Friday, June 29, 2018

YUGE: Justice Anthony Kennedy to retire, opening Supreme Court seat for President Trump nomination

Reagan's greatest mistake erased at last

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, handing President Trump and Senate Republicans an opportunity to create a solidly conservative court that could last for decades.

Kennedy first informed his colleagues on the court about his plans, then personally delivered a simple, two-paragraph letter to Trump addressed, "My dear Mr. President."

Within minutes, the president said he would move "immediately" to select someone from a list of 25 potential nominees assembled previously with the help of conservative interest groups.

"It will be somebody from that list," Trump said. "Hopefully, we will pick someone who is just as outstanding."

Kennedy's long-rumored decision to step down July 31 will touch off a titanic battle between conservatives and liberals in the nation's capital, on the airwaves and in states represented by senators whose votes will be needed to confirm his successor.

Within hours of Kennedy's announcement, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network said it would launch a seven-figure, cable TV and digital advertising campaign targeting vulnerable Senate Democrats. The ad, titled "Another Great Justice," praises Trump’s nomination last year of Justice Neil Gorsuch in anticipation of his next nominee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who refused in 2016 to consider President Barack Obama's nomination of federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland for a vacant seat, vowed to move ahead swiftly.

“The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent on President Trump’s nominee to fill this vacancy," McConnell said. "We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall."



Supreme Court deals major financial blow to nation's public employee unions

A deeply divided Supreme Court dealt a major blow to the nation's public employee unions Wednesday that likely will result in a loss of money, members and political muscle.

After three efforts in 2012, 2014 and 2016 fell short, the court's conservative majority ruled 5-4 that unions cannot collect fees from non-members to help defray the costs of collective bargaining. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the decision, with dissents from Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

About 5 million workers could be affected by the ruling — those who pay dues or "fair-share" fees to unions in 23 states where public employees can be forced to contribute. Workers in 27 states cannot be forced to join or pay unions.

Justice Neil Gorsuch cast the deciding vote against what conservative opponents have labeled a form of compelled speech. The money helps labor unions maintain political power in some of the nation's most populous states, including California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Gorsuch, who had remained silent during oral argument in February, was the key because the court had deadlocked in a similar case two years ago following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The newest justice recently authored the court's 5-4 ruling that denied workers the right to join together in class action lawsuits rather than submit employer-sponsored arbitration.

The 2016 case challenged a powerful teachers union in California; the new one targeted state employees in Illinois. But the threatened impact was the same: elimination of fees paid by police, firefighters, teachers and other government workers who don't join the unions that represent them.

The landmark ruling overrules the court's own 41-year-old precedent, which said workers did not have to pay for unions' political activity but could be required to contribute to other costs of representation, such as wage and benefit negotiations and grievance procedures.

The court's decision frees those non-members from the fees, but unions also are braced to lose some dues-paying members who stand to save more under the new rule. That could force unions to raise dues on those who remain.

The case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, was backed by conservative groups that have tried for years to overturn the court's 1977 decision upholding the fees for collective bargaining but not for political action.

The court ruled 7-2, 5-4 and 4-4 on three similar cases in the past six years, eating away at the 1977 decision without overruling it entirely. In 2016, Scalia's death a month after oral arguments denied conservatives their fifth vote.

The decision comes at a time when 61% of Americans approve labor unions -- the highest rating in Gallup polls since 2003 -- and teachers' strikes have roiled states from West Virginia and Kentucky to Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona.

"The fictional narrative of labor’s downfall is being upended by the reality working people are creating for ourselves," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said recently. "No matter the outcome of this case, millions of workers will continue to stand together to build a stronger, fairer America."

It remains unclear what impact the ruling will have on organized labor in general, which has suffered a 70-year decline in union membership. The nation's roughly 15 million union members make up less than 11% of the workforce, a drop from 35% during World War II. The decline is magnified in the private sector, where only 6.5% of workers remain unionized.

In the public sector, more than one in three workers belong to a union, a percentage that has held relatively steady for decades. AFSCME, the National Education Association, Service Employees International Union and American Federation of Teachers now face a likely loss of members.

Some groups that have fought to end compulsory fees argue that unions can stave off membership declines by better representing workers. They cite data from states such as Indiana and Michigan after the enactment of right-to-work laws.



Unhinged Democrat hate on show

The Republican National Committee released a brutal campaign ad on Tuesday exposing the violence the political Left, showing voters ahead of crucial midterm elections what the Democratic Party supports.

The video, which has gone viral across social media, shows numerous instances in which liberals have made chilling comments about inflicting violence on President Donald Trump and officials who work in his administration.

The ad features comedian Kathy Griffin posing for a photo with a bloody, decapitated head that looks like President Trump; singer Madonna saying she has thought about blowing up the White House; rapper Snoop Dogg shooting the president in his music video; HBO host Bill Maher saying he wants the economy to crash so it hurts Trump; Samantha Bee calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless c**t”; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi saying she doesn’t know why there aren’t uprisings “all over the country”; and Rep. Maxine Waters calling for violence, harassment, and uprisings against Trump officials.

The ad is so chilling to watch because it’s accurate. It went viral because this is what the Democratic Party has become in the era of Trump.

Rather than have healthy discussions on policy, the Left would rather stoke tensions and call for violence against the president, his supporters, and anyone who works in his administration.

The ad comes after several members of the Trump administration have already been targeted in recent days by liberal mobs after Waters urged people to confront them in public.

On Tuesday, a violent crowd showed up at the home of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Transportation Department Secretary Elaine Chao. She was caught on camera standing up to the protestors and defending her husband.

Over the weekend, pro-Trump Florida Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi was spit on by liberals while being chased out of a movie theater over the weekend.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was forced to get her own personal security detail from the Secret Service after being refused service and harassed at a restaurant last Friday.

Prior to that, a mob of deranged liberals swarmed the home of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen, putting her family at risk of being attacked, harassed, and confronted.

This is what Waters wanted, and the RNC is showing Americans exactly what the Democratic Party stands for ahead of crucial midterm elections in November.



'Ridiculous’ government bureaucracy

US Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney gave an intricate and often eccentric explanation of redundancy and overlap in federal bureaucracy in a presentation that stunned the president and the press.

“I call this the ‘drain the swamp’ cabinet meeting,” Mr Mulvaney said, adding that it has been about 100 years since the federal government was reorganised at this scale.

He criticised the “Byzantine nature” by which the government regulates, creating headaches for business owners, employees and taxpayers.

“If you have a cheese pizza, it’s governed by the Food and Drug Administration. If you put a pepperoni on it, it’s governed by the [Department of Agriculture],” he said.

“If you have a [live] chicken, it’s governed by the USDA. If that chicken lays an egg, it’s governed by the FDA, but if you break the egg and make an omelet, that’s again governed by the USDA.”

He said that a hot dog is regulated simultaneously by two government agencies and said that one of the most intricate and “bizarre” cases of regulations involved saltwater fish.

Mr Mulvaney said that a salmon in the ocean is governed by the Department of Commerce, but that when the salmon is swimming upstream into freshwater where it breeds, it is governed by the Department of the Interior.

On its way to the breeding grounds, it encounters a fish ladder — a device used to help fish navigate waterfalls and other impediments — that is governed by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Mr Mulvaney said government regulations as they exist are often “stupid” or “make no sense”. President Donald Trump then interjected, “That was incredibly said. I think you should put that on television, not what I said [previously].”

Mr Mulvaney said the examples he gave were just a few of the impediments faced by small businesses trying to operate in compliance with the government.

He said that is part of the reason the Departments of Education and Labor should be merged. “They’re all doing the same thing,” he said, noting that both “try to get people ready for the workforce”.

He added that there are “horror stories” from the Army Corps of Engineers because of the overlaps they have with the Interior, Transportation and Defense Departments



Comparing the Border Situation to Nazi Germany? That’s a Form of Holocaust Denial

Dennis Prager

Last week, on the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” MSNBC contributor Donny Deutsch said that every American who votes for President Donald Trump is a Nazi. His exact words: “If you vote for Trump, then you, the voter—you, not Donald Trump—are standing at the border like Nazis going, ‘You here. You here.'”

Now, as virtually every Jew of Deutsch’s generation knows, a Nazi saying, “You here. You here,” refers to guards at Nazi extermination camps sending Jews to gas chambers or to work the barracks.

Also last week, Gen. Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA (a fact that, among other things, gives credence to the increasingly widespread realization that our intelligence elites have been morally and intellectually compromised) tweeted a photo of the tracks leading into Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most infamous Nazi extermination and concentration camps, with the caption: “Other governments have separated mothers and children.”

Deutsch, Hayden, and the myriad other fools who compare Trump to Hitler and the Nazis have utterly trivialized the Holocaust. As everyone who isn’t on the left knows, there is nothing morally analogous between the way the last three presidential administrations dealt with some children of immigrants who are in the country illegally and what the Nazis did to Jewish children.

American children are routinely separated from their parent when that parent is arrested, and if the arrestee is a single parent, the child is taken into government custody until other arrangements can be made. With regard to immigrants who are in the country illegally, the only way to avoid separation is to place the children in detention along with their arrested parent(s).

But this was expressly forbidden by the most left-wing court in America—the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals—if detention lasts longer than 20 days, as it nearly always does when either a not-guilty plea or an asylum claim is made.

Moreover, as awful as separation from a parent is, these children were not treated like animals in cages but transferred to the care of relatives or foster homes, or housed with other detained children where they were provided with room, board, education, sports facilities, etc.

