Friday, April 27, 2018

The Protected class

Ask anyone on the left if we have a class system in this country.  He'll go on for hours explaining how some are lifted up at the expense of all others.  Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gives whole speeches on income inequality and the need for a "moral economy" to make things fair for everyone.  Feminists will tell you about the patriarchy and their never-ending fight for income equality for women.  Consult the various racial and LBGT groups, and they'll talk of their ongoing struggles for civil rights equality.  What all share is a common belief in a ruling class (made up of the affluent, male, white, and straight) that disadvantages non-members.

They may be on to something.  There might just be a segment of society that has set privileges aside for itself, but this class isn't based on wealth, gender, race, or sexual orientation.  It is politics and control of our federal enforcement agencies that have exempted these people from the law.  From the Andrew McCabes of the world to those associated with the Clinton Foundation, one would be hard pressed in recent years to explain that we don't have a protected class.

If a protected class existed, it would be the creation of and populated by those on the left.  In their obsession with inequality of wealth, gender, race, and sexual orientation, the left has become narrow in its thinking.  Like a world-class athlete too lazy to get out of bed and work out regularly in his sport, those who reside on the left have allowed their mental abilities to atrophy to Marxist thinking about all things.  They've trapped themselves in a world that can be understood only in terms of class struggle between the haves and have-nots.  To them, the solution isn't equality, but how to use the system to their own advantage.

Admittance to the protected class is reserved for those who are particularly skilled at ginning up animosity about unfairness.  It also includes those public servants willing to overlook the misdeeds of or break the law on behalf of those who are particularly good at playing the grievance game.  The true masters know how to stoke the engine of the victimhood industrial complex to maximize the output of resentment against economic, sex, racial, or sexual orientation differences.  Like some glider pilot, they ride the thermals of discontent they sow to the heights of political power.  The occasional burning of a lowly cake-decorator or the loss of some local law-enforcer's life is the sacrifice made by others so those seeking inclusion among the protected can gain their foothold.

Once granted membership, the protected set about taking care of their own.  They're personally rewarded by favor-seekers and the extorted who wish to avoid legislative or regulatory disaster.  Like any dynastic rule, the protected class enroll family members in the best schools, network them into lucrative careers, and otherwise shield themselves from the rest of us deplorables.  If the masses grow disillusioned and appear ready to cast them from their lofty positions, the protected simply open the border and invite a more pliable demographic to take their place at the polls.

Having never been exposed to or having wished to ever learn of an alternative system (say, one that rewards merit, drive, and ability) the protected know only class, envy, and inequality.  They cannot surrender the mechanism that lifted them to their high station, nor are they really interested in taking meaningful action that would alleviate the misery they claim as their own particular crusade.

I could be wrong about all this.  There might not be a protected class.  Perhaps we really are a nation of laws, where justice is blind to a person's wealth, sex, race, orientation, or station.  Maybe we do all play on the same level field by the same rules, giving each the same chance.  Such a system has to be based on equality of justice.  Without it, the fight to right all the other wrongs would be meaningless.  Justice inequality would subject us all to an arbitrary legal system that could be used at any time against the noncompliant.  Isn't it time we set aside our concerns about all the other inequalities until we've been shown that there is equality of justice that applies fairly to everyone, including the McCabes of this world?



Wisdom and the Smartest People Ever

We value intelligence and knowledge.  With good reason. Intelligent, thoughtful illumination has an uplifting effect on individuals and a civilization. We've seen that many times throughout history.  The founding of our American Republic is one such stellar example.

Back in the 1980s, I recall someone lamenting how the most qualified and best candidate to never become president was Adlai Stephenson.  Certainly, the Democratic Party has been trying since Stephenson to claim the mantle of "intelligent."  Democrats are always the smart ones – smarter, better policies, and as a result morally superior.

Now, it's hard not to notice that the pinnacle of the left being smarter than everyone came to us with one Barack Obama, with his incredibly über-intelligent, superior group of advisers and administration.

Nobody was ever smarter.  Ever. Except they really weren't.  For smart people, they actually did some of the dumbest things ever in public life.  The tragedy of so many believing they were the smartest people ever may haunt us for years.

There is a huge disconnect between the true concept of wisdom and the smartest people ever.

Culturally, valuing knowledge and intellect has three main sources: the Greek philosophers, the Bible, and the Church.  There were others, but these three more than any other sources provided the basis for the respect for knowledge and wisdom in our culture.  The concept of highly valuing the realm of the mind became imbedded in the West because of them.  Jordan Peterson loves to praise how clean our lives are, how things work so well, and how wonderful we have it.  He lets us know in so many ways that all this bounty came from our belief system, one where we cherish achievement of thought.

Wisdom is the subject of Solomon in the Book of Proverbs.  Some central quotes:

"Seek wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.  Find wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding."

"Does not wisdom call out?"

"Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her."

These, and so many other lines from Proverbs, form the genesis of why we prize intellect, or wisdom.  If the search for and the study of wisdom can bring us so much, then indeed it was right for our culture to value it.

What we call the Protestant work ethic came straight from Solomon.  Perhaps it should rightfully be called the Jewish work ethic.  The important thing to note is that having that value imbedded in our civilization makes things better, makes things nicer, and does great things for us and our culture.

Our culture.  It's why we are prosperous, live longer, live better, and have so much in depth in so many areas of life.  C.S. Lewis called the Bible our "instruction manual."  If you follow the manual, the human machine works at its best, tuned finely for maximal effect and output.  The wisdom of Solomon was a huge part of the manual.

Enter the deconstructive left. Leftists authored this divorce from wisdom.  They divorced themselves from the "instruction manual" and its source.  They began the effort to take away the moral underpinnings from our culture.  The great Greek philosophers were no longer to be held in high esteem.  Likewise, the great Church figures, and the Founding Fathers, they were simply dead white males who should be made fun of.

The deconstruction has been slow but effective.

The eight years of Barack Obama were the West at its low point.  My take: I never thought our culture could turn so wrong so fast.  Things happened in our government and culture during those eight years we never deemed possible even ten years ago.  Destructive trends, destructive ideas, destructive social movements.  All at their peak through the Obama years:

*The destruction of our health care system through the oh, so smart Obamacare.

*The worst economy since WWII, in any measure – jobs, GDP, unemployment, spending, etc.

*The worst race relations since the 1960s.  Race-baiting, straight from the top.

*The worst foreign policy ever.  Iran.  Cuba.  ISIS.  Help our enemies.  Betray our friends.  Bolster Islamists; destroy American confidence and its military.

*The most corrupt administration ever.  By far.  We're just now seeing how bad.

*A turn in leftist immigration policy – its clear intent to replace the current electorate with a malleable, ignorant new electorate willing to believe the leftist siren songs so the left can have unchallenged power.

*The worst of pay to play.  Leftists at the trough of government sucked deep.  The Clinton Foundation sucking the deepest.  Follow the money if you dare.

*The moral preening of Hollywood and the media.  All the while, they lived and played in the cesspool of Weinstein and Matt Lauer.  #MeToo was caused by them and still is.

The list is longer and should be a book by itself.  The list of failures could get to over a hundred easily.  And yes, it was that bad.  Like frogs in the simmering pot, we were being cooked.  "Transformed."  Also known as destroyed.

So how does all this horrible stuff happen under a group of people who were considered by our elites, our media, and themselves the smartest people ever?  How did our media get away with calling so many major failings wonderful?  Cow patties strewn around the pasture on stale bread were described as culinary treasures.  It was, and is, sickening.

How is it possible to morph from JFK to Barack Obama in one generation?  From revering wisdom to wearing a dunce cap in fifty years?  That is surely what so many did.

The Book of Proverbs gives an answer.  It gave us the overwhelmingly beautiful description of wisdom, but it also gave us this clear warning: "be not wise in your own eyes."

