Sunday, June 10, 2018

A significant letter

Below is a letter from Charles Krauthammer which is fully self explanatory.  What I want to draw attention to is the gratitude expressed in it.  It is not the letter of complaint that it well could have been. So why, amid very distressing circumstances, is it a letter of gratitude rather than complaint?

It's because Krauthammer is a conservative.  We all have our ups and downs but conservatives are dispositionally happy people.  The surveys always confirm greater happiness among conservatives.  And gratitude comes from being happy with your life.  If you are a committed Christian, as many conservatives are, you give thanks daily.

Leftists, on the other hand are dissatisfied with the world in which they live so have little cause to be thankful.  They are miserable complainers instead. I sometimes feel sorry for them. I particularly feel sorry for them when I see the mental gymnastics they have to undertake to deny all sorts of realities, such as the absence of global warming or the real differences between men and women.  In the past, in the 19th and early 20th century, Leftists would frequently proclaim that "All men are brothers".  Fortunately, you don't hear that bit of lunacy very often these days.

"I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me.

In August of last year, I underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in my abdomen. That operation was thought to have been a success, but it caused a cascade of secondary complications –  which I have been fighting in hospital ever since. It was a long and hard fight with many setbacks, but I was steadily, if slowly, overcoming each obstacle along the way and gradually making my way back to health.

However, recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned. There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.

I wish to thank my doctors and caregivers, whose efforts have been magnificent. My dear friends, who have given me a lifetime of memories and whose support has sustained me through these difficult months.

And all of my partners at The Washington Post, Fox News, and Crown Publishing. Lastly, I thank my colleagues, my readers, and my viewers, who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work.

I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.

 I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life –  full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended"

Note that in addition to the matters Krauthammer raises above he in his youth became permanently paralyzed from the neck down after a diving board accident that severed his spinal cord.  He has spent his whole adult life in a wheelchair.  So his gratitude is truly heroic


I would like to add another instance of conservative gratitude by reproducing something I wrote a few years ago:

Is a grateful heart the mark of a conservative?

I think it is. Prayers of thanks are routine for Christians but I think it extends beyond Christians.

I was moved to that thought by the case of conservative Australian cartoonist  ZEG, who is a former member of the armed forces, a former policeman and a very conservative man.  Zeg (Steven Gunnell) undoubtedly has a grateful heart.  At age 48 he has discovered that he has a dangerous vascular formation in his brain that could kill him at any time.  And it is very nearly inoperable. It is probably as I write this that he is undergoing the risky surgery involved. He will probably survive but runs a big risk of being destroyed as a person.

So is Zeg bitter, angry and resentful?  Far from it.  I reproduce on AUSTRALIAN POLITICS the email he sent to people he knows before he went into hospital.  It is one long note of gratitude and thanks to his many friends.  I am proud to be among them. There are even some politicians he praises!

But what struck me particularly was this paragraph:

"Remember always that we inherited this great gift of freedom and democracy from the generations before us -- thus it is our responsibility, NAY,  our duty to ensure that the next and future generations inherit not only what we have now but an even better and more secure freedom"

Could any Leftist write that?  I can't see it.  They HATE what they have inherited.  That we feel a connection with our forefathers and an appreciation of what they worked -- often very hard -- to achieve is a large part of what makes us conservative.  We are connected to our past.  Leftists are not.  Or if they do feel a connection, they despise it.  What sad people!

And as Zeg says, in appreciating the blessings that we have been given through no work of our own, we feel an obligation at least to preserve it.  Most of us would rather just get on with our own lives rather than bothering with politics but, when there are so many twisted and relentless enemies of what is dear to us, we have to fight.

A great Christian song of gratitude and appreciation



Conservatives saw this coming

Leftist vileness knows no limits

If you listen to the liberal media, Donald Trump is a terrible racist and misogynist who hates minorities and women.

He apparently isn’t very good at it, however. On Wednesday, the president officially commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, an African-American woman who was sentenced to life in prison for a non-violent drug crime.

You might think that liberals, who have made drug legalization and criminal justice reform two of their banner issues, would be elated. You would be wrong.

As Johnson was freed after spending 21 years in prison, many bitter leftists chose not to celebrate her release or acknowledge Trump’s decision, but instead they chose to backhandedly bash the president.

“The View” host Joy Behar led the charge, declaring that the reason Trump had freed the black grandmother was so that he could boost his Twitter following.

Yes, really.

Pointing out the fact that Trump met with Kim Kardashian West, the celebrity wife of Kanye West, before making his decision, Behar decided that her fame, not the extreme sentence for a non-violent elderly woman, was the reason the president commuted the sentence.

“Kim also has 112 million followers on Instagram and 60 million on Twitter. So, you know, if he is thinking of running again, he’s got that nice little constituency over there, so that is not a coincidence. … He has motives,” the television host declared, according to The Daily Caller.

Other liberals were equally ungracious. Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu also bashed the meeting with Kim Kardashian West that led to the woman’s release. He bitterly said to CNN that the criteria by which people are pardoned “shouldn’t be based on which celebrities have access to the president.”

Somehow it’s now a bad thing that someone used his position for a good purpose. Apparently in Lieu’s mind, the president was supposed to let Johnson rot in jail after Kardashian West brought up her plight.

Another liberal lawmaker, Congressman Adam Schiff, joined in the whining over justice for an elderly black woman.

“Good news! Convicted of a serious crime? Serving a long sentence? Now, you too can get a pardon. No more lengthy delays while DOJ reviews your case. You can be out in days!*” he posted on Twitter, clearly upset that Johnson was being released.

“*Offer only valid if recommended by friends or family of (Donald Trump) or you appeared on Celebrity Apprentice,” he continued.

