Friday, April 14, 2017

More on politics and IQ

Further to my recent comments on IQ, someone has drawn my attention to a 2014 article by Noah Carl.  Carl recently came to attention for his articles on Leftism among academics. I had some comments on that on March 5 and on March 17.  Carl is clearly something of a bad boy from a Leftist perspective.  The 2014 journal article is as follows:

Cognitive ability and party identity in the United States (2014)

Noah Carl


Carl (2014) analysed data from the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS), and found that individuals who identify as Republican have slightly higher verbal intelligence than those who identify as Democrat. An important qualification was that the measure of verbal intelligence used was relatively crude, namely a 10-word vocabulary test. This study examines three other measures of cognitive ability from the GSS: a test of probability knowledge, a test of verbal reasoning, and an assessment by the interviewer of how well the respondent understood the survey questions. In all three cases, individuals who identify as Republican score slightly higher than those who identify as Democrat; the unadjusted differences are 1-3 IQ points, 2-4 IQ points and 2-3 IQ points, respectively. Path analyses indicate that the associations between cognitive ability and party identity are largely but not totally accounted for by socio-economic position: individuals with higher cognitive ability tend to have better socio-economic positions, and individuals with better socio-economic positions are more likely to identify as Republican. These results are consistent with Carl's (2014) hypothesis that higher intelligence among classically liberal Republicans compensates for lower intelligence among socially conservative Republicans.


So what are we to make of it?  Let us first compare it with two papers by the indefatigable Ian Deary.  Deary has access to some very well sampled British databases so is in a position to report highly generalizable results:


Childhood intelligence predicts voter turnout, voting preferences, and political involvement in adulthood: The 1970 British Cohort Study (2008)

Ian J. Deary


Little is known about the association between measured intelligence and how people participate in democratic processes. In the 1970 British Cohort Study, we examined the association between childhood intelligence and, at age 34: whether and how people voted in the 2001 UK general election; how they intended to vote; and whether they had taken part in other political activities. People with higher childhood intelligence were more likely to vote in the 2001 election (38% increased prevalence per SD increase in intelligence), and were more likely to vote for the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats (49% and 47% increased prevalence per SD increase in intelligence, respectively). The intelligence-Green party voting association was largely accounted for by occupational social class, the intelligence-Liberal Democrat voting association was not. Similar associations between intelligence and preference for the Green Party or Liberal Democrats were found as regards voting intentions, but neither of these associations was accounted for by occupational social class. People with higher childhood intelligence were more likely to take part in rallies and demonstrations, and to sign petitions, and expressed a greater interest in politics (40%, 65%, 33%, and 58% increased prevalence per SD increase in intelligence, respectively).



Bright Children Become Enlightened Adults (2008)

Ian J. Deary


We examined the prospective association between general intelligence (g) at age 10 and liberal and antitraditional social attitudes at age 30 in a large (N = 7,070), representative sample of the British population born in 1970. Statistical analyses identified a general latent trait underlying attitudes that are antiracist, proworking women, socially liberal, and trusting in the democratic political system. There was a strong association between higher g at age 10 and more liberal and antitraditional attitudes at age 30; this association was mediated partly via educational qualifications, but not at all via occupational social class. Very similar results were obtained for men and women. People in less professional occupations-and whose parents had been in less professional occupations-were less trusting of the democratic political system. This study confirms social attitudes as a major, novel field of adult human activity that is related to childhood intelligence differences.



So in the first Deary study above we find that high IQ British voters did lean Left but they leant towards minority Leftist parties, not the major Leftist party, the Labour party.  The Labour party has some repellent union associations so may have been seen as unattractive for that reason.  The two minor parties, however, come across as high-minded.

The second study looked at the correlates of attitudes rather than vote.  And ever since LaPiere in the 1930s we have known that attitudes are at best only weakly related to behaviour.  Deary found greater social liberalism among high IQ people.

And so we come to Carl's 2014 American study. GOP identifiers were found to be slightly brighter on average than Democrat identifiers.

It is of course perfectly possible and reasonable that trends in Britain might not be reflected in the USA -- and vice versa.  That would seem to be the case here. But note that in no case is the major Leftist party favoured. But the association between vote and IQ was in any case weak so IQ is clearly a very minor factor in determining vote.  As I have often argued, it is a miserable personality that makes you Leftist.  See, for instance,  here


Jeff Sessions Delivers Sweeping Reforms to Protect the Border and US Citizens

Attorney General Jeff Sessions paid a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border today during a trip to Nogales, Arizona, where he spoke to a group of Customs and Border Protection agents and prosecutors.

He referred to the southwest border as “ground zero” in the fight against “transnational gangs like MS-13 and international cartels [that] flood our country with drugs and leave death and violence in their wake.” He added that “it is here that criminal aliens and the coyotes and the document-forgers seek to overthrow our system of lawful immigration.”

Sessions pledged to ratchet up the fight against “criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent citizens, and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders” using “[d]epravity and violence a[s] their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks and beheadings.”

Sessions declared: “For those that continue to seek improper and illegal entry into this country, be forewarned: This is a new era. This is the Trump era. The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws, and the catch and release practices of old are over.”

Sessions backed up this statement by unveiling a series of new policies. First, he announced that each of the 94 U.S. attorney’s offices must now designate one of their prosecutors as a border security coordinator. Additionally, he announced that every federal prosecutor should consider prosecuting anybody accused of committing immigration-related offenses using the following guidelines:

Prosecute anyone suspected of transporting or harboring an illegal alien;

Charging those who unlawfully enter or attempt to enter the country with a felony offense if they have two or more prior misdemeanor convictions for improper entry, or one prior misdemeanor conviction for improper entry when accompanied by other aggravating circumstances;

Charging anyone who re-enters the country after a prior removal with a felony, if the person has a criminal record indicating that he or she poses a danger to public safety or is affiliated with a gang;

Charging those who engage in identity theft or immigration-related document fraud with felonies, including mandatory minimum offenses; and
Charging anyone accused of assaulting, resisting, or impeding a federal law enforcement officer.

Sessions also announced that he would take measures to accelerate some initiatives that had previously been announced. He stated that the administration would appoint 50 more immigration judges this year and 75 more next year.

This is welcome news indeed, since there are over 540,000 cases pending before 301 immigration judges, which works out to about 1,800 cases per judge.

Sessions also announced that the Justice Department had “already surged 25 immigration judges to detention centers along the border.”

This was part of the previously announced effort to reassign immigration judges to 12 cities (New York; Los Angeles; Miami; New Orleans; San Francisco; Baltimore, Bloomington, Minnesota; El Paso, Texas; Harlingen, Texas; Imperial, California; Omaha, Nebraska; and Phoenix, Arizona) that have the highest number of illegal immigrants with criminal charges.

