettes and full English breakfast. These go until a bit past noon, when they fold up everything on their trucks and out come the night crew: a different set of restaurants selling fried chicken or dumplings, vendors selling clothes, watches, kids’ toys. As the night wears on the beer joints open, selling hot soup and a cold beer. Families, teens, and singles throng the streets until 3am, when the street cleaners come out in preparation for the farmers coming at 5.

So hundreds of jobs, small rivers of entrepreneurial income all running off one little street. Each patch of street is recycled 3 or more times a day according to what customers want. And none of it would be legal in most US cities.

The Beauty of Laissez-faire

Three interesting results come out of this laissez-faire approach to small commerce. First, streets in Taiwan are full of shoppers all day and all night. There are none of those dangerous urban deserts that abound in American cities like DC and New York. You can safely roam around at 3am any day of the week, and find tons of pop-up bars or restaurants, packed with laughing people enjoying the night.

His friends’ first question was: what kind of shop will you open during your job-hunt?

Second, because laissez-faire allows a robust market to develop, street food in Taiwan is safe, delicious, and ridiculously cheap. We pay between $1.50 and $2 for a full meal, in a country where overall costs are half the US level. So, adjusting for price levels, we pay $3 to $4 for what would cost us easily 3-5 times that in the US. As a result, my family doesn’t eat out once a week like back in the States; we eat out 2 or 3 times a day.

Why so cheap? Because the market is substantially left to self-regulate: if a vendor sells bad or dirty food, word spreads and they’re out of business. Other vendors, indeed, enforce this since the reputation of the whole street is at risk. The result is that vendors scrupulously clean their equipment every day; indeed there are services that go around cleaning your food-stall on hire. It’s like nested deregulation: an unregulated service provided to an unregulated service that is, ultimately, “policed” by customers themselves.

Freedom and opportunity: that is what underpins true welfare and security.

From my perspective as a customer, the end result is fantastic: clean, delicious food that we can afford to eat every single day of the month. By the way, that is apparently what most Taiwanese now do: it’s standard for people to never cook in, but rather to just pick up $2 meals every night for the family, only cooking for special occasions or for a midnight snack.

Third, and possibly most important, is the impact on jobs and self-sufficiency. A Taiwanese friend announced he’d lost his job, and his friends’ first question was: what kind of shop will you open during your job-hunt? Since it’s so easy to start a pocket-business, there’s an entire industry that caters to them. You can lose your job, take the bus, rent a food stand for a month, pay $50 to slap on some signage, have it delivered to some high-traffic spot and get cranking that night on fried twinkies, sausage-buns, whatever you think people want to eat. So sling sausages by night, keep looking for work in the daytime, and when you find a job just take the stand back for your deposit.

Freedom and opportunity: that is what underpins true welfare and security. The results are striking: in 3 years here, in a city bigger and poorer than St. Louis, I have never once seen a homeless person. The closest I've seen is an elderly lady who grows orchids and sells them out of a bag.

So choose one: job-killing regulations and a welfare state, or reduce burdens on small business and set the people free.



Surge of Migrant Children From Central America Continues Despite Border Apprehensions

A surge of migrant children and families fleeing Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador attempting to enter the U.S. via Mexico is not slowing down in spite of the apprehension of tens of thousands of Central American migrants by the U.S. Border Patrol, according to a report issued by UNICEF.

The massive flow of families and children continues at the same time that the U.S. government has announced it will expand a program allowing refugee minors from the violence-torn region of Central America to enter the U.S. legally.

UNICEF reports that nearly 26,000 unaccompanied children and approximately 29,700 individuals traveling as families were stopped at the U.S. border in the first six months of 2016. The majority were from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

The report said some 16,000 Central American migrants were apprehended in Mexico before reaching the border in the same period.

The three Central American nations “have some of the world’s highest murder rates,” according to the UNICEF report.

“The flow of refugee and migrant children from Central America making their way to the United States shows no sign of letting up,” it concludes.

The number of Central American families and children stopped at the border beginning in October of last year doubled from a year ago, according to the Pew Research Center.

Meanwhile the U.S. government has announced plans to widen its consideration for legal entry of Central American minors with parents living legally in the U.S.

The Central American Minors (CAM) refugee program is currently restricted to minors – and in some cases to a “parent of the qualifying child” that is also living in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The program will now be opened up to the minors’ caregivers, as well as to a biological parent of a minor with a spouse living in the US, and also to adult children of Central Americans living legally in the U.S., according to the Dept. of Homeland Security website.

