Friday, March 02, 2018

Trump the Terrible

One must not make too much of this but there are some interesting parallels between Ivan the Terrible of Russia and Donald Trump -- including one very thought-provoking possible parallel.

For a start, Trump wants to make America great again. Ivan DID make Russia greater.  He conquered several adjoining states and thus greatly expanded the territory of Russia.  We live in very different times now so that is not to be expected of Mr Trump but both men aimed at national greatness.  Mr Obama stood for national shrinkage as far as I can tell.

And Ivan was eccentric.  He was not "presidential".  He actually appears to have gone mad on a couple of occasions.  So Mr Trump's tweets are a minor eccentricity by comparison.

And Ivan was popular with the people but unpopular with the Russian establishment.  Ivan too had a big "swamp" that he had to drain.  And he did drain it.  Quite a few heads came off the "boyars" (elite).

But, as Mr. Trump has found, draining the swamp is not easy. So Ivan still found the swamp frustrating

So here's the thought provoking bit.  At one stage Ivan got so frustrated at the lack of co-operation from the elite that he took himself off to the countryside and told people he had abdicated. 

The Boyars were of course delighted -- for five minutes.  Then they realized that they couldn't do anything without Ivan to sign the paperwork.  They were also afraid that the people might revolt against them.  They knew that Ivan was popular and that they were not.  So they had to beg him to come back.  He did.  But his price was high.  He got a whole lot of things that he wanted out of them.

So could Trump do something like that?  Could he get so frustrated with the GOP not doing what they were elected to do --abolish Obamacare and build the wall -- that he retired to Trump Tower and refused to come out again until the GOP had sorted itself out?  Maybe even Trump is not radical enough to do that but it could work.  Go Ivan!


Supreme Court Backs Trump… Massive Changes Underway For Illegal Immigrants

Immigrants detained for removal proceedings may be held indefinitely and are not entitled to a bail hearing, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The ruling means that immigrant detainees, who are sometimes held for months and years on end, have no recourse to challenge their confinement.

Justice Samuel Alito delivered the opinion for the court, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch joined most of Alito’s opinion, though they also wrote to say they do not believe the court had jurisdiction to hear the case.

In a rare move, Justice Stephen Breyer read part of his dissent in the courtroom during Tuesday’s proceedings. The justices only read their dissents from the bench when they mean to emphasize their disagreement with the majority.



Government unions play politics with unconstitutional dollars

Jeff Jacoby

FORTY YEARS AGO, the Supreme Court ruled that where a union represents public employees, even workers who don't join the union can be forced to pay "agency fees" as a condition of the job. While the First Amendment shields nonmembers from having to subsidize a union's ideological or political activities, the court held in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, it allows them to be assessed their fair share for the neutral costs of collective bargaining.

As the ensuing decades made clear, however, when it comes to public-sector unions, there is no separation between collective bargaining and politics.

Virtually everything government unions do is political: They endorse candidates, undertake political campaigns, lobby legislators, and hold politics-drenched conventions. They make no secret of their partisan loyalties and clout. On its website, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, a prominent government union, boasts: "All across the country, at every level of government, candidates for public office [have] learned . . . to pay attention to AFSCME's political muscle." And thanks to Abood, much of that muscle has been bought with fees collected from unwilling state employees.

For a long time it's been obvious that Abood got it wrong. In Janus v. AFSCME, a case the Supreme Court took up this week, the justices have a chance to overturn that precedent and get the issue right.

Banning agency fees wouldn't eliminate unions from government workplaces, but it would mean that unions could no longer compel nonmembers to pay the equivalent of union dues for representation they never asked for. It would also mean states could no longer trample employees' First Amendment rights in the name of "labor peace."

On Monday, as the high court heard arguments in the Janus case, union leaders and Democratic officials held political protest rallies around the country, wailing that the sky will fall if Abood is overturned. The lawyer for AFSCME, David Frederick, raised a similar alarm during his oral argument in Washington.

"If the other side succeeds in persuading a majority of you to overrule Abood," Frederick said, "it will affect thousands of contracts. More importantly, it is going to affect the work of state legislatures, city councils, school districts, who are going to have to go back to the drawing board. . . . In many collective bargaining agreements, the fees are the tradeoff. Union security is the tradeoff for no strikes. And so if you were to overrule Abood, you can raise an untold specter of labor unrest throughout the country."

It's a hollow threat. And there is empirical evidence to prove it.

Since 2012, six states have adopted right-to-work laws, bringing to 28 the number of states in which no employee (private or public) can be forced to join or support a labor union as a requirement of the job. Under the new rules, agency fees dried up and some (not all) unions lost members. But none of the states that moved into the right-to-work camp were paralyzed by the "untold specter of labor unrest" that AFSCME and its allies are now warning of.

"The record in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and elsewhere is that it is not a huge burden," says Daniel DiSalvo, a professor at City College of New York and expert on public-sector labor issues. Of course there have been some transitional wrinkles, "but you'd be hard pressed to find any evidence that the new laws were hard to implement or that they caused all kinds of problems."

Not only are agency fees already barred in the 28 right-to-work states, they are forbidden in the federal workplace too. None of the 2.7 million Americans who work for Uncle Sam can be coerced into paying tribute to a labor union against their will. Plainly, labor peace does not depend on compelled speech by reluctant government workers.

Abood should be overruled because it egregiously tramples government workers' rights — regardless of the impact on public-sector contract bargaining. But the justices can rest easy: The impact will be trivial. States, state workers, and the Bill of Rights will all be better off. And unions will be free to go on politicking. Just as long as they keep their paws out of nonmembers' paychecks.



Exploiting Teenager Rage

The school shooting in Parkland, Florida, shows how quickly our media elites move horrors from tragedy to political opportunity.

They amplified the loudest voices of the shooting aftermath: teenage survivors who demanded gun control "solutions" like banning all semi-automatic assault weapons. These teenagers might accomplish in one week what the anti-Second Amendment crowd, led by these same media elites, has failed to do for decades.

Survivors of failed abortions (like Gianna Jessen or Melissa Ohden) have never held their attention for five seconds. That conflicts with the narrative.

Liberal journalists have openly discussed how these teenage advocates could be a crucial factor in defeating the gun-rights lobby. They could become the key to the kind of turnout necessary for putting Democrats in the majority in Congress. So they gave them every opportunity to push for liberal victory without any need to be civil.

David Hogg, the most prominent student survivor, went on CNN and proclaimed politicians shouldn't take money from the National Rifle Association because they are "child murderers." CNN morning anchor Alisyn Camerota didn't correct him — or condemn his statement, regardless of the fact that he'd just stained the reputations of millions of NRA members by labeling them killers. She said nothing. She was satisfied — pleased, in fact. happily posted the clip with the headline "Shooting Survivor Calls NRA 'Child Murderers.'"

CNN hosted a "town hall" full of leftist rage against anyone who believes in Second Amendment rights. Their agenda was obvious from the program's title: "Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action." They used the hashtag #StudentsStandUp to promote it. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch were verbally slashed by the students without mercy.

Survivor Cameron Kasky stood a few feet from Rubio and smeared him on national television: "it's hard to look at you and not look down the barrel of an AR-15 and not look at Nikolas Cruz, but the point is you're here, and there are some people who are not." Kasky also said he wished he could have questioned "the NRA lady" (Loesch), since he "would ask her how she can look in the mirror, considering the fact she has children, but, you know, maybe she avoids those."

In the next hour, when Loesch was on, people in the audience shouted "murderer," and "burn her," and student survivor Emma Gonzalez lectured her that she would be a better mother: "Dana Loesch, I want you to know that we will support your two children in the way that ... you will not."

Moderator Jake Tapper allowed the audience to be as immoderate as it wanted. He tweeted afterward: "People freestyled a bit" — a bit? — "and I wasn't inclined to reprimand a school shooting survivor or parent who lost a child for expressing him or herself in a question — even if aggressively."

But this is the most amazing part. In the aftermath, no one in television "news" replayed the students' rudeness as a storyline worthy of condemnation, or even comment. It matched their own political agenda and emotional temperature. When Rep. Joe Wilson yelled, "You lie!" at then-President Obama in 2009, these networks all angrily replayed it ad infinitum as a national disgrace. They called it "infamous." CNN's headline on the video clip read "The Heckling Heard 'Round the World."

Even Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito shaking his head at the 2010 State of the Union was projected as inappropriate.

Remember these student hecklers when CNN and their colleagues decry how President Donald Trump has single-handedly ruined civil discourse. Trump mocking CNN as "fake news" caused far more media outrage than Hogg calling the NRA "child murderers."

