Friday, October 14, 2016

Republican voters, evangelicals rally around Trump as Congressmen cower

In the midst of a major battle, you do not abandon your post.

That is the message Republican voters, evangelical leaders and conservatives have for Republican establishment leaders in Washington, D.C. who were tripping over themselves to abandon Donald Trump in the wake of the embarrassing decade-old hot mic video of him bragging about his sexual exploits and coming on to married women.

A flash poll by Politico/Morning Consult found what anybody who remembers the failed Bill Clinton impeachment effort, wherein he lied under oath about having sexual relations with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which is that nobody actually cares about the sexual exploits of rich and powerful men.

74 percent of Republican voters in the poll said they thought that party officials should stand by Trump despite the video revelations. Just 13 percent said they should abandon him. In the meantime, a coalition of prominent evangelical Christian leaders rallied behind Trump, including Tony Perkins, Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr., who appeared willing to look past Trump’s past indiscretions.

Perkins told BuzzFeed News in an email: “My personal support for Donald Trump has never been based upon shared values, it is based upon shared concerns about issues such as: justices on the Supreme Court that ignore the constitution, America’s continued vulnerability to Islamic terrorists and the systematic attack on religious liberty that we’ve seen in the last 7 1/2 years.”

Republicans and conservatives rallying around Trump came after a miasma of elected Republican leaders in Congress dumped support for Trump: Sen. John Thune (R-N.D.) called for Trump to withdraw from the race, along with Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and many others. My own local Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) threw Trump under the bus.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to support Trump. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) cancelled a scheduled event with Trump in Wisconsin.

Oh sure, they say they want Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence to somehow step in, ignoring the fact that it’s basically impossible for anybody but Trump to appear on every state’s ballot, meaning, as noted by national radio host Mark Levin on Monday, that it would result in Republicans and Pence losing in a “massive landslide.”

Apparently, they’d rather lose the White House for four to eight years to Hillary Clinton — and all the consequences that come with that — than to keep fighting. Even as their own voters are rallying to Trump.

Apparently these “leaders” have no idea what animates their own followers. Ryan was booed by some at his event, with some Trump supporters chanting “shame, shame” after the event as he left the stage. Trump campaign manager Kelly Ann Conway chastised Ryan on CBS This Morning on Sunday, saying, “Speaker Ryan of course took to the stage in Wisconsin at his event and faced some boos from the crowd because those who were expecting to see Donald Trump tell us that many of us don’t want to support him and we’re going to take the case directly to their voter.”



I’m a young African-American and I’m voting Trump

I IDENTIFY myself as the colour red. Which means I’m looking forward to Friday, January 20, 2017.

If you don’t know what day that is I will fill you in. That is the day Mr Trump will be sworn in as our president for the next four years. So for all of us who have put in time volunteering, researching our facts, and preparing mentally for that day, we will be very proud to say where we stood from day one.

My name is ShoMore I. DeNiro, I am a 23-year-old African-American woman and I proudly support Donald Trump.

Over the weekend there was a lot of focus on Mr Trump’s comments about women while he was recording a TV program in 2005. As a woman I don’t like his very vulgar comments at all, but it was a private conversation over 10 years ago, and I know this is just locker room talk for some men.

Nobody should be surprised that Trump said this, he has no filter at times, but I still agree with everything he says politically. In fact former President Bill Clinton has done worse while he was President and lied under oath. So no this latest news doesn’t change my vote for Donald Trump at all.

I reside in Canfield, Ohio, which is part of the Youngstown area. If you are familiar with this area, then you would know how “blue” this state can be. Being a Trump supporter in this area is tough, especially if you are African-American. I go to a college that is predominantly African-American.

I wear my “Trump/Pence Make America Great Again” shirt proudly! I know what will be great for our country.
ShoMore (left) isn’t afraid to be a loud and proud Trump supporter.

People have the tendency to ask why? What is wrong with you? How can you vote for him and you’re black? Why not? Nothing is wrong with me. I am voting for him because I am African-American!

I come from two strong working American parents who have strongly installed in my mind that nothing is for free, especially if you want to go somewhere and be great!

Here are my main for reasons for voting for Trump in a countdown.


That includes me and so many others that I know. We want our jobs back. We want a fulltime job with great benefits. Being a young adult this is important. We spend so many years going to school to get that extra education to master our soon to be career. For what? Not to find one?


The man has over 500 companies! He knows how to make something great. Who else can receive money from their father and actually turn it into way more than what they received? To the point where he could pay it back and nothing was lost. He understands what would be a great loss, and what wouldn’t be. He has done business with so many different countries. I am positive he will do well for Americans.


As a young lady this should empower women. Young girls are always saying they want to be a princess, but wouldn’t you want to be a young woman with goals you have achieved? You do not have to wear big puffy dresses to be great. Ivanka has a family and still works hard and shows true dedication. She motivates a lot of young women and girls out here.


He is tough, bold, and cannot be bought! I cannot say that for the other former presidents and candidates. President Obama and his wife are support a lady who in 2008 they said was not fit to be president! Now they want the us to vote for her?

Donald Trump stands for what he says and doesn’t back down. To African-Americans he said, “What do you have to lose?”. Absolutely nothing! So many blacks complain about not being able to find a job, being laid off, or even the first to be fired on jobs. They say that their children are not getting a great education in their schools. Yet, they want to elect another democrat?

People thought what he said was harsh, but it’s what Americans need to hear. He’s not going to back down, because someone doesn’t like what he says.

It is so sad that people actually still vote for a liar and a manipulator. To be truthfully honest, when it comes to the negative feedback the Hillary supporters are the worst.
Donald Trump campaigning in Ohio in August. Picture: Angelo Merendino/Getty Images/AFP

Not too long ago my friends and I from Student for Trump got together and did a quiet protest when former President Bill Clinton was in town. We received the finger multiple times, were told they didn’t like us (even though they knew nothing about us), and that we were uneducated. Which is quite absurd. We are very educated. That is mainly the reason that we will vote for Trump, because we have done our research and we support what he believes in.

I’ve had incidents where a girl and I almost got ran over at the Youngstown McDonald’s after leaving Trump’s Foreign Policy Event. Why? Because we were for Mr Trump.

People ask me “are you fine with him building that wall?” Hecks yes! I would even help. That wall is to protect us Americans. Secure our safety not only for us, but for our friends, and families.

If everyone would just listen and stop being so biased for a second, they would see that Trump is doing absolutely nothing but trying to keep us safe. He wants to bring back the values and morals we use to have in our country.

When he says, “Make America Great Again” that means with our education. One time America was at the top with education, now it has sunk. He is also discussing our jobs. We use to have jobs here and the unemployment rate wasn’t where it is now. Most importantly he wants to bring security to families. Which means taking jobs off our enemies, and building that wall!

This is a great election and I am so proud to be volunteering for this campaign and meeting wonderful people who are just as passionate about politics and our country as I am. I hope that on November 8, 2016 everyone has done their research completely. I am the colour red and I want to help by voting Donald Trump to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!