It should be noted that Johnson wasn’t out in “days.” She was in prison for over two decades and may have died there — until Trump intervened.

Vox, a news outlet with a well-known liberal slant, couldn’t even report the story without whining about Trump’s decision.

“Trump wants to execute drug dealers,” the news group posted on Twitter. “But he granted commutation to one because Kim Kardashian asked.”

Again, Donald Trump listening to a woman and freeing another is now apparently a bad thing. So much for the “misogynist” narrative.

A powerful female using her meeting with the president to enact change and right a wrong is now off limits, because it destroyed the left’s false narrative about Trump being a female-hating racist.

That’s exactly the phenomenon that Twitter user Makada, herself being a black woman, pointed out on Wednesday.

“I see a lot of liberals on social media attacking Kim Kardashian and President Trump for freeing Alice Johnson,” she wrote.

“Has Trump Derangement Syndrome gotten so bad that the left is against freeing an elderly black woman who was serving a life sentence for a non-violent crime?” she wondered. Over ten thousand people “liked” her post.

The answer to Makada’s question is “yes.”

Yes, so-called Trump Derangement Syndrome really is that bad. Liberals will now defend brutal murderers and rapists like MS-13, side with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and bash the release of a harshly-sentenced black woman, all because attacking Trump is more important to them.

That’s truly pathetic, but many Americans are starting to realize that the president is not the evil monster liberals have made him out to be after all.



My take on Kardashian/Trump

Lets's not kid ourselves. A large factor in Kim Kardashian getting personal access to the President was the fact that she is a good-looking lady. Trump's liking for good-looking ladies is well-known.  And the picture below shows Trump grinning from ear to ear when he had her beside him, which confirms rather well his motivation.

So you might think that the picture was circulated by Leftists to discredit Trump.  In fact he himself tweeted it.  He is not embarrassed to be himself, which is usually a major indicator of psychological good health.


For 'SNAP' to Work, It Must Emphasize More Work

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) has a significant flaw: It does not sufficiently emphasize work. The program does a good job helping America’s poor afford food for their families, but up until recently SNAP administrators’ principal aim has been to add recipients to its rolls rather than help them find employment. As a result, many recipients could be working but are not, despite the fact that recipients who can and do work even a little are far less likely to be poor or live in households reporting difficulty affording food.

Several elements within House Republicans’ pending Farm Bill would help improve SNAP by encouraging work and earnings to fight poverty at its roots.

When we talk about increasing work among SNAP recipients, we must be clear about who we are not talking about. We are not talking about children, the elderly, adults with disabilities, or those taking care of young children or disabled relatives.

Even narrowing down the target demographic to healthy adults on SNAP who are not working leaves a significant number of Americans -- roughly 9.5 million -- who could work but do not. The problem begins in Washington: I know from my time as New York’s administrator of SNAP that everyone from case managers to administrators has been told that increasing employment is not their job. So SNAP is helpful, but it is not a road out of poverty. One quote from a SNAP enrollee has resonated with me: “That program is great at getting me an EBT card [electronic food stamps benefits] but does nothing to get me a job.”

So how does the proposed Farm Bill achieve this objective? A modest activity requirement for SNAP recipients ages 18 to 59 who are not caretakers of young children or disabled in any way. The requirement can be fulfilled by spending twenty hours each week in activities as diverse as volunteering, workforce training, education, or community service. For those currently out of work, the bill also expands training programs to give them skills to reenter the workforce, committing an additional $1 billion to make that happen. Importantly, states would not be allowed to sanction recipients for noncompliance without offering an available activity. For households with school-age children, the sanction for noncompliance would be restricted to a reduction in benefits — not a termination.

Few who assess SNAP think that an activity requirement is categorically wrong, and the modest terms of this proposal should allow for a consensus that reflects the opinions of Americans broadly. Eighty-seven percent of Americans — including eighty-one percent of people in poverty — agree that welfare programs should nudge the poor to work or participate in a training program (if they are physically able to do so) in return for benefits. Nearly everyone recognizes that the purpose of antipoverty programs such as SNAP should be to help people get back on their feet, earn their own livelihoods, and stay out of poverty for good.

The Farm Bill would also encourage earning and saving by improving the policy of “asset testing.” Households would now be able to own assets up to $7,000 (and more for homes with elderly or disabled people) without the risk of losing benefits. But in setting a firm asset limit, the bill would not allow states to waive the test. This prevents people with substantial assets from taking advantage of the program.

One last way SNAP can be more than just a benefit card is by helping to obtain child support from noncustodial parents of children receiving SNAP benefits. This Farm Bill would require states to ensure that children in single-parent families receive the child support they deserve by mandating that custodial parents seeking SNAP benefits cooperate in establishing child support orders. Less than half of poor single-parent families — many of whom are SNAP recipients — currently have formal child support orders in place, which leaves poor custodial parents without the money they need to support their children.

I have found the rhetoric surrounding work requirements from some who ostensibly want to help the poor to be baffling. For some reason we keep hearing about how entry-level jobs are not worth poor Americans’ time, that government aid is a fundamental right that comes with no responsibility, or even that having some earnings won’t make SNAP recipients better off, all of which flies in the face of everything we have learned about poverty, responsibility, and mobility. To me -- someone who administered social services programs for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- this rhetoric is more harmful to the poor than the modest work requirements proposed in this bill.

Over the years SNAP has reduced hunger for poor Americans, but has been less successful in helping them escape poverty for good. The Farm Bill’s reforms are a good way to help people in need find and retain employment. They are an important step toward realizing SNAP’s proper mission as an antipoverty program.

Robert Doar is the Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. From 2007 to 2013, he was the commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration, the city agency responsible for the cash welfare, food stamp and Medicaid programs.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL 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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