On the surface, that doesn't seem like much.  But it's really the key to understanding what has happened to the left.

They became arrogant.  Filled with hubris.  A group of narcissists who believe their own P.R.  They really were the smartest people ever.  Obama himself, and those surrounding him, really believed it.  It's a Greek tragedy written for today – a group of narcissists in charge of the levers of power, doing terrible things in the name of good.

Most of them thought there was no reason to heed the "instruction manual." They replaced centuries of wisdom with their own image and called it good.

They replaced generations of wonderful ideas with degenerate, unworkable, truly horrific notions that had never worked anywhere else they were tried.  These ideas had failed miserably so many times.  Except they were now so smart and morally superior that they would surely make them work.  The pinnacle of smart.

And it showed for eight years.  And it was covered up for eight years.  And it was reported as wonderful for eight years.  Stupidity linked with hubris was mistaken for wisdom by so many of our elites.  And that's all it was.  True wisdom and its rewards are described beautifully by Solomon.  It needs be sought, to avoid these horrors.

Wisdom should be exalted – just not the fake kind as espoused by the left.



Emmanuel Macron and French Anti-Semitism

Macron has promised to lead in the fight against the "scourge" of anti-Semitism in France wherever it surfaces in the street or online. According to official figures, anti-Semitic violence in France increased by 26% in 2017 and criminal damage to Jewish places of worship and burial increased by 22%. France has been the scene of too many anti-Jewish atrocities. In January-February 2006, the 23-year-old Ilan Halini, a French-born Jew of Moroccan ancestry was abducted and tortured and killed by a Muslim group, the Gang of Barbarians. In March 2012, the Ozar HaTorah school in Toulouse was attacked and three children and a rabbi were killed by a jihadist who has already murdered three French soldiers.

On April 4, 2017 Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old retired physician and Orthodox Jew, living in the Belleville district of Paris, was beaten and thrown out of the window to her death by a native of Mali who shouted “Allahu Akbar.” Most recently, on March 23, 2018 the 85-year-old Mireille Knell, who narrowly escaped the Vel d'Hiv roundup in Paris on July 16-17 1942 by fleeing to Portugal, was stabbed repeatedly in the throat before being set on fire by Muslim individuals. Islamist atrocities led between 2014-16 to more than 20,000 French Jews leaving France.

These events have led to Macron's pledge to provide protection for Jewish schools, synagogues, and other Jewish sites. In view of the atrocities committed by Muslims, they have also led to a "deradicalization" program. There is no magic formula for deradicalization, but Macron and his government have made various proposals to prevent the spread of Islamist extremism in prisons, schools, mosques, and Islamic centers. High among them is the effort to stop Islamist extremism from flourishing in prisons which have influenced jihadists. Currently, 512 people are in prison for terrorist offences. The effort will mean separating prisoners from radicalized inmates.

There are also plans for centers that will attempt to reintegrate Islamist radicals referred by French courts, and for a wide effort to get internet platforms to remove content that feeds extremism, tighter regulation of private Islamic schools, and reassigning of public servants who show signs of radicalization.

It is encouraging that France is implementing its policy of increased surveillance of Muslim clerics accused of hate speech and inciting violence. Before Macron became president, more than 90 Muslim clerics and radicals had been expelled from France.

It is noteworthy that on April 20, 2018 France expelled Imam el Hedi Doudi based in the as-Sounna mosque in Marseille, to Algeria. France is fortunate to have got rid of a bigot who provoked discrimination, hatred, and violence, and who preached that Jews are "unclean, the brothers of monkeys and pigs."

In view of these determined efforts to eliminate discrimination and violence it's gratifying to recognize and appreciate the best part, that Emmanuel Macron is among the very young at heart.[He is aged 40].



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, April 26, 2018

Leftist Propaganda Thwarts Unity

By Tom Trinko

In Nazi Germany, the people believed, right up to the bitter end, that they were going to win the war.  They did so because all the news they got was from state-controlled media.

During the Cold War, citizens of the Soviet Union believed that Americans lived in poverty.  After all, didn't all the papers say so?

Today in America, we have a similar situation.  While the government doesn't control the media, the leftists do.  The Americans who listen to the Washington Post, the New York Times, and all the networks are being systematically lied to.  As a result, those Americans have a false view of what is really going on – just like their predecessors in North Korea, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union.

Those Americans who trust the mainstream media (MSM) incorrectly "know" that Trump colluded with Russia.  They don't know that Hillary paid the Russians for dirt on Trump or that all the investigations into the supposed collusion by Trump have found not a jot of evidence.

The MSM are why so many Americans believe that 25% of Americans are gay rather than the real value of around 2%.  In entertainment, gays are grossly overrepresented, and MSM coverage rarely discusses either the true nature of the gay lifestyle or the actual number of people who suffer from same-sex attraction.  Clearly, if one in four Americans is gay and the gay lifestyle is just like the heterosexual lifestyle, supporting a version of "marriage" that includes same-sex couples is not that strange.

MSM propaganda ensures that most Americans don't know that abortion is legal in America for any reason up to the point of birth.  People also don't know that Jesse Jackson called abortion "genocide against blacks" and that black women are three times as likely to abort their unborn children as white women are.

The only reason why people don't recognize Democratic policies as racist is MSM propaganda.

Think about it.  Around 3,500 blacks were shot in Chicago, called Chiraq by black Chicagoans, last year, but that's rarely mentioned in the news.  On the other hand, the MSM had wall-to-wall coverage when a white police officer shot a black thug in self-defense.  Note that both Obama and his black attorney general agreed that the shooting was justified and that that wasn't given wall-to-wall media coverage.

Because of this sort of "reporting," many Americans think the real problem in America isn't out-of-control crime in black neighborhoods in Democrat-run cities, but that the police are out hunting innocent blacks on a regular basis.  The real story is that the Democrats who run Chicago don't care about blacks.  Can you imagine what the Democratic mayor of Chicago would be doing if 3,500 white people had been shot there last year?  What could be more racist than not caring that blacks in Chicago are less safe than American soldiers in Iraq?

Perhaps the fact that those blacks can't get a decent education.  For decades, the public school system has failed inner-city blacks.  That's why conservatives are calling for school choice – so blacks can have a chance to get a decent education.  We know that school choice works because those blacks who can make the huge sacrifices to afford to send their kids to Catholic or other private schools see their kids getting a good education.

Yet the media don't cover that.  Rather, they cover Democrats who say school choice is somehow racist.  The media also don't mention the huge contributions the Democrats get from the teacher unions.  As a result, those Americans who get their news from the MSM don't know that Democrats have been working against getting poor blacks a decent education for decades.

One key aspect of the propaganda machine is that Republicans are always shown in a bad light, and Democratic scandals are minimized.  We all remember the MSM trying to make us think Bill Clinton was impeached because of his sex scandals and not because he lied under oath in order to minimize his risk of having to pay a settlement for sexually harassing an Arkansas government employee.  Similarly, a Democratic senator was on trial for seven weeks recently for corruption, and the MSM ignored it.  When a Republican senator was on trial years ago, there was extensive coverage.

Perhaps the poster boy for MSM #FakeNews propaganda is so-called global warming.  There is an incessant drumbeat of stories about how man is causing the Earth to warm so much that catastrophe will result.  The fact that all the computer models are wrong and disagree with the data and that even those scientists – who are not 99.7% of all scientists – generally don't believe that the warming we see will result in disasters is never reported.

The media don't really cover the fact that the infamous Paris Accords allowed China and India to massively increase their CO2 emissions.  If global warming is an existential crisis, why can we allow those countries to massively increase their contribution to our impending doom?

