Friday, August 10, 2018

The diplomatic feud between Saudi Arabia and Canada shows no signs of slowing down

Pretty-boy Trudeau may not be aware of it but the Saudis are right in international law.  After the devastating religious wars in Europe, the Peace of Westphalia was drawn up and agreed to  -- in 1648.  It provides that countries will not involve themselves in the internal affairs of other countries.  That has been respected ever since and has served to avoid a lot of international conflict. Good ol' law-abiding Canada is for once outside the law -- in order to serve typically Leftist virtue claims

IT ALL started with a single tweet. Now Saudi Arabia’s bitter feud with Canada has been escalated to a new level.

Last Friday, Canada said it was “gravely concerned” by the arrest of women’s rights campaigners in Saudi Arabia, including award-winning activist Samar Badawi.

Since then, relations between the two countries have only plunged further and further.

First, the Middle Eastern giant expelled the Canadian ambassador from Riyadh and recalled his Saudi counterpart in Ottawa.

Then it suspended all Saudi state airline flights to Toronto, ended thousands of scholarship programs for Saudi students in Canada, and froze “all new business” with Ottawa.

Now, Saudi authorities have announced they will halt all medical treatments in Canada, and transfer Saudi patients to hospitals outside the country.

They’ve also moved to withdraw 800 Saudi medical students working around the country.

It’s yet another warning to the West reflecting Riyadh’s newly assertive foreign policy.

Asked if the Canadian government would consider apologising, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told journalists: “Canadians have always expected our government to speak strongly, firmly, clearly and politely about the need to respect human rights at home and around the world. We will continue to do that.”

Meanwhile in Riyadh, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters Canada needed to “fix its big mistake.  There is nothing to mediate. A mistake has been made and a mistake should be corrected,” he said. “The ball is in Canada’s court.”

He also noted the kingdom was considering taking “additional measures” against Canada, without going into detail.

Analysts say Saudi Arabia is using Canada to send a message to the world: don’t criticise our kingdom or our human rights record.

It reflects Riyadh’s newly assertive foreign policy under Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud.

“It’s pretty clear that he’s using Canada to send a message to the rest of the world that if you want to trade with Saudi Arabia, then you need to shut up on human rights,” Nader Hashemi, director of the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, told Al Jazeera.

He said the prince is “drunk on power”, “arrogant” and “believes that he has Donald Trump in his back pocket and can do whatever he wants”.

The United States, which has strong ties with both Saudi Arabia and Canada, has taken a neutral stance in the feud. “Both sides need to diplomatically resolve this together,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters. “We can’t do it for them. They need to resolve it together.”

President Donald Trump has been reluctant to criticise Saudi Arabia for its human rights record



How Donald Trump just keeps winning

Here's an amazing stat: In the last 14 contested Republican primaries where President Donald Trump has endorsed a candidate, his pick has won -- or is leading -- all 14 times.

That's remarkable.  And it speaks to the fact that despite Trump's weak numbers among the general populace, he remains a massively powerful force within the GOP -- someone who can make and break candidacies with a single tweet.

Take Tuesday night. Trump endorsed John James in Michigan's Republican Senate primary, Bill Schuette in the Michigan governor's race and Kris Kobach in the Kansas gubernatorial primary.

James, who had been considered an underdog prior to the Trump endorsement, won the right to face Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Schuette, the sitting attorney general, crushed the state's lieutenant governor and several other challengers for the right to take on Democratic former state Senate Majority Leader Gretchen Whitmer in the fall.

But Trump's biggest coup appears to be his endorsement of Kobach, the controversial secretary of state who currently holds a lead of fewer than 200 votes over appointed Gov. Jeff Colyer. Kobach, who led Trump's short-lived commission to investigate electoral fraud, is a favorite of the state's Trump conservatives but viewed very, very suspiciously by the party's establishment. His victory, if it holds, would make the Kansas governor's race competitive.

Trump, never one to avoid the tooting of his own horn, tweeted this out on Wednesday morning: "5 for 5!" Presumably, that's a reference to Trump's endorsement record on Tuesday -- counting Troy Balderson's apparent win in the Ohio congressional special election and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's easy win in the state's Senate primary race alongside Kobach, Schuette and James.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump offered his conclusion based on Tuesday's results: "As long as I campaign and/or support Senate and House candidates (within reason), they will win! I LOVE the people, & they certainly seem to like the job I'm doing. If I find the time, in between China, Iran, the Economy and much more, which I must, we will have a giant Red Wave!"

What Tuesday (re)proved is that Trump has tremendous power to move Republican voters behind his preferred candidate. Without the Trump endorsement, there is no way James is the Senate nominee in Michigan. And Kobach almost certainly comes up short without Trump. (Schuette and Hawley likely win without Trump, although perhaps not by the same wide margins.)

This should not be surprising -- as poll after poll has shown that Trump is among the most popular Republican presidents ever among Republicans. The latest Gallup weekly tracking poll showed that 89% of Republicans approved of the job he is doing. And that's in a poll in which Trump's overall approval among the broader electorate is just 41%!

Trump's takeover of the party is total. The Republican base is almost entirely aligned with him; those who cross Trump -- especially people in the GOP -- are made to feel the pain. (See: John McCain, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker.)



Most Of The Candidates Dimwit Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Endorsed In Yesterday's Primaries Lost

She’s not even in Congress yet, but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Party’s rising star and unapologetic socialist, endorsed a slate of candidates in last night’s primaries. While all eyes were on Ohio’s 12th congressional district, Missouri, Michigan, Kansas, and Washington also had primaries.

Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Cori Bush running in Missouri’s first congressional district and Abdul El-Sayed and Fayrouz Saad in Michigan. El-Sayed and Saad were running for governor and Congress respectively; Saad was running in the Mitten State’s 11th congressional district.

 Well, it seems the seeds of a left wing revolution won’t be taking root. All of the candidates she backed for August 7th lost—all of them. It wasn’t just by a little. All of them lost quite handily—some of them by a lot

Ocasio-Cortez became a household name among left wingers for booting Rep. Jim Crowley in an upset primary win that mirrored the GOP’s ouster of then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 by conservative insurgent Dave Brat.

She’s anti-Immigration and Customs Enforcement, pro-Medicare-for-All, housing for all, etc. all of the left wing goodies you can think of; Ocasio-Cortez is for it and with it absolute economic catastrophe.

She’s proven to be clueless on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and seems to know next to nothing about the budget. She said that the military had undergone a $700 billion increase. No, not true. So, at least her left wing seeds of revolution got drowned out.

The last thing we need on the Hill are more of these clowns. I say that in general. Politically, Democrats--these are your crazed spawn. We're just here to watch the show, and see winnable races get torpedoed because these comrades are totally out of step with normal Americans.



EU Unable to Neutralize US Sanctions against Iran

The European Union has announced a new regulation aimed at shielding European companies from the impact of US sanctions on Iran. The measure, which has been greeted with skepticism by the European business media, is unlikely to succeed: it expects European companies to risk their business interests in the US market for interests in the much smaller Iranian market.

The so-called "Blocking Statute" entered into effect on August 7, the same day that the first round of US sanctions on Iran officially snapped back into place. Those sanctions target Iran's purchases of US dollars — the main currency for international financial transactions and oil purchases — as well as the auto, civil aviation, coal, industrial software and metals sectors. A second, much stronger round of sanctions targeting Iran's oil exports, takes effect on November 5.

The action follows up on President Donald J. Trump's decision on May 8 to withdraw from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal) negotiated by the Obama administration, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for a freeze on its nuclear program.

The Trump administration said that the deal negotiated by the Obama administration did not go far enough to curtail Iran's nuclear weapons program, or its ballistic missile program, or its malign behavior in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The reimposed US sanctions apply not only to American citizens and companies, but also to non-American individuals and companies. In a legal concept known as extraterritoriality, any company based outside of the United States must comply with American sanctions if it uses dollars for its transactions, has a subsidiary in America or is controlled by Americans.

In an August 6 statement, Trump said:

"The United States is fully committed to enforcing all of our sanctions, and we will work closely with nations conducting business with Iran to ensure complete compliance. Individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences."

In an August 7 tweet, Trump repeated that threat:

"The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level. Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States."

In a joint statement, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK openly admitted that for the EU the Iran deal is all about money and vowed to protect European companies from US penalties:

"We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231. This is why the European Union's updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.

"The remaining parties to the JCPOA have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas. On these, as on other topics, our work continues, including with third countries [China and Russia] interested in supporting the JCPOA and maintaining economic relations with Iran."

In a joint statement, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (pictured) and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK openly admitted that for the EU the Iran nuclear deal is all about money and vowed to protect European companies from US penalties. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The Blocking Statute, originally adopted by the EU in 1996 to help European companies avoid US sanctions on Cuba, was updated in June 2018 to include sanctions the US is re-imposing on Iran. The document, riddled with EU jargon, states:

"The Blocking Statute allows EU [economic] operators to recover damages arising from the extra-territorial sanctions within its scope from the persons causing them and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court rulings based on them. It also forbids EU persons from complying with those sanctions, unless exceptionally authorized to do so by the [European] Commission in case non-compliance seriously damages their interests or the interests of the Union."