The program expansion was announced last month, although a DHS spokesperson could not say when the changes would take effect.

The program was originally restricted to unmarried children under the age of 21 living in the three Central American countries, with a parent 18 years or older legally in the US.

In some cases, a parent of the minor could be considered for U.S. entry.

The expansion will open the program to non-minor children, namely sons and daughters 21 years of age or older, with a parent legally in the U.S.

It will also allow consideration of “caregivers” of minors in the Central American countries where the caregiver is related to the parent living legally in the U.S.

And the expansion will allow a “biological parent” of a qualifying minor where the biological parent is living in one of the three Central American countries, to be considered for entry into the U.S.

According to Salvador Stadthagen, the director of the USAID-sponsored youth program Honduran Youth Alliance, family members living in the U.S. are the “pull factor” behind the surge of migrant children fleeing violent crime in Central America.

“A lot of these kids already have family in the U.S. What we have noticed is that when things get really bad in a community such as the killing of a neighbor or a cousin or brother, then the mother and the father in the U.S. sell whatever they have to sell to get their kids out.”

Many of the Central American minors, Stadthagen said, “have never known their mothers or fathers. Or the fathers left when the mothers were pregnant or when the kids were very young.”

Drug-related gang violence was “fueling” the migrant surge north to Mexico and the U.S., he said.

Outreach workers like Stadthagen, as well a missionary and local pastor in Honduras, told they have seen significant progress in reducing the violence, with improved policing and by providing alternatives to youths who are either forced to join local gangs or flee the country.

Violence and murder rates have gone down in the community of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, 3.5 miles north of the capital of Tegucigalpa, according to Paul Hutton of the Denver-based Mission’s Door evangelical group.

Local pastor Arnold Linares told an “entire generation of youth” has been lost to the crime and violence, but that now, “we have seen a change in the community.”

“We are creating a model for the country. We want them to know that the heart of man can be changed by God.”


“Very Right Wing” People Are Happiest With Their Sex Lives

…they’re often happiest overall, too, according to a five-country YouGov poll

People who describe themselves as “very right wing” are the most likely to be satisfied with their sex lives, according to a survey carried out across five European countries by the polling company YouGov.

The survey of more than 19,000 people in the UK, Germany, France, Denmark and Sweden, shared exclusively with BuzzFeed News, found in most countries sexual satisfaction increased the further right you went along the political spectrum.

In the UK, people with left wing politics were least likely to describe their sex lives as satisfying (with 66% of people saying they were), versus 73% for those saying they were “very right wing”.

In all five countries in the survey, it was the people with very right wing politics who were most likely to be pleased with their sex life, though in every country except Germany, people on the centre-right were less likely to be satisfied than centrists.

The study also showed than in Britain at least, people with right wing and very right wing politics were markedly happier overall than their left wing counterparts – but this trend did not replicate across Europe.

The research was carried out for the new edition of the book Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box, published on Friday.

Joe Twyman, YouGov’s head of political and social research, warned against changing your politics to improve your sex life.  “There are obviously numerous factors that might explain an individual’s sexual happiness and this study does not suggest that changing your political views would make you happier in bed (or on the stairs, on the kitchen floor, in the shower and on the backseat of the car),” he told BuzzFeed News, in unexpected detail.

“The old rules about correlation not equalling causation always apply. Being very right wing doesn’t make you sexually satisfied, but nonetheless, these results suggest it is, in contrast to at least some stereotypes popular in the political world, those on the very right of the political spectrum who enjoy their sex life the most – and that this finding is true across a number of different European countries.”


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about Muslims


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


Monday, September 05, 2016

Did Jesus really speak in the mystical manner portrayed in John 14?

I must say initially that I am not challenging Christian faith here.  Christians believe that God used men to express divine truths in their own way so the narratives from Apostle John can be seen as just another way of conveying important truths.

But most of John 14 is rather a gabble.  Christ constantly speaks of being IN the Father and the Father also being IN him.  He is quite repetitious about it.  He also however speaks of the disciples being in him and he being in them so an allusion to the Trinity doctrine cannot be read into it.  If there were any doubt about that, verse 28 puts it as rest.

As far as we can tell Jesus was a popular preacher so it seems unlikely to me that he spoke in a gabble that would do a French philosopher proud.  So it seems unlikely that John was trying to present the actual words of Jesus.  My view is that he was trying to present very emphatically something that Jesus taught.  And what that is is fairly clear.  He was trying to emphasize a unity of belief and purpose between himself and the Father.  He felt that he was so close to the Father that to see him was to see the Father.