Hillary lied in debate about not bragging, laughing about getting child rapist off the hook

It is one thing for a politician to lie, it is completely different for Hillary Clinton to lie to the face of the rape victim she laughed at repeatedly. During the town hall style second presidential debate, Kathy Shelton who was raped at the age of 12 sat in the audience as Clinton pretended the mid-1980s tape of her laughing about the securing the release of Shelton’s rapist in 1975 did not exist. Unfortunately for Clinton, it does exist. And it is the reason many females cannot accept her as our leader, let alone the entire nation’s.

During the second presidential debate Trump brought up crippling stories regarding the Clintons, particularly discussing Hillary Clintons aforementioned tape where she is heard laughing about Shelton’s rape case, Clintons response, “Well, first, let me start by saying that so much of what he’s just said is not right.”

But Trump is right, and we have known that for two years.

In June of 2014, the Washington Free Beacon unearthed an interview between reported Roy Reed and Clinton captured on tape and available through the Special Collections Department of the University of Arkansas Libraries. The tape clearly has Clinton bragging about the case, blocking evidence and laughing about her defendant’s crime, at one point she jokes, “I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs.” Her laughter is audible.

Clinton admitted that she believed her client committed the crime and vigorously defended him anyway. As a lawyer this is Clinton’s job, what is disgraceful is lying to the country in front of the victim, mocking her plight, and then continually acting as an advocate for women’s protection.

However, Kathy Shelton is no longer that 12-year-old girl and she made her position on Clinton very strong.

On Oct. 9, 2016 Shelton’s tweets spoke volumes about Clinton. Shelton wrote, “I don’t care if Trump said gross things. I care that Hillary Clinton lied, terrorized, & mocked me, defending my rapist,” “Hillary Clinton is a cold-hearted liar. The lies she told about me, 12 yr old rape victim, traumatized me nearly as much as the rape itself,” and “No little girl should suffer violent rape like I did… But no grown woman should attack that little girl like Hillary Clinton did.”

Most devastatingly, she called for the support and justice she did not receive when she was 12, tweeting, “At 12 I was one of the first women Hillary Clinton destroyed, but I wasn’t the last. Please put an end to this woman’s career of abusing us.”



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, October 13, 2016

Words Versus Deeds

Donald Trump’s gutter talk about women shows yet again that he is bad news. The problem is that Hillary Clinton is far worse.

Women have a right to be offended by Trump’s words. But women have suffered a far worse fate from Secretary Clinton’s and President Obama’s actions. Pulling American troops out of Iraq, despite military advice to the contrary, led to the sudden rise of ISIS and their seizing of many women and young girls as sex slaves.

A message from one of these women urged the bombing of ISIS. She said she would rather be dead than live the life of a sex slave. Some women who tried to commit suicide and failed have been tortured for trying.

Meanwhile, President Obama tried to downplay ISIS with flippant words, by calling them the junior varsity. His half-hearted, foot-dragging military response has allowed ISIS to parade before the world as triumphant conquerors, appealing to disgruntled people in Western countries to carry out terrorist attacks in support of their cause.

That is a lot worse than some stupid and gross words by Donald Trump, which even he has had to repudiate. Make no mistake about it. Neither party has a good candidate for President. The choice is between bad and disastrous.

Are women more in danger from Trump’s words or Hillary’s actions? Are Americans in general more in danger from Trump’s shallowness on issues or Hillary’s ruthless grabs for money and power – a track record that goes all the way back to the days when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas?

Mrs. Clinton’s own announced agenda attacks the very foundation of American Constitutional government, on which Americans' own freedom depends. She has already said that she will appoint Supreme Court justices who will specifically overturn a recent Supreme Court decision, “Citizens United versus FEC.”

That decision said that both corporations and labor unions have freedom of speech, including the right to contribute money toward political campaigns.

Hillary Clinton’s determination to pick judicial appointees on the basis of their willingness to overturn that decision is a more brazen extension of the political left’s other attempts to stifle the free speech of those who oppose their agenda.

Demands that various advocacy organizations reveal the names of all their donors are an obvious attempt to scare off those donors, with harassment by everyone from vandals to rioters to the Internal Revenue Service and other government bureaucrats.

Without the right to free speech, none of the other rights is safe. Government officials can get away with all sorts of abuses, if others are not free to talk about those abuses.

Despite Hillary Clinton’s claims to be a champion for black people, her political agenda threatens the education of black children, the employment of black adults and the physical safety of black communities.

Mrs. Clinton is on the side of the teachers' unions that want to stop the expansion of charter schools, even though these are among the very few places where black children can get a quality education to prepare them for a better future. Here, as with other issues, her public statements are contradicted by her actions.

No law has done more damage to the employment prospects of young blacks than the federal minimum wage law. But nothing is easier, or more popular, than for some politician to raise the minimum wage – despite the fact that unemployment rates among black young people have skyrocketed to several times what they were before.

You don’t get any wage at all when you are unemployed. And if you are young and unemployed, you don’t get any job experience to help you rise up the ladder, when you don’t get on the ladder.

As for safety in the black community, Hillary Clinton has allied herself with those who demonize the police. The net result has been a sharp increase in the number of blacks killed by other blacks, as criminal elements take control of the streets when the police are not allowed to. Do you choose a President by talk – or by actions and consequences?



It Wasn't Donald Trump Who...

It wasn't Donald Trump who for personal convenience as secretary of state flouted the rules and long-established procedures, taking the unprecedented step of evading the official secure government email system in favor of a private email server for government business, including classified information. And it wasn't Donald who then had the server scrubbed, destroying thousands of messages that were not only government property, but evidence, and then couldn't provide a credible reasons for any of it.

It wasn't Donald Trump whose possible-criminal situation caused untold irregularities in the operation of the State Department, the FBI and the Justice Department. Those included a "chance" meeting on an airport tarmac between the prime suspect's husband and the attorney general of the United States, putting dozens of public servants in the position to destroy their credibility and trustworthiness to save a presidential candidate's backside.

It wasn't Donald Trump whose vast experience in government in the U.S. Senate and the State Department resulted in neglecting dozens of requests for increased security prior to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. That attack resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans. And it wasn't Trump who then blamed an obscure Internet video for a clear terrorist attack, resulting in jailing the video's producer.

And it wasn't Donald Trump whose frequent profanity-laced tirades insulted and denigrated Secret Service agents and White House staffers.

But that was a long time ago, and since all of that was a long time ago, it probably isn't relevant that it also wasn't Donald Trump who worked for the congressional committee investigating the Watergate cover-up many years ago, and was fired for lying.

It was Donald Trump who took some money from his father, invested it in businesses and created hotels, casinos, golf courses and television shows. Some of his creations didn't work out, as is not uncommon in the world of business. Luminaries such as Henry Ford, Walt Disney, F.W. Woolworth, Albert Einstein and Bill Gates also sometimes failed.