In addition to proceeding with building a wall along the Mexican border, the Trump administration has called for the hiring of 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents over the next couple of years.

The White House has also sought to reinvigorate cooperation agreements (which became dormant during the Obama administration) with state and local officials who seek to perform the functions of, and otherwise assist, immigration officers in relation to the investigation, apprehension, and detention of illegal immigrants.

These efforts have already started to bear fruit. Sessions noted that from January to February of this year—at a time when illegal immigration usually rises by 10 to 20 percent—illegal crossings dropped by 40 percent.

According to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, fewer than 12,500 people were stopped at the border in March, the lowest monthly figure in at least 17 years. Sessions also stated that illegal crossings have dropped a whopping 72 percent since Trump was inaugurated.

Not everyone is supporting the administration’s efforts, though. Several cities, including New York, Seattle, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., have declared themselves to be sanctuary cities and are resisting the administration’s efforts to combat illegal immigration, thereby putting their residents in jeopardy.

Perhaps this is what Sessions had in mind when he poignantly added toward the end of his remarks:

Why are we doing this? Because it is what the duly enacted laws of the United States require. I took an oath to protect this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic. How else can we look the parents and loved ones of Kate Steinle, Grant Ronnebeck, and so many others in [the] eye and say we are doing everything possible to prevent such tragedies from ever occurring again?

When it comes to enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, clearly there is a new sheriff in town. His name is Jeff Sessions, and illegal immigrants had better beware.



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, April 13, 2017

Will N.E. Asia eclipse Caucasians by the end of this century?

It seems obvious that they will.  Japan and S. Korea are already rich and influential countries and China is just getting into its stride -- while economic growth rates in Europe and America are very sluggish.

And something I notice because I read a lot of academic journal articles across several disciplines is that there always seems to be an East Asian among the list of authors.  There are very few single-author papers these days.  So East Asians are already there at the heart of Western science. How soon will it be before the corresponding (main) author usually has an Asian name?

Prophecy is a mug's game unless it is based on clear extrapolations from the past and present and even then "Black Swan" events can upset the applecart.  But we are all interested in the future so at least we can attempt informed opinions.  My opinion is that China will once again be the centre of the world by the end of this century. So I want to look at why I might be wrong. No Leftist ever seems to do that but it is certainly in  line with conservative caution.

An obvious factor is the law of diminishing returns and the ogive curve that seems to describe most variations in biological phenomena.  Apologies for that bit of academic-speak but it will become VERY clear if we look at Japan.  For about 4 decades after WWII, Japan astonished the world by it huge economic growth rates.  It leapt to some sort of parity with European countries very rapidly and European countries were growing richer at that time too.

But it did not continue.  It just about hit a brick wall.  Japan has had negligible growth for around a couple of decades now.  A statistician might say that Japanese economic growth has approached an asymptote.  And lots of things do approach an asymptote.  It is normal for natural processes to have limits on how far they can change.  So Japan will almost certainly never again see high rates of econnomic growth.  It will probably stay on some sort of parity with Western countries but may never get further than that.  Could that happen to China too?  It is clearly possible.

It is also possible that the USA could get steam up again. Under Obama, huge numbers of Americans left the workforce, middle incomes stagnated and business was ever more tightly strangled by regulations. But that already seems to be going into reverse under Trump. And it's early days yet. The more Uncle Sam gets his fingers out of business, the more the economy is likely to grow. And in my reading we are in fact due for a boom under Trump.

It would be too much of a diversion to tackle the arguments of economists against Trumpenomics but let me just note that Trump does have an economics degree and America thrived mightily behind high tariff walls in the 19th century.

So if America booms again, it might be very difficult for N.E. Asia to keep up, let alone excel.

A standard criticism of E. Asians is that they are not creative.  They just use well what others have invented.  That might seem like stupid old racism but some recent work in genetics gives it some substance.  And it is in part the work of that intrepid  outspeaker, Edward Dutton -- a Briton who has been "exiled" to Northern Finland.  Maybe he just likes cold climates. His latest paper that I know of (2015) is below:

Why do Northeast Asians win so few Nobel Prizes?

Kenya Kura, Jan te Nijenhuis & Edward Dutton


Most scientific discoveries have originated from Europe, and Europeans have won 20 times more Nobel Prizes than have Northeast Asians. We argue that this is explained not by IQ, but by interracial personality differences, underpinned by differences in gene distribution. In particular, the variance in scientific achievement is explained by differences in inquisitiveness (DRD4 7-repeat), psychological stability (5HTTLPR long form), and individualism (mu-opioid receptor gene; OPRM1 G allele ). Northeast Asians tend to be lower in these psychological traits, which we argue are necessary for exceptional scientific accomplishments. Since these traits comprise a positive matrix, we constructed a q index (measuring curiosity) from these gene frequencies among world populations. It is found that both IQ scores and q index contribute significantly to the number of per capita Nobel Prizes.


Linking Nobel prizes to genetics is undoubtedly clever and impressive so my objections to their conclusions are rather weak.  My objections may however be right.  The key statistic in their results is the variance explained by their q factor and IQ combined.  It is only 19%.  Many other factors could be at work.

And an obvious factor is history.  Nobel prizes are normally awarded late in the Nobelist's life.  And for something like 98% of the time over which Nobels have been awarded, China had not even got its boots on academically.  Among those Asian co-authors of academic papers today may be a majority of the Nobelists of tomorrow.  In other words, the criterion for achievement -- a Nobel -- may be too narrow.  I believe it is.

So where does that leave us?  All things considered, I suppose the future will be a lot like the present, with the new ideas coming mainly from people of N.W. European ancestry (including Russians, Britons and Americans) and Asia implementing those ideas even more effectively than we do.

I am still vastly impressed by China, however.  My only visit to China was many years ago but my son has been to China a couple of times on problem-solving missions and I have Sinophilic friends.  All tell me that China already dazzles in many ways.  My son is a software engineer and his verdict from contact with them is that the Chinese are unbeatable.  I am inclined to agree.  I am inclined to think that China will eventually pull ahead of the USA in most ways.  But I am also of the view that the USA will remain an indispensable second place-getter in many ways.


United Airlines Flunks Economics 101

Supply and Demand: After forcing a paying customer off a flight to make room for an employee, United Airlines is catching hell, and rightly so. But what's really disturbing is that no one at United understood the most basic principle of free market economics.