By contrast, Jewish children separated from their parents by Nazi guards were sent to gas chambers to die a gruesome, painful death by their lungs being filled with poisonous gas. And their parents almost always eventually suffered the same fate unless they were worked, starved, or tortured to death.

Comparing the two is not only a trivialization of the Holocaust; it is actually a form of Holocaust denial.

If Jewish children were treated by the Nazis the same way Central American children have been by America, then everything we know about the Holocaust is false.

Jewish children weren’t subjected to torturous medical experimentation, and they weren’t gassed and cremated. They were simply separated from their Jewish parents for a finite period of time, sent to stay with Jewish relatives or provided for by foster families while their parents were detained pending due-process legal proceedings.

According to Deutsch, Hayden, and all the leftists comparing America and Trump to the Nazis, Jewish children weren’t gassed; they played soccer while waiting to be reunited with their parents.

What is even more depressing than Deutsch and Hayden is the reaction—or silence—of most American Jewish organizations.

The Anti-Defamation League, which once defended Jewish interests, is becoming just another leftist interest group. I looked for some condemnation of Deutsch or Hayden and found none. Instead, in the words of the left-wing Israeli  newspaper Haaretz, the Anti-Defamation League “made a direct comparison to the Holocaust.”

It tweeted: “Children separated from their parents during the Holocaust speak out about the trauma it has caused. How can anyone defend such inhumane policies?”

The only criticism the Anti-Defamation League could muster was this: “People need to be extremely careful in drawing comparisons to the Holocaust and the Nazi regime in whatever context it is used.” But it offered no condemnation of those who actually made this odious comparison.

Leftism has poisoned much of American Jewish life. That is the primary reason, as reported in the just released American Jewish Committee poll, American and Israeli Jews are so divided on so many issues.

There were rabbis who announced they fasted when Trump was elected. Non-Orthodox synagogues around America sat shiva (the religious mourning period for a deceased immediate family member) when Trump won. And the Hebrew Union College, the Reform Jewish movement’s rabbinical seminary, had an Israel-hating writer as this year’s graduation speaker.

If you support Trump or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or hold almost any traditional Jewish worldview—like God creating the human being as male and female—you must either hide your opinion or risk being ostracized at almost any non-Orthodox synagogue.

To their credit, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Zionist Organization of America, and a few other organizations did condemn those who equate America under Trump with Nazi Germany. But most Jewish organizations kept quiet, offered tepid caution, or actually echoed the sentiment.

In other words, at this time, many American Jewish organizations are bad for the Jews, bad for Judaism, and trivialize the Holocaust in order to score political points.

If it’s any comfort (and it isn’t), things are no better in mainstream Protestantism or at the Vatican.

But here is real comfort: If the left keeps on smearing nearly half its fellow Americans as Nazis, it will assure more Republican victories this coming November.



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, June 28, 2018

Supreme Court Makes 5-4 Finding for Trump’s Travel Ban

The Supreme Court handed Trump a major 5-4 victory in favor of President Trump’s travel ban! The Neil Gorsuch appointment came through once again!

As CNBC points out, the 5-4 opinion states that Trump’s immigration restriction fell “squarely” within the president’s authority. The court rejected claims that the ban was motivated by religious hostility.

“The [order] is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices,” Roberts wrote. “The text says nothing about religion.”



Now it's McConnell

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao told a group of protesters at Georgetown University to back off when they began harassing her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell and Chao were leaving an event at Georgetown University on Monday night when they were confronted by a group of protesters who repeatedly asked McConnell why he was separating families and played audio of children crying at the border.

The protesters swarmed the SUV set to take McConnell and Chao off campus



James Woods Levels Maxine Waters, Tells Conservatives To Arm Themselves

“Let’s make sure we show up, wherever we have to show up,” Waters told a crowd in Los Angeles protesting immigration on Sunday. “If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you cause a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome — anymore, anywhere.”

So, there you have it: Maxine going full Maxine. And, as usual, James Woods couldn’t resist responding.  And his thoughts were spot on.

“Now that a United States Congresswoman has called for harassment against Republicans and the inevitable violence that will come of it, I urge all of you to a) get armed, and b) vote,” Woods said.

“Your life literally depends on it.”

Woods was hardly the only one who urged conservatives to take similar precautions in the wake of Waters’ threat. Former Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke also advised similar actions.



Lawmaker Introduces Measure to Censure Maxine Waters After Calls to Violence

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs introduced a measure calling for Maxine Waters to be censured after her comments calling on opponents of President Trump to harass and protest administration officials in public.

Many viewed Waters’ comments as an incitement to violence, something the left has already engaged in with multiple incidents against Republican women including Flordia Attorney General Pam Bondi, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Biggs’ measure not only seeks to censure the congresswoman, it suggests she resign for telling her followers to confront political opponents in public.

“Individuals have the right to debate their differences civilly, without fear of retribution,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Maxine Waters’ comments condone public violence and encourage actions that jeopardize the safety and security of government officials and the American people.”

The measure also suggests Waters apologize to officials “for endangering their lives and sowing seeds of discord.”

Waters insists that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer don’t really disagree with her call for members of the Trump administration to be harassed in public.

Senator Cory Booker also offered his opinion, nodding in agreement with Waters. “Yes, you should protest. Yes, you should confront evil and injustice,” he said.



Hysterical Leftist demonization of conservatives: A prelude to violence

Patrick J. Buchanan

If Trump's supporters are truly "a basket of deplorables ... racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic" and "irredeemable," as Hillary Clinton described them to an LGBT crowd, is not shunning and shaming the proper way to deal with them?

So a growing slice of the American left has come to believe.

Friday, gay waiters at the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, appalled that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was being served, had the chef call the owner. All decided to ask Sanders' party to leave.

When news reached the left coast, Congresswoman Maxine Waters was ecstatic, yelling to a crowd, "God is on our side!"

Maxine's raving went on: "And so, let's stay the course. Let's make sure we show up wherever ... you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere."

Apparently, the left had been issued its marching orders.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled and booed at a Mexican restaurant last week, and then hassled by a mob outside her home. White House aide Steven Miller was called out as a "fascist" while dining in D.C. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was driven from a movie theater.

Last June, the uglier side of leftist politics turned lethal. James Hodgkinson, 66-year-old volunteer in Bernie Sanders' campaign, opened fire on GOP congressmen practicing for their annual baseball game with the Democrats.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was wounded, almost mortally. Had it not been for Scalise's security detail, Hodgkinson might have carried out a mass atrocity.

And the cultural atmosphere is becoming toxic.

Actor Robert De Niro brings a Hollywood crowd to its feet with cries of "F—- Trump!" Peter Fonda says that 12-year-old Barron Trump should be locked up with pedophiles. Comedienne Kathy Griffin holds up a picture of the decapitated head of the president.

To suggest what may be happening to the separated children of illegal migrants, ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden puts on social media a photo of the entrance to the Nazi camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

What does this tell us about America in 2018?

The left, to the point of irrationality, despises a triumphant Trumpian right and believes that to equate it with fascists is not only legitimate, but a sign that the accusers are the real moral, righteous and courageous dissenters in these terrible times.

Historians are calling the outbursts of hate unprecedented. They are not.

In 1968, mobs cursed Lyndon Johnson, who had passed all the civil rights laws, howling, "Hey, hey, LBJ: How many kids did you kill today!"

After Dr. King's assassination, a hundred cities, including the capital, were looted and burned. Scores died. U.S. troops and the National Guard were called out to restore order. Soldiers returning from Vietnam were spat upon. Cops were gunned down by urban terrorists. Bombings and bomb attempts were everyday occurrences. Campuses were closed down. In May 1971, tens of thousands of radicals went on a rampage to shut down D.C.

A cautionary note to progressives: Extremism is how the left lost the future to Nixon and Reagan.

But though our media may act like this is 1968, we are not there, yet. That was history; this is still largely farce.

The comparisons with Nazi Germany are absurd. Does anyone truly believe that the centers where the children of illegal migrants are being held, run as they are by liberal bureaucrats from the Department of Health and Human Services, are like Stalin's Gulag or Hitler's camps?

This is hyperbole born of hysteria and hate.

Consider. Two million Americans are in jails and prisons, all torn from their families and children. How many TV hours have been devoted to showing what those kids are going through?

Thirty percent of all American children grow up with only one parent.

How many TV specials have been devoted to kids separated for months, sometimes years, sometimes forever, from fathers and mothers serving in the military and doing tours of duty overseas in our endless wars?

Because of U.S. support for the UAE-Saudi war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, hundreds of thousands of children face the threat of famine. Those Yemeni kids are not being served burgers in day care centers.

How many Western TV cameras are recording their suffering?

When it comes to the rhetoric of hate, the cursing of politicians, the shouting down of speakers, the right is not innocent, but the left is infinitely more guilty. It was to the Donald Trump rallies, not the Bernie Sanders rallies, that the provocateurs came to start the fights.

Why? Because if you have been told and believe your opponents are fascists, then their gatherings are deserving not of respect but of disruption.

And, as was true in the 1960s, if you manifest your contempt, you will receive the indulgence of a media that will celebrate your superior morality.



Empathy, but also realism, are necessary in facing immigration

By Niall Ferguson 

I AM AN IMMIGRANT — a legal one. Over a period of 16 years, I’ve gone through a succession of work visas, acquired a green card, married an American citizen (herself an immigrant), passed the citizenship test, and in just 17 days will take the naturalization oath, accompanied by my wife and our two American-born sons.

Since 2002, I and members of my family have entered the United States umpteen times. At times, those crossings have been fraught. Once, before she got her green card, my British-born daughter was held up by immigration officers who doubted her story that she was visiting her father. Those were agonizing hours.