It was Donald Trump who claimed business losses of nearly a billion dollars on tax returns many years ago, probably cancelling an equal amount of income over several years, using provisions in the tax code to reduce taxable income, just as most every American who pays taxes does through deductions for such things as dependents, mortgage interest and charitable giving.

For taking legal tax deductions Trump has attracted mountains of criticism from his betters, who somehow twist this into meaning he doesn't care about the country, or the military and dozens of other things. But the thousands of people who work in his businesses do pay taxes, and that is significant.

And, yes, it was Donald Trump who managed to anger his primary opponents and many Americans with his petulant personal attacks against those who opposed and challenged him. His crass manner leaves much to be desired, and his locker room vulgarity, spoken in private 11 years ago, justifiably repulsed anyone not blinded by partisanship. But if some rapper had used those same words as lyrics, it'd be #1 on Billboard.

Apparently, it's a more serious offense to say things that offend someone than to put national interests at risk, to lose $6 billion of State Department funds and generally fail to competently run the agency you've been entrusted to run, and then go on to make millions giving $250,000 secret-content speeches to Wall Street banks that you publicly criticize. By virtue of merely having been elected a U.S. senator and appointed as a cabinet secretary, you are thus qualified to be president, even if the "best" you did in those positions was inconsequential or, too often, harmful.

Strangely, people are more offended by Trump's words than Hillary's vicious attacks on her hubby's numerous sexual victims and conquests, her position on coal mining and the Supreme Court, and her comments supporting open borders, spoken in a private $250,000 speech.

Trump is a crass bully with an authoritarian streak. Clinton's hubris already put national security at risk, and she will continue Obama's dangerous, destructive, and unconstitutional policies. Thus is our choice.



Trump Will Win the National Battle for Legitimacy

BY DAVID P. GOLDMAN (Whom I have always found to be an unusually insightful commentator -- JR)

The referee should have stopped it in the tenth. Punching at will, Donald Trump said, "Hillary used the power of her office to make $250 million. Why not put some money in? You made a lot of it while you were secretary of State? Why aren't you putting money into your own campaign? Just curious." Reeling and against the ropes, Clinton gasped that she supported ... the Second Amendment. It was a brilliant rhetorical device: under the rubric of campaign financing, Trump slipped in an allegation that Clinton corruptly enriched herself by using the power of her office for personal gain--and Clinton didn't even respond. That's a win by a knockout.

That's the decisive issue of the campaign: the corrupt machinations of a ruling elite that considers itself above the law, and the rage of the American people against the oligarchical ruling class that has pulled the ladder up behind it. Trump's bombshell below Clinton's waterline came at the end of the debate, well prepared by jabs at Clinton's erased emails and Bill's rapes. Trump used the "J" word--that is, jail. That was perhaps the evening's most important moment. This is not an election fought over competing policies but a struggle for legitimacy. A very large portion of the electorate (how large a portion we will discover next month) believes that its government is no longer legitimate, and that it has become the instrument of an entrenched rent-seeking oligarchy.

By and large, I agree with this reading. "America's economy is corrupt, cartelized and anti-competitive," I wrote in August. It is typical of rent-seeking that Lockheed Martin's stock price has tripled during the past three years, and payment to its top management team has risen from $12 million a year to over $60 million a year, while Lockheed Martin's F-35 languishes in cost overruns and deployment delays. Produce a lemon and get rich: that's Washington. It is not a trivial matter, or unrepresentative of our national condition, that the FBI director who declined to prosecute Mrs. Clinton for mishandling of classified material just returned to government from a stint at Lockheed Martin, where he was paid $6 million for a single year's service. I don't know whether FBI Director Comey is corrupt. But it looks and smells terrible.

That's why it was so important for Trump to talk about jail time for his opponent. If things had not gotten to the point where former top officials well might belong in jail, Trump wouldn't be there in the first place. The Republican voters chose a reckless, independently wealthy, vulgar, rough-edged outsider precisely because they believe that the system is corrupt. They are right to so believe; if the voters knew a tenth of what I know about it, they would march on Washington with pitchforks.

Panicky GOP Leaders Should Come Home after Trump Wins Debate #2
The whole weekend news cycle centered around Trump's potty-mouth tape, which will count for exactly nothing in the final tally. No-one who has followed Donald Trump in public media for the past thirty years expected anything less from the great vulgarian. We are stuck with Trump precisely because the Republican establishment imploded over Iraq and the economy.

I assumed that Trump's diffidence during the first debate amounted to profiling his opponent. No-one would remember what was said in the first debate come the general election, and Trump appeared to be probing and watching Clinton's responses. This time he has bloodied her. Whether there is more to come--a thermonuclear revelation of some kind--I have no idea. But given Trump's experience in the entertainment business, we can assume that the really nasty stuff will come out later.

Whoever wins, a very large part of the electorate--perhaps more than a third--will believe that the government lacks legitimacy. We have not had circumstances like this since the Civil War. If Trump loses, his voters will blame a corrupt oligarchy and its allied media for electing a criminal to the White House; if Clinton loses, the minority constituencies of the Democratic Party will respond as if the Klu Klux Klan had taken over Washington. There has never been anything like this in the past century and a half of American history, and it is thankless to predict the outcome. Nonetheless I will: Trump will crush it. Clinton, the major media, the pollsters, and the mainstream Republican Party have badly misread the insurrectionist mood of the electorate.



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, October 12, 2016

Mary Matalin: ‘We Have a Republican Nominee Who Has a Private Conversation about Sex He’s Not Getting and the Party Abandons Him’

The Donks and their media servants are trying to make mountains out of a molehill

Republican strategist Mary Matalin said during a roundtable discussion Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that the Democratic Party stood behind President Bill Clinton during his sex scandal with a White House intern but the Republican Party is abandoning GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump for a “private conversation about sex he’s not getting.”

“So here we have -- this is a difference between the parties. We have a Democrat who acts with his intern in the White House and the party rallies around him. We have a Republican nominee who has a private conversation about sex he's not getting and the party abandons him,” said Matalin, referring to President Bill Clinton and Trump, respectively.

ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd said Trump’s brand was “seriously damaged” by videotaped remarks he made in 2005 that surfaced over the weekend, where Trump is heard bragging about kissing and groping women.

Dowd compared it to the aftermath of golfer Tiger Woods when news came out about Woods’ marital infidelity.

“This is Hurricane Donald this weekend as a category 5 when you look at this, and I think we're going to look at the aftermath of this. I was thinking about the effect that this could have. To me this is akin to Tiger Woods in the Escalade hitting the fire hydrant in 2009. And ever since that, point his career was basically careened,” Dowd said.

When asked what Trump can do, Matalin said, “Well, he can do more of what he's been doing, but I disagree with that, and I would say something similar that we have seen in our 200 years is New Hampshire, 1992, Monica Lewinsky in the White House.

“So here we have -- this is a difference between the parties. We have a Democrat who acts with his intern in the White House and the party rallies around him. We have a Republican nominee who has a private conversation about sex he's not getting and the party abandons him,” she said.