The story goes like this. United overbooked a flight from Chicago to Louisville, Ky., on Sunday night. That's hardly unusual. But in this case, United wanted to make room for four employees who needed to be in Louisville the next day, and the next flight to Louisville wasn't until Monday afternoon.

According to news accounts, United offered passengers at the gate $400 and a hotel to give up their seats. But nobody took them up on it. After everyone had boarded the plane, United upped the offer to $800 for anyone willing to get off. Again, it got no takers.

So, the airline decided to do the "fair" thing and have a computer randomly pick four passengers, who were then told to get off the plane. When one refused, United called in cops. Another passenger recorded that man being yanked from his seat and dragged off the plane.

A high school student just learning about economics could explain what United did wrong. Namely, it tried to ignore the supply and demand curve and the market clearing price.

Clearly, the combination of an overnight stay and the reason for being bumped (to accommodate United workers) pushed the market price for giving up a seat above $800.

United spokesman Charlie Hobart said the airline tries to come up with a reasonable compensation offer, but "there comes a point where you're not going to get volunteers."

That's simply not true. Yes, United's contract of carriage gives them the ability to bump passengers. But United could have — and given the circumstances should have — continued to increase its offer price until it got enough volunteers. At some point, there would have been a rush to give up seats.

The result: Everyone would have gone away happy. The passengers who agreed to get off the flight would have received something they valued more than arriving on time, and United would have been able to get its own employees where they needed to be without raising a fuss.

Instead, United tried to impose its own form of price controls and then have the police enforce its nonmarket decision.

Does that sound familiar to anyone? It should, because this is precisely what happens when government interferes in any market, either by forcing prices higher or lower, or mandating businesses offer this or that, to accommodate some other alleged social goal — and then forcing everyone to abide by these rules. The result is economic inefficiency, rising animosity and a growing police state.

Price controls are why there were gasoline shortages in the 1970s and doctor shortages in Medicaid today. They explain why the individual insurance markets are failing under ObamaCare, and why Venezuelan grocery store shelves are empty.

Such economic illiteracy might be excusable among government regulators and bureaucrats who make their living telling other people what to do. But the fact that a private company — in an industry that is constantly changing ticket prices to meet even slight changes in demand — didn't understand this basic economic principle is really troubling.

Then again, it was the airlines themselves that fought to keep the government in charge of setting their routes and fares when Congress decided to deregulate the industry in the 1970s.



Trump wins trade concessions from China in first meeting: Report

President Trump's first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly made progress on trade issues with the world's largest country.

The Financial Times reported China offered to drop the ban on American beef, in place since 2003, and offered to allow foreigners to have majority stakes in Chinese investment and securities companies.

The former concession from the Chinese would allow American cattle producers to have access to a massive new market, while the Financial Times reported the latter is something that was discussed under former President Barack Obama but was received positively by Trump last week.

Trump and Xi met for two days of talks at Mar-a-Lago in Florida last week. Trump tweeted that he and Xi made progress on a personal relationship level but only time would tell about how the country's trade relationship would go.



Democrat Russia narrative implodes


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, April 12, 2017

What's Become of the American Dream?

Part of the problem is definitional. It isn’t just about houses, cars and material prosperity

Peggy Noonan
I want to think aloud about the American dream. People have been saying for a while that it’s dead. It’s not, but it needs strengthening. We should start by saying what it means, which is something we’ve gotten mixed up about. I know its definition because I grew up in the heart of it and remember how people had long understood it. The American dream is the belief, held by generation after generation since our beginning and reanimated over the decades by waves of immigrants, that here you can start from anywhere and become anything. In America you can rise to the heights no matter where and in what circumstances you began. You can go from the bottom to the top.

Behind the dream was another belief: America was uniquely free, egalitarian and arranged so as to welcome talent. Lincoln was elected president in part because his supporters brought lengths of crude split-rails to the Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1860. They held the rails high and paraded them in a floor demonstration to tell everyone: This guy was nothing but a frontier rail splitter, a laborer, a backwoods nobody. Now he will be president. What a country. What a dream.

This distinguished America from old Europe, from which it had kicked away. There titles, families and inherited wealth dictated standing: If you had them, you’d always be at the top. If you didn’t, you’d always be at the bottom. That static system bred resentment. We would have a dynamic one that bred hope.

You can give a dozen examples, and perhaps you are one, of Americans who turned a brilliant system into a lived-out triumph. Thomas Edison, the seventh child of modest folk in Michigan and half-deaf to boot, filled the greatest cities in the world with electric light. Barbara Stanwyck was from working-class Brooklyn. Her mother died, her father skipped town, and she was raised by relatives and foster parents. She went on to a half-century career as a magnetic actress of stage and screen; in 1944 she was the highest-paid woman in America. Jonas Salk was a hero of my childhood. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Poland who settled in East Harlem — again, working-class nobodies. Naturally young Jonas, an American, scoped out the true facts of his time and place and thought: I’ll be a great lawyer. His mother is reported to have said no, a doctor. He went on to cure polio. We used to talk about him at the public school when we waited in line for the vaccine.

In America so many paths were offered! But then a big nation that is a great one literally has a lot of paths.

The American dream was about aspiration and the possibility that, with dedication and focus, it could be fulfilled. But the American dream was not about material things — houses, cars, a guarantee of future increase. That’s the construction we put on it now. It’s wrong. A big house could be the product of the dream, if that’s what you wanted, but the house itself was not the dream. You could, acting on your vision of the dream, read, learn, hold a modest job and rent a home, but at town council meetings you could stand, lead with wisdom and knowledge, and become a figure of local respect. Maybe the respect was your dream.

Stanwyck became rich, Salk revered. Both realized the dream.

How did we get the definition mixed up?

I think part of the answer is: Grandpa. He’d sit on the front stoop in Levittown in the 1950s. A sunny day, the kids are tripping by, there’s a tree in the yard and bikes on the street and a car in the front. He was born in Sicily or Donegal or Dubrovnik, he came here with one change of clothes tied in a cloth and slung on his back, he didn’t even speak English, and now look — his grandkids with the bikes. “This is the American dream,” he says. And the kids, listening, looked around, saw the houses and the car, and thought: He means the American dream is things. By inference, the healthier and more enduring the dream, the bigger the houses get, the more expensive the cars. (They went on to become sociologists and journalists.)

But that of course is not what Grandpa meant. He meant: I started with nothing and this place let me and mine rise. The American dream was not only about materialism, but material things could be, and often were, its fruits.

The American dream was never fully realized, not by a long shot, and we all know this. The original sin of America, slavery, meant some of the oldest Americans were brutally excluded from it. The dream is best understood as a continuing project requiring constant repair and expansion, with an eye to removing barriers and roadblocks for all.

