Friday, February 17, 2017

Outrageous! Trump enforces immigration law

U.S. authorities announced that they had arrested more than 680 illegal immigrants in several raids conducted last week. The news brought a predictable outcry from immigration activists groups who had become accustomed to Barack Obama’s increasingly limited enforcement policy on illegal immigration — they called the actions a “campaign of terror.” Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, wailed, “This is a new day. This is the deportation force that [Donald Trump] has been threatening since the campaign.” She should settle down while we look at the facts.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly pushed back against the outrage machine, framing the raids as being both in keeping with the agency’s standard operating procedures and focused on criminal illegal aliens. Kelly said, “President Trump has been clear in affirming the critical mission of DHS in protecting the nation and directed our department to focus on removing illegal aliens who have violated our immigration laws, with a specific focus on those who pose a threat to public safety, have been charged with criminal offenses, have committed immigration violations or have been deported and re-entered the country illegally.”

While the leftist narrative is that Trump has enacted a new draconian anti-immigrant policy, the reality is that he has simply removed the overly restrictive limits Obama imposed upon the Department of Homeland Security. “Trump really is, so far, just a return to normalcy in immigration enforcement,” says Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “It was Obama that was the radical break.”

Not surprisingly though, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) demanded answers for the raids. In a letter, he wrote, “Targeting law-abiding innocent immigrant families whose only wrongdoing was crossing the border to give their children a better life, instead of focusing on removing those who have been convicted of violent crimes is a waste of limited resources and undermines law enforcement in communities across the country. ICE must come clean.” It is true that most illegal immigrants are not guilty of violent crime, but by definition they are guilty of committing a criminal act. Yet Schumer seemingly has little respect for the laws of our nation.

There are an estimated 11.1 million illegal immigrants living within the U.S. A week of raids netting 680 of them — aliens who were targeted by ICE officials specifically for engaging in criminal activity beyond their illegal resident status — was enough cause for the Left to engage in hyperbolic and dishonest rhetoric. But what else is new?

We should mention that in fiscal 2013 alone the Obama administration deported a record 438,421 illegal aliens. Yet Obama released tens of thousands of criminal aliens, while sanctuary cities protected them. So what’s the deal with the over-the top outrage coming from his constituents now?

Two reasons.

1) Trump Derangement Syndrome. Democrats and the Left are still so incensed by Trump’s shocking election victory they have made it their mission to resist and obstruct him at every opportunity. That includes creating outrage over any potentially controversial issue, irrespective of its merits, so as to destroy Trump.

2) Political strategy. Democrats have pretty much given up on winning back white middle America and have instead set their sights on creating a new voting block out of the nation’s fastest growing and largest minority group — Hispanics. If they can build a large enough coalition of minority groups, they can then afford to ignore white middle America, a group they despise anyway. This is nothing more than identity politics — supporting illegal immigration, especially if it leads to some form of “comprehensive reform” — and it plays well with Hispanics. After all, the same thing worked with blacks. Why not try again?

The right to live and work in the U.S. is reserved only for those who are citizens of our nation. It is a privilege for foreigners. Any attempt to unlawfully apply this right beyond the clearly defined law of the land, no matter how emotionally justified, is to do violence to Rule of Law and to the rights of all citizens. And those politicians who willfully promote and advocate those who break the law should be held to account. Unfortunately, the problem has gone on for so long with little being done to address it that when someone like Trump comes along to simply enforce the law, he is deemed extreme. Thankfully, Trump is serious about fixing the problem and has been sticking to his guns on the issue.




A late word on the electoral college

Steven Burton

The electoral college is not the reason Hillary lost. If there would have been no electoral college before the election Hillary would still have lost.

How can that be you ask? I am crazy you say? She got 2 million more votes Steven you lunatic!

You don't live in NY or California if that is what you're thinking.

The states of NY and California, combined population of around 58 million people, were going to Clinton. Clinton was going to win those states. The most optimistic Trump fan in the world would have conceded that prior to the election.

So what?

Those states are also winner take all states. A huge chunk of Republicans in those states don't bother with voting in the general election. They know their votes don't count so they don't bother showing up. I can count on one hand how many of my rabid conservative friends in NY even bothered to vote. Virtually all my liberal friends voted.

(I didn't vote because I didn't find either candidate appealing)

No electoral college and a lot more Republicans in these two huge states would have voted. We know what Hillary's ceiling was, we don't know what Trump's could have been without an electoral college

Side note about Texas:

From CBS News Exit Polls: How Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency:

Many political observers thought a significant number of Republicans would either vote for Clinton, one of the third party candidates, or stay home rather than casting their votes for Trump. According to the exit polls, Republicans stayed loyal to their presidential candidate. Some 89 percent of self-described Republicans voted for Trump; 91 percent of white Republicans did.

In contrast, only 84 percent of white Democrats voted for Clinton. She did win 86 percent of white Democratic women, but only 81 percent of white men.

So I don't think Texas would have made a difference for Hillary like California and and NY would have for Trump.



Why Trump's Probe of Voter Fraud Is Long Overdue

President Trump has announced that his administration will be launching a major investigation of voter fraud, including those who are registered in more than one state, “those who are illegal” and those voters who are dead but still registered. This followed a media firestorm in which The New York Times and others called Trump’s assertion a “lie.”

But just last week, President Obama told a whopper at his last news conference that went almost completely unnoticed, much less criticized.

He promised he would continue to fight voter-ID laws and other measures designed to improve voting integrity. The U.S. is “the only country among advanced democracies that makes it harder to vote,” he claimed.

This is demonstrably false. All industrialized democracies — and most that are not — require voters to prove their identity before voting.

Britain was a holdout, but last month it announced that persistent examples of voter fraud will require officials to see passports or other documentation from voters in areas prone to corruption.

The real problem in our election system is that we don’t really know to what extent President Trump’s claim is true because we have an election system that is based on the honor system.

What we do know, despite assertions to the contrary, is that voter fraud is a problem, and both sides of the political aisle should welcome a real investigation into it — especially since the Obama administration tried so hard for eight years to obfuscate the issue and prevent a real assessment.

Former Justice Department attorney Christian Adams testified under oath that he attended a Nov. 2009 meeting at which then-deputy assistant attorney general Julie Fernandes told DOJ prosecutors that the administration would not be enforcing the federal law that requires local officials to purge illegitimate names from their voter rolls.

This refusal to enforce the law came despite a 2012 study from the Pew Center on the States estimating that one out of every eight voter registrations is inaccurate, out-of-date or a duplicate. About 2.8 million people are registered in more than one state, according to the study, and 1.8 million registered voters are dead. In most places it’s easy to vote under the names of such people with little risk of detection.

The Obama administration did everything it could to avoid complying with requests from states to verify voter registration records against federal records of legal noncitizens and illegal immigrants who have been detained by law enforcement to find noncitizens who have illegally registered and voted.

The Justice Department has also opposed every effort by states — such as Kansas, Arizona, Alabama and Georgia — to implement laws that require individuals registering to vote to provide proof of citizenship. This despite evidence that noncitizens are indeed registering and casting ballots.