It will happen again and again. They are hell-bent on ridding this country of the Second Amendment, one tragedy at a time.



Workers Defeat UFCW

In recent years, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) has experienced a number of setbacks. Since 2001, the union has lost over 100,000 members. In addition to declining membership, the union has experienced unwanted press attention over the past few years. For example, after a 2015 indictment, UFCW’s organizing coordinator for the marijuana industry was sentenced to prison for fraud and other crimes late last year.

Another UFCW boss, Mickey Kasparian, has been mired in a scandal involving sexual harassment and discrimination for over a year. In January, two officials at two different UFCW locals were indicted for crimes, including racketeering; both men are alleged to have had ties to the Mafia.

On February 7th, the UFCW suffered another setback. On that day, there was an ambush unionization election at a co-op grocery store in Northfield, Minnesota, a Democratic-leaning city about 40 miles south of Minneapolis. While the workers who supported unionization had the backing of UFCW Local 1189, the workers who opposed the union were on their own. The co-op’s management remained neutral; and no third-party organization intervened. In the end, however, the union’s opponents didn’t need help; they were able to defeat the UFCW — one of the largest and wealthiest unions in the country — with over 55% of the vote.

The secretive unionization effort began last summer, but it took until last month for the union to finally collect the 12 signatures that it needed for an election. Pathetically, the unionization campaign still resorted to using dishonest tactics to gather these few signatures. For example, some co-op employees were told that signing a union authorization card only meant that they wanted more information. (In actuality, signing such a card gives a union the right to represent an employee.) Co-op workers were also falsely told that over two-thirds of the staff had already signed the cards.

Many co-op employees were unaware of the UFCW’s campaign until the posting of the Notice of Petition for Election in January. There was no agreement among union supporters as to why exactly the store needed a union. Some workers wanted higher pay, while others claimed the co-op had engaged in unspecified unfair labor practices. The union organizer claimed the co-op was hiding money from its workers and could afford to pay them more. It’s unclear how she would know this.

Several co-op employees decided to fight the union. One of the union’s opponents, Bob N., managed to get a copy of the contract that the UFCW negotiated with a Minneapolis co-op grocery store. Bob posted this contract in his store’s break room. It turns out that the Northfield co-op’s wages and benefits were as good as — and in some ways better than — the compensation package that the UFCW had negotiated with the co-op in the much larger city. Of course, unlike the employees of the Minneapolis store, the workers at the Northfield store don’t have to pay union dues. Bob also wrote several newsletters and put up a number of posts from the, a blog that chronicles the activities of the union, for his co-workers to read.

Although the UFCW had the advantage of both time and resources, it still lost the ambush election. It appears the UFCW would like to try to unionize the Northfield co-op again next year. The good news is that next time, the union’s opponents will have had an entire year to prepare for the election, rather than less than three weeks. Bob and his co-workers who opposed the UFCW are a great example of how regular people, with very little time to organize, can still defeat a powerful union when they’re armed with the facts.



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.

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


Thursday, March 01, 2018

Dennis Prager: 'If We Don’t Defeat the Left, America Loses'

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host, author, columnist and creator of, Dennis Prager, while giving an address to the Council for National Policy in February 2018 suggested that the differences between the right and left today are greater than the South and North in the Civil War, saying, “If we don’t defeat the left, America loses.”

“I never call for unity because it’s not valid,” stated Dennis Prager. “Either— This is terrible. It bothers me to say, but if we don’t defeat the left, America loses. That is what it amounts to.”

Below is a transcript of Dennis Prager’s remarks from the Council for National Policy event:

“The United States of America is engaged in a Civil War. I have described it as a Civil War for years now. I thank God that it is overwhelmingly peaceful, but it is as much a Civil War, and in some ways more so, than the one in the Nineteenth Century, in the 1860s.

“As odd as this sounds, but I took a vow when I started broadcasting never to exaggerate because credibility is all you have, so I’m not exaggerating when I say the differences between right and left in America today are greater than the differences between the South and the North in the Civil War. They differed, really, about one thing. That one thing was very, very big – no question. It’s one of the great moral versus immoral ideas in human history. But beyond that, they both loved America. They both loved liberty, at least, for nonslaves, and so on. I mean, they shared values.

“But there is— The gulf between right and left in America is unbridgeable, and that’s why I have reached the sad conclusion that calls for unity are na├»ve. Anyone who calls for unity, in any event – I learned this very early in my career – almost everyone who calls for unity isn’t being intellectually honest because they really, anyone who does, wants unity on their terms.

“I’ll never forget. I learned this in a completely nonpolitical way. My first radio show, was the moderator of the ABC radio in Las Angeles. I was the moderator, priest, rabbi, minister each Sunday night for two hours. It was an extremely popular show. Different priests, different rabbis, different ministers each week. And every so often, the rabbi would call for Jewish unity or the priest would call for Christian unity and the pastor would call for Christian unity. But whenever I pressed them, it was unity on their terms. When Orthodox rabbis called for unity, they wanted all Jews to be Orthodox. When non-Orthodox Jews wanted it, they wanted all Jews to be non-orthodox. When Protestants said it, they weren’t prepared to recognize the Pope. Let’s have Christian unity as Protestants. And Catholics were not prepared to give up the Papacy for unity with Protestants.

“So it was bologna. Everybody calling for unity meant: let’s all unite around my values. And so, I don’t blame these people. I would love everybody to unite around my values, but I never called for unity because it’s not valid. Either— This is terrible. It bothers me to say, but if we don’t defeat the left, America loses. That is what it amounts to.

“And let me tell you, a very important thing to say to your relatives. By the way, raise your hand if you don’t have any liberal relatives. Oh, that’s my wife raising her hand. You have to understand. She doesn’t include my family. I’m not talking blood, just family – really, seriously. Everybody does. Let’s be honest, okay?

“So, there is a very important thing you can do, and it’s totally honest. It’s not a gimmick, but it’s very powerful. You must ask your relative or friend: Are you a leftist or a liberal?

“There is nothing in common between liberalism and leftism, except big government. They have no other values in common. I am much closer to a liberal than I am to a leftist. With a liberal I can dialogue. I don’t have to defeat liberals. I have to defeat leftists. And here is a classic example: liberalism believed in racial integration; liberalism believed that race does not matter; leftism believes that race matters; leftism believes in black dorms, black graduations. Liberals didn’t. That was called segregation. Segregation was considered racist. Liberalism hated racism. Leftism thrives on racism. That is the difference on every issue, on every issue.

“Franklin Roosevelt was a liberal, a very far liberal, but a liberal. He spoke regularly of the need to defend Western Civilization, even Christian Civilization. That’s what liberalism believed in – Western Civilization. When President Trump spoke about defending Western Civilization in Warsaw, the entire left, I mean LA Times, New York Times, NPR, Washington Post, NBC, ABC, CBS, the whole gamut said this was a dog whistle to white supremacy. The idea of defending Western Civilization is dismissed as a white supremacist idea by the left. Liberals love, or loved, Western Civilization. The left despises it.

“So, there are many differences, and you make this clear to your relative and friend.

“Alan Dershowitz is a prominent liberal – Harvard Law School professor, Hillary Clinton supporter, life-long Democrat. He said to me— It is on film, on video, just two months ago in his apartment in New York City because we were making a film with Adam Corolla called ‘No Safe Spaces,’ which will be out at the end of this year about what is happening at our universities. This is Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School, life-long liberal Democrat. ‘My enemy is the left, not conservatives.’ Because he’s a liberal.

“Liberals, unfortunately, are weak. They are not bad. They’re weak. They don’t understand what Dershowitz does. Their enemy, the enemy of liberalism is leftism. The friend of liberalism is conservatism. We believe in open. We believe in free speech. We believe in free markets. We believe in Western Civilization. We believe in tolerance. The left doesn’t believe in any of those.

“So just, you must keep that in mind in fighting. If it’s not good enough to have the right values, you have to know how to fight for them. It’s as simple as that. Wanting to win doesn’t bring victories. Knowing how to win brings victories.”



Another Liberal-Created Failure

Walter E. Williams

A liberal-created failure that goes entirely ignored is the left's harmful agenda for society's most vulnerable people — the mentally ill. Eastern State Hospital, built in 1773 in Williamsburg, Virginia, was the first public hospital in America for the care and treatment of the mentally ill. Many more followed. Much of the motivation to build more mental institutions was to provide a remedy for the maltreatment of mentally ill people in our prisons. According to professor William Gronfein at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, by 1955 there were nearly 560,000 patients housed in state mental institutions across the nation. By 1977, the population of mental institutions had dropped to about 160,000 patients.