Many reasons are put forward in the argument over whether the American Dream is over (no) or ailing (yes) or was always divisive (no — dreams keep nations together). We see income inequality, as the wealthy prosper while the middle class grinds away and the working class slips away. There is a widening distance, literally, between the rich and the poor. Once the richest man in town lived nearby, on the nicest street on the right side of the tracks. Now he’s decamped to a loft in SoHo. “The big sort” has become sociocultural apartheid. It’s globalization, it’s the decline in the power of private-sector unions and the brakes they applied.

What ails the dream is a worthy debate. I’d include this: The dream requires adults who can launch kids sturdily into Dream-land.

When kids have one or two parents who are functioning, reliable, affectionate — who will stand in line for the charter-school lottery, who will fill out the forms, who will see that the football uniform gets washed and is folded on the stairs in the morning — there’s a good chance they’ll be OK. If you come from that now, it’s like being born on third base and being able to hit a triple. You’ll be able to pursue the dream.

But I see kids who don’t have that person, who are from families or arrangements that didn’t cohere, who have no one to stand in line for them or get them up in the morning. What I see more and more in America is damaged or absent parents. We all know what’s said in this part — drugs, family breakup. Poor parenting is not a new story in human history, and has never been new in America. But insufficient parents used to be able to tell their kids to go out, go play in America, go play in its culture. And the old aspirational culture, the one of the American dream, could counter a lot. Now we have stressed kids operating within a nihilistic popular culture that can harm them. So these kids have nothing — not the example of a functioning family and not the comfort of a culture into which they can safely escape.

This is not a failure of policy but a failure of love. And it’s hard to change national policy on a problem like that.



Why Justice Gorsuch Will Have an Immediate (and Big) Impact on the Supreme Court
Relentless, harsh and wholly unmerited — such were the attacks against Judge Neil Gorsuch. Yet Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) held firm to his promise to hold a full-Senate vote on the judge’s nomination and today we have, once again, a full complement of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hopefully, Gorsuch’s confirmation means that the Court once again has the crucial fifth vote needed to sustain the Constitution as written and to protect fundamental rights like religious freedom, free speech, and the right to bear arms.

Once he is sworn in, Justice Gorsuch will arrive at the Court just in time to hear the April 19 oral arguments in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley. It is a case of stark, blatant religious discrimination by the government.

The state of Missouri provides grants to help nonprofit organizations resurface their playgrounds with rubber from recycled tires. The goal is to provide safer play areas for kids. But Missouri denied a grant to the licensed preschool and daycare center at Trinity Lutheran solely because it is a church. Missouri said the grant would violate separation of church and state. In reality, it violated prior Supreme Court precedent.

Given the hostility to religious freedom expressed in prior decisions like Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014) (the contraceptive mandate case) and Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014) (the town council opening prayer case) by the four liberal justices on the Court, Gorsuch is needed in the Trinity Lutheran case to prevent an injustice from occurring. Excluding churches from an otherwise neutral and secular government aid program clearly violates the First Amendment.

Gorsuch may also make a difference in the Court’s decisions about which of the pending petitions it will accept for appeal. Each term, the Court accepts only a little over 70 of the roughly 7,000 petitions it receives. It will be helpful, therefore, to have another justice who understands the importance of constitutional issues and will vote to accept the most important cases for review.

 Among the petitions currently pending is Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, an important case about an individual’s right to not be forced by the government to act in violation of his or her religious beliefs.

Another petition is Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute. In this case, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an erroneous decision, misinterpreting federal law to prevent the state of Ohio from cleaning up its voter registration list. This is an especially important case for improving election integrity — and one which Justice Gorsuch may be inclined to take up.

Another petition that could help assure election integrity is North Carolina v. North Carolina NAACP. Here, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals erroneously threw out North Carolina’s voter ID law as well as numerous other election reforms.

Justice Gorsuch may also make a difference on petitions to come — such as the emergency appeals of the numerous injunctions issued against President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily suspending travel from terrorist safe-havens.

As five dissenting judges from the Ninth Circuit pointed out, those decisions confound Supreme Court precedent and the constitutional and federal statutory provisions that authorize the president’s actions.

Neil Gorsuch should be the fifth vote needed to quash this judicial activism that interferes with the president’s authority as commander-in-chief to protect the nation.



New Jewish conspiracy theory

From the Left of course.  It's the new "Protocols"

Chabad of Port Washington, a Jewish community center on Long Island’s Manhasset Bay, sits in a squat brick edifice across from a Shell gas station and a strip mall. The center is an unexceptional building on an unexceptional street, save for one thing: Some of the shortest routes between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin run straight through it.

Two decades ago, as the Russian president set about consolidating power on one side of the world, he embarked on a project to supplant his country’s existing Jewish civil society and replace it with a parallel structure loyal to him. On the other side of the world, the brash Manhattan developer was working to get a piece of the massive flows of capital that were fleeing the former Soviet Union in search of stable assets in the West, especially real estate, and seeking partners in New York with ties to the region.

Their respective ambitions led the two men—along with Trump’s future son-in-law, Jared Kushner—to build a set of close, overlapping relationships in a small world that intersects on Chabad, an international Hasidic movement most people have never heard of.

Starting in 1999, Putin enlisted two of his closest confidants, the oligarchs Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich, who would go on to become Chabad’s biggest patrons worldwide, to create the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia under the leadership of Chabad rabbi Berel Lazar, who would come to be known as “Putin’s rabbi.”

A few years later, Trump would seek out Russian projects and capital by joining forces with a partnership called Bayrock-Sapir, led by Soviet emigres Tevfik Arif, Felix Sater and Tamir Sapir—who maintain close ties to Chabad. The company’s ventures would lead to multiple lawsuits alleging fraud and a criminal investigation of a condo project in Manhattan.

Meanwhile, the links between Trump and Chabad kept piling up. In 2007, Trump hosted the wedding of Sapir’s daughter and Leviev’s right-hand man at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach resort. A few months after the ceremony, Leviev met Trump to discuss potential deals in Moscow and then hosted a bris for the new couple’s first son at the holiest site in Chabad Judaism. Trump attended the bris along with Kushner, who would go on to buy a $300 million building from Leviev and marry Ivanka Trump, who would form a close relationship with Abramovich’s wife, Dasha Zhukova. Zhukova would host the power couple in Russia in 2014 and reportedly attend Trump’s inauguration as their guest.

With the help of this trans-Atlantic diaspora and some globetrotting real estate moguls, Trump Tower and Moscow’s Red Square can feel at times like part of the same tight-knit neighborhood. Now, with Trump in the Oval Office having proclaimed his desire to reorient the global order around improved U.S. relations with Putin’s government—and as the FBI probes the possibility of improper coordination between Trump associates and the Kremlin—that small world has suddenly taken on outsize importance.