In 2015 one Kansas county began offering voter registration at naturalization ceremonies. Election officials soon discovered about a dozen new Americans who were already registered — and who had voted as noncitizens in multiple elections.

These blatant attempts to prevent states from learning if they have a real problem with illegal votes makes it impossible to learn if significant numbers of noncitizens and others are indeed voting illegally, perhaps enough to make up the margin in some close elections.

There is no question that there are dishonorable people who willing to exploit the loopholes in our honor system.

An undercover video released in October by the citizen-journalist group Project Veritas shows a Democratic election commissioner in New York City saying, “I think there is a lot of voter fraud.”

A 2013 sting operation by official New York City investigators found they could vote in someone else’s name 97 percent of the time without detection.

A second O'Keefe video showed two Democratic operatives mulling how it would be possible to get away with voter fraud.

They were both fired.

How common is this? If only we knew. Political correctness has squelched probes of noncitizen voting, so most cases are discovered accidentally instead of through a systematic review of election records.

The danger looms large in states such as California, which provides driver’s licenses to noncitizens, including those here illegally, and which also does nothing to verify citizenship during voter registration.



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)


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Swedish healthcare is a bureaucratic nightmare.  China is better

Malcolm Lerider

I am Swedish and enjoy free healthcare in my own country. I still prefer Chinese healthcare way above Swedish healthcare.  Why?

This is what I do in Sweden:

I go to the health clinic (not allowed to see someone directly at a hospital). I only get to see a general practitioner. The general practitioner will diagnose and often get it wrong. After 2-3 visits (probably 3-8 weeks), the general practitioner will put me in the system to see a specialized doctor at the hospital. I then have to wait weeks or months to get a time with the specialized doctor. The specialized doctor will diagnose, often without any scan, because the scan is paid by taxes and should not be used unless "really needed". After a few visits to the specialized doctor without improvements, they may allow an X-ray, CT scan, or whatever. Then I need to book a time for the scan, and another time to see the doctor again. This process continues with time booking back and forth. I have a good diagnose after ~4 weeks at best, often it will take months or even years.

This is what I do in China:

I go directly to the hospital and tell the nurse at the entrance what kind of problem I have. She tell me which specialization I need to see. I go to a counter, pay about 1 USD for a ticket (with number) with the specialized doctor, then go directly to that department and queue. I usually get to see the specialized doctor within 30-60 minutes. The doctor will always let me do X-ray, CT scan, or whatever, if they think it will help to diagnose. I pay for that myself, ~70 USD, and I can go queue for that scan directly the very same day. After the scan, I go back to the specialized doctor again (no need to re-queue, just go directly). Doctor will look at the result and give a well informed diagnosis.

So with Swedish healthcare, it takes months to achieve what I can achieve in one day with Chinese healthcare.

And yes, not everyone can afford good healthcare in China, but there are very reasonable health insurance packages to buy there that the vast majority can afford.



Trump: ‘We Are Getting Such Praise’ for Our ‘Common Sense’ Stance on Immigration

President Donald Trump said Monday that his administration is receiving praise for its “stance of common sense” when it comes to immigration, adding that he will not allow terrorist attacks that have occurred in the United States and around the world to happen in the U.S. on his watch.

“We are getting such praise for our stance, and it’s a stance of common sense - maybe a certain toughness, but it’s really more than toughness. It’s a stance of common sense, and we are going to pursue it vigorously, and we don’t want to have our country have the kinds of problems that you’re witnessing taking place not only here, but all over the world,” he said in a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“We won’t stand for it. We won’t put up with it. We’re just not going to let it happen. We’re going to give ourselves every bit of chance so that things go well for the United States, and they will go well,” Trump said.

The president said he wants the U.S. to have “a big beautiful open door,” but his administration cannot let “the wrong people in.”

“We want to have a big beautiful open door, and we want people to come in and come in our country, but we cannot let the wrong people in, and I will not allow that to happen during this administration, and people, citizens of our country want that, and that’s their attitude too, I will tell you,” Trump said.

Trump said he already knew the U.S. national security situation was not good when he was campaigning.

“When I was campaigning, I said it’s not a good situation. Now that I see it, including with our intelligence briefings, we have problems that a lot of people have no idea how bad they are, how serious they are – not only internationally, but when you come right here,” he said.

“Obviously, North Korea is a big, big problem, and we will deal with that very strongly,” Trump said, referring to North Korea’s launch of a banned ballistic missile on Sunday – the first test since the president took office.

“We have problems all over the Middle East. We have problems just about every corner of the globe no matter where you look,” Trump said.

The president said the U.S. has to “create borders” and let in “people that can love our country.”



Sanctuary cities cave in face of Trump's funding threats

Several towns, cities and counties around the nation are caving to President Trump's threat to pull funding, and abandoning their "sanctuary" pledges to shield illegal immigrants from federal authorities.

Dayton, Ohio, dropped a policy that restricted the city’s cooperation with immigration officials pursuing illegal immigrants arrested for misdemeanors or felony property crimes, according to the Dayton Daily News. Police Chief Richard Biehl said federal authorities will no longer be impeded by the city when pursuing illegal immigrants being held by his department.

Other communities that have dropped policies of shielding illegal immigrant suspects from Immigration and Customs Enforcement include Miami-Dade and Dayton, are Saratoga, N.Y., Finney County, Kan., and Bedford, Penn., according to The Center for Immigration Studies, which keeps a list of sanctuary communities.

“We are reviewing policy changes at a multitude of other jurisdictions as well,” said Marguerite Telford, CIS’s director of communications, who said the organization is “being inundated” by officials on its sanctuary map who want to be taken off.

The mayor of Miami-Dade County, which was considered a sanctuary community, made headlines recently when he changed a policy that called for refusing to hold arrested immigrants for immigration officials unless they committed to reimbursing the county for the cost of detention.

Telling reporters that he did not want to imperil hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding, Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered jails to comply with federal immigration detention requests.

The changes have come on the heels of President Trump’s executive order giving the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security the power to cut federal funding to communities that are deemed sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. Trump also has authorized the DHS to publish a weekly list of sanctuary communities.

CIS, and other groups that favor strict immigration enforcement, laud Trump’s move.

“Are you really going to pick and choose what laws you’re going to enforce?” asked Telford. “If you want a change [in immigration policy], go to the legislature.”

While some communities are rethinking their sanctuary policies under the pressure of losing funding, public officials of others, particularly major cities, have vowed to defy Trump’s orders.

“We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York at a recent press conference.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also vowed to protect illegal immigrants, including ones suspected or convicted of crimes, from the feds.

“I want to be clear: We’re going to stay a sanctuary city," Emanuel said. "There is no stranger among us… you are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American dream.”

The "sanctuary" term describes cities that employ a range of uncooperation with federal immigration authorities. Some refuse to hold suspects and even convicts who have completed their sentences for the feds to deport. Others refuse to furnish the feds with information on illegal immigrants who land on their radar through more benign activity.

Forbes contributor Adam Andrzejewski reported that more than 300 government jurisdictions claim to be sanctuaries, of which 106 are cities and “the rest are states, counties or other units of government.”