In other words, the EU is prohibiting EU citizens and companies from complying with US sanctions and is authorizing EU companies hit by US sanctions to sue the US government for compensation in European courts.

In addition, European companies that do pull out of Iran without approval from the European Commission face the threat of being sued by EU member states.

Many European commentators said the EU scheme would be unworkable, especially for European multinational corporations with business interests in the United States.

The London-based Financial Times wrote:

"Diplomats and lawyers have raised serious doubts about the EU's ability to protect European businesses operating in Iran from the US measures.

"The blocking statute, first drawn up in 1996, has rarely been tested. One senior EU official said there was little legal precedent for judges in EU member states to reclaim damages from third countries like the US if sued by companies."

In France, Le Figaro wrote that European Commission's response to US sanctions was "hasty" and amounted to a "political gesture."

Le Monde described the EU's measure as a "political signal for the Iranian regime, which demanded signs of European commitment to defend the JCPOA."

"Total, Maersk and Peugeot have already decided to leave Iran. Moreover, companies investing in Iran do not seem to believe much in the effectiveness of the regulation. The oil group Total, the ship-owner Maersk or the automaker Peugeot have already decided to leave. German group Daimler announced its withdrawal from Iran yesterday. These groups are more afraid of the US's ability to implement sanctions than the EU's wrath."

In Germany, the public broadcaster ARD published an opinion article by Brussels correspondent Samuel Jackisch titled, "Well Roared, Paper Tiger — EU Defenseless against US Sanctions." He said that the EU's new policy was "logical, but largely meaningless," and an attempt by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to "defend her political legacy." He added:

"The EU can try to turn the tables on transatlantic relations, but in the end the US still comes out on top.

"The German export industry's business with Iran may not be small at around three billion euros. However, the bottom line is that the same companies export 35 times as much to the USA. The EU is demanding that its largest corporations risk the entire cake for a few more crumbs."



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, August 09, 2018

Oxford Study Finds Conservatives Are ‘Right To Be Skeptical’ of Scientists

An initial note:  The leading author in the paper mentioned below is Nathan Cofnas, not Confas.  It is of course an unusual name so confusion is understood. It is a Lithuanian Jewish name.

I have read the original academic journal article and rather admire the way Nathan has minimized his upsetting of applecarts.  Most social psychological research is utter bilge (examples here and here) but Nathan quotes a lot of it with a straight face. He establishes his point about biased scientists even while not criticizing a lot of biased science.

So his paper is a very scholarly and thorough discussion of three areas where the positions of the scientific establishment are unreasonably liberal. And he doesn't even mention global warming!  Conservatives have long been acutely aware of the liberal bias in academe but Cofnas gives detailed chapter and verse coverage of how that affects scientific findings.

I myself worked for ten years in a sociology department of a highly rated Australian university and rapidly became aware that all of the other teaching staff were Marxists of one stripe or another -- so it was clear from that that conservative ideas would not get fair consideration, if they were considered at all.

Cofnas mentions the difficulty that conservatives have in getting results of their research published in the academic journals.  I experienced that and had to go to great lengths to overcome it.  I overcame it by doing much higher quality work than Leftist authors were presenting  -- which was not actually that hard.

By that I am referring to the virtually universal practice among psychologists of carrying out their research using either white rats or available groups of freshman students.  Such studies are no more than childish games.  To arrive at any sort of generalizable conclusion, you have to base your research on  a representative sample of the population you wish to discuss. Normal psychological research, however, does nor use representative samples of anything.  They do not even attempt to use representative samples of freshman students!  Yet such totally useless research results are routinely presented as if they were generalizable to all humanity!  That is just about as far away from real science as you can get.  It's about as authoritative as medieval theology.

So I used that to my advantage.  I did my research using real random samples of specifiable populations. I went out and doorknocked, for instance -- something that would give almost any leftist academic the horrors. So when my papers came up for evaluation, editors and referees would have looked absurd  even to themselves if they rejected the only bit of generalizable research that they had ever seen.  Even then, however, if I questioned liberal dogma too sharply or sweepingly, my papers were rejected.  Like Cofnas I had to stick to a careful consideration of just a few detailed points.

So conservatives do well to be skeptical of conclusions from liberal social scientists. Their conclusions are not only biased, they are in general just rubbish by normal scientific standards, and blatant rubbish at that.

Wisely, Cofnas did not extend his critique to global warming. But that allegedly "scientific" theory was obviously wrong from its first formulation in the 80s.  The theory is that the worldwide expansion of industrialization after WWII led to a great increase in atmospheric CO2 and that that rise in turn caused a rise in the global temperature.

And they were half right.  CO2 levels did shoot up steadily in that timeframe.  But here is the catch:  Temperature levels did not.  They plateaued. Over a 30 year period from 1945 to 1975 there was no rise in the global temperature.  Temperatures just bobbed up and down around a static average.  Temperatures at the end of the period were essentially the same as at the beginning.  It would be hard to think of a clearer disproof of the temperature effects of CO2.  When Warmists are confronted by that fact they mumble something about "special factors".  Special factors that exactly  cancelled out rising CO2 effects for 30 years?

Conservatives have long been skeptical of certain scientific claims, especially in regard to the science behind man-made global warming.

However, a study by the University of Oxford suggests that there may be a reason for that. In fact, they go as far as to say that conservatives have a “right” to be skeptical of scientists.

The study “Does activism in the Social Sciences Explain Conservatives’ Distrust of Scientists?” was led by Professor of Biology for the University of Oxford Nathan Confas and was first published online back in 2017. However, the study was brought to light again when it was republished this month in the recent issue of the American Sociologist.

While conservatives’ distrust in scientists has increasingly decreased every year since 1974, there has been little understanding as to why.

The research hits the well-repeated claim that conservatives often dismiss scientific claims because they contradict their religious beliefs. There are some who believe that conservatives throw out these scientific claims because, as Confas and his team note, it “threatens their worldview.”

However, Confas told Campus Reform that this was a “misguided approach.” Additionally, he said that “liberals and conservatives are equally likely to discredit science if it conflicts with their world-view.”

Confas proposed that the reason so many conservatives are skeptical is that there is an increase of liberalism within the scientific community.

He cited a recent study to prove his point. The study surveyed 479 sociology professors, and only 4 percent identified as conservative or libertarian. Compare this with the 86 percent who identify themselves as liberal or left-radical.

Additionally, Confas suggests that goal of sociology “involves reorganizing society to fight inequality, oppression, poverty, hierarchy, and the like. Its ideological orientation arose out of … civil rights, feminism, Marxism, and other progressive movements.”

But it’s not just the area of sociology where this bias is creeping in. UNT professor George Yancy published a piece titled, “Yes Academic Bias is a Problem and We Need to Address It.”

“Given the reality that academics are much more politically progressive and irreligious than the general population, one should be concerned about the potential of liberal and secular bias,” he wrote. “Those like myself are also concerned about academic bias simply because such bias can lead to bad science.”

It’s this “bias” that leads to “bad science” that is concerning to Confas. He told Campus Reform, “Taking the easy route isn’t something that I or my coauthors are tempted to do. We want to do our part to help correct the science.”

He added, “Conservatives are right to be skeptical. Take any politicized issue that is connected to some disagreement about scientific fact. I do not believe there is a single case in the last couple decades where a major scientific organization took a position that went against the platform of the Democratic Party.”



Flashback: Trump Stops Motorcade After Seeing Firefighters in Full Turnouts

President Donald Trump has made respect for the men and women who serve our communities a top priority for his administration. Whether it’s police or firefighters, he’s been conspicuously generous with his praise.

That translates into plenty of speeches and tweets, but also real-world displays like this one from Bethpage, New York.

According to BizPac Review, the incident took place in May as the president was leaving a forum on illegal immigration. (Long Island has seen a wave of violence from the MS-13 gang. The president spent part of the meeting paying tribute to families who had lost loved ones to the violence.)

That’s not what got everyone talking, however. What has created a buzz was a bunch of firemen standing to salute the president in their full turnouts — fire helmets, jackets, boots, the whole nine yards.

And, as it turned out, the president was more than willing to salute them by stopping his motorcade. The video shows several vehicles go by as the firemen are saluting. Then, as the presidential limo came by, it stopped.

A few individuals emerged from the limo, after which the very familiar figure of President Trump could be seen getting out.

Cheers greeted the president as he walked over to the group. He eventually signalled the men to come over and the two sides greeted each other warmly.

“Thank you, thank you,” Trump said as he shook the hands of the firemen.

“That’s awesome!” one of the firefighters could be heard saying. And, indeed, you can’t say they didn’t get the experience of a lifetime.

YouTube users seemed to agree. “Best president ever!” one wrote.  “President Trump…..a man for the people. He loves America and he loves her people,” another wrote.