So I can well understand the great wave of moral outrage that swept the United States and world last week at the separation of asylum-seeking parents from their children at the US-Mexican border.

I can sympathize, too, with the parents, most of whom are from poor and violent Central American countries. My wife was once an asylum seeker from a poor and violent country. Her main motive for leaving Somalia for the Netherlands was to avoid an arranged marriage to a man she scarcely knew. Knowing that this was not a sufficient reason to be granted asylum, she emphasized the civil war in her country. In the same way, whatever their true motivations, today’s asylum-seekers from Honduras and Guatemala know to talk about the violence they are fleeing. This has become easier since 2009, when a court ruled that victims of domestic violence were entitled to asylum.
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To those of you contentedly living in the country where you were born, I address a plea for empathy and also realism. A world without cross-border migration would be a poorer world in multiple ways. The question is not whether to stop migration but how to manage it. But from those of you who regard any regulation of immigration as somehow unjust — who want illegal immigrants to be treated the same as those who follow the rules — I plead for rationality. Wholly open borders are not a sane option for any country. And comparing today’s US government with the Nazis — who systematically persecuted native-born German Jews by depriving them of their citizenship, then their rights, then their property, and finally their lives — is preposterous.

Last week, Vanity Fair quoted the claim of an anonymous “outside White House adviser” that Trump’s speechwriter Stephen Miller “actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border. He’s a twisted guy . . . He’s Waffen-SS.” I think this quotation tells us more about the standards of journalism at Vanity Fair than about Stephen Miller, who is both conservative and Jewish.

The problem of what exactly to do with asylum-seeking families predates Miller by about two decades. It was in 1997 that a consent decree was issued, known as the Flores settlement, which prohibits the US immigration authorities from keeping children in detention — even with their parents — for more than 20 days. As it takes up to 50 times longer to adjudicate asylum applications, the authorities either let the families go (at which point most disappear into the invisible army of the undocumented) or they try to separate parents from children.

The last time the issue surfaced, in 2014, the Obama administration threw in the towel. Just 3 percent of the tens of thousands of children from Central America who entered the United States that year were ultimately deported. The Trump administration didn’t want to be such a pushover. It was nevertheless pushed over — not by the asylum seekers, but by the media.

The German leader Trump more closely resembles is not Adolf Hitler but Angela Merkel. She too was forced to cave by the media, in 2015, when her statement to a sobbing Palestinian girl that Germany “could not manage” to accommodate refugees from the Middle East triggered a storm of emotion. You may recall what happened in the months after Merkel’s U-turn. European and American leaders confront essentially the same problem. I just wish the media would express the same outrage about the camps in Turkey and North Africa where Europeans are now trying to confine their would-be immigrants.

This is not an American problem. It is a global problem. According to a Gallup survey published a year ago, more than 700 million adults around the world would like to move permanently to another country. Of that vast number, more than one-fifth (21 percent) say that their first choice would be to move to the United States. The proportion who name a European Union country as their dream destination is higher: 23 percent.

As I said, they have my sympathy. I love Scotland, the country where I happened to be born, but it was not where I wanted to spend my life. What I didn’t do was jump on a boat with my kids and try to bluff my way into America, intending to stay there even if my asylum claim was rejected.

The United States has a broken immigration policy and it cannot be fixed by presidential executive orders. The Constitution clearly states that this is a job for Congress. That’s one of the things a newly minted American citizen learns. It’s the native-born journalists, with their addiction to hyperbole and bad history, who seem to have forgotten it.



The ethical emptiness of liberals

Do you guys remember that time when 2 nonpaying customers got kicked out of a Starbucks & liberals threw such a big temper tantrum that their employees were forced to take “diversity training”.... then 8 paying customers were kicked out of a Red Hen & they cheered?


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, June 27, 2018

Liberals Harass Pro-Trump Attorney General From Florida At Movie Theater, Spit On Her

This is a very slippery slope. If these attack on Trump officials continue there is a real possibility that Trump will encourage his followers to do the same to Democrats.  Trump very clearly believes in striking back.  He does it all the time.  So we could well see prominent Democrats spat upon.

I am confident that prominent Democrats would suddenly call for civility under those circumstances but if they did not, a mini civil war could develop.  And Trump would win that one too. Prosecution of the offenders described below is therefore important. The alternative justice system is vendetta and no sane person would want that primitive system in America

Intolerant liberal activists harassed Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at a movie theater on Saturday over her support for President Donald Trump. One deranged individual reportedly spit on her while yelling in her face.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, a video taken by left-wing activist Timothy Heberlein of Organize Florida shows law enforcement escorting Bondi out of the theater and back to her vehicle as several people harassed her.

Bondi was reportedly trying to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor, a movie about Mr. Rogers and his life.

“What would Mister Rogers think about you and your legacy in Florida? Taking away health insurance from people with pre-existing conditions, Pam Bondi!” said Maria José Chapa, a left-wing organizer. “Shame on you!”

Another heckler yelled: “You’re a horrible person!”

During an interview Monday on Fox & Friends, Bondi said “three huge guys” came up to her in the theater, and began screaming and cursing in her face. She said the abhorrent liberals also tried to provoke her boyfriend, who was with her at the theater.

The Florida AG said that one of the men spit on her while screaming in her face.

Bondi made it clear that she will not allow vile liberals to bully or alter her actions. She said she will continue to support enforcing the law whether liberals like it or not.

Bondi getting harassed and spit on came on the same weekend as Sen. Maxine Waters calling for more attacks and violence against members of the Trump administration.

During an unhinged speech on Saturday outside the Wilshire Federal Building, the California Democrat screamed that anyone who works for the president shouldn’t be welcomed in society. She also urged people to harass and confront administration officials and those who support the president when they are out in the public.

Waters’ extremist rhetoric comes one year after a Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter tried to assassinate multiple Republican lawmakers during a congressional baseball practice in Virginia. The deranged shooter shot Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, leaving him severely injured and fighting for his life in the hospital for several months.

Last week, a group of liberals swarmed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen’s home over the migrant crisis, putting her family at risk while trying to leave.

As the Left gets more desperate to oppose Trump ahead of midterm elections, these disgusting tactics and calls for violence only prove how insane and unhinged they have become.



More Violent Acts: DHS Official Finds Decapitated Animal On Front Porch Amidst Threats

An unidentified official at the Department of Homeland Security reportedly found a burnt, decapitated animal carcass on his front porch amidst further incidents of protests and calls for violence from Democrat members of Congress.

Reporting of the incident comes as employees of the agency have seen an increase in violent threats to them and their families, a response from leftists for President Trump’s illegal immigration policies.

A letter from Claire Grady, acting deputy secretary of DHS, went out to agency members of the department revealing that there has been a “heightened threat against DHS employees.”

“This assessment is based on specific and credible threats that have been levied against certain DHS employees and a sharp increase in the overall number of general threats against DHS employees,” Grady wrote.

ABC reported that “an official with knowledge of the incident” confirmed that “a senior DHS official living in the Washington, D.C. area found a burnt and decapitated animal on his front porch.”

Watch very closely on how the media is reporting the increase in threats – they don’t blame the people making the threats, they blame the Trump administration and their policies.

Even the ABC report states that DHS employees are “seeing violent threats with greater frequency because of the president’s immigration policy.”

It’s not “due to immigration policy” or “because of the President’s immigration policy.” It’s due solely to unhinged Democrats literally wishing ill and physical harm on their political opponents.

This vile animal abuse to threaten an administration official comes as Rep. Maxine Waters of California called for her supporters to form mobs and harass members of the Trump administration.

It wasn’t an off-the-cuff statement from the unhinged Waters. The threats have been defended by prominent Democrats. Nancy Pelosi, for example, seeks to blame President Trump for the level of discourse rather than Waters.

Senator Cory Booker also chimed in, offering a rambling response to the controversy which eventually lent support. “Yes, you should protest. Yes, you should confront evil and injustice,” he said.

“If I saw an administrator out and about, there’s nothing wrong with confronting that person, but not to lead with love and to do it in a way that is more reflective of the values that we are trying to reject in our country is unacceptable to me,” Booker said.

Is leaving a decapitated animal carcass on the porch of a DHS employee ‘leading with love,’ Mr. Booker?



Cheers Erupt as Calif. Trump Fan Warns What Illegals Are Doing to Black Community

A Donald Trump fan from the Golden State is going viral after a video showed her denouncing illegal immigration.

According to The Daily Wire, the video was taken at a meeting of the Santa Clarita City Council in May. The woman speaking is unidentified, but the video was posted by a Twitter user who describes herself as a “Christian, Conservative, Wife, mum.” An African-American herself, she says she wants to lead the “mass #Blaxit from the Democratic Party.”

The speaker in the video sporting a Make America Great Again cap is part of a group of citizens who turned out to speak against California’s “sanctuary state” policies, according to The Daily Wire.

And she didn’t mince words about the damage that unchecked illegal immigration in California has caused the black community there.  “The black community is most adversely affected by illegal alien activity,” the woman said.

“Because when these people — and I don’t care if they’re Swedish, Mexican, Nigerian, Nicaraguan, Arab, I don’t care — when you come here illegally, they don’t get trucked into Brentwood. They don’t get trucked into Beverly Hills. Hell, they don’t even get trucked into the fairly modest upper-class suburb where I live.

“They get trucked into Watts. Here in California in SoCal, they get trucked into the streets of Crenshaw. The Jungles (Baldwin Village, an underprivileged Los Angeles community). East LA.

