Tuesday, May 30, 2017


The last 12 hours have been very tearful for me. After a long battle, Chris Brand has just passed away.  Chris and I were born on opposite parts of the world but we could well have been twins. We were the same age, we both had a classical education (though Chris acquired his in  circumstances much more distinguished than mine) and both of us were very self-confident and independent and thought very similarly.  To defy all the nonsense that is taught in our society we had to be very self-confident and independent.  Both Chris and I waged an unrelenting war on political correctness.

Sadly, I never met Chris in person but I am pleased I had a proxy with him up to the end. My stepson Paul and I had always got on exceptionally well.  Paul too is very independent and there was a time in his teens and early 20s when I was the only person Paul would listen to if any kind of advice was being offered.  So when Paul moved to Edinburgh for business reasons I was greatly pleased that I could send him a friend very much like myself.  And Paul did indeed develop a great friendship with Chris.

Something that upsets me about Chris's death is that I could have prevented it if I had known earlier what I know now.  He died in an NHS (government) hospital of hospital-borne infections. He got one after another, progressively weakening him until he had nothing left to fight with.  NHS hospitals are riddled with hospital borne infections and Scottish NHS hospitals are said to be worse even than English ones.  Private British hospitals are however usually free of such infections.  With the benefit of hindsight I would have asked Paul to put Chris in a private hospital very early on.  I could have funded it and he would be with us today.

Curse and goddam the NHS!

It is however a comfort that Chris's wife, Dr. Shiou-Yun Fang [nataliasyfang1974@gmail.com] sat with him to the end.  Perhaps in deference to a Chinese custom she even sat with him for some time after he died.  She is from Taiwan and is a distinguished art historian. Those who enjoyed Chris's thoughts in life may wish to comfort her in her great loss by sending her your condolences and prayers and recollections of Chris's wisdom. I will leave his blog in place for as long as Google permits it. It is IQ & PC.


Trump and the Prime Minister of Montenegro

A report below.  The media made much of this incident, portraying Trump as a rude boor and as a childish seeker of attention.  When I first heard of what Trump had done, my reaction was: "He must think he is President of the United States".

And that really is the nub of the incident. Trump's manners probably were poor in the incident but he reminded us, probably inadvertently, that we don't have to abide by the Leftist gospel that all  men are equal.  It is quite reasonable for the President of the United States to expect special treatment and special priority.

Other Presidents would undoubtedly have abided by the Leftist convention that you avoid any references to inequality. You should pretend where possible that all men are equal.  Other Presidents would undoubtedly have treated other national leaders at the meeting as if all leaders there were equal.  In other words, Leftist assumptions have become good manners.  But now Trump has called that into question as he has called into question many other Leftist assumptions. He has made visible an invisible assumption.

It would probably get Trump further in the short run if he did observe conventional manners and I am, I suppose, regretful that he is not always "Presidential", but his implicit and explicit violation of so many conventional assumptions is a real lesson in how much our culture has become a Left-dominated one. JR

The prime minister of Montenegro, who became the inadvertent star of a viral video of President Trump pushing him aside during a gathering of world leaders, called the incident "inoffensive."

“This was an inoffensive situation,” Montenegro's Dusko Markovic told reporters, according to the Washington Post. “I do not see it in any other way.”

The moment, which shows Trump appearing to shove Markovic while the group of North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders were getting together for the "family photo," made quite a stir on Thursday. Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said he did not see video of the incident, but explained the president was getting into his pre-determined position.



The Biggest Revelations From New Obamacare Study

A report released Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services shows a significant hike in the average cost of individual plans since 2013 in 39 states.

In 2013, the average annual cost of a premium for an individual health care plan was $2,784. By 2017, the average annual cost for a premium for an individual health care plan on HealthCare.gov was $5,712. Thirty-nine states use HealthCare.gov.

Twenty-four states had Obamacare premiums in 2017 that were double the average individual premium in 2013.

In three states, the Obamacare premiums are now triple the average individual premium in 2013.

President Barack Obama promised premiums would go down under Obamacare.

“You should know that once we [have Obamacare] fully implemented, you’re going to be able to buy insurance through a pool so that you can get the same good rates as a group that if you’re an employee at a big company you can get right now—which means your premiums will go down,” Obama said in 2012.

Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a public policy research organization, told The Daily Signal in an email that Obamacare is flawed.

“The key promise the Obama administration made to Americans in the health reform debate was that their premium and health costs would go down,” Turner said, adding:

But year after year, families have seen their premiums soar. This new HHS study, looking at premium costs before and after Obamacare, proves that the law has failed dramatically to fulfill its promise.

Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement that “This report proves what Republicans have been saying for years—Obamacare was sold on lies that failed to deliver for the American people.”

Bob Moffit, a senior fellow and health care expert at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that he is not surprised by the findings of the study.

“Obamacare has literally wrecked the individual market with skyrocketing premiums, crazy deductibles, restrictive physician networks, and a radical decline in plan participation and competition,” Moffit said. “The roots of the current crisis were baked into the law from the beginning, [along with] costly benefit mandates and inflexible insurance regulations.”

Drew Gonshorowski, a senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, who studies Medicare and Medicaid, said he is also unsurprised.

“This study shows something that we’ve already known about the exchanges for some time now–that premiums have and continue to rise drastically,” Gonshorowski said in an email to The Daily Signal.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the law cannot sustain itself.

In a report released Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Republican Obamacare replacement plan, the American Health Care Act, will reduce budget deficits by $119 billion from 2017-2026.

Under Obamacare, the number of uninsured is estimated to be 28 million in 2026, according to the report, which estimates that number would rise to 51 million the same year if the American Health Care Act became law.



Trump Is Not Pro-Russia, Despite What the Media Says

Politically, no story is hotter than the one about President Donald Trump and the Russians.

Last week’s appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the election keeps the story alive.

But abroad, Trump hasn’t helped the Russians. In fact, he’s opposed them.

Like many Americans, I completely rejected candidate Trump’s praise for Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin. The fact that President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton had also sought to get on Putin’s good side didn’t make Trump any less wrong.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can't be done alone. Find out more >>

By and large, Trump ran as an opponent of recent U.S. military interventions, including those in Iraq and Libya.

But he made an exception for U.S. action against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and he appeared to believe that the Russians were intervening in Syria to join that battle on the U.S. side.

That was a serious error. Russia’s goals in Syria were to prop up Bashar Assad’s regime and to support Assad’s regional patrons, the Iranians.

Putin’s airstrikes didn’t target ISIS. They targeted the rebels that we were ineffectively trying to support.

And that leads to the phony scandal about Trump’s sharing of intelligence with the Russians.

First, all the Americans in the room have rejected the claim that any secrets were shared.

But even if they were, this isn’t a crime. The collection and sharing of intelligence is an executive branch job, and the president has the right to make his own decisions in this realm.

Yet the fact that something’s not illegal doesn’t make it a good policy decision. Intelligence sharing with allies is smart, and we do it all the time.

The Russians, though, aren’t our allies, no matter how much Trump believes we’re both opposing ISIS. Even if we’re not giving them any secrets, we’re not going to get them to play ball by giving them Oval Office meetings.

But look at what the Trump administration has done in the rest of the world. It hasn’t acted like it believes in being buddies with Russia. Not at all.

There were concerns that Trump would try to buy Russian cooperation against ISIS by lifting the sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Those sanctions have remained in place.

What’s more, the Trump administration has done what the Obama administration wouldn’t do: launch a cruise missile strike on the Russian-supported Syrian regime.

It also called out Russia for arming the Taliban and got Montenegro into NATO—a move the Russians opposed.

Earlier this month, Trump signed a bill prohibiting any U.S. funds from being used to support the Russian occupation of portions of the nation of Georgia.

He also offered “full support” for Georgia’s territorial integrity in a cordial meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, while Vice President Mike Pence backed Georgia’s accession to NATO, defended its sovereignty, and supported its economic reforms.

The Obama administration’s ill-fated “reset” with Russia in 2009 was an effort to back away from the Bush administration’s belated recognition, after Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, that Putin wasn’t a good guy.

So Trump’s support for Georgia isn’t just about opposing Russia. It’s a rejection of Obama’s effort to sidle up to Moscow.

If the Trump administration is supposed to be colluding with the Russians, they’re doing a terrible job of it.

They’ve opposed Russia in Europe, Afghanistan, Georgia, and Syria, while trying—and this is where the Oval Office meeting comes in—to get Moscow to oppose ISIS.

Trump’s effort to win over the Russians testifies to the emphasis the administration is placing on the war against the Islamists. That effort isn’t going to go anywhere: The Russians will play their own game in the Middle East.

I wish the Trump administration would recognize this. But I’d rather have an administration that tries to cooperate with the Russians on ISIS alone than one—like Obama’s—which tries to cooperate with them everywhere.



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 THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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


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