Keep in mind that full firefighter turnout gear isn’t exactly a) light or b) cool. May isn’t the coolest month in New York, either. For these guys to be out in the street with their full gear on says a lot about how they feel about the president.

Then again, the president has said a lot about how he feels about them. Just this past weekend, Trump told an Ohio rally audience that his administration is “standing up for the heroes who protect our country.”

If these firemen are any indication, that relationship is definitely reciprocal.



Elizabeth Warren under fire after ripping U.S. criminal-justice system at Netroots Nation

She's just solid evil

Republican Senate hopeful Beth Lindstrom called Monday on Sen. Elizabeth Warren to apologize for denouncing the U.S. criminal-justice system as “racist … front to back.”

“Sen. Warren needs to apologize to every police officer, judge, corrections department employee, probation worker and the many other honest and decent people in our criminal justice system who have been smeared by her alienating and careless rhetoric,” Ms. Lindstrom said in a statement.

She referred to Ms. Warren’s comments Friday at Netroots Nation, an annual left-wing gathering, where the Democratic senator appeared as part of a session at Dillard University in New Orleans.

“Let’s just start with the hard truth about our criminal justice system,” Ms. Warren said. “It’s racist. It is. And when I say our system, I mean all the way. I mean front to back. We’re talking about the front end on what you declare to be illegal; on how you enforce it, on who gets arrested.”

Those taking umbrage at the Democratic senator’s blast included the right-leaning Boston Herald editorial board, which asked, “Is there any hard-working American who Elizabeth Warren has not condemned?”

“The United States is a terrible place. At least that appeared to be the theme of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s ominous chat at a historically black college on Friday,” said the Herald op-ed headlined, “Liz Warren keeps playing blame game.”

Ms. Lindstrom, one of three Republicans seeking the party’s nomination in the Sept. 4 primary, accused Ms. Warren of smearing those who work in the justice system to boost her chances for a possible presidential run in 2020.

“Words like this are polarizing and divisive: completely used for personal political gain for 2020, without regard for how they sound to the many good people in Massachusetts and around the country who are punishing criminals, keeping us safe and administering justice,” Ms. Lindstrom said.

Others pointed out that until recently, the Justice Department was headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who succeeded Eric Holder during the Obama administration. Both are black.



A compromise that might be needed for immigration reform

Rejection of House Republicans’ “compromise” immigration bill on June 27 by a lopsided 121-301 margin may be exactly what is needed to end the decades long immigration reform gridlock, if more-moderate House conservatives learn the right lesson from the bill’s failure.

The compromise bill was intended to attract support from these more moderate Republicans after a more restrictionist bill proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), was defeated 193-231 the previous week. Neither of the bills received a single Democratic vote.

In truth the votes, rather than serious attempts to fix immigration policy, were just political theater in advance of this Fall’s midterm elections. Everyone involved knew that neither bill would attract the necessary Democratic support needed to pass the Senate.

Because Goodlatte’s bill, which would have created legal protection for fewer immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and more severely restricted future legal immigration, received greater support, there is danger that Republicans will believe that more restrictive immigration bills may have more of a chance of passing in the future.

Although President Trump ultimately supported the compromise bill, he had previously tweeted that “Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November” and that “We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!”

That’s exactly the wrong lesson. Republicans are so deeply divided on this issue that even if they gain seats in both houses of Congress, immigration reform would still require bipartisan support to become law. To get bipartisan support they’ll have to forgo the votes of those members of Congress who want to decrease legal immigration. Both recent proposals alienated Democrats with changes that would have decreased future legal immigration through existing family reunification visas.

Though you might not know it from the angry rhetoric, U.S. public opinion has been becoming more favorable, not less, on immigration in recent years. According the Gallup Poll that asks “Should Immigration Be Kept at Its Present Level, Increased, or Decreased?” 39 percent of respondents said immigration should be kept at current levels. While 29 percent said immigration levels should decrease, that number was down from 38 percent two years ago. Similarly, the 28 percent that said immigration should increase was up from 21 percent two years ago. Opinions have trended in these directions for decades and two years of President Trump’s rhetoric hasn’t changed this. As the opinions of voters continue their trend in this direction, politicians will ultimately follow.

Any immigration reform bill that stands a chance of becoming law, with the current Congress or in the foreseeable future, will need to be less restrictive than the ones the Republicans just proposed. That’s a good thing, not just for immigrants, but for native born Americans as well.

Economists who study immigration do not find the negative consequences that many people imagine. Immigration raises the income, on average, of the native born. Immigrants create about as many jobs as they take and they don’t depress wages of the vast majority of Americans.

Passable immigration reform today would likely trade funding for a border wall for a legal pathway to citizenship for immigrants brought to the United States illegally when they were children. Law and order Republicans could claim that they were securing the border and they could defend themselves against charges of “amnesty.” Since this reform only applies to people brought here as children, they could point out that when children break most other laws in the United States they are held to a lesser standard than adults and that this is no different.

Democrats would be wise to sign on to such deal too. Net migration from Mexico has been negative since the Great Recession. So, while symbolic, the wall would do little to change immigration numbers.

Such a reform would still leave 11 to 12 million immigrants, most of whom contribute to our overall prosperity, in the United States illegally. But no politically viable proposal is possible for them at the moment. Hopefully, if voters’ opinions continue to move in the direction they have been moving, even this may be possible in the future.




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, August 08, 2018

The Democrat Future Isn’t Socialist, It’s Crazy

They don’t want socialism, they want Trump dead

The socialists are having a moment. At least if you believe the media.  But if the socialists were really having a moment, their big show wouldn’t be a 28-year-old birdbrain whose big achievement was beating a boring white guy in a Hispanic district he didn’t even live in.

If you’re going to take over the Democrats, you need something more to show for it than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or a senile socialist who came in number 2 in the primaries and then again in the DNC.

The Democrats are adopting socialist ideas wholesale. The 2020 Dem nominee will run on a guaranteed minimum income or ‘Welfare for All”. Along with free health care, free college and free copies of Das Kapital. And socialism polls brilliantly with the four core Dem bases of angry government workers, angry college students, angry welfare recipients and San Francisco eco-billionaires who keep all their money in Caribbean banks. But that’s because the Democrats have no ideas except hating Trump and Republicans.

Eight years of Obama ushered in primary elections notable for a nominee who jumped on every bandwagon she could catch with both feet, her socialist ankle biter who flip-flopped almost as much as she did, even flipping and flopping on the question of whether he was a Democrat, a distant third place loser running on painting all the electricity green, and a fourth placer still running against the Iraq War.

The House Dems have switched their slogan twice and no one cares. Legislative visionaries like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have never had an idea that didn’t involve their own careers. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton hollowed out the DNC and left behind a bankrupt dysfunctional shambles.

And they’re blaming that on the Russians instead of on their own self-serving shenanigans.

Trump’s victory tore the mask from the Democrats leaving them nothing but rage. Formerly mainstream Democrats are quick to embrace every insane lefty position from abolishing borders to supporting Hamas, not because they understand or believe in them, but because they’re “resisting” Trump.

The socialists think they’re winning. But they’re just the guys shouting things at a crazy mob. And the mob is not really for anything, it’s just enraged. It doesn’t want to build, it wants to tear down.

Tweak a normal person’s sense of outrage and they’re moved. Keep doing it a bunch of times and you can enlist them in a movement. Do it every 5 seconds and you drive them as crazy as rats in a Skinner Box. And if you want to see a sample of the Dem Skinner Box, here are a few Nancy Pelosi emails.

“A matter of life or death," "I'm so furious I can barely write this email," "As if it couldn't get worse today," EVISCERATED," "I'm scared", and "DOOMED".

Peak Outrage induces feelings of frustrations, fury, helplessness and despair.

That’s why you have lefties gathering together to scream at the sky. That’s not the behavior of committed activists building a socialist future. It’s what happens when leaders drive people crazy. Everyone has emotional limits, just as they have physical limits. The madness of Germans at a Hitler rally or Russians mourning Stalin is the end result of people reaching the limits of their emotional sanity.

Madness ensues.

Uncontrolled displays of love and hate, riots, violence, suicide, murder, depression and psychosis.

The ultimate beneficiaries of Peak Outrage won’t be the socialists. Crazy people who have been mainlining hate and fear for a decade aren’t really interested in nationalizing health care. They’ll cheer socialism if there’s nothing else on the table and convince themselves briefly that they care. But what they really want is someone to liberate them from their rage and helplessness by destroying the two sources of those emotions, the reviled Republicans and their own failed Democrat leaders.

They don’t want Alexadria Ocasio-Cortez. They want to be freed of their sense of helplessness.

The Russia narrative, the accusations of treason and the daily promises that Mueller will lead Trump in chains to the guillotine, are far more seductive than collectivized farming or abolishing borders.

The Democrats have become a mob looking for a leader who will make them feel strong and sure. That leader wasn’t Hillary Clinton. But it won’t be the socialist opposition either. Antifa or Black Lives Matter may be more like it. Hitting the outrage button is also all they know, but they offer a better release for that helplessness and rage than making campaign contributions to lefty candidates through ActBlue.