“But that's what I'm talking about. What's unprecedented here is not just the tape it's the reaction over the last 48 hours,” host George Stephanopoulos said.

“Well, it says something about the party. It says something good about the party. It says something that is aggravating to conservatives out there of how the party does not stick with their nominee. He wasn't my first, second or 16th choice, but he's the guy,” Matalin said.

“Well, I think this tells you a couple things. One is a terrible thing. I can't defend it and do not plan to. But I'm not sure that -- I would have a little different view than Matt because unlike Tiger Woods there are big tidal forces underneath this debate. This election, ultimately, is not about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, both who have huge negatives,” Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said.

“Donald Trump, should be -- some of the things he said and done, if he hadn't done those, he might be 10 points ahead,” Castellanos said.

“What are those big tidal forces? This country is headed in the wrong direction. The ISIS JV team has turned into an NBA pro team. The economy is stagnant and people's lives feel like they're being wasted. Guess what, they're voting for change,” Castellanos added.

“First of all, this isn't just words. This isn't boys will be boys. This is somebody celebrating sexual predation, right. And in the 1990s, as Mary just mentioned, the Republicans went out of their way saying that a sexual predator shouldn't be in the White House,” Dowd said.

“And he was reelected,” Castellanos said about Bill Clinton.

“Wait a second. I'm talking about hypocrisy, hypocrisy, and now in 2016, Republicans are making the argument -- some Republicans are making the argument that it's OK to put a sexual predator back in the White House,” Dowd said.

“Sexual predator? Big talker. Locker room talker,” Matalin said.



An Independent Voter Explains How "The Trump Tape" Scandal 'Changed' His Mind

While the mainstream media does its best to make "The Trump Tapes" the biggest thing since, well the last thing they thought would 'kill' Trump, it appears that Republican voters (not the politicians themselves) are indifferent and unsurprised.

Of course, the lifelong Democrets, Washington establishmentarians, and Hillary sycophants are also indifferent and unsurprised: their vote is known from day one.

Which leaves The Independents, such as Zero Hedge reader LetThemEatRand, who earlier opined:

"This whole thing has pretty much taken me off the fence of deciding whether to vote 3rd party or stay home.  Seeing the incredible push by all of the DC power-brokers to have Trump withdraw over this has convinced me that it's not an act.  TPTB really are scared of him and desperately want Hillary to win.

That's good enough to convince me to vote for Trump.  I wonder if any others like me who didn't really buy the hype had a similar reaction.  I would guess yes"



Taxpayers Face Penalties That Discourage Work

News about taxes are almost never good. Here’s more bad news. Many Americans sacrifice far more to the federal government than they realize. Seniors who see their nominal incomes rise, for example, can suffer a loss of Social Security benefits that exceeds the explicit taxes they pay on any extra income. This new finding—laid out in great detail and announced last month by Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff and his colleagues—has major consequences for the incentive to work. If more seniors understood how such penalties operated, many would stop trying to raise their incomes, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman.

A senior making $85,000 who increases her income to $86,000, for example, could see her annual Medicare Part B premiums increase by a whopping $534.40, Goodman explains. The reason? Medicare premiums were never indexed to inflation. Thus, the penalty hits more people than was originally intended. Social Security benefits and earnings suffer a similar problem. Kotlikoff and company have derived a new statistic—called the lifetime net marginal tax rate—that factors in the loss related to future taxes and future entitlement benefits. At the worst extreme, Goodman writes, “workers can lose 95 cents out of each dollar they earn just in the current year.”

It goes without saying that entitlement penalties inflict great harm on seniors’ pocketbooks. Ironically, such disincentives to earning extra income also harm the public purse. “If we abolished the [Social Security] earnings penalty, the government would probably be a net winner,” Goodman writes. “Seniors would work more and earn more, and the other taxes they pay would more than make up for any short-term revenue loss.”



The sad truth about constitutions

In the United States of America (though not in many other countries) it is difficult to amend the formal, written Constitution. No doubt that difficulty helps to explain why such great efforts have always been made not to amend it but to reinterpret its unchanged provisions, in many cases to such a great extent that its plain meaning has been turned completely on its head (e.g., authority to regulate interstate commerce ultimately becoming a limitless grant of congressional power to regulate practically everything). Notice also the immense attention given to presidential appointments to the Supreme Court. If the justices did only what a Buchanan-type court is supposed to do, their identities would scarcely matter. Yet, because the High Court has increasingly become a law-making body in its own right, its membership may matter a great deal and therefore incite tremendous political controversy and conflict. Hardly anything illustrates better the degree to which the constitutional and normal-political levels are not separate and apart, but essentially one and the same.

The longing for fundamental, semi-permanent constitutional constraints has a long history, and Buchanan’s contributions only capped those of many previous deep jurisprudential thinkers. But, alas, people in their daily grasping for power and pelf cannot be kept penned within such institutional fences. They and their political representatives will—as they have throughout U.S. history—leap over or burst through such would-be containments. Constitutional constraints have been especially flimsy during times of national emergency. I have written about this aspect of the matter since the early 1980s; my book Crisis and Leviathan, among many other works, deals with it at considerable length.

This relationship might occur to someone walking along in the shallow water of a sandy beach. Often one puts his feet down on a seemingly solid surface. Yet, as soon as a wave washes over the area, the sand slips from beneath one’s feet, and one must take steps to keep from being undermined and upset in the surf. Likewise, a constitution may seem to provide a solid, durable foundation for the conduct of workaday political affairs, but the sensation is misleading. As soon as a real or imagined crisis occurs, the constitution’s seemingly solid foundation is washed away, and political actors take new steps to gain their objectives unconstrained by any stronger or more enduring restraints. Indeed, many such opportunists understand this relation well and prepare themselves to exploit a crisis to the maximum when one conveniently comes along—another matter on which I have written repeatedly.

In his parable of the wise and foolish builders, recounted in the Book of Matthew, chap. 7, Jesus refers to “a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” The parable might well be applied also in the field of constitutional political economy. Constitutions have inspired much hope among political philosophers and ordinary people. Sad to say, they have never held the potential to restrain the leviathan that many people expected or hoped they would hold. It is very hard to restrain determined political actors with mere parchment barriers. Indeed, it is pretty much impossible. Unless the constitution is soundly framed and written in the hearts of many influential people in society, it has little capacity to restrain people’s political grasping and folly.



Government Smacks Job Seekers with One-Two Punch

Finding a job in California is difficult but government makes it tougher still, according to Jobs For Californians: Strategies to Ease Occupational Licensing Barriers, a new report from the state’s Little Hoover Commission. “One out of every five Californians must receive permission from the government to work,” Commission Chair and former assemblyman Pedro Nava explains, down from one in 20 sixty years ago. This government barrier wields particular impact on those educated and trained outside of California, on veterans and on military spouses.

In California, the report notes, manicurists must complete at least 400 hours of classwork and training then take written and practical exams offered only in the cities of Fairfield and Glendale. The licensing board assigns the dates and if candidates can’t make it that day, “their candidacy is terminated, they lose their application fee and they must begin the application process all over again.”

