Friday, July 20, 2018

5 Billion in Border Funding Proposed for 2019 Budget

The cost estimates to build President Donald Trump’s “big beautiful” wall range from $15-25 billion, and a new fiscal 2019 spending measure was just introduced to fund $5 billion of that.

That $5 billion provides additional funding for the southern border wall and other border security measures. Part of the $5 billion would be allocated with the specific goal of achieving “100 percent scanning” of the border within five years. That would be achieved by adding 375 new border patrol agents, and 140 canine teams.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 200 miles of border wall could be built with this funding. The U.S. Mexico border is 2,000 miles in length, of which 1300 miles are exposed. The 700 miles of protected border that does exist stems from the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which was passed with votes from Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Diane Feinstein, and Chuck Schumer, back before the Left made being against illegal immigration a “Nazi” position.

Still, this $5 billion only would construct enough border to cover approximately 15% of the exposed border. Aside from this proposed measure, the 2019 budget included $3 billion in funding for a border, which has been referred to as a mere “down payment” on the border.

The Administration said it expects only 60 miles of fencing to be built with the $3 billion, which is more conservative than the DHS’s estimates of how much wall can be built per dollar of funding.

This proposed $5 billion in new border spending will be met with fierce opposition by Congressional Democrats, but that’ll prove irrelevant given the Republican majority in Congress. And if Democrat opposition can’t stop border funding, what’s the point at stopping at $5 billion? Why not just fund the entire thing, like Republicans have been arguing we should do for decades?

The cost of illegal immigration to the American economy tops $100 billion a year, so as expensive as building a border is, the return on investment is tremendous.

While Democrats are running around calling for the dismantling of ICE, President Trump is committed to securing our border and keeping the American public safe.



Lying Is a Time-Honored Leftist Tradition,/b>

The left wing’s nonstop lying for dramatic effect didn’t just begin when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency — they’ve been telling whoppers for decades without even the slightest hint of shame or remorse, let alone an “I’m sorry.”

The left’s histrionics over any alleged Trump/Russia collusion or about Trump’s historical meeting with Putin is nothing more than a farcical sideshow. Our nation’s liberals couldn’t care less about the potential threat that Russia poses to the United States.

If those on the left were truly concerned about Moscow, they never would have turned a blind eye to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of the Uranium One deal in 2010 that could have potentially handed over up to 20 percent of our nation’s uranium supply to Russian-controlled companies.

Don’t be fooled by the overwrought displays of liberal outrage.

The left’s foremost concern has absolutely nothing to do with Trump, Russia or even our national security. The left only cares about one thing — control. And just like Malcolm X, they are prepared to gain it “by any means necessary,” no matter who gets hurt in the process.

A short walk down memory lane will highlight these inconvenient truths about the left.

Slandering of Ayn Rand

The left has been calling the late Ayn Rand a fascist for over 75 years now, despite her penning such irrefutably anti-fascist literature as “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” Liberals desperately don’t want Rand’s works to be read because those books are in direct opposition to fascism, socialism and communism — all of which give the government tremendous power over the individual, which is precisely what the left is hoping to achieve.

Rand’s philosophy, called objectivism, champions individual liberties. She strongly advocated for the complete separation of the government from the markets and didn’t believe the government (or any individual) had the right to claim one precious second of anyone’s life. Calling Rand a fascist isn’t just a lie; it’s tantamount to slander.

Destroying Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential Bid

In 1964, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, a Republican, was running for the presidency against incumbent Democrat Lyndon Baines Johnson. Approximately two months before Election Day, the Democrat machine rolled out the most incendiary television ad in presidential election history.

The commercial was known as the “Daisy ad” because it showed a little girl picking the petals off of a daisy, when all of a sudden a strong male voice begins an ominous countdown to zero, after which an atomic explosion with a huge mushroom cloud covered the screen.

The disingenuous implication was either you vote for LBJ, or you’ll be voting for the death of your nation’s children. President Lyndon Johnson won in a landslide … by any means necessary.

Resisting Donald Trump

The leftists’ all-out assault against Trump began on June 16, 2015, when Trump announced he was running for the presidency of the United States. Within minutes, almost every major news network was declaring that Trump had called every Mexican coming into the United States illegally drug smugglers, rapists and criminals, even though Trump had clearly added, “And some, I assume, are good people.”

The torrent of lies and displays of verbal violence against Trump haven’t been confined to the news networks or his political opponents — famous left-wing celebrities have come looking for their pound of flesh as well.

Pop rock star Madonna said, “Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.”

Talk show host and comedian Bill Maher recently stated that “one way you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy. So, please, bring on the recession.”

And Monday after Trump’s historic meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Hollywood’s largest director of alleged documentaries Michael Moore tweeted to the world: “Arrest Trump when Air Force One lands. I want to see him in chains.”

Now why would these celebrity leftists possibly desire to bomb the White House, crash our economy and see a U.S. president taken away in chains? It’s because leftists do not respect our nation’s capital or the office of the presidency, and they have less than zero concern for those in America who are struggling from paycheck to paycheck to survive.

The hardened left’s only ambition has always been to achieve maximum power and full control over our lives. The left desires to dictate precisely how much money we will be able to keep from what we have worked to earn, what politically correct social propaganda our children will study in school and what words and ideas we will be allowed to express.

If current trends continue, we will even need federal governmental approval to place plastic straws in our ice-filled drinks.

Make no mistake about it: The left aims to take total control over America and our lives through their steady stream of lies … and by any means necessary.



Lib Asks Man ‘When Was America Great,’ Gets 1 of Best Answers We’ve Ever Heard

When President Donald Trump announced on Monday evening that he had nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court, protests and counter-protests quickly broke out both in opposition and support of the nominee on the steps of our nation’s highest court.

One of the counter-protesters was a black man named Ricardo Caldwell who spoke with a reporter for Breitbart News about an interaction and conversation he’d had with one of the protesters who opposed Kavanaugh, President Trump and seemingly the nation of America as a whole.

Caldwell, who was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap, related how the woman he spoke with had asked pointedly “when was America great,” implying that the nation has never truly been “great” — typical tripe put forward by anti-American leftists.

The man’s answer to the protester’s snarky query was quite possibly better and of deeper substance than any heard by most of the supposed intellectuals and highly intelligent pundits commonly seen pontificating on cable news.

Caldwell first described how the protester barely even gave him an opportunity to answer her question about the message on his hat and instead seemed intent on provoking an emotional response instead of an actual dialogue.

“What she was talking about was slavery — I guess she feels that since I’m black I have to relate to slavery and that’s gotta be a ‘hot button issue,'” he stated.

“Nevermind the fact that we have never been a slave, don’t know anyone (who’s been a slave) and I’m not a slave, of course,” he continued.

He pointed to his hat as he noted that she had asked “when was America great” and recalled that his answer had been: “America has been great from the very start because this nation was founded on the principles of freeing us from tyranny.”

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“OK, there was slaves and so forth, but there were a lot of all colors — let’s say white — in this nation that did not feel like that was correct and this nation from that time has been moving out of tyranny, from bondage in one way or another, whether it be from Britain or whether it be from slavery as a whole,” he continued.

“In case she doesn’t know, there was a civil war, and in part … a whole lot of white people, if you look at history, died because they wanted this nation and people like myself to be free,” he added.

After taking a moment to compose himself as he spoke about his great love of this country, Caldwell stated, “Because this nation gives you the right to move yourself up out of any poor, bad position that you’re in like no other nation.”

“While some nations might step on you and say ‘hey, you’re gonna stay like that,’ or have the classism, we don’t,” he continued.

“What she’s saying about ‘this nation is horrible,’ basically saying ‘this nation is full of racists’ and I should be stupid enough to believe that when I’m sitting right here and see people who are nice of all colors that do things and work together, and this fool wants to take us back to a time when everybody hated each other,” he added.

This patriotic man hit the nail on the head with his response.

It’d be great if the so-called intellectuals and pundits who pontificate on all manner of America and America’s history would take note of this man’s answer and spend some time expounding on how our nation has always been great, and despite obvious and admitted shortcomings, we have continued to move past those issues and continue to make our nation greater all the time.



WOW: Huge California City Allowing ‘Non-Citizen’ Voter Registrations

Democrat officials in San Francisco, California are allowing “non-citizens” to register to vote for the upcoming election in November for the city’s Board of Education.

According to The Daily Wire, liberal city officials admitted on Monday that they have been helping illegal aliens register to vote ahead of the city’s elections.

City Supervisor Norman Yee said, “We want to give immigrants the right to vote,” endorsing the idea of all citizens have the right to vote, even if they broke the law to enter a country they are not authorized or permitted to be in.

During an interview with ABC-7, Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, who represents District 1, said city leaders and community organizers believe illegal aliens should be allowed to register to vote.

In order to vote, illegal immigrants must live in San Francisco, be at least 18-years-old, and be the parents, legal guardians, or caregivers of children who live in the city and are under the age of nineteen.