From this tiny subset of the media's propaganda effort, it's clear that we're being manipulated in two ways: by presenting lies as truth – global warming is a fact – and by not reporting the truths that are inconvenient for leftist's positions – such as the scientific fact that human life begins at conception.

The left knows that without its propaganda, it will lose in the court of public opinion.  The American people opposed the Republican tax cuts because the MSM propaganda machine constantly lied that only the rich would get tax breaks.  But as more and more people saw that they directly benefited from the tax cuts, both because they would pay less in taxes and because companies passed on their lower costs to their employees in terms of higher wages, polls showed that people changed their position and supported the Republican plan.

Hence, leftists know that they must keep the truth from the people just as the dictators who ran Nazi Germany, North Korea, and the Soviet Union knew they had to keep the truth from their people at all costs.

Because the American people will reject leftists when they see the truth, leftists are working hard to shut off all forms of communication that aren't part of their propaganda efforts.  That's why Facebook and Twitter censor honest news and hype the propaganda of the MSM.

Interestingly, the disunity in America that the media complain about is due to the propaganda they spew.  If all Americans had the truth, there would be a lot less conflict in this country.  For example, the vast majority of Americans favor restrictions on abortion, but many of them aren't supporting change because they've been lied to about the fact that abortion is currently legal for any reason at any time.  If they think the restrictions they support are the law, why call to change the law?

The reality is that America is not as disunited as it appears.  If we can remove the vast leftist propaganda machine and give the American people the truth, we'll find that they tend to agree on most key issues.

Take this opportunity to help wake your friends who have are trapped in the web of media lies.  They'll eventually thank you.



Welfare reform is happening fast

Despite near-historical low unemployment rates and employers desperate to fill open jobs across the country, welfare enrollment is soaring. And overwhelmingly, the newest enrollees aren’t those the system was intended to serve — the elderly and those with disabilities, among others. Instead, they’re mainly able-bodied adults.

But now, things are changing. And they’re changing quickly.

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order on welfare reform, laying the groundwork for federal and state agencies to promote economic mobility and opportunity through work. Just two days later, the House Committee on Agriculture released a draft proposal of the 2018 Farm Bill, calling for an expansion of work requirements for able-bodied adults receiving food stamps and committing to initiatives that will reduce fraud and abuse across the food stamp program.

And in the states, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed key welfare-reform legislation into law last week, reaffirming the state’s commitment to move able-bodied adults from welfare to work and making policy changes that will restore the state’s welfare program to a safety net for the truly needy. One day later, Kentucky followed suit, with Gov. Matt Bevin signing a bill that will strengthen commonsense work requirements and reduce fraud among the state’s welfare programs.

The timing of these legislative and executive actions at both the state and federal levels isn’t coincidence. It’s a clear indication that policymakers are addressing the big problems facing their constituents and their states. And it’s an even bigger indication that finally, they’re giving their constituents what they want: welfare reform.

A recent poll found 90 percent of voters support work requirements for able-bodied adults. And a poll conducted by Politico and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found 64 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of independents overwhelmingly support work requirements.

It’s not difficult to believe, given that work requirements were initially laid out in the bipartisan welfare reform of 1996. Able-bodied adults were intended to work, train, or volunteer for at least 20 hours per week in order to be eligible for food stamps. But a series of loopholes and gimmicks created opportunities for states to waive these requirements, and welfare enrollment exploded.

There are now nearly 21 million able-bodied adults dependent on food stamps, more than three times as many as 2000. Nearly 28 million able-bodied adults are now dependent on Medicaid, up from 7 million in 2000.

This enrollment explosion has wreaked havoc on state budgets and on taxpayer spending. It’s threatened spending for education, public safety, and infrastructure, and has threatened limited resources for those who welfare was originally designed to help: the disabled, the elderly, and poor children.

It’s why Kentucky fought to become the first state to win federal approval of the same commonsense work requirements for able-bodied adults on Medicaid, and why nearly a dozen other states are pushing for the same reform. It’s why state legislators are advocating for reforms that eliminate welfare fraud and check the assets of beneficiaries to ensure that food stamps aren’t going to millionaires.

It’s why Govs. Bevin and Walker signed welfare reform bills into law.

The recent executive order and the 2018 Farm Bill are the next steps. They have the power to move millions of Americans out of dependency and back to a life of self-sufficiency and dignity. There’s never been a better time to move able-bodied Americans back to work than now, with 6 million open jobs nationwide.

It’s about time our welfare system gets with the times.



Want income equality? Here is the nation for you!

Cuba is so lucky.  With the installation of their new president, Miguel Díaz Canel, Cubans will be able to continue with their terrific lifestyle.  What lifestyle?  Income equality.

Cuba has income equality.  Verifying this requires a careful look at the data.  Most sources – for example, Brookings – cite a per capita income of about $240 per year.  Wikipedia cites about $22,000 per year, so be careful with your information sources.  The government employs 78% of the workers, so there is little opportunity to get an income very different from the average.  How can people survive on a salary of practically nothing?  Thanks to the government, Cubans get free food and medicine.  They get subsidies for virtually everything they might buy.  As a result, someone getting no salary is only slightly worse off than someone with a relatively high income.  In all practicality, Cuba has as close to income equality as a society can provide.

Cuba also has abject poverty and child prostitution.  Before the 1959 revolution, Cuba exported $780 million (1959 dollars) of goods, mostly food.  Now it imports 70% to 80% of the food that it consumes.  The result is that Cubans risk their lives in shark-infested waters to escape.

Before the Castros took over Cuba, it was quite prosperous.  PBS describes Cuba's 1950s living standards this way:

Cuba ranked fifth in the hemisphere in per capita income, third in life expectancy, second in per capita ownership of automobiles and telephones, and first in the number of television sets per inhabitant.  The literacy rate, 76%, was the fourth highest in Latin America.  Cuba ranked 11th in the world in the number of doctors per capita.

If you like Cuba's income equality, how do you get it?  The same way the Castros did.  Take away the people's freedom.

Is income inequality so bad?  Giving people the freedom to prosper as much as their hardworking nature will allow is the most efficient way to give the most people the most good.  Some people will still be poor, but with so many people setting a good example, the number of people with an optimistic attitude leading to prosperity will be maximized.  The income will be unequal, but it will be quite high.



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, April 25, 2018

Kim's Latest Olive Branch: No More Nuclear Tests; Peace treaty with the South

Commentators generally are puzzled by Mr Kim's sudden about-face and are cynical about it.  They are not taking account of the fact that he is a third generation dictator and that his grandfather's economic doctrine of "Juche" is not delivering the goods.  It cannot have escaped his attention that his country is very poor.  And he only has to look next door to see something very attractive to him: A country that remains under Communist control but is economically thriving via it's own version of capitalism:  China.

I think it is highly likely that Kim is thinking of converting his country into something similar to China.  About a year ago he did open some small supermarkets in his country.  If a supermarket is not the badge of a modern economy what would be?

To make progress on the economic front, however, he needs to reduce military threats as he sees them.  And a peace treaty with the South plus some sort of rapprochement with the Donald would achieve that.  It would give him international legitimacy and free up his country's trade. The sanctions have surely brought to his attention how important trade is to supplying his country's needs

So I seem to be one of the few who think Kim has a substantial element of genuineness in his offers

Kim Jong-un, the dictator of North Korea, announced over the weekend that the Hermit Kingdom will immediately suspend testing of missiles and nuclear weapons, as well as scrap its nuclear test site altogether. Of course, Kim couched the announcement as having achieved his goal of developing those weapons, making further testing unnecessary. And, notably, he stopped short of saying North Korea would dismantle its nuclear arsenal. Yet we’ve come a long way from regular missile tests and Kim’s threat last year of “thousands-fold” vengeance against the U.S.