As Nava explains, “when government limits the supply of providers, the cost of services goes up,” and those of “limited means” have a harder time accessing those services. Therefore “occupational licensing hurts those at the bottom of the economic ladder twice,” by imposing “significant costs on them should they try to enter a licensed occupation” and by “pricing the services provided by licensed professionals out of reach.” As Jobs for Californians explains, it’s actually worse.

Occupational regulations amount to “rent-seeking,” an attempt to gain influence “without contributing to productivity.” The licensing rules “serve to keep competitors out of the industry.” The rules also keep government employees in highly paid but essentially useless jobs. That is why, as the report notes, “when the Legislature eliminated the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology in 1997, Senator Richard Polanco resurrected it with legislation in 2002.” This board, one of the largest in the country, now boasts 94 employees and a budget of more than $17 million. Taxpayers should count that as pure waste.

“Getting government out of the way of people finding good jobs is a bipartisan issue,” Pedro Nava told Adam Ashton of the Sacramento Bee. Good luck with that. On all fronts, California legislators want to keep government in the way.



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, October 11, 2016

Harry Reid's petty politics block giving sick 'right to try' treatments

"If they saw what it does to somebody who was a healthy mom with a good career and great friends, and then all of a sudden this different path you can’t come back from, they would all say, 'what can I do to help?'"

That’s what Trickett Wendler, a mother of three young children, told a Milwaukee-based news station in February 2015, roughly a month before she succumbed to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Also called "Lou Gehrig's disease," after the legendary New York Yankees first baseman, ALS is a terrible, debilitating neurological disease that cuts short the lives of those it ravages. Sadly, there is no cure.

Wendler knew her time would be cut short, but she bravely fought for every breath, for her loving husband and children. "At this point in time," she said, "I know I’m drawing closer to the end."

Recently, the Senate was presented with the opportunity to help those like Trickett Wendler.

The Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act would allow patients with terminal illnesses to try investigational treatments when no other options are available. The bipartisan legislation, which offers a hope to terminally ill patients and families, is championed by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blocked the legislation from receiving a vote.

Supposedly, Reid had procedural disagreements. He complained that it didn’t receive a committee hearing. In fact, right to try was the subject of a September 22 hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Johnson.

Yet Reid’s objection was also grounded in disgusting partisan politics. Not only did he falsely claim that right to try wasn’t heard in committee, Reid also had the audacity to complain about Senate Republicans not rubber-stamping President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

But on right to try — as is often the case — Congress is lagging behind the states.

Thirty-two states have passed right to try laws. The list includes traditionally Republican states like Alabama and Texas, the Democratic strongholds of Oregon and Illinois, as well as purple states like New Hampshire and Nevada. Even California’s Democratic governor signed right to try legislation into law in late-September.

The Food and Drug Administration’s approval process for experimental drugs and treatments is a long and costly process, and terminally ill patients simply don’t have time to wait on bureaucracy disguised as “consumer protection.”

It’s true that the FDA does allow clinical trials for some experimental drugs and treatments that are going through the approval process, but only three percent of terminally ill patients participate in these trials.

The Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act keeps the federal government from prohibiting the production and prescription of experimental drugs that have cleared the first phase of the FDA approval process. In addition to protecting patients under treatment, the bill clears manufacturers and prescribers from any potential liability.

Right to try may not be the answer for all those who are terminally ill, but the glimmer of hope it offers by cutting through FDA bureaucracy simply can’t be understated. As Wendler’s daughter, Tealyn, recently said, "We don't have time and we don't have years to wait."

"It feels like you're stuck like the government is in charge of your life," the 12-year-old explained, "and they haven't been in your shoes either."

Just days before her death, Trickett Wendler offered a glimpse of what it’s like to be in her shoes:

"It’s gotten really scary, especially at night. Sometimes I'll wake up gasping for air, so I think I’m getting close — so I wanted you to know. I hope my story has a lasting impression that helps others because I pray to God that this disease never happens to them because ALS doesn’t care who you are."

Trickett Wendler’s words matter more than mine ever will. I hope Harry Reid will learn about her story and stop putting petty partisan politics ahead of good public policy.



Obamacare Rate Hikes: Incompetence or Sabotage?

By Newt Gingrich

Most Americans have seen the headlines about skyrocketing health-care premiums and insurers fleeing the individual marketplace—but few people understand why these things are happening. When you learn the story behind the trends, however, it’s hard not to wonder whether the Obama administration is deliberately sabotaging Obamacare.

The idea seems absurd until you examine how badly CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has administered a critical part of the law, the so-called premium stabilization programs. These programs were supposed to help the individual marketplace adjust to Obamacare’s new rules, and prevent the market from entering a “death spiral” of increasing premiums and fewer choices.

In other words, these were very important programs to get right. Unfortunately, the administration has botched almost all of them.

The Temporary Risk Corridors program, for example, was supposed to insulate insurers from the uncertainty they faced when setting rates in this new, unpredictable market. Insurers who set their premiums too low would have most of their losses subsidized by insurers who set them too high.

Repeatedly, CMS assured us that this program would be budget-neutral. Then, it suggested that taxpayer dollars could cover any deficits. Congress reacted to this bait-and-switch by inserting language into the appropriations bill expressly forbidding CMS from using taxpayer money for this purpose – essentially requiring CMS to live by its word.

Sure enough, the program ended 2014 with $2.5 billion more in insurer claims than in insurer collections. By law, CMS is required to pay the entirety of these claims to insurers, so it announced last month that the entire 2015 insurer collection will be used to pay off the 2014 balance with no money allocated for 2015 insurer losses. That means the 2016 insurer collection – the final year of the program -- will almost certainly fall short of paying what CMS owes to cover insurers’ losses in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Unfortunately, that means that the deficit will most likely be passed along to us, the American people, in the form of large increases in premiums. Of course, this is precisely the result the program was designed to avoid.

This lack of payment from the Temporary Risk Corridors program had a ripple effect that caused a different premium stabilization program to become deadly to many small insurers.

The Permanent Risk Adjustment program was created to reduce insurers’ incentives to take health status into account when enrolling individuals. The program makes an assessment of the health status of each insurer’s customer pool, and plans with healthier populations pay into the program while those with sicker populations receive money from it.

This sounds simple enough, but in practice it hasn’t been so easy. Larger, more established insurers with more developed specialty networks tend to attract much sicker customers than smaller ones. So smaller, less established insurers end up with relatively very large required payments under the program.

This should have been anticipated and manageable by these smaller insurers. However, when taken in combination with massive risk corridor shortfalls (insurers only received 12.6 percent of their claims in 2014), the risk adjustment program ended up impacting them much more than they anticipated.

These losses drove many of these smaller insurers off the exchanges.

The ultimate result is fewer plans to choose from in the individual marketplace. Residents of roughly one-third of the counties in the United States have only one insurance option on the exchanges. And again, this is precisely the result the program was supposed to prevent.