Starting in the 1970s, advocates for closing mental hospitals argued that because of the availability of new psychotropic drugs, people with mental illness could live among the rest of the population in an unrestrained natural setting. According to a 2013 Wall Street Journal article by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center, titled "Fifty Years of Failing America's Mentally Ill," shutting down mental hospitals didn't turn out the way advocates promised. Several studies summarized by the Treatment Advocacy Center show that untreated mentally ill are responsible for 10 percent of homicides (and a higher percentage of the mass killings). They are 20 percent of jail and prison inmates and more than 30 percent of the homeless.

We often encounter these severely mentally ill individuals camped out in libraries, parks, hospital emergency rooms and train stations and sleeping in cardboard boxes. They annoy passers-by with their sometimes intimidating panhandling. The disgusting quality of life of many of the mentally ill makes a mockery of the lofty predictions made by the advocates of shutting down mental institutions and transferring their function to community mental health centers, or CMHCs. Torrey writes: "The evidence is overwhelming that this federal experiment has failed, as seen most recently in the mass shootings by mentally ill individuals in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., and Tucson, Ariz. It is time for the federal government to get out of this business and return the responsibility, and funds, to the states."

Getting the federal government out of the mental health business may be easier said than done. A 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Olmstead v. L.C. held that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals with mental disabilities have the right to live in an integrated community setting rather than in institutions. The U.S. Department of Justice defined an integrated setting as one "that enables individuals with disabilities to interact with non-disabled persons to the fullest extent possible." Though some mentally ill people may have benefited from this ruling, many others were harmed — not to mention the public, which must put up with the behavior of the mentally ill.

Torrey says it has now become politically correct to claim that this federal program failed because not enough centers were funded and not enough money was spent. But that's not true. Torrey says: "Altogether, the annual total public funds for the support and treatment of mentally ill individuals is now more than $140 billion. The equivalent expenditure in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy proposed the CMHC program was $1 billion, or about $10 billion in today's dollars. Even allowing for the increase in U.S. population, what we are getting for this 14-fold increase in spending is a disgrace."

The dollar cost of this liberal vision of deinstitutionalization of mentally ill people is a relatively small part of the burden placed on society. Many innocent people have been assaulted, robbed and murdered by mentally ill people. Businesspeople and their customers have had to cope with the nuisance created by the mentally ill. The police response to misbehavior and crime committed by the mentally ill is to arrest them. Thus, they are put in jeopardy of mistreatment by hardened criminals in the nation's jails and prisons. Worst of all is the fact that the liberals who engineered the shutting down of mental institutions have never been held accountable for their folly.



A good summation of Trump from black media figure Armstrong Williams

The president is just so transparent. He’s so authentic. He’s so real until it gets him in trouble with the media elite and their establishment. They find him embarrassing. They’re haughty in their ways, and they just cannot believe that this guy can get away with this. Why? Because the American people get up in the morning and can’t wait to see the president take them on, put them in their place. It’s just another form of entertainment, and he does it so well.



NRA's Dana Loesch: Liberals 'Call Trump a Tyrant’ But Want Him to Confiscate Our Firearms – ‘Figure That One Out!'

In her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday, conservative author, radio host, and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch noted that in many criminal incidents, including the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Fla., "the government has proven that they cannot keep you safe."

Ironically, she added,  the same people who "call Trump a tyrant " also want to confiscate our firearms. Try to figure that one out!"

“I want to make this super obvious point," said Loesch.  "The government has proven that they cannot keep you safe, and yet some people want all of us to disarm. You heard that town hall [on CNN] last night -- they cheered the confiscation of firearms, and it was 5,000 people."

"I had to have a security detail to get out," she said. "I wouldn’t have been able to exit that if I did not have a private security detail. There were people rushing the stage and screaming ‘burn her.’ I came there to talk solutions and I am going to continue to talk solutions as the NRA’s been doing since before I was alive."

“But the government can’t keep you safe and some people want us to give up our firearms and rely solely on the protection of the same government that has already failed numerous times to keep us safe," said Loesch. 



Trump is a real man, unlike the pussies on the Left

Democrats, true to ignorant form, are once again frivolously giggling at President Trump for suggesting he would have entered the Parkland school building unarmed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. At a meeting with governors to discuss school safety measures, Trump explained, “I really believe I’d run in there, even if I didn’t have a weapon. And I think most of the people in this room would’ve done that too.”

Trump’s opponents on the Left quickly pounced. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane posted a GIF image of President Trump apparently showing fear as a bald eagle nearly bit him. 1970s film star Mark Hamill tweeted, “#ItsFunToPretend.” Twitter user Bryce Tache wrote, “You’ll never be the hero. Never.”

Trump’s lightly-educated critics ignore history, including a 1991 incident in which The Donald rush to stop a mugging in New York and chased the armed assailant away, despite lacking any weapon himself. As James Rosen reported at the time in the New York Daily News, “When he saw ‘a big guy with a big bat’ bashing another fellow, Donald Trump did what any self-respecting billionaire would do: He ordered his driver to pull over.” Trump confronted the armed assailant, who recognized him and claimed not to have done anything wrong. Trump reportedly asked the mugger, “How could you not do anything wrong when you’re whacking a guy with a bat?” The mugger then ran away.

Lest readers write the story off as mere Trumpian fiction, Rosen adds that a witness corroborated the account. “All of a sudden, a big long limousine pulls up on an angle, and Donald Trump pops out with the blond too,” the witness recounted. “Trump yelled, ‘Put that bat down. What are you doing?’ The guy dropped the bat, came over and started talking to him.” Rosen compared the incident to the brutal mugging of Trump’s elderly mother the previous month, which also was stopped thanks only to the intervention of a helpful stranger.



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.

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


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

President Trump might be the most conservative president in our lifetime

By Robert Romano

On Feb. 23, President Donald Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for the second year in a row as president, after not attending in 2016 during the campaign. At the time, he was still busy building his constituency in the Republican primary and for the general election, where he would ultimately prevail on a very conservative platform of putting America and the American people first in governing.

Now, Trump is the leader of the conservative, center-right party in the U.S. and of the executive branch. After one year in office, he has a record he has delivered on: lower taxes, fewer regulations and an opening the doors for economic expansion. ANWR has been opened for drilling. The Keystone XL pipeline is being built. The Obamacare individual mandate has been repealed.

Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. He ended the so-called Clean Power Plan. He withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and is looking to revamp NAFTA or else pull out of that one, too. Trump ran on fair and reciprocal trade, and that’s what he’s delivering. At CPAC, Trump declared, “the era of economic surrender is over.”

By enforcing trade agreements through the exercise of the President’s power over foreign relations, Trump is enforcing what are essentially contracts. Ignoring the terms of contracts, and allowing trade partners to cheat, is not conservative. It is corrupt.

Where one might quibble about Congress’ spending record in Washington, D.C., there is a president who is getting what he can done on behalf of the American people who elected him. He set a priority to rebuild the military and put the nation’s security first. Agree or disagree with the simultaneous increase of domestic spending — Trump’s own budget called for $4.5 trillion of spending cuts over 10 years while simultaneously increasing military spending — Trump made his promise on behalf of the nation’s fighting men and women, and like Reagan before him, he’s keeping it.

Trump is handing matters back to Congress and not ruling by edict. For example, agree or disagree with Trump’s decision to put DACA back onto Congress, pass or fail, that’s where the matter belongs. In the process, he is using his decision to end DACA in March as leverage, to fight for an end to extended family chain migration and the visa lottery, moving to a more merit-based model of economic priority.

President Trump is restoring limited government. And he’s doing it despite all expectations from the pathetic #NeverTrump in 2016 that said he was no conservative. He may be the most conservative president in our lifetime.

At CPAC, Trump quipped, “Remember when I first started running?  Because I wasn’t a politician, fortunately.  But do you remember I started running and people would say, ‘Are you sure he’s a conservative?’  I think now we’ve proved that I’m a conservative, right?”

Trump has. In spades. He put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and has put 13 constitutionalist judges on the federal circuit courts and another 10 on the district courts. Another 58 are awaiting confirmation.

Trump is restoring the rule of law, cracking down on violent illegal alien offenders, gangs and ending the war on police. He’s building the wall. He has made the opioid crisis front and center, and continues his focus on securing the nation’s borders.

Trump is taking on a rogue administrative state that thinks it is the legitimate government, including deep state actors who would seek to overturn the result of the 2016 election with false claims of the Russia treason plot. It’s hard to imagine anyone else collapsing under that pressure, but not Trump. He is fighting to preserve the institution of the presidency in Article II of the Constitution from an illegitimate threat to the consent of the governed.

In the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, the President called for self-defense not gun control. Let gun-owners carry, and shooter will think twice.