“North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site,” Trump said publicly. “This is very good news for North Korea and the World — big progress! Look forward to our Summit.” Privately, however, Trump says he’ll believe it when he sees it. After all, the Kim family dictatorship has a long history of making promises only to break them, and Kim’s express purpose up until now was developing weapons capable of striking the U.S.

Kim is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week and with President Donald Trump sometime in May or June. The latter meeting was announced on the same day Trump laid out his plan for steel tariffs that would hit China. Coincidence? Nope.

There is no doubt that apparent concessions by North Korea are in response to punitive sanctions issued last fall and, more recently, to Trump’s tariffs. Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China are indeed about unfair economic practices on the part of Beijing, but they’re also about convincing China to rein in North Korea. Progress may indeed be happening, even if Kim’s announcement is simply meant to keep talks on track for the time being.

Kim surely hopes that some olive branches will do the trick without having to abandon his nuclear program entirely. But one thing we’re fairly confident of: Trump won’t be making any Obama-Iran deals. He won’t win a Nobel Peace Prize either.



Human Nature

One of the classic descriptions of the difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals generally believe that societal pressures primarily drive human behavior, and since folks are not fully responsible for their actions, it is government’s role to control society and solve individual problems. Conservatives generally believe in individual choice, personal responsibility, and limited government. Neither denies that there is the potential for goodness in all, but conservatives are more likely to be realists and view folks as primarily acting in their own best interests.

This is important for negotiations because a key element of any successful negotiation is being brutally honest with yourself about what you want, understanding as best you can the motivation of the other guy, and designing a process that gets more of the former. Removing bias from that assessment is critical, but as a conservative, my default position is typically determined by a belief that the motivation of my counterpart is best described as “what’s in it for me?” That may seem like a glorified statement of the obvious, but often liberals ascribe more of an altruistic motive to the other guy, and that compromises the results. We accord sainthood to the pure altruists, but those folks are very rare and not representative of the real world. Consider a couple of examples before we get to Facebook.

The negotiations with North Korea are moving ahead. It’s pretty clear what the U.S. would consider a win, but the negotiating posture the U.S. takes is critically dependent on what motivates Kim Jong-un. It’s significantly different if we believe he has delusions of grandeur about uniting the Peninsula under his rule with all intruders gone versus if he simply wants to be secure in his own little realm and enjoy the goodies of being king. I am strongly in the “it’s good to be king” camp, and it appears that Trump is as well. That leads to a simple carrot/stick negotiating framework that depends in large part on convincing Kim (and by extension China) that unless he completely denuclearizes North Korea, with inspections sufficient for verification, he will lose the throne, by military means if necessary.

Trump is also playing to Kim’s ego by suggesting that a deal would give him worldwide recognition, while a fraudulent negotiation would cause Trump to leave the table, with the military/sanction options intact. That’s one reason the reaction to Syrian chemical weapons was so important — it was far more of a signal to North and Iran than a strategic move in Syria, per se.

The quid pro quo (which also derives from the base assumption) is that the U.S. would find a way to guarantee the survival, and even material prosperity, of the Kim regime. That has set the stage for the pre-summit between North and South Korea, which has a treaty to formally end the Korean War on the agenda. Kim has also dropped his demand that the U.S. remove its troops from the South, which signals that if a security/prosperity arrangement is strong enough, it doesn’t matter if we keep troops there. Obviously the devil will be in the details, and Kim could play games by stretching out the time tables, redefining what he means by “troops can stay” or fudging on the conditions for dismantling/verifying his nuke program. But if Trump has read his motives correctly, which I believe he has, this has a chance to be a win/win.



GQ Condemns the Holy Bible: 'Repetitive, Self-Contradictory, Sententious, Foolish…Ill-Intentioned’

The Bible is certainly not a modern book.  You have to study it to get the most out of it.  But once you have studied it, it can be immensely rewarding. 

In an article by “The Editors of GQ,” the men’s magazine blasts the Holy Bible, declares it a book you don’t have to read, and suggests an alternative.

In its April 19 article, “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read” (originally, "21 Books You Don't Have to Read Before You Die"), Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ) trashes 20 books (“Huckleberry Finn” is counted twice, for some reason) it deems undeserving of their literary stature:

“[N]ot all the Great Books have aged well. Some are racist and some are sexist, but most are just really, really boring. So we—and a group of un-boring writers—give you permission to strike these books from the canon. Here's what you should read instead.”

GQ’s review of the Holy Bible begins with a snarky slight of Christians:

“The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it. Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced.”

As for the content of the holy book, GQ’s contempt is summed up by this one sentence:

“It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned.”

Instead, the editors at GQ would have you read a tale of two brothers “who have to get along”:

“If the thing you heard was good about the Bible was the nasty bits, then I propose Agota Kristof's The Notebook, a marvelous tale of two brothers who have to get along when things get rough. The subtlety and cruelty of this story is like that famous sword stroke (from below the boat) that plunged upward through the bowels, the lungs, and the throat and into the brain of the rower.”



Wells Fargo Resists the Resistance on Guns

The Left introduces "Chokepoint II" — banks work to cut relations with gun sellers 

You may have heard about how Citibank and Bank of America have decided to enact their own form of gun control. To wit: Even though certain semiautomatic rifles and magazines are legal, Bank of America will close the account of any merchant who tries to sell them. Furthermore, any Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder who sells long guns to young adults aged 18-20 (who may legally purchase them) is also out of luck with those banks.

Wells Fargo took a brave stand against such efforts. So, naturally, the American Federation of Teachers has decided to boycott Wells Fargo. Of course, we all know how the FBI failed to pass on actionable tips that the Parkland school killer. Or how the bumbling Broward County Sheriff’s Office didn’t act despite numerous calls involving the shooter. Never mind the school resource officer who showed an unconscionable yellow streak. The teachers union is covering for all that incompetence and instead scapegoating the law-abiding Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights.

This is part of a pattern that is going to force the Right to do some serious re-thinking. We may very well win court victories affirming the right to own semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15 in the next decade. But if the Left convinces banks to close the accounts of anyone who makes or sells the AR-15 to law-abiding citizens, then we have a problem. In essence, we will have the legal right to buy an AR-15, but banks will shut down sales. It won’t stop there — the Left will push credit card companies to act as well. In essence, buying any gun the Left wants banned could become a cash-only business.

The Left is trying to gain in the corporate boardrooms what it cannot get through legislation or the courts. This was done before, albeit back then, they used the power of the federal government with Operation Chokepoint — one of Barack Obama’s “pen and phone” attacks on our rights. Operation Chokepoint failed between a combination of the sunlight of a free press and action by lawmakers.

Chokepoint II, the sequel, though, is going to be much harder to fight. Part of it will have to be with a carrot and stick approach to companies. Despite Wells Fargo’s other misdeeds, it is taking the right stand on the Second Amendment, and it should be supported in that — with our dollars if possible. The second extraordinary measure may be to pass legislation that prohibits banks and financial institutions from engaging in discrimination against entities for either the sale of a legal product or for exercising their constitutional rights.

The threat to our rights is extraordinary. If the Left can get banks to cut off FFLs who don’t meet certain conditions, other rights will fall. Imagine if the Supreme Court sides with free speech in the Masterpiece Cakeshop and NIFLA cases — and the Left then pressures banks to close accounts of businesses or crisis pregnancy centers. Do you think they will stop there, or will they reinforce those successes? The time to act is now.



DNC Delusions
In spite of all the evidence that the “Russia collusion” narrative is collapsing around them (see below), Democrats are doubling down on their delusions. The Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday against the president, his campaign, members of his family and Russia.

The lawsuit claims that Russia hacked the DNC’s server in order to harm Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump, “whose policies would benefit the Kremlin.”