Supporters of sanctuary communities say that people who are here illegally but have not posed a danger to others or had trouble with police should not be turned over to immigration authorities.

Some police and town officials further argue that working with immigration officials will make people fearful of turning to them if they are the victim of a crime or have information about one.

“It’s incredibly disappointing to see cities and counties scaling back so-called "sanctuary" policies, which were largely adopted to further public safety and ensure immigrants weren’t afraid to call the police,” Grace Meng, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, told Fox News.

Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, predicted many more communities will be dropping or dramatically modifying their sanctuary stances.

“We’re going to see more of this,” Mehlman told Fox News. “Faced with the possibility of losing federal dollars, they’ll choose to keep funding public services rather than protecting illegal aliens.”



Gallup: 62% of Americans Say Trump Keeps His Promises

A new Gallup survey shows that strong majorities of Americans believe President Donald Trump keeps his promises, is a strong and decisive leader, and can bring about the changes this country needs.

However, only 44% of Americans think Trump "inspires confidence" and "can manage the government effectively," reported Gallup, and only 42% think Trump is "honest and trustworthy."

The survey, conducted Feb. 1-5, found that 62% of Americans believe Trump "keeps his promises." Fifty-nine percent believe he is a "strong and decisive leader, and 53% think he "can bring about the changes this country needs."

"The characteristics that Americans are most likely to say apply to Trump clearly reflect the key message of his inaugural address and his actions since taking office over three weeks ago," said Gallup.  "He made a large number of promises during his presidential campaign, and Americans give him the most credit for following through on those promises."

"His series of executive orders and Cabinet appointments show a president who is decisive and trying to bring about change, also qualities that a majority of Americans (59% and 53%, respectively) say apply to him," said Gallup.

"Americans are, however, less positive about his honesty -- echoing views that plagued both him and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during last year's campaign -- and majorities are not convinced that he is able to manage the government effectively, that he inspires confidence or cares about the needs of 'people like you,'" said the survey group.

Not surprisingly, there were major differences between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to Trump. The survey found, for instance, that while 91% of Republicans believe Trump "keeps his promises," only 36% of Democrats agree with that assessment. While 94% of Republicans think Trump is a "strong and decisive leader," only 29% of Democrats think that way. Also, only 9% of Democrats believe Trump is "honest and trustworthy," but 81% of Republicans think he is "honest and trustworthy."

"Trump begins his presidency with a majority of the public believing that he keeps his promises, is a strong leader and can bring about needed changes," said Gallup.  "These traits fit well with his steady stream of sometimes controversial executive orders that have reflected what he said he would do during his campaign, continuing to exemplify a 'bull in the china shop' style and persona."

"Overall, it appears that one of Trump's most significant challenges will be to convince Americans that his hard-charging leadership style is ultimately going to be good for them and for the country," said the survey firm.



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)


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trump Should End Government Funding of NPR's Biased News

Is National Public Radio's description of an Obama urban directive as something that merely "links [government] funding to desegregation" fake news?

Well, it's so slanted that if you had no prior knowledge of the program, and heard NPR's depiction of it, you would just say to yourself, "Sounds good to me."

But to many conservatives, including the man that President Donald Trump has nominated to be the new secretary of housing and urban development, Ben Carson, the Orwellian "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" is a tortured interpretation of the Fair Housing Act.

To them, coercing suburbs to build high-density, low-income housing in order to reflect the national racial makeup-even when there isn't a hint of discrimination-is an outrageous attempt to pursue the liberal dream of closing down the suburbs by changing their nature.

To Stanley Kurtz, writing in National Review, "the regulation amounts to back-door annexation, a way of turning America's suburbs into tributaries of nearby cities."

Carson, writing in The Washington Times, said the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing directive reminded him of the "failed socialist experiments of the 1980s." That view was not reflected in NPR reporter Pam Fessler's unflattering piece on Carson following his nomination. The piece referred positively to the housing program as "stepped up enforcement of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which is intended to reduce segregation."

Like other examples of NPR's treatment of Cabinet appointments and other domestic and international news, Fessler's report echoed almost exclusively the worldview of the left.

This is a characteristic that is shared to some degree by the Public Broadcasting System, NPR's television equivalent.

And this attribute will become a problem for the taxpayer-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which oversees both NPR and PBS, as the incoming Trump administration looks to make cuts in the budget-as it should.

To be sure, NPR and PBS will have the odd National Review editorial writer or conservative scholar on as a guest commentator once in a while. But that is not the issue.

The issue is that a conservative philosophy and outlook doesn't inform the way the news is written and presented the way, say, Mother Jones seems to do.

We saw what happens when a journalist "gets" both sides. Fox News' Chris Wallace received bipartisan praise for the way he moderated the last presidential debate in October.

As The Wall Street Journal put it at the time, there was a reason he was more effective than his preceding moderators:

He asked questions that would never have even occurred to the other moderators. Mr. Wallace's personal politics are a mystery to us, but his position as an anchor at Fox News . means he is exposed to political points of view that are alien at most other media outlets.

NPR has done nothing to counter its persistent liberal bias, despite years of complaints from conservatives-including us-that its patent lack of diversity of thought was unfair and misguided for a tax-funded entity.

Several changes at the top during the past few years have had no apparent impact.

The partially taxpayer-funded public broadcaster appeared to be trying to turn a new leaf in 2011 when it brought in Gary Knell as CEO "to calm the waters," following the ouster of Vivian Schiller. Charges of liberal bias under Schiller had revived conservative calls to defund NPR.

Knell lasted only 20 months, however, and several changes later, NPR in 2014 doubled down on its worldview. It named as its CEO Jarl Mohn, a former senior official with the American Civil Liberties Union who has given at least $217,000 mostly to "Democratic candidates and political committees" by NPR's own admission.

NPR's only response to conservative complaints about its liberal viewpoint is to deny that this is the case. It's the "Who you gonna believe, us or your lying ears?" defense.

So, no wonder the reporting on the nominees was off. Carson wasn't the exception. Here are several others:

The piece on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's nomination as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, for example, lacked any kind of perspective on the harm that the agency's aggressive regulatory zeal has caused to companies large and small. Also missing was how the EPA shakes down companies and forces them either to make contributions to environmental groups or face huge fines.

Such details may have put into context the scathing, melodramatic attack on Pruitt by the Sierra Club, one of the groups that may now lose both influence and funds, which reporter Nell Greenfieldboyce included in her piece. The "conservative balance" lacked any of these details, but actually offered another negative: George Will's observation that Pruitt had been "one of the Obama administration's most tenacious tormentors."

Jessica Taylor's report on the choice of fast-food restaurant CEO Andrew Puzder as secretary of labor made note of his opposition to raising the minimum wage. The piece was remarkably neutral in that it did not reflect any assumption as to whether this policy is good or bad for employees making minimum wage.
Not so for the analysis that Jeremy Hobson (host of NPR's "Hear and Now") conducted with Business Insider's Kate Taylor. There, the worries of "labor groups" about Puzder's "commitments to labor rights" were prominent.

"Anybody pushing for passage of laws that protect labor rights are going to have a bit of an uphill struggle," Taylor concluded. There was no conservative counterweight.