Trump recognized Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, something no other president had done.

Trump even took on some issues outside the governmental arena, including respect for the American flag and the National Anthem, demonstrating conservative leadership in a cultural area such as professional sports — and winning.

Trump has a record he can defend. A conservative one. In 2020, it may be enough to win reelection.

But in 2018, the President realizes there are other forces at play. In uncharacteristically frank remarks on the prospects of the midterm elections, Trump noted, “And now only two years — that’s a very short period. And by the time you start campaigning, it’s a year. And now you got to go and fight again. But you just won. So nobody has that same drive that they had. So you end up not doing that well because the other side is going — they’re crazed.”

Statistically, Trump is spot on. The White House incumbent party tends to lose House seats in midterm elections 89 percent of the time dating back a century, with losses averaging 35 seats. The exceptions were 1934, 1998 and 2002. In the Senate, the incumbents tend to lose Senate seats about 71 percent of the time, with losses averaging about 6 seats. However, there are more exceptions where seats were either gained or none lost: 1906, 1914, 1934, 1962, 1970, 1982, 1998 and 2002.

So, what to do? Trump had some words of advice for his supporters at CPAC, warning, “Don’t be complacent… The fact is, we need more Republicans to vote.  We want to get our agenda.” He’s right. But to rally in 2018, the President needs to get the wind at his back. So far, he’s off to a good start, with his tax cut plan now in effect, a rousing State of the Union Address and now his CPAC heart to heart with his supporters.

Midterms are by no means determinative of presidential reelections. Former Presidents Clinton and Obama rebounded after catastrophic losses in Congress. But they can help. Reagan kept a Republican Senate majority in 1982 and went on to one of the largest landslides in electoral history in 1984. Nothing is set in stone, but for President Trump to continue implementing his conservative agenda in Washington, D.C., one fact is unmistakable: he needs a conservative, limited government majority in Congress.



President Trump delivered an epic speech to CPAC, and it left the #NeverTrump gang squirming

Proud to be deplorable Trump began his remarks with a throwdown* to his critics in the Republican establishment:

I’m thrilled to be back at CPAC, with so many of my wonderful friends and amazing supporters and proud conservatives. Remember when I first started running? Because I wasn’t a politician, fortunately, but do you remember I started running and people said, are you sure he’s a conservative? I think I proved I’m a conservative.

And Trump was right – while no one would argue that he has internalized movement conservative philosophical principles or claim Trump has lived his life according to Biblical principles, as President he has pursued, and accomplished, a surprisingly conservative agenda.

What’s more, the President summed-up in one short sentence why he is different – in a good way – from most other recent Republican presidential candidates and presidents: Year after year, leaders have stood on this stage to discuss what we can do together to protect our heritage, to promote our culture, and to defend our freedom.

Has any other Republican come before a national audience and talked about protecting our heritage?

Year after year Republican presidential candidates, and two Presidents Bush, went to CPAC to talk, but they rarely produced meaningful results on the conservative agenda, and, often as not, many CPAC attendees were opposed to them and their policies.

Certainly in the early years of CPAC its purpose was to advance the conservative takeover of the Republican Party, not serve as a platform for the Republican establishment to try to sell itself as part of the conservative movement.

Donald Trump, the patriotic businessman, is the only President to join President Reagan in coming before CPAC to talk about his commitment to what motivates grassroots conservatives:  protect our heritage, to promote our culture, and to defend our freedom.

Trump’s speech, while not nearly as eloquent as a typical Reagan speech, was packed full of what connects him to the grassroots conservative – populist base of the Republican Party. And the first-year accomplishments to back it up.

But there was another element to Trump’s speech that made the #NeverTrump gang squirm: it was fun and entertaining.

You could see the prune-faced looks on some during Trump’s self-deprecating aside about his hair in the middle of a paragraph about judicial appointments:

For the last year with your help, we have put more great conservative ideas into use than perhaps ever before in American history. What a nice picture that is. Look at that. I would love to watch that guy speak. Oh, boy. Oh, I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks. I work hard at it. Doesn’t look bad. Hey, we’re hanging in. We’re hanging in. We’re hanging in there, right? Together we’re hanging in. We have confirmed a record number, so important, of circuit court judges and we’re going to be putting in a lot more.

And likewise his takedown of the lone protester to interrupt his remarks:

How did he get in here, Matt? Boy. Okay. Just for the media, the fake news back there, they took very good care of him. They were very gentle. He was very obnoxious. It was only one person. So we have thousands of people here. So, listen, tomorrow the headline will be protesters disturb the Trump — one person, folks. Doesn’t deserve a mention. Doesn’t deserve a headline. The headline tomorrow, disrupters of CPAC. One person. And he was very nice. We looked at him, he immediately left. Okay. Now, I’ve heard it too often.

You’ll have one person and you can hardly even hear. The biggest disturbance are you people. You know why? He’ll say something, nobody hears him, because — and then the crowd will start screaming at him and then all of a sudden we start — and that’s okay. You have to show your spirit, right? You have to show your spirit. It is true.

“Unpresidential” some would sniff. And they sniffed again over President Trump’s comments about the role past immigration policies have played in the rise of the vicious Hispanic gang MS-13:

These are animals. They cut people. They cut them. They cut them up in little pieces, and they want them to suffer. And we take them into our country. Because our immigration laws are so bad, and when we catch them, it is called catch and release. We have to, by law, catch them and then release them. Catch and release. And I can’t get the Democrats and nobody has been able to for years to approve common-sense measures that when we catch these animal killers, we can lock them up, and throw away the keys. In 2017, our brave ICE officers arrested more than 100,000 criminal aliens who have committed tens of thousands of crimes. And, believe me, these are great people. They cannot — the laws are just against us. They’re against — they’re against safety. They don’t make sense.

Perhaps an even better example was President Trump’s demolition of the Paris climate agreement.

Trump didn’t get down in the weeds and try to debate the details of what has been shown to be the phony science behind Obama’s surrender of American sovereignty and economic growth – a surrender happily embraced by many establishment Republican – he simply said what Americans outside-the-Beltway have known for years:

Other countries, big countries, India, and others, we had to pay because they considered them a growing country. They were a growing country. I said, what are we, are we allowed to grow too? Are we allowed to grow? They called India a developing nation. They called China a developing nation. But the United States, we’re developed, we can pay.

So, folks, if you don’t mind, I’ll tell you what, it is amazing how many people understood the Paris accord because it sounds so good. It is like some of the environmental regulations that I cut. They have the most beautiful titles. And sometimes that’s — look, I’m going to close my eyes and sign this, because, you know what, I’m going to get killed on this one. I get so much thanks. The country knows what I’m doing.

We couldn’t build, we couldn’t farm. If you had a puddle on your land, they called it a lake for the purposes of environmentals. It is crazy. It is crazy. And I signed certain bills, I would have farmers behind me and have house builders, home builders behind me. And these are tough people. Strong people. They fought hard. They worked all their lives hard. And half of them would be crying. Because we gave them their property back. We gave them the right to earn a living. They couldn’t do it.

They couldn’t do what they had to do. We gave them their property back, we gave them their dignity back.

But perhaps the best part of the speech was when he spoke of the victims of the Muslim terrorist who used a truck to attack pedestrians along Manhattan’s Westside Highway:

Nobody talks about that. Nobody ever talks about the people that have been so horribly injured, who lose legs and arms in Manhattan where I used to spend my time. I know it very well, this stretch along the west side highway, people run in order to stay in shape, they want to — they want to be healthy, they want to look good, they run, they run, all the time, I see it. They run. We work in different ways. But they run. But think of this, they run. And they’re so —they want to be fit. They’re proud people. They want to be fit. And they’re running up and down West Side. It is beautiful. It is a beautiful thing. And this maniac takes a car going down the highway and just turns to the right and he kills eight. He really badly wounded 12 to 14 other people.

So somebody, think of it, runs to stay in shape, leaves the house, is jogging along, working hard, ends up going home, two months later with no leg or with no arm or with two legs missing. Nobody ever talks about them. They talk about the people rightfully that were killed. But they don’t talk about the people that — whose lives have just changed. Just changed. They don’t talk about that. This guy came in through chain migration. And a part of the lottery system. They say 22 people came in with him. In other words, an aunt, an uncle, a grandfather, a mother, a father, whoever came in. A lot of people came in. That’s chain migration. Let’s see how those people are doing, by the way. We have got to change our way. Merit system. I want merit system.

While the #NeverTrump gang squirmed and made their prune faces, millions of grassroots conservative – populist voters understood that nobody ever talks about the victims of our current immigration system – except Donald Trump.