Thankfully, not everyone in California believes this resolution is a good idea.

California Republican National Committee member Harmeet Dhillon said she voted against the measure in 2016 and thinks something must be done now before it could become a state-wide measure.

“The reason I voted against it is that I think the right to vote is something that goes along with citizenship and should be.”

“I don’t think that people who have otherwise tenuous ties to San Francisco given their lack of legal residence should be making long-term decisions about that structure and process.”

When will the state learn that it should be prioritizing legal citizens, not those who broke the law to infiltrate the nation?



Trump says Europe to discuss auto tariffs

US President Donald Trump has said European leaders are coming to Washington next week to try to hammer out a deal focused largely on car tariffs, while his top economic adviser has accused Chinese President Xi Jinping of holding up a US-China trade deal.

Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, said that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's visit will discuss car tariffs, which he cited as "the big one" among US-EU trade irritants.

Trump considers the EU's 10 per cent tariff on cars to be unfair compared to the US' 2.5 per cent tariff, although the United States maintains a 25 per cent tariff on pickup trucks.

"They're going to be coming on July 25th to negotiate with us. We said if we don't negotiate something fair, then we have tremendous retribution. Which we don't want to use, but we have tremendous powers," Trump said.

Trump has threatened to levy higher tariffs, as much as 25 per cent on imported cars, and his Commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is conducting a study on whether vehicle and parts imports threaten national security.

Larry Kudlow, who heads the White House Economic Council, said separately at an investment forum in New York that he has been told that Juncker would be "bringing a very important free trade offer" to Trump on his visit.

Kudlow said he believed Xi has blocked progress on a deal to end duelling US and Chinese tariffs. He added that lower-ranking officials want a deal, including Xi's top economic adviser Liu He, but Xi has refused to make changes to China's technology transfer and other trade policies.

"So far as we know, President Xi, at the moment, does not want to make a deal," Kudlow said at the Delivering Alpha conference.

China could end US tariffs "this afternoon by providing a more satisfactory approach" and taking steps that other countries are also calling for, he said.

These included cutting tariff and non-tariff barriers to imports, ending the "theft" of intellectual property and allowing full foreign ownership of companies operating in China, Kudlow said.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Terror Expert on What He Saw Going into Summit: Media Is Completely Off-Base

There was great consternation and outrage among the media and Democrats — as well as some Republicans — following President Donald Trump’s summit in Helsinki, Finland, with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While the harsh criticisms and shouts of “treason” from the hard left and NeverTrump right are more than a little disconcerting, they are not the least bit surprising as that sort of reaction has become rather predictable in this day and age.

Indeed, the stage was set ahead of the summit for just such a reaction by the media and Democrats, who displayed their “glaring hypocrisy” with regard to their coverage of Trump’s diplomatic meeting as opposed to the diplomatic meetings held by former President Barack Obama or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

That was the message delivered on “Fox & Friends” on Sunday morning by former U.S. Army Special Forces member and anti-terrorism expert Jim Hanson, who pointed out the disparate ways in which Trump, Obama and Clinton were treated by the establishment and media following their particular dealings with Russia.

Co-host Pete Hegseth began the segment by recalling Clinton’s embarrassing attempt in 2009 to hit the “reset” button with Russia, using a hokey red plastic button that actually had the wrong Russian word printed on it to symbolize the development in U.S./Russian relations.

“And Hillary walks into that meeting asking for nothing with her giant button that actually said ‘overcharge’ in Russian, and she’s telling them, ‘ok, you can have whatever you want from us,'” Hanson said.

“Even a more glaring example was when President Obama was talking to (then-President) Medvedev of the Russian Republic and tells him, ‘after my next election I’ll have more flexibility,'” he continued.

“Now that is him admitting that he was lying to the American public during that election cycle, and afterwards he would give Russia what they wanted. But yet, where is the outrage? Where is the press saying we should investigate that?” Hanson asked.

Hegseth asked what sort of “flexibility” Obama was referring to in that particular remark, and if it meant allowing Russia to annex Crimea, invade Ukraine or even meddle in our elections.

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“All of it, and that’s the problem Pete,” Hanson replied. “You know the entire focus and entire stature of the Obama foreign policy was cringing capitulation, it was ‘America last’ — ‘what do you guys want, what can we give you’ — and it ended up making the world a much more dangerous place.”

“In that case they were actually talking about missile defense, so the security of the entire free world for any attack by any crazed person with missiles — which could have included the Russians — is being put at risk because Obama was willing to go ahead and bow down,” Hanson said.

“And now, the media at that point in time had nothing to say, now President Trump wants to have a less antagonistic relationship with the Russians, maybe get them to stop hurting us with North Korea, stop hurting us in Syria, and all of the sudden it’s the worst thing that ever happened,” he continued.

“It’s glaring hypocrisy,” Hanson concluded, to which Hegseth could only reply, “Absolutely it is, every single day of the week.”

When Obama and Clinton reached out and tried to make nice with Russia, they were applauded by the liberal media and establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle, even as Putin and Russia took full advantage of the naive good faith extended by Obama and Clinton.

Now Trump is seeking to tone down the harsh rhetoric and smooth out the rough relationship between the U.S. and Russia and he has been attacked and smeared as some sort of Putin puppet that has sold out his own nation by the same folks who cheered similar efforts by Trump’s predecessors.

If that isn’t glaring hypocrisy, nothing is.



How Expanding Medicaid To Able-Bodied Adults Is Stripping Care For Disabled People

Over the last several years, states that expanded Medicaid to able-bodied adults have seen costs skyrocket and patients lose access to critical medical care. Yet despite this disastrous track record, many are recklessly rushing to expand Medicaid in their states.

On July 6, Medicaid expansion advocates delivered boxes full of signatures to Idaho’s secretary of state to place the issue on the state’s ballot in November. Just one day earlier, another ballot drive collected enough signatures to expand Medicaid in Nebraska. In Maine, pro-Medicaid lawmakers are preparing to raise fresh new taxes to grow the program.

The leaders of these campaigns argue that expanding Medicaid will provide health care access to the needy. Unfortunately, expanding coverage to able-bodied adults imposes enormous harm on Medicaid’s traditional enrollees, which include individuals with severe developmental and intellectual disabilities, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. When a state expands Medicaid, the federal government covers 95 percent of the cost of treating every able-bodied patient. However, the federal government only covers 30 to 50 percent of the cost of treating Medicaid’s sicker patient populations.

In response to these federal incentives, 33 states and the District of Columbia opted to spend billions on millions of new able-bodied Medicaid enrollees and subsequently spend less on Medicaid’s sicker patients. A common tactic states use to limit health care access to disabled Medicaid patients is to place them on waitlists. Nearly 250,000 disabled children and adults are stuck on waiting lists for home and community-based services in states that expanded Medicaid to able-bodied adults. In Maryland, more than 36,000 sick individuals must wait on average for seven years and six months before they can receive services.

Tragically, many never receive the care they need. Since 2014, an estimated 22,000 sick patients have died on waiting lists in states that expanded Medicaid. After Arkansas expanded Medicaid, the state’s waiting lists increased 25 percent while 74 children and adults suffering from physical and mental impairments died waiting for care. There is no question that poor able-bodied Americans need reliable coverage, but states should not expand Medicaid to these individuals at the expense of society’s most vulnerable patients.

Fortunately, the Trump administration recognizes there are more effective ways to expand health insurance to low-income people and is developing a series of reforms to make health insurance more affordable. For starters, the Department of Labor recently finalized new regulations to let small businesses band together and offer workers less expensive insurance through association health plans (AHPs).

By pooling workers from multiple employers into a larger risk pool, AHPs would allow small businesses to provide lower cost insurance. The health care consulting firm Avelere estimates AHPs would offer coverage that is nearly $3,000 less expensive than insurance currently provided by small businesses and $10,000 less than insurance found in the individual market.

The Trump administration is also developing rules to make health insurance more affordable for individuals without access to employer-based coverage. In early 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services introduced new regulations to allow individuals to purchase short-term insurance for up to 364 days. These types of insurance products are exempt from Obamacare’s costly insurance regulations, which allows insurers to charge 70 percent lower premiums on short-term insurance than conventional insurance.

Prior to Trump, President Obama limited the duration of short-term plans to just 90 days, which reduced their appeal to low-income consumers who can’t afford Obamacare’s expensive insurance options. Fortunately, the Trump administration expanded the duration of these plans, which will offer relief to millions of Americans who lack health insurance. But these bits of relief are temporary and only patches on a government-centered health care system that Congress needs to decentralize to ensure better services for those who most need them.

Medicaid’s proponents may claim that expanding this bloated government program is the only way to deliver health insurance to uninsured families. But the reality is state and federal policymakers have a range of tools to remove government barriers to affordable coverage. Also, unlike Medicaid expansion, these reforms won’t endanger the health of America’s most vulnerable patients. The time for Congress to address these problems with an Obamacare replacement is overdue.