Nor is NPR's liberal slant limited to only Trump's Cabinet appointments.

Scott Simon's commentary on Cuban dictator Fidel Castro upon his death was actually titled, "Easy to See Why Some Loved Fidel Castro's Cuba, Many More Fled."

Right up front there was a trope about how "American mobsters used to run this place." But actually, Cuba was a thriving economy when Castro took over in 1958, one that compared favorably with Mediterranean Europe or Southern U.S. states. But you didn't hear that from Simon.

It shouldn't surprise that the views held by the left form the background of many stories, as NPR either directly quotes liberal outlets as reference points or uses language that is undistinguishable.

On the very controversial public debate over whether men should be able to use women's bathrooms if they identify as women, NPR's Ethics Handbook uses as a reference point the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association's guidelines in recommending that the debate be cast as "whether transgender people should be allowed to use public bathrooms `based on their gender identities or, instead, what's stated on their birth certificates.'"

Many Americans-and not just conservatives-however, take issue with the notion that "a man can be trapped in a woman's body" or vice-versa. Sex to them is a matter of objective biology, not a subjective social construct.

As the Washington Examiner put it before the end of the year, "Not everyone heeds the command to pretend that Caitlyn Jenner is a woman."

These are views held by millions of taxpayers. By choosing only one side, NPR's reporting can be as skewed as anything found on MSNBC-or conservative talk radio for that matter.

But because it is delivered in mellifluous and serene tones, a pitch which NPR staffers refer to with self-congratulation as "Minnesota Nice," and because it has the stamp of the government's endorsement, the reporting is considered objective and reflective.

The consumer, therefore, is likely not adding an extra layer of caution-the caveat emptor factor that one adds with Rachel Maddow or Sean Hannity.

To the question asked at the start of this piece:  No, NPR's description of "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" wasn't fake news. But it wasn't the whole news, either.

And listeners have a right to know they must use a prism, just as taxpayers have a right not to fund a one-sided news outlet.

The 2017 federal appropriations for the Center for Public Broadcasting were $445 million. PBS gets about $300 million of that.

Defenders say that in the age of a $19 trillion debt, this is a "rounding error." Well, if it's so small, then maybe cutting won't hurt as much, and the money can be used elsewhere, or returned to taxpayers.

NPR will survive without government funding. It has a good membership model. It also offers a good product, as does PBS.

But the new conservative administration and congressional majority coming in have a responsibility to the conservative base not to continue to fund a "public broadcaster" that leaves half the nation feeling ignored.

If it doesn't, the new governing majority had better get used to seeing its policies traduced on a regular basis by NPR, the way the new Cabinet's positions clearly have been.



Trump Must Break Judicial Power

"Disheartening and demoralizing," wailed Judge Neil Gorsuch of President Trump's comments about the judges seeking to overturn his 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from the Greater Middle East war zones.

What a wimp. Did our future justice break down crying like Sen. Chuck Schumer? Sorry, this is not Antonin Scalia. And just what horrible thing had our president said?

A "so-called judge" blocked the travel ban, said Trump. And the arguments in court, where 9th Circuit appellate judges were hearing the government's appeal, were "disgraceful." "A bad student in high school would have understood the arguments better."

Did the president disparage a couple of judges? Yep.

Yet compare his remarks to the tweeted screeds of Elizabeth Warren after her Senate colleague, Jeff Sessions, was confirmed as attorney general.  Sessions, said Warren, represents "radical hatred." And if he makes "the tiniest attempt to bring his racism, sexism & bigotry" into the Department of Justice, "all of us" will pile on.

Now this is hate speech. And it validates Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to use Senate rules to shut her down.

These episodes reveal much about America 2017.

They reflect, first, the poisoned character of our politics. The language of Warren — that Sessions is stepped in "racism, sexism & bigotry" echoes the ugliest slander of the Hillary Clinton campaign, where she used similar words to describe Trump's "deplorables."

Such language, reflecting as it does the beliefs of one-half of America about the other, rules out any rapprochement in America's social or political life. This is pre-civil war language.

For how do you sit down and work alongside people you believe to be crypto-Nazis, Klansmen and fascists? Apparently, you don't. Rather, you vilify them, riot against them, deny them the right to speak or to be heard.

And such conduct is becoming common on campuses today.

As for Trump's disparagement of the judges, only someone ignorant of history can view that as frightening.

Thomas Jefferson not only refused to enforce the Alien & Sedition Acts of President John Adams, his party impeached Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase who had presided over one of the trials.

Jackson defied Chief Justice John Marshall's prohibition against moving the Cherokees out of Georgia to west of the Mississippi, where, according to the Harvard resume of Sen. Warren, one of them bundled fruitfully with one of her ancestors, making her part Cherokee.

When Chief Justice Roger Taney declared that President Abraham Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus violated the Constitution, Lincoln considered sending U.S. troops to arrest the chief justice.

FDR proposed adding six justices to emasculate a Supreme Court of the "nine old men" he reviled for having declared some New Deal schemes unconstitutional.

President Eisenhower called his Supreme Court choices Earl Warren and William Brennan two of the "worst mistakes" he made as president. History bears Ike out. And here we come to the heart of the matter.

Whether the rollout of the president's temporary travel ban was ill-prepared or not, and whether one agrees or not about which nations or people should be subjected to extreme vetting, the president's authority in the matter of protecting the borders and keeping out those he sees as potentially dangerous is universally conceded.

That a district judge would overrule the president of the United States on a matter of border security in wartime is absurd.

When politicians don black robes and seize powers they do not have, they should be called out for what they are — usurpers and petty tyrants. And if there is a cause upon which the populist right should unite, it is that elected representatives and executives make the laws and rule the nation. Not judges, and not justices.

Indeed, one of the mightiest forces that has birthed the new populism that imperils the establishment is that unelected justices like Warren and Brennan, and their progeny on the bench, have remade our country without the consent of the governed — and with never having been smacked down by Congress or the president.

Consider. Secularist justices de-Christianized our country. They invented new rights for vicious criminals as though criminal justice were a game. They tore our country apart with idiotic busing orders to achieve racial balance in public schools. They turned over centuries of tradition and hundreds of state, local and federal laws to discover that the rights to an abortion and same-sex marriage were there in Madison's Constitution all along. We just couldn't see them.

Trump has warned the judges that if they block his travel ban, and this results in preventable acts of terror on American soil, they will be held accountable. As rightly they should.

Meanwhile, Trump's White House should use the arrogant and incompetent conduct of these federal judges to make the case not only for creating a new Supreme Court, but for Congress to start using Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution — to restrict the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and to reclaim its stolen powers.

A clipping of the court's wings is long overdue.



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)


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Perils of being a health nut

A doctor reports:

A lady came to me with renal failure many years ago, and was indignant because she was a health nut and took great pride in all the vitamins she took to "stay healthy." At that time a kidney angiogram was standard (injecting dye directly into the kidney through the blood vessels). Before I injected the first drop I noticed on the fluoroscope that both kidneys looked like great, white stones.

I asked her, "How much Vitamin D do you take?" She proudly announced that she took about 75 times the recommended dose. "Well, I said, you have turned your kidneys to stone." She pronounced me a quack and we terminated the procedure. Last I heard of her, she was on dialysis.