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, April 11, 2017


Nathan J. Robinson, a leftist writer with an apparently substantial educational background (He quotes Schopenhauer) has a recent article under the heading above.  I offer below some excerpts from it.  He comes across as someone who is genuinely concerned about the poor.  He also writes that many prominent Democrats don't give a fig for the poor and in fact look down on the poor.  And he is right to say that this is the opposite of the historic Leftist claim.

It is a article worth reading in full but, like most Leftist writing, leaves out half the story.  So maybe I should briefly allude to some of that other half.

He appears to think that Leftist elitism is a new thing. He seems to see it as something that came into the light only with the advent of Trump. That is hilariously wrong. Leftism has always been elitist. Karl Marx, for instance, was born into a middle class German Jewish family and was homeschooled by his father, the gentlemanly and rather admirable Heinrich Marx. He later studied at the universities of Bonn, Berlin, and Jena. He was fascinated by the ponderous writings of the near-incomprehensible German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, regarded by many as the founder of modern Leftism. Marx was also a parasite, living off the generosity of his rich businessman admirer, Friedrich Engels. So Marx was not a man of the people in any sense.

The Bolsheviks too were overwhelmingly middle class.  And the prominent Leftists in prewar Britain were almost entirely prominent literary and intellectual figures, such as the Bloomsberries, the Webbs, J.M. Keynes, H.G. Wells, G.B. Shaw, Bertrand Russell etc.  They were also -- most amusingly but also most revealingly -- great believers in eugenics.  And that's as elitist as you can get: Wipe out the dummies!

And elitism on the American Left is not new to the era of Trump.  Expressions of disdain for the masses were equally prominent at the onset of the G.W. Bush presidency in 2004.  I in fact set up a blog to preserve such expressions for posterity.  Google has however taken most of that blog down for reasons unknown to me.  Never fear, however!  I have kept exact copies of all the posts Google has censored and have now uploaded them to a new site here.  So the whole gruesome episode is once again online for all to see.

Something else that comrade Robinson fails to remember is that G.W. Bush ran on a platform of "compassionate conservatism".  It may have been no more sincere than similar protestations from Leftists but it is the platform he ran on and which got him elected.  And if it is deeds not words that count, who was it who sent in the troops to break the racial segregation maintained by the Southern Democrats?  It was Ike, a Republican President.  And who was it that enlisted Chappaquiddick Ted to help set up the "No child left behind" attempt to improve black educational outcomes?  It was G.W. Bush.  The Republican record on helping the underdog is at least as good as the Democrat record.  I won't mention Woodrow Wilson's segregationist policies or FDR's antisemitism.

So comrade Robinson is pissing into the wind if he thinks it is possible for the Left to become genuinely egalitarian and compassionate.  Elitism is an integral part of what they are.  See here for more details of that. Leftists are as compassionate as their most famous exponents: Robespierre, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot

Instead of heeding suggestions that greater amounts of empathy for working-class Trump constituencies might make Democrats less likely to lose these people’s votes, lately some liberals have doubled down. As Clio Chang pointed out recently in Jacobin, figures including Paul Krugman (“I try to be charitable, but when you read about Trump voters now worried about losing Obamacare it’s kind of hard”) and Markos Moulitsas (“Be happy for coal miners losing their health insurance; they’re getting exactly what they voted for”) have reacted to stories about hardships and deprivation in Trump-leaning communities with unqualified disdain. Ex-New York Times theater critic Frank Rich recently declared he had “no sympathy for the hillbilly,” and suggested that:

“Liberals looking for a way to empathize with conservatives should endorse the core conservative belief in the importance of personal responsibility. Let Trump’s white working-class base take responsibility for its own votes — or in some cases failure to vote — and live with the election’s consequences… Let them reap the consequences for voting against their own interests.”

This kind of thinking isn’t limited to media commentators. It seems to be a strand in liberal thinking more broadly. Matthew Stoller collected a series of Huffington Post comments on an article about poor whites dying from ill-health and opiate addiction:

    “Sorry, not sorry. These people are not worthy of any sympathy. They have run around for decades bitching about poor minorities not “working hard enough,” or that their situation is “their own fault.” Well guess what? It’s not so great when it’s you now, is it? Bunch of deplorables, and if they die quicker than the rest of us that just means the country will be better off in the long run.”

    “Karma is a bitch and if these people choose to continue to vote Republican and try to deny other [sic] from attaining the American dream, they deserve no better than what they are getting!”

    “I for one have little sympathy for these despairing whites. If they can’t compete against people of color when everything has been rigged in their favor, then there’s really no help for them. Trump and his G(r)OPers will do little to elevate their lot. If anything, these poor whites will be hired to dig grave pits and assemble their own coffins.”



Today’s populist movements are not the first to challenge parasitic oligarchies

Their grip needs to be broken in order for their country to flourish, says The Rt. Hon, the Viscount Ridley

I am writing this from the Netherlands, where one of the most gruesome paintings in the Rijksmuseum, by Jan de Baen, depicts the eviscerated bodies of the de Witt brothers, hanging upside down after the mob had killed them and then roasted and eaten their livers in 1672. It is an episode mentioned in a new book published this week by Douglas Carswell, a British MP, called Rebel, in which he wrestles with an eternal dilemma: why populist revolutions sometimes bring tyranny.

The republics of Rome, Venice and the Netherlands all experienced the same thing: an inept populist revolt against the growing power of an oligarchy — by Tiberius Gracchus, Bajamonte Tiepolo and Johan de Witt respectively — followed by a counter-revolution that resulted in an even worse oligarchy that throttled prosperity, in the form of Sulla, the Council of Ten and William of Orange respectively. The coups that killed the French and Russian revolutions were similar, but more about new forms of tyranny than returns to old ones.

Carswell sees parallels in today’s populism. Despite a hundred commentators saying so, Donald Trump is not like Nero or Hitler, but he may be like Gracchus (“a cross between Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump”): an anti-oligarch insurgent who soon makes oligarchy look preferable. After Trump, Americans may fall back in love with the bicoastal elite. Faced with Le Pen, many French will feel that énarques are not so bad after all. Prime Minister Farage would have made us appreciate PPE graduates again.

It is the Dutch parallel that is perhaps most instructive. Mr Trump has seen off a Bush and a Clinton, just as Johan de Witt tried to prevent the stadtholder of the Netherlands becoming a hereditary position, owned by the House of Orange. The similarities perhaps end there. De Witt was a cultured doctor of law with a fascination for Roman history who believed in free trade, free speech and republicanism. Yet in the end he ushered in monarchy, bankruptcy and decline.