“A lot of black people don’t have the privilege that I have,” she continued. “A lot of black people are already suffering academically. Thus they suffer economically. Thus they suffer in abject poverty and crime.

“Their schools are beyond a disgrace already,” she added. “When those schools get pumped with illegal aliens, (black students are) even more likely to drop out.”

She went on to note that money had to be spent on Spanish-language textbooks “because the illegal alien minors cannot speak the king’s English.”

“I, as an American citizen, born and raised in Los Angeles, cannot get a job if I want to do something different than what I do, which is fight for American people — I have to learn two languages,” she said. “Specifically Spanish. In my own country. You tell me how that’s fair.” (The crowd’s supportive noise here drew a gavel from the dais to demand quiet.)

As for children and parents who are separated when they’re caught at the border, the woman mentioned the number of people who have been separated from their families by illegal aliens, and how “they gotta go to the grave. You tell me how that’s fair.”

The video was posted in response to a tweet from MSNBC’s Joy Reid, a liberal flamethrower who wanted “to get our #AMJoy hashtag higher” in the conversation about illegal immigration. This certainly did it, although not perhaps in the way Reid might have expected.



IRONY: Anti-Gun David Hogg Strolls Through New York…With ARMED GUARDS!

For someone who hates guns, David Hogg sure does feel the need to be protected by them.

While taking a stroll through New York City, Anti-Gun Parkland student David Hogg was seen being protected by armed guards. Pretty ironic when you realize this is the same kid that doesn’t want armed guards to protect him at school.

As the American Mirror points out:

Hogg has courted the spotlight since the school shooting with numerous appearances on talk and political shows to champion gun control, speeches at rallies to fight the National Rifle Association, and calls for a political revolution that hasn’t materialized.



Now, we have a Constitutional Crisis

Printus LeBlanc notes that Deputy AG Rosenstein has expressed an intention to prosecute Congress -- an action forbidden by the constitution

Since the election of President Trump, the media and progressives have been clamoring for a “constitutional crisis.” Well, they finally got the crisis, although it doesn’t appear to be the one they wanted. The actions of a senior Justice Department official have thrust the country into a constitutional crisis involving the Department of Justice and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

On Feb. 3, Gregg Jarrett of Fox News first reported on an incident involving Rosenstein and the House Intelligence Committee. Jarrett stated, “In a meeting with Chairman Devin Nunes, FBI Director Christopher Wray and others, the source says that Rosenstein threatened to subpoena the texts and emails of Congress because he was ‘tired of dealing with the Intelligence Committee.’” Jarrett was roundly criticized for the report by the mainstream media, and the story seemed to die.

Further investigation by Catherine Herridge would result in a bombshell report released on Wednesday, June 13, confirming the Jarrett story. Herridge acquired emails from then senior counsel for counterterrorism Kash Patel writing to the House Office of General Counsel stating, “The DAG [Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein] criticized the Committee for sending our requests in writing and was further critical of the Committee’s request to have DOJ/FBI do the same when responding…Going so far as to say that if the Committee likes being litigators, then ‘we [DOJ] too [are] litigators, and we will subpoena your records and your emails,’ referring to HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] and Congress overall.”

The FBI does not dispute the action took place just that the people involved took it the wrong way, stating, “The FBI disagrees with a number of characterizations of the meeting as described in the excerpts of a staffer’s emails provided to us by Fox News.” Notice the bureau did not deny the conversation took place.

The next tactic the DOJ took was to defend the Deputy AG’s actions. The DOJ excused his outburst against Congress by was stating he was referring to how the DOJ would defend litigation brought by the Committee, including contempt or impeachment proceedings. There is a slight problem with this excuse, the Constitution.

Article 1, Section 6, Clause 1 of the Constitution is known as the Speech or Debate Clause. It states, “For any Speech or Debate in either House, [The Senators and Representatives] shall not be questioned in any other Place.” What this means is that as long as Congress is doing its official duty, such as oversight, it shall not be interfered with, from say a subpoena by an overzealous DOJ employee. If Rosenstein thinks he is going subpoena records for a civil trial, the only thing he will get is a House Resolution number.

The Congressional Research Service wrote a report in Dec. 2017 on the clause stating, “Judicial interpretations of the Clause have developed along several strains. First and foremost, the Clause has been interpreted as providing Members with general criminal and civil immunity for all ‘legislative acts’ taken in the course of their official responsibilities. This immunity principle protects Members from “intimidation by the executive” or a “hostile judiciary” by prohibiting both the executive and judicial powers from being used to improperly influence or harass legislators.

Second, the Clause appears to provide complementary evidentiary and testimonial privileges. Although not explicitly articulated by the Supreme Court, lower federal courts have generally viewed these component privileges as a means of effectuating the purposes of the Clause by barring evidence of protected legislative acts from being used against a Member, and protecting a Member from compelled questioning about such acts.”

So, either Rosenstein didn’t know about the Speech or Debate Clause, or he did and ignored it in a fit of rage. Either is extremely disturbing.

Finally, and probably the most important, Congress has a constitutionally mandated duty to investigate the executive branch. The Deputy AG is not in the Constitution, Congress is. Congress has the constitutional authority to provide oversight of executive agencies, of which the DOJ is part of. The DOJ does not have the authority to subpoena Congress because it doesn’t like bias and wrongdoing within its walls being exposed.

This latest crisis is another in a long line of missteps by Rosenstein. First, the Deputy AG signed a FISA warrant to spy on an American citizen, despite the warrant being filled with unverified intelligence, according to the Nunes memo.

Second, Rosenstein wrote the memo that outlined why James Comey should be fired as Director of the FBI. That action led to the creation of the out of control Special Council currently investigating anything and everything. Rosenstein is the very definition of “conflict of interest.” And now we have Deputy AG Rosenstein spitting in the face of Congress, essentially declaring he is his own kingdom and responsible to no one.

To top everything off, as this story is being written, the DOJ Inspector General report on the FBI’s actions during the Clinton email probe, and one thing sticks out. The DOJ possibly misled Congress when it turned over text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The DOJ handed over a string of text messages, but left out one of the most damning messages from Strzok to Page stating, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” when answering a question about Trump possibly becoming President.

Since AG Sessions is recused from this matter, the fault must lay at the feet of the Deputy AG. This goes well beyond the appearance of impropriety.

If House Speaker Paul Ryan will not defend Congress, now is the time for a wannabe Speaker to rise. Several Members are jockeying for position to be the next Speaker after Ryan leaves, and the American people want to see someone that wants to be a Speaker stick up for the Article I branch of government. Two things need to happen. Rosenstein needs to be fired, and Congress should immediately move to secure the requested documents. If the Speaker lets this blatantly unconstitutional act go unanswered, he might as well turn out the lights and lock the Capitol up. There is no reason to have a Congress if it will not stick up for itself.



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, June 26, 2018

Trump Administration Wins Key Obamacare Lawsuit

Federal appeals court rules that insurers aren’t entitled to risk corridor subsidies.

A federal appeals court has handed the Trump administration a major victory by ruling against an insurance company whose lawyers claimed the taxpayers owed it $214 million in Obamacare subsidies. Moda Health Plan had sued the government, claiming that it was owed the money pursuant to the law’s “risk corridor” program. The Trump administration argued that it couldn’t legally disperse the funds because doing so would have violated an explicit congressional requirement that this particular subsidy program remain budget neutral. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed with the Trump administration.

Yesterday’s appeals court ruling reversed a summary judgment handed down by Judge Thomas C. Wheeler of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims wherein he ordered the government to reimburse Moda for losses it incurred on coverage sold via Obamacare exchanges. That Wheeler’s ruling was reversed shouldn’t be surprising, however. He was the only judge to find for the plaintiffs in any of several risk corridor lawsuits — and for good reason. Article I of the Constitution is not ambiguous about which branch of our government is authorized to appropriate funds from the U.S. Treasury. Judge Wheeler evidently skipped the high school class where the rest of us learned these things:

There is no genuine dispute that the Government is liable to Moda. Whether under statute or contract, the Court finds that the Government made a promise in the risk corridors program that it has yet to fulfill. Today, the Court directs the Government to fulfill that promise. After all, “to say to [Moda], ‘The joke is on you. You shouldn’t have trusted us,’ is hardly worthy of our great government.

The problem with Judge Wheeler’s “reasoning” is, of course, that it wasn’t the government that made the promise involving the risk corridors program. It was the Obama administration and its congressional accomplices. Insurers were told that this subsidy program would force insurers enjoying big profits via Obamacare to pay into a pool from which less profitable plans would be subsidized. It evidently never occurred to the people who run Moda that their competitors would also lose their shirts and find themselves unable to pay into the pool. But this is exactly what happened. The amount paid into the fund was a mere fraction of the reimbursement claims.

In late 2015 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that profitable insurers had paid in a mere $362 million while their far more numerous unprofitable counterparts had requested $2.87 billion to cover their losses. In other words, more insurers lost their bets on Obamacare than won. And the latter, having been gullible enough to believe the promises of the Democrats, expected the taxpayers to fund their stupidity. But Congress passed, and former President Obama signed, a bill requiring the risk corridors to remain budget neutral. Consequently, losers like Moda Health Plan were able to recover only 12.6 percent of their Obamacare losses.

But the problem here isn’t the legislation that imposed budget neutrality on the risk corridor program. It is that Obamacare was so poorly designed that insurers were doomed from the moment they bet on it. The authors of the law provided no source of reimbursement beyond the “excess funds” contributed by “highly profitable” carriers. When the excess funds failed to materialize, the insurers sued. Health Republic filed a class action lawsuit against the government for $5 billion, Highmark Health sued for $223 million, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina filed a $129 million lawsuit, Land of Lincoln Health sued for $70 million, and Moda Health filed its suit.

