Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Daddy's girl" in the era of Trump

Those who have been involved in it know it well enough but there is very little said either in the popular press or in the academic journals about the "Daddy's girl" phenomenon.  So I think I need to give a brief outline of it.

What happens is that an unknown but probably substantial proportion of fathers absolutely adore their little daughters.  And they express that in every way, including spoiling the little girl rotten.  And the little girl laps it up of course.  The two become bound in a bond of mutual love.  It is in my mind the most beautiful human relationship there is.

So to take an example:  The father comes home from work and as soon as he steps in the door the little girl runs to him with open arms.  He snatches her up, gives her a close cuddle and then carries her further into the house where a mother sees two faces with big smiles on them.  Since she loves those two persons she too smiles with pleassure.  It is a happy homecoming.

I am sure that Leftists will deplore that example as "heteronormative", or whatever their latest neologistic jargon is, but they are the losers if they have never been part of that. It happens.

I also see fathers and little daughters coming into my favorite coffee shop.  The daughter will cling to the father as both of them order and will then wind herself around the proud and happy dad when they sit down.  You have to see it.

Having been part of such a relationship gives the girl confidence in her desirability and that is usually a long-term effect. It permanently gives the girl self-confidence and repose for all the rest of her life. And even after she has married and herself become a mother, she will at some times of stress go home to see "Dad".  And when she sees his eyes light up as she enters the room, calm and reassurance will come over her.  It may not solve her problems but gives her strength to bear them.

I was once talking to a mother who said that when her daughter's father came home, there was no-one else in the room for the girl but her father.  She just ran to him on sight.  I was concerned that the mother might be a bit put out by that so I said to her that the girl was lucky as that "Daddy's girl" relationship would give her strength and confidence for the rest of her life.  The mother replied serenely:  "Yes. I know.  I was one too".

To my regret, I never had a daughter but I was very close to a beautiful step-daughter so I have some personal feeling for what that is all about.

Where does the mother fit in?  Some may ask.  I am afraid that it does make the mother the usual disciplinarian but the father can be a backup.  If he told his little daughter that something "would make Daddy sad", that would be powerful.

So that brings us to the Trumps.  To anyone aware of the phenomenon, Donald and Ivanka have an outstandingly strong "Daddy's girl" relationship.  They dote on one another and wherever Donald is, Ivanka is usually no more than yards away, if that.  They are as close to inseparable as they can reasonably be.

For me the picture below encapsulates best the relationship between the two. They were (of course) together at the big G20 meeting but the personal was not for a moment forgotten.  A comforting hand is on Ivanka's shoulder saying "I am here".  And she looks on with a relaxed smile at what is before her. (And what WAS the Japanese Prime Minister thinking?)

I think that loving relationship is thoroughly admirable And tells you much about Donald Trump.  Had Obama had such a relationship, he would have been praised to the high heavens for it.  But with Donald Trump it is totally ignored.  I hope I am not the last to congratulate Donald on his outstandingly loving relationship with his daughter.

There has of course been much foul speculation about Ivanka and Donald as seen in the picture below when she was 15 years old.  But it is just the girl being loving towards her Dad.  Close physical contact is normal in that context.

There were events in my relationship with my stepdaughter that would have looked most alarming to an outsider looking in but everything was in fact completely innocent and known to be such by all the family.

The happy, poised and self-confident lady we see in Ivanka today is clearly NOT the victim of sexual abuse.

And I think the picture below shows how good they are for one-another.  She is happy and he is relaxed as they walk along.  It's a beautiful relationship.


Bitcoins as a defense against socialism

When I first looked at Bitcoin, I thought it was a badly constructed Millennial scam. Its vaunted “blockchain” had clear design problems, as Kevin Dowd and I pointed out in a Cato Institute paper. I now realize that this was a failure of imagination. I should have seen Bitcoin for what it was: the first flawed attempt to regain our freedom, as governments worldwide use software and thuggery to eliminate cash and Swiss bank accounts. The global government Godzilla will not stop its predations; we are so interconnected that votes for Brexit or Donald Trump merely slow it somewhat. But a crypto-currency with true anonymity – that at last will liberate us from its clutches.