VA Nursing Home Scandal Exposes Substandard Government Health Care

It seems like every time there’s a full moon, there’s a new scandal at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. This time it has to do with the VA’s operation of nursing home facilities for America’s veterans. The troubled agency has been hiding the poor quality of the care it provides at its veterans homes compared to similar facilities in the private sector.

A recent editorial at USA Today summarizes the findings of its investigative reporting with The Boston Globe:

Most Americans, when they think of the VA, envision a vast bureaucracy of care centers for millions of the nation’s veterans. That it is. But who knew the agency also runs a network of nursing homes?

Well, it does, and it turns out—thanks to recent coverage by USA TODAY and The Boston Globe—that many of those nursing homes suffer from health delivery concerns similar to those that plague some VA hospitals and clinics.

About 46,000 veterans annually are cared for in 133 of these homes nationwide. Some are located on Department of Veterans Affairs hospital campuses, and some are separate facilities.

The VA rates these nursing homes for quality, but internal appraisals showing that 60 homes with the lowest ratings were kept secret from the public until reporters pressed. Moreover, in some crucial measurement standards, including reports of pain, VA homes performed substantially worse than private-sector alternatives....

It’s a problem that exists because politicians have exempted the VA’s bureaucrats from the transparency requirements imposed upon private-sector nursing home facilities.

Under federal regulations, private nursing homes are required to disclose voluminous data on the care they provide. The federal government uses the data to calculate quality measures and posts them on a federal website, along with inspection results and staffing information. The regulations do not apply to the VA.

The VA has “got this whole sort of parallel world out there that’s hidden,” said Robyn Grant, director of public policy and advocacy at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. “I still can’t get over that this information is not available to people who are looking for a veteran’s home. That’s just unacceptable.”

That doesn’t mean that the VA’s bureaucrats don’t know how bad the care provided at its nursing home facilities has been. Not only do they know, they’ve been hiding the problem from the public since the beginning of the Obama administration:

The VA has relied for more than a decade on an outside company, Wisconsin-based Long Term Care Institute, to conduct inspections of VA nursing homes and report back to the agency.

The VA banned the public release of institute reports after the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in 2009 published the findings from one report detailing “significant issues” at the VA nursing home in Philadelphia, including poor resident grooming and pest control. In one case, a patient’s leg had to be amputated after an infection in his foot went untreated for so long his toes turned black and attracted maggots.

The VA said the reports are internal quality assurance documents “protected” from disclosure under federal law. However, in their announcement last Tuesday releasing the nursing homes’ star ratings, VA officials said they would also release the long-term care reports. They didn’t say when.

Not that the VA’s internal ratings of its care match up well with private sector nursing home facilities. The VA’s bureaucrats appear to be systematically overrating their performance.

Even higher-ranking VA nursing homes scored below private nursing homes on individual quality measures last year, the internal documents show.

The VA assigned three stars to its nursing home in Livermore, California, even though the facility scored worse on average than private facilities on six of 11 criteria. Residents reported being in pain at dramatically higher rates and experienced general declines and developed sores at slightly higher rates.

There’s much more to the story, especially about the personal dimensions of how the VA’s substandard care at its nursing homes has harmed a number of veterans.

From a public-policy perspective, however, the story illustrates how government-provided health care is not only failing the Americans who are dependent upon it, but also how poorly the health care provided by the agency at its 133 nursing home facilities compares with the nearly 16,000 nursing homes that operate in the private sector outside of the VA system.

At a minimum, the VA’s role in operating nursing homes should be reduced, so that veterans not requiring specialized care unique to their health status as veterans are free to choose nursing homes in the private sector, with the VA contributing funds to their care at those higher-quality facilities.



Hater Arrested For Stealing Campaign Signs That Had a GPS Tracking Device

Congressman Tom Reed, a Republican representative seeking re-election in New York’s 23rd District, grew a little weary of having his campaign signs stolen.

The signs feature the phrase “Extreme Ithaca Liberal,” a shot at the opposition party in the area who have resorted to extreme platforms and now extreme measures to combat Republicans.

And it’s not the first time they’ve disappeared. Volunteers for a Democrat opponent were caught removing signs while still wearing their campaign stickers in 2018. Another woman admitted taking them down because they were “rude” earlier this month.

With a pattern firmly established, Reed’s campaign got clever and installed a GPS tracking device in one of their signs.

Sure enough, an activist from a prominent “resistance” group in the area was tracked down and confronted when the sign disappeared.

Reed’s campaign manager Nick Weinstein showed up on the doorstep of Gary McCaslin, to which the accused took exception to being tracked down.

“I can’t believe this, Nick. You tracked this sign to my house?” an exasperated McCaslin asked. “Is Tom Reed that desperate that he has to put little thing like that inside of a sign and track it?”

Weinstein was able to get the sign returned but McCaslin refused to return the tracker, instead suggesting they call the police.

“So we did,” the campaign wrote on their website. “And, after law enforcement reviewed our videos, Gary McCaslin was charged with petit larceny, punishable by up to a year in jail and a one thousand dollar fine.”

Weinstein accused Reed’s opponents of being “willing to go to criminal lengths to try and hide their Extreme Ithaca Liberal agenda from the public.”

McCaslin, who is scheduled to appear in court on July 19th, had his lawyer argue that he was simply a citizen acting “out of decency” by picking up the signs, or as he called it, “taking out the trash.”



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, July 18, 2018

Vladimir Putin Just Gave Robert Mueller A MASSIVE Offer

The Democrat "Russia" narrative falls further apart

The meeting between President Trump and Russian President Putin ended with a firestorm.

Many people were mentioned during the Press Conference following the meeting, including Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Robert Muellers, the media, and many more.

At the beginning of the Press Conference, Trump said, “I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics. I will not make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics, the media, or Democrats who want to resist and obstruct.”

Mueller was later given an offer by Putin to question the indicted Russians.

According to CNBC:

During a joint press conference, Putin said Russia would allow the special counsel to “send an official request” to the Kremlin to question the 12 Russian intelligence officers charged with crimes related to election meddling just three days earlier by Mueller.

Trump said Putin “offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer.”



Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed what his meeting with President Trump was about in an interview with Fox News

“I think we should be grateful to our staff and our aides who spent several last months working with one another and not just in the preparations of this summit,” Putin said. “I’m referring to the effort of our agencies across the board who worked in even the very sensitive areas, sensitive both for Russia and the United States.”

“Primarily, I refer to the counter-terrorism efforts today, with–talking with President Trump, we agreed that terrorism is a greater threat than it seems at first. Because, God forbid, if something happens, if there is a terrorist attack using the weapons of mass destruction, if they get their hands to weapons of mass destruction, it may have devastating ramifications. And so, our military, our special agencies, do establish cooperation in this particularly important area.”

Putin also told Wallace that Putin and Trump talked about the Iranian nuclear program and North Korea.

“We also discussed the Iranian nuclear program. We discussed what we can do to improve the situation with North Korea. I’ve pointed out, and I will point out again, that I think that President Trump contributed a lot, that he did a lot to settle this issue"

“But in order to achieve complete denuclearization of the peninsula it will take international guarantees, and Russia stands ready to make its contribution to the extent that will be necessary. So, we can say that there are several issues of crucial importance for us — this and some others — we are starting to achieve some understanding which gives us sufficient ground to say that some things — a lot of things changed for the better during today’s meeting.”



Cold War ended, difficulties in Russia-US relations don't have any objective reasons - Putin

There are no objective reasons for Moscow and Washington not to get along, said Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking first after more than three hours talks with US President Donald Trump.
“We’ve reviewed the current status and prospects of the Russia-US ties, key issues of the international agenda. It’s obvious that the bilateral relations are undergoing a difficult stage, but these difficulties, tensions between our countries have no objective reasons. The era of ideological confrontation between our countries is long gone, the situation in the world has changed drastically,” Putin said.

The talks reflected “shared wish” of the two presidents to fix the US-Russia relations and envision the first steps to do so, Putin added.

The US and Russia are facing new challenges nowadays, differing drastically from the ones of the Cold War era, Putin said, naming regional conflicts, spread of terrorism, organised crime, ecology and economy risks.

Trump again asked his Russian counterpart about the alleged Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential elections, Putin revealed, stating that he replied exactly the same as the last time. Russia has not meddled into the internal affairs of the US, Putin said, adding that if any real evidence to the contrary is provided, Moscow will cooperate.

Russia’s President described the talks with his US counterpart as “constructive and sincere,” adding, however, that such meeting was not enough to address “everything piled up.”



Trump's Real Tariff Strategy

The trade wars that economists predicted would follow President Trump's raising of tariffs against various nations and trading blocs around the world have officially begun.

China announced last Friday that it was matching $34 billion in U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports with an equal level of tariffs on U.S. goods coming into China. The American imports targeted include soybeans, lobsters, SUVs and whiskey.

China said it is responding to 25% taxes levied by the U.S. on Chinese industrial products coming into America. The Chinese economic ministry claims the Trump administration is guilty of "trade bullying" and that the U.S. had begun the "biggest trade war in economic history."