Democrats have embraced eliminationist rhetoric toward Republicans that teases the desires of the base, but is incapable of satisfying them short of a socialist revolution with firing squads and gulags.

And that’s just more outrage button pushing which builds up the howling rage of Peak Outrage.

A political environment defined by craziness doesn’t favor socialists, it favors crazies. Some of those crazies may masquerade as socialists. And usually do. It’s why Communist revolutions climax with comrades killing comrades until all that’s left is the forties USSR or oughts China, Communist regimes where no one believed in socialism, just greed, power and murder.

The socialist future isn’t Sweden. It’s Cambodians being killed for wearing glasses. It’s North Koreans worshiping a fat little tyrant’s portrait. It’s Chinese Communist billionaires and a Venezuelan narcostate shooting starving mobs. The lack of gulags in Sweden isn’t proof that socialism works. It just shows that most of Europe has grown too timid to kill over even the most murderous ideologies.

(With the exception of Islam.)

The Democrats are no longer sure of the difference between whatever it is they believe and socialism. And the socialists are fighting Trump. Who’s just like Hitler. So just like WW2, it’s time to ally with Moscow to fight Russian interference in the internal corruption of the DNC.

Or something equally nonsensical.

But when the big socialist electoral success is a potentially electing a freshman member of the House and buying Bernie Sanders a third home, it’s not quite storming the Czar’s winter palace.

The trouble with the socialists is that they care about socialism while their newfound base cares about holding up Trump’s severed head on CNN while laughing and crying at the same time. The socialists think that they have the mob behind them, right up to the moment that the mob gets distracted from their latest policy paper with a Stormy Daniels story. And then backs her lawyer’s presidential campaign.

The left created a monster. And it thinks that it’s riding the monster. But you don’t control monsters.

That’s what makes them monsters.

The monster that the left created doesn’t believe in things. It hates them. It’s roaring with anger and pain. The Frankensteins of the left made the monster in their social media laboratory by taking away its hopes and replacing them with fears, keeping it angry and afraid until it was ready to open fire at a Republican charity baseball practice or phone in death threats to a congressman’s dog.

Socialists made the monster. As they always do. But as history shows us, monsters eat socialists. Ask the old Bolsheviks, Mao’s old pals or all the leftists shot by other leftists in the Spanish Civil War.

Leftist politics is based on outrage. The greater the outrage against class, race, gender or identity, the greater the totalitarian overreaction of terrorist violence it justifies. But the Pelosis and Schumers want radical outrage without radical violence. And that just leaves its base hopelessly and helplessly enraged.

The left believed that it could mutate ordinary Democrats into monsters by outraging them and then making them feel helpless in the face of that outrage until they were ready to do anything to fight back. Anything was supposed to mean showering the left with money and supporting all their candidates.

And it worked for a while. Rosie O’Donnell described her illegal campaign contributions through ActBlue as a form of midnight stress relief.

But then they hit Peak Outrage.

Dr. Franky’s monster is helpless and outraged, and convinced that the only answer is to execute Trump and all the Republicans as Russian spies. The Democrats are outdoing each other by pandering to the #Resistance on impeachment. Maxine Waters is a hero of the #Resistance for stirring up mob violence.

And that #Resistance is a lot more popular than straw bans and mandatory composting.

Socialism is boring. The only parts of it that its less intellectual adherents enjoy are the freebies and the violence. Until Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can offer actual violence, the future of the Democrats won’t be the socialists; it’ll be Maxine Waters, Ted Lieu and anyone who yells the loudest.

And then it’ll be someone who yells even more loudly than them. And finally means it.

History tells us that even before they run out of money, the socialists will run out of sanity.



Actor Peter Fonda Encourages Democrats To Commit Voter Fraud

Leftist dishonesty is limitless

Actor Peter Fonda, who readers may recall as the unhinged lunatic that called for Barron Trump to be ripped from his mother’s arms and locked away with pedophiles, has a new quest for Democrats – voter fraud.

Fonda, you see, is concerned about millennial voters, or the lack thereof. In response to a social media post discussing millennial turnout, the actor encouraged followers to take their ballots, fill them out on their behalf, and send them into the local Board of Elections.

That’s um … that’s both forgery and voter fraud.

“We have to take them by the hand and lead them to the water and teach them to drink!” Fonda railed in a since-deleted tweet. “If you have a millennial in your family, take their early ballots, fill them out and mail them in, or take the ballot to the voting place and give it to the officials… no more worrying!”

Encouraging criminal activity to promote a political cause is considered reprehensible in most circles, but a resume enhancer for our "friends" on the left.

Are you the least bit surprised that a member of the far-left would push for forgery and fraud?

It was just last month that a Democrat candidate and fresh face of the Trump resistance had her case handed over to a special prosecutor after evidence showed she had forged at least 15 signatures on her nomination papers.

In 2015, a Democrat candidate for mayor in upstate New York submitted fraudulent petitions that contained signatures witnessed by people described in very basic terms. Ernest Everett actually submitted petitions with descriptions such as “black lady at bus stop.” He was convicted for falsifying documents.

That same area saw a voter fraud scandal involving four members of the Democrat party receiving punishments ranging from hundreds of hours of community service to jail time.

A Democrat committeeman at that time claimed that voter fraud was “a normal political tactic.” Got that? Fonda is simply promoting a “normal political tactic.”



A pro-Trump Hispanic immigrant in Hollywood!

Actor, immigrant and California congressional candidate Antonio Sabato Jr. says he fully supports President Donald Trump’s promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

President Trump is threatening to shut down the government if lawmakers don’t fully fund his proposed border wall and enact his immigration priorities.

“We need to put America and Americans first,” said Sabato. “It’s time to build a nice wall to prevent human trafficking, drug trafficking and so much more coming into the country,” he said.

Sabato says he’s been viciously attacked in Hollywood and attributes the loss of work in his industry over his conservative views and his support for President Trump.

Sabato, a Republican, is running against incumbent Democrat Julia Brownley to represent California’s 26th Congressional District. He says he’s running because he wants to give back to the country that gave him his freedom and opportunities.



NRA Smacks Down Gun-Grabbing Hogg After Teen Employs Armed Security and Shows Up to HQ

When Parkland shooting activist David Hogg showed up at the National Rifle Association’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia to protest over the weekend, he didn’t come alone.

I’m not talking about the other protesters at the event, which apparently was astroturfed courtesy of the people at Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety. (They even provided ice cream! Thoughtful.)

No, I’m talking about armed security. Armed security at the NRA’s headquarters, which was empty on a Saturday. At an event designed to protest an organization that says Americans have the Second Amendment right to defend themselves with firearms.

You may begin to see the problem here.

According to a tweet from the NRA, Hogg’s protest Saturday was a wonderful demonstration of cognitive dissonance in action. “Today, @davidhogg111 (with armed security) and a bunch of gun-grabbing activists protested our empty HQ,” a tweet from the NRA Saturday night read.

A photo included with the tweet allegedly shows Hogg along with armed security.

Even though he was tagged in the tweet, Hogg didn’t respond to the allegations, according to the Washington Times. He also spent a full weekend on Twitter, dispensing Hogg-sized nuggets of wisdom

Let me be clear on this: I have the utmost sympathy for everything that David Hogg had to endure in the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. That said, almost everything he’s done politically since that day is proof that this is a fundamentally unserious young man who has no concept of constitutional rights, how our system works or what those who oppose him are actually defending.

If you want proof of this, you don’t have to look far. He sent out a tweet which said that you don’t fight forest fires with more fire — which is actually how you fight them



A problem of success: Labor Shortage ‘Single Biggest' Problem for Small Businesses as Record 37% Report Unfilled Jobs

A record percentage of small firms have unfilled jobs, the July jobs report released Thursday by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) shows.

“The July jobs report shows the magnitude of small businesses that are growing and hiring at record levels, creating new jobs and opportunities for the workforce, and offering employees higher compensation,” NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan said, announcing the results.

Business owners consider the current labor shortage their greatest problem, the report says: “Twenty-three percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem (up 2 points), 1 point below the record high set in May 2000." ... “Thirty-seven percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 1 point and a new survey record high. Thirteen percent reported using temporary workers, up one point.”

The labor markets for both skilled and unskilled workers are extremely tight, prompting employers to raise wages: “Reports of higher worker compensation increased 1 point from June to a net 32 percent of all firms. Plans to raise compensation also rose 1 point to a net 22 percent, just 2 points below its recent peak of 24 percent in January.”

Still, small business owners added the largest number of workers per firm since 2006 in July, adding a net 0.37 workers per firm on average, almost double June’s rate.

These results bode well for the U.S. economy, if the labor shortage can be effectively addressed, the report concludes:

“Record job openings suggest the economy has the potential to keep up its growth pace over the next few quarters if the ‘staffing problem’ can be resolved or mitigated.”



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, August 07, 2018

Does an administrative agency have the power to rewrite an act of Congress?

