Friday, July 27, 2018

Trump is taking US down the path to tyranny (?)

I rather like reading the writings of Leftist intellectual Prof. Jeffrey Sachs.  He always sounds so calm and rational.  But he is director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University so you know that he is also gullible and good at self deception.  But he always puts up a plausible case for whatever he is pushing.  He would probably convince most people who don't know the facts he leaves out.  In true Leftist style he only tells half the story and runs very close to outright lies by what he leaves out.

I could challenge almost every sentence of what he writes below but I have no desire to clean out the Augean stables so will offer just a few comments on the first few paragraphs of his latest essay below.

How does he know that "Trump holds the grandiose belief that only he should rule America"?  Does Sachs have a mind-reading machine?Is Sachs talking about the man who vowed to use his "pen and phone" to circumvent Congress?  No.  That was King Obama.  Trump by contrast has been punctilious in wiping out regulations that tended to circumvent Congress.  Trump is in fact very respectful of Congress.

Next we hear that Trump is good at keeping confidential the substance of sensitive negotiations?  That is bad?

The next big laugh is that "Trump abrogated the Iran nuclear deal despite its unanimous support by the UN Security Council".  The Security Council?  How relevant is that?  What about Congress?  Congress did not ratify the so-called treaty so once again Trump is siding with Congress.

The next bit of Sachs deception is an outright lie:  "Trump used executive authority without Congressional mandate to impose a travel ban on several Muslim-majority states".  Congress HAD given Presidents that power years ago, a power that Obama used among others.

OK.  One last bit of nonsense and I am done.  "Trump changed the status quo regarding Jerusalem against the will of the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly."  Once again Sachs quotes the United Nations instead of Congress. Trump was in fact simply obeying a law passed by Congress.  Once again Trump went along with Congress rather than defying it.  Sachs is talking a quite  amazing heap of manure. It just keeps pouring out.  He has got the truth exactly backwards. There is no truth in him. (John 8:44)

The United States was born in a revolt against the tyranny of King George III. The Constitution was designed to prevent tyranny through a system of checks and balances, but in President Trump's America, those safeguards are failing.

Donald Trump holds the grandiose belief that only he should rule America. Unchecked by cowed or complicit Republicans in Congress, Trump invokes executive authority to alter policies and practices long established by law and treaty.

Days after his summit meeting with Vladimir Putin, no one knows what the two autocrats agreed to, or even talked about -- not the President's top aides, nor the Pentagon, nor security establishment or Congress, never mind the rest of us. And in the midst of the ensuing uproar, Trump has invited Putin to Washington, without telling his top intelligence official and no doubt most other key aides and officials.

The list of one-man actions grows rapidly. Trump is single-handedly imposing hundreds of billions of dollars of tariffs -- that is, taxes -- on imported goods from key US allies and China, without any explicit or implicit Congressional backing.

Trump abrogated the Iran nuclear deal despite its unanimous support by the UN Security Council. Trump is in the process of imposing new and severe sanctions against Iran, including the cutoff of all of Iran's oil exports, against the international agreement with Iran and with no vote of Congress, presumably to try to topple the Iranian regime.

Not surprisingly, and perhaps as intended, Trump's drumbeat of belligerency triggered an ominous warning from Iran, and now an escalation from Trump, casting the increasingly ominous confrontation with Iran as yet another one-man Trump show.

Trump used executive authority without Congressional mandate to impose a travel ban on several Muslim-majority states; to announce the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement despite treaty-bound US obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; and to change the status quo regarding Jerusalem against the will of the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly. Trump extended the stay of US troops in Syria without oversight or approval by Congress.



Another win!  Trump trumps the EU

President Trump struck a trade deal Wednesday with the European Union, reaping significant concessions as top E.U. officials moved to avoid an escalating tariff war with the U.S., according to early reports.

The deal involved the E.U. importing more U.S. soybeans, lowering industrial tariffs and working on an agreement to import more liquified natural gas (LNG) from America, according to a Dow Jones report.

The deal followed a high-stakes meeting between Mr. Trump and E.U. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The two leaders faced off over escalating dispute over tariffs and trade barriers that block U.S. goods. The big dispute is over cars, with Mr. Trump threatening massive tariffs on if for the E.U. didn’t lower high tariffs on cars.

Expectations of the announced deal, with reporters summoned to the Rose Garden for an announcement, sent the stock market soaring. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed more than 170 points after being down about 50 points early in the afternoon.



Ignore Media’s Trump Hysteria, Look at ‘Remarkable’ Things He’s Actually Done

With the intensity with which those on the left despise President Donald Trump and his policies, and the constant barrage of negative news coverage about the president since he took office, you would think the country is on the verge of chaos.

If that were the case, can somebody explain why the stock market has surged roughly 41 percent from the night Trump won the presidential election to today?

After all, anyone with even a casual knowledge of the markets knows they are extremely sensitive to signs of uncertainty and turmoil. If we hear all of this noise from the media and Democrats about how the country is divided, facing an uncertain future and every other doomsday prediction, why isn’t Wall Street paying attention?

Because Wall Street looks at things in a different light than most individuals. Money is not a Republican or Democratic asset. Who the president is doesn’t trigger unrealistic emotions — either for or against.

Kevin O’Leary, noted investor and one of the stars of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” says when you cut through all of the noise surrounding Trump’s presidency, he’s doing some “remarkable” things to help businesses, specifically the cutting of regulations.

“I would say on a policy basis, I’m going to have to give it an 8 1/2 out of 10 so far,” O’Leary told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton of the Trump administration’s performance to date.

“The reduction of regulations has been remarkable in how it has accelerated small business,” he said. “These things are quietly being changed, and I really — I credit the administration for doing this. They’re making it easier to run a small business in pretty well every state I’m involved in. So that’s working.”

In an Op-Ed O’Leary penned for The, he heaped more praise on the administration and said the markets are very confident in the president’s economic plans.

Part of that confidence, O’Leary said, is based on looking at the facts of what Trump is doing in terms of fundamental business policies, not the emotions social issues generate.

“Trump is like no president before him: not good, not bad, but different,” O’Leary wrote. “Want to manage through the turmoil? Here is a better strategy. Ignore the noise and watch the policy.”

O’Leary credits Trump with putting in place competent economic managers such as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Director Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. O’Leary says deregulation and tax reforms are already a done deal, and trade is the next item on the agenda.

“Their message is clear: They are going to keep ratcheting up tariffs until the eurozone and China come to the table,” O’Leary said. “They care about the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asian trade protocol, too, but these have been pushed to the back burner while they focus on the big dogs, China and Europe.”

The president is receiving steady criticism for his tough stances on trade, but if his policies were really that bad, the markets would reflect that, O’Leary said.

“So why has the market not corrected, and why have many stocks continued to hit all-time historic highs?” he asked. “Because the potential to equalize tariffs has such tremendous economic upside for the U.S. economy, investors are willing to put up with pain even if the chance of success is only 50 percent or less.”

And the markets are willing to put up with a lot of pain if the payoff is worth it, O’Leary said.

“The markets know this is not going to happen overnight, but the upside is so enticing that it is willing to wait,” he said.

O’Leary said that rather than judge a president or other politicians based on whether they have an “R” or “D” after their name, those in the business world know it’s best to look at the steak, and not the sizzle.

“My best advice in these extraordinary times? Tune out the circus and focus on the policy that actually gets implemented,” O’Leary said.

It’s hard for critics of the president to tune out the circus when it seems to have taken up permanent residence in their heads. But you can bet there are some hardcore liberals who are embarrassed to admit just how nice their 401k statements have looked since Trump took office.



Liberal war on work

Once upon a time, work for welfare was a pretty accepted notion. In 1996, Bill Clinton signed a strict workfare bill that was so popular, it helped him get re-elected. A Brookings Institute study by welfare scholar Ron Haskins proved those reforms moved more than half of those on welfare (mostly young single moms) into the workforce, and millions eventually gained economic self-sufficiency.

If ever there were a public policy triumph, this was it.