Trump probably takes that latter statement as a compliment, but for the Chinese to accuse the U.S. of being trade bullies is more than a bit hypocritical.

China reached its status as second-largest economy in the world through a lot more than just having a large, hard-working population. Currency manipulation, breaking trade agreements, rigging contracts with foreign companies, industrial espionage — China's done it all. The problem for the Chinese now is that the president of the United States is looking to do more than just shake his fist.

Trump has stated since his campaign that he wanted to punish the countries that have taken unfair advantage of America in international trade. That list includes Canada, Mexico, the European Union and China. All these nations are big trading partners with the U.S., but they have all placed tariffs and trade barriers to keep America's strongest companies from being able to compete in their markets while prying open America's market and making it accessible to cheaper foreign goods.

This has been going on for years, but economic globalists, at least three previous presidents and many members of Congress have done little more than lament America's trade deficit with a shrug, as if to ask, "What are ya gonna do?" Well, Trump came up with an answer to that half-baked question.

It's hard to know if Trump's tariffs on foreign goods will have the desired effect of motivating our trade partners to play fair. There are many economists who are against tariffs under any circumstances, even if the alternative means America getting hammered by trade agreements that tilt in favor of foreign partners. These people claim that we should use the World Trade Organization to press our case for better trade practices.

The WTO has supported the U.S. consistently in its trade disagreements with China, but the process is long and arduous and its enforcement regime moves painfully slow. China has learned to play the bureaucratic wrangling of the international body to its advantage, changing its tune to suit any given situation.

The media has portrayed the coming trade wars as Trump's fault. It conveniently leaves out the part of the story that reveals Trump is responding to foreign tariffs and trade restrictions, not causing them. The media complains that Trump's actions will bring an end to free trade. This claim is meant to gin up anti-Trumpers, many of whom don't support free trade anyway. Besides, we don't really have free trade now. America operates in a sea of tariffs, fees and taxes that make international business needlessly more complex and costly than it needs to be.

This is not to say that Trump's actions don't have the potential to cause harm. International stock markets and consumer prices on goods in affected industries are stable so far, but the real trade war has only just begun. Many analysts note that they have already baked in some of the cost of a trade war between the U.S. and its partners, but no one can predict what will happen if this drags on for weeks or months.

Trump supporters in the farm belt are still with the president, counting on his business skill and his courage to face down China to get them through. Again, their views may change if things drag on and they start to feel the heat from higher prices and shrinking foreign markets. And these people may feel it first. Foreign countries are making a point of retaliating against Trump's tariffs by targeting industries in states he won in 2016.

Any trade policy that costs American jobs is a bad policy, but so is one that maintains a meager status quo that does not grow the U.S. economy. That's the policy we've had for several years, and Trump wants to change that. He has an advantage in that the American economy is strong and growing right now. He may be calculating that the U.S. can absorb a mild hit caused by a trade war if it means getting our trading partners to change their ways.

There is no good time for a trade war, but if it has to happen, then now may be that time.



Illegal immigration foes move to bypass liberal legislatures, take anti-sanctuary measures to voters

There’s virtually no chance that the uber-progressive Oregon legislature would ever repeal the state’s oldest-in-the-nation sanctuary law, which is why locals worried about illegal immigration have turned to the voters.

The Stop Oregon Sanctuaries campaign submitted roughly 110,000 signatures last week to qualify an anti-sanctuary measure for the November ballot, more than the 88,000 required, stunning liberal activists and laying the groundwork for a landmark ballot battle.

“This has national ramifications and our opponents know that,” said Cynthia Kendoll, president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, which led the petition drive. “The thing that people don’t realize is that very seldom do citizens get to vote on immigration issues. They’re always legislated upon us. And that’s particularly the case in Oregon. We never get a say.”

Oregon may be ahead of the game, but efforts to bypass lawmakers and bring sanctuary repeals before the voters are gaining interest as the number of jurisdictions adopting measures aimed at thwarting federal immigration law explodes.

As of May, 564 states and localities had adopted sanctuary policies, growing by 650 percent during the Obama administration and nearly doubling during President Trump’s first year, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The flurry of sanctuary activity has prompted a backlash: In California, more than a dozen localities have passed ordinances or resolutions against the state law, but so far no state sanctuary measure has been repealed.

“I think there’s going to be more of a movement as people realize that enforcement of our laws is good because it protects the community,” said Shari Rendall, FAIR director of state and local director. “I think people are very tired of our laws not being enforced.”

One of those is Don Rosenberg, an “angel” father whose son Drew was killed in a 2010 car crash in San Francisco with a Honduras man who had entered the country illegally but was granted temporary protected status.

Mr. Rosenberg is spearheading the Fight Sanctuary State campaign, which was cleared Tuesday to begin gathering signatures for a proposed initiative, the Community Protection Act, to reverse state laws on sanctuary status and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

The initiative, which needs 365,880 signatures to qualify for the 2020 ballot, comes after organizers pulled a previous referendum campaign to repeal Senate Bill 54, the 2017 law restricting state and local cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Fight Sanctuary State has framed the campaign as a battle between citizens and the Democratic state legislature and governor, insisting that “only the Community Protection Act will end sanctuary policies in California.”

“Who will save California from illegal immigrant violence?” says one social-media post. “Not Sacramento! Not the courts!”

In Humboldt County, California, the board of supervisors has decided to let the voters decide, agreeing Tuesday to place a measure on the November ballot asking whether the county should adopt sanctuary status for illegal immigrants.

A proposed Nevada initiative to prevent the state and cities from implementing sanctuary laws suffered a setback in May when the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that a portion of the ballot language was “deceptive and misleading.”

The legal challenge, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, illustrated another challenge for proposals to repeal sanctuary laws: They’re up against powerful foes.

After signatures were submitted for Stop Oregon Sanctuaries, foes held press conferences in Portland and Salem to unveil Oregonians United Against Profiling, a coalition of more than 80 groups aimed at defeating the proposal, known as Initiative Petition 22.

“For 30 years, Oregon’s sanctuary law has protected Oregonians against unfair racial profiling,” said Andrea Williams, executive director of Causa, at Monday’s event. “Getting rid of this law opens the door to serious harassment and civil rights violations of our friends, coworkers, and family members simply because somebody may be perceived to be an undocumented immigrant.”

Ms. Kendoll disputed the racial-profiling charge. “This doesn’t have anything to do with race in anyway shape or form, but that’s always the card they play because they’ve got nothing else,” she said.

She said she fully expects to be outspent if the measure qualifies—the opposition has already lined up support from Nike, Columbia Sportswear and labor unions—but she also knows how to win a campaign on a shoestring budget.

In 2014, her group qualified a veto referendum of Oregon’s newly passed law giving driver cards to illegal immigrants. Voters repealed the state law by 66 to 34 percent, even though Ms. Kendoll said her side was out-fundraised by 11 to 1.

“When we did Measure 88 they were very confident, even cocky, that they had the state sewn up,” she said. “And they just got blown away. So this time I think they’re going, ‘We can’t let that happen again.’”

Going the initiative route means doing it the hard way, she said, but organizers have little choice in deep-blue Oregon.

“The only way to move the needle at all in this state is via the initiative process,” Ms. Kendoll said. “It’s very grassroots, it’s very time-consuming, but we collected signatures from every corner of this state, and people are just fed up. They’re fed up with policies that have carved out a niche, a protected class of people that are here illegally. Why are we doing that?”

As a result, she said, “we have no doubt that if this qualifies for the ballot that it will pass.”

What’s more, she believes that privately that the opposition agrees, given their efforts to stop the issue from going before the voters.

As she tells her foes, “You don’t want this to get on the ballot. You’re fighting to keep it off the ballot. So my thinking is, you know how it’s going to turn out.”



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, July 17, 2018

AMERICA GREAT AGAIN: Jobless Claims Hit 49 Year Low — Not Seen Since 1969!

Jobless claims throughout the United States continued to plummet in the first week of July, hitting the lowest levels seen in nearly half a century as the economy continues to roar to life under President Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress, reports

According to Market Watch, new benefit claims dropped by roughly 20,000 in early July to just 214,000 applications; hitting a 49-year low and smashing expectations.

The number of people losing their jobs and seeking benefits has totaled fewer than 250,000 each week since last September. That’s an unusually low number for an unusually long time, reflecting the healthiest U.S. jobs market at least since the dot-com boom at the end of the 1990s.

“The number of claims last week was the third lowest of the current nine-year-old economic expansion that began in mid-2009,” continues Market Watch. “The last time jobless claims were consistently lower was in 1969.”

The strong economic data points to a potential disaster for Democrats heading into the 2018 midterm elections, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi bizarrely claiming the booming job market is “reckless” for American workers and middle class families.



MN: Trump tariffs boost iron mining

Taconite is a low grade iron ore

When Jim Bailey lost his oil fracking job last year, the Bemidji resident took a chance relocating his family to Hibbing, which lies in the heart of the Iron Range and its boom-or-bust economy.