This by no means exhausts the list of insurers who want the taxpayers to bail them out, which is why yesterday’s decision is so important. The ruling will set a precedent for the other pending cases. Although Moda and the insurers listed above made a half-hearted statutory argument for full payment of the risk corridor “obligations,” the real foundation upon which they built their case was the claim that the congressional rider requiring the risk corridor to be budget neutral didn’t relieve the government of its duty to pay the subsidies. They claimed that the program created an implied-in-fact contract requiring full payment. The Appeals Court rejected that argument out of hand:

Moda asserts an independent claim for breach of an implied-in-fact contract that purportedly promised payments of the full amount indicated by the statutory formula in exchange for participation in the exchanges.… Here, no statement by the government evinced an intention to form a contract.… Accordingly, Moda cannot state a contract claim.

The reality is that, like most of the arguments made in court by attorneys burdened with the unenviable task of defending Obamacare, the statutory and implied contract claims of Moda’s lawyers were post hoc confections meant to appeal to the liberal palate of Judge Wheeler. There was never any chance that an honest Appeals Court would swallow such muck. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve seen the last of Moda Health Plan v. United States. The insurance company may seek an en banc review, or even petition SCOTUS. But it’s unlikely that either will bite. Rack up another Trump win. This winning thing is starting to become a habit.



Trump Is Reorganizing The Federal Government And Interior Secretary Zinke Loves It

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday to reorganize the federal government, a welcome move for Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke as he attempts to restructure the Department of the Interior (DOI).

Trump’s order directs the Office of Management and Budget to suggest ways to consolidate the federal government, streamlining agencies and repositioning some under departments more closely aligned with each agency’s responsibilities, according to a White House statement.

“President Trump is a businessman who knows that an effective operation needs to be organized for success, which is exactly why he is leading this commonsense reorganization of the executive branch,” Zinke said in a statement commending Trump’s move. “By merging agencies that handle similar, if not the same, functions we would be able to greatly improve services to the American people and better protect the land and wildlife under our care.”

Zinke is currently making plans to reorganize his own department, but those plans have been complicated by agencies that he has no control over.

For example, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regulates many areas in tandem with the DOI agencies in rivers and lakes but falls under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), under the Department of Agriculture, governs millions of acres that cross over DOI-managed lands or habitats.

Zinke’s plans involve a massive reorganization that sets DOI agencies in charge of areas of the U.S. rather than breaking down responsibilities by habitat or animal.

He can only go so far streamlining responsibilities, however, without help from the White House. Trump’s reorganization of the executive branch could fix many of those issues.

“At Interior, we are leading the government reform and modernization by consolidating dozens of regional bureau boundaries into twelve common unified boundaries — down from 61 for the nine bureaus — and pushing more assets and decision-making out into the field,” Zinke said.

Some of the moves suggested involving both the NMFS and USFS, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, which falls under the direction of the Department of Defense.



An Apology to David Horowitz: He Was Right about Bill Kristol


The odious Bill Kristol tweeted today, "Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state." For those who are not aware of the term "deep state," it refers to the secret services in a dictatorship who overthrow governments, manipulate the press, and otherwise eliminate opponents. I first heard the term in reference to Turkey, whose military and intelligence services overthrew governments they didn't like with depressing regularity during the postwar period. To speak of a "deep state" in an American context is to say that the United States is turning into a banana republic.

This is no joking matter. I am confident that President Trump and the tough guys in his cabinet will root out the saboteurs, leakers, manipulators, and liars who infest the intelligence services and who conspire with the liberal media to invent fake-news charges against a duly elected administration. But the danger is real, and the fact that the intelligence community is playing games with domestic politics is a danger to our liberties.

Last May 15, the perspicacious David Horowitz denounced Kristol in Breitbart as a "renegade Jew." Of course, the headline was employed later to show that Breitbart was anti-Semitic--even though Horowitz was arguing that Kristol had betrayed critical Jewish interests. I responded with a note in this space to the effect that Kristol wasn't a "renegade Jew," just a sore loser throwing a tantrum. It was "churlish," I said, to attack a man's religion in that way.

'Renegade Jew'? No, Just Wrong About Everything
Horowitz was right and I was wrong, and I herewith offer him my apology.

Kristol is a renegade Jew, and an apologist for anti-Constitutional, illegal manipulation by America's self-designated "deep state." His hatred for Donald Trump has unhinged him. Decent people should cross the street to avoid walking too close to him.



Chain Migration Turned This Small Penn. Town of 25,000 Upside Down

With the sudden interest of the national media in the families-separated-at-border storyline, the American immigration narrative is currently wound up in what’s happening to children caught crossing illegally with their families on the southern border.

But a look at a town in northeastern Pennsylvania, where immigrant families staying together have completely overhauled the population and atmosphere might have more lessons for country in the long term.

And they don’t paint the rosy picture immigration activists are trying to sell the American public.

During the 2016 campaign, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and surrounding Luzerne County were occasionally in the national news because of the power of immigration as an issue. In October, The New York Times analyzed the area under the headline: “In a City Built by Immigrants, Immigration Is the Defining Issue.”

After Donald Trump’s unlikely victory in November, Newsweek published a December piece headlined, “Why did Donald Trump win? Just Visit Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.”

The premise still holds.

A lengthy piece published last week by the City Journal, a quarterly magazine of the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, is headlined “Chain Migration Comes to Hazleton.”

It describes how in less than 20 years – barely the space of a generation – a town with a population of 25,000 has “been radically transformed since the early 2000s by secondary chain migration, principally driven by Dominicans — immigrants, both legal and illegal, as well as second- and third-generation citizens arriving from the New York metropolitan area.”

The numbers tell the story:

In 2000, Hispanics made up less than 5 percent of Hazleton’s population; they now account for more than 50 percent. Such rapid and dramatic demographic shifts are rare in U.S. cities. For Hazleton, the consequences have been profound, and the city is struggling to cope.”

That might be something of an understatement.

The changing demographics have changed the physical appearance of the Luzerne County town, which was incorporated as a borough in 1857 and became a city in 1891.

City Journal reported:

  Vinyl banners with loud graphics soon came to dominate the facades of sober nineteenth-century retail buildings. Pentecostal and evangelical congregations now fill former Catholic and Protestant churches. Blocks of duplex homes, uniformly encased with aluminum siding, crowd with families living in Section 8 housing or in subdivided rental units.

The public school system has been radically altered:

  In 2007, the district was 28 percent Hispanic and 69 percent non-Hispanic white. As of 2014, the district was 45 percent Hispanic and 51 percent non-Hispanic white… But Hazleton’s budget can’t keep pace with all the new arrivals, many of whom need special services. A district that had need for only one ESL teacher in the 1990s, for example, now has 2,298 English-language learners, nearly 20 percent of its student body; more than half the student body today live in low-income households. By 2017, the school district—encompassing over 250 square miles of southern Luzerne County, northern Schuylkill County, and western Carbon County—faced a $6 million deficit, in part driven by the demographic change.

And then there’s crime. As the City Journal reported, the town’s location near the intersection of Interstates 80 and 81 makes it an “ideal location” for cocaine and heroin operations run by drug rings dominated by immigrants from the Dominican Republic or their families.

When the town eventually tried to take action, it ended up on the losing end of a court case that went all the way to the Supreme Court (and also made Hazleton a national headline name for a time).

As the City Journal reported:

  For many Hazletonians, the city reached a grim tipping point in 2006, when two illegal immigrants from the Dominican Republic were charged with murdering a 29-year-old father of three. The killing shocked the community. Hazleton’s then-mayor, Lou Barletta, responded by introducing an ordinance, soon passed by the city council: the Illegal Immigration Relief Act, which fined and penalized employers and landlords for hiring and renting to illegal immigrants. The ACLU challenged the act, and the fight went to the Supreme Court. In 2014, the Court declined to review two federal appellate decisions that struck down the measure. The following year, a U.S. district court judge ruled that Hazleton had to pay $1.4 million to the attorneys who had sued the city over the act. The judge’s order was devastating for a cash-strapped city struggling to provide adequate services to its growing Hispanic population.

None of that is good news for the Democrat Party, or activists on the side of unchecked immigration.

And there’s a reason: Donald Trump won Luzerne County with 77 percent of the vote, according to the City Journal.

However, Hazleton shouldn’t be seen as an example of why immigration should be opposed as a rule. One thing the liberals are right about is that immigrants have always played a key part of building the United States.

What Hazleton does show is the danger of unchecked immigration, based solely or even largely on the “chain” of relations to those immigrants who are accepted into the country.

America should be a nation that welcomes immigrants who are willing to assimilate into the country as a whole, not bunker themselves in ethnic enclaves for generations.

While liberals try to stage a tear-jerking soap opera about separating families in the Southwest part of the country, it might behoove the rest of us to look at a town in northeastern Pennsylvania for a bit, like Fox News host Tucker Carlson did in March.

Unchecked, chain immigration is not always a pretty picture.



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, June 25, 2018

Kansas is ground zero of illegal voting, yet federal judge issues reprieve

Hundreds and perhaps thousands of non-citizens are illegally registered to vote in Kansas, a state that is at ground-zero in the conservative effort to police voter rolls and the liberal campaign to protect them.

The numbers are contained in a new study by Old Dominion University political science professor Jesse T. Richman. He gained fame as the researcher who put a national estimate on the number of non-citizens who register and vote. His contention that there are tens of thousands of illegal Democratic voters angered the liberal media and academia. Some professors signed an open letter blackballing him.