During Barack Obama’s first term, those reforms were pretty much eviscerated. The recession was so deep the poverty lobby argued that there were no jobs for the welfare recipients to fill. Moreover, enrollment in the non-work requirement welfare programs, such as food stamps, Medicaid, disability and housing assistance, exploded.

Even as the unemployment rate fell, food stamps, Medicaid and disability enrollment remained at near-record highs. Is it a coincidence that during the Obama presidency, as welfare ballooned, workforce participation rates for those in the prime working ages fell dramatically?

The panoply of more than 20 welfare programs has become a substitute, not a supplement, for work. A Cato Institute studies showed that the full package of federal and state welfare benefits could deliver a family with more than $30,000 of benefits — tax and work-free. Why work?

Earlier this year, Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration tried to add a fairly modest work provision for able-bodied adults in the food stamps financing bill. Democrats en masse voted against the bill to stop workfare. This was more sad evidence that the “new Democrats” of the 1990s have vanished from the landscape.

Some Democrats have equated workfare to a form of “slavery.” By the way, the hard left made these same kind of over-the-top accusations in the mid-1990s about the Clinton work requirements, predicting “blood in the streets” if the bill passed. There was no blood in the streets.

The latest chapter in this story comes in the form of a new study by the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) report which finds that only about one in five able-bodied recipients of food stamps and Medicaid work full time. This is scandalous given that today jobs are plentiful and in most states employers are begging for workers.

“These low employment rates of non-disabled working-age recipients” the CEA report concludes, “suggest that legislative changes requiring them to work and supporting their transition into the laborforce for Food Stamps and Medicaid would have positive effects on work participation and self-sufficiency.”

Liberals have denounced the CEA report by regurgitating the same discredited arguments used in 1996 that millions of Americans will lose their benefits and poverty rates will soar. Jared Bernstein, a former Obama economist, wrote that the proposal shows that Republicans care more about rich donors than poor people. The Daily Kos headline shouted that Republicans have replaced the War on Poverty with a “war on poor people.”

The left says that pretty much everyone on welfare who can be working is working. Raise your hand if you believe this. Incidentally, the work requirement for food stamps that Republicans are pushing would only apply to about one-in-five on welfare. My view is that just because someone has a disability doesn’t mean they can’t contribute. This is like saying a girl can’t throw a football. Nearly every town in America needs Uber drivers and I’ve often been picked up by “disabled” drivers.

What I don’t get is why the left is so knee-jerk opposed to work. The CEA report makes a very valid point that there are “pecuniary and non-pecuniary gains” when people get off welfare and into work. There is dignity and pride in a job well done and earning a paycheck.

Not so in the moral and financial dead end of a welfare check. The left’s latest idea to end poverty is to give every American a guaranteed family income. Mr. Trump wants to give everyone a job. The Democrats want to give the poor a fish. Mr. Trump wants to teach people to fish so they can eat for a lifetime. I suspect the American public is solidly behind Mr. Trump in this public policy fight and Republicans would be wise to double down on work requirements to convert welfare into a hand up, not a hand-out.



CA: Rearmed Pillage People Ride Again

 Back in 1990, Gilbert Hyatt invented the first single-chip microprocessor, which earned him a lot of money, so he moved to Nevada, which has no state income tax. California’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB) claimed Hyatt lied about his residency, and that he owed millions in state income taxes.

Despite a 2008 ruling in his favor by a Nevada court, FTB snoops kept after the inventor. By the time his case arrived at California’s Board of Equalization last August, the FTB was claiming that interest had run up Hyatt’s tab to $55 million. Trouble was, a 3-2 vote by California’s Board of Equalization determined that Gilbert Hyatt was indeed a Nevada resident when state tax collectors said he lied about his residency.

So the BOE waived $5.7 million in fraud penalties and $5.7 million in taxes from 1992, That left Gilbert Hyatt with a 1991 tax bill of $1.9 million, including interest, a far cry from $55 million. California’s pillage people didn’t like it and are now deploying in new uniforms.

Governor Jerry Brown and the legislature gutted the BOE and empowered the Office of Tax Appeals, a new state agency. As Dan Walters of CALmatters reports, “the FTB is now trying to persuade the new agency to reopen the residency case.” So Hyatt, who turns 81 this year, may be in store for more harassment on top of the many years he already endured. And he may not be the only target. As Walters also notes, in June the U.S. Supreme Court “granted the FTB’s petition to decide whether Hyatt’s successful harassment case in Nevada courts is valid.”

New federal tax law limits the deductibility of California’s state income tax, highest in the nation. Many will surely flee to low-tax states and Nevada’s ruling in favor of Hyatt shows they will be welcome. That displeases California’s rearmed pillage people, not exactly a gang of good losers. How this all shakes out for the tax refugees and Mr. Hyatt is uncertain, but for taxpayers some realities are clear.

Creating an innovative product people want to buy can earn an inventor lots of money. Those who want to keep most of the money they earn are not displaying greed. Greed is what motivates politicians to punish the productive with the nation’s highest taxes. Greed is what motivates state agencies to waste millions of dollars pursuing revenues to which they are not entitled. As California’s militant Franchise Tax Board and Office of Tax Appeals confirm, government greed is truly fathomless.



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

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


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Trump runs North Korea playbook in feud with Iran

The interpretation of Trump's warning to Iran below is pretty right but it misses out another element of the equation. Trump is indeed trying to terrorize Iran verbally, just as he initially did with the Norks but that is only half of his strategy.  With the Norks, Trump piled on the pressure by being nice to President Xi and thus getting China to pressure the Norks.  China seems to have cut off most of North Korea's oil supply, for instance.  So Mr Kim HAD to cave.

And what has Trump just done before heavying Iran? Made nice with President Putin.  So he has confidence that Putin won't come to the rescue of Iran.  Russia has in the past given some assistance to Iran: Their nuclear reactor, for instance.  So Trump's strategy is as good as anything in
Vom Kriege by Clausewitz. He has both launched a frontal attack on Iran and cut off their retreat.

It's possible that the whole Helsinki show was in order to clear the decks: To ensure that Putin would stay neutral in any conflict with Iran. With Obama's nuclear deal with Iran now off the table, Trump had to do something to "solve" Iran and this may be his opening move

The White House blamed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday for provoking warlike threats from President Trump, as the administration sought to step up economic and political pressure on Iran in a campaign similar to the strategy that brought North Korea to the nuclear bargaining table.

Gearing up to implement tough economic sanctions on an Iranian economy that is already faltering, Mr. Trump and his top advisers also have made it clear to Iran’s leaders in the past two days that the U.S. will no longer sit back quietly in the face of Tehran’s typical “death to America” rhetoric and other threats.


It was reminiscent of Mr. Trump’s “fire and fury” warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last summer.

Mr. Trump fired this online shot across the bow after the Iranian leader declared in Tehran, “America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

Liberals accused Mr. Trump of attempting to pivot away from negative media coverage of his summit last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin by threatening war against another longtime U.S. adversary in the Middle East.

“President Trump’s belligerent tweet is another alarming warning sign that he’s blundering toward war with Iran,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat and co-author of a 2015 law that gave Congress the right to review the Iranian nuclear deal before congressional sanctions could be lifted. “The prospect of President Trump starting a catastrophic war should concern us all, and we must be vigilant in stopping it.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr. Trump has been tougher on Iran than President Obama since the beginning of his presidency and that his latest comments were consistent with his approach to Tehran, which included pulling out of the nuclear deal last spring.

“The president’s responding to Iran, and he’s not going to allow them to continue to make threats against America,” Mrs. Sanders said. “If anybody is inciting anything, look no further than to Iran.”

Asked by reporters Monday afternoon whether he had any concerns about provoking tensions with Iran, Mr. Trump replied, “None at all.”

Mr. Rouhani scoffed at Mr. Trump’s threat to halt Iranian oil exports and said Iran has a dominant position in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping waterway. Washington later eased its stance, saying it might grant sanction waivers to some allies.

In reaction to Iran’s threats, the U.S. military has renewed its pledge to secure free flow of oil from the strait. However, at least as of last week, the Pentagon said those Iranian threats had not led the U.S. military to reposition or add to forces in the Middle East.