Thirty years ago, we had several means of making transactions anonymously, without governments knowing about therm. For small sums, cash was almost completely anonymous, although numbered bills always gave police departments the chance to trace transactions in large criminal cases. For larger amounts, there were a wide range of banking jurisdictions offering anonymity and complete respectability to those seeking a safe bolt-hole for their cash. In the 1980s, I worked for an Austrian bank whose proud boast was that they would verify only your nationality, not your name, so that if you registered yourself as Mickey Mouse, they would greet you each time you came into the branch with elegant Austrian formality: Grüss Gott, Dr. Maus!

This was no doubt convenient for Third World dictators, terrorists and the international Mafia, but it is also essential for ordinary citizens, for one very good reason: governments cannot be trusted. They always seek to expand their control and income, and they will generally give way to temptation if it is presented to them, even fleetingly. The extreme example, of course, is that of the Jewish inhabitants of inter-war Germany who had the foresight to hold a Swiss bank account; if they were able to escape when the Nazis came to power, as many were, their Swiss bank accounts were essential to being able to re-start their lives in a safe country.

Yes, those unfortunates who did not manage to escape and did not tell their non-German families about the Swiss bank account provided an unexpected bonus for the Swiss banks, but contrary to public hysteria when this was revealed; this did not make the Swiss banks collaborators with the Nazis. It made them diligent service providers whose diligence could not solve all their clients’ problems, just the financial ones. But against governments less insane than the Third Reich, financial defenses are often the ones you need most.

To those who expostulate that we should surely trust democratic governments not to behave like Nazi Germany, I would agree wholeheartedly in terms of pogroms, Kristallnachts and the like, but not on financial matters. I give you the example of Britain, an admirably democratic country that twice, in 1815 and 1945, found itself financially exhausted at the end of major wars with government debt around 250% of GDP. The first time, the government cut spending by 69% and returned within six years to the Gold Standard, with government bonds through a quirk in their design providing savers with a massive capital gains bonanza – the result being a century of peace and prosperity.

The second time, the British government controlled interest rates, set the top rate of tax above 90%, and inflated the currency until it was worth a tenth of its pre-war value – the result being relative impoverishment all round and absolute impoverishment for those savers foolish enough to pay their taxes and attempt to live on the returns from their savings. Only those with secret Swiss bank accounts, and money kept in international equities, gold and Swiss Franc deposits, were exempt from the British government’s depredations in 1945-79.

The central flaw in democracy is that there is very little to stop 51% of the population oppressing the other 49%, and when it comes to finance and taxation, the poor will almost always be tempted from time to time to oppress not just the rich but the middle class. Britain elected Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson after World War II, both admirable men, but the result was middle class impoverishment and the loss of the Empire, thrown away to fund the National Health Service. Today, Britain is more than capable of electing Jeremy Corbyn.

The United States elected Barack Obama, who no doubt is even now skulking in his magnificent Georgetown house growling “Next time, no more Mr. Nice Guy” – and could easily elect the likes of Bernie Sanders or worse. Indeed, even in the 1950s, with the universally admired Dwight Eisenhower as President, the top rate of U.S. income tax remained at 91% throughout the decade, albeit only on extremely high incomes. The John Birch Society, madmen though they were, had a point when they accused Ike of being a Communist agent; in terms of tax policy, he effectively was.

There are two reasons for an ordinary middle-class person to need both cash and the opportunity to open a Swiss bank account. First, governments can always turn nasty, either generally or against you personally, for example through the disgraceful U.S. Civil Asset Forfeiture process. Second, the existence of cash and Swiss Bank accounts is a useful albeit not completely effective deterrent against governments getting too ambitious in their “tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect” mania. Conversely, the lack of such mechanisms puts temptation in government’s way, just begging it to impose tyranny.

By a series of international treaties, the U.S. and EU governments have now effectively eliminated the usefulness of Swiss banks and their Austrian cousins. With the tax authorities being given details of their citizens’ Swiss bank accounts, those accounts are no longer a reliable defense against government extortion. For the Russian Mafia, there are still some numbered bank account havens available, but they are much less reliable than Switzerland, so you may need your trusty henchman Igor to blow up the bank’s head office if they try any funny business. For the rest of us, sadly lacking an Igor, the avenue has been closed.