So the passage is sensible enough if you allow for John's Gnostic way of writing. And from the opening verses of John's Gospel we have it made clear that John likes to present truths in that way.

Jesus also emphasises in the passage the importance of keeping his commandments -- so he was emphasizing the importance of his  commandments by saying that they were also the commandments of the Father.

The major puzzle in chapter 14, it seems to me, is what we are to make of the Paraclete (helper) that Jesus will send when he is gone. Again I think we have to look for a figurative meaning rather than accept some sort of "Holy Ghost" story.  And I think that the Paraclete must be the whole body of his teaching which will live on in the disciples.  That Christian teachings can indeed be very sustaining, we now know.  The way the Bible Students (Ernste Bibel Forscher) went to their deaths for refusing to bow the knee to Hitler is just one example of that strength.


Trumping The Establishment

The Washington Establishment hates Trump, because he promises to put them out of business

By Scot Faulkner

Why does The Washington Establishment hate Donald Trump? It is not because of his positions on immigration or trade. Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot advocated similar stands in 1992, and they did not generate the obsessive hatred being displayed in 2016.

Trump has declared war on The Establishment itself. In his June 16, 2015 Presidential announcement he asserted:

“So I’ve watched the politicians. I’ve dealt with them all my life…. They will never make America great again. They don’t even have a chance. They’re controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors, and by the special interests…. It’s destroying our country. We have to stop them, and it has to stop now.”

So in a nutshell, The Washington Establishment has a visceral hatred for Donald Trump, because he promises to put their system out of business.

The Washington Establishment sees Trump as serious about them being the primary impediment to making America “great again.” He sees The Establishment as lining their pockets, and their friends’ pockets – as beneficiaries of the status quo. As long as nothing changes, The Establishment will have their mansions, limousines, VIP tables and ego trips.

There is much at stake.

Think of Washington, DC as a mass of “cookie jars,” each containing delicious treats. There are those who control the cookie jars, those who want the cookie jars, and those who can get the cookie jars.  Officially, these treats are distributed based on legislative mandates, open competition, and documented needs.

In fact, the treats are almost always handed out to friends, and friends of friends. Friends can be purchased. Friends help friends get reelected, and gain power, and get treats. It is Washington, DC’s “golden rule” – those with the gold rule.

Welcome to “crony capitalism”.  Someone knowing someone who can hand out favors has been around since the first tribes shared the first harvest. The term “lobbyist” came from favor seekers hanging out in the lobby of Washington, DC’s Willard Hotel during the Grant Administration in the 1870s.

In 1905, George Washington Plunkett, a ward boss in the Tammany Hall political machine, coined what could be the motto of Washington, DC: “What is the Constitution among friends?”

Today, things have gotten way out of hand. Spending for Washington lobbyists has tripled since 1998 to over $3.22 billion a year. Favor seekers spend $24 million on lobbyists each day Congress is in session.

Campaign fundraising is another dimension of how The Establishment stays in power. Over $750 million has been raised for House races and $520 million for Senate races this election cycle. Leaders of Political Action Committees (PACs), and individual bundlers who raise funds, dominate this ultimate game of “pay for play.”

Those brokering power become gatekeepers for funding and favors throughout the Federal Government. This power comes from a truism overlooked by everyone in the media: all discretionary federal money is earmarked. The popular myth is that earmarks vanished once the Republicans banned them when they returned to power in 2011.

In fact, they only banned legislative earmarks, and there are still ways to work around that system. The President, and his appointees, earmark funds as standard operating procedure.  Even career bureaucrats play favorites.

Favorites can be based on institutional, Administration and ideological biases. Favoritism can also go to the highest bidder. This is federal money flowing out the door as grants, programs, contracts, buildings, leases and employment.

Other “treats” to be dispensed include regulatory relief, tax waivers and subsidies. Favoritism is rarely purchased with money directly changing hands; that kind of corruption occurs more in state and local government. Washington level corruption is true “quid pro quo.”

The Washington Establishment swaps favors more insidiously. How many times does a military officer get a major position with a defense contractor years after he favored them with a multi-million dollar contract? A Reagan aide granted a building height waiver near the White House and quadrupled his salary when hired by the developer.

Grant and contract officers obtain slots at prestigious colleges and prep schools for their children for making the “right” choices or being a little lax on oversight.