Finally, the Temporary Reinsurance Program was designed to reduce and stabilize premiums in the individual marketplace. Insurers were required to cut their premiums in the individual marketplace from 2014 through 2016 in anticipation of receiving reinsurance payouts to make up for any losses. Those payouts were to be financed through a fee on all payers -- individual, small group, large group, union plans, and self-insured – in order to subsidize the losses insurers were likely to face in the individual marketplace.

The program was also designed to be budget-neutral, with one added wrinkle. Out of the $25 billion that was supposed to be collected during the three-year life of the program, $5 billion was to be deposited in the U.S. Treasury to pay for an unrelated program.

Perhaps predictably, however, CMS did a poor job of assessing and collecting the funds. Only $9.7 billion of the required $12 billion was collected for 2014 (about 20 percent short). Only $6.4 billion of the required $8 billion was collected for 2015 (again, about 20 percent short).

The total collection for 2016 enrollment has not yet been completed, but the formula CMS used to determine how much insurers would have to contribute to the reinsurance fund seems to have been based on the same faulty formula that caused the 2014 and 2015 collections to come up 20 percent short.

It is tempting to blame this under-collection on incompetence—except for one significant detail. CMS issued its final rules for 2016 enrollment in March of 2015, several months after it had collected the vast majority of the 2014 funds. Officials knew the formula they were using was wrong, but stuck with it for the 2016 collections anyway, guaranteeing failure.

As a result, not only have insurers received less money than budgeted to recoup the losses they sustained from lowering their premiums, but the U.S. Treasury has only received $500 million of the $5 billion it is owed.

Assuming the 2016 collection falls 20 percent short again, CMS will owe about $8.5 billion to insurers and the U.S. Treasury combined, with only about $4 billion available to pay it.

Again, this means American taxpayers will bear the burden, either in the form of more debt to be paid for with higher taxes, or in higher insurance premiums to make up for the losses.

In short, all three of the premium stabilization programs that were supposed to make Obamacare workable were administered by CMS in a way that helped drive insurers from the  individual market and caused premiums to increase dramatically—at the risk of being repetitive, the exact opposite of these programs’ purpose.

Whether intentional or not, the conclusion is inescapable: President Obama’s Department of Health & Human Services has pushed the individual market into a death spiral.  Insurers are fleeing the marketplace and premiums are expected to spike dramatically (the average proposed increase for 2017 is 24 percent).

So as Hillary Clinton and other Democrats propose more big government health-care as solutions to the crisis that big government health-care created, ask yourself if this was their intent all along.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly on racial matters


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, October 10, 2016

Obama’s New Death Tax Threatens Family Farms and Businesses

Rep. Warren Davidson

We all knew President Barack Obama’s lame-duck presidency would be bad, but for the millions of Americans who work at family farms and businesses, it’s about to get a lot worse.

As Heritage Foundation tax expert Curtis Dubay wrote at The Daily Signal, Obama is trying to sneak in a tax hike in his twilight days. His Treasury Department unveiled midnight regulations that effectively would increase the death tax to 30 or 40 percent.

If Obama channeled his desire and creativity in raising taxes into cutting spending, we probably would have a budget surplus by now.

In this case, the president’s creativity involves tinkering with well-established “valuation discounts” that families use to calculate their death tax liability.

These valuation discounts are one reason family businesses have been able to accurately calculate the burden of the estate tax—popularly known as the death tax—so the business or farm itself can be passed from generation to generation.

If these valuation discounts didn’t exist, then every time an owner died, a business essentially would have to overvalue itself, and thus be subject to a higher effective tax bill than the law intends. Farms especially are affected by this issue, and the estate tax generally, because it is a lot harder to sell off 40 percent of your farm than 40 percent of stocks or other assets.

If that’s not too much of a burden, imagine being a partial owner of one of these farms.

If you own one-tenth of your grandfather’s farm, you don’t have enough say in the future of the business to decide whether you want to sell off the farm or pay the 40 percent tax to keep it.

Such partial owners are faced with a choice: Either sell off your share for much less than it is worth or pay the government 40 percent of its value. For family-owned businesses, built with the blood, sweat, and tears of ancestors, this is an immoral choice for the government to force on people.

This issue affects workers, too. In cutting costs and selling assets to pay the IRS, many family businesses facing a tragic death and an ensuing death tax are forced to downsize.

For the economy as a whole, this means that millions of people who work for small businesses could lose their jobs, just because the Internal Revenue Service wants an added piece of the action if a business owner dies.

What’s good for the economy is when businesses grow and innovate. They shouldn’t have to plan to liquidate their assets to pay the IRS bill whenever an owner dies.

Democrats are floating a plan for a 65 percent death tax in order to “level the playing field.” This is no more than socialist planning by elites to confiscate property from hardworking Americans to pay for failed government programs and spending that won’t improve standards of living.

For the mega-rich who have enough money to structure their assets, this works just fine. For hardworking Americans who put everything they own into creating jobs and building their business, this is not an option.

Regardless of the bad economics behind the death tax, the Obama administration is going about it in the wrong way.

Deciding tax policy is a power enumerated solely for Congress. This is something that should be decided in the open with a robust public debate. The Founding Fathers believed this too, which is why they gave Congress, and the House in particular (the “people’s House”), the power to initiate tax laws.

If Congress doesn’t do anything, this will mean an even greater increase of out-of-control executive authority.

That is why I introduced legislation, the Protect Family Farms and Businesses Act, to halt the Obama administration’s backdoor tax increase. It would prohibit the administration’s new rule, or any like it, from going into effect.

The bill already has more than 20 co-sponsors and the support of more than 100 organizations.

Too much is on the line for too many for Congress to stand idle. The jobs of millions of Americans are at stake.



Stopping Another Obamacare Bailout

When President Barack Obama made his case to the American people for Obamacare, he promised that it would both lower health insurance premiums and not add to the national debt.

Neither has been true.

One way Obamacare has been adding to the deficit is through illegal bailouts of insurance companies operating Obamacare plans through the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Government Accountability Office highlighted one bailout scheme last week when it released a report finding that since 2014, HHS has been illegally sending billions of “reinsurance” fees to insurance companies instead of sending those dollars to the United States Treasury where they belong.

But that isn’t the only way the Obama administration is plotting to illegally funnel your money to insurance companies.

A separate “risk corridor” program also promised Obamacare insurance companies a safety net if their customers used an unexpectedly high amount of health care. The way it was supposed to work was that those plans with low medical costs would pay into a fund and plans with high medical costs would take out of the fund. In theory, the fund was supposed to be deficit neutral.

But in reality far more plans experienced higher costs than they anticipated, leaving HHS with billions in claims from insurance companies but no way to pay them. The Obama administration has asked Congress to appropriate money to bail out these insurance companies, but Congress has rightly refused.

So now HHS is getting creative. On Sept. 9, HHS issued a memorandum addressing suits filed by insurance companies in federal court demanding risk corridor payments. HHS wrote that, “as in all cases where there is litigation risk, we are open to discussing resolution of those claims,” and that “we are willing to begin such discussions at any time.”