You've never heard of "Chevron deference"?  It could affect you

The answer to that question in the headline ought to be a resounding no. Yet, by deferring to administrative agencies over the meaning of federal law, the federal courts have for decades empowered the executive branch do exactly this. Agencies now rewrite the law with regularity.

The problem is so-called Chevron deference—a doctrine that was meant to keep courts out of the detailed implementation of federal law. Courts decided to defer to administrative agencies when the law called on them to apply their specialized expertise—especially scientific expertise—to set various standards.

Unfortunately, this practice has gotten out of hand. The courts have allowed agencies to dictate the meaning of federal law and even allowed agencies to change their mind about what a federal law means.

An example is the case of the Federal Communications Commission’s regulation of the internet at issue in Berninger v. Federal Communications Commission, which is currently pending before the Supreme Court on a petition for writ of certiorari. This is a case of an agency saying the law means one thing on one day, and the complete opposite thing on another day.

Indeed, the agency has changed its mind at least three times about the meaning of this one law. This must stop, and Berninger just might be the case for the court to put an end to this foolishness.

To get an idea of the shenanigans of the FCC in this case, you need to go back in time to 2005 to a Supreme Court case titled National Cable & Telecommunications Association v. Brand X Internet Services, 545 U.S. 967 (2005). The issue in that case was whether broadband internet providers should be regulated as telephone companies (heavily regulated utilities) or information service providers (much lighter regulation under the law).

The FCC opted for the lighter version of regulation, interpreting the Communications Act of 1934 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The court ruled that this was a permissible interpretation of the federal law and that the decision of the FCC was entitled to deference under Chevron.

Ten years later, the FCC changed its mind and decided that the same law interpreted in 2005 now meant that the FCC had the authority to regulate broadband internet companies as if they were telephone companies. The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC’s new decision was also entitled to deference under Chevron.

The following year, with a change in personnel, the FCC changed its mind yet again ruling that broadband internet companies were really just information service providers and not subject to heavy regulation by the FCC. The law that Congress wrote did not change during this time—only the interpretation of the law by the FCC.

Justice Antonin Scalia was fond of saying: “Words have meaning. And their meaning doesn’t change.” But that is not the case if an administrative agency is allowed to change its mind on the meaning of a statute on a whim.

The words of the statute lose all meaning if a court must permit the agency, and only the agency, to interpret and reinterpret the words Congress wrote into the law. At that point it is the agency, not Congress, that is writing the law. Even worse, it is the agency, not the courts, interpreting the law. The agency becomes a law unto itself, answerable to nobody.

Chevron deference was meant to cure the problem of an activist judiciary crusading to implement its own vision of appropriate regulation. It has led to the greater problem, however, of agencies rewriting the law (through “interpretation”) to pursue their own activist agendas never authorized by Congress.

It is time for the court to put an end to this violation of separation of powers. If the law is clear, then require the agency to enforce it. But if the law is not clear, send it back to Congress and let the elected representatives make it clear.

Chevron deference makes sense when Congress is asking an agency to use scientific expertise to set appropriate limits for air pollutants or exposure to dangerous chemicals. It violates the Constitution, however, when it is used to allow agencies to change their minds on what a law means.



Paul Kengor: ‘A Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism and Socialism’

Communism wanted to disrupt the social order, particularly when it comes to property, which is the opposite of the goal of conservatism, author and professor Paul Kengor said Wednesday at the Young America’s Foundation’s National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, D.C.

In his presentation, “A Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism and Socialism,” Kengor aimed to give the students attending the conference the education they will not get at their liberal universities, specifically in economics classes.

“This is kind of everything you want to know about Marx and communism that your professor with a bust of Karl Marx isn’t going to be telling you about,” Kengor said.

Marx (1818-1883) acknowledged that communism, particularly its views on property, were contrary to the “social and political order of things,” Kengor said. This view, along with the fact that communism seeks to “abolish the present state of things” and believes there are no moral absolutes, is the opposite of conservatism.

Kengor applied this view to current-day progressivism, as well, particularly secular progressives.

“[Secular progressives] are always changing,” Kengor said. “They’re against whatever is in the past. There’s no moral absolutes. It’s completely unlike conservatism, which believes in first things, permanent things, moral absolutes, right? A set of basic definitions of basic things.”

Kengor continued, “Progressives believe that they’re always progressing toward the truth. They’re always changing, they’re always evolving,” a Darwinian-like process.

Kengor specifically referenced liberals’ and Democrats’ definition of marriage. In 2015, a left-leaning Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage to be a right in Obergefell v. Hodges. However, less than 20 years prior, in 1996, former Democratic President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act that said, for federal purposes, marriage was between one man and one woman.

Kengor also said The Communist Manifesto, written by Marx and his long-time financial supporter Frederich Engels, established immediately that communism wanted to abolish private property, and that the rest of the book “doubles down” on this thought.

He also said Marx acknowledged that his view on property stood contrary to the current “cultural and political order of things.”

“Marx said that communism represents the ‘most radical rupture in traditional relations,” said Kengor. “This is a totalitarian ideology that really seeks to fundamentally transform human nature.”

In the 20th century, communist regimes in Russia, Eastern Europe, North Korea, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and Cambodia were responsible for the death of more than 100 million people, according to The Black Book of Communism (Harvard University Press).



‘In prison for advocating better US-Russia relations’: Butina lawyer on her ‘misunderstood’ case

A Russian anti-government activist remained free in Russia but the Land of the Free locked her up

The media continues to misrepresent the “unprecedented” case against Maria Butina, even as the US government backpedals on allegations levelled at the Russian activist, her attorney told RT in an exclusive interview.

Robert Driscoll said that despite the “tsunami” of negative media coverage aimed at his client, he’s confident that Butina will have a strong defense once the facts of the case are aired in court. Butina, 29, was arrested on July 15 in Washington, DC, and charged with failing to register as a foreign agent of Russia and conspiring against the United States.

The Russian national arrived in the US on a student visa in August 2016 to study for a master's degree at American University, becoming involved with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and conservative activist circles. The US government claims that her networking and political activism was part of work she did on behalf of Moscow.

However, Driscoll explained to RT that allegations made by the US government had been addressed months earlier, when Butina voluntarily testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee, providing thousands of pages of documents to help clear her name. Describing the case as “unprecedented,” Driscoll also took the media to task, pointing out that the facts of the case do not align with the sensational headlines being churned out by US news outlets.

An unprecedented case

The charges against Butina set “a dangerous precedent on a number of fronts,” Driscoll told RT. Using ongoing political upheaval over tariffs as an example, Driscoll said that Chinese businessmen attending a conference in the US, and who advocate for a resolution to the brewing trade war between Washington and Beijing, could be “subject to the same theory that they're agents of a foreign government infiltrating the US.”

Driscoll has previously called the charges against Butina “simply a misuse of the Foreign Agent statute, which is designed to punish covert propaganda, not open and public networking by foreign students.”

Government already backpedalling?

According to Driscoll, the US government has already walked back one of the more sensational claims it has made – that Butina was preparing to flee to Russia at the time of her arrest.

“The government kind of backed off that because I confronted them in court. I sent the government an email at the end of June, telling them she was leaving to move to South Dakota with her boyfriend. So the government was well-aware she was moving. She wasn’t fleeing anywhere, she certainly wasn’t fleeing to Russia,” Driscoll said. “They surveilled her going to UHaul to get boxes – I don't think there's a way to get to Russia by land.”

Rehashing old allegations

Notably, Driscoll said that the US government’s claims against his client had already been addressed months ago, as Butina had voluntarily cooperated with the Senate Intelligence Committee after receiving a letter from the committee in February.

“She consulted me before we went in there, and she voluntarily testified for the committee – she testified for eight hours. We produced thousands and thousands of pages of documents to the committee. We answered every question they had, and explained basically all the types of allegations that the government has made in this subsequent criminal case. I think eventually, when everyone sees that, when that becomes public, that will help her defense as well.”

Where's the espionage?

Driscoll expressed frustration at the way that his client was being presented in the media, and said he felt it was his duty – within limits – to push back against inaccurate reports claiming that Butina has been accused of spying for Russia.

“As I said the day of the hearing, it's like an eyedropper of commentary from me against a tsunami of negative press from everyone else,” he said. In response to reports that the judge presiding over the case had warned him against “crossing a line” by speaking to the media, Driscoll noted: “I think frankly the risk is nil that a jury is going to be prejudice in favor of my client.”

Breathless headlines about Butina’s alleged activities in the United States read like a spy novel, but the US government's case against the Russian student and gun activist is far more mundane, Driscoll said.

“If you read the indictment of the case, she is alleged to be an agent of Russia who failed to register with the attorney general. Essentially, that means that they have not charged her with espionage and if you read the allegations against her, none of the allegations have anything spy-like about it. Essentially, the government is conceding that even under their own theory, if she had filed a piece of paper with the attorney general's office at the beginning of her trip to America, everything she did was legal.” As Driscoll observed, “people misunderstand a lot of basic things about this case.”