Bailey and his wife, Tracy, bought the shuttered Courtyard Cafe on historic Howard Street. In December, they received some splashy company when the large BoomTown Brewery & Woodfire Grill opened a block up the road.

Not far away, cranes and cement trucks are cranking out factory additions at the pipemaker Iracore International, the truck cooling-system maker L&M Radiator and the custom manufacturer Range Steel Fabricators.

Stores also are opening, and anecdotes of a healthier economy echo across Minnesota’s Mesabi Range, an ore-rich swath that rambles for 110 miles and has seen thousands of layoffs in recent years as the taconite industry weathered a severe slump.

“Since we got here we noticed there is more activity in the area and more people in the streets,” said Tracy Bailey while dashing to serve a customer pancakes. “We have been really busy.”

The level of activity has surprised some locals, but the reason behind it is clear: The iron ore companies are healthy again. Idled plants are reopened, with 2,000 employees back to work.

With residents working again — and some of the operations expanding — people are eating out more, shopping and spending more cash in general in their communities, Phillips said. “We are having another boom to an extent,” Phillips said.

Manufacturers and iron shipping firms across the region report business has improved greatly since late 2016. They note a host of factory expansions, street repairs, fresh upticks in product orders from the big mines and taconite-laden ships leaving Duluth’s harbor.

“Last year was the largest iron ore tonnage shipped through the Port of Duluth-Superior in a decade,” said Adele Yorde, spokeswoman for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.



Explaining American Leftists: Part I

Dennis Prager

As I watch a great number of my fellow Americans and virtually all of the mainstream media descend further and further into irrational and immoral hysteria — regularly calling the president of the United States and all of his supporters Nazis, white supremacists and the like; harassing Republicans where they eat, shop and live; ending family ties and lifelong friendships with people who support the president; declaring their opposition to Trump and the Republican Party the “Resistance,” as if they were American reincarnations of the French who fought real Nazis in World War II; and so on — I ask myself: What is going on? How does one explain them?

Here are some answers:

1.) Naïveté

Many Americans are naïve, about life, about good and evil, and about America. They don’t realize how rare America is and how good they have it. This mass naïveté was vividly expressed by the reaction of tens of thousands of mostly white middle-class Americans to then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008, when he was campaigning in Columbia, Missouri. Obama announced, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

I frequently play the recording of Obama’s statement on my radio show not only to explain a basic difference between Right and Left — the Left believes America needs to be fundamentally transformed, while the Right thinks America needs to be incrementally improved — but also for people to hear the crowd’s reaction.

Very few contemporary American recordings are as depressing as the ecstatic and prolonged cheering the crowd gave that terrible promise from Obama. I believe it is not an exaggeration to say that had he announced a cure for cancer, the cheering could not have been louder and probably would not have been longer.

Why would middle-class Americans — people who have more affluence, more opportunity, better health, better health care and more liberty than almost anyone alive in the world today, and certainly than anyone who ever lived — thunderously applaud a call to fundamentally transform their decent country?

One answer — one of many, as we will see — is naïveté.

Earlier this year, I had a debate/dialogue with two left-wing students at the University of California, Berkeley. I thought debating left-wing students, rather than giving a speech, would accomplish two objectives: deter left-wing protesters from disrupting my appearance and enable young people at Berkeley and around the world (via the Internet) to hear differences between Right and Left clearly spelled out. Both aims were achieved.

My final question to them was “Do you believe people are basically good?” Without a moment’s pause, both students said yes.

I told them they think that way because they live in such a decent country. It is easy to remain naïve in America, where most are insulated from the suffering inflicted on so much of humanity in deeply corrupt, poverty-stricken and war-torn societies. Nevertheless, given the way humans have treated one another throughout history, and only two generations after Auschwitz, only the naïve can believe people are basically good. And since no Western religion (i.e., any religion based on the Bible) has ever posited that people are basically good, this naïveté is abetted by secularism, which allows for the pursuit of knowledge but destroys wisdom.

Only the naïve — or willfully ignorant — could equate support for Donald Trump with Nazism. Are most Israeli Jews Nazis? Are a third of America’s Jews Nazis? (Many on the Left would probably answer yes, which gives you an idea how mean and sick many on the Left are.)

2.) Boredom

Boredom, at least in our time, is the most overlooked source of evil. In the past, before people went to college and abandoned religion — the two greatest reasons there is so much moral idiocy in our time — people knew how dangerous boredom was. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” was a commonly used aphorism that wouldn’t even make sense to most young people today.

By bored I am not referring to a lack of things to do. There is more opportunity to do and experience things today than ever before. By bored I mean a deep boredom of the soul, what the French call “ennui.” This is the boredom that emanates from lack of purpose and a yearning for excitement.

The combination of affluence and secularism produces boredom as surely as the combination of hydrogen and oxygen produces water. Without affluence, people have a built-in purpose: obtaining food and shelter, supporting oneself and one’s family, etc. And religion, with or without affluence, likewise has always provided people with meaning. Without religion, therefore, purpose is often lost. Add to that the number of people who are not married and do not have children (also a result of the combination of affluence and secularism) and you remove another universal source of meaning.

A disproportionate percentage of those on the Left (not traditional liberals) do not lack for material needs, have no religion and are single and/or childless. Those left-wing screamers you see in restaurants, the left-wing mobs on campus, the left-wing “antifa” thugs and the left-wing Black Lives Matter demonstrators who close down bridges and highways do not generally consist of married people with children who attended church the previous Sunday.

These people find this lack of purpose assuaged by leftism. It provides meaning and excitement, a very heady combination.

These are a few explanations. In Part II I will offer others.



Impact of ‘zero tolerance’ on display in Texas immigration court. One after another, asylum seekers are ordered deported

Very few are real asylum seekers.  They are just seeking a lifestyle upgrade

Sitting before an immigration judge in this south Texas detention center Thursday, a Central American mother separated from her son pleaded for asylum.

“Your honor, I’m just asking for one opportunity to be here,” said the woman wearing a blue prison uniform and a red plastic rosary around her neck. “You don’t know how much pain it has caused us to be separated from our children. We’re kind of losing it.”

Judge Robert Powell’s face was stern. During the past five years, he has denied 79% of asylum cases, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

“What you’re describing is not persecution,” he said.

“I’m asking for an opportunity,” the woman replied in Spanish through an interpreter.

“I’m not here to give you an opportunity.” He ordered her deported.

Immigrant family separations on the border were supposed to end after President Trump issued an executive order June 20. A federal judge in California ordered all children be reunited with their parents in a month, and those age 5 and under within 15 days. On Thursday, the administration said up to 3,000 children have been separated — hundreds more than initially reported — and DNA testing has begun to reunite families.

Port Isabel has been designated the “primary family reunification and removal center,” but lawyers here said they have yet to see detained parents reunited.

To qualify for asylum in the U.S., immigrants must prove they fear persecution at home because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or “membership in a particular social group,” and that their government is unwilling or unable to protect them. Most of the Central American parents detained here after “zero tolerance” fled gang and domestic violence. But that’s no longer grounds for seeking asylum, according to a guidance last month from Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions. Immigration courts are part of the Justice Department, so judges are following that guidance.

Because immigration courts are administrative, not criminal, immigrants are not entitled to public defenders. And so, each day, they attempt to represent themselves in hearings that sometimes last only a few minutes.

The courtrooms are empty. That’s because, like a half dozen others nationwide, the court is inside a fortified Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center. Access is restricted, and may be denied. The Times had to request to attend court hearings — which are public — 24 hours in advance. After access to the facility was approved last week, access was denied to the courtrooms when guards said the proceedings were closed, without explanation.

Detainees have little access to the outside world, including their children. It costs them 90 cents a minute to place a phone call. When they do, they can be nearly inaudible. They receive mail, but when reporters wrote to them last week, the letters were confiscated and guards questioned why they had been contacted, according to a lawyer. Lawyers also said some separated parents have been pressured into agreeing to deportation in order to reunite with their children.

UNICEF officials toured Port Isabel Thursday. A dozen pro bono lawyers visited immigrants. But they were spread thin. None represented parents at the credible fear reviews, where judges considered whether to uphold an asylum officer’s finding that they be deported.

Immigration Judge Morris Onyewuchi, a former Homeland Security lawyer appointed to the bench two years ago, questioned several parents’ appeals.

“You have children?” he asked a Honduran mother.

Yes, Elinda Aguilar said, she had three. “Two of them were with me when we got separated by immigration, the other is in Honduras,” said Aguilar, 44.

“How many times have you been to the U.S.?” the judge asked.

Aguilar said this was her first time. The judge reviewed what Aguilar had told an asylum officer: That she had fled an ex-husband who beat, raped and threatened her. “He told you he would kill you if you went with another man?” the judge said.

Yes, Aguilar replied.

The judge noted that Aguilar had reported the crimes to police, who charged her husband, although he never showed up in court. Then he announced his decision: deportation.