This language appears to suggest that HHS may be trying to illegally funnel money to Obamacare insurers through the Department of Justice’s Judgment Fund. In other words, since Congress has not appropriated money for nonbudget neutral risk corridor payments, HHS will just invite insurance companies to sue, and then the DOJ can pay the bill instead.

Last week, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; and I wrote a letter to the DOJ and HHS to make sure that doesn’t happen. Our letter notes that the Congressional Research Service has already found that the Judgment Fund may not be used to settle risk corridor claims and asks HHS to identify how it plans to pay the risk corridor settlements mentioned in their Sept. 9 letter.



A Taxing Situation

What would you think of an individual or a company that earned a pre-tax profit of $29.9 million in one year, paid nothing in taxes and still received a $3.5 million refund?

Am I speaking of Donald Trump? No, it is The New York Times Company. Forbes magazine studied the newspaper’s 2014 annual report, in which the company explained: “The effective tax rate for 2014 was favorably affected by approximately $21.1 million for the reversal of reserves for uncertain tax positions due to the lapse of applicable statutes of limitations.”

In other words the Times took advantage of tax laws that only good tax attorneys understand and in doing so was no different than Donald Trump. The Times, which obtained Trump’s supposedly confidential tax returns, made a big deal out of the Republican presidential candidate’s use of loopholes to avoid paying taxes.

Democrats are trying to make this part of their “fair share” scenario when, in fact, they are making the argument Republicans have been making for years for tax reform, which Trump has promised to do if he’s elected president.

The federal government is taking in record amounts of tax revenue, but is approaching a $20 trillion debt. The problem, noted Ronald Reagan, is not that the American people are taxed too little, but that their government spends too much.

No one is saying that Trump’s deductions were illegal, but that doesn’t matter to Democrats. As a Wall Street Journal editorial noted on Monday, “The left is committed to defeating Mr. Trump by whatever means possible, as many believe this end justifies any means, much as progressives have justified the Edward Snowden leaks despite the damage to national security.”

Leaking sealed or private documents is not a new strategy for Democrats. When Barack Obama was a candidate in the Democratic Senate primary in Illinois, the sealed divorce papers of his opponent, Jack Ryan, were shamelessly used to help defeat the “family values” Republican. Had that dirty trick not been used, Obama might never have been a senator, much less president.

Does anyone expect an IRS or Justice Department investigation into who leaked Trump’s tax records? Unlikely. FBI Director James Comey’s refusal to recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton for her deliberate mishandling of classified information seems to prove that the Obama administration is little more than an arm of her presidential campaign.

The left’s narrative — stated and implied — is that everything government does is good, and so it is only right that taxpayers pay increasing amounts of taxes no matter how irresponsible government is in spending them. In this thinking, government has replaced God and taxes have replaced the collection plate, which at least amasses voluntary contributions.

Politicians mostly like the tax code the way it is because they can tweak it in exchange for campaign contributions from lobbyists. For the rest of us, the tax code is a foreign language impossible for most to understand. Even the IRS doesn’t fully understand it. If you call the IRS for advice and the advice they give you is wrong, you can still be subject to penalties and interest.

Republicans in high tax states and at the federal level should use the left’s “smoking gun” on Trump’s taxes as a weapon to demand tax reform. Flat and fair taxes have been suggested. Anything is better than the current system. Real tax reform would ensure that Trump paid some taxes, though they would likely be lower for him than for everyone else who pays them.

After that, maybe the conversation can shift to the real problem: government spending.



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, October 09, 2016

Federal censorship alive and well

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has decided to remain a step behind the changing technological world, likely so that they can still have a place in our government. After an FEC meeting and vote it has been decided that the organization would continue its censorship of Internet based websites, radio, streamed movies and even books. Effectively allowing the organization to maintain control over a significant portion of modern American media.

An amendment submitted to the FEC on Sept. 29, 2016 by Commissioner Lee Goodman specifically aimed at modernizing exemptions to FEC regulation in accordance with technological changes in the 21 century was struck down by Democrats led by Ann Ravel, who called the attempt “pitiful.”

Ravel won based on a split 3-3 decision, meaning the law would stand as is without an expansion of the “press exemption” which currently states that “a media entity’s costs for carrying news stories, commentary and editorials are not considered ‘contributions’ or ‘expenditures.’”

With Goodman’s proposal online blogs, documentaries, satellite radio and books would be free of FEC regulation and suppression. As Goodman defends, this would clarify the law without changing it. Why?

Because it would follow the framers’ intention within the First Amendment of the Constitution where freedom of press is explicitly outlined. They did not mean the “press” as some elite cadre of journalists, they meant the printing press, as explained by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh in his 2011 paper on the topic, “The Freedom…of the Press, from 1791 to 1868 to Now:  Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or the Press as a Technology?”

“Through-out American history, the dominant understanding of the Free Press Clause (and its state constitutional analogs) has followed the press-as-technology model. This was likely the original meaning of the First Amendment. It was pretty certainly the understanding when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. It was the largely unchallenged orthodoxy until about 1970,” Volokh writes.

Volokh continues, “Since 1970, a few lower court decisions have adopted the press-as-industry model. But this has been a distinctly minority view. Supreme Court majority opinions have continued to provide equal treatment to speakers without regard to whether they are members of the press as industry. And while several opinions have noted that the question remains open, the bulk of the precedents point towards equal treatment for all speakers — or at least to equal treatment for all who use mass communications technologies, whether or not they are members of the press as industry.”

The freedom of the press so often interlocks with freedom of speech, but the press, which can be used by anyone, obviously protects an individual right that cannot be abridged.

That is, whether the writer is working in a blog, through a video published online for streaming, or writing an e-novel, they deserve the protections of the First Amendment.

However, if this was upheld and regulations were not applicable to these groups of people the FEC might not have a reason to exist. The group would be unable to moderate the “contributions” and “expenditures” of any members of media in order to submit to the freedom of the press, forcing the FEC’s power to shrink significantly.

The current restrictions to freedom of the press contemplated by the FEC keep freedoms locked in an archaic, pre-constitutional time where today’s technology simply did not exist, and uses that as a justification for censorship. With Ravel’s debate remarks and Twitter attacks on the Washington Examiner and the Daily Caller for daring to report on Goodman’s amendment, it seems the “pitiful” right leaning media would be the first to be moderated by these unelected bureaucrats.



When you hear them scream, Mr. Trump, you know you’ve hit the mark

By Bill Wilson

The level of vitriol and sheer hysteria coming from the various outlets of the establishment press is the best indicator possible that Donald Trump’s message of American sovereignty and the restoration of constitutional government are getting through to the American people. The apologists and paid-mouthpieces of the self-appointed elite are in a near frenzy in a desperate attempt to block Trump and the legion of supporters he has attracted.