The idea that Trump’s policies would benefit Russia is laughable. He is rebuilding our military and pushing our allies to rebuild their militaries. He has been far tougher on Putin than Obama and Clinton ever were.

The Left has never been tough on Russia. If anything, Putin would have preferred another liberal Democrat in the White House.

Remember, my friends, Robert Mueller has already issued indictments against several Russians and Russian entities for their election-related meddling. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made it clear that no American “was a knowing participant in this illegal activity” and nothing the Russians did affected the result of the election.

What could the DNC possibly know that Mueller and Rosenstein don’t know?

Speaking of things we don’t know, the Trump campaign should countersue and demand access to the DNC’s server. Perhaps then we could find out what the DNC was hiding from the FBI!

This lawsuit is an act of utter desperation. It seems to me that Democrats have concluded that Mueller and his team of liberal lawyers are likely to exonerate the president, so they are launching some kind of preemptive publicity stunt to keep their radical base fired up for the elections.

We cannot allow the extreme Left to control Congress.



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, April 24, 2018

The Left’s Campaign to Distort History and Condemn White People

Left-wingers have spent the last few days attacking David Horowitz for challenging the Equal Justice Initiative and its efforts to foment anti-white racial hatred by presenting the odious practice of lynching as an exclusively white instrument of racial oppression and terror used against blacks. But history is rarely as clear-cut as radical leftist ideologues pretend.

Lynchings were carried out in an atmosphere of mass hysteria where enraged individuals acted to eliminate the perceived risk that a guilty person might go unpunished. If the black lynching victim was alleged to have wronged a white person, race-hatred and resentment could be – and in many cases, was – whipped up to a frenzy to ensure the atrocity was completed.

It cannot be denied that plenty of lynchings were carried out by black-hating racists to terrorize freed slaves from the Reconstruction through Jim Crow eras and reinforce racial segregation, but the notion that most lynchings were carried out by racist whites who randomly snatched black people off the streets and murdered them belongs in the trash with the current accusation that police have declared open season on unarmed black men. Many of those who were targeted in the past had the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Horowitz has been beaten up online for objecting to the Left’s cynical exploitation of a sad period in the nation’s past. Specifically, Horowitz contends that although race certainly played a role in many lynchings, this does not mean that race was necessarily always the primary motivating factor in extrajudicial executions of blacks. Saying this is not making excuses for lynch mobs. No one disputes that lynching was a disgusting and barbaric practice.

Research, as Horowitz has pointed out, reveals that not all victims of lynching were black and that those lynched typically were accused of serious crimes. In today’s racially charged environment where the slightest deviation from politically correct orthodoxy can lead to instant ostracism, it needs to be pointed out that Horowitz is not saying that all lynching victims were guilty of crimes or that they deserved what angry mobs did to them. The Sixth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee basic procedural fairness in criminal trials. Those protections were unjustly denied to the lynched.

It is heresy today to point out that almost a third of lynching victims were white, and that the practice originated as a form of rough frontier justice, conducted by mobs impatient with due process and with the slow progress of the legal system. Tuskegee University found in its study, “Lynching, Whites and Negroes, 1882 to 1968,” that among the 4,745 lynchings examined, 1,299 of the victims were white, while 3,466 were black. (In its earliest days in antebellum America, lynching didn’t even necessarily involve killing the victim. Vigilantes would beat, whip, or tar-and-feather their targets for perceived social transgressions.)

But the Left doesn’t let mere facts get in the way of its narrative. Keeping the bad guys uniformly white and racist and the victims black and innocent in the history books is all-important to these people. Doing so helps to sustain the ugly myth that America is a rotten country founded on racism and injustice.

The usual suspects in the racial-grievance industry wasted no time frantically attacking Horowitz.

Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, a leftist pressure group that George Soros has given $6.8 million to in recent years, ignored the historical facts Horowitz tweeted and accused him of revisionism.

Horowitz “spent the last few days creating a social media firestorm with a series of revisionist-history tweets about his view that the United States’ violent history of slavery and lynching doesn’t have anything to do with racism or ongoing problems of racial oppression,” PfAW research director Miranda Blue wrote hyperbolically.

The leftist hate group, Southern Poverty Law Center, smeared Horowitz, claiming that in his “revisionist take,” he was guilty of “downplaying the horrors that African Americans have suffered in this country.”

Racial ambulance chaser Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times Magazine, slimed Horowitz as a white-supremacist.

“But also, this is the amazing thing about white supremacists and white supremacy[,]” she tweeted. “Everything can be bent to their will. White supremacists hold up white exceptionalism — particularly adherance [sic] to order and rule of law — as proof of their superiority.”

In an incoherent stream-of-consciousness rant, a pseudonymous writer at Wonkette screeched that Horowitz was a "Racist Whisperer" spewing “his pseudo intellectualized trash sonata.”

Horowitz got the attention of these left-wingers by weighing in April 8 on a discussion about slavery and abolitionist Frederick Douglass initiated on Twitter by Princeton scholar Robert P. George.

"Slavery was bad yes, but all the slaves in America were enslaved by blacks and white Americans freed them[,]” Horowitz tweeted. “That's the first reality people need to wrap their heads around." More than 350,000 Union soldiers, mostly whites, died in the Civil War, he added. They “paid with their lives to end slavery[,]” yet whites have been made to bear all the blame for an institution that existed for thousands of years in all societies.

To put things in historical perspective, John Perazzo has written “that in any given year nowadays, the number of black-on-black homicides that occur nationwide far exceeds the number of white-on-black lynchings that have taken place in all the years since the Civil War, combined"

Americans should be proud of their forefathers for killing off slavery, Horowitz tweeted.

“America inherited a slave system from the British and abolished [it] in little over a generation at a cost of more lives than all America's other wars combined.”

But there is resistance to this truth coming from many across the nation who remain under the sway of an influential work of fiction that helped the Left by distorting history.

The largely ahistoric TV mini-series “Roots” from 1977 convinced Americans that whites traveled to the African continent and captured would-be slaves in large numbers, according to a University of Houston website. It is in fact true that Europeans did participate in “some slave raiding,” but “the majority of people who were transported to the Americas were enslaved by other Africans.”

What really got hateful left-wingers’ juices flowing was Horowitz’s tweet last Monday about a famous lynching. He posted an iconic photo from Aug. 7, 1930, of onlookers with the lifeless bodies of black lynching victims Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith hanging from a tree in Marion, Ind.

“These men were dragged from their jail cells unjustly[,]” Horowitz tweeted. “But they were guilty of a brutal rape and murder. The mob spared a third black with him when a white woman in the crowd said he was innocent[.]”

So at least in the Marion case, as horrible as it was, racism does not appear to be the sole motivating factor for the lynch mob. If it had been, there would have been no reason to spare the third black man. And if the two hanged men had been innocent there would have been no reason for the third man who served his time for being part of their crime and spent the rest of his life as a free man and civil rights activist to declare them guilty.

In the Twitter thread, Horowitz made the case that the abuse of history by the Google-sponsored Equal Justice Initiative and its leader Bryan Stevenson who believes that slavery never ended – “it just evolved” – is obviously designed to reinforce the racial assault on law enforcement and on white people generally.

“What I am actually concerned about is that the left - as usual - and with the backing of GOOGLE is distorting history to pour oil on our racial fires, which is bad for everyone, especially blacks[,]” Horowitz tweeted.

“Lynchings were bad and had racist dimensions but they weren't mainly about whites yanking blacks off the streets and stringing them up,” he tweeted Monday last week in the first of several tweets spread out over several days.

The assertion may be eye-opening to many, but that’s only because the Left has been perverting history for decades. Many Americans don’t know any better because they haven’t been taught the truth.