As for cash, the authorities are now trying to abolish that, ostensibly to facilitate their crazed negative-interest-rate policies. Andy Haldane, of the Bank of England, first proposed this monstrous idea, which has now been supported by the apparently sensible Kenneth Rogoff, whose “The curse of cash” sent frissons of pleasure down the spines of Keynesian central bankers worldwide. In India, which experimented with removing cash from the system last autumn, the use of Bitcoin has skyrocketed. (Although the Bitcoin blockchain is not completely secure, presumably its Indian users think cracking it for the gigantic Indian population of Bitcoin users is at least beyond the capabilities of the permit raj.)

Bitcoin is imperfect, just as the 1885 Benz, with its top speed of 3 miles per hour, was not the perfected automobile. But improvements are coming all the time, and with massive customer usage, the need for further improvements is all the time becoming more apparent – just as the manufacturers of the 1910 Gräf und Stift learned from the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand that they needed to improve their reverse gear mechanism. Soon we will have a crypto-currency that is completely impervious to the efforts of the NSA. GCHQ, the IRS and all the other government agencies who wish to view our financial transactions.

The ideal crypto-currency would combine complete anonymity with a gold link, like the late lamented E-gold, disgracefully shut down by the U.S. government. Just as anonymity enables ordinary people to escape the fiscal follies of evil and incompetent governments, so gold, which unlike crypto-currencies provides a secure non-fiat store of value, enables ordinary people to escape governments’ monetary follies, so overwhelming in recent years. A crypto-currency that combined complete anonymity with a firm and unbreakable link to gold would provide the ultimate solution to those wishing to live in financial freedom.

A fully anonymous and secure crypto-currency will be some help to terrorists, but only to the extent they have billionaires wishing to finance them. It will be only a modest help to Russian and other mafias, who have other means of keeping their financial transactions a secret from the world’s authorities. However, it will be a massive protection for the world’s ordinary citizens, even those who are of only modest means, as they will be able to store and transfer wealth in a form that is undetectable by the world’s authorities.

Poor people living under oppressive dictatorships, such as in Venezuela, will be able to provide themselves with food and maybe a bolt-hole outside their oppressive country, just as did the luckier German Jews in the 1930s. Rich people whose wealth is attacked by Socialist governments will be able to spirit it away where it cannot be found. But above all, ordinary middle-class people of moderate means will sleep in their beds, knowing that taxes on them will not be arbitrarily increased, nor property arbitrarily seized, nor wealth eroded by inflation and government overspending, because if any such thing threatens, they have a crypto-currency bolt-hole available, even if in normal times they never bother to use it.

For the world’s governments and central bankers, mass usage of crypto-currencies would be an existential threat. The withdrawal of wealth into crypto-currencies from other stores of value, such as stocks, bonds and real estate, would cause a massive market crash (such a crash may be inevitable, given the last decade’s foolishness, but this would very much worsen it.) For the world’s central bankers, there would only be one solution: forswear, now and forever, their evil attempts to abolish cash and, to make that foreswearing credible, push interest rates far above zero, to a rate well above the rate of inflation, and pledge to keep them there.

That would enable the economy to function normally again. It would cause a mass liquidation of all the foolish investments made in the last decade, but, combined with de-regulation, it would allow productivity growth to return to its historic robust levels, and thereby begin the blessed process of making us all richer again, as we had become used to since the Industrial Revolution.

Most important, if the world invests in untraceable crypto-currencies, even a global government that attempted to seize the resources of its citizens would find itself unable to do so. And that, above all, would become our principal guarantee against an impoverished and servile future.



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)


18 July, 2017

Levin on Gov’t-Run Health Care: If Gov’t Ran Food Production, ‘We’d All Starve to Death’

On his nationally syndicated radio talk show Monday, host Mark Levin compared government-run health care with government-run food production, saying that if the government controlled food production, “we’d all starve to death.”