While partisan devotion can often result in overstatement and hyper-ventilated rhetoric, something is different this year. The political and media establishment have become far more vicious. They have dropped any pretense of impartiality, they openly brag about their willingness to break the law in order to score a few points against Team Trump. And the degree to which they throw away what little credibility they still have with the diminishing number of people who even bother to listen or read them is breath-taking.

All of this begs the question, why? Why risk everything on one election? Why impale yourself on lies, criminal behavior and outright deceit on an historic scale? The answer gets mentioned every now and again, always in passing or in some oblique reference; never head on and openly direct. The establishment and their hirelings in the media are afraid that the election of Donald Trump would, in the words of the Washington Post, “bring about the end of the era of American global leadership that began in 1945.”

So, what exactly are they talking about here? The Post and the herd of similar outlets are referring to the movement toward a world government enshrined in the Temple on Turtle Bay, the United Nations. They are talking about the end of independent nations, what Ann-Marie Slaughter — a devoted Hillary Clinton zealot — has called the “global administrative state.”  And, they are referring to the corporatist economic model that pumps trillions of dollars into a handful of international banks and corporations that are free from any government rules or regulation.

All of this and more is in fact on the line. When Trump denounces bogus “trade” deals, he is exposing the true nature of the corporatist economy; an economy that deindustrializes America and then tells the displaced workers to train their foreign replacements. It is an economy designed to build the capacity and wealth of foreigners at the expense of the United States.  “But, the overall levels of income are great and we get all those cheap goods,” the so-called free traders exclaim. This macro-level of income, of course obscures the fact that virtually all the gains have gone to the top of the economic pyramid and that middle America is dying before their eyes. And those cheap goods? Is it really better that we can buy a dishwasher or flat screen TV for less when the true price does not include the devastation inflicted on thousands of towns and communities across the nation? Does it really end up costing less; or, are the true costs hidden in drug overdose statistics, depressed real estate values and countless broken lives.

When Trump questions military alliances that were built in a different era and asks if the rationale is still valuable to the United States, the left and the media shriek in horror. But in point of fact many of those alliances have become little more than shakedown operations; con-games where American treasure and American lives get plundered so rich European and Asian nations can continue to prosper. Defense of the United States has become in a real sense secondary to defense of the “system” built up since 1945, a system of world entanglement and outright theft of American assets.

And, when Trump — like so many now in Europe — attacks the “open borders” lunacy of the global elites, the shop-worn insult of “racist” gets hurled. But it is not racist or wrong to want to defend the borders of our nation, it is for us as a people to decide who comes in and who does not. It is the most basic and fundamental right of a sovereign nation. But that, of course, is the whole point. The elites and their running dogs in the press don’t want sovereign nations, especially a sovereign United States. Trump exposes that and they hate him for it.

Trade policy that benefits American workers, policies seeking peace and not perpetual war, and a strong sovereign nation — these are the principles that outlets like the Washington Post and the New York Times cannot abide.  These so-called press outlets embrace the world vision of those that would destroy nations, that would give the owners of capital complete control while workers and communities are pressed down into eve deeper debt-slavery.  They are the drooling zombies of the “administrative state” that denies the people any rights independent of what some body of unelected “experts” grants them. They are, in every meaning of the term, propaganda pushers of tyranny.

So when the press howls, screams, insults, demeans and sneers, remember — it is a sign of their fear, fear that the American people have caught on to their con and that their day of reckoning is near.



The 'Quiet Catastrophe' of Men Choosing to Not Seek Work

The “quiet catastrophe” is particularly dismaying because it is so quiet, without social turmoil or even debate. It is this: After 88 consecutive months of the economic expansion that began in June 2009, a smaller percentage of American males in the prime working years (ages 25 to 54) are working than were working near the end of the Great Depression in 1940, when the unemployment rate was above 14 percent. If the labor force participation rate were as high today as it was as recently as 2000, nearly 10 million more Americans would have jobs.

The work rate for adult men has plunged 13 percentage points in a half-century. This “work deficit” of “Great Depression-scale underutilization” of male potential workers is the subject of Nicholas Eberstadt’s new monograph “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis,” which explores the economic and moral causes and consequences of this:

Since 1948, the proportion of men 20 and older without paid work has more than doubled, to almost 32 percent. This “eerie and radical transformation” — men creating an “alternative lifestyle to the age-old male quest for a paying job” — is largely voluntary. Men who have chosen to not seek work are two and a half times more numerous than men that government statistics count as unemployed because they are seeking jobs.

What Eberstadt calls a “normative sea change” has made it a “viable option” for “sturdy men,” who are neither working nor looking for work, to choose “to sit on the economic sidelines, living off the toil or bounty of others.” Only about 15 percent of men 25 to 54 who worked not at all in 2014 said they were unemployed because they could not find work.

For 50 years, the number of men in that age cohort who are neither working nor looking for work has grown nearly four times faster than the number who are working or seeking work. And the pace of this has been “almost totally uninfluenced by the business cycle.” The “economically inactive” have eclipsed the unemployed, as government statistics measure them, as “the main category of men without jobs.” Those statistics were created before government policy and social attitudes made it possible to be economically inactive.

Eberstadt does not say that government assistance causes this, but obviously it finances it. To some extent, however, this is a distinction without a difference. In a 2012 monograph, Eberstadt noted that in 1960 there were 134 workers for every one officially certified as disabled; by 2010 there were just over 16. Between January 2010 and December 2011, while the economy produced 1.73 million nonfarm jobs, almost half as many workers became disability recipients. This, even though work is less stressful and the workplace is safer than ever.

Largely because of government benefits and support by other family members, nonworking men 25 to 54 have household expenditures a third higher than the average of those in the bottom income quintile. Hence, Eberstadt says, they “appear to be better off than tens of millions of other Americans today, including the millions of single mothers who are either working or seeking work.”

America’s economy is not less robust, and its welfare provisions not more generous, than those of the 22 other affluent nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Yet America ranks 22nd, ahead of only Italy, in 25 to 54 male labor force participation. Eberstadt calls this “unwelcome ‘American Exceptionalism.’”

In 1965, even high school dropouts were more likely to be in the workforce than is the 25 to 54 male today. And, Eberstadt notes, “the collapse of work for modern America’s men happened despite considerable upgrades in educational attainment.” The collapse has coincided with a retreat from marriage (“the proportion of never-married men was over three times higher in 2015 than 1965”), which suggests a broader infantilization. As does the use to which the voluntarily idle put their time — for example, watching TV and movies 5.5 hours daily, two hours more than men who are counted as unemployed because they are seeking work.

Eberstadt, noting that the 1996 welfare reform “brought millions of single mothers off welfare and into the workforce,” suggests that policy innovations that alter incentives can reverse the “social emasculation” of millions of idle men. Perhaps. Reversing social regression is more difficult than causing it. One manifestation of regression, Donald Trump, is perhaps perverse evidence that some of his army of angry men are at least healthily unhappy about the loss of meaning, self-esteem and masculinity that is a consequence of chosen and protracted idleness.



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.

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