Sex for influence? Still waiting for evidence

Lurid tales that Butina had used offers of sex to navigate the halls of power in Washington have yet to be substantiated by actual evidence – and come off as rather sexist, Driscoll told RT. He added that the allegations were particularly damaging to Butina because “it makes [her case] more like a spy novel, and frankly easier for the public to digest. So editors and producers like those kinds of allegations.”

But the government has yet to provide evidence for their clickbait claims, according to Driscoll.

“[The honey trap] allegation was set forth in a proffer by the government, meaning they did not produce evidence to back up that allegation at the time. We’re still waiting to see that, and we're not sure that it even exists, or that it exists in any meaningful form.”

He added that he thought the US government'’s unproven allegations – which have been dutifully parroted by the media –  were "unfair, and kind of sexist.”

“It’s very hard to see your client kind of dragged through the mud like this, which is why I’ve been trying to push back on that.”

Politically motivated?

Driscoll said it was hard to believe that his client’s arrest was politically-motivated, but stated that he was hesitant to say the case was “completely apolitical, because it’s hard to imagine a national of another country being treated the same way. I think we're in a little bit of a Russophobic time.”

Potentially political motivations aside, Driscoll expressed confidence that his client would receive a fair trial – although acknowledged that overwhelmingly negative news coverage meant that Butina was, to a large extent, already being tried in the media.

“We’ll work hard to make sure she does [get a fair trial], and the judge will work hard to make sure she does. I think things in the end hopefully will be fair for her if it ends up in a trial.”

The ultimate irony

Describing his client as “amazingly bright,” Driscoll said that Butina never imagined that she would find herself in an American prison cell.

“I think there’s an irony to the fact that I think she always thought that if she was going to be in prison, that she would be imprisoned in Russia for advocating gun rights if she went too far with that, and now she’s in prison in the US for advocating better US-Russia relations.”

Driscoll said that Butina was in good health and spirits – despite her unforeseen arrest.

“If this gets back to her parents, I want them to know that she should be in touch soon, and that she’s healthy and well under the circumstances, and we’re doing our best to visit her every day, and make sure to keep her spirits up.”



Peterson on IQ

A very wide-ranging but totally correct survey of the facts


Some more history

I have just added some more material, mostly pictures, to my notes about Theodore Roosevelt.  See here


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

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


Monday, August 06, 2018

He fights

This is from last year but is very relevant to current Leftist attempts so brand conservatives with incivility

My Leftist friends (as well as many ardent #NeverTrumpers) constantly ask me if I’m not bothered by Donald Trump’s lack of decorum. They ask if I don’t think his tweets are “beneath the dignity of the office.”

Here’s my answer: We Right-thinking people have tried dignity. There could not have been a man of more quiet dignity than George W. Bush as he suffered the outrageous lies and politically motivated hatreds that undermined his presidency.

We tried statesmanship.

Could there be another human being on this earth who so desperately prized “collegiality” as John McCain?

We tried propriety – has there been a nicer human being ever than Mitt Romney?

And the results were always the same. This is because, while we were playing by the rules of dignity, collegiality and propriety, the Left has been, for the past 60 years, engaged in a knife fight where the only rules are those of Saul Alinsky and the Chicago mob.

I don’t find anything “dignified,” “collegial” or “proper” about Barack Obama’s lying about what went down on the streets of Ferguson in order to ramp up racial hatreds because racial hatreds serve the Democratic Party.

I don’t see anything “dignified” in lying about the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi and imprisoning an innocent filmmaker to cover your tracks.

I don’t see anything “statesman-like” in weaponizing the IRS to be used to destroy your political opponents and any dissent.

Yes, Obama was “articulate” and “polished” but in no way was he in the least bit “dignified,” “collegial” or “proper.”

The Left has been engaged in a war against America since the rise of the Children of the ‘60s. To them, it has been an all-out war where nothing is held sacred and nothing is seen as beyond the pale.. It has been a war they’ve fought with violence, the threat of violence, demagoguery and lies from day one – the violent take-over of the universities – till today.

The problem is that, through these years, the Left has been the only side fighting this war. While the Left has been taking a knife to anyone who stands in their way, the Right has continued to act with dignity, collegiality and propriety.

With Donald Trump, this all has come to an end. Donald Trump is America ’s first wartime president in the Culture War.

During wartime, things like “dignity” and “collegiality” simply aren’t the most essential qualities one looks for in their warriors. Ulysses Grant was a drunk whose behavior in peacetime might well have seen him drummed out of the Army for conduct unbecoming.

Had Abraham Lincoln applied the peacetime rules of propriety and booted Grant, the Democrats might well still be holding their slaves today.

Lincoln rightly recognized that, “I cannot spare this man. He fights.”

General George Patton was a vulgar-talking.. In peacetime, this might have seen him stripped of rank. But, had Franklin Roosevelt applied the normal rules of decorum then, Hitler and the Socialists would barely be five decades into their thousand-year Reich.

Trump is fighting. And what’s particularly delicious is that, like Patton standing over the battlefield as his tanks obliterated Rommel’s, he’s shouting, “You magnificent bastards, I read your book!”

That is just the icing on the cake, but it’s wonderful to see that not only is Trump fighting, he’s defeating the Left using their own tactics. That book is Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals – a book so essential to the Liberals’ war against America that it is and was the playbook for the entire Obama administration and the subject of Hillary Clinton’s senior thesis.

It is a book of such pure evil, that, just as the rest of us would dedicate our book to those we most love or those to whom we are most indebted, Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer.

Trump’s tweets may seem rash and unconsidered but, in reality, he is doing exactly what Alinsky suggested his followers do. First, instead of going after “the fake media” — and they are so fake that they have literally gotten every single significant story of the past 60 years not just wrong, but diametrically opposed to the truth, from the Tet Offensive to Benghazi, to what really happened on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri — Trump isolated CNN.. He made it personal.

Then, just as Alinsky suggests, he employs ridicule which Alinsky described as “the most powerful weapon of all.”... Most importantly, Trump’s tweets have put CNN in an untenable and unwinnable position. ... They need to respond.

This leaves them with only two choices. They can either “go high” (as Hillary would disingenuously declare of herself and the fake news would disingenuously report as the truth) and begin to honestly and accurately report the news or they can double-down on their usual tactics and hope to defeat Trump with twice their usual hysteria and demagoguery. The problem for CNN (et al.) with the former is that, if they were to start honestly reporting the news, that would be the end of the Democratic Party they serve. It is nothing but the incessant use of fake news (read: propaganda) that keeps the Left alive.

Imagine, for example, if CNN had honestly and accurately reported then-candidate Barack Obama’s close ties to foreign terrorists (Rashid Khalidi), domestic terrorists (William Ayers & Bernardine Dohrn), the mafia (Tony Rezko) or the true evils of his spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright’s church.

Imagine if they had honestly and accurately conveyed the evils of the Obama administration’s weaponizing of the IRS to be used against their political opponents or his running of guns to the Mexican cartels or the truth about the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the Obama administration’s cover-up.

So, to my friends on the Left — and the #NeverTrumpers as well — do I wish we lived in a time when our president could be “collegial” and “dignified” and “proper”? Of course I do.

These aren’t those times. This is war. And it’s a war that the Left has been fighting without opposition for the past 50 years.

So, say anything you want about this president - I get it - he can be vulgar, he can be crude, he can be undignified at times. I don’t care. I can’t spare this man. He fights for America!



The mythical “rules-based international order”

How often do you hear about the “rules-based international order”? It just rolls off the tongue and grabs headlines, doesn’t it? But that was not always the case.

Do a Factiva search of the three main newspapers in the US, Britain and Australia: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal; The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian; The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian ­Financial Review.

Insert the words “rules-based” and “international order”, and you will find that in the 30 years from 1985 to 2015 the term was used only 38 times. However, since ­Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign on June 16, 2015, the term has been used 321 times (as of July 30).

The logic is clear. Western journalists, scholars, politicians and policymakers all too often refer to the rules-based international order because its demise is blamed primarily on Trump’s “America first” agenda. By raising tariffs, weakening alliances, withdrawing the US from international agreements and supping with the devil — from Kim Jong-un at Singapore to Vladimir Putin at Helsinki — the US President has left a void in world leadership. As a result, he has undermined faith in the open, free international order of the post-Cold War era.

It’s a reassuring argument. For if almost everything is the fault of Trump, the problem is temporary and can be fixed. However, it’s an explanation that distracts us from contemplating more uncomfortable possibilities, ones that may cast doubt on deeply held convictions about international relations since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

For there are several fatal flaws that have helped undermine the effectiveness of the rules-based order so beloved by the foreign policy elites. Here are four of them.

It was widely held that democracy was the wave of the future. With the collapse of Soviet communism, it was assumed there was no viable alternative to liberal democracy: it was “the end of history”, in the fashionable phrase of the day. Almost every nation was bound to become a liberal democracy. It would be relatively easy to create a liberal international order because spreading democracy would meet little resistance.