“We haven’t adjusted our force posture in response to any of those statements. And I don’t think that’s warranted. I wouldn’t recommend that,” John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, told a security forum in Colorado on Friday.

James Jay Carafano, a national security specialist at The Heritage Foundation, said the president was expressing himself to Tehran “in a uniquely Trumpian manner.”

“No one should doubt the U.S. resolve to protect its interests,” Mr. Carafano said. “The president was not afraid to use force in Syria. Clearly, he would do so here, but only if provoked on the ground — he is not going to be cowed or impressed by threats from Tehran. On the other hand, he is not going to be reckless in the use of force, but I imagine if the Iranians thought about trying something, the tweet was a reminder they won’t get away with it.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is bitterly opposed to Iran, praised Mr. Trump’s “strong stance.” Germany said threats of war were “never helpful.”

With popular discontent over Iran’s faltering economy and sliding currency, and the prospect of tough new U.S. sanctions, Iran’s leaders have called for unity.

The Iranian rial plunged to a record low against the U.S. dollar on the unofficial market on Monday amid fears of military confrontation between Iran and the United States. The dollar was being offered for as much as 92,000 rials, compared with about 75,000 last week.

While Washington prepares to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran after pulling out of the nuclear deal, Iran’s faction-ridden religious and political elites have closed ranks against Mr. Trump’s hawkish approach.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration will never stop calling out Iran for its human rights abuses, religious persecution and fomenting of terrorism.

“Sometimes it seems the world has become desensitized to the regime’s authoritarianism at home and its campaigns of violence abroad, but the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government’s many abuses,” Mr. Pompeo said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California. “And the United States under President Trump will not stay silent either. In light of these protests and 40 years of regime tyranny, I have a message for the people of Iran: The United States hears you; the United States supports you; the United States is with you.”



The Greatest Hysteria in American History

You and I are living through the greatest mass hysteria in American history. For many Americans, the McCarthy era held that dubious distinction, but what is happening now is incomparably worse.

For one thing, any hysteria that existed then was directed against the greatest evil in the world at the time: communism. Then-Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee notwithstanding, there really were Americans in important positions who supported communist regimes enslaving their populations and committing mass murder. McCarthy was on to something.

In contrast, the country is choking on hysteria over the extremely unlikely possibility — for which there is still no evidence — that Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, and the absurdity that President Trump works for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

For another, the mainstream media did not support McCarthy. Most in the media were highly critical of McCarthy. Today, the mainstream media are not the voices of caution. They are the creators of the hysteria. There have been conspiracy theories throughout American history (e.g. Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t kill President John F. Kennedy alone; the moon landing never happened). But this is the first time the media have created and promoted a conspiracy. Not surprisingly, they have dropped any pretense of objective reporting in the process.

And while some Americans were unfairly labeled communists during the McCarthy era, countless Democratic politicians and leaders in news and entertainment have called members of the Trump administration and the tens of millions of Americans who support the president fascists, white supremacists, haters, xenophobes, and even Nazis.

MSNBC contributor Jill Wine-Banks said of the Trump-Putin Helsinki press conference: “It’s just as serious to me as the Cuban Missile Crisis in terms of an attack, or the 9/11 attack. … [Trump’s] performance today will live in infamy as much as the Pearl Harbor attack or Kristallnacht.”

Former communist, Obama operative, and CIA Director John Brennan tweeted: “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous.”

The constant invoking of the Holocaust, the Nazis, and now Kristallnacht (the unofficial beginning of the Holocaust, a night in 1938 when German Jews were beaten to death, synagogues were burned, and Jewish shops were destroyed) only minimizes the evils of Nazism and the Holocaust. A young American who, having gone to a typical university, probably knows nothing about the Nazis and the Holocaust will now think Nazism and the Holocaust were 20th-century expressions of Trump and American conservatism.

All this hysteria is built on next to nothing. At its core, it is an attempt to undo the 2016 election. The mainstream media refuse to accept that Hillary Clinton lost. They said she would win — handily. They predicted a landslide. How could they have possibly gotten it so wrong? Their answer is they didn’t; Trump and Putin stole it.

If truth mattered to the media, their ongoing narrative would be: “Democrats and the Left still do not accept Trump victory.”

If truth mattered to the media, every American would know Trump has been harder on Russia than former President Barack Obama was. Every American would be reminded that Obama reassured Putin’s right-hand man, then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, that he wouldn’t be too tough on Russia. Thinking his mic was off, he whispered into Medvedev’s ear: “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”

If truth mattered to the media, every American would be reminded that Obama sent Army meals to Ukraine and Trump has sent anti-tank missiles and other arms to repel the Russians.

If truth mattered to the media, every American would be reminded that Obama watched Syria burn and Russia come to dominate that country, while Trump has bombed Syrian military installations, including one where Russians were killed.

If truth mattered to the media, every American would be reminded that it is Trump who has weakened Russia’s ally Iran, while Obama immeasurably strengthened it.

Instead the media scream “treason,” “impeachment,” and the like 24/7; Hollywood stars curse the president; others curse his daughter or the first lady (one of the most regal in American history) and show President Trump in various death poses. Meanwhile, leftist mobs shout at administration officials and Republican members of Congress while they eat in restaurants, shop in stores, and sleep in their homes.

If you vote Democrat this November, you are voting for hysteria, lies, socialism, and even the cheapening of the Holocaust.

But more than anything, a vote for Democrats in November is a vote for hysteria — the greatest and darkest in American history.



Trump offers help to farmers hit by escalating China trade war

This is a big signal to say that Trump is sticking to his guns in getting tariffs against American goods removed or reduced

As President Donald Trump embarks on a multistate tour through parts of the country hit heavily by trade battles, his administration said Tuesday it will direct $12 billion to farmers whose harvests have been hurt by tariffs.

But the idea faced immediate criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Responding to farm groups and the Republican discontent, administration officials said they have been working since April on a short-term plan to shore up slipping prices for soybeans, pork and other crops hit with retaliatory tariffs from China.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue described the programs as "a firm statement that other nations cannot bully our agricultural producers to force the United States to cave in.”

But the idea drew sharp and immediate criticism from some Republicans on Capitol Hill, who described it as "welfare" for one sector of the economy affected by the tit-for-tat raising of trade barriers that has been ushered in by Trump.

"This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers," said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. "The best relief for the president’s trade war would be ending the trade war."

Perdue described the measures, which do not require congressional approval, as a one-time, short-term effort to give Trump more leverage to negotiate an end to trade disputes with China, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and others.

The USDA-led programs, Perdue said, would include direct payments to farmers, government purchase of crops to be distributed to food banks and attempts to build new export markets to replace those imposing retaliatory tariffs.

Producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs would benefit from the direct payments, USDA officials said. Fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk could be purchased for distribution to food-aid programs.

The plan to stabilize farmers, some of whom have watched prices tumble amid the trade disputes, is a recognition that Trump’s tariffs are having a short-term impact on the agriculture sector heading into the midterm elections and also that there is no clear end in sight to escalating barriers.

Trump spoke at a VFW convention and attended a fundraiser in Missouri on Tuesday, and he is set to visit Iowa and Illinois later this week.

In a tweet before leaving the White House on Tuesday, the president said that "Tariffs are the greatest!" and reiterated his argument that current trade policy disadvantages U.S. farmers and manufacturers. Speaking to veterans in Kansas City, Missouri, the president urged farmers to "just be a little patient."

"The farmers will be the biggest beneficiary," Trump said of the trade disputes.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said the USDA programs would give Trump more leverage to negotiate with other countries.

Though he declined to say whether he supports the policy, Hoeven predicted it would make "darn clear to the people we’re negotiating with that we intend to get better trade deals."

Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican who chairs the Agriculture Committee, was also noncommittal about the measures.

“Well I think it’s obvious that in farm country there’s a lot of concern," Roberts said. "Those are the folks who brought the president home, and obviously if you’re adding up that kind of situation, why it would impact that.”

Other Republicans were more critical.



Mexican President Delivers Incredible Letter to Trump, Promises a ‘New Stage’ Leftists Will Hate

Those on the left who have been furious with President Donald Trump’s stance on illegal immigration and border security now have another country’s leader to scorn.