Bush era National Park officials refused to prosecute the destruction of park land in exchange for Redskins tickets. Obama era Fish & Wildlife Service officials give wind turbine companies 5- and 30- year exemptions from endangered species and eagle protection, so they can slaughter eagles, hawks, falcons, other birds and bats by the hundreds of thousands year after year – while “commoners” get fined or jailed merely for “possessing” a bald eagle feather.

Hillary Clinton gets exonerated from a host of transgressions, in exchange for who knows what.

Everyone has their price, save for “true public servants.”

Trump promises to smash the cookie jars and end the reign of The Establishment.

Normal Americans are rallying around Trump. They are enraged at the lies and duplicity of those in power. Many see a reason to vote for the first time since Reagan. They want November 8, 2016 to be America’s “Bastille Day,” marking the end of Washington, DC’s arrogant and unaccountable ruling class.

Billions of dollars are at stake. Perks, prestige and power are at stake. The future of representative government is at stake. Is it any wonder that The Establishment is doing everything and anything to stop Trump?



Trump boosts minority outreach with Philadelphia visit

Donald Trump was met with tears and gratitude as he sat with African-American supporters Friday, including the mother of a slain young woman who was killed by a man living in the United States illegally.

The back-to-back meetings, held in a ballroom in Northwest Philadelphia, underscored the balancing act the Republican nominee is playing as he tries to expand his support in the race against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

While Trump works to broaden his appeal among more moderate and minority voters, he is also working to maintain his popularity with his core GOP base by pressing his hard-line views on immigration.

At the invite-only roundtable discussion, Trump met with a dozen local business, civic, and religious leaders who praised him for coming to the city as part of his outreach efforts.

Trump was warmly received by the group, including Daphne Goggins, a local Republican official, who wiped away tears as she introduced herself to Trump, saying she has been a Republican for years but, ‘‘for the first time in my life, I feel like my vote is going to count.’’

Renee Amoore, a local business leader, assured Trump that he has support in the black community, despite his low standing in public opinion surveys.

‘‘We appreciate you and what you’ve done, coming to the hood, as people call it. That’s a big deal,’’ she said.

In a separate development Friday, the Commission on Pr esidential Debates announced that NBC News chief anchor Lester Holt will moderate the first of three scheduled debates between Clinton and Trump scheduled for Sept. 26.

The first and third debates will be question-and-answer sessions, with a journalist choosing the topics. The third session will be moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News on Oct. 19.

ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper will team up for the second session on Oct. 9, a town hall-style meeting with half of the questions to be posed by audience members.

Each of the debates is scheduled for 90 minutes, with a 9 p.m. EDT start time.

The commission also said Elaine Quijano of CBS News will lead the vice presidential debate between Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine on Oct 4.

Trump’s meeting in Philadelphia also showed the challenges he faces making inroads with African-Americans and Latinos.

Protesters gathered in front of the building where he appeared, and a coalition of labor leaders met nearby to denounce Trump’s outreach to black voters as disingenuous and insulting.

Ryan Boyer of the Labor District Council said Trump ‘‘has no prescription’’ to help inner-city people. ‘‘He did nothing for African-Americans in 30 years of public life,’’ he said. “We reject his notion that we have nothing to lose by supporting him.’’

The next stop for Trump is Detroit on Saturday, where blacks make up some 83 percent of the population.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


Sunday, September 04, 2016

Goldman Sach & HSBC Recently Bought 7.1 Tons Of Physical Gold Bullion!

This is a straw in the wind.  The banks clearly expect a collapse in the value of the Greenback and want a better store of value.  They are probably right.  With all the new money Obama has printed, there has got to be a big drop in the purchasing power of the dollar soon. I do have a small amount of gold but I am mainly into blue chip shares and real estate.  They should be pretty protective in an economic crisis too

Mind you, being in Australia has extra advantages.  Our government has spent beyond its means too but has financed that through borrowing (denominated in U.S. dollars), not running the printing presses hard at the mint.  And if the U.S. dollar collapses, Australia will be able to get a heap of U.S. dollars very cheaply and thus retire a big lot of its debts very easily.

A wise American would put a lot of his funds into the banks of any major country with a well managed economy.  Canada would be a bad bet there now it is the hands of Pretty Boy.  There is no doubt he will manage the Canadian economy badly

On August 6, 2015, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and HSBC (NYSE:HSBC) took delivery of a sum total of 7.1 tons of physical gold. No, I have not made any typographical errors. And no, I am not talking about electronic paper claims. I am talking about shiny yellow metal stuff that you can touch and feel.