Aguilar looked confused. “Did the asylum officer talk to you and explain my case?” she said.

The judge said he was acting according to the law.

Although she was fleeing an abusive husband, he said, “your courts intervened and they put him through the legal process. That’s also how things work in this country.”

Aguilar knit her hands. She wasn’t leaving yet.

“I would like to know what’s going to happen to my children, the ones who came with me,” she asked the judge.

“The Department of Homeland Security will deal with that. Talk to your deportation officer,” he said. Guards led her away as she looked shocked, and brought in the next parent.

Denis Cardona, 31, told the judge he fled Honduras to the U.S. with his son Alexander.

“Where is he?” the judge asked.

“He’s here, detained, but I don’t know where,” Cardona said. “I was told he’s an hour away.”

The judge reviewed Cardona’s case. It was his first time crossing the border to the U.S. He had fled threats from the MS-13 gang after a land dispute with a cousin.

“And you did not report this to authorities in your country?” the judge said.

Yes, Cardona said, “but they didn’t listen.”

“It’s difficult for police to get where we were, and also the police do not help poor people,” he said.

Why hadn’t he told the asylum officer all that, the judge asked. Cardona said he had. He leaned his head on his hand. He looked tired.

Moments later, the judge ruled.

“This is a family dispute. This is not grounds for asylum in the United States,” he said. Deported.



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, July 16, 2018

A surprising call for bipartisanship from CNN, of all sources

Why? When it was Obama who was to blame.  Leftist "flexibilty" again

Complacent Obama fan Smerconish

CNN news anchor Michael Smerconish went on a rant Saturday morning calling the Russian election meddling a “terrorist attack” after reading a tweet on air asking if he’ll hold former President Obama accountable.

“Here’s what I’m looking for, instead of this going on between liberals and conservatives, Republican and Democrats, what happened to when we were united against a common enemy?” Smerconish asked rhetorically. “This was terrorism. We were the victims of a terror strike and will the commander-in-chief on Monday hold accountable the presumed perpetrator of that terror strike?”

“Stop all the liberal, conservative red state, blue state stuff. Our partisan differences used to end at the water’s edge,” he continued.

Smerconish made the comments after reading a tweet from a viewer, which he asked for. This tweet from @SwingDriver210 said, “Will you hold Obama accountable? You say you are fair. We will see. I mean all this meddling happened under Obama and no one cares.”



Trump's tariffs revive Granite City jobs, and optimism

Grab a cup of coffee with a resident of Granite City and you’ll likely hear it said that the southern Illinois city was built around the local U.S. Steel plant, not the other way around.

It’s the locals’ way of conveying how heavily Granite City, just outside St. Louis, depends on the steel mill, both for the jobs and the sense of identity it provides.

For more than 100 years, Granite City has defined itself as a hardworking mill town, a place where young people eager to cement a solid financial future without a college degree have to look no further than the dirt and iron and fire of the local steel plant, which stretches over 2 square miles. The opportunity afforded by the plant came to a halt at the end of 2015, when the plant idled production, laying off 2,000 people.

But the first blast furnace now has been restarted and U.S. Steel is filling 800 jobs at the mill, a result of the steep tariffs that President Donald Trump announced on imported steel and aluminum earlier this year. The Trump administration has in recent months imposed tariffs on goods from Canada, Mexico and China and on Friday imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. That country responded by levying tariffs of its own on American-made goods.

The trade war has spurred an outcry from most U.S. businesses. In Granite City, though — which voted narrowly for Trump in the 2016 election — the tariffs are helping bring back well-paying steel jobs and lifting its economy. But even as the community of 29,000 along the Mississippi River sees better days, some residents and business owners hold out hope that the city will find another economic engine to define itself by. What that will be, they don’t know yet.

The energy shift

Nearly half of the returning 800 U.S. Steel jobs will be filled with employees who were laid off in 2015 when the plant was idled, according to spokeswoman Meghan Cox, who wouldn’t disclose salary ranges for the jobs. But there’s new blood, too, with about 56 percent of those positions going to new hires.

The restart is causing an influx of customers at Park Grill, which is adjacent to the plant and was hit hard after the 2015 layoffs. Some steelworkers eat multiple meals a day at the grill. Railroad workers, truck drivers and others who have jobs supporting the plant also stop in or place orders for burgers and barbecue sandwiches.

“I’m hoping that everything goes back to where it was, and I think it will,” Park Grill owner Mike DeBruce said. “I think it’s going to be stronger and better.”

DeBruce said he tries to ignore the “political noise” and focus on what the U.S. Steel jobs mean for his business and the town as a whole.



An Open Letter from Yale Law Students Illustrates the Decline of the Radical Legal Mind

Progressives’ anti-Kavanaugh hysteria is already in full bloom.
On Monday, Yale Law School had the audacity to do something that any and every law school would do if one of its graduates were nominated to the Supreme Court — issue a press release touting the occasion. And why not? To the extent that any conservative can be a part of the elite academic club, Brett Kavanaugh belongs. He’s a double Yale graduate (college and law school) and a former Harvard Law School professor. How did he get there? Allow the Boston Globe to tell the story:

When Elena Kagan was dean of Harvard Law School, she was in search of rising conservative legal stars. The traditionally liberal campus, the thinking went, could use a little ideological diversity with more robust debate and the challenge of different viewpoints.

Among Kagan’s hires, as a visiting professor, was a newly appointed federal appeals-court judge from Washington named Brett Kavanaugh.

Yes, that’s right. Justice Kagan hired Brett Kavanaugh at Harvard Law. He’s no radical. He’s a serious conservative legal mind, and it is entirely right and proper for a school that enrolls conservative students and even (on occasion) hires conservative professors to put out a simple press release celebrating the elevation of one of its own to the highest court in the land.

The rhetoric is amazing, reading more like a random Twitter tirade than a studied critique from the nation’s brightest legal minds. ‛Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination presents an emergency — for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country,’ the letter reads. Yes, an ‛emergency.’

Or maybe not. There’s now an open letter signed by a host of Yale Law School “students, alumni, and educators” not just declaring their opposition to the Kavanaugh nomination, but saying they are “ashamed” at Yale’s press release. To these signatories, Kavanaugh is nothing but a menace, and Yale’s celebration of his achievements is motivated by nothing more than its lust for “proximity to power and prestige.”

The rhetoric is amazing, reading more like a random Twitter tirade than a studied critique from the nation’s brightest legal minds. “Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination presents an emergency — for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country,” the letter reads. Yes, an “emergency.” Later, it even declares that “people will die if he is confirmed.”

Obviously, Flight 93 paranoia isn’t confined to the Trumpist right.

I do not expect a Yale progressive to support Kavanaugh; I expect progressives everywhere to rally to try to defeat his nomination. But where is the perspective? Where is the sense of proportion? Once again, increasingly radicalized Americans confront conventional politics and good-faith legal disputes and react as if the sky is falling — as if no decent human being could possibly disagree with their analysis.

And they’re saying this about Brett Kavanaugh. If there were a Mount Rushmore of establishment GOP lawyers, his face would be chiseled upon it. He’d have been a likely nominee in a Rubio or Jeb Bush administration. Stanford’s Michael McConnell, writing in Politico, said this about Kavanaugh’s role in the court:

The balance of the Court is never set in stone. Over the past two terms, Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan have more frequently broken from their more leftward colleagues to forge a more moderate path, often in conjunction with Chief Justice John Roberts. Temperamentally and jurisprudentially, Kavanaugh is more like to be part of this invigorated middle than to swing toward the extremes. It would be a good thing for the country if the Court moved in a less polarized direction.

In other words, if  Kavanaugh represents a life-threatening emergency, then virtually any originalist judge represents a life-threatening emergency.

At this point, a radical reader might nod along and say, “Yes, any originalist nominee will cost lives.” But if you look at the Yale letter, it fails to make its case. It’s a long screed claiming that, among other things, Kavanaugh is insufficiently protective of the administrative state (I wonder if any of the signatories are also demanding that Congress “abolish ICE”), overly protective of religious liberty, and lacking in sympathy for favored plaintiffs. It doesn’t contain an ounce of serious legal analysis.

Indeed, one gets the feeling that this is really all about Roe. After all, refusing to force Priests for Life to facilitate contraception access for its handful of employees — or determining the appropriate standard of judicial review for agency interpretations of governing statutes — hardly seem like decisions worthy of the apocalyptic rhetoric. But abortion-on-demand is the centerpiece of the sexual revolution, and the sexual revolution is a new American religion. The French had their Cult of Reason. The radicals have their Cult of Sex, and shame on anyone who offers respect to the heretics.

Yet even there — even on the ultimate question of the judicial wars — the letter fails to justify its alarm. After all, if Roe is overturned, abortion won’t be banned, certainly not in America’s blue bastions, and not anytime soon. The question of life and death will merely be sent back to the states and, ultimately, the people.