And it’s not one you would expect. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, president-elect of Mexico, released a seven-page letter that he sent to Trump earlier this month in which he outlined how he hopes the two countries can work together to improve security at their border and discourage migration from Mexico.

“There will be many changes,” he promised in the letter. “And in this new atmosphere of progress with well-being, I’m sure we can reach agreements to confront together the migration phenomenon as well as the problem of border insecurity.”

Marcelo Ebrard, the president-elect’s proposed foreign minister, read a copy of the letter at a news conference with Lopez Obrador Sunday that said the incoming administration’s aim is to “start a new chapter in the relationship between Mexico and the United States, based on mutual respect.”

Lopez Obrador takes office Dec. 1. He’s already spoken by phone with Trump and met with some U.S. officials, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to begin opening lines of communication between the U.S. and his administration.



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 25, 2018

Success of Trump-Putin summit to prevent nuclear war between U.S. and Russia missed by establishment amid hysteria over hacking

By Robert Romano

If one did not know any better, he or she might conclude that the single most important function of the President of the United States is to secure the computer email systems of the nation’s privately run major political parties against intrusion by foreign intelligence agencies.

Or, that the only topic of importance that was discussed at the Helsinki, Finland summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16 was charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller against Russia’s GRU for hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and John Podesta emails and publishing them on Wikileaks on 2016.

Such is the hysterical world that we live in today. Believe it or not, however, the President, whoever occupies the office, really does have even more important issues to contend with. Don’t believe me?

When it comes to U.S.-Russian relations, there are very real geopolitical issues between the two countries, the world’s foremost nuclear powers, where cooperation between the two presidents could bring about better outcomes than conflict.

That is the major reason to have a summit. In short, to prevent war, but more broadly, to address differences and, if possible, to find areas of agreement.

Fortunately for everyone, President Trump did find those areas of agreement.

On nuclear proliferation, current disagreements between the two powers over the implementation of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned all nuclear weapons with ranges from 310 and 3,420 miles, were reportedly addressed. Both the U.S. and Russia have said each side is in violation of the treaty with the development of ground-based missile systems banned by the treaty.

For the uninitiated, the INF Treaty is the bedrock of the U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control regime. It was Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev’s crowning diplomatic achievement and signaled the coming end of the Cold War. It set the stage for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) of 1991. These two treaties were the first ever reductions of nuclear weapons.

So, the fact that the agreements are now failing would be a matter of concern for not just the U.S. and Russia, but for the entire world, because they threaten world peace. A new nuclear arms race would be a catastrophe. It would also be an urgent matter for the U.S. and Russian presidents to address, which, thankfully, they did when they met on July 16.

Now, it will be up to the national security councils of both nations to follow up and see about bringing each side into compliance with the INF Treaty. No new agreement is needed. Simply implementation of the existing treaty, which calls for monitors, analysis and demonstrations to test the ranges of the missile systems.

Other areas of agreement came, again on the nuclear front, where Putin was said by Trump to support the President’s agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Being a nearby neighbor of North Korea — the two countries share a border of 11 miles — Russia is in a position to apply both pressure and give encouragement to North Korea to make good on its agreement. Russia, a net exporter of petroleum and natural gas, is also in a position to factor into the sanctions regime.

Again, achieving agreement here on Korean denuclearization is better than not having agreement. This is something that both sides can play a role in facilitating, along with China, and keeping everyone on the same page. It’s helpful to have Russia involved as a positive force. It’s certainly better than if they were actively undermining the agreement.

In Ukraine, the Trump and Putin discussed the implementation of the 2014 Minsk Accords, which is a Russian-Ukrainian agreement to help settle the civil war there. Since that is a location where U.S. and Russian forces could realistically and potentially wind up in armed conflict, it is extremely important that the U.S. and Russia be on the same page.

Elsewhere, the U.S. and Russia via Trump and Putin agreed to work towards the security of Israel’s borders. This follows on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent trip to Moscow to discuss Russia helping to keep Iranian forces operating in Syria away from the Syrian-Israeli border.

Obviously, there are many complexities to the situation on the ground in Syria presently, but again, this is an area where Russia could help a lot to defuse the situation and prevent a wider war in the region, which again, could involve the U.S. and Russia at opposite ends. With both U.S. and Russian forces operating in theater, getting deconfliction right is critical. The two sides must be talking.

By the way, there are no guarantees the cooperation between the U.S. and Russia will work out in everyone or even any one of these areas. That really depends a lot on the relationship Trump manages to establish with Putin and how well they can work together.

Scoff if you will, but these talks are utterly necessary. We don’t boycott U.S.-Russian relations just because Hillary Clinton lost an election. Sorry. There’s more at stake than partisan politics.

As President Trump said at the summit, “I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than risk peace in pursuit of politics.”

Yes, the issue of the 2016 hacking was also addressed at the summit by Trump and Putin, but quite honestly, it pales in comparison to the threat of war. Which is more important? Preventing an accidental nuclear war or finding out who sent the spear phishing messages that enabled hackers to access John Podesta’s emails? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.

Now more than ever, we need to have a president who can initiate a direct, one-on-one conversation with Russia to defuse these conflicts and set the world on a path towards peace and security, not take us to the brink. Right now, that is President Trump. And thank goodness he is doing his job. In the nuclear age, every day we wake up is a gift. Never forget it.



Loonies from the Left

by Ryan Messano

Since the left is full of those who have issues with drug use, and can't contain sex in marriage between a man and a woman, combined with a huge problem with learning and comprehending history, they simply don't understand that their mistakes have been repeated before, and were and always will be, disasters.  In their personal lives, they sacrifice the future on the altar of the immediate, and their policies do the same to societies.  They are termites, eating incessantly away at the home of the American body politic, frantically trying to destroy it from within.

The Peter Strzok hearings were remarkable for showing just how corrupt Democrats are the Praetorian Guard, along with their media and academia, to protect corruption in our nation.  Peter Strzok is about the only person in the world who doesn't know he's biased.  He even stated the definition of bias in response to GOP representative Raul Labrador.   However, he couldn't understand how his own actions were biased.  It's one of the greatest examples I've ever seen of a person being unaware of their own faults when everyone else could see it.  Leftists can't see their own corruption so they naturally defend his corruption. 

Louie Gohmert unloaded on Strzok by going after his smirking and nearly succeeding in wiping his arrogant smirk from his face by wondering aloud how his face looked when he lied to his wife about having an affair with Lisa Page.  Of course, the Democrats were instantly up in arms, squawking about, 'have you no decency', and, 'you need to take your meds'. 

You would think both sides would agree on an egregious case of bias, but the Democrats keep digging their grave even deeper, by frantically ob-Strzok-ting justice.  Trey Gowdy ripped Strzok, rightly so, but Strzok thought he was the injured party.    Peter Strzok also complained about being maligned, and said he did what he did out of honor to America, to defend the honor of Khizr Khan, the Muslim father of a deceased American war Hero, who tried to defend Islam, by pretending it is just like every other religion. 

Islam is definitely not like other religions.  Democrat representative Steve Cohen gave proof that his cheese has slid well off his cracker, by saying that Strzok deserved a Purple Heart for his malfeasance and corruption.  It was a dizzying display that the Democrats are a menace to our society, and everyone who votes Democrat is historically inept and corrupt.

 Dear Reader, the WB liberals are in a bad way, and though they think the opposite is true, they need our sympathy and commiseration, that they can one day awake from the hallucination sensation they are currently experiencing.  Some of them have had some pretty strong drugs, so the delusion is quite strong in more than a few.  They rely on their 'experts', 'popularity', 'anecdotes', 'studies', academic background, and other bogus evaluative techniques to prop up their deceived view of the world.

When Trump met with Putin, he opened by saying whatever happened, he would be criticized for it.  Boy, was he ever right.  The left was naturally up in arms.  I went to the Huffy Puffy and it was completely full of the usual nonsense that we were now Russian puppets.  Whoever pays for these liberal messages believes the Americans are stupid and dumb, and they aren't far off the mark.  John Brennan, the corrupt former CIA head, came out and lectured us that this was treason.