In 1987, according to leading human rights watchdog Freedom House, 34 per cent of the world’s nations were free. By 2007, that rose to 47 per cent.

But in the past decade the number of liberal democracies has been declining. Indeed, some leaders today, from Turkey’s Recep Tayyip ­Erdogan to Hungary’s Viktor Orban, champion illiberal democracy.

To the extent this trend continues, it will be difficult to create a world in which almost all nations are liberal democracies.

The second illusion of the post-Cold War era was that nationalism was a thing of the past. Some pundits even proclaimed the end of the nation-state. However, as the populist explosion across Europe shows, national identity remains a powerful force. Because nationalism is all about self-determination, it does not fit with a situation where international insti­tutions — from the EU to the World Trade Organisation — make policies that have a profound effect on their member states.

No wonder most British citizens voted to leave the EU in 2016: they felt their nation had surrendered too much power to Brussels and it was time to reassert British sovereignty.

The third illusion of the rules-based international order that has been badly damaged is the belief in co-operation among the rival powers.

In the 1990s, it was widely assumed that the more communist China and post-communist Russia integrated into the global economy and became members of international institutions, the likelier they would become peaceful and even democratic.

However, neither China nor Russia has embraced Washington’s efforts to spread the liberal international order. Far from it. Xi Jinping is the most authoritarian leader since Mao Zedong and China is more assertive than ever. Putin is a modern-day tsar who will play hardball to protect what the Kremlin sees as vital strategic interests in its back yard.

For China and Russia, being fully absorbed into the liberal international order means allowing Washington to dominate the system militarily as well as economically and politically. Neither is going to want US military forces in what they deem as their spheres of influence.

In recent years, Beijing’s leaders have sought to create a sphere of influence in East Asia in the hope they will push the US out of the western Pacific, just as the Americans pushed the European powers out of the Western hemisphere in the 19th century.

In 2014, almost three years before Trump arrived in the White House, Putin annexed Crimea (home of the Russian Black Sea fleet) in response to the Western-backed coup to topple a pro-Russian regime in Kiev weeks earlier. After seeing decades of Western expansion to its doorstep, Moscow has been pushed to the point where it is now committed to undermining NATO and the EU.

The fourth illusion of the post-Cold War era was the belief that the US, as the sole remaining superpower, was seemingly invincible. As Charles Krauthammer put it in 1990, the US should “lead a unipolar world, unashamedly laying down the rules of world order and being prepared to enforce them”.

However, in the years since the end of the Cold War, the US has fought seven wars — the Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Iraq-Syria — and it has been at war for three out of every four years during that period. Wars, by the way, that Trump says he opposed.

Pax Americana, remember, had been waning for several years before Trump’s election. Without an activist and assertive US, moreover, there is no plausible way to uphold the liberal international order. In the domestic realm, it’s a bit like having courts without a police force.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop speaks for many when she says: “The rules-based order will quickly fray if it is perceived that advantage can be gained by flouting it or working around it.”

However, that order frayed well before Trump. And its underlying problems cannot be fixed.

For all the praise recently lavished on the rules-based international order, our leaders fail to grasp the irrepressible reality of power politics.



Big government at work in Seattle

Once again, the oh-so progressive, oh-so enlightened Seattle City Council is showing the rest of the country what not to do. The idealistic leftists who control the Council are wasting millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars in failed attempts to solve problems the Council members created.

All this is turning Seattle into the poster city for the failure of Big Government. The city best known for fish markets, coffee stores, rain and flannel-wearing musicians is now becoming legendary for its incompetent leadership and its financial boondoggles.

The latest example of Seattle senselessness is the Council’s costly and deeply flawed efforts to get more people riding public transportation and bicycles. Other than spending lots of money, this effort isn’t accomplishing anything. 

Seattle was one of the first cities to get electric streetcars in the U.S., with the first electric car entering service in 1889. With over a century of experience, you would think the city would know how to handle public transit. Not so. Taxpayers are paying a big price for the incompetence of city officials.

The public transportation system in Seattle is a mess. Construction costs for new and upgraded streetcar and light rail lines are skyrocketing well above estimated costs.

One of the more unbelievable mistakes made was the purchase of 10 new streetcars last fall. Apparently, when the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) ordered the cars no one thought to check the measurements.

The order was placed for street cars that are likely too big for the tracks and the maintenance barn. The project is already $50 million over budget, not including the $52 million it cost for the 10 cars that may be useless. How has no one been fired for this?

Not only is Seattle having problems with its streetcar projects, but its bike lane experiment has also been an unmitigated financial disaster. In 2015, Seattle voters approved a $930 million transportation tax to fund something called called “Move Seattle.”

The nearly $1 billion initiative made bold promises, while increasing average property taxes by $275. One of the bold promises was 50 miles of bike lanes.

Many voiced concerns about the price tag of the ambitious project. After looking at the most recent costs of the bike lanes, their concerns were clearly warranted.

The city’s initial budget estimated $854,000 per mile for construction of the bike lanes and greenways. Incredibly, so far stretches of the bike lanes are costing over 1,000 percent more than expected.

The bike lane on Seventh Avenue clocks in at $13 million per mile, while the Second Avenue lane is $12 million per mile. At this rate, the bike lanes alone will cost more than the entire Move Seattle project.

Of course, no one has been held accountable for the cost overrun, as this is Seattle, where mistakes get people promoted.

Knowing all this, the Seattle City Council still voted to push more bike lane policies. On Monday, a resolution passed calling for SDOT to make sure bike lanes are connected, meaning yet more construction.

I’m not sure what is more infuriating – the fact that a bike lane project that didn’t connect all the lanes was approved in the first place, or that after monumental cost overruns the City Council’s answer was to spend yet more money.

What is truly amazing is that Seattle is trying to increase the number of bicyclists on the street at the same time it wants to increase the streetcar and light rail lines. As any cyclist can attest, rail lines and bicycle tires are a dangerous mix. Expanding both is sure to lead to more accidents.

Seattle and Sound Transit are already being sued for the tragic death of Desiree McCloud. The young woman was in a bike lane when her tire got caught in the train track, causing a horrific crash. McCloud was hospitalized and later died of her injuries.

With its spendthrift and clueless way, the Seattle City Council is showing all Americans the importance of voting in local elections. Too many us of neglect to do this, focusing on elections for president, national and statewide offices.

Local government is closest to the people and in many ways can have the most direct impact on our lives. In Seattle, big-spending liberals trying to fulfill their dreams are creating nightmares for the people of the city.



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, August 05, 2018

A Novel Defense of Bad Social Psychology Studies

They may not be true, but they feel true (!).  It's very similar in climate studies.  They WANT their consensus to be true

ANDREW FERGUSON below points out that scientific studies that go against the accepted narrative in that science risk abuse and various attacks ob the author from champions of the mainstream view.  That certainly happens in climate science.

Another much more common strategy to deal with attacks on the consensus is simply to ignore the discordant writer and his findings.  That is what happened to my work. I had over 200 papers in print that attacked the dominant Leftist explanation of racism but they were all ignored.  They were seldom even referred to let alone generating any doubts about the consensus

Normally a mini-essay by a journeyman reporter for the New York Times would not be worth rebutting with another mini-essay. We can all agree that the world has quite enough mini-essays as it is. But the recent piece by science writer Benedict Carey is a landmark in its own small way. It demonstrates two related cultural dilemmas—a crisis in social science, usually called “the replication crisis,” and a crisis in the news business, as yet unnamed. And it shows how our “thought leaders” hope to evade both of them.

The crisis in the social sciences has grown so obvious that even mainstream social scientists have begun to acknowledge it. In the past five years or so, disinterested researchers have reexamined many of the most crucial experiments and findings in social psychology and related fields. A very large percentage of them—as many as two-thirds, by some counts—crumble on close examination. These include such supposedly settled science as “implicit bias,” “stereotype threat,” “priming,” “ego depletion” and many others known to every student of introductory psychology. At the root of the failure are errors of methodology and execution that should have been obvious from the start. Sample sizes are small and poorly selected; statistical manipulations are misunderstood and ill-performed; experiments lack control groups and are poorly designed; data are cherry-picked; and safeguards against researcher bias are ignored. It’s a long list.

The second dilemma has to do with the first, though it is less often discussed. The great bulk of journalism—what used to constitute the stuff of a large metropolitan daily newspaper—involves only a handful of general subjects. We read sports, politics, weather, celebrity doings, and pop science. Without them the trade would collapse. Readers and editors alike especially love stories that begin “A new study finds . . . ” or “Scientists have discovered . . . ” This last sort of news—easily digested findings that scientifically explain the mysteries of human behavior—is fed and constantly replenished by the same social science whose elemental assumptions are withering before our eyes. This is bad news for the news.

The circle is vicious indeed. Journalism craves pop-science stories from researchers, who like publicity and must get their work into print, according to the pitiless mandate of publish or perish. The researchers’ urgency encourages corner-cutting and conclusion-jumping, which conveniently tend to produce flashy findings, which are inhaled by news outlets, which publish them under the headline “Researchers find!” and then turn back to the researchers to demand more, more, more.