President Trump also reprised of one the staples of his campaign stump speech, a recitation of the “The Snake” by Oscar Brown Jr., a minor soul hit performed by Al Wilson in the 1970s.

"I saved you, " cried the woman
"And you've bitten me, but why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I'm going to die"
"Oh shut up, silly woman, " said the reptile with a grin
"You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in”

From “The Snake” by Oscar Brown Jr.

Establishment Republicans and Democrats hated it when Trump read or referred to “The Snake” on the campaign trail because its simple wisdom proved he was right, especially about Muslim immigration.

The intelligentsia of the Right and Left and establishment Republican politicians and media personalities will continue to talk down Donald Trump and claim his remarks to CPAC just weren’t up to presidential standards. What they don’t understand is Trump’s stream of consciousness asides are exactly were he connects with the voters and what differentiates him from the inside-the-Beltway political class that voters despise.



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.

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


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

In Donald Trump, Evangelicals Have Found Their President


Last August, President Trump sat behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office and looked me straight in the eyes. With a look of reflection and purposefulness, he discussed his upbringing and fondly recalled a vivid childhood memory from the 1950s: watching Billy Graham sermons on television with his father. “My father was a fan of Billy Graham,” the president said. He recalled how his father, Fred, attended the historic 1957 New York City Crusade.

Mr. Graham, who died last week at 99, brought both evangelism and evangelicalism into the mainstream of American culture. Meanwhile, young Donald grew to be successful, wealthy and famous — culminating with his becoming the leader of the free world. In the process, he too brought evangelicals somewhere, a place so many would have never imagined: an embrace of Donald Trump.

Of all the questions surrounding the current president, perhaps the most perplexing is this: How could evangelicals get behind a man like Mr. Trump, especially well-known conservative leaders who both treasure and champion morality? Constant news reports paint a picture of an out-of-control, angry, mentally unstable, reckless president who is prejudiced against all of humanity except white people with modest incomes and out-of-date values. But after interviewing scores of evangelical leaders, I have developed a different perspective.

Most of the world, and even most reporters, know only the public side of President Trump. In private, evangelical leaders have come to recognize a more compassionate side.

For example, Mr. Trump took a car ride with Mike Pence along with Billy Graham’s son Franklin and Tony Perkins, a leading figure on the Christian right, during the Louisiana floods of 2016. Impressed by what Franklin Graham’s Christian ministry had done for flood victims, Mr. Trump told him that he was writing it a six-figure check, which Mr. Graham told him to send to Mr. Perkins’s church. Both men were moved by his impulsive kindness, and a bond was formed.

Another story involves Mr. Trump and the televangelist James Robison praying together inside an S.U.V. on the airport tarmac in Panama City, Fla., during a campaign stop. When Mr. Trump exited the car, he gave Mr. Robison a hug, pulled him up against his chest firmly and said, “Man, I sure love you.” A small gesture, perhaps, but heartfelt, real and so unlike the caricature of the president most of us see. And practically every evangelical leader I interviewed has a similar story.

Critics say that the Trump-evangelical relationship is transactional, that they support him to see their agenda carried out. In fact, evangelicals take the long view on Mr. Trump; they afford him grace when he doesn’t deserve it. Few dispute that Mr. Trump may need a little more grace than others. But evangelicals truly do believe that all people are flawed, and yet Christ offers them grace. Shouldn’t they do the same for the president?

This is more than a biblical mandate. The Bible is replete with examples of flawed individuals being used to accomplish God’s will. Evangelicals I interviewed said they believed that Mr. Trump was in the White House for a reason.

Bishop Wayne Jackson, who is the pastor of Great Faith Ministries International in Detroit and calls himself a lifelong Democrat, remembers Mr. Trump’s campaign visit to his church. He told me that the moment Mr. Trump got out of the car, “the spirit of the Lord told me that that’s the next president of the United States.”

Evangelical leaders also see a civic obligation to speak godly counsel to him, on policy and personal matters. He is, after all, the president. And it’s paying off. I’ve watched Mr. Trump through the lens of the faith community for years, and he has delivered the policy goods and is progressing on the spiritual ones.

My reporting suggests Donald Trump is on a spiritual voyage that has accelerated in recent years, thanks to evangelicals who have employed the biblical mandate of sharing and showing God’s love to him rather than shunning him. President Trump told me that he “was exposed to a lot of people, from a religious standpoint, that I would’ve never met before. And so it has had an impact on me.”

This president’s effect on our cultural norms has been shocking. His critics would call it appalling; evangelicals say it’s immensely satisfying: They’ve seen a culture deteriorate quickly in the past decade, and they’re looking for a bold culture warrior to fight for them. Showing that God does indeed have a sense of humor, He gave them Mr. Trump. Yet in God’s perfection, it’s a match made in heaven. Mr. Trump and evangelicals share a disdain for political correctness, a world seen through absolutes and a desire to see an America that embraces Judeo-Christian values again rather than rejecting them.

Finally, why in the world wouldn’t evangelicals get behind and support a man who not only is in line with most of their agenda but also has delivered time and time again? The victories are numerous: the courts, pro-life policies, the coming Embassy in Jerusalem and religious liberty issues, just to name a few. He easily wins the unofficial label of “most evangelical-friendly United States president ever.”

Does Mr. Trump have moral failings? Yes. Critics will suggest a hypocrisy coming from evangelical leaders who are quick to denounce the ethical failings of others who don’t have an “R” next to their name. But the goal of evangelicals has always been winning the larger battle over control of the culture, not to get mired in the moral failings of each and every candidate. For evangelicals, voting in the macro is the moral thing to do, even if the candidate is morally flawed. Evangelicals have tried the “moral” candidate before.

Jimmy Carter was once the evangelical candidate. How did that work out in the macro? George W. Bush was the evangelical candidate in 2000: He pushed traditional conservative policies, but he doesn’t come close to Mr. Trump’s courageous blunt strokes in defense of evangelicals.

Evangelicals have found their man. It may seem mystifying to outsiders, but for someone like me, with a front-row seat to an inside view, it makes perfect sense. Maybe they’re taking their cue from Billy Graham, embracing presidents with moral failings rather than rejecting them.



Trump Hits 50%!

In the Rasmussen Poll, the only survey that polls actual voters, President Donald Trump has moved up steadily since the new year and has now reached a new plateau of 50 percent job approval with only 49 percent disapproving.



NRA Tears Apart Boycott Talks… Slams Corporate Sponsors Cutting Ties in Brutal Statement

The National Rifle Association has struck back after multiple corporate sponsors cut ties with the gun rights organization following the mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead.

As The Western Journal reported, over a dozen companies have ended their partnerships with the NRA due to pressure from liberal gun control activists.

Delta Airlines, MetLife, United Airlines, Hertz and First National Bank are among the companies that have ended discounts programs, NRA-related credit cards or any other program that might have supported the group.

But in a Saturday statement, the group defended itself, noting that NRA membership is being punished “in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice,” while also pointing out multiple institutional failures that allowed the suspected gunman to perpetrate the shooting.

“The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement,” the NRA’s statement read.

“Despite that, some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice,” the statement added. “In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve.”

The more than five million law-abiding members of the National Rifle Association have enjoyed discounts and cost-saving programs from many American corporations that have partnered with the NRA to...

Despite the loss of partnerships, the NRA said it is confident its members won’t be deterred from taking advantage of their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

“Let it be absolutely clear,” the group said. “The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world.”

The NRA has been the subject of intense criticism in the wake of the Florida shooting, as gun control advocates have blamed the group’s campaign donations on politicians’ supposed inaction regarding this issue.

But the group, which represents close to 5 million Americans, has refused to cave in the face of this backlash, and even offered to help keep schools safe following the Florida mass shooting.

Speaking Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre said his organization will offer free help to campuses who want to boost their armed security.

Despite calls for stricter gun laws, he thinks better protection, not more firearm regulations, is the answer.

“Our banks, our airports, our NBA games, our NFL games, our office buildings, our movie stars, our politicians — they’re all more protected than our children at school. Does that make any sense to anybody?” he said, according to The Washington Times.

LaPierre also emphasized the need to “harden” America’s schools.

“Evil walks among us, and God help us if we don’t harden our schools and protect our kids,” he said, as reported by LifeZette.

“In every community in America … they all must come together to implement the very best strategy to harden their schools, including effective, trained, armed security that will absolutely protect every innocent child in this country,” LaPierre added.



Report: MS-13’s Dangerous Rise To Power Links Back To 1 Flawed Obama Decision

The vicious transnational gang MS-13 has enjoyed a resurgence across the U.S. thanks in part to reduced enforcement of illegal alien gang members and permissive policies toward resettling unaccompanied teenagers who arrived at the southwest border, according to an analysis released Wednesday.