Democrats were gulping their medications frantically.  The fake news media was hysterically losing it's mind.  God forbid Donald Trump actually call out our corrupt intelligence agencies, which still has yet to uncover a shred of Russian collusion in our election, and attempt to make peace with Vladimir Putin, who is actually closer to America's Founding Ideals than that Marxist Snake Barack Obama was. 

America did Russia a huge favor and helped rid it of Communism.  Russia is doing us a favor and delivered us from the near Communist Hillary Clinton, if in fact they did hack the DNC's e-mails, which fact has never been verified. 

Putin has issues encroaching on other nation's, and America still has sanctions on Russia.  But the weakness of Obama invited aggression, as shrinking the American military was a very bad idea.   Leftists think the gubmint is to be Big Daddy to everyone who wants a handout.  These leftists live privileged lives and hate to ever be bothered with the poor, but they will demand Joe Taxpayer be taxed to the hilt to pay for anyone who likes things free.

It has been an eventful past few days, and it will get worse.  The left is raging to get back in power, as power, money, and pleasure are all that matter to them. Their lives, without these three things, mean absolutely  nothing, and so they literally die when deprived of them.

They cloak their greed, lust, and evil with lying pretenses of  helping the poor and punishing the greedy, but deep down, they are every bit as wicked and even more so, than every last wicked deed they try to condemn.  Just examine, dear reader, the language of the WB liberal.  They claim they care about the poor, but they use the filthiest ideas and words to attack those they disagree with.  They use language no sane adult would ever use, especially not in the presence of children.  Then, they and their cohorts, criticize conservatives and give this filthy language a pass.  They are world class hypocrites, and if it weren't for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.   

Just remember, when the left's ideals rule a nation, the French Revolution happens.  When conservative Christians rule, the American Revolution occurs.



Stare Decisis is Like a Street Sign: "Drive Only On the Left!"

By Rich Kozlovich

I just read Bastasch’s article, "Brett Kavanaugh put a serious damper on EPA power grabs", which gave me more confidence in this man, at least until he ended the article saying this about overturning the Endangerment Finding. He says:

"However, Adler (a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law) said it’s unlikely the court overturn Massachusetts v. EPA because of its strong tradition of “stare decisis” — latin for “to stand by things decided.” “It’s one thing to overturn a bad constitutional decision because Congress can’t fix that,” Adler said, though he added a Kennedy-less court could narrow the application of Massachusetts v. EPA. “It’s not going to be overturned,” he said."

For a law professor to say such a thing on such an issue is clearly demonstrating his bias in my opinion, especially since the adoration to "stare decisis" is a one way street for leftists.

I’m not sure how Kavanaugh would vote on a new Endangerment Finding case, but we need to get rid of this idea of “stare decisis” as the deciding factor.

These leftist justices have overturned “stare decisis” over and over again, and have been lauded by the very leftists who claim to adore the concept. Let's try and get this right - "stare decisis" - is not written in stone and the only reason to openly support it as something that’s “sacred” is nothing more than a public relations scam by anyone involved in politics or law. The left only 'adores' the concept if someone supports any of the leftist decisions that overturned "stare decisis" decisions of the past. Any effort to overturn leftist decisions that have no Constitutional basis other than what's called the "penumbra of the Constitution" is sacrilege to the law and the Constitution according to the left.

"In United States constitutional law, the penumbra includes a group of rights derived, by implication, from other rights explicitly protected in the Bill of Rights. These rights have been identified through a process of "reasoning-by-interpolation", where specific principles are recognized from "general idea" that are explicitly expressed in other constitutional provisions......."

An open ended concept that allows for abuse!

The word penumbra originally was a scientific term "created to describe the shadows that occur during eclipses." And I think the word shadows is more than appropriate when its used in relationship with the Constitution.   The "penumbra" of the Constitution "implies" rights not actually written in the Constitution, and in fact the concept allows for the ability to define, redefine and even ignore the actual and simple language of the Constitution, all of which has been done by the federal judiciary at every level. All in an effort to make the Constitution a "Living Document".

The problem with that is all the "living" changes are determined by the wrong branch of government. The Constitution never gave the federal judiciary to right to "legislate" via some indefinable term that's been adopted by those whose one desire is to destroy the Constitution. The unelected Judiciary have overstepped their Constitutional bounds into the territory the Constitution assigns to the Legislature.

It's always amazing how devoted progressives, socialists, leftists and liberals are to the Constitution, when it's convenient. But in reality, this is the document they've called a dusty old document and many early Progressives like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson considered an "impediment to human progress".  Nothing has changed!  Any concerns they express about devotion to "stare decisis" is strictly politics.

Now, that brings me back to green issues, Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court. Here’s one thing I don’t think many know and I think could be a big factor in deciding any green issue that comes before SCOTUS.

Who was Justice Neil Gorsuch’s mother?

Ann Burford Gorsuch, a one time head of the EPA during the Reagan administration who was eviscerated by the left and the green movement in and out of government, and those she called "pack journalists." I have no doubt about his view of the leftist swamp Sand their green misanthropic allies.

Will that have an impact on Kavanaugh?    I don't know, except I have no doubt Gorsuch has a much clearer understanding of all these green issues and the people involved than any of the rest.  And I'm confident he has the ability to explain them properly.

As for Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor? They're hopeless. They couldn't be convinced day was light or night was dark if it wasn't supportive of some kind of leftist clabber or other.  Not a one of them pass the test of unbiased open mindedness the left demands of Trump's appointments or a rational understanding of what the Constitution really says, often times creating policies that have shattered generations of Americans. 



Summit Smackdown

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that administration officials are communicating with Russian leaders about a follow-up summit this fall in Washington, DC. Needless to say, the left-wing media went nuts.

What other president would have the courage to do that after the fallout from the Helsinki summit? Donald Trump is fearless and a natural fighter.

Throughout the campaign and much of his presidency, we were told that Trump was stupid and erratic and would get us into a nuclear war. (We heard the same things about Ronald Reagan too.) Now they are attacking Trump because he is trying “too hard” to make peace.

Rush Limbaugh asked a key question. He noted that Trump’s critics keep saying it was outrageous that he did not confront Vladimir Putin during the Helsinki press conference. They have no idea what he said behind closed doors.

But can any of the critics name the date and place of any summit when a U.S. president attacked a foreign leader with whom he was trying to negotiate? They can’t because summits aren’t meant for smackdowns but diplomacy.

The left-wing media keeps saying that Trump won’t follow the rules. But it is the Left that is constantly changing the rules, moving the goal posts, and demanding something that has never happened.



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 24, 2018

New Scientist "gets" IQ

"New" is an old Leftist code-word for "Leftist" but is rarely used that way these days. But some names originating in the first half of C20 carry on into the present:  "New Statesman","New School", "New Theatre" etc.  And "New Scientist" magazine is part of that.  And it still does have a Leftist slant. They are apostles of global warming, for instance.  So it is a surprise that they seem now to have largely thrown off the Leftist phobia about IQ. Some excerpts below from their current issue which are entirely reasonable

Far from being an indefinable concept, a single measure of intelligence underpins our problem-solving, musicality and even creativity and emotional skills

When researchers talk about intelligence, they are referring to a specific set of skills that includes the abilities to reason, learn, plan and solve problems. The interesting thing is that people who are good at one of them tend to be good at all of them. These skills seem to reflect a broad mental capability, which has been dubbed general intelligence or g.

That’s not to say people don’t specialise in different areas. Some will be particularly good at solving mathematical problems, others will have particularly strong verbal or spatial abilities, and so on. When it comes to intelligence tests, although these specific skills account for about half of the variation between people’s performance, the other half is down to g. “If you took a sample of 1000 people and gave them all IQ tests, the people who do better on the vocabulary test will also do better, on average, on the reaction speed test, and so on,” says Stuart Ritchie, an intelligence researcher at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

This seems to fly in the face of old ideas. In the early 1980s, Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner argued for the existence of multiple intelligences, including “bodily-kinaesthetic”, “logical-mathematical” and “musical”. However, most researchers now believe these categories reflect different blends of abilities, skills and personality traits, not all of which are related to cognitive ability.