That decline was not, Carswell says, because the Dutch lost their entrepreneurial spirit, as historians sometimes lazily assert, but because the Orangist elite became closed and parasitical, living off the spoils of conquest and investing their regressively raised taxes in bonds issued by overborrowed government, rather than in ships and shops. By 1713, 70 per cent of tax revenue went on servicing debt. “A free-wheeling republic had become a restrictionist, rentier state,” as Carswell puts it.

There is a lesson here. Europe as a whole is heading down the same path: slow growth and far too many people living off redistribution rather than enterprise — in private, public and voluntary sectors. The goose that always lays the golden eggs of prosperity is the habit of exchange and specialisation: people doing what they are good at, and getting better at it with innovation, while swapping the results freely with others through commerce. (Disclosure: here Carswell draws on my own recent books to buttress his case, and he showed me the text before publication.)

Carswell reminds us that “every society that ever managed to sustain intensive economic growth did so by staying close to the free-exchange end of the spectrum”. Like a rainforest ecosystem, commerce is a self-organising system that results in spontaneous order and complexity. For instance, nobody has planned or is in charge of the job of feeding ten million people for lunch in London today, but this incredibly complex task will be achieved smoothly.

Yet history shows that free exchange is constantly at risk of being infected and captured by parasites and predators who live off productive people through taxes, tithes, rents, slavery, subsidy, war and theft. This is what killed the goose in ancient Greece and Rome, in Renaissance Italy and Holland’s golden age. From time to time anti-oligarch insurgents are needed to purge the parasites, expel the predators and free the economy from their burden.

Now, says Carswell, is such a time. Forget the Ukip debacle: he is as genuine a rebel as parliament contains, who wants to “rein back the emerging oligarchy”. One of the problems with most of the new radicals, whether a Trump, a Farage, a Wilders or a Le Pen, is that they seem to be in thrall to the myth of the big (wo)man, who will lead the people to the promised land. Carswell wants to challenge the myth of the Big Man who knows everything. Instead he would allow the organisation of society along bottom-up lines.

He would end the power of central bank bureaucrats, allowing customers to decide banks’ reserve ratios by choosing among different options with different risks and rewards.

In place of debased fiat currencies, he would have self-regulating currencies controlled by competition, not by officials, along the lines of Bitcoin. He would have corporations regulated by those who own them and those who buy from them, rather than by easily lobbied crony regulators and subsidy providers. He would have public services controlled by members of the public.

All easier said than done, of course. And in politics he would undermine the power and privilege of the cartel of the main political parties with their public subsidies, access to patronage and ability to gerrymander constituencies to preserve safe seats: “In Clacton, I have twice taken on and defeated the established parties by doing for myself, often on a laptop, what political parties spend millions failing to do well.” It is now possible to do politics without party. Trump, Bernie Sanders and Emmanuel Macron all ran almost independently of their parties.

Carswell is right that the left does not get this. He cheered when Corbyn was elected, but says that radicals on the left do not understand how free exchange has elevated the human condition or the way that redistribution ultimately sustains oligarchy. We end up with the spectacle of left-wing activists such as Owen Jones and Paul Mason campaigning alongside Goldman Sachs and Christine Lagarde on behalf of the oligarchs of Brussels.

You might ask what a low-grade oligarch like me is doing endorsing this insurgent philosophy against my interests. The truth is I spend most of my time exchanging prose for profit, or speaking up in parliament for innovation and free exchange, and against cronyism and subsidy, usually ineffectively.

So when the revolution comes, metaphorically at least, I will join Douglas at the barricades.



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, April 10, 2017

Hate-filled DNC Chairman Perez Doesn't Share American Values

"Republicans don't give a s**t" about you" - DNC Chairman Tom Perez, addressing attendees at a rally

Is this what public discourse has come to? The head of one of the two major parties uses potty mouthed language in public...and then goes on to say he doesn't care what people think about what he said.  Charming, isn't he...

Of course, we shouldn't be surprised...Perez was Obama's labor secretary. Anyone who worked for someone as virulently opposed to all of America's founding ideals and way of life as Barack Obama is bound to be infected with the same Alinksy inspired communist drivel.

Perez seems to be lacking when it comes to facts in general. In addition to his other "colorful" remarks, the DNC head claimed that "Donald Trump, you don't stand for our values."

Whose values? Those of Perez and the left wing loons that form the largest part of the Democrat party? Those values?

People may question how sincere President Trump is regarding his campaign platform, but the policies he ran on are America's values.

America First means having fair trade that helps keep and expand American jobs for American workers. Does Mr. Perez disagree with helping to expand job opportunities for American citizens?

America First means keeping out people who don't belong here, thereby preserving jobs for Americans. It also means to stop picking the pockets of American taxpayers who have been forced to support the cost of keeping up those who are here illegally. Mr. Perez apparently finds that not to be a value he shares with the majority of Americans, who do support Trump's policies.

America First also means keeping our people safe from those who mean us harm. Perez doesn't share that value either, as he apparently thinks the more potential jihadists flooding into the country, the better.

Actually Mr. Perez, it's a lot more than just "Republicans" or "Trump" who don't "share your values".

Donald Trump won the votes of millions of people who aren't "Republicans". They were independents, moderates, working class and yes, a lot of disaffected Democrats who like Reagan, said many years ago, "I didn't leave the Democrat Party, they left me".

While your party has sold out to a myriad of special interests and engaged in identity politics for the sake of getting votes, you left the middle class behind.

Because of that, those middle class "deplorables" find the current Democrat Party deplorable...That's why your party lost all of those rust belt states that you took for granted of all these years.

Now you have the nerve to open up that potty mouth of yours and insult the people who said enough of class warfare and the divisive Democrat Party.

You're right, we don't share "your values", because your values are rooted in a very deep anti-American hatred. Your values represent destroying jobs for Americans. Your values represent destroying the rights of Christians to worship and exercise their faith freely as outlined in the first amendment of that document that you so despise.

Your values mean a never ending cycle of poverty for the inner cities with continued high unemployment and crime in black communities, because you'd rather buy their votes with welfare schemes than empowering small businesses.

Your values mean attacking law enforcement and making those communities even less safe as a result.

I could go on, but the fact is you're right about one thing - we don't share your "values". What you call values are not values at all...they are nothing more than a not so subtle attempt to take down this country.

No Mr. Perez, we don't share your "values", and we never will.



Another poisonous bureaucracy

What happens when a reckless, unaccountable arm of the administrative state collides head-on with a Congressional committee demanding answers for constituents who have been harassed, extorted, or ignored for more than five years?