The gold bars were not purchased for bank clients. They were purchased for the banks themselves. How do I know this? They are designated by the exchange as being for delivery to the bank's "house" accounts at COMEX, not to client accounts.

Goldman Sachs, alone, took 3.2 tons worth of physical gold bars. Yet, even as the firm builds its stockpile, Goldman tells clients not to do it. According to Goldman's Jeffrey Currie, the long-term outlook for gold is bleak.

They bought 3.9 metric tons at COMEX, no doubt at rock bottom prices, and it was just delivered into the bank's house account. Note that we are NOT talking about paper-gold. Both bought physical gold bars! Apparently, top Goldman and HSBC executives are "gold bugs." They do not, apparently, believe in the promises made by the gold trust (NYSEARCA:GLD), or at least they are not willing to use the trust's shares as a substitute for hard metal bars.

Physical gold is a long-term investment, everywhere and always. They are not particularly hard to sell, especially now, but short-term trading would be much easier with paper-gold products like GLD or gold futures. Remember, vaults cost money, as do big men with big guns and the knowledge of how to use them. The banks are choosing to accumulate and hoard physical gold bars for a reason.


Note.  Most new money is created via the banks.  Printing it is mainly a metaphor.


Trump Delivers A Speech For The Ages

The media all called the speech a disaster but that was to be expected

One speech does not a campaign victory make – that is until last night when Donald Trump delivered his much-anticipated speech on immigration. The speech was, in its passion, in its emotional connection with Trump’s audience, and most importantly in its substance, a speech for the ages.

And, we might add, in Trump’s adoption of the very language we here at CHQ have used since his first major speech on economic growth, a renewal of his promise to “forgotten Americans” of all races, creeds and colors Trump Angel Momsthat hope and help are on the way.

While much of the establishment media commentary focused immediately on Trump’s 10-point plan for reestablishing America’s borders and immigration system in a way that serves and protects Americans first, we think one of the most important parts of the speech was Trump’s vision for his Administration beyond immigration enforcement.

It is “We will accomplish all of the steps outlined above, and when we do, peace and law and justice and prosperity will prevail.”

What has Hillary Clinton got to offer to counter that?

The chaos and terror of open borders, the free-falling quality of life of economic stagnation and the cultural disaster of Muslim immigration that has destroyed Sweden and that is despoiling Germany and France even as you read this column.

As important as that theme was to the speech, the most important rhetorical element of the speech was how Donald Trump established the need for his 10-point plan:

"When politicians talk about immigration reform, they usually mean the following: amnesty, open borders, and lower wages.

Immigration reform should mean something else entirely: it should mean improvements to our laws and policies to make life better for American citizens.

But if we are going to make our immigration system work, then we have to be prepared to talk honestly and without fear about these important and sensitive issues.

For instance, we have to listen to the concerns that working people have over the record pace of immigration and its impact on their jobs, wages, housing, schools, tax bills, and living conditions. These are valid concerns, expressed by decent and patriotic citizens from all backgrounds.

We also have to be honest about the fact that not everyone who seeks to join our country will be able to successfully assimilate. It is our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish here."

In those five short paragraphs Donald Trump threw down the folly and conceit of Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, John McCain, the Gang of Eight, Facebook Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, the US Chamber of Commerce and the rest of the open borders econometric school of immigration policy.

And finally, Donald Trump framed the core debate going into the post-Labor Day campaign as immigration and claimed the mantle of change agent by challenging the Washington establishment and media:

"Instead, the media and my opponent discuss one thing, and only this one thing: the needs of people living here illegally.

The truth is, the central issue is not the needs of the 11 million illegal immigrants – or however many there may be.

That has never been the central issue. It will never be the central issue.

Anyone who tells you that the core issue is the needs of those living here illegally has simply spent too much time in Washington.

Only out of touch media elites think the biggest problem facing American society today is that there are 11 million illegal immigrants who don’t have legal status.

To all the politicians, donors and special interests, hear these words from me today: there is only one core issue in the immigration debate and it is this: the well-being of the American people. Nothing even comes a close second."

If Hillary Clinton has been looking weak and haggard on the campaign trail she must be positively terrified now, because last night Donald Trump rallied an army fiercely determined to take its country back and reclaim the promise that she and Barack Obama have stolen from them.