Mr. Richman did the Kansas study as an expert witness for Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the country’s leading elected official in the anti-voter fraud movement.

On Monday, the Republican lost his court case against the ACLU. A U.S. District Court judged ruled that his required proof-of-citizenship to register to vote was unconstitutional. He said he will appeal.

Mr. Kobach suffered another defeat in January. President Trump abolished his White House voter fraud commission co-chaired by Mr. Kobach. The aim was to try to capture an accurate illegal voting number by comparing registration lists with other data points, such as U.S. government rosters of permanent resident Green Card holders and visas.

But Democratic-run states refused to provide voter rolls, information that can be obtained by political parties for get-out-the-vote operations.

Mr. Richman’s Kansas analysis begins with the assumption that 115,550 adult non-citizens live in the state, based U.S. Census figures. From there, he relied on a number of different data sources to extrapolate numbers. Most important is the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) compiled by a consortium of universities and YouGov pollsters.

Based on actual names on registration lists, he estimates the number of noncitizen registered voters is between 1,202 and 3,813 based on the CCES from 2008 to 2016.

The numbers are much larger when the Richman study relied on surveyed noncitizens who said they were registered to vote.

Using the CCES from 2006 to 2016, the number is 18,488, about 15 percent of Kansas’ non-citizen population.



Leftist scheme defeated in Massachusetts

SHED NO TEARS for the "millionaires tax" ballot initiative, which the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struck down on Monday. From the outset, the initiative was a cynical ploy to get voters to do something they have repeatedly rejected — replacing the state's flat-rate income tax with a system of graduated tax brackets. But nobody was fooled by the ruse, least of all the SJC.

Five times in five decades, Massachusetts voters have been asked to scrap the uniform tax rate required by the state's constitution. Five times they have refused. So activists this time came up with a two-fer: They proposed a "Fair Share Amendment" that would not only whack anyone earning more than $1 million with an 80 percent income-tax surcharge, but would also earmark the money raised for two popular purposes — public education and public transportation.

On both counts, the two-fer was illegal.

Article 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution allows private citizens to initiate ballot questions, but there are conditions: An initiative's provisions (1) must be so plainly "related or . . . mutually dependent" that they embody a single purpose, and (2) earmarking — a "specific appropriation of money from the treasury" — is disallowed. The proposed amendment met neither condition. Its provisions were obviously not closely related (public education has no inherent link to public transportation, and neither is connected to taxing the wealthy). And by specifying how the surtax revenue would be spent, the Fair Share Amendment was an exercise in blatant earmarking.

The rules for ballot questions have been in effect for 100 years. The millionaires tax initiative violated those rules, and it was Attorney General Maura Healey's obligation to say so. Instead, abdicating her duty, she certified the initiative for submission to the voters. It was not her finest hour.

Now the Supreme Judicial Court has cleaned up Healey's mess. In a 5-2 decision, it ruled that the proposed initiative, by jumbling together unrelated elements, was disqualified for the ballot. "It would be unfair to place voters in the untenable position of casting a single vote on two dissimilar subjects," the court held.

Reasonable people can disagree on the merits of a flat-rate vs. graduated income tax, on the wisdom of a millionaires surtax, and on how much the state should spend on education or the repair of roads and bridges. All are perfectly legitimate subjects for political debate; the court, quite correctly, didn't weigh in on any of them.

But while the justices may be nonpolitical, they aren't deaf and dumb. The SJC didn't just fall off the turnip truck. And its opinion makes clear that it understood perfectly well what the progressive coalition behind the Fair Share Amendment had hoped to pull off.

"We are not entirely unaware of the possibility" that the amendment was purposely drafted "to 'sweeten the pot' for voters," the majority remarked dryly. Knowing that every previous attempt to permit graduated tax rates had failed, activists this time around hoped to tempt voters with the prospect of more money for favored causes — and with a dash of eat-the-rich class envy thrown in for good measure. The SJC doesn't actually say that, of course. Instead it quotes someone who did: former Senate President Stanley Rosenberg.

"In the past, constitutional amendments have been very differently constructed," Rosenberg explained when he endorsed the initiative. "This one, because it is focused specifically on money for education and transportation, will stand a better chance of being approved. And also because it is very clear that it [affects] people who make more than $1 million."

It was just that kind of cynical "wheedling and deceiving," wrote the majority in spiking the proposed amendment, that Article 48 was designed to block. The place for jury-rigged legislation that cobbles together widely disparate provisions is the Legislature, not in initiative petitions placed before the voters. A ballot question isn't a wish list. It must present a unified and coherent statement of public policy. The millionaires tax missed the mark by a mile, and the SJC gave it what it deserved.



Commentary seldom gives Trump an even break

Comment from Australia by CHRIS MITCHELL, a recently retired editor of "The Australian", well-known for his mockery of global warming

In 1989 when Frank Devine, former editor of the New York Post, was a newish editor-in-chief of this paper he asked me to arrange something we had never done in our daily editorials: he wanted to include a picture of the Berlin Wall and endorse president Ronald Reagan’s 1987 Berlin speech, “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

It was an important lesson: presidents can change history and editors need to be alive to the power of political outsiders to drive that change. Many people have compared Reagan to US President Donald Trump. Bret Stephens, formerly of The Wall Street Journal but now at The New York Times, wrote a piece published here in The Australian Financial Review last Thursday saying Trump was no Reagan.

Sure, Trump is from another, brasher era. Where Reagan was a B-grade movie star, Trump is a reality TV icon. Yet both were Washington outsiders and both used force of personality and personal relationships to try to tear down what previous administrations had seen as facts of life. As Stephens wrote, “The Cold War didn’t need to last forever. The sec­urity paradigms that defined it weren’t immutable laws of history.”

People with long memories will recall how vicious the progressive media was about Reagan, who they treated initially as a buffoon. They mocked his challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev and ridiculed his plans to build a “star wars” missile defence shield that would have forced a financially strapped Soviet Union to respond.

The liberal media was wrong. Reagan and his ally, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, proved strong individuals could change history. The Soviet Union disintegrated. This was not a small rogue state like North Korea. It was a giant of 390 million people that included the Baltic states, the Caucasian states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the east European countries of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, and Soviet Central Asia.

So here’s the thing. When Trump faced down “Little Rocket Man” last year he was threatening “fire and fury” against a state with nuclear weapons, but only a fraction the size of the colossus Reagan and John F. Kennedy before him had faced down. Trump’s threats worked, and Korean peninsula denuclearisation is now possible. What to make, then, of media reaction to last week’s summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un?

This paper’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan, no US-style left-liberal media type, was rightly cautious about what Trump might be giving away, especially in pledging to abandon joint military exercises with South Korea. It is in Australia’s interests that the US-led alliance system remain strong in the Pacific and South Korea is a key part of it. But Sheridan made another point: “Part of the problem with much analysis is that people approach it as pro or anti Trump.”

Just as they did with Reagan and Thatcher. The Pacific alliance has not solved the North Korean problem. Neither Kim nor his father, Kim Jong-il, or grandfather Kim Il-sung has ever been brought to heel by sanctions. Presidents since Bill Clinton have expended enormous effort and money to try, unsuccessfully, to prevent the hermit kingdom from acquiring nuclear weapons. Barack Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, at least partly for his efforts to settle the North Korean issue. Yet he warned in 2016 that North Korea remained the world’s most intractable problem.

The North conducted its first successful nuclear test under Kim Jong-il in 2006 (after withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 2003) and now probably has 20 warheads and missiles capable of travelling 13,000km. It is unclear whether they would be capable of carrying a nuclear payload that far.

No serious editor will want to be proved wrong in declaring Trump a failure or a success before either becomes clear. Yet as people gravitate to news they agree with, newspapers reap rewards for commentary that really is no better than last week’s puerile attack by actor Robert De Niro, who received a standing ovation for saying two words: “F..k Trump”.

This paper’s associate editor Chris Kenny, who visited North Korea when a staffer for former foreign minister Alexander Downer, wrote about Trump’s strategy last Thursday, arguing Trump could not receive a fair appraisal from most media. Trump was a dangerous warmonger last year when he threatened Kim Jong-un but is soft on dictators this year for giving Kim a place at the negotiating table. Surely decades of failure of talks and refusal to meet Korean leaders should suggest to a normal person (not of the foreign policy establishment) that a different course might be worth exploring.

Some commentators were even silly enough to point out the North Korean media had trumpeted the summit as a win for Kim. They would, wouldn’t they, given they are state controlled. And the US needs a partner to deal with so a positive reaction in Pyongyang is crucial to preserve Kim’s leadership. The media’s Trump derangement is just as bad in discussion of Trump’s business dealings with Russia and special counsel Robert Mueller’s examination of potential involvement by parts of the Trump campaign in Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Which brings us to Sarah Ferguson’s three-part series for Four Corners. The first two episodes have been entertaining even if they have revealed nothing new.

The program has left itself wriggle room by airing background material on key players that runs counter to the prevailing narrative on the Russia story. Except so far for one person, and it is the one Ferguson has used as an honest broker, former Obama national intelligence director James Clapper. Whether discussing Trump’s attempted property dev­elopments in Moscow in episode one or the role of low-ranking Trump staff George Papadopoulos and Carter Page in episode two, Four Corners really should have pointed out some facts about Clapper’s role in the affair. He is accused of leaking the discredited Christopher Steele dossier about Trump to CNN, then lying to congress about it. Ferguson admitted her main source in part one, Trump property development associate Felix Sater, has been a 20-year informer for the FBI and intelligence source for other agencies. Part two also admitted Papadopoulos and Page were junior staff with almost no influence.