Trump not hurt by controversies about Russia, immigration

Trump’s overall job-approval rating in the poll stands at 45 percent among registered voters — up 1 point from June — while 52 percent of voters disapprove of his job.

That stability in Trump’s numbers stands out given the controversies and news over the past month — the separated families at the border, Trump’s contentious NATO meetings, his less contentious meeting with Russia’s Vladimir

Indeed, the new NBC/WSJ poll finds the president’s approval rating among Republican voters at 88 percent — the highest of his presidency — and 29 percent of all voters strongly approve of his job, which is another high for Trump in the poll.

“The more Trump gets criticized by the media, the more his base seems to rally behind him,” says Yang, the Democratic pollster.



We should IGNORE Leftist accusations

At most, dismiss their accusations in a few words as "Fake news" and leave it at that

It’s time we took a hard look at what we’ve been doing, that we might stop doing what’s not working and striven to better understand where we’ve made gains.

Our adversary, the political Left, does what it does always for strategic or tactical reasons. Continuous awareness of that core precept is vital if we’re to triumph over it.

The multitudinous, unending “accusations” Leftists have leveled at Trump Administration officials have had little to do with the facts, and far more with the prospect of gain for the Left. Their allies in the media march in lockstep with their tactics.

Allow me to repeat an old parable that has great relevance to media relations:

Some years ago, a theater impresario whom we shall call Smith, whose current production Hoity-Toity was, shall we say, not repaying its production costs received a phone call from Jones, a well-known reporter for the prestigious publication Theater Life. Their conversation ran as follows:

     "Mr. Smith," Jones said, "I'm calling to ask a few questions about Hoity-Toity."

     "Go right ahead," Smith said.

     "Well, first of all," Jones said, "the talk is that Hoity-Toity is falling deeply into arrears and will soon be closed. Is that the case?"

     Smith, a careful and experienced man, counted to ten before answering. "I would imagine that if I were to say no, your story in tomorrow's edition would be headlined 'Smith Denies Hoity-Toity Near To Closing.' Am I correct?"

     "Well, yes," Jones said. "Something like that, anyway."

     "Well, then," Smith said, "I'll answer your question if you'll answer one for me. How's that sound?"

     "Fair enough," Jones said warily. "What's your question?"

     "Mr. Jones, is it true that your wife has syphilis?"

     "What?" Jones shrieked. "Why are you asking me that? What put such an idea into your head?"

     "Oh, you know how the rumor mill churns," Smith said breezily. "But, as it happens, you're on speakerphone and Davis is here from Variety. If you were to answer no, he might have a story in tomorrow's edition headlined 'Jones Denies Wife Has Syphilis.' What would you think of a story like that?"

     There was a long silence on the line. Finally, Jones said, "All right, Smith. I take your point."

What would be the effect of a story headlined “Smith Denies Hoity-Toity Near To Closing” – ? It would be to reinforce in the reader’s mind two key elements: “Hoity-Toity” and “closing.” It would suggest that the show is a failure. It would discourage potential patrons of the show. There’s a strong presumption in the human mind that “my fellow humans, when they move or act en masse, are usually right.” We might deplore it. We might call it “the behavior of lemmings,” but it’s there...and you respond to it too.

That suggests that it’s a mistake to reply to, or to attempt to refute, those “accusations.” Every time we do so, we reinforce the key elements of the accusation and thus compound the losses it inflicts on us. Worse, we give the Left a particle of respectability it doesn’t deserve and should not get. Note that this does not imply answering with Left-like vitriol, but rather ignoring them, including their media handmaidens.

There are no gains to be had by responding. Not even minor ones.

Just now, for example, the Trump Administration is racking up the successes in economics and international relations. Those who are paying attention are aware of this – Right and Left. The Left’s denigrations, accusations, and insults are intended to distract the public from Trump’s successes. To the extent that it’s making any gains in that fashion, the credit must go to those who’ve managed to obstruct the real news – that is, reportage about what’s really happening. For among Americans aware of the gains the Administration is accumulating, Trump’s popularity and overall approval are advancing. Therefore it behooves the Left that those gains either go unreported, or are displaced from public attention by its attacks.

The only countermeasure is to keep our focus on what the Administration has achieved, and to talk it up without pausing to respond to the Left’s stream of distractive emissions.



What The Heck Is Hillary Wearing? “She looks like she’s in a hospital.”

Hospital shoes too?

Two Times Presidential Hopeful Loser Hilary Clinton took to the stage to bash President Trump and she looked like hell.  With disheveled hair and wearing what looked like a hospital gown, Clinton got more attention for how she looked that from what she said.

Hillary Clinton spoke at Ozyfest, a two-day festival in Central Park, on Saturday where she complained about Russia and Vladimir Putin for almost 45 minutes straight during a Q&A session with Laurene Powell Jobs, founder of Emerson Collection.

During her diatribe, Clinton claimed that the Russians are still trying to hack into our computer systems  and may actually hack into the voting machines and servers that count the votes during the 2018 midterm election.



Trump Names 'The Real Enemy of the People'

Pushing back against the liberal media on Thursday, President Donald Trump declared them to be "the real enemy of the people."

"The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media," Trump tweeted at 9:30 a.m. "I look forward to our second meeting [with Putin] so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more. There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems...but they can ALL be solved!" the president wrote.

Earlier on Thursday, Trump tweeted that the "fake news media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war. They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin. We are doing MUCH better than any other country!"

And: "The Fake News Media is going Crazy! They make up stories without any backup, sources or proof. Many of the stories written about me, and the good people surrounding me, are total fiction. Problem is, when you complain you just give them more publicity. But I’ll complain anyway!"

Trump's comments on Monday at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin produced scathing reviews from current and former government officials; scorn from liberal cable networks; and even admonishment from a few conservative outlets.

One of the main criticisms was President Trump's tough talk to allies and his apparent deference to an adversary.

In an interview with CBS's Jeff Glor following the NATO summit, Trump was asked to name his biggest global foes:

"I think we have a lot of foes," Trump said. "I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe." He also named China and Russia.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted a "told-you-so." "I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!"

In another tweet, the president also thanked "Fox & Friends" for playing video clips of the "many times" Trump has recognized Russian meddling.



Why Trump doesn’t hate Russia

The president’s refusal to embrace Russophobia is no bad thing

US president Donald Trump is in Helsinki for a one-on-one (plus translators), no-advisers-allowed meeting with Russian premier Vladimir Putin. And seemingly everyone is convinced that Russia is undermining liberal democracy, indulging in nefarious interventions around the world, and even dead-set on reviving some larger Russia, for which the annexation of Crimea was only the start. Everyone, that is, except Trump.

So, on the eve of this most black-boxed of presidential tête-à-têtes, his own Justice Department issued an indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents for hacking the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Senators and 18 Democratic members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs have called on Trump to abort the meeting. And, perhaps most remarkable of all, Trump’s own team constantly expressed a fear of Russian aggression.

Just this past week, Trump’s director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, compared the danger of Russian cyberattacks to the terrorist threat posed to the US in the run-up to 9/11. In his trepidation, Coats was merely following Trump’s former national security adviser, General HR McMaster, who warned last year: ‘Russia and China are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.’ Likewise, defence secretary Jim Mattis, secretary of state Mike Pompeo and current national security adviser John Bolton have all been sounding the alarm about Russia’s intentions, and urging Trump to go in hard on Russia’s electoral meddling.

Yet Trump seemingly refuses to toe his team’s line, let alone that of Congress or the Justice Department. Instead, he seems content to accept the Kremlin’s contention that ‘the meddling never happened’, or, as he put it in November, ‘Every time [Putin] sees me, he says, “I didn’t do that”, and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it’. More striking still, some worry that Trump may even recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2015 as legitimate, despite the US, the EU and NATO all condemning it as a violation of international law and subsequently imposing sanctions. Trump, however, has said that Crimea ought to be part of Russia, given that the majority of Crimeans speak Russian. ‘That is not the position of the United States’, countered Bolton.