Horowitz continued:

It's a dark chapter in our history but the last lynching was over 60 years ago. We should be celebrating that now, not nursing grievances of the past. How many of the tweeters who accuse me - falsely - of rejecting "due process" have protested the MeToo lynch mob that leaps from accusations to convictions & punishments?

To be clear at the risk of redundancy, even if it is true that many of these lynchings took the lives of individuals guilty of capital offenses, killing the lynching victims outside the formal legal system was still an injustice and ending the practice was one of the great victories of the civil rights movement.

Horowitz got involved in the Twitter brawl to expose what he called “the anti-white racism” of the leftist Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice that is opening to the public on April 26. The purpose of the memorial, which commemorates only black victims, is less about remembrance and more about propaganda and radical activism. It dredges up these terrible events from America’s distant past that are universally condemned today and uses them to inflame racial tensions for nakedly political purposes.

EJI freely admits this divisive political objective, billing the all-black memorial in Montgomery, Ala., as the first in the nation “dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.”

With the memorial, EJI is trying to reinforce the Obama-era narrative that a straight line can be drawn from slavery to Jim Crow to the “mass incarceration” of blacks EJI claims is happening because of something it calls the prison-industrial complex, a favorite anti-American conspiracy theory among radicals.

EJI states on its website:

"Lynching created a fearful environment where racial subordination and segregation was maintained with limited resistance for decades. Most critically, lynching reinforced a legacy of racial inequality that has never been adequately addressed in America. The administration of criminal justice in particular is tangled with the history of lynching in profound and important ways that continue to contaminate the integrity and fairness of the justice system."

All the dead Union soldiers from the Civil War who gave their lives to cleanse the nation of slavery would likely disagree that the “the legacy of racial inequality … has never been adequately addressed in America.” The success of black Americans in all fields of endeavor is proof that racial oppression is non-existent nowadays. The dishonest, anti-American claim by EJI, which has taken $5.6 million from George Soros’ philanthropies in recent years, that the “history of lynching” continues “to contaminate the integrity and fairness of the justice system” even today is a central complaint of the violent, racist Black Lives Matter movement.

No doubt many lynchings were intended as “racial terror lynchings,” to use a term of art employed by EJI, but not all lynchings were intended to instill terror beyond perhaps the usual deterrent effect that executions are supposed to have on society in general.

But Twitter is not a place for reasoned discussion, as Horowitz was reminded.

The conservative thinker was denounced as racist and pro-slavery in social media, the facts be damned.

He tweeted:

My tweets on lynching attracted the attention of brain dead leftists who think that criticizing the racial exploitation of lynching is actually defending lynching & complained. So I got a warning from Twitter that posting facts is frowned upon - it's "sensitive" material.

Horowitz explained to me that he continued tweeting “on the forbidden subject of lynching and white Americans’ contributions to black freedom.” He said he received “1,182,000 impressions and 300,000 people were on my feed at one point.”



The Southern Poverty Law Center is Finally Being Held Accountable

Daniel Greenfield

The default SPLC position used to be sneering  at anyone who challenged the designations. Even entire town governments. But that changed as the lawsuit threats began coming in. And this is a big win.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has removed an online list of “anti-Muslim extremists” after British Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz threatened to sue the SPLC over his inclusion on the list.

The list is the fourth article in two months the SPLC has deleted over accuracy concerns.

In addition to Nawaz, the list included Somali-born activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who advocates against female genital mutilation, among other issues. Ali blasted the SPLC’s “deeply offensive smears” in an August 2017 op-ed for The New York Times.

But now the SPLC is trying to get into the alt-right business, because that's hot. It outsourced the job though to people who seem to be settling online scores. And that's how Sam Harris ended up there.

The SPLC has a lot of money. As Matthew Vadum's CPC's expose notes.

"The far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) ended the last tax year with close to a half billion dollars – $477 million in assets – after taking in an astounding $136 million that year, the group acknowledges in a new IRS filing".

The SPLC has made a ton of money. But its old business, the KKK, gets less relevant every year. And it keeps trying to cash in on the latest trend without having a clue.

Now it's finally being held accountable.

More HERE 


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, April 23, 2018

Is there a conservative sense of humor?

And a related question:  Do Leftists ever laugh?  I suppose they do but with their miserable attitudes to almost everything that goes on around them, it must be rare.  There are a lot of Leftist comedians about but what they offer is abuse and occasionally clever attacks on non-Leftists.  I suppose that counts as humor but it is a pretty low-grade humor.  It is satisfying to its audience because it reinforces their existing attitudes

Many jokes are about some kind of mishap or misadventure and it seems to me that those jokes would not be funny to a Leftist.  Because of his constant complaints and anger about the sad state of just about everything around him, he would tend to see the mishap as a tragedy.

I have long seen empathy for other people as one of the many things that can go to excess.  To much empathy would cause you to make your own too much of the suffering around you.  And a total lack of empathy would leave you with a grossly deficient understanding of your fellow man.

And it seems to me that conservatives are in the middle on that. They have a balanced attitude.  Big evils they take on board but small everyday evils arouse no compassionate response in them at all.  So to a Leftist a conservative seems callous and to conservatives Leftists seem lachrymose (always crying about even minor things).

It was on that basis that I made at the time he was 2 a guess that my little son would be a conservative when he grew up. Between the ages of about two and six he had a favourite joke that he would always laugh at if someone told it to him.  It was simply: "The boy fell in the mud". He was not bothered by a minor mishap so could see the funny side of it.  And I was right.  Now that he is an independent adult he is at least as conservative as I am.

So what is the funny side of that joke?  I think I can tell that by reference to another small anecdote.  I was recently talking to a conservative lady friend I had not seen for a few weeks.  She told me that during that time she had had a rather nasty fall which had left her with large and unsightly black eye.  And this being the era of camera phones she had taken a picture of it at the time.  To show what she meant she brought up on her phone a picture of the black eye and showed it to me.  Whereupon we both roared with laughter at the sight of it.

So why did we roar with laughter? A Leftist would undoubtedly have wanted to sue someone over it.  The reason we laughed was that it was incongruous.  It was not how things should be. Incongruity means not matching something expected. It was a surprise.   And I think that a surprise element is probably present in all jokes.  So a conservative can react with laughter to something surprising and incongruous where many Leftists might not.  So callousness has its place.  A little (conservatives) is good; not enough of it (Leftists) is distracting and disabling and total callousness would make for very bad human relationships -- JR.


The Labor Board Is Now GOP-Run. Here’s 1 Big Change It Could Make to Rein In Unions

An Obama administration rule that fast-tracked elections to establish unions at private companies could be on the chopping block of a federal labor agency three years after going into effect.

The new Republican majority on the National Labor Relations Board, led by recently confirmed chairman John Ring, could do what Republicans in Congress failed to do three times—eliminate what opponents call “ambush elections.”

“The unions wanted to make it as quick as possible to have an election,” Patrick Semmens, spokesman for the National Right to Work Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “One way to do that is to push aside basic issues until after the elections, such as who is eligible to vote.”

The “ambush” nickname arose because under the National Labor Relations Board rule, which took effect April 14, 2015, union elections may be held in as few as 10 days after a union petition is approved.

This change in the final two years of President Barack Obama’s eight years in office leaves little time for discussion from both sides, critics say. Before the NLRB rule, the average gap was 38 days.

Critics contend that a short time span limits how long a company has to respond and employees have to get more information to make an informed decision.

“Unions usually have all their ducks in a row before an election, so this was set up so that firms could not counter,” David Kreutzer, senior research fellow for labor, markets, and trade at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

“This was to stem the outflow of union membership and attempt to reverse it,” Kreutzer said. “The NLRB in the last years of the Obama administration did a lot of favors for unions.”

Personal Information

Another expected action by the new NLRB majority is the unraveling of the Obama franchising rule, which allows an employee of one store or restaurant to take action against an entire national chain.