While Twitter took all this to be incriminating, I thought it raised an obvious question: how is some big-noting and financial cadging by staff on the periphery of the campaign the “story of the century”, as the series has been branded?



A Leftist "fact checker" at work

Confirmation bias damages reputations. It ruins credibility. It destroys lives

When researchers ignore contradictory data that undermines their assumptions, junk science prevails. When police conduct investigations with predetermined outcomes, wrongful convictions abound. And when reporters cherry-pick facts and distort images to serve political agendas, media outlets become dangerous weapons of mass manipulation.

Take Talia Lavin, a young journalist who has enjoyed a meteoric rise. Her pedigree appears impeccable on its face: She graduated with a degree in comparative literature from Harvard University six years ago. After graduation, she won a Fulbright Scholar fellowship to study in Ukraine. She “worked in all realms” of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news agency and wire service, copy-edited for the feminist Lilith magazine, and contributed stories and translations for the Huffington Post.

Lavin has held the coveted position of “fact-checker” for the revered New Yorker for the past three years. The publication brags that its “fact-checking department is known for its high standards.” It demands the ability “to quickly analyze a manuscript for factual errors, logical flaws, and significant omissions.” The editorial department requires “a strong understanding of ethical reporting standards and practices” and prefers “proficiency or fluency in a second language.”

Impressively, Lavin speaks four languages (Russian, Hebrew, Ukrainian and English). Her abdication of ethical reporting standards, however, raises fundamental questions not only about her competence but also about her integrity — not to mention the New Yorker‘s journalistic judgment.

With a single tweet, the New Yorker’s professional fact-checker smeared Justin Gaertner, a combat-wounded war veteran and computer forensic analyst for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Lavin, the professional fact-checker, rushed to judgment. She abused her platform. Amid the national media hysteria over President Donald Trump’s border enforcement policies, Lavin derided a photo of Gaertner shared by ICE, which had spotlighted his work rescuing abused children. Scrutinizing his tattoos, she claimed an image on his left elbow was an Iron Cross — a symbol of valor commonly and erroneously linked to Nazis.

The meme spread like social media tuberculosis: Look! The jackboots at ICE who hate children and families employ a real-life white supremacist.

Only it wasn’t an Iron Cross. It was a Maltese Cross, the symbol of double amputee Gaertner’s platoon in Afghanistan, Titan 2. He lost both legs during an IED-clearing mission and earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Valor and the Purple Heart before joining ICE to combat online child exploitation.

When actual military veterans, whom Lavin failed to consult before defaming Gaertner so glibly, pointed out that the image looked more like a Maltese Cross, Lavin deleted her original tweet “so as not to spread misinformation.”

Too damned late. The harm to Gaertner’s name and honor is irreparable and cannot be unseen, unread or unpublished.

The New Yorker issued an obligatory apology and acknowledged that “a staff member erroneously made a derogatory assumption about ICE agent Justin Gaertner’s tattoo.” But what consequences will there be for her journalistic malpractice? Who is supervising her work at the famed publication? What other lapses might she be responsible for during her present and past stints as a checker of facts and arbiter of truth?

The magazine editors claim “we in no way share the viewpoint expressed in this tweet,” yet the abject ignorance of, and knee-jerk bigotry against, law enforcement, immigration enforcement and the military underlying Lavin’s slime run rampant in New York media circles. And they all know it.

Lavin has not commented on the matter and instead turned her Twitter account private. But we can infer her attitude about her present troubles from a defiant piece she published just last week in The Forward magazine, where she pens a regular column. Titled “No, We Don’t Have To Be Friends with Trump Supporters,” the piece, laden with Nazi allusions, decries asylum reform, strengthened borders and ICE agents enforcing the law.

Rejecting calls for decency in public debate over these contentious matters, she spat: “[T]ough nuts, sugar. When they go low, stomp them on the head.”

She further raged: “It is high time, when you find yourself next at a dinner party with someone who has gone Trump, to smash your glass to shards and leave. It is time to push yourself away from the table. It is time to cease to behave with subservient politesse towards those who embrace barbarity with unfettered glee.”

Better “gone Trump” than gone mad. In her unfettered haste to condemn those with whom she disagrees, the New Yorker’s professional fact-checker failed to check her own toxic biases. Lavin’s act was no innocent gaffe. Like the journalists-turned-propagandists who have falsely spread Obama-era photos of immigrant detention centers to attack the Trump White House, Lavin engaged in mass manipulation under the guise of resistance journalism.

Truth is collateral damage.



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, June 24, 2018

Lying media again

An image that went viral of a little Honduran girl crying after being apprehended in the US was not separated from her mother, her father says.

The Honduran toddler pictured sobbing in a pink jacket before US President Donald Trump on an upcoming cover of Time magazine was not separated from her mother at the US border, according to a man who says he is the girl's father.

The powerful original photograph, taken at the scene of a border detention by Getty Images photographer John Moore, became one of the iconic images in the flurry of media coverage about the separation of families by the Trump administration.

Dozens of newspapers and magazines around the globe published the picture, swelling the tide of outrage that pushed Trump to back down Wednesday and say families would no longer be separated.

"My daughter has become a symbol of the ... separation of children at the US border. She may have even touched President Trump's heart," Denis Valera told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Valera said the little girl and her mother, Sandra Sanchez, have been detained together in the Texas border town of McAllen, where Sanchez has applied for asylum, and they were not separated after being detained near the border.

Honduran deputy foreign minister Nelly Jerez confirmed Valera's version of events.



500 days of unleashing our economic engine

Amazing growth – while protecting environment, health and welfare from actual threats

Paul Driessen

The “mainstream media” remains riveted on alleged Trump-Russian collusion and how the Trump-Kim Jong Un deal will fail. But it mostly ignored reports on Russia-environmentalist collusion and China-environmentalist collusion – and milestones reached during the Trump Administration’s first 500 days.

In that short time, the US economy has gone from the lowest labor participation rate since the 1970s to nearly the lowest Black, Hispanic and women’s unemployment rates in history. It added 223,000 jobs just last month. Many employers are struggling to find qualified workers, even though private sector salaries and benefits have been increasing to attract them. (Perhaps generous welfare and unemployment payouts still tempt too many?) More than 4 million Americans have received pay raises and/or bonuses.

Businesses large and small are investing billions of dollars in facilities and equipment, and the Dow Jones Industrial average skyrocketed from 18,800 points just after the November 2016 elections – to a record 26,617 on January 26, 2018, before falling to 23,533 and then rebounding to 25,200. IRA, 401(k), and private and government pension funds have gained hundreds of billions in cumulative value.

Economists predict a growth rate of 4% for the second quarter of 2018, while one of the best forecasters says we may hit 5% by year’s end, thanks to extensive investment capital flowing into the USA.

The primary reasons for these changes were anticipation of and reaction to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of December 2017 and the Administration-wide reduction in regulations: not enacting many new ones, while reversing past bureaucratic rules, obstacles and delays. Two departments led the way: EPA and Interior.

* The Obama Department of the Interior implemented numerous actions to curtail fossil fuel production, mining, ranching and other economy-enhancing programs. During his first 500 days, Secretary Ryan Zinke reversed, eliminated or streamlined many of those rules and decision-delaying processes.

In accordance with the 2017 Tax Act, he opened the narrow “Coastal Plain” of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to leasing and drilling, so that the area’s enormous oil and gas potential can be evaluated. Environmentalists had blocked access for nearly 40 years, denying America critically needed energy that can be developed safely under practices proven by decades of operations at the Prudhoe Bay oilfield.

Secretary Zinke also ended DOI’s war on coal and opened large tracts of valuable Utah coal reserves that had been closed off via abusive use of the 1906 Antiquities Act. He did so while fully protecting smaller monument areas of true historic, prehistoric and scientific value. Onshore and offshore, he opened millions of acres to oil and gas leasing, so that they can go through a full formal study and review process, with some of them ultimately being made available for exploration, drilling and production.

These and other actions have already helped send US oil production to a record (projected) 2018 output of 10.7 million barrels a day. They have created thousands of jobs and generated billions of dollars in lease bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenues to support essential government programs and services.

The new DOI and other government policies also helped the United States export a record $20 billion in crude oil, liquefied natural gas and refined products in April 2018 alone. US natural gas exports also increased – by 66% over their first quarter 2016 level.

After years of neglecting this critical obligation, Interior has dedicated tens of millions of dollars to restoring, repairing and maintaining national park lands, trails, lodges and visitor centers, so that families can continue enjoying them.

Meanwhile, many other Interior Department lands will now be managed under traditional “multiple use” guidelines that permit motorized access, non-wilderness recreation, grazing, forest management, timber harvesting, and responsible development of energy resources above and below the ground – all via expedited planning and permitting under the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws.

Finally, with an eye toward America’s current and future defense, renewable energy, communication and other needs, Interior issued a detailed report assessing the nation’s access to the “critical minerals” that are essential for manufacturing those vital technologies.

* Under President Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency was the most regulation-prone agency in government. Its heavy-handed rules cost the US economy billions and killed countless jobs. No longer.

During his first 500 days, Administrator Scott Pruitt’s EPA reduced or eliminated numerous burdensome regulations, likely saving America at least $1 billion a year in regulatory costs so far – while still protecting air and water quality and safeguarding human health against actual, demonstrable risks.