And that’s the problem. Regarding Russia, Trump’s administration, which is meant to be articulating the ‘position of the United States’, seems torn in two, with Trump on one side, and everybody else on the other. It is as if there are in fact two positions of the United States on Russia. Trump says simply ‘if we can get along with Russia, that’s a good thing’. Everybody else says you can’t trust Russia, because they’re the bad guys, usually with a reference to Putin’s past as a KGB agent. Trump will be having a spectacularly private chat with Putin. Everybody else will be working on possibly public agreements and disagreements with Moscow. As the New York Times puts it, ‘Trump is wholly untethered from his administration when it comes to dealing with Moscow’.

But too many seem to misunderstand the reasons for this untethering. They seem to think that it has something to do with Trump the person. So they psychoanalyse him, speculating on his attraction to Putin’s machismo, his desire to see reflected in the Russian president some of the qualities – strength, cunning, and sheer butchness – that he himself would like to have. Others go deeper into more conspiratorial territory, either outright turning Trump into some lurid parody of the Manchurian Candidate, or alluding to the Kremlin’s possession of a recording of some tawdry hookers-and-hotel escapade which it might or might not be using to blackmail him.

Yet perhaps it is not Trump who has the Russia problem. Perhaps it is not Trump who has the Putin fixation. In fact, it is the American political class, indeed the political and media classes of much of the West, which has developed – or rather revived – an obsession with Russia as The Enemy. Have they not turned it into an object of evil, determined to undermine and corrode the institutions of the West? Hence Russia is blamed for the bloodshed in Syria, despite the West’s considerably larger role in the unravelling of the entire Middle East. It is condemned for the conflict in Ukraine, despite NATO and the EU’s longstanding provocations. And, above all, it is held responsible, in some distant behind-the-scenes way, for the election of Trump, Brexit and every other Western popular revolt of recent years. That is why Russian meddling in the US presidential election has become such a crusade for the US political establishment. It explains away the very real estrangement of the political class from those they have for too long failed to represent. It explains away their failure to speak for the whole of society, rather than just a professional, middle-class coastal stratum. It explains away the domestic reasons for the erosion of the political establishment’s grip on power.

Trump is no political visionary. But neither is he part of the political establishment. After all, he was the beneficiary of people’s turn against the establishment. And, as such, he is not overdetermined to see Russia as the enemy, the baleful power upturning the world. He stands apart from almost everybody else in Washington DC and in Western foreign-policymaking circles in approaching Russia and Putin as a state entity that it might be possible to deal with.

And that is too much for too many to bear. Domestically it is too much for those politicians, and their cheerleaders, who have found in the spectre of Russian electoral meddling a readymade excuse for their own political fall. And internationally, it is too much to bear for those Western political elites, seeking refuge in NATO and the EU, which have found, in facing down the spectre of Russian military malignity, a raison d’être. The split in Trump’s administration reflects the deeper split between those who have a need to conjure Russia up as an existential threat, and those who, in Trump’s case, clearly do not.



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 23, 2018

Trump Haters Take To Twitter In Vile, Sexist Attacks On Kimberley Guilfoyle Following Rumors Of Her Exit From Fox News

The rumors have barely been out about Kimberly Guilfoyle leaving Fox News and already the disgusting attacks have begun on social media.

Rumors surfaced this week that Guilfoyle will be leaving to join the pro-Trump super PAC, America First.

But the hatred and nastiness on social media against Guilfoyle, who is currently dating Donald Trump Jr., was immediate.

Amazingly, the same left that is aghast at President Trump supposedly lacking all civility painted a very telling self-portrait.

The unconfirmed report unleashed stunning responses on Twitter that were nothing short of shameful, vulgar and sexist.


The insults were too unpleasant for me to reproduce here -- JR


‘Trump is a Russian plant’: birtherism for liberals

The idea that Trump is in Putin’s pocket is a feverish conspiracy theory

The cultural and political set has lost its mind. That’s the most striking thing to come out of Donald Trump’s press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki yesterday. Not Trump’s refusal to believe the US intelligence agencies that Russia tried to interfere with the 2016 election, by hacking into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign. This we already knew. Trump said as much after he met Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific summit in November. No, what was far more surprising, and worrying, was the readiness of not just Cold Warrior Republicans but also supposedly level-headed liberals to say that Trump’s performance proves he is ‘treasonous’, a ‘traitor’, a Russian plant, an unabashed colluder with Vlad in the downfall of American democracy. It was nothing short of hysterical.

There’s no doubting that Helsinki was remarkable, and further proof of Trump’s vanity. At the afternoon press conference, following two hours of private talks between the two leaders, Trump effectively sided with Putin over his own intelligence agencies and Justice Department, which had indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking into Democrats’ emails just days before the summit. Putin also admitted that he had wanted Trump to win the election, because of his pledge to reset relations with Russia. It is hard to think of a recent precedent. But did Trump’s performance constitute ‘treason’, as former former CIA director John Brennan and the entirety of DC Twitter allege? Did it suggest that Trump is an ‘asset of Russian intelligence’, as one New York Times columnist pondered? Of course not. And it’s dangerous to suggest otherwise.

The gap between what happened at that press conference and the histrionics on Twitter yesterday was remarkable. You’d be forgiven for thinking Trump dropped his FSB fob on the rug on his way out. When asked about Russian meddling, Trump said ‘I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today’, repeating what he has been saying for months. Yesterday, as ever, the reason for Trump’s denials are obvious: not that he is in Putin’s pocket, or that he’s being blackmailed by the Kremlin, as some still allege, but that he thinks even conceding that Russian elements might have tried to meddle in 2016, however unsuccessfully, would call his victory into question. It stems from his insecurity, his narcissism, but also the commitment of many Democrats to use any whiff of Russian interference to do just that.

The hottakes on Twitter told a very different story. Esquire’s Ryan Lizza tweeted, ‘The president of the United States openly colluded with Putin to undermine our democracy’. ‘I’m calling this treason. Point. Blank. Period. TREASON’, wrote the NYT’s Charles Blow. The caps say it all. These spittle-flecked claims are the product of conspiratorial thinking. Not even the intelligence agencies (who are suddenly entirely trustworthy in liberals’ eyes) are claiming that there is proof that Trump colluded with Russia. But yesterday even the much-derided theory that the Kremlin is blackmailing Trump with a tape of him cavorting with urinating prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room in 2013 made a comeback. In response to a question about whether he had such ‘kompromat’ on The Donald, Putin said that he didn’t even know Trump was in Moscow in 2013. ‘A non sequitur’, declared the Guardian’s Luke Harding. ‘Conclusion: there is a tape.’

This is madness – dot-connecting and wild claims of McCarthyite intensity. And it is incredibly revealing. For all the coastal-elite talk of Trump ushering in an age of fake news, post-truth and mudslinging, in which faith in democratic institutions is being undermined and once important principles are being compromised by partisan prejudice and weaponised bullshit, this is precisely what some liberals are doing with the Russia issue. They are peddling hyperbole and dodgy theories to try to undermine a democratically elected president. And in doing so, many Trump-hysterics on the liberal-left are becoming the very thing they once claimed to hate. Where once they derided Republicans for clutching to Cold War thinking, where once they decried wingnut conservative conspiracy theories about Obama being a Muslim Brotherhood plant who wasn’t born in the US, now they’re insisting Trump is a Moscow-controlled Manchurian candidate, without a shred of evidence. Whatever else we learned yesterday, one thing is now clear: the ‘Trump is a traitor’ claim is birtherism for liberals.



Why liberals bash Trump but ignore dictators

Racist protesters expect only white rulers to be civilised

Although the first episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest outing, Who Is America?, was enjoyable, especially the absurd liberal Dr Nira Cain-N’Degeocello, the programme is based on that most feeble and lazy of premises: that Americans are crass and stupid. Ha ha! Let’s all laugh at a country that has seven entries in the world’s top ten university rankings.