The public comment period for changing the rule closed Wednesday. In December, under the 2-2 split on the board, the NLRB announced it would review comments regarding union election rules.

Since the rule went into effect, more than 4,000 union certification elections have occurred, according to NLRB statistics.

The existing rule also requires employers to disclose their employees’ personal contact information to union organizers, and prohibits the company or union organizers from reviewing voter eligibility issues until after the election.

“Under the Obama rule, the employer has to relinquish cellphone numbers, personal emails, and times that workers are at home,” the National Right to Work Foundation’s Semmens said. “We requested an opt-out.”

The foundation, in its public comment, also asks the NLRB to put an “expiration date” on union representation, Semmens said.

The group seeks a requirement for a periodic assessment of whether at least a bare majority of workers support keeping the union. If not, workers could vote in a re-certification election.

Semmens cited a 2016 study by The Heritage Foundation that found 94 percent of union workers never cast a secret ballot to accept the union.

“The choice to be made for these workers, in many cases, was made half a century ago,” Semmens said. “A politician doesn’t get to stay in office for life after one election.”

Obama Veto Saved Rule

Neither the AFL-CIO, a 62-year-old umbrella group that advocates for unions, nor the large Service Employees International Union responded to inquiries from The Daily Signal for comment for this report.

An NLRB spokesperson declined to comment.

During the Obama administration, the NLRB adopted the rule while Mark Gaston Pearce, a Democrat, was chairman.

In early 2015, the Republican-controlled Congress passed a bill eliminating the “ambush election” rule, but  Obama vetoed it that March.

Obama said the rule represented “commonsense, modest changes to streamline the voting process for folks who wanted to join a union.”

“Unfortunately, the Republican Senate and House decided to put forward a proposal to reverse those changes,” Obama said. “I think that’s a bad idea. … And one of the freedoms of folks here in the United States is, is that if they choose to join a union, they should be able to do so, and we shouldn’t be making it impossible for that to happen.”

‘Right to Educate’

Employees have the right to unionize, but they also should hear each side of the argument, said Russ Brown, CEO of RWP Labor, a labor relations consulting firm, and president of the Center for Independent Employees, which provides legal help for union decertification elections.

“Many times unions are not truthful with employees in campaigns. They are always one-sided,” Brown told The Daily Signal. “The [business] owner should have the right to educate the workforce on what it means to be in a union and what it means to the business.”

Congress tried and failed to override Obama’s veto saving the rule in 2015, which requires a two-thirds supermajority.

Last year, the House voted to eliminate the rule. Senate Republicans sponsored a similar measure, but it did not pass.



Dershowitz: ACLU Doesn't Care About Civil Liberty, It's 'Agenda-Driven and Anti-Trump'

Famed attorney, author, and constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz, who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, condemned the FBI's raid on the office of President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and also denounced the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for praising the raid.

“If this were Hillary Clinton, they [ACLU] would be raising money left and right defending Hillary Clinton’s rights,” said Dershowitz on the April 16 edition of Fox & Friends.

“But now they’re raising money left and left by attacking Trump and putting the attack on Trump over defending our civil liberties," he said.

"Why do you think I’m here all the time?" said Dershowitz, who is known fo rhis liberal political views.  "Why do you think I’m speaking up in favor of a man I voted against?"

"Because the ACLU is dead in the water," said the emeritus professor of law at Harvard University. "Who has ever heard of the ACLU coming in, not only justifying, defending, but applauding a raid on a lawyer’s office, which may very well have taken material that was [protected by attorney-client privilege]."

When asked if he thought the ACLU was being political, Dershowitz said, "It is absolutely political. It is a partisan, hard-left, political organization, which no longer cares about the civil liberties of all Americans.”

Alan Dershowitz, a regular commentator on CNN and Fox News, is the former Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

As an appellate lawyer, he won 13 of the 15 murder cases he handled. Some of his more famous clients include Mike Tyson, Patty Hearst, Claus von Bulow and O.J. Simpson. Dershowitz is the author or co-author of 33 books.



Eye Care Appointment Access in Patients With Medicaid vs Private Insurance


Importance:  Although low-income populations have more eye problems, whether they face greater difficulty obtaining eye care appointments is unknown.

Objective: To compare rates of obtaining eye care appointments and appointment wait times for those with Medicaid vs those with private insurance.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  In this prospective, cohort study conducted from January 1, 2017, to July 1, 2017, researchers made telephone calls to a randomly selected sample of vision care professionals in Michigan and Maryland stratified by neighborhood (urban vs rural) and professional type (ophthalmologist vs optometrist) to request the first available appointment. Appointments were sought for an adult needing a diabetic eye examination and a child requesting a routine eye examination for a failed vision screening. Researchers called each practice twice, once requesting an appointment for a patient with Medicaid and the other time for a patient with Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) insurance, and asked whether the insurance was accepted and, if so, when the earliest available appointment could be scheduled.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Rate of successfully made appointments and mean wait time for the first available appointment.

Results:  A total of 603 telephone calls were made to 330 eye care professionals (414 calls [68.7%] to male and 189 calls [31.3%] to female eye care professionals). The sample consisted of ophthalmologists (303 [50.2%]) and optometrists (300 [49.8%]) located in Maryland (322 [53.4%]) and Michigan (281 [46.6%]). The rates of successfully obtaining appointments among callers were 61.5% (95% CI, 56.0%-67.0%) for adults with Medicaid and 79.3% (95% CI, 74.7%-83.9%) for adults with BCBS (P < .001) and 45.4% (95% CI, 39.8%-51.0%) for children with Medicaid and 62.5% (95% CI, 57.1%-68.0%) for children with BCBS (P < .001). Mean wait time did not vary significantly between the BCBS and Medicaid groups for both adults and children. Adults with Medicaid had significantly decreased odds of receiving an appointment compared with those with BCBS (odds ratio [OR], 0.41; 95% CI, 0.28-0.59; P < .001) but had increased odds of obtaining an appointment if they were located in Michigan vs Maryland (OR, 2.40; 95% CI, 1.49-3.87; P < .001) or with an optometrist vs an ophthalmologist (OR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.31-2.79; P < .001). Children with Medicaid had significantly decreased odds of receiving an appointment compared with those with BCBS (OR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.28-0.60; P < .001) but had increased odds of obtaining an appointment if they were located in Michigan vs Marlyand (OR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.04-2.73; P = .03) or with an optometrist vs an ophthalmologist (OR, 8.00; 95% CI, 5.37-11.90; P < .001).

Conclusions and Relevance:  Callers were less successful in trying to obtain eye care appointments with Medicaid than with BCBS, suggesting a disparity in access to eye care based on insurance status, although confounding factors may have contributed to this finding. Improving access to eye care professionals for those with Medicaid may improve health outcomes and decrease health care spending in the long term.



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, April 22, 2018

Why the Authoritarian Right Is Rising

Patrick Buchanan below is totally wrong to refer to the ethnic champions of Europe and America as "authoritarian" and "autocrats".  Both terms refer to dictatorial rule, not democratically elected leaders.  There are of course some differences between Donald Trump and Viktor Orban but both won resounding electoral victories and focus on putting the interests of their own traditional society first.

The difficulty in that is that Leftists regard respect for one's own roots as "racist".  But everything they dislike is racist to the left so we don't need to be abashed by that.  Nonetheless, others may take the claim as a serious one.  The idea that racism and ethnic pride are opposite sides of the same coin has some appeal.  In the social sciences that identification is almost universal, embodied in the term "ethnocentrism".  The claim is that if you are proud of your "ingroup", you are hostile to any "outgroup".