Remember, this open letter is no mere statement of opposition to Kavanaugh. It’s a demand that one of the country’s most respected institutions of higher learning be “ashamed” for celebrating the success of one of its graduates — a person who has a long track record of service to the academy and respect for his ideological opponents. It’s a call to enlist institutions of higher learning in a radical ideological crusade. It’s a message to conservative Americans that we hear loudly and clearly — that we’re evil, our views are not worthy of respect, and we should have no place in the highest echelons of the American academy.

To read the Yale letter is to peer into the future. It’s mainly signed by a collection of young lawyers and students who are already on a trajectory to lead the American academy, government, and economy. They represent a left-wing face of American intolerance, and that intolerance will haunt our politics for decades to come. If you think polarization is bad now, the radical students at Yale are sending a clear message: They have not yet begun to rage.



Invented "rights"

The nut wing of the Democratic Party instantly denounced judge Kavanaugh by claiming that his elevation to the High Court would threaten all sorts of “rights.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted: “Our next justice should be a champion for protecting & advancing rights, not rolling them back — but Kavanaugh has a long history of demonstrating hostility toward defending the rights of everyday Americans.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted: “If Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court it will have a profoundly negative effect on workers’ rights, women’s rights and voting rights for decades to come. We must do everything we can to stop this nomination.”

If only these guys could get themselves elected to some sort of legislative body, they could pass laws protecting these rights!

Wait, I’m sorry. These are elected United States senators. Of all people, why are they carrying on about “rights”? If senators can’t protect these alleged “rights,” it can only be because most Americans do not agree that they should be “rights.”

That’s exactly why the Left is so hysterical about the Supreme Court. It runs to the courts to win its most unpopular policy ideas, gift-wrapped and handed to it as “constitutional rights.”

What liberals call “rights” are legislative proposals that they can’t pass through normal democratic processes — at least outside of the states they’ve already flipped with immigration, like California.

Realizing how widely reviled its ideas are, several decades ago the Left figured out a procedural scam to give it whatever it wanted without ever having to pass a law. Hey! You can’t review a Supreme Court decision!

Instead of persuading a majority of its fellow citizens, it would need to persuade only five justices to invent any rights it pleased. It didn’t have to ask twice. Apparently, justices find it much funner to be all-powerful despots than boring technocrats interpreting written law.

Soon the Court was creating “rights” promoting all the Left’s favorite causes — abortion, criminals, busing, pornography, stamping out religion, forcing military academies to admit girls and so on.

There was nothing America could do about it.

OK, liberals, you cheated and got all your demented policy ideas declared “constitutional rights.” But it’s very strange having elected legislators act as if they are helpless serfs, with no capacity to protect “rights.”

It’s stranger still for politicians to pretend that these putative “rights” are supported by a majority of Americans. By definition, the majority does not support them. Otherwise, they’d already be protected by law and not by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s latest newsletter.

On MSNBC, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said people storming into the streets and making their voices heard about Kavanaugh is “the remarkable part about a democracy.”

Actually, that isn’t democracy at all. Liberals don’t do well at democracy. Why don’t politicians run for office promising to ban the death penalty, spring criminals from prison or enshrine late-term abortion? Hmmm … I wonder why those “I (heart) partial-birth abortion!” T-shirts aren’t selling?

Unless the Constitution forbids it — and there are very few things proscribed by the Constitution — democracy entails persuading a majority of your fellow Americans or state citizens to support something, and then either putting it on the ballot or electing representatives who will write it into law — perhaps even a constitutional amendment.

Otherwise, these “rights” whereof you speak are no more real than the Beastie Boys’ assertion of THE RIGHT TO PARTEEEEEEEE!

Gay marriage, for example, was foisted on the country not through ballot initiatives, persuasion, public acceptance, lobbying or politicians winning elections by promising to legalize it. No, what happened was, in 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court suddenly discovered a right to gay marriage lurking in the state’s 223-year-old Constitution — written by the very religious John Adams. (Surprise!)

After that, the people rose up and banned gay marriage in state after state, even in liberal bastions like Oregon and California. The year after the Massachusetts court’s remarkable discovery, gay marriage lost in all 11 states where it was on the ballot.

Everywhere gay marriage was submitted to a popular vote, it lost. (Only one state’s voters briefly seemed to approve of gay marriage — Arizona, in 2006 — but that was evidently a problem with the wording of the initiative, because two years later, the voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage.)

Inasmuch as allowing people to vote resulted in a resounding “NO!” on gay marriage, liberals ran back to the courts. Still, the public rebelled. The year after the Iowa Supreme Court concocted a right to gay marriage, voters recalled three of the court’s seven justices.

A handful of blue state legislatures passed gay marriage laws, but even in the Soviet Republic of New York, a gay marriage bill failed in 2009.

And then the U.S. Supreme Court decided that was quite enough democracy on the question of gay marriage! It turned out that — just like the Massachusetts Constitution — a gay marriage clause had been hiding in our Constitution all along!

Conservatives could never dream of victories like this from the judiciary. Even nine Antonin Scalias on the Supreme Court are never going to discover a “constitutional right” to a border wall, mass deportations, a flat tax, publicly funded churches and gun ranges, the “right” to smoke or to consume 24-ounce sugary sodas.

These are “constitutional rights” every bit as much as the alleged “constitutional rights” to abortion, pornography, gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, the exclusionary rule and on and on and on.

The only rights conservatives ever seek under the Constitution are the ones that are written in black and white, such as the freedom of speech and the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Mostly, we sit trembling, waiting to see what new nonexistent rights the Court will impose on us, contravening everything we believe.

So when you hear liberals carrying on about all the “rights” threatened by Kavanaugh, remember that by “rights,” they mean “policy ideas so unpopular that we can’t pass a law creating such rights.”



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, July 15, 2018

An interesting image from President Trump's visit to Britain

Mr Trump holds the hand of Theresa May, the British PM, as they walk up a flight of stairs.  Do I see a picture of a dynamic USA dragging along a feeble Britain?  Her PR people will be mortified.


And they pick at judge Kavanaugh

2009: In an interview in the New York Times Magazine, Justice Ginsburg offers this, er, interesting comment why she was “surprised” by the Court’s 1980 decision in Harris v. McRae, which ruled that the Hyde Amendment’s exclusion of nontherapeutic abortions from Medicaid reimbursement was constitutionally permissible:

Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

Gee, Justice Ginsburg, would you like to tell us more about your views on those “populations that we don’t want to have too many of”?

It's pretty clear that she is a follower of Margret Sanger, birth control pioneer, and author of the "Negro Project", who did her best to limit births among the poor, particularly among blacks

Strange that among all the invective thrown at judge Kavanaugh, we have heard not a whisper about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Why are blacks and Leftists not following her around shouting "Resign, resign"!



Virulent Leftist hate never ceases

Before meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister May Friday, President Trump took a seat in Winston Churchill’s chair at Chequers. Chequers is Winston Churchill’s longtime estate. Press secretary Sarah Sanders took a photo of Trump sitting gingerly in the chair.

As is the case with many seemingly harmless things the President does, however, the photo hit a nerve on the left. Twitter users called it the “top five worst photos I’ve ever seen” and called Trump a Nazi. "I hope the ghost of Winston Churchill rips Donald Trump's nazi cock off"



Hysterical anti-Trump journalists explained


What is an ideal outcome of Trump-Putin meeting? Russian FM tells Larry King

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has shared his view on what would be an “ideal” outcome of a Trump-Putin meeting, in an interview with Larry King that covered a wide range of topics, from Crimea to NATO and Syria.

Relations between the US and Russia are now at such a low point that a mere resumption of a normal dialog following a summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin could already be regarded as a success, Lavrov told the veteran TV host, on his show Politicking, aired on RT America.

The top Russian diplomat called the state of relations between the two nations “unfortunate” and said that “most channels of communications established over the last eight years have been frozen, including the ones on very important issues” such as the fight against terrorism and cyber-security.

“What we have now is sporadic meetings between diplomats and military, mostly on Syria,” Lavrov said. He then explained that if Trump and Putin would manage to “re-open all the channels [of dialog] on both divisive issues … and those issues where we can usefully cooperate” he would call such an outcome of the meeting “ideal.”

The foreign minister also said he believes that a spat in bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington began at a time when the US “realized” that Russia would not just blindly and eagerly follow the western line “on everything.” Moscow, in its turn, just wants its voice to be heard and perceived as the voice of an equal partner, he added.

US interventions left more people dead than ‘dictators’ they sought to depose

Answering a question about Russia’s continued support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom the West openly accuses of being a “dictator,” Lavrov said that one has to be “realistic and responsible about world security” as well as about the security of their own countries, which sometimes means cooperating with “those who would help create conditions to make our people safer.”

He also drew attention to the fact that, even though Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein were dictators, “when you compare the people’s suffering during their rule and now, following the US humanitarian intervention, then the numbers of those who were killed, wounded or [forced out] of their homes now, would be hundreds of thousands more than those who had suffered” under their rule.