“Trust me, if the government controlled food production in this country, we’d all starve to death,” said Mark Levin. “If the Department of Housing and Urban Development was truly in charge of housing in your neighborhood and construction costs and everything else, we’d all be homeless. We’d all be homeless. Why would we take one of the most complex areas of life, and that is health care, which is really and truly a personal decision, and surrender it to the federal government?”

Below is a transcript of Levin’s comments from his show on Monday, July 10:

“Trust me, if the government controlled food production in this country, we’d all starve to death. If the Department of Housing and Urban Development was truly in charge of housing in your neighborhood and construction costs and everything else, we’d all be homeless. We’d all be homeless.

“Why would we take one of the most complex areas of life, and that is health care, which is really and truly a personal decision, and surrender it to the federal government or have it seized from us, and then make all these excuses: why it’s great, and people with pre-existing conditions?

“Ladies and gentlemen, if the only issue was people with pre-existing conditions and poor people, why do we have to destroy the rest of the health care market? They use these as excuses, as lies -- that people can’t get health care with pre-existing conditions.

“Number one: If you’re healthy and you don’t have insurance, what the hell is wrong with you? Then if you get sick, everybody else has to pay for it? Well, that’s why they have group insurance. We cannot set up a rational system aimed at the lowest common denominator. We just can’t. It won’t work.

“So, what’s necessary? Competition, choice, freedom, individual responsibility, individual decisions: that’s the only way we’re going to get the cost down. That’s the only way you’ll be able to buy a policy that you want. It’s the only way you’re going to see the doctors you want to see. There’s no other way. And why we resist it, I don’t know.

“Was the Industrial Revolution really so horrible? That we have clean water? That you can flick a switch and get electricity? That you can drive an automobile? Was it really that horrible that we can’t apply it to health care? These aren’t theoretical matters. This is reality. There’s a system that works and a system that doesn’t.

“And it seems to me that the progressives have won the battle of the minds. It just -- They just have. Just incredible.”



After minimum wage hikes and ammunition taxes, the lesson is don’t be like Seattle

On June 2, 2014 Seattle’s city council approved a raise in the minimum wage to a highest in the nation $15 an hour. Not one member of the council voted against it. Like most liberal progressives, the Seattle city council believed they could regulate prosperity. The law did not have the intended consequences.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization conducting economic research, published a paper, on June 26, about the impact of the increase in the minimum wage on Seattle. The working paper is called “Minimum Wage Increases, Wages, and Low-Wage Employment: Evidence from Seattle.”, and was put together by a team from the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance of the University of Washington.

The report analyzes of data from the second quarter of 2014, right before the law was passed, and the second quarter of 2016. The data shows a reduction of 39 percent in jobs that pay less than $13, as to be expected. However, the data also showed a decline in jobs, 4,528, that pay under $19. This is where the jobs were the loss in jobs under $13 was supposed to go.

The bad news didn’t stop there. Over the same two-year period, the data showed a significant reduction in the amount of hours worked. People making under $13 showed a decline of 5.8 million hours in reduction, while people making under $19 lost 1.7 million hours of work. Once again, there was supposed to be a decrease in hours of people making less than $13 with an increase in people making less than $19. Just as the number of jobs decreased, the hours worked by those that held onto their jobs decreased.

Overall, this was a disaster for the working class in Seattle. Yes, people got raises, but thousands lost their jobs, and those that could keep their jobs, saw their hours decreased. For someone working for an hourly wage, it’s simple math, work more hours, make more money. It is estimated the race to make $15 the minimum wage in Seattle cost low-wage earners an average of $1,500 per year. The increase in pay, did not make up for the reduction in hours. I don’t remember “work less, get paid less” being a slogan of the $15 movement.

The federal government should use the Seattle model as a warning. According to the U.S. Census data there are approximately 84 million jobs that make under $40,000. If Seattle’s experience is any indicator of how a national minimum wage hike up to $13 an hour would work out, the cost could be a loss of 1.2 million jobs making less than $40,000 a year, without being moved to a higher wage.

In another winner from the Seattle City Council, a “violence” tax went into effect on January 1, 2016. The measure placed a $25 tax on firearms sold in the city, and up to 5 cents per round. The city tried to hide the attempted denial of Second Amendment rights, by saying the tax would be a revenue raiser with the proceeds going towards violence research. It was expected to raise between $300,000 and $500,000 per year. Let’s just say, it didn’t quite work out the way they planned.