Ann Coulter: Trump's Immigration Policy Address Was "The Greatest"

In an interview with Breitbart News Daily host Raheem Kassam, Ann Coulter described Donald Trump's immigration policy speech yesterday as "the greatest speech ever given."

"I think we can start working on the Trump transition team," she added.

"I’m just going to watch it whenever I’m not on radio or sleeping," she said. "That was the most perfect speech, and Trump – I describe this in In Trump We Trust, he is so brilliant. Every time you think Trump has made a mistake – and I describe these incidents in my book, as with John McCain, and we’ve seen it recently with the claims about Khizr Khan, this snarling Muslim at the Democratic convention, lecturing Trump on how he’s not allowed to venture opinions because his son didn’t die in Iraq. Look, maybe I don’t know America, and maybe Khizr Khan knows it better, but I don’t think that’s going over well."

"In any event, all throughout this campaign, he’d do things that at first I thought, ‘Ah, I wish he hadn’t said that,’ and then I learned to start telling my friends – who’d call me as if they could yell at me for everything Trump does – and I’d say, ‘Just wait a few days. Let’s see how it plays out.’ And look at what he did, with the stuff he said on Hannity last week, on the alleged softening," she continued. "He got every network to cover that speech live, the most magnificent speech in human history."



Economic Conspiracies

By Walter E. Williams

A general economic principle is that any law or regulation that restricts market entry tends to impose the greatest burden on those who can be described as poor, latecomers, discriminated-against and politically weak.

The president of the NAACP's St. Louis chapter, Adolphus Pruitt, has petitioned a circuit court judge to reject the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission's conspiratorial call to issue a temporary restraining order that would force Uber to shut down. He says the order would negatively impact nearly 2,000 African-Americans who work as Uber partners in black neighborhoods that have long been ignored by taxis and other transportation providers. In a statement, Pruitt said, "The immediate harm of a (temporary restraining order) would strand thousands of African American riders who depend on Uber to travel around a city that has measurable gaps in its transportation system and has failed to serve our neighborhoods for decades."

St. Louis taxicab restrictions are not nearly so onerous as those in some other cities. In New York, the license, called a medallion, to own one taxi costs $704,000. In Chicago, the medallion price in 2015 was $270,000, down from $357,000 in 2013. Boston medallions currently sell for about $200,000, and that's down from $700,000 several years ago. The effect of these licensing restrictions is to close the market to those who do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars or are unable to acquire a loan to purchase a medallion. I'd ask my liberal friends: Who are the people least likely to have those resources?

Entry restrictions are not necessarily a racial issue. Those who are in a monopoly arrangement find it in their interest to keep outsiders out. If they can do so, it means they can charge higher prices and earn higher income. That means blacks who are part of a taxicab monopoly share the same interests as whites in that industry.

There are hundreds of conspiratorial entry restrictions that work against blacks. George Leef has a story in Forbes about a case before the courts, Pritchard v. Board of Cosmetology. The plaintiff is Tammy Pritchard, a policewoman who would like to supplement her income by working in a hair salon owned by a friend. The salon specializes in African hair braiding, and Pritchard wants to shampoo customers' hair. After she had been working a few months, Tennessee Board of Cosmetology officials barred her from washing hair because she lacks a governmental license to do so. Under the board's regulations, an individual must complete "not less than 300 hours" of instruction "in the practice and theory of shampooing" at an approved school. Pritchard cannot afford the time and money costs, so she has lost a source of income.

My colleagues at the Institute for Justice have waged war against economic restrictions since 1991 and have had a number of important successes. Among hair braiders the Institute for Justice has liberated from onerous regulations are those in Arkansas, California, Iowa, Washington and Missouri. The institute has successfully waged war against taxi licensing and other transportation restrictions in Bowling Green, Milwaukee, Chicago, Florida, Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and elsewhere. Its successes in other areas of liberty can be found on its website.

The most devastating and difficult-to-change economic conspiracy is the minimum wage law. The conspiratorial aspect of the law is that it prices all people out of the job market whose skills do not provide the value of the minimum wage. Put yourself in the place of an employer and ask yourself whether you would hire a person whom the minimum wage law mandates you pay $7.25 an hour if that person were so unfortunate that he could add only $5 worth of value an hour. Most employers would view hiring such a low-skilled person as a losing economic proposition, but they might hire him if he could be paid $5 an hour. Unfortunately, the minimum wage law is seen as sacrosanct, and that conspiracy will continue in perpetuity — robbing youngsters, particularly black youngsters, of a chance to get their feet on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.



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