In the case of yesterday’s appearance by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray before the House Financial Services Committee, that would be a call for his dismissal. Surrounded by a cadre of green t-shirt wearing “consumer advocates,” Cordray was greeted by Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) with this statement:

“Under Dodd-Frank, you can be removed for cause. Either way, I believe the President is clearly justified in dismissing you and I call upon the President — yet again — to do just that, and to do it immediately.”

Harsh? Maybe. Undeserved? Consider Chairman Hensarling’s succinctly stated case against the CFPB:

“[U]nder Mr. Cordray’s leadership, the CFPB has shown an utter disregard for protecting markets and has made credit more expensive and less available in many instances; this is particularly true for low and moderate income Americans. What is also clear is that under Mr. Cordray’s leadership, the CFPB has acted unlawfully, routinely denied market participants due process and abused its powers.”

If the charges against the CFPB had ended there, Chairman Hensarling would have had enough reason for calling the agency and Cordray out on the carpet. But the CFPB has been tagged with a laundry list of other shady practices, including race and sex discrimination, political favoritism, the targeting of individuals, and extravagant advertising.

Of even greater concern is the CFPB’s total lack of accountability. Created by the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB’s only oversight requirement is to appear and report twice annually before the House Financial Services and Senate Banking committees.  Its funding comes from the Federal Reserve System, not Congress; therefore, it is considered “off-budget” and not constrained by the Congressional appropriations process. The CFPB is run by a single director, who does not report to the President and can only be removed for “good cause.” Recently, a federal appeals panel found this structure to be unconstitutional, calling the unelected CFPB director “the single most powerful official in Washington,” aside from the duly elected President.

This absence of agency accountability, combined with the CFPB’s unprecedented thumbing of its nose to oversight inquiries, reinforced an adversarial environment for the hearing.  Knowing that their opportunities to question Mr. Cordray were few and far between, committee members gave the CFPB director their best shots.  Sadly, committee members had more questions than Cordray had answers. Here are a few highlights.

Prepaid Cards

In October 2016, the CFPB issued a 1,689-page rule, regulating the issuance of prepaid cards, which have garnered popularity due to rising checking account fees and minimum balance requirements. Opponents of the rule say it endangers providers of these cards and the nearly 68 million Americans who use these products. Congressional threats pressured the CFPB to delay implementation of the rule. At the hearing, Rep. Roger Williams (R-FL) stated his intention to pursue legislation introduced by him and Senator David Perdue (R-GA) to use the Congressional Review Act to rescind the rule.

Small Dollar Lending

Last summer, the CFPB proposed a far-reaching rule regulating small dollar, or “payday” lending practices. Under questioning from Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Cordray mentioned that the CFPB had received more than a million public comments to the rule. But he passed on answering Luetkemeyer’s questions about alternatives for small-dollar loan users if the regulations effectively ban the product. Nor did Cordray respond to questions about when to expect a final rule, despite the public comment period ending six months ago.

International Remittances

Under questioning from Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Cordray stated that the CFPB could not exempt credit unions from its regulations, in spite of the fact that CFPB’s burdensome rulemaking has forced credit unions on military bases to stop offering remittance products to American military personnel. Cordray made his assertion, despite the disagreement of Barr and other committee members, including Democrats.The CFPB continues to review this regulation.

Questions were also directed at Cordray regarding potential law breaking by the CFPB during the issuance of indirect auto lending regulations and rules adversely affecting the manufactured housing industry. Throughout the hearing, Cordray hemmed, hawed, and otherwise neglected to give answers.

Congress is unlikely to put up much longer with the dilatory tactics of the CFPB to explain its heavy-handed and abusive “consumer protection” tactics. Last year, Chairman Hensarling offered “The Financial CHOICE Act,” which would overhaul the Dodd-Frank Act, severely rein in the CFPB, and build in greater accountability safeguards for the agency and its director.  With Hensarling preparingto introduce a 2.0 version of the Financial CHOICE Act this year and the possibility that President Trump could remove Cordray from his perch of power, the director may have to come up with some answers — while he still can.



She Never Joined a Union. But Union Fees Got Deducted From Her Paycheck

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Patricia Johansen has worked as a home caregiver for her two special-needs grandchildren for about 10 years.

Since she never agreed to join the union that represents such Medicaid-eligible caregivers in Minnesota, Johansen was surprised to discover that union dues had been deducted from her benefit check for about four months.

In an affidavit, the Fergus Falls resident says she is convinced the union, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, forged her signature so it could start deducting the dues.

Johansen’s story is one reason a state lawmaker is scheduling a hearing where she expects the head of the state’s labor relations agency, a political appointee of Gov. Mark Dayton, to explain how SEIU Healthcare Minnesota won a unionization election—and why it should continue to represent the home caregivers.

State Rep. Marion O’Neill, chairman of the Subcommittee on Employee Relations, told The Daily Signal that she wants the Dayton appointee to appear before the joint panel of the Minnesota House and Senate to address evidence of “fraudulent signatures, nonexistent voters, and ballot tampering” in a 2014 unionization election.

Johansen’s experience is one such discrepancy.

“We are going to have a full, robust hearing on how this process happened and have the personal care assistants come forward to talk about their experiences, and to talk about how it came to be that union dues were taken out of their paycheck without their knowledge or permission,” O’Neill, a Republican from Buffalo, said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

The SEIU affiliate collects $4 million to $5 million in annual dues from the Medicaid benefits paid to what Minnesota calls personal care assistants, a lawyer representing them estimates.

The state government considers residents who care for chronically ill or disabled relatives at home to be personal care assistants who are able to receive Medicaid benefits for providing that care.

As The Daily Signal previously reported, a relatively small number of Minnesota’s 27,000 eligible personal care assistants voted in favor of an affiliate of Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, becoming their representative in collective bargaining.

Now personal care assistants such as Johansen have banded together in an effort to set a new election to decertify SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, in part because of what their lawyers describe as questionable tactics and the evidence of fraud.

The Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services, a state agency that describes itself as promoting “stable and constructive labor-management relations,” has denied the caregivers’ petition for a new election.

O’Neill wants Commissioner Josh Tilsen, appointed in 2011 by Dayton, a Democrat, to lead the bureau, to explain its pro-SEIU actions so far.



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, April 09, 2017

An important victory

The media hopes it goes away unnoticed   ....  Another win for Trump, another loss for Chuck Schumer, the Libtards, and the media that said Trump couldn't get Gorsuch through the Senate.  But, he did, didn't he?


Russia! Russia! Russia! from the Left -- A frantic attempt to cover up for the real crooks -- in the Obama administration.