Though it was founded in Los Angles by Salvadoran illegal immigrants, MS-13 today is based primarily in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Under the former President George W. Bush’s administration, the gang’s growth in the U.S. was kept in check by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who worked with local law enforcement to arrest suspected members on administrative immigration violations.

That changed under former President Barack Obama’s administration, which directed ICE offices to make arresting members for immigration violations or minor crimes a lower priority and concentrate instead on major conspiracy cases, according to the analysis from the Center for Immigration Studies.

Overall, ICE gang-related arrests fell from about 4,600 in 2012 to about 1,580 in 2014, the CIS report says.

At the same time it was de-prioritizing immigration enforcement of MS-13, the Obama administration faced a surge of unaccompanied alien children and family units across the southwest border, mostly from Central American countries. During the surge, which began in 2012 and lasted into 2016, Border Patrol agents arrested more than 300,000 UAC and family units.

Because U.S. immigration law requires alien minors to be released from immigration detention without “unnecessary delay” and placed in the “least restrictive setting” possible, most of the Central American teens were released with immigration hearings pending in the distant future.

The placement of so many Central American UAC in the interior of the country, often with relatives who were themselves illegal immigrants, gave MS-13 a pool of fresh candidates from which to recruit.

Increased MS-13 activity is correlated with the resettlement of UAC in certain metro areas, according to the CIS analysis, which documented more than 500 cases of MS-13 members arrested or charged with crimes since 2012.

“The parts of the country that have experienced an increase in MS-13 activity correspond roughly to the areas where there have been the largest number of UAC resettlement placements by the federal government,” Jessica Vaughn, CIS director of policy analysis, wrote in the report.

“This makes sense; about 15 years ago, MS-13 made a push to expand from Los Angeles to other parts of the country with sizeable Central American communities, including many illegal aliens.”

As Vaughn’s analysis notes, states that saw heavy UAC resettlement under Obama were also those that had the most arrests of MS-13 gang members.

California, Maryland, New York, Virginia and Massachusetts were the top five among 22 states where an MS-13 member was arrested or charged since 2012.

Those five states accounted for 320 of the 506 — about 63 percent — of the cases documented by CIS. In addition to laws covering alien minors, local sanctuary city policies have disrupted cooperation between police and immigration agents that could lead to tougher enforcement of MS-13, Vaughn says.

“Many of the hotbeds of MS-13 activity are also places where local officials have adopted sanctuary policies,” she wrote, noting that 222 of the 506 cases documented by CIS occurred in sanctuary jurisdictions.



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.

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


Monday, February 26, 2018

Surprise, Guess Who Is More Popular Than Obama?

On Friday, President Trump addressed the largest crowd of conservative activists in the history of CPAC. It was another memorable Trump speech, listing his many accomplishments and encouraging the crowd to support Republican candidates in the mid-term elections. For 80 minutes, the President discussed an array of issues such as tax cuts, judicial appointments, immigration and the strong economy.

To the delight of the crowd, Trump claimed that “we have got seven years to go folks.” Of course, this did not thrill the President’s many enemies in the national news media. MSNBC’s Ali Veshi said the President’s speech was similar to what he has “heard from Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro or Erdogan. President Putin gives something like this every year, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used to give speeches like this.” Both Veshi and his co-host, Stephanie Ruhle claimed that the speech was filled with “lies.” They were also aggravated that the President discussed 31 topics but did not mention Russia. Hey, Ali and Stephanie, since there is no collusion or obstruction of justice, why should he mention a “fake news” story like Russia?

This kind of media abuse directed at the President is nothing new. Ever since Donald Trump officially entered the presidential race on June 16, 2015, the national news media has treated him with total disdain. It has been even worse since he was elected President despite their best efforts. Since that time, liberal cable news outlets like CNN and MSNBC have devoted almost their entire broadcast schedule to attacking his personality, his temperament and his administration’s agenda.

Donald Trump has received the worst media coverage of any President in modern American history. According to a recent study by the Media Research Center, the press coverage of the President by the major broadcast networks has been negative 91% of the time.

With such hatred toward the President, it must be especially upsetting for his critics to see the recent upsurge in his approval rating. In the latest Rasmussen survey, President Trump registered a strong 50% approval rating, his highest level of support since June of last year.

At this point in his administration, Barack Obama had only a 45% approval rating. Incredibly, Trump with almost universal media condemnation is more popular than Obama, who received undying adulation and praise from the press.

The same so-called journalists who idolized Barack Obama have been relentlessly hounding President Trump about non-existent “Russian collusion.” One Trump critic, Jeff Zeleny of CNN, once asked President Obama at a news conference what “enchanted him the most” about the position. This type of fawning behavior was typical of how the media treated Barack Obama. They made obsequious comments and asked President Obama no probing questions that would ever upset him. The lap dog media during the Obama years has become a rabid attack dog media during the Trump administration.

Fortunately, more Americans understand the nature of the liberal mainstream news media. Consequently, millions of Americans are consuming more of their news from other sources such as news websites, talk radio and social media. This is a good development and explains why the President has been able to grow in popularity despite the daily negative media onslaught against him. In contrast, the ratings for CNN have plummeted recently as Americans turn away from their hateful coverage of President Trump.

It also helps that President Trump has an extremely loyal base of supporters who will stand with him no matter what criticism he encounters. This bond was established during the campaign when he stood firm on the key issues and did not back down in the face of unrelenting criticism.

Another major factor in the President's surging popularity is the tax reform bill that passed Congress last December. The bill is associated with President Trump and as more Americans appreciate the many benefits of the bill, his popularity will continue to rise.

The Democrats and the news media denounced the tax cut bill, but Americans are getting raises, and bonuses and are starting to see more money in their paychecks. The reality of their improving financial situation is trumping the “fake news” being delivered by the President's many media critics.

With an improving economy and a rising approval rating for President Trump, the Republicans have a better chance of retaining control of Congress in the mid-term elections. This is news that will not enchant the liberal news media, which will start to wonder why their abusive treatment of the President is not working. Luckily, the American people are starting to understand what the liberal media is all about.



CNN’s Town Hall Event Becomes A Hate Rally Against The NRA

Hating is what the Left does

Well, talk about a tale of two meetings. The one hosted by President Trump with those who have been victimized by mass shootings was respectful, grounded, and doled out logical solutions. Yes, there was some talk about assault weapons bans and Australian-style gun control, but a lot of family members who lost their loved ones to gun violence said more armed guards, possibly the teachers themselves should be considered. Better security at schools concerning access to buildings also need to be addressed as well. That was earlier in the afternoon on Wednesday. Later that evening, CNN held a town hall event in Sunrise, Florida. The National Rifle Association agreed to participate, along with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL).

It was a hostile environment. Period. Sen. Nelson wants a new ban on so-called assault weapons. He slammed Gov. Rick Scott for incentivizing a gun manufacturer that makes the AR-15 rifles to move to Florida. That was the main course in this segment, which was broken up into two parts. The second half was with NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

Rubio became the punching bag. One father, Fred Guttenberg, who lost his daughter in the tragic shooting last week, was the first to confront the Florida Republican, saying his remarks, and that of President Trump since the event, were “pathetically weak.” A lot of cheers were thrown when Rubio was slapped repeatedly for not catering to the anti-gun atmosphere. Rubio did say he now supports raising the minimum age to buy a rifle to 21, might support limiting magazine sizes, and banning bump stocks (via WaPo):

"Look at me and tell me guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in the school this week,” Fred Guttenberg, who lost his 14-year-old daughter Jaime in the shooting, asked Rubio. She had been running down the hallway when she was shot in the back, Guttenberg said. “Were guns the factor in the hunting of our kids?” Guttenberg asked.

“Of course they were,” Rubio responded. But he said a “better answer” than banning assault weapons is to “make sure that dangerous criminals, people that are deranged cannot buy any gun of any kind.”

Rubio said he would support a law that makes it illegal for 18-year-olds to purchase rifles, as well as the banning of bump stocks and expanded background checks. He said he pushed for a $50-million-a-year threat-assessment fund so states could identify people who could potentially commit mass shootings, and stop them.

It’s here that the crowd’s enthusiasm for gun confiscation became explicitly clear.

Cameron Kasky not only asked Rubio if he would stop accepting NRA donations, but even equated him to the shooter, Nikolas Cruz. CNN host Jake Tapper just sat there (via NewsBusters):

“I'm sorry, I know I'm not supposed to do this, but I'm not going to listen to that. Senator Rubio, it's hard to look at you and not look down the barrel on an AR-15 and not look at Nikolas Cruz, but the point is: You're here and there are some people who are not,” Kasky spat.