The measure failed spectacularly in two ways. First the measure failed to raise the expected funds. Seattle has yet to release how much was raised last year, probably because it is ashamed to mention the number. What we do know, is that it is less than $200,000. That is at least 33 percent less than the minimum expected revenue. And what revenue has been collected, has not been spent on the promised research. There is a lawsuit challenging the tax, and the city will not spend the money until the suit is resolved. The city went forward with the research spending and spent $275,000 on the research. So, the “violence tax” has so far cost taxpayer over a quarter of a million dollars, and if the lawsuit goes against the city, they will never see the money.

What about the violence the tax was supposed to mitigate? Once again, Seattle failed miserably. Comparing the first five months before the tax was initiated with the first five months of this year, you get startling statistics. Rapes have gone up by 56 percent. Aggravated assault has gone up by 18 percent. Homicide and robbery have stayed the same. The Seattle violence tax did nothing to discourage violence. Will they ever learn?

Two laws passed had the exact opposite affect the laws intended. When it comes to the progressive left, no matter how much evidence presented of a failed policy, nothing changes.

Seattle now stands as a message to other cities across the U.S. The city enacted laws that tax citizens who want to defend themselves, or ended up getting them fired all together. Don’t be like Seattle.



The Level of Evil That Existed at Auschwitz Under Hitler Exists Today

By Charlie Daniels, country music star

Congressman Clay Higgins at Auschwitz. (YouTube Screenshot)
Recently Congressman Clay Higgins visited Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp where untold thousands of Jews were gassed to death, their bodies burned in furnaces and their ashes disposed of like garbage.

Congressman Higgins has come under heavy fire for videoing and narrating his visit, and in graphic language explaining the horrific process, step by step, location by location as the Jews were first herded into the mass execution chambers and moved to the furnaces where their bodies were disposed of.

I remember, in the waning days of the Second World War as the Allied Forces liberated the concentration camps and the newsreels and magazine articles exposed the gas chambers and furnaces and captured film of bulldozers pushing the skeletal bodies of Jews who had been starved and worked to death into mass graves.

This happened. It is undeniably documented, and every man, woman, and child in the free world should know that it happened. They must understand just how far prejudice and rabid hatred can push evil men and the lengths they are willing to go to achieve their dark ambitions.

They need to realize that, given the chance, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and any number of

radical Islamic groups or governments would gladly repeat the same or worse.

Hitler is not an anomaly or a prototype. He is just one of the monsters who visited demonic evil on mankind, along with Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot and now the demented Islamists who take great joy in hacking off the heads of infidels, throwing gays off the rooftops of tall buildings, burning and drowning helpless people in steel cages, and crucifying their enemies on crosses.

Is this any less evil than what the Nazis did?

Should the world not be aware that this level of evil exists, past and present? Should not the ovens and gas chambers where six million Jews were mercilessly murdered be exposed to the light of day?

Should not the atrocities of Hitler, Stalin, ISIS and all the rest of the monsters responsible for the murder of millions of human beings and the methods they used to accomplish it be made public knowledge, to be reviled and abhorred and prevented from ever happening again.

I have visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Israel, and it was a heartbreaking experience.

As you walk through the exhibits, see the actual box cars where Jews were herded like cattle and transported to their final destination, the graphic photographs, the Children’s Memorial and Hall of Remembrance where the pictures of beautiful Jewish children who died at the hands of the Nazis, their names read aloud one after the other, you can’t help but wonder, “Why didn’t somebody stop this?”

So, Congressman Clay Higgins, I care not what criticism others level at you, those who say you defiled a hallowed place by injecting reality and reminding the world that such evil existed and making us face the fact that it still exists today.

As one who remembers those days and observed them from afar, my hat is off to you, sir. I only wish that some of our other “public servants” would do something as realistic and useful.

As a Christian, I join hands with my Jewish brothers and sisters to reinforce the Israeli national motto, “NEVER AGAIN!”

What do you think?

Pray our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem. God Bless America



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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