I was always skeptical that reality was as simple as that so over many years I carried out social surveys in several countries to check the claim.  And what I found every time was that your view of your own group gave NO prediction of what you thought about any "outgroup". There were on all occasions roughly equal numbers of patriots who thought well and ill of various other groups. Patriotism does not cause racism.  See here, here, here, here and also here

We can therefore be at ease in referring to people like Viktor Orban and Donald Trump simply as "patriots".  The disconnection between patriotism and racism is not however well-known so my "ethnic champion" term above may be found useful.

Viktor Orban, a champion of Hungarian sovereignty, is serving a third consecutive term as a prime minister of Hungary. A fortnight ago, Viktor Orban and his Fidesz Party won enough seats in the Hungarian parliament to rewrite his country's constitution.

To progressives across the West, this was disturbing news.

For the bete noire of Orban's campaign was uber-globalist George Soros. And Orban's commitments were to halt any further surrenders of Hungarian sovereignty and independence to the European Union, and to fight any immigrant invasion of Hungary from Africa or the Islamic world.

Why are autocrats like Orban rising and liberal democrats failing in Europe? The autocrats are addressing the primary and existential fear of peoples across the West — the death of the separate and unique tribes into which they were born and to which they belong.

Modern liberals and progressives see nations as transitory — here today, gone tomorrow. The autocrats, however, have plugged into the most powerful currents running in this new century: tribalism and nationalism.

The democracy worshippers of the West cannot compete with the authoritarians in meeting the crisis of our time because they do not see what is happening to the West as a crisis.

They see us as on a steady march into a brave new world, where democracy, diversity and equality will be everywhere celebrated.

To understand the rise of Orban, we need to start seeing Europe and ourselves as so many of these people see us.

Hungary is a thousand years old. Its people have a DNA all their own. They belong to a unique and storied nation of 10 million with its own language, religion, history, heroes, culture and identity.

Though a small nation, two-thirds of whose lands were torn away after World War I, Hungarians wish to remain and endure as who they are.

They don't want open borders. They don't want mass migrations to change Hungary into something new. They don't want to become a minority in their own country. And they have used democratic means to elect autocratic men who will put the Hungarian nation first.

U.S. elites may babble on about "diversity," about how much better a country we will be in 2042 when white European Christians are just another minority and we have become a "gorgeous mosaic" of every race, tribe, creed and culture on earth.

To Hungarians, such a future entails the death of the nation. To Hungarians, millions of African, Arab and Islamic peoples settling in their lands means the annihilation of the historic nation they love, the nation that came into being to preserve the Hungarian people.

President Emmanuel Macron of France says the Hungarian and other European elections where autocrats are advancing are manifestations of "national selfishness."

Well, yes, national survival can be considered national selfishness.

But let Monsieur Macron bring in another 5 million former subject peoples of the French Empire and he will discover that the magnanimity and altruism of the French has its limits, and a Le Pen will soon replace him in the Elysee Palace.

Consider what else the "world's oldest democracy" has lately had on offer to the indigenous peoples of Europe resisting an invasion of Third World settlers coming to occupy and repopulate their lands.

Our democracy boasts of a First Amendment freedom of speech and press that protects blasphemy, pornography, filthy language and the burning of the American flag. We stand for a guaranteed right of women to abort their children and of homosexuals to marry.

We offer the world a freedom of religion that prohibits the teaching of our cradle faith and its moral code in our public schools.

Our elites view this as social progress upward from a dark past.

To much of the world, however, America has become the most secularized and decadent society on earth, and the title the ayatollah bestowed upon us, "The Great Satan," is not altogether undeserved.

And if what "our democracy" has delivered here has caused tens of millions of Americans to be repulsed and to secede into social isolation, why would other nations embrace a system that produced so poisoned a politics and so polluted a culture?

"Nationalism and authoritarianism are on the march," writes The Washington Post: "Democracy as an ideal and in practice seems under siege." Yes, and there are reasons for this.

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people," said John Adams. And as we have ceased to be a moral and religious people, the poet T. S. Eliot warned us what would happen:

"The term 'democracy' ... does not contain enough positive content to stand alone against the forces you dislike — it can be easily be transformed by them. If you will not have God (and he is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler and Stalin." Recall: Hitler rose to power through a democratic election.

Democracy lacks content. As a political system, it does not engage the heart. And if Europe's peoples see their leaders as accommodating a transnational EU, while failing to secure national borders, they will use democracy to replace them with men of action.



Staged suffering? Interview with boy in Douma video raises more doubts over ‘chem attack’

The boy portrayed as a ‘victim’ in a video of the alleged chemical attack in Douma has told a Russian TV crew that he was asked to go to hospital, where people “grabbed” him and started “pouring water” over his head.

Panic, fear, screaming adults and frightened children featured in the purported footage of the aftermath following the alleged chemical attack in the Eastern Ghouta city. The video has been circulated by mainstream media since April 7 after being posted by the so-called Douma Revolution group.

The group is one of the organizations, along with the notorious rebel-linked White Helmets, that has claimed government troops were the culprits behind the reported chemical attack.

One of the main ‘characters’ in the footage is a soaked boy, who is seen being sprayed with water by people who claim to be ‘rescue workers.’ It’s not clear whether they are doctors from the hospital, human rights activists, or White Helmets members. The latter usually make such videos and send them to news agencies, including Reuters.

Russian broadcaster VGTRK said it found the boy in the video, who appeared to be 11-year-old Hassan Diab. His story differed from the one presented by the activists and later propagated by the mainstream media. He was in the basement with his mother, who said they ran out of food, when they heard some noise outside.

“Somebody was shouting that we had to go to the hospital, so we went there. When I came in, some people grabbed me and started pouring water over my head,” he told Evgeny Poddubny, a war correspondent from Russian broadcaster VGTRK. Hassan confirmed that he was the boy in the video, and was very scared when the whole situation unfolded. He is now fine and shows no symptoms of having experienced a chemical attack two weeks ago.

He was eventually found by his father, who said he didn’t hear about any chemical attack that day. “I went to the hospital, walked upstairs, and found my wife and children. I asked them what had happened, and they said people outside were shouting about some smell, and told them to go to the hospital. At the hospital, they gave dates and cookies to the kids,” he said.

One of the medical workers, who was reportedly on shift at the time, said he was surprised by the sudden influx. “Some people came here and washed people. They said: ‘Chemical attack. Chemical attack.’ We didn’t see any chemical attack symptoms,” he added. He did, however, say that there were many people with respiratory problems as a result of dust from recent bombings in the city.



Russian FM: Putin, Trump, won't allow a war

Welcome words from Sergey Viktorovich

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday morning said Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump will not allow the tension between their countries to turn into a military confrontation or war.

"If we're talking about the risk of warfare, I'm 100% certain that the militaries [of both countries] will not allow that, and obviously Putin and President Trump will not allow it," Lavrov told the RIA Novosti news agency.

"At the end of the day, they are leaders, who were chosen by their people, and they are responsible for their nations' welfare."



Trump decided to abandon plans for more Russia sanctions

Great news. Mr Trump is the bulwark preventing a foolish cold war with Russia

President Donald Trump personally made the decision to abandon plans to impose more sanctions on Russia for supporting Syria's chemical weapons attack on civilians, according to three senior administration officials and a source familiar with the discussions.

The first senior administration source said the Trump administration informed the Russian government there won't be an additional round of sanctions. The official said the call was made to the Russian Embassy on Sunday. They said the confusion caused by comments made by UN Ambassador Nikki Haley in a Sunday show interview when she said new sanctions were coming made the call necessary.




Last year, the court jester of the Never Trumpers declared that, "The onus is on the president-elect to prove he's not Putin's puppet."

Last week, the President of the United States ordered the strikes that took out Syria’s chemical weapons research facility, its primary Sarin nerve gas facility and another chemical weapons facility.

Putin was not pleased.



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