The wrong-headed war on salt again

Another shot at the salt nonsense below.  Excerpt only.  The term "sodium" below refers to NaCl, table salt

Since Dahl's work in the 1960s, a steady stream of high-quality evidence has shown that dietary sodium can indeed influence blood pressure. But most showed a surprising, but statistically insignificant inverse correlation between salt and blood pressure, as well. That means some people with higher dietary sodium also had lower blood pressure.

More recent work has demonstrated that, even though groups of people averaged together may show a uniform trend in the association between sodium and blood pressure, there are wildly different blood pressure responses to dietary sodium within populations. For example, research indicates that about 25 percent of the population is "salt sensitive," meaning their blood pressure rises as dietary sodium is increased. However, most-perhaps upwards of 75 percent-are insensitive to moderate increases and decreases in dietary salt. A small percentage, an estimated 11 to 16 percent, however, are "inverse-salt-sensitive," and will experience higher blood pressure as dietary sodium is decreased. The cause of this heterogeneity in response to dietary sodium is not yet known but may be related to the other components of a person's diet, their genetic background, and other lifestyle factors.

Furthermore, an increasing body of research has shown that decreasing salt consumption-even if it does lower blood pressure-may not be associated with better health. Blood pressure is, of course, merely a marker of health not an outcome; people don't die as a result of high blood pressure, but rather from the conditions closely associated with blood pressure like heart attack and stroke.

What does all this mean? Frankly, it means the research is inconclusive for population-wide sodium recommendations. For certain individuals, like those who are salt-sensitive and consuming higher than average sodium intakes, sodium restriction may make sense. On the other hand, for certain groups, such as those who are inverse salt-sensitive, or those who are diabetic (for whom studies have found lower salt increases mortality risk) it might not be the best approach. Put more simply: the research doesn't support sodium restriction in the general population consuming average sodium levels as a means to reduce blood pressure.

Perhaps the most interesting finding, however, is that the literature has been quietly affirming the effectiveness of other-possibly more appropriate-ways to lower blood pressure. At the top of the list is dietary potassium, which researchers had identified as lowering blood pressure at nearly the same time they began studying the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Consistently, almost without fail and on both sides of the sodium debate, studies have shown that doubling dietary potassium is as effective as halving dietary sodium. More importantly, the effect has been observed in almost every population in which it has been studied, regardless of race, sex, age, location, and other genetic and lifestyle factors.




Covered California Misery Still Getting Worse

Since the dawn of Covered California, the state's wholly owned subsidiary of the federal Affordable Care Act, health journalist Emily Bazar has tracked the dysfunctions. The skyrocketing premiums, cancellations and "glitches" of the $454 million computer system were responsible for "widespread consumer misery," not exactly a ringing endorsement. Covered California also dropped 2,000 pregnant women from their plans, causing them to lose their prenatal appointments. More recently, victims of Covered California protested a massive "bait and switch" trick that makes glowing promises then sticks them with expensive, inferior coverage. On the other hand, victims who think Covered California can't get any worse are sadly mistaken.

In her most recent column, Emily Bazar charts how Covered California slammed victims by nearly doubling their premiums and depriving them of their tax credits. Covered California boss Peter Lee cited "systems issues that had never occurred before," an allusion to the $454 million computer system that Covered California blames for everything. Lee helpfully added that "real people" have been affected. One of them is Mike Connelly, 62, of Granite Bay, who like others was mistakenly kicked over to Medi-Cal. "After they have you," Connelly told Bazar, "they won't let you go," and that is not a good thing. Medi-Cal service is shaky and as Bazar noted, they "demand posthumous payback from enrollees 55 and older for a broad range of medical costs," even if they didn't use any medical services. All victims of the ACA, meanwhile, should understand that actual health concerns are secondary.

The Affordable Care Act is perhaps the greatest "taking" in U.S. history. It takes away the plans the people like and gives them only what the government wants them to have. The ACA increases the size and power of government and lays the groundwork for government monopoly health care, the "public option." The people ought to beware because once that system has you, it won't let you go. Even if you don't like the plan, you have to keep it.



Replace Obamacare, Don't "Repair" It

Rumor has it that many Republicans in Congress are rethinking "repeal and replace" in favor of "repair." This is both unnecessary and unsound. According to Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman, GOP lawmakers can replace Obamacare without leaving anyone behind. All they need to do is to enact legislation such as the proposal that Senator Bill Cassidy introduced in the Senate and that he and Representative Pete Sessions introduced in both houses of Congress.

"The Sessions/Cassidy proposal in particular is designed to encourage employers to help their employees get health insurance," Goodman writes in Forbes. It does this through five main features: a refundable tax credit, access to group insurance, access to limited-benefit insurance, a reliable safety net, and reform of the individual market.

"Interestingly, a model for reform is the small-business section of the CURES Act, which passed with huge bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress," Goodman writes. "One way to think about the Sessions/Cassidy legislation is to see that it will extend these same features to the rest of the healthcare system."



The West was protectionist before Trump

Obama and the EU pursued trade wars long before The Donald arrived. Tariffs are only one way of burdening producers in other countries

Is Trump intent on starting a trade war? After proclaiming, in his inaugural address, that `protection will lead to great prosperity and strength', Trump has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He may impose a 20 per cent border tax on imports, starting with Mexico. He wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada. He's promised to raise tariffs on Chinese goods to 45 per cent of their value, and wants US manufacturers to reshore production back to America. Now commentators fret that Trump is walking in the `ominous' and `dark' footsteps of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which taxed some imports at 60 per cent of their value and is today widely seen as contributing to the international disorder of the 1930s.

We will have to see what Trump does. But nobody should be under any illusions: over two terms, Obama's own protectionism, much of it directed against the EU, fully prepared the world for the Trumpian protectionism of today. So too did the protectionism emanating from Brussels. The narrative that Trump is a qualitative break from a previous era of peaceful, liberal, free-trade globalisation is simply untrue.

In trade and investment, Obama always played hardball. He took sanctions against Russia and Syria. He only eased sanctions against Iran in January 2016, and left the historic US sanctions in place around Cuba. Obama also imposed tariffs of more than 500 per cent on some Chinese steel products. In the World Trade Organisation, his representatives aggressively pursued `enforcement' actions against trade rivals.

Yet Obama also played a new kind of softball. For decades, economists used to lament growing `non-tariff barriers to trade' - niggly regulations that would, for example, bar foreign carmakers if their bumpers weren't right. And for decades trade has been growing in services, where national technical regulations and standards are especially tricky for foreign firms to adhere to (the EU Single Market, for example, does not work well for services). What's more, foreign direct investment (FDI) is actually more important than trade. Apart from the imposition of old-fashioned sanctions and a few harsh tariff barriers, then, Obama repeatedly engaged in other unilateral, arbitrary and intimidating actions against foreign firms active in the US.