After Rubio answered his question, Kasky began to browbeat him for the money the NRA donated to his campaign, basically insinuating he was being bribed. “And this is about people who are for making a difference to save us and people who are against it and prefer money. So Senator Rubio, can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA in the future,” he demanded as the crowd went crazy.

The second segment saw Dana Loesch taking serious heat from the audience, with more than a few people calling her a murderer. She noted that this was a monstrous act, and that the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, shouldn’t have been able to buy a firearm. The background check system needs to be updated and reformed, so that his disturbing behavior could be properly documented in the system. Cruz had no prior criminal convictions and was not adjudicated as mentally defective, which would have barred him from buying an AR-15.

On January 5, the FBI received a tip that Cruz could carry out a school shooting. The bureau never followed up on it; something FBI Director Chris Wray admitted last week. The FBI was invited to the town hall event, but declined. They dropped the ball, as did local law enforcement, which visited his home 39 times over a seven-year period, documenting episodes that were described as that of a “mentally ill person.” There were many red flags that were not acted upon, something that Loesch pointed out during this second hour of the town hall event.

Yet, where things got ugly was when Loesch was asked why the NRA position is not to raise the age of purchasing long guns to 21.  She mentioned Kimberly Corban was on a previous CNN town hall on the Second Amendment when Obama was president; he mansplained gun politics to her, by the way. She was brutally raped in college and wishes she was able to defend herself with a firearm, probably a shotgun, which drew boos from the crowd. Yeah, that’s the anti-gun Left, people.

I don’t get it. I just don’t get how anyone could even consider that the position of leaving women unable to defend themselves from rapists and others who seek to do harm to them is fine. The reaction on this front was appalling, but women are becoming a bigger voice in the gun industry, with many think they’re rapidly becoming the next frontier. More women are lining up to obtain their concealed carry permits, shooting sports participation is up, and they’re the fastest growing demographic embracing gun ownership.

Second, what about all the signs Cruz was exhibiting? Was it the gun? Or was it that all levels of government failed to protect these kids? It’s the latter. Is our system broken or is it that the front office handling the management of this system—NICS—has to do better at their jobs? The FBI dropped the ball here, folks. That is a fact. The FBI manages the background check system. Does anyone not think that armed guards, better security at schools, better mental health detection, proper documentation of disturbing behavior, and the ability to update NICS with this information could stop people who shouldn’t have firearms from obtaining them? I think it can. 

But that doesn’t ban so-called assault weapons or limit magazines, so it’ll be unacceptable to the anti-gun Left. The confiscatory ethos permeates every policy initiative they dish out. What happened last night was a North Korean kangaroo court and every conservative, every Second Amendment supporter, every NRA member, and anyone in America who wasn’t onboard with gun control was on trial. We’re guilty of supporting American civil rights and freedom.



'Unpatriotic:' New Wave of Horrible Tax Reform "Crumbs"  Arrives, Utility Bills Lowered in 39 States

We noted earlier in the week that Nancy Pelosi has evolved from issuing cartoonishly dire warnings about the consequences of tax reform, to sneering at the unmistakably positive results of the law passed over her objections (along with every Congressional Democrat), to muttering about how making US businesses more competitive and allowing taxpayers to keep more of the money they earn is 'unpatriotic,' or something.  Her messaging is an elitist, counter-productive mess, but it's all they've got.  It's not working.  Public polling has tracked the tax reform bill bouncing from underwater by double digits, to tied, to supported by a majority of voters -- all in about two months. 

The needle hasn't moved that significantly because Republicans have undertaken a masterful communications strategy while Democrats have fallen asleep at the switch.  It's moved because in many respect, the results speak for themselves.  As I put it on television a few days ago, Democrats don't have a messaging problem on tax reform; they have a reality problem.  And reality keeps interfering with their efforts to attack the GOP-passed law.  Here is the latest cascade of examples of employers handing down tax reform-caused benefits to employees, from a Minnesota-based food company:

Hormel Foods Corp. this morning announced that it plans to use savings from the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to award stock options to its employees and raise starting wages to $13 an hour...“Tax reform will have a clear benefit to all Hormel Foods stakeholders — our shareholders, our employees, and the communities in which we operate,” Hormel President and CEO Jim Snee said in the announcement. “The ongoing cash tax benefit will provide additional funds, allowing us to accelerate the growth of our business...Snee also announced that Hormel will continue to raise its starting wages following the $13 an hour increase. The company plans to bump the starting wage to $14 an hour by the end of fiscal 2020. “We also pledged an additional $25 million in donations over the next five years as supporting our communities through product and monetary donations is important to us,” he added. Hormel also expects to pass some of the tax savings on to its shareholders.

To an international air shipping company:

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: AAWW) today announced record fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 revenue, record fourth-quarter earnings and robust full-year earnings growth, and a continued strong outlook in 2018...We expect the new tax legislation to have a positive impact on economic activity and corporate growth. On passage of the law, we were pleased to provide a one-time bonus of $1,000 to our global personnel in recognition of their hard work and commitment to the company's growth.” Turning to 2018 and beyond, Mr. Flynn stated: “We are operating in a strong airfreight environment, underpinned by global economic growth.

To a transportation company headquartered in Ohio:

Wilmington-based global transportation company R+L Carriers announced this week it would issue bonuses of up to $1,000 for all its employees....

Remaining in Ohio, here's a furniture business doling out bonuses and rolling out a major expansion:

Over 140 employees for a local furniture store will feel their wallets get a lot bigger. Sheely’s Furniture and Appliance President and CEO, Dale Sheely Jr. announced the bonuses Tuesday morning.....

To a bank in Virginia:

Employees of F & M Bank were surprised on Tuesday to learn they would receive a bonus, which the institution attributes to additional earnings expected as a result of the GOP tax plan....

And I'll leave you with this data point from the Speaker of the House, whose office has been tallying the results of the GOP-passed law. Not only are millions of workers experiencing benefits, and not only are 80-90 percent of taxpayers receiving a tax cut, many consumers around the country are getting helpful breaks, too:

This is the opposite of the Obama position on energy costs, which he sought to increase through his preferred policies.  Higher energy bills -- like (ahem) gas taxes -- are extremely regressive.  They hammer the people who can least afford it.



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.

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


Sunday, February 25, 2018

The president must start protecting our democracy from Russia, says Thomas L. Friedman

More New York Times disinformation.  If there is anybody who is a threat to American democracy it is the NeverTrumpers, not Russia.  It is the NeverTrumpers who want to overturn a democratically elected president. What can Russia do?  Come and seize all the voting machines? Friedman is the towering fool.  All he has is a series of unsubstantiated allegations.

Our democracy is in serious danger.

President Donald Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool, or both, but either way he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy.

That is, either Mr. Trump’s real estate empire has taken large amounts of money from shady oligarchs linked to the Kremlin — so much that they literally own him; or rumors are true that he engaged in sexual misbehavior while in Moscow running the Miss Universe contest, which Russian intelligence has on tape and he doesn’t want released; or Mr. Trump actually believes Russian President Vladimir Putin when he says he is innocent of intervening in our elections — over the explicit findings of his personally chosen chiefs of the CIA, NSA and FBI



A lot of intellectual conservatives still don't "get" Donald Trump

That he has actually taught us all lessons they are resisting  -- including the reality that in the present climate politics can no longer be a gentleman's game

David Limbaugh

I happened onto a piece by Bill Kristol in The Weekly Standard, wherein he links to "a short, powerful piece in National Review" by Rick Brookhiser, who "concludes that 'the conservative movement is no more. Its destroyers are Donald Trump and his admirers.'"

I somewhat get the sentiment — or at least I used to — because during the GOP primaries, I fleetingly entertained a similar concern that Trump, whom I didn't consider a conservative, might undermine the conservative movement in the long run if elected.

Presumably trying to console Brookhiser, Kristol writes: "Movements grow old. They eventually die. Bill Buckley founded the American conservative movement in 1955. Can a political movement reasonably be expected to thrive and retain its vigor for more than 60 years? ... Trump is the proximate, the efficient, cause of the collapse of the conservative movement. The principles of sound conservatism compel us to criticize him, to rebut him, to resist him, and to plan to overcome him. But, perhaps it is the 'silent artillery of time' that has done the damage which Trump was able to take advantage of. And that suggests our task, the task of the descendants of the founders of American conservatism goes beyond that: It is to rebuild, or to build other pillars that will uphold the temple of American liberty in the 21st century. Brookhiser suggests at the end of his piece, 'It will take a lot of arguing to rebuild a conservative movement that one can contemplate without scorn.' True. And it will take a lot of work to create a new birth of conservatism — if it even is still called conservatism — that will support American freedom and greatness."