"We do not justify dictators,” Lavrov said, adding that, instead, Russia wants every nation to first “take every step to ensure that your actions are not reckless” before deciding to embark on any “adventure.”

“We have to see the big picture and have to think about the price of being moral just for the sake of being moral,” Lavrov said, adding that those who “ruined Iraq and Libya, now want to put Syria in the same state.”

Ever-changing rules & double standards

However, misconceptions about Russia are far from being the only issue that complicate relations between Russia and the US, as well as other western countries which are still plagued by the legacy of the Cold War, while attempting to recklessly shape the world as they see fit.

The West “tries to invent rules of [each and every] individual case and then claims that it is unique,” Lavrov said. He went on to say that “for any other issue that they might not like there will be other rules.”

The Russian foreign minister particularly slammed Western double standards on the situation with Crimea, which reverted to being Russian following a referendum in which an absolute majority voted to rejoin Russia. He said that Crimea’s referendum, which the West still refuses to recognize, was “done in a more transparent and legitimate way than the unilateral recognition of Kosovo’s independence without any referendum.”

In the case of the Falkland Islands, the UK claimed the islands’ “status was determined in a free and fair referendum by its citizens in full accordance with the UN charter” while demanding that the sanctions imposed by Argentina over this referendum be condemned, Lavrov told Larry King, adding that, in the case of Crimea, the whole situation was suddenly treated in a totally different manner. So much for the “rules-based international order,” which the western countries would claim to be so adamantly championing.

He also criticized US actions in attempting to resolve the Ukrainian crisis. He said that a dialog between Russia and the US on the issue has virtually contributed nothing to this process, as the US actually “tries to deviate radically from the Minsk Agreements each time they meet with their Russian colleagues.”

‘Atavism of Cold War’

The minister also criticized the West’s policy aimed at further strengthening NATO, against the background of a total lack of dialog with such countries as Russia. “NATO is an atavism of Cold War times,” Lavrov said, adding that its continued condemnation of Crimea’s reunification with Russia in particular is nothing but the “inertia of Cold War thinking.”

“We do not believe what NATO is doing by trying to expand further and further closer to the Russian borders by swallowing countries that do not add anything to the security of the alliance. We do not believe that this is the way to resolve the problems of today,” the foreign minister said, adding that NATO fails to “effectively address” such issues as terrorism, climate change, drug trafficking and organized crime.

NATO, which, according to Lavrov, spends 12 times more money on defense than Russia, has yet to “understand that it cannot dictate to each and every country how to handle international security matters,” the minister said. “Dialog is required,” he asserted.



Democrats plan a Soviet America where they have unaccountable power

Communists under the skin -- Tyrants in waiting

It would be an understatement to suggest that Democrats haven’t accepted or handled particularly well the election of President Donald Trump, especially as paired with Republican control of Congress and a now conservative-leaning Supreme Court, in a government ostensibly unified by the political right.

Indeed, many on the left remained engaged in what can easily be likened to a toddler’s temper tantrum nearly two years since failed Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton was soundly defeated by Trump in the 2016 election.

Now that temper tantrum has taken on a decidedly vindictive tone for some on the left, as evidenced by a lengthy piece in Politico by a political theorist named Rob Goodman, a piece titled, “Hey Democrats, Fighting Fair is for Suckers.”

The article began with the typical lamentations from the left about how Trump and Republicans are systematically destroying all of the “norms,” or unwritten rules of the political game, to seize and maintain their grip on power and influence in the country — ignorant of the fact that many of the “norms” Trump is accused of breaking were already broken by Democrats in the prior administration.

In response to the alleged destruction of political norms across the board by Trump and Republicans, Goodman suggested that Democrats should — when and if they ever resume unified control of the three branches of government, as they once held between 2008 and 2010 — take drastic steps to ensure they never relinquish their grip on power ever again.

To be sure, there is a solid contingent of folks on the left — joined by some NeverTrumpers from the GOP — who pine for the day when Democrats, or at least an establishment Republican, will take power and institute a “return to normalcy” that will re-enshrine all of the policy supposedly laid to waste by the Trump administration.

But Goodman appeared to have been inspired to urge a different route for Democrats by a new book written by political scientist David Faris about how Democrats should “fight dirty” in order to build and maintain a “lasting majority in American politics.”

That book asserts that it will be impossible for the nation to “return to Normalcy” in the aftermath of Trump, and instead posits that “Normal is over” and Democrats should act accordingly, busting any remaining norms standing in the way of their implementing a “progressive direction” for the nation that can’t be easily stopped or reversed anytime soon, if ever.

In order to achieve that “lasting majority” of progressive Democrat rule in America, Faris offered up several examples of drastic actions that could be taken by Democrats to ensure they never lose hold of their power again, which were dutifully echoed by Goodman.

That would include such actions as: “Grant statehood to D.C. and Puerto Rico, and break California in seven, with the goal of adding 16 new Democrats to the Senate. Expand the Supreme Court and the federal courts, packing them with liberal judges.”

“Move to multi-member House districts to roll back the effects of partisan gerrymandering. Pass a new Voting Rights Act, including nationwide automatic voter registration, felon enfranchisement and an end to voter ID laws. Grant citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants, creating a host of new Democratic-leaning voters,” wrote Goodman.

Faris wrote, “Republicans have always feared that immigration would change the character of American society. Democrats should reward them with their very worst nightmare.”

None of those actions would require a constitutional amendment and could be achieved via legislation, but it would require Democrats to utterly smash any “norms” they currently hold or have held in the past with regard to protecting the foundations of our nation’s political system.

All of that said, Goodman recognized that such an effort by Democrats would inevitably bring about incredible — and justifiable — opposition from Republicans, thus the effort couldn’t use half-measures, as the right would eventually regain control and use the precedents set by the left to do the same in a tit-for-tat spiral of escalation that would inevitably lead to violence and bloodshed if not brought to a halt at some point.

The folks at Legal Insurrection could only laugh at these suggestions by Goodman and Faris and pointed out that the process of unraveling the “norms” that the left now misses so much was begun under the guidance of former President Barack Obama and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

But at least some Democrats are being open and honest about their vindictive plans to exact vengeance on Republicans if they ever hold unified power again, and we can only encourage them to run openly on a platform of blatant political revenge as they seek to reclaim their lost power in the upcoming 2018 and 2020 elections.



Feds' new rules could stop asylum surge,/b>

The government’s citizenship agency issued new guidelines this week that will make it much tougher for many of the Central Americans streaming into the U.S. to claim asylum.

Asylum officers at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services were instructed to make asylum-seekers prove not only that they were specifically targeted in their home countries, but that their governments either condoned the persecution or were so indifferent that they might as well have been complicit.

That undercuts the standard argument given by many of the migrants making their way north from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, who describe dangerous neighborhoods and rough home lives — but struggle to prove they were victims of government-sanctioned violence.

Just proving that their governments were having trouble policing the problem is not enough, the guidance says.

The guidance also reminds asylum officers that someone who sneaks into the U.S., rather than asking for asylum through more traditional channels, is a major negative factor that can help doom asylum applications.

The guidance could head many would-be illegal immigrants off at the pass, denying them even a chance to remain on U.S. soil through bogus or ill-founded asylum claims.

“Our laws do not offer protection against instances of violence based on personal, private conflict that is not on account of a protected ground,” said Michael Bars, a spokesman for USCIS.

The guidance, dated June 11, carries out a decision handed down by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month in which he said American asylum laws, while generous, cannot make the country an outlet for everyone facing difficulties across the globe.

Mr. Sessions said he was moving asylum back to its traditional understanding as an escape valve for people who faced persecution because of their religion, ethnicity or political beliefs.

Administration critics say the government will be cutting of a vital lifeline to tens of thousands of illegal immigrants fleeing rough conditions back home. They point to cases of people who say family members have been killed or children forced to join gangs, or husbands who made wives fear for their lives.

Yet security analysts said that over the last decade, asylum had become too nebulous, with people winning claims based on spousal abuse or gang-infested neighborhoods.

As the standards relaxed, the number of people making claims surged. Just 1 percent arriving migrants claimed asylum at the beginning of this decade, but that rate is now 10 percent.

Statistics show only about 3 percent of those will actually win their claims.

Yet just clearing the initial hurdle — claiming “credible fear” of being sent back home — is often enough to earn migrants a foothold in the U.S., getting them released into communities, where they can quickly qualify for work permits and some taxpayer benefits.

Even after they lose their cases, few are actually deported.

Smugglers, aware of the asylum “loophole,” began coaching their migrant clients on the “magic words” to use to clear the credible fear threshold and gain quick entry to the U.S.

Under the new guidance, though, officers were told to reject even pre-asylum “credible fear” claims that don’t meet the higher standards. That paves the way for the government to quickly deport them.

“Few gang-based or domestic-violence claims involving particular social groups defined by the members’ vulnerability to harm may merit a grant of asylum or refugee status,” the guidance says.



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)