His people fined Britain's BP billions of dollars for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, and Obama himself castigated BP as British Petroleum. In 2012, Obama's Department of Justice (DoJ) fined UK pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline three billion dollars for bribing doctors to prescribe anti-depressants to children. On a much smaller scale, the US Securities and Exchange Commission fined Dutch auditors KPMG in 2014 for iffy accounting, going on to fine Ernst & Young for much the same in 2016. Last year, too, the Supreme Court awarded Apple $399million in damages against Korea's Samsung for making smartphones with `a rectangular front face with rounded edges and a grid of colourful icons on a black screen'. Obama's DoJ also fined Volkswagen $4.3 billion for faking its diesel emissions, arranging for a German VW executive to be shackled in Miami and threatened with life in jail. Finally, in its dying days, the Obama DoJ fined Britain's Rolls Royce $170million for bribery.

Obama's fierceness toward inward investors was only `soft' in that it singled foreign companies out for longstanding Democratic Party anti-corporate gripes around the environment, safety and corruption. In this sense, we can say that Obama initiated trade wars under the guise of culture wars against the bad behaviour of foreign firms.

The EU has replied in kind. Brussels might not agree that its measures amount to a trade war, but it has been unrelenting in its pursuit of US companies - especially IT companies. The EU issued anti-monopoly fines against Microsoft ($731million, 2013), Intel ($1.4 billion, 2009) and Google (up to $7.45 billion, 2016), and attacked Apple for not paying enough tax. It now has Google, Apple, Facebook and WhatsApp in its sights over internet privacy.

US IT companies remain, in the eyes of the EU, just a little too big for their boots. They lack the finesse of, say, European companies. In this way the EU's politically correct protectionism can distract from its failure to build a computer and software industry like the US.

The `Trump means trade war' narrative gets still more shallow when people say that just as Trump will make trade hard, so other authoritarian national leaders - not just Trump, but also Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, India's Narendra Modi, Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping - will promise to do the same. Thus Guardian economics editor Larry Elliott believes that `just as in the 1930s, there is a prevailing cult of the strong man' around the world; so if Trump could `bring the globalisation of the past quarter of a century to a juddering halt', he might be aided and abetted by multiple Trumps abroad.

This is preposterous. Even Thomas Carlyle, the father of the `Great Man' school of history, would blush at such a personalised, almost Freudian account of world trade. By focusing on easily disliked dictatorial figures, this knowing whitewash completely exonerates liberal politicians, on both sides of the Atlantic.

It is all far too convenient. Trump may well like the brutish, tariff-based protectionism of the pre-war era. But he will also continue the modern, righteous protectionism pioneered by Obama and the EU. The forces of world economy and politics are bigger than any one man.



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)


Monday, February 13, 2017

How Obama is scheming to sabotage Trump’s presidency

WHEN former President Barack Obama said he was “heartened” by anti-Trump protests, he was sending a message of approval to his troops.

Troops? Yes, Obama has an army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000 — who will fight his Republican successor at every turn of his historic presidency. And Obama will command them from a bunker less than two kilometres from the White House.

In what’s shaping up to be a highly unusual post-presidency, Obama isn’t just staying behind in Washington. He’s working behind the scenes to set up what will effectively be a shadow government to not only protect his threatened legacy, but to sabotage the incoming administration and its popular “America First” agenda.

He’s doing it through a network of leftist nonprofits led by Organizing for Action. Normally you’d expect an organisation set up to support a politician and his agenda to close up shop after that candidate leaves office, but not Obama’s OFA. Rather, it’s gearing up for battle, with a growing war chest and more than 250 offices across the country.

Since Donald Trump’s election, this little-known but well-funded protesting arm has beefed up staff and ramped up recruitment of young liberal activists, declaring on its website, “We’re not backing down.” Determined to salvage Obama’s legacy,” it’s drawing battle lines on immigration, ObamaCare, race relations and climate change.

Obama is intimately involved in OFA operations and even tweets from the group’s account. In fact, he gave marching orders to OFA foot soldiers following Trump’s upset victory.

“It is fine for everybody to feel stressed, sad, discouraged,” he said in a conference call from the White House. “But get over it.” He demanded they “move forward to protect what we’ve accomplished.”

“Now is the time for some organising,” he said. “So don’t mope.”

Far from sulking, OFA activists helped organise anti-Trump marches across US cities, some of which turned into riots. After Trump issued a temporary ban on immigration from seven terror-prone Muslim nations, the demonstrators jammed airports, chanting: “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all!”

Run by old Obama aides and campaign workers, federal tax records show “nonpartisan” OFA marshals 32,525 volunteers nationwide. Registered as a 501(c)(4), it doesn’t have to disclose its donors, but they’ve been generous. OFA has raised more than $40 million in contributions and grants since evolving from Obama’s campaign organisation Obama for America in 2013.

OFA, in IRS filings, says it trains young activists to develop “organising skills.” Armed with Obama’s 2012 campaign database, OFA plans to get out the vote for Democratic candidates it’s grooming to win back Congress and erect a wall of resistance to Trump at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

It will be aided in that effort by the Obama Foundation, run by Obama’s former political director, and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, launched last month by Obama pal Eric Holder to end what he and Obama call GOP “gerrymandering” of congressional districts.

Obama will be overseeing it all from a shadow White House located within two miles of Trump. It features a mansion, which he’s fortifying with construction of a tall brick perimeter, and a nearby taxpayer-funded office with his own chief of staff and press secretary. Michelle Obama will also open an office there, along with the Obama Foundation.

Critical to the fight is rebuilding the ravaged Democrat Party. Obama hopes to install his former civil-rights chief Tom Perez at the helm of the Democratic National Committee.

Perez is running for the vacant DNC chairmanship, vowing “It’s time to organise and fight ... We must stand up to protect President Obama’s accomplishments;” while also promising, “We’re going to build the strongest grassroots organising force this country has ever seen.”

The 55-year-old Obama is not content to go quietly into the night like other ex-presidents. “You’re going to see me early next year,” he said after the election, “and we’re going to be in a position where we can start cooking up all kinds of great stuff.”

Added the ex-president: “Point is, I’m still fired up and ready to go.”



Undermining Our Republic, One Lawsuit After Another

A lawless judiciary is running amok as leftists take to the courts to get their way.

In 1996, California voters approved a ballot initiative known as Proposition 209. It banned all preferential treatment based on race, ethnicity and gender in public education, employment and contracting. The decision was anathema to the progressive bean-counters and quota-mongers who did what progressives always do when the will of the people conflicts with their agenda: they found U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, who issued a temporary restraining order preventing the law's implantation. Henderson's reasoning? Because the elimination of preferences disadvantaged women and racial minorities, it violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.

Henderson's affront to logic was eventually overturned, but this saga illustrates two things that afflict the nation to this very day: Leftists remain utterly contemptuous of the democratic process when the results of that process conflict with their "enlightened" worldview; and far more important, Americans have becoming increasingly inured to Abraham Lincoln's warning that "if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court . the people will have ceased to be their own rulers."

Would that it were solely the Supreme Court. As usual, leftists were able to secure a ruling from federal district judge James Robart of Seattle restraining the Trump administration's efforts to temporarily suspend visas for aliens "who cannot be realistically vetted for security risks because their native countries are either sponsors of anti-American terrorism . or have been left with dysfunctional or nonfunctional governments because of war," as National Review aptly explains.