The first thing that pops out at me is Kristol's apparent ambivalence. If all movements inevitably die after a while, then why blame Trump, who just apparently accelerated conservatism's downfall? Indeed, Kristol doesn't really seem to be grieving conservatism's alleged demise, because he is suggesting we find some substitute ideology or movement that will serve as a pillar to uphold the temple of American liberty in the 21st century.

This strikes me as doubly ironic. Conservatism, by definition, comprises inviolable principles. It is not just one of many possible ideologies that support constitutionally limited government and ordered liberty. If Kristol believes we can find some other satisfactory "pillar," then he shouldn't cry over the supposed death of conservatism. On the other hand, if I thought it were truly dead, I would genuinely cry over it.

It's also ironic that Kristol seems to be proposing a solution that many Trump supporters would argue Trump has already implemented. That is, they believe conservatism — though it could never die intellectually — had become ineffectual because its modern standard-bearers in office were simply not getting the job done; they weren't advancing conservative principles. So, for want of a better term, they found a new "pillar" in Donald Trump to uphold the temple of American liberty in the 21st century. (Please don't send me emails about Trump's not being a pillar. That's not the point.)

I dare say that most of the tens of millions of people who voted for Trump are still Reagan conservatives who advocate mainstream conservative solutions. They could not bear to stand by while President Obama and Hillary Clinton continued to dismantle our constitutional liberties, undermine our traditional values and facilitate the further erosion of our culture. They don't have to like everything Trump does or everything he advocates, but they did have to stop the bleeding and save America. When are you guys going to understand that?

Unlike Kristol and Brookhiser, I don't believe the conservative movement has died or will die. As I said in a recent speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, I think fears that Trump is creating some nationalist or populist movement are unwarranted. What we're seeing under Trump is closer to mainstream conservatism than nationalism, in the pejorative sense of that term. Trump isn't steering the movement in that direction; rather, the movement is nudging him more toward mainstream conservatism, with a few exceptions, but even in those exceptional cases, Trump is not veering toward nationalism. And he certainly is not governing as an alt-rightist — whatever that means these days. I also do not believe his successor will be Trump-esque in a personal sense. Trump is sui generis. The front-runner at this point is probably Mike Pence, who, in terms of style, is the Antitrump. So quit hyperventilating.
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In the quoted piece, Brookhiser writes: "Admiring Trump is different from voting for him, or working with him. Politics is calculation. ... But to admire Trump is to trade your principles for his, which are that winning — which means Trump winning — is all. In three years (maybe seven), Donald Trump will no longer be president. But conservatives who bent the knee will still be writing and thinking. How will it be possible to take them seriously? The short answer is, it won't. ... It will take a lot of arguing to rebuild a conservative movement that one can contemplate without scorn."

To the contrary, most of the millions who appreciate what Trump is doing haven't traded their principles for just winning. That is insulting and ludicrous. We do want to defeat liberalism, and we want to retain our principles in doing so, even if you think that sometimes conservatives or Christians have compromised theirs in the process. That is a complex issue that should be discussed and unpacked in detail rather than in the back-and-forth volleys of intramural conservative wars. Suffice it to say, for now, that most are not "bending the knee"; they are animated by the same principles they always have been. Most conservatives aren't in thrall to Trump in the idolatrous fashion Brookhiser implies. But they are grateful that he's employing his unorthodox style to set liberals back on their heels.

It is sad that Brookhiser paints with so broad a brush and is making this personal — with his talk of scorn. That's unfortunate because Brookhiser is a fine, principled man of formidable intellect. In his rush to judgment, he seems to have misplaced his usual grace.



Pence to CPAC: ‘Promises Made, Promises Kept

Vice President Mike Pence told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday that “2017 was the most consequential year in the history of the conservative movement” and that President Donald Trump kept his campaign promises, ticking off a list of the president’s achievements.

He said Trump kept his promises on issues like military readiness, securing the border, supporting law enforcement, appointing strong conservatives to the court, and defending the right to life.

“Think about it. President Trump promised to rebuild our military and restore the arsenal of democracy, and in just a few weeks, he’ll sign the largest investment in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. He promised to stand without apology for the men and women of law enforcement, and today we’re once again giving those peace officers the respect and the resources they deserve all across America,” Pence said.

“President Trump promised to enforce our laws, secure our borders, and today illegal crossings at our southern border have been cut nearly in half, and make no mistake about it, we’re going to build that wall,” the vice president said.

“He promised to appoint strong conservatives to the federal courts at every level, and President Trump came through. He appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and set a record for the most circuit court judges appointed in the first year of any administration in history,” he said.

“And President Donald Trump promised to stand for the unalienable right to life, and from the first day of this administration, he reinstated the Mexico City policy, and I was honored to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate to send a bill to the president’s desk to allow states to defund Planned Parenthood,” the vice president added.

Pence also pointed to the president’s progress in rolling back excessive government regulations, approving the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, and tax reform.

“And we’ve been busy rolling back the heavy hand of government as well. This president has actually repealed 22 regulations for every new federal rule put on the books, and finally, President Trump promised to cut taxes across the board for working families and job creators, and two months ago today, President Trump signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. Promises made, promises kept,” he said.

“On the world stage, we’ve also been restoring strong American leadership, and under President Donald Trump, America once again stands without apology as leader of the free world,” Pence said.

He pointed to the increase in NATO contributions from U.S. allies and the president’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

“And for decades, after one president after another promised to move the U.S. embassy to the capital of our most cherished ally, President Trump made history on December 6 when the United States of America recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Pence said.



Not My President

Melissa Emery

I recently received an email from an old friend who lives in a very blue state exclaiming that Trump was “not his president.”  This was completely unsolicited, as our email conversation up until that point had been non-political. He just felt it necessary to toss that in at the end, either as a way to build camaraderie with a fellow liberal or to be a flame-thrower to a conservative.

In my case, it was the latter.

I tried not to respond in anger, but merely with regret to learn that Trump was not “his” president, since wages were up, taxes were down, the stock market was up, and over 2 million new jobs had been created. Black and Latino unemployment were at new all-time lows. Were these not things that liberals cared about anymore? But, perhaps, I suggested a bit snarkily, these bits of news had not appeared in the New York Times. I doubt that I’ll ever hear from him again.

As the days went by, his comment that Trump was not his president kept rolling around in my head. I wanted to ask him, who IS your president? Are you operating now without a president? Is your state no longer part of the Union? And how does not having the United States’ president as your president work for you? Do you still get all your Social Security payments and Medicare benefits? Can you still sit in your lovely cabin by a lake and pontificate about how much smarter you are than people who voted for Mr. Trump?

And, after all, isn’t that really what such a comment was meant to convey? It meant that you, my erudite former friend, were just too smart to vote for someone like The Donald, and anyone who did vote for him was some sort of fool. So, you would sit back for four or eight years, take pot shots at him, smirk and guffaw at the peons who elected him, and bemoan the fact that the smartest woman in the world, for whom you voted, was not in the White House.

You would “resist”, whatever that means. You would not endorse anything Trump wanted to accomplish, even when it matched up with your liberal agenda of pre-November, 2016.

Let us imagine if Hillary had won, how things might be different now. The economy would still be limping along. The stock market would be at pre-election levels, give or take a modest amount. It certainly would not be up over $26 trillion, as stocks are now. Taxes would not have been cut, and the resultant business growth, bonuses and raises would never have happened. There would be no thought given to trying to stop illegal immigration, so our borders would be increasingly porous and crime rates would continue to climb. There would be no investigations into collusion with the Russians during our election because, as we are learning daily, the only collusion was on the part of the Democrats.

Our trade deals would continue to disadvantage the US. We would still be dependent on foreign sources of energy, and our military would be underfunded. Veterans wouldn’t even be on the list of priorities, and attacks on police would be ignored or deemed to be the fault of bad police practices. As a result, fewer people would join the ranks of the thin blue line, and more crime would take over in our cities. Sanctuary cities would not be challenged, and federal benefits to illegals would be increased at the expense of our citizens and those waiting in line to enter the country legally.

Obama’s policies would be continued, further regulations would hamper business growth and formation, and the economy would fail to grow. The deficit would climb, and tax increases would be the only solution she would offer, further stifling growth.

Gee, sounds great, but then, I am a deplorable rube who doesn’t know what’s good for me. I don’t realize that government should take care of me rather than me doing it for myself. And I don’t realize that achievement and hard work are now bad things that must be destroyed so that government can rule over all with an iron fist and make all of us dependent on them.



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.

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