He helped persuade President Trump to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Treaty, which would have forced the USA to slash its greenhouse gas emissions and thus its reliance on fossil fuels, and pay billions of dollars annually into a “green climate” slush fund. Meanwhile, China, India and other rapidly developing countries will continue expanding their oil, gas and coal use … and CO2 emissions. In short, Paris will bring no climate benefits, even if CO2 actually is a primary factor in climate change.

Pruitt also repealed the deceptively named “Clean Power Plan,” which used dishonest claims about particulate, mercury and carbon dioxide emissions, exaggerated “social cost of carbon” data, and dubious assertions about climate change to justify rules that forced numerous coal-fired generators to shut down.

Pruitt also proposed to end the longstanding EPA practice of using secretive, questionable, non-replicable, even deceptive science to support agency policy and regulatory initiatives. The new rules will ensure that any science underlying agency actions is transparent and publicly available for independent experts to examine, validate or debunk. Studies that do not comply cannot be part of the decision-making process.

Equally important, Pruitt ended the underhanded sue-and-settle tactic that allowed radical environmental groups to work with EPA officials behind the scenes, to devise policies, sue in friendly courts to force their implementation, and then settle the cases – without parties affected by the decision able to present testimony or have their day in court. (My only complaint here is that Pruitt perhaps should have waited until conservative groups had some opportunities to use the same tactic to advance their policy agendas.)

The Pruitt EPA has garnered bipartisan praise for moving to expedite the cleanup of Missouri, Montana, Texas and other Superfund toxic waste sites that have posed threats to local communities for decades. It received similar support (and environmentalist criticism) for rescinding the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule that gave EPA effective control over every creek and temporary puddle in the nation

Those who still believe rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are causing dangerous manmade climate change will be happy to know that the United States has reduced its CO2 emissions more than any other country – even as America entered a new energy and economic renaissance under President Trump. In fact, they were down another 2.5% in 2016, on top of an 11% decline 2005 through 2015.

This is largely due to the Obama era war on coal, which resulted in hundreds of coal-fired generating units closing since 2008, with many replaced by increasingly efficient natural gas generators. With China, India, Germany and the rest of the world using fossil fuels to generate reliable, affordable electricity, it’s time for the United States to do likewise. Zinke and Pruitt are doing exactly that.

All of this represents enormous progress in returning to environmental common sense, restoring business and consumer confidence, and unleashing America’s powerful energy and economic engines.

However, there is still much to do: from immigration reform to renegotiated trade agreements that end the expanding tariff battles, and building more pipelines to get the nation’s increasing oil and gas production to power plants, refineries and export terminals – to ensuring a lasting Trump legacy through legislative deals, court victories and longer-term strategies, to augment executive orders and regulatory actions.

Using all this progress as a guide, imagine what could be accomplished over the next 500 days, the 950 days before Mr. Trump’s first term ends – or the next 2,400 days until the end of his second term!

Via email


Just How Far Are Democrats Lurching Left?

The party's presidential hopefuls are leading the charge toward ever more socialism

The expected electoral Blue Wave in 2018 has been tempered a bit considering the positive economic news based on the tremendous reversal in unemployment that sweeps across demographics with wages rising, consumer confidence soaring and small business optimism through the roof. Democrats’ recourse has been to double down on the extremist #Resist movement to the point that they’re literally hoping for recession just to get Donald Trump.

This thinking has positioned Democrats against the sweeping Republican tax cuts that have opened the economic flow of activity, against real DACA reform and against sweeping diplomatic efforts such as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Put another way, they’re against peace and prosperity.

Now that’s a party platform that appeals to the masses!

This past week, a large gathering of the political Left occurred in Washington, DC — the We the People Summit. The event can be best summarized by a quote made by one of the event’s moderators and president of Demos, a progressive Democrat policy organization: “We’re not just pulling the party to the left. We’re pulling the party into the future.”

The list of host sponsors, in addition to Demos, tells the story: Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Communications Workers of America, Center for Popular Democracy Action, MoveOn, People’s Action, 32BJ SEIU, Working Families Party, PICO National Network, Caring Across Generations Action Fund, National Domestic Workers Alliance, New York Communities for Change, Sierra Club and United We Dream Action.

It doesn’t take a political scientist or consultant to see the obvious: Democrats are moving further to the political left and, in their own words, working to “project a bold, transformative vision.” Anyone remember what happened for eight years the last time some smooth-talking politician promised an agenda rooted in “fundamentally transforming the United States of America”?

Interestingly, as the political Left demands more and more government control, intervention and, yes, socialism, the political Right has moved into a governing role that, while still motivated by principles, is not as ideologically driven as the days of the Tea Party’s beginnings almost a decade ago. But that’s another story.

Exactly what are these bold, transformative Democrats proposing?

At last Wednesday’s progressive pep rally, the main event revolved around the current pool of 2020 presidential hopefuls for the Democrats — U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), Cory Booker (New Jersey), Bernie Sanders (Vermont), Kristen Gillibrand (New York) and Kamala Harris (California).

These politicians previewed issues that we should expect in the 2018 elections as well as the 2020 presidential cycle. Despite their passion, their platform was embarrassingly reflective of the mythical belief that government has its own money, can create jobs and is the institution that should, by default, replace all others that serve a civil society.

Let’s start with Medicare for All.

Remember that Medicare, the health insurance program funded by payroll taxes, surtaxes and some premiums from beneficiaries, is available to those 65 years of age or older and a select few more. Democrats want a single-payer (government) health insurance program for all citizens, and likely noncitizens, of the U.S., operating as Medicare for All. Universal health care sounds great because it covers all care. It’s the price tag of reality, however, that should deter us. Not to mention the inherent loss of Liberty.

Never mind that the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees released a report just two weeks ago that declared the health insurance program for seniors would be insolvent by 2026. That means Medicare’s debts and promised services will outnumber its funds in only eight years. But, to paraphrase Lady Margaret Thatcher, when you’re a socialist, you don’t have a problem until you run out of other people’s money. Medicare is almost there.

The “We the People” parade of progressive hogwash also featured the call for a “living wage,” with specifics offered that range from a $15/hour minimum wage to a universal wage for everyone to eliminate economic inequities. Let’s ask Seattle how its business head tax, ostensibly aimed to generate $48 million to address homelessness and housing costs, worked out. It’s exactly the same premise. Mandating that a business pay some type of universal wage is a tax on jobs.

On immigration, the wannabe Democrat standard-bearers boast of the humanity that only they possess with their view that an open-border policy is the answer. They insist the “rights” of illegals are in jeopardy as long as racist Republicans enforce immigration laws and the notion of sovereignty within our own country. Yet the truth is, Democrats stand with the “animals” of MS-13 — perpetrators of heinous crimes — against the citizens of our nation. They keep moving further to the left.

Other foundational topics addressed last week included the leftist sacrament of unrestricted abortion, the rights of the gender confused, “free” college tuition for all and the need to cut our military to make way for more welfare spending.

But the event and the upcoming elections can be easily summarized: Democrats hope to ride a Blue Wave by offering “Better Deal” socialism that fails every time it’s tried. And yet they accuse Republicans of moving to the right.

Via email


Obsessive media coverage risks fuelling the rise of Donald Trump

Swiss journalist PATRIK MULLER below can see what the American Left apparently cannot: That the  ever-boiling media hate of Trump defeats their purposes.  Even before he was elected he dominated the news. The Left just cannot restrain their hate of him

As a Swiss journalist, I’ve followed US politics and media since the Clinton administration. But when I moved to Boston five months ago, I got a new perspective, and it has stunned me. I’m subscribed to several major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. Too much of the press is obsessed with the US President.

In The New York Times, I counted 14 articles dealing with Trump in a recent Friday edition. One of them, an editorial, was titled “The Cult of Trump” and accused Republicans of revolving around a man rather than ideas. Could it be that the media’s excessive Trump coverage is a kind of cult, too? Could it be that, as important as this presidency indeed is, other relevant issues are crowded out?

To be sure, the media must report and comment at length on events such as the G7 and North Korea summits. They must analyse in detail the withdrawal from the Iran deal, the imposition of tariffs, and turnover in the administration. It is journalists’ duty to investigate and criticise every president and administration.

Yet many news organisations allow Trump to dominate the news cycle even when it comes to trivialities. Do his tweets about Kanye West, Roseanne Barr, the National Football League’s national anthem policy and the latest twist in the Stormy Daniels case warrant the scale and scope of the coverage?

The Trump hysteria extends to the President’s family and friends. When a reporter from The Boston Globe disclosed that “a small number” of Harvard alumni mocked Jared Kushner in their 15-year reunion book (“Shame on you!”), the newspaper ran the scoop on its front page.

From a Swiss perspective, this all seems familiar. In the 1990s, my country saw the rise of a man later described as the first populist in Europe, Christoph Blocher.

The billionaire entrepreneur took over the Swiss People’s Party and transformed it into a conservative, Eurosceptic and immigrant-weary movement. Blocher dominated the headlines for years, much the way Trump does in the US. Amid dire warnings by virtually every Swiss news outlet, Blocher’s party increased its share of the vote constantly, from around 10 per cent to 30 per cent.

In retrospect, it’s accepted that Blocher’s exuberant media presence, and his demonisation, helped him rise. While meaning to do the opposite, the media made him the hero against the “political class”. Similarly, Trump’s approval numbers are higher than when he was elected, and many Republicans who once were ambivalent now support him. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a private conversation, reported this month: “I am increasingly admiring of Donald Trump. I have become more and more convinced that there is method in his madness.”

Johnson is a former journalist, and it’s worth thinking about how the method works on the press.



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)