This is judicial abuse, and nothing makes it clearer than Section 1182(f) of immigration law, granting the president the power to "suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate."

That leftists have twisted Trump's order into an attack on religion is unsurprising. It is even less surprising that a judge with a track record of left-leaning activism would oppose it.

But this is just the beginning of the Left's effort to employ "useful" jurists willing to preserve their agenda, even if it thwarts the will of the electorate, a congressional majority and/or the Trump administration. Fred Lucas reports that there are more than a dozen lawsuits challenging Trump's executive order, and they "largely stem from organizations bankrolled by billionaire leftist George Soros and Democratic state attorneys general" have been filed for exactly that reason.

The results of Robart's injunction alone are as predictable as they are infuriating. "Lifting of Travel Ban Sets Off Rush to Reach U.S.," proclaims a New York Times headline. The Times also refers to a "vigorous" vetting process that can take as long as two years.

Not exactly. "Because of a spike in Middle Eastern refugees needing placement, the Obama administration has decided to rush their vetting process to three months, from the original 18-24 months," the Washington Times revealed - last April.

Americans should be clear about what is really happening here: progressives are once engaged in the process of finding judges willing to elevate the interests of aliens and their progressive enablers over Americans and national security.

Americans should also understand this particular battle is only the beginning of a war in which leftists will flood the courts with lawsuits aimed at undermining every facet of Trump's agenda.

In what may have been one of his most misguided assumptions, Thomas Jefferson argued "for the permanency of the judicial offices" based on the idea that "few men in the society . have sufficient skill in the laws to qualify them for the stations of judges. And making the proper deductions for the ordinary depravity of human nature, the number must be still smaller of those who unite the requisite integrity with the requisite knowledge."

The rise of moral relativism, essentially the idea that one man's "depravity" is another man's "lifestyle," has given the nation a plethora of judges completely bereft of anything resembling the union of requisite integrity and requisite knowledge. Thus, for example, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt is quite comfortable wearing her "pussy hat" while sitting on the bench. It's apparently OK because her job is largely administrative, and her judicial powers are limited to conducting marriages and administrative hearings.

Yet the ultimate judicial divide in our nation is the chasm between judges who believe the Constitution means what it actually says, and those who believe it is a "living" document rife with "penumbras" or implied rights necessitating interpretation. For the latter group, it is completely irrelevant the Framers fought over every word contained in our founding document. Moreover, members of the liberal wing of the U.S. Supreme Court have expressed their comfort with using decisions produced by foreign and international courts to inform their rulings.

The concept known as judicial supremacy began with Marbury v. Madison, the first time SCOTUS voided congressional legislation. It has now evolved to the point where Americans have been led to believe the Constitution "was deliberately framed in terms of heroic generalities precisely to give federal judges a wider scope for discretion," as Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell put it.

Columnist Clarke D. Forsythe echoes Lincoln. "Judicial supremacy fundamentally contradicts self-government," he writes.

Sadly, America's governance is often determined by who sits on our courts rather than who sits in our legislatures. This makes the selection of judges far more critical than it should be, to the point where Harry Reid invoked the nuclear option to stack the DC Court of Appeals with Democrats. Thus, Democrat hysteria surrounding the elimination of the filibuster to ultimately appoint Neil Gorsuch to the seat vacated by Antonin Scalia rings exceedingly hollow.

Article III of the Constitution grants Congress to create - or eliminate - every federal court but SCOTUS, a power that could be used to rein in much judicial overreach. But if Congress did put the judges on notice that unconstitutional rulings might cost them their jobs, Americans' focus would be on our elected representatives when divisive political outcomes arose. "Can't have that," columnist Selwyn Duke writes. "Federal judges don't have to be reelected - congressmen do."

Again, the short-term implications are clear. Progressives will employ every opportunity to use the judiciary as a bulwark against a president they despise, and an electorate that has decimated Democrat legislative power at both the federal and state level. Moreover, as SCOTUS made clear on rulings from Roe v. Wade to Obergefell v. Hodges, jurists will continue to "discover" laws that have "no basis in the Constitution," as Chief Justice John Roberts characterized the latter decision in his dissent.

That would be the same Chief Justice Roberts who also "discovered" ObamaCare's individual mandate - argued as such by the Obama administration itself - was actually a tax, making passage of the health care law possible. A law giving the federal government control over one-sixth of the nation's economy.

Long term, Americans are facing the ever-increasing reality that "five lawyers can determine what law means for 320 million Americans," Duke explains. That system of governance may be many things. A constitutional republic isn't one of them.



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)


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Donald Trump backs down over 'one China policy' in call with China's Xi Jinping

By first making it clear that U.S. policy cannot be taken for granted, Trump has gained kudos by agreeing to the status quo after all.  Good negotiation tactics.  China does now to a degree owe him a favor.

The Leftist media don't or won't understand his tactics so are  full of scare stories about what Trump MIGHT do.  But his actions have been very conservative -- including his immigration restrictions, which are little different from actions by previous Presidents, such as Obama and Carter

There is a long article here by Daniel McCarthy, editor at large of The American Conservative which is headed: "Donald Trump: the method behind the madness. How the unorthodox US president may be one step ahead of his critics".  So some people at least do get how Trump works

Note also the following comment on Trump's travel ban order:

"Trump could have executed this better, and the courts absolutely got it wrong. But it's important to realize that this was also strategically calculated to play out in one of two ways: Either Trump got his way with the order (he didn't), or his base is (rightly) fired up about an activist judiciary just in time for Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Trump wins either way. And along the way, Trump successfully diverted media attention to a very temporary travel moratorium - i.e., not the most critical issue. The charitable view is that this is an example of one of Trump's deal-making trademarks, "managed chaos," in which he keeps his opponents off balance, distracted and unaware of the right hook that is, ultimately, going to win the match"

Donald Trump has backed down over his confrontational stance towards Beijing, committing to the `One China policy' in his first phone call with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, since taking office.

In a move that is certain to ease tensions between the United States and China, the US president "agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honour our `one China' policy," the White House said in a statement.

The "lengthy telephone conversation" on Thursday evening was "extremely cordial" and the two leaders "extended invitations to meet in their respective countries," the statement added.

Mr Xi told Mr Trump that he appreciated the president's reaffirmation of the policy, China's state news agency Xinhua reported.

Mr Trump angered Beijing by accepting a congratulatory call from the President of Taiwan in December, breaking decades of diplomatic protocol.

He has since suggested there could be a renegotiation of the One China policy, in which the US recognises Beijing's rule over the island. Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway province, which will be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Observers had questioned Mr Trump's apparent willingness to use the Taiwan issue as a `bargaining chip' with China, and they believe his decision to back down over the issue is the correct one.

Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy in Beijing, said: "Trump played with the notion of using this arrangement as leverage, but I think he ultimately came to the right conclusion that this is not where the US Administration can get leverage.  "The One China Policy is not a card on the bargaining table - it is the table itself.

"Taiwan is also a vital US partner and thriving democracy of 23 million people. Its future is not ours to bargain away," Mr Haenle, who served on the National Security Council under Mr Bush and Barack Obama, told The Telegraph.