And judging by his increased military preparations, the fact-free hysteria has caused concern to Vladimir Vladimirovich.  That most of the loud voices in America seem to be both insane and hostile must bother him.  He must wonder whether Trump can override it


The Susan Rice bombshell at least explains why the Democrats won’t stop babbling about Russia. They need a false flag to justify using national intelligence agencies to snoop on the Trump team.

Every serious person who has tried to locate any evidence that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 election — even Trump-haters at the New York Review of Books and Rolling Stone magazine — has come away empty-handed and angry. We keep getting bald assertions, unadorned with anything resembling a fact.

But for now, let’s just consider the raw plausibility of the story.

The fact-less claim is that (1) the Russians wanted Donald Trump to win; and (2) They thought they could help him win by releasing purloined emails from the Democratic National Committee showing that the Democrats were conspiring against Hillary Clinton’s primary opponent, Bernie Sanders.

First, why on earth would Russia prefer a loose cannon, untested president like Trump to an utterly corrupt politician, who’d already shown she could be bought? The more corrupt you think Russia is, the more Putin ought to love Hillary as president.

The Russians knew Hillary was a joke from her ridiculous “reset” button as secretary of state. They proceeded to acquire 20 percent of America’s uranium production, under Hillary’s careful management — in exchange for a half-million-dollar speaking engagement for her husband and millions of dollars in donations to the Clinton Foundation.



Russia! Russia! Russia! no more?

Strike on Syria is Trump's most popular move yet -- Approval from around the world

One president blinked, the other didn’t. When Bashar al-Assad crossed Barack Obama’s famous red line by using chemical weapons against his own people, nothing happened to him. When he did it on Donald Trump’s watch, he got hit with 59 Tomahawk missiles.

The Syrians are outraged at Trump’s actions; so are the ­Iranians; so are the Russians.

All of this might be good for Trump politically and in defining the character of his still inchoate presidency.

This US missile strike will have real effects — it destroyed a ­Syrian air force base — but it is unlikely to change the underlying strategic dynamics in Syria.

Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have been at pains to say this does not represent a basic change of Syria policy from the US. The missile strike was a one-off — as Malcolm Turnbull puts it, a calibrated and ­proportionate response to a war crime.

It has three narrow purposes: to punish the Assad regime for using chemical weapons; to show Assad that such actions will have costs; and to deter him from doing such things in the future.  The missile strike has a very good chance of achieving all three of those aims.

It also has wider strategic ­consequences. It shows bad actors everywhere that for all his domestic troubles, Trump remains a dan­gerous President to cross.

Trump has appointed three generals to his cabinet. He loves the US military and plans to strengthen it considerably.

He is not indifferent to risk; certainly the generals around him will have all the characteristic military caution about unnecessary military action, but nor is he scared to exercise the military option.

The political success of this ­operation lies in its limited, proportionate nature.

Trump is not committing the US to any follow-up action, still less to large numbers of US boots on the ground and a central role in shaping Syria politically. He has switched from a few weeks ago believing that the identity of the ­Syrian leader was a matter of indifference to the US to saying now that Assad should go.

This is a real setback for the Syrian dictator who, despite the savagery of his behaviour throughout the civil war, had won a kind of grudging acceptance from realists in governments around the world.

Increasingly they had come to recognise that Assad could not be ousted while he had Russian and Iranian support. More than that, they were terrified of what might come after Assad.

The biggest risk in the missile strike was that it might unintentionally kill Russians and provoke some kind of hot conflict between Russian and American forces in Syria.

This was the greatest danger of escalation. The Americans have avoided that. They told the Russian forces on the ground what they were doing in advance and the strike was precisely targeted.

The Russians nonetheless don’t like it, but it is not in Moscow’s interests to escalate against Washington.

And it will be impossible for Trump’s opponents to argue any longer that he is secretly acting in Russia’s interests. That may be a liberation for Trump.

For all that, the Syrian tragedy will continue.



Trump's statement about the strike:

My fellow Americans:  On Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians.  Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children.  It was a slow and brutal death for so many.  Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack.  No child of God should ever suffer such horror.

Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.  It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.  There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.

Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed, and failed very dramatically.  As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.

Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.  We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world.  We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed.  And we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will, in the end, prevail.



12,392,000: U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Reach Highest Level in 8 Years

The United States added 11,000 jobs in manufacturing in March reaching a total of 12,392,000 people employed in the manufacturing sector, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is the greatest number of people employed in manufacturing in the United States since January 2009—the month that President Barack Obama was inaugurated—when there were 12,561,000 people employed in manufacturing.

In February 2009, manufacturing employment dropped to 12,380,000—a number it did not exceed until February of this year, when it reached 12,381,000.

At the same time, according to BLS, the number of people employed in government increased by 9,000 in March, climbing from 22,309,000 in February to 22,318,000.

Since December 2016, the U.S. has gained 49,000 manufacturing jobs and 19,000 government jobs.

Government jobs in the United States in March still outnumbered manufacturing jobs by 9,926,000.

The number of manufacturing jobs in the United States peaked in June 1979 at 19,553,000. Since then, it has declined by 7,161,000 to the 12,392,000 reported for this March, according to the BLS numbers.

During the same time frame—from June 1979 to February 2017—the number of government jobs grew from 16,045,000 to the current 22,318,000, an increase of 6,273,000.



Swedes not laughing now

Was Donald Trump right all along about Sweden's crime and immigration problems?

Just over six weeks after Donald Trump was mocked across the world for suggesting that Sweden was the victim of a terror attack, at least three people have been left dead when a hijacked truck ploughed into pedestrians.

The American president's proclaimed attack - which turned out to be fictitious - was linked to high levels of immigration and rising levels of crime in the country he said, later clarifying that he had based his comments on a Fox News report.

He was immediately ridiculed, with Carl Bildt, the former Swedish Prime Minister asking "what has he been smoking?" and the country's US embassy appeared to mock him on Twitter.

But yesterday the Swedish capital was hit by its own terrorist attack, with echoes of those in London, Berlin and Nice.

Integration has remained a problem in the country where the relatively high numbers of immigrants compared to a population of just under 10 million means it has one of the highest rates of immigration per capita in northern Europe.

The numbers have been rising steadily since the 1990s, and in 2015 Sweden accepted a record number of more than 160,000 refugees.

Meanwhile, in a report published in February last year the police "identified 53 residential areas around the country that have become increasingly marred by crime, social unrest and insecurity".

While the Government denies that these are "no-go zones", it admitted in a rebuttal to the claims of Mr Trump that police "have experienced difficulties fulfilling their duties".



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)