The growing realization of this unhealthy co-dependency is the kind of thing that can ruin a science writer’s day—his livelihood, too. For Benedict Carey, the Times science writer, the collapse of social psychology is an understandably painful subject. The tone of his mini-essay is mournful, as if he’s watching an old friend walk to the electric chair.

He opens his article by mentioning the 50-year-old Stanford Prison Experiment, a simulation designed to prove that people in positions of power are more likely to behave cruelly than the Dorothy Gales among us, the small and meek. The prison experiment, which required psychology students to play-act as prisoners and prison guards, launched a thousand other experiments that used its findings as an unquestioned premise. The unique dangers of power disparities—as found, for example, in capitalist societies—became a theme of social science, confirming the leftish, class-based politics of social psychologists.

In the last 10 years, thanks to several whistle-blowing researchers working independently, the prison experiment and its findings have been largely discredited. The editor of at least one popular textbook has removed mentions of it. It turns out that the behavior of college students in role-playing exercises under the watchful eye of their professors doesn’t tell us much about the behavior of ordinary people in the real world, no matter how powerful or powerless they are. This has surprised social psychologists. Many of them still refuse to believe it.

Carey also mentions another famous, and much cuter, experiment called the Marshmallow Test. It, too, he notes glumly, has been subverted by further examination. In the marshmallow test, young and adorable children were filmed as they tried not to eat marshmallows. The researchers concluded that children who were taught the ability to delay gratification would, thanks to this single trait, grow up to have happier and more successful lives. On the basis of the marshmallow experiment, policymakers over the next generation developed character-building programs that became all the rage in the fad factories of public education. Teach a kid self-control when he’s 5, went the thinking, and 20 years later you’ll have a college graduate on your hands.

Anyone uncontaminated by social science would understand this proposition to be laughably mechanical and simplistic. And even social scientists are now seeing that the study was severely limited in application. Almost all the kids in the test were white and well-to-do; the results didn’t take into account family stability, the level of parents’ education, the behavior of peers, or any of the other infinite factors that form a child’s character. For nearly 30 years the “marshmallow effect” was science. Now it’s folklore.

Carey could have picked dozens of other examples. Every few weeks, it seems, another established truth of social science comes a cropper. But Carey is a man of faith, as believers in social science must be. He doesn’t want to let go. He is wounded by critics who think the replication crisis somehow undermines social psychology’s standing as science. “On the contrary,” he writes. The crisis proves social science is self-correcting, just the way real sciences are.

“Housecleaning is a crucial corrective in science,” Carey writes. This is true. He also says “psychology has led by example.” This is not true. A science cannot correct itself unless its findings are subjected to replication, but even now such self-examination is rare in social science—indeed, it is often deemed seditious. Reformers and revisionists who question famous findings are subjected to personal and professional abuse from colleagues online and elsewhere.

Still, Carey insists, psychology is a science. It’s just not a science in the way that other, fussier sciences are science. “The study of human behavior will never be as clean as physics or cardiology,” he writes. “How could it be?” And of course those farfetched experiments aren’t like real experiments. “Psychology’s elaborate simulations are just that.”

These are large concessions, but Carey doesn’t seem to realize how subversive they are. Those “elaborate simulations” are held up by social scientists as experiments on a par with the controlled experiments of real science. We are told they re­-create the various circumstances that human beings find themselves in and react to. The only reason anyone pays attention to social psychology is that its findings are supposed to be widely, even universally, applicable, as the findings of the physical sciences are. Otherwise it’s unlikely news outlets would hire reporters to write about social science.

Carey’s defense of social psychology fits the current age. It is post-truth, as our public intellectuals like to say. “[Social psychology’s] findings are far more accessible and personally relevant to the public than those in most other scientific fields,” Carey writes. “The public’s judgments matter to the field, too.”

Okay, but are the findings true? Carey’s answer is: Who cares? The headline over his piece summarizes the point. “Many famous studies of human behavior cannot be reproduced. Even so, they revealed aspects of our inner lives that feel true.”

Feeling true is what’s important. “It is one thing,” Carey goes on, “to frisk the studies appearing almost daily in journals that form the current back-and-forth of behavior research. It is somewhat different to call out experiments that became classics—and world-famous outside of psychology—because they dramatized something people recognized in themselves and in others.”

The public likes them. They’re famous. They’re classics! And they feel true.

Or true-ish, anyway. This is good enough for the New York Times and its guardians of science. They have adapted the scientific method to the Trump era.



An airhead


CNN Anchor Asks Same Question 3 Times, Farmer Knows Exactly How to Answer

A CNN host gave a soybean farmer three swings at a chance to criticize President Donald Trump’s trade policy, but in the end it was the host who struck out.

On Wednesday CNN’s Brooke Baldwin interviewed soybean farmer Mark Jackson. Trump has slapped tariffs on Chinese imports, resulting in Chinese retaliation that has sapped soybean sales.

In response, the Trump administration has authorized about $12 billion to be used to help farmers ride out the storm until Trump and China can reach a new trade policy.

“Farmers are resilient. They understand that China has not been playing fair,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said last month, according to CNBC. “They are patriots, but they also know that patriotism can’t pay the bills and that’s where they are concerned.”

Trump has also worked to increase soybean sales to Europe, as well as liquified natural gas.

With that as the background, Baldwin went sniffing for concerns about Trump and his policies.

“Are you supportive of what the president’s doing?” Baldwin asked on “CNN Newsroom” on Wednesday, according to TheBlaze. “And you know we talked a lot, I talked to a pork farmer last week about, you know, this whole $15 billion bailout for a lot of farmers who needed it.”

“Are you in support of the president and do you have any concerns that he’s fighting this on multiple fronts?” she added. “Are you worried about that hitting you long-term?”

Jackson would neither pretend there was not a problem nor criticize Trump.

“Yeah I mean everyone’s concerned. As far as the direction that it’s going now, I think, as far as whether we support the president or not, it’s a matter that the hand has been dealt and I think at this point in time, let’s look at the bigger picture,” he said.

Jackson then showed that he understood the bigger picture. “That China is, they are abusing the intellectual property rights and there are a lot of other factors involved here,” he added.

“Soybeans are just a $14 billion element in a $300 billion plus maneuver here,” Jackson explained. “So I think from that perspective we are probably the biggest target because we are the smallest population, given that 99 percent of the people in the United States do not farm.”

Baldwin wanted one more shot at Trump. “But, Mark, let me just jump in quickly. Last question, you say it’s the hand you’ve been dealt, but the hand is that of this president. Do you support this president and what he is doing?” Baldwin said.

Jackson wasn’t budging. “At this point in time, yes, I definitely support what he’s doing,” Jackson said. “And moving forward, I think, for a long-term solution to a better agriculture, I think that effort is there, because there’s only one source of food in this world and that’s the farmer producing it.

“Nearly half, between 40 and 50 percent of the soybeans grown in this world are produced in the United States,” he concluded. “China needs soybeans and they do need ours. It’s just a matter of what the final price will be that we receive.”


Ontario Ends UBI Experiment Two Years Early

It was Milton Friedman who first notably proposed this but Leftists love the idea.  But attempts to implement it always founder on the rock of unsustainable costs

A provincial minister said the basic-income experiment "was certainly not going to be sustainable."

A Canadian province's planned three-year experiment with a universal basic income (UBI) is ending after just one year.

Ontario's previous government implemented the pilot program last July, estimating that it would cost about CA$150 million. Instead of traditional welfare benefits, around 4,000 randomly selected low-income or jobless residents would be provided with yearly stipends of CA$16,989 per person (or CA$24,027 per couple). Participants with jobs had to give the government half of their work income. According to The Guardian, the experiment was meant to determine "whether the funds would improve health, education and housing outcomes."

But Ontario just ousted the Liberal Party and elected a new Progressive Conservative government, and the new regime had other ideas. Provincial Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said yesterday that Ontario would be ending the "quite expensive" experiment. "It was certainly not going to be sustainable," MacLeod said. She didn't provide any data to back that up, so it's not clear whether the program was costing more than expected or if the new government just has different ideas about how this was likely to end.

The announcement came several months after Finland decided not to extend its own UBI experiment, which distributed monthly stipends of 560 euros to about 2,000 residents. But other countries are still considering a UBI. Italy and the Netherlands are both implementing UBI trials, and some Scottish cities are mulling it over as well. And a privately funded basic-income experiment is now underway in Kenya.

The UBI's basic premise is not new. (Reason's Jesse Walker has documented the idea's history here.) But it remains controversial, even among libertarians. Some libertarians are firmly against the idea, arguing that it is as unjust as any other form of wealth redistribution. Others say a UBI would be less intrusive and more cost-effective than a traditional welfare state, and therefore would be a step toward smaller government.

In the United States, the idea is far from dead. Stockton, California, is ready to test its own version of a UBI, and lawmakers in Chicago have proposed a similar experiment.



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)