Anti-Americanism was in full voice at the weekend with the visit to Britain of President Donald Trump, as thousands took to the streets around the country to protest against – so the consensus goes – this unbelievably evil, crass and thick man. The slogans on the placards vomited with rage – ‘World’s #1 Racist’, ‘Trump is a fascist’, ‘Stupid, callous, fragile, racist, narcissistic POTUS’ – while one protester in London, an Anglican vicar, summed up both the mood of the protesters and the anti-Trump narrative. ‘The way that he’s spoken about Islamic people, the way he’s spoken about Mexicans crossing the border, his attitudes towards women and gay people – it’s all so totally offensive. He’s broadcasting poisonous attitudes towards the community, so I think we all have felt we needed to organise to keep idealism alive and to make sure that message of hate isn’t embraced by people’, he said.

You might argue that the protests were directed at the man, not the American people. But it is more than a coincidence that Trump conforms to a negative American stereotype beloved of the infantile left and BBC radio and television comedians: the crass, philistine, insular, vulgar, money-obsessed oaf. The idiotic cacophony we heard at the weekend had all the hallmarks of cheap, uninformed students’-union anti-Americanism, a moronic inferno against a man with similar politics to his predecessor, but with terrible manners.

More to the point, it is always America that Britain and other European countries get outraged by. There were no comparable protests by British people when the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, came to visit in 2015, despite the fact that China executes an estimated 3,000 people a year, more than the rest of the world combined. By comparison, last year America executed 23 people.

Where were the protests when the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came to visit in Britain this May? According to an Amnesty International report on 2017/2018, in Turkey: ‘Dissent was ruthlessly suppressed, with journalists, political activists and human-rights defenders among those targeted. Instances of torture continued to be reported… Any effective investigation of human-rights violations by state officials was prevented by pervasive impunity. Abuses by armed groups continued.’ In Turkey these days, even political protests are banned.

While we are familiar with the anti-Trump narrative, where are the jokes and the invective directed at the leaders of Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, countries with appalling human-rights records? Where are the displays of solidarity for the oppressed women of Iran, struggling against their regime for the right not to wear a veil in public?

More glaringly, considering that so many anti-Trump protesters take umbrage against him as women and feminists, sporting pink vagina hats (so racist!) on protests, their silence on a matter closer to home, namely the rape gangs unmasked in Rochdale, Rotherham, Telford, Newcastle and elsewhere, has been deafening. Molesting a woman is an awful thing to do, but the sexual abuse of thousands of teenage girls – 1,400 in Rotherham alone – is an unspeakable crime. Yet no one has spoken out in anger about this in the name of feminism.

From this we can only conclude that self-styled feminists, and anti-Americans in general, only expect and demand civilised behaviour from white people or mostly white, Western countries (again, so racist!). They fear being labelled Islamophobic, ‘right-wing’ or racist if they speak out against the Chinese or Muslimmgangs. It wouldn’t look cool. They would lose face among their liberal friends and peers, or even – most catastrophically – lose some Twitter followers. Far safer to castigate and condemn a white, male American.

It is always the same story. It is always the nominally compassionate and altruistic left who are the most egotistic and self-centred, and obsessed with their precious public image.



With NATO and Putin, Trump’s cleaning up after Obama

Henry Ergas

In a widely acclaimed column in last weekend’s The New York Times, Bret Stephens argued that Donald Trump’s foreign policy aimed at one result and one result only: “The collapse of the liberal international order”, even at the cost of leaving America hated, feared and alone.

That outcome would “be gratifying to Trump’s sense of his historical importance”, and it would also suit Russian President Vladimir Putin, “who knows that an America that stands for its own interests first also stands, and falls, alone”. But it would be a “historical disaster”, demeaning “the democratic ideals that America once embodied”, and reducing the US to a mere bully.

Stephens’s is no voice in the wilderness. On the contrary, during the course of the past week the invective hurled at Trump became a torrent of abuse, in a crescendo that reached a peak after his press conference with Putin.

Yet there is one thing none of his critics has been able to say: that the US President’s view of the situation America and its friends and allies confront is fundamentally incorrect.

Nor could they. For it is an undeniable reality that by the time Trump came to office, the “liberal international order” was not even a shadow of its former self — it was a ghost whose death was barely disguised by the din of its rattling chains.

No purpose would be served by recounting its downfall. Suffice it to note that the final blow was ­delivered by Trump’s predecessor, who will be remembered as one of the few US presidents whose foreign policy left every region of the world in worse shape than it was when he came to office. Exuding an air of Olympian ­superiority, Barack Obama allowed much of the Middle East to be ­reduced to rubble, while framing a nuclear treaty with Iran whose flaws are recognised by even its staunchest supporters.

Paralysed by his failure to follow through on the “red line” he set for Bashar al-Assad, he created a vacuum that invited Russia’s resurgence as a ­regional military power, while standing impotently by as the ­Syrian tragedy unfolded.

Nor did Obama rise above indecision in dealing with China. And on international trade he was scarcely better. Placing greater priority on climate change, he steadfastly refused to spend political capital on rebuilding support in his own party for an open trading system or on preventing the Doha Round from becoming the first multilateral trade ­negoti­ations to crumble, as they did in 2016.

But no one could dispute Obama’s skills when sanctimonious rhetoric was required. While struggling to communicate with the Democrats’ traditional blue-collar constituency, he had a natural rapport with Europe’s political elite, who have elevated euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness to an art form.

Little wonder then that during his presidency the US and the EU formed such a powerful choir lauding the “liberal international order” they were doing so much to discredit.

That Trump is cut from a different cloth is obvious. Temperamentally, his attraction is to the strongmen — be it Russia’s Putin, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, or Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu — who, in nurturing a direct relationship with their base, make bluntness a crucial feature of their persona.

Their objectionable features are apparent, as is their hostility to democracy; but if they are such successful politicians it is at least partly because their message has the ring of truth. So too with Trump. Who, for example, could dispute Trump’s claim that the Europeans “free ride” on America’s defence spending? After all, since Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1966, every US president has deplored Europe’s refusal to shoulder its share of the military burden.

The difference is that Trump has convinced the Europeans that his threats are credible, with the result that the latest opinion polls show rising public support for greater defence spending, even in Germany.

Equally with China. When the Clinton administration approved China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation, it claimed China would speedily and permanently liberalise its trade and investment regime. Instead, under President Xi Jinping, China has veered into mercantilism, repeatedly breaching the rules it committed to in 2001.

As those breaches occurred, Obama filed the right complaints, as did the EU; but it is only now, in the face of Trump’s punitive tariffs, that China’s ruling caste has shown even the slightest willingness to consider changing course.

And so finally with Russia. As of December, Putin will be the second longest lasting ruler of Russia since the fall of the tsars, and he seems likely to remain in power for years to come; to believe global ­issues can be resolved without ­engaging with him is an infantile delusion.

Yes, Putin meddled in the US presidential election, just as the US was, and remains, heavily involved in the domestic politics of Russia’s immediate neighbours.

And yes, the Democrats’ incessant focus on those ham-fisted efforts riles Trump, who believes — quite understandably — that their main goal is to undermine his legitimacy. Smouldering with rage, he readily allows himself to be provoked into foolish denials.

That Trump’s denials, the howls of protest they unleash and his subsequent backdowns are cringe-worthy hardly needs to be said. But it is equally certain that they are a sideshow. Ultimately, what matters is whether a working relationship is restored between the two countries, as Trump has sought to do.

Trump’s instincts on those basic issues have therefore been vastly superior to those of his critics, who focus on his every slip with the spot-beam of pure hatred. To say that is not to excuse his many errors of judgment, including his misconceptions about international trade. Nor is it to minimise the myriad dangers his approach involves.

But Machiavelli was right that politics holds no safe options — only ones that are more and less unsafe. And Machiavelli was also right that the prince, if he is to protect liberty from its foes, may have to choose being feared over being loved, as love is fickle while fear endures.

That fear, however, should not be the terror of unpredictability and arbitrariness. Rather, as Machiavelli stressed, its handling demands leavening the ferocity of the lion with the cunning and ­intellect of the fox.

So far, Trump has shown that he knows how to be a lion. Now, as the consequences begin to be felt, he must show more of the artfulness of the fox.

The world he inherited offers him few pathways to success and many roads to failure; whether he can find the wisdom to navigate the risks that creates will determine his legacy, and our future.



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