Bonnie Glaser, senior advisor for Asia at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said: "The US-China relationship has been on hold as Beijing waited for Trump to make this statement.

"Now the two countries can get down to business and discuss how to manage their differences on a wide range of issues," she told The Telegraph.



The pendulum swings from left to right to left and now, back to right again

Joel Ross writes below.  He is a futurist and a Democrat with no love for Trump, but his predictions about Trump are interesting and plausible.  Below is from a subscription newsletter called The Ross Rant from New York City for real estate investors

The black swans held a massive victory party last night.  Not because Trump won, but because they showed the world that they are the real rulers.

Being a NY real estate guy, I have always known Trump is a terrible person. My former partner who at one time was worldwide head of real estate at Citibank, hated him. She and he had bitter battles when he was bankrupt and she was seizing assets. I know other bankers, lawyers and contractors who have had dealings with him, and nobody had good things to say.

However, now he is president and we need as a nation to be fully supportive or the world will come apart. As I feared, the press is already on the attack with their usual rhetoric.  CNN today was its usual self - attacking him and having Chris Cuomo and Amanpor make stupid statements, still blaming the Russians.  MSNBC actually had Al Sharpton on as a commentator.

Shows you how out of touch the media is. Kelly Ann told Cuomo to stop the negativity and he went on to try to claim "it is not us, it was the campaigns". The press just does not get it. The NY Times was a loser for the last several years, and it will continue to decline at a faster pace.  CNN has lost the battle to Fox and will likely have to change out the commentators who are now completely discredited.

Many years ago Connie Chung made a luncheon speech I was at, and she said the press had devolved into a bunch of lazy unprofessional kids who just rush out a story without bothering to check veracity. She decried how the press had become rumor mongers and unprofessional. They sure have. They will probably not change much until they realize the world has moved on to social media and the press has minimal credibility now.

 If you have been reading The Rant for a long time you know I have been saying the world is changed and very high risk, and the black swans are circling. We just entered a major inflection point in history.

I have been reporting that in Europe the right wing is ascendant. LePen is likely to win the French election next year. The EU is going to come apart once that  happens and now with Trump in power that trend will accelerate. The EU will realign into blocs and there will be massive turmoil as things sort out over the next several years.

The French will go back to the Franc. Germany will shift right as the refugees create social, crime and fiscal issues. As ISIS gets destroyed they will try to wage war in Europe thru more terror attacks.

You do not want to invest in Europe. The world is rapidly shifting right and the changes will be generational. Brussels will be neutered. NATO countries will invest much more in defense and will be forced to build up their armies.

Here is what I believe will happen in the US. Trump has two years to make massive changes and this is what I believe they may be:

Obamacare is replaced with some type of more free market plan that Ryan already has. Corporate taxes will be reduced to maybe 15% or maybe a bit higher. Personal taxes will be reduced. All executive orders by Obama will be reversed.  Most of the massive regulation Obama put in place will be cancelled.

The Supreme Court will get a conservative justice right away and Ginsburg will try to hang on until she dies in office to try to deny him her seat.  She will not last 4 years. Trump will get at least 2 and maybe 3 judge picks. The Supreme court will decide by what strict constructionists think the constitution says not the left wing politics of Sotomayor. It will be much more pro-business. Antitrust cases will go away.

Sanctuary cities will lose funding and San Francisco and Berkley and Boulder will go nuts. The border will somehow be secured and Mexico will not pay. Border Patrol will be materially increased. Gang members will be arrested and deported but everyone else will get to stay here. Ryan will stay as Speaker. Trump will do what any good NY real estate guy does, he will not get up from the table until he gets a deal close to what he wants.

That is key to a lot of what Trump will be able to do. If you listened carefully to what he said, it was I will redo NAFTA and will walk from the table if I do not get what we need.

There will be a revised NAFTA but Mexico will suffer a lot because many US companies will not move plants there until they see what revised NAFTA says.  They will also not defy Trump early on and risk his wrath. Mexico takes a big hit.

The Pentagon and US defense contractors are big winners. Defense spending will ramp up by huge numbers.  The military will add over 200,000 people over the next two years. Weapons spend will dramatically increase. This will add a lot of new jobs between the additional military and the added jobs in defense plants.

Private equity will take a big hit with carried interest going away and this will make a small part payment for the tax cuts. Estate taxes will mostly go away. Cops will be respected again And racial strife will end as Trump tries new ideas to build charter schools, and rebuild the ghettos.

There will be no more honoring the families of the thugs like Brown and Travon the way Obama and Hilary did.  He will honor the cops. The downtrend in crime will get reinstated. Transgender anything will go away.

 The military will be told to go win wars and not be social experiments with transgender soldiers. Rules of engagement will be changed to kill the enemy instead of cater to political correctness. There will be an infusion of another 5,000 US soldiers into Iraq and more into Syria to back up the destruction of ISIS. The bombing campaign will be stepped up to what it should be.

By March ISIS will have been defeated. They will try to carry out major terror attacks, but now the world will call Islamic terror what it is and there will be a more aggressive fight and coordination.

Putin and Trump are from the same mother and will get along. Putin is like all bullies - he will realize he cannot push Trump around like he does Obama and he will work out a modus vivendi because he knows he has at least 4 more years to deal with a new US president. Bullies back off if they find they cannot intimidate the other guy.

The Iran nuke deal will get torn up and Iran will find itself back under sanctions. The Germans will scream but Merkel is now in a very weak position so she will not be able to stop Trump from re-imposing them at least for US companies and anyone wanting to do business in the US, especially banks. This will be world changing. The Saudis won big on this, Israel won huge.

Developers win because the EPA will be defanged. Climate change legislation is dead and the Paris pact will be defunct.

 College campuses will no longer have the threat that unless they find a bunch of young guys to charge with sexual whatever they lose funds. PC on college campuses will be pressured to end although for quite a while there will be protests and other such things.  Today professors are telling students they do not have to take exams because they are so upset. Give me a f-ing break.  This is exactly what is wrong with American colleges today. It is just telling kids boo hoo if you feel bad you get excused from work.

I still think Trump is nuts and a really terrible person, but he is president now so we need to deal with reality of what next. Paul Ryan has already reached out to heal the rift and they have already planned a quick special session to pass repeal of Obamacare and undo the regulations and do other things quickly. Ryan will remain as speaker. The SCOTUS vacancy will be filled immediately.

 Most important the entire world is about to change. We will see if for good or bad but change it will in massive ways.  The tide of anti-socialist, anti PC, anti-diversity, anti-entitlement, anti-establishment of the past 70 years is washing across the world and Trump is simply the ultimate example of what had already been happening with Brexit and in Europe.

As far as the stock market- it will now rise.  Taxes will get cut, the Supreme Court will not be activist, anti-trust will end, some type of infrastructure program will be instituted, defense spending will jump, banks will be free to lend, regulations will be drastically reduced, and corporate profits will rise.

 Go all in now. You already see the market reaction is up after the shock. Wall Street elite misplaced their bets, Hollywood and the press way over played their hands, and college professors and administrators will have to get over it. Hilary and crew go to jail.

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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.

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