Friday, September 28, 2018

A small hiatus

I last went on vacation in the year 2004 so I have begun to feel that I should get out more.  So I have decided to take two or three short breaks in the months ahead.  I will therefore be getting on a train later today for a 7 hour trip to see my gorgeous sister.  To have a great sister but rarely see her is crazy.  And the trip will be on a very modern fast train so the travel alone should be interesting.  I will be away for only a few days and will be unlikely to do any blogging while I am away.  I will however be taking a computer with me so if there is a big drama happening I might put up something.

On my 2004 away I spent a whole morning reading Centesimus annus, a Papal encyclical that had just at that time been issued by John Paul II.  I am not expecting to find anything worth reading on this trip from Pope Francis, however.


Do you have the 'D-factor'? Study finds psychopaths, narcissists, sadists and others all share a 'dark core' of humanity

This is interesting work but it suffers from a sampling shortcut that is all too common these days.  It uses online respondents.  But people who answer online questionnaires do differ quite markedly from the general population. In particular, they tend to give the researcher what he expects. Such people seem to be similar in their thinking to psychology professors!  And in this case you can therefore reasonably expect that the intercorrelations between the various "dark" traits will be high. On re-presenting the same questions to a more representative sample of the general population, much lower correlations would be expected.

And that matters.  As it is, the authors have a reasonable claim to have shown a unitary trait of personality that is similar to IQ -- which is the unitary trait of problem-solving ability.  But the IQ concept becomes useful because the intercorrelations between the various aspects of it are quite high.  Are the correlations within the "D" factor also high?  In the research so far presented they are pretty good and a person's score on it would be broadly informative. But is a similar degree of homogeneity to be found in the general population?  It won't be.  But just how high or low remains to be seen.  I am not terribly optimistic

More information on the research so far is available here

From sadism to psychopathy and even spitefulness, the traits that show the more sinister sides of humanity all share a common ‘dark core.’ And, if you have one of these tendencies, you just might have some of the others, too.

While traits such as egoism might not seem as extreme as something such as psychopathy, a new study has found a link between all of these so-called dark personality traits and the general tendency to put one’s own interests first.

In many cases, these people also seem to take pleasure in causing others pain.

In the new study from the University of Copenhagen, researchers have defined the common denominator of all dark traits. Dubbed the D-factor, the experts say it underlies the darker side of human personality.

This includes psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism, the 'dark triad,’ and a slew of others such as egoism, sadism, and spitefulness.

The ‘D-factor,’ which links all of these tendencies, addresses that person’s propensity to disregard or provoke others’ hardship to meet their own goals or interests. This is typically coupled with beliefs that serve as justification, the researchers note.

The new work follows previous research led roughly 100 years ago by Charles Spearman, which first showed that high levels of one type of intelligence often ties into these traits as well.

‘In the same way, the dark aspects of human personality also have a common denominator, which means that – similar to intelligence – one can say that they are all an expression of the same dispositional tendency,’ says Ingo Zettler, Professor of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen.



Trump chips away at liberal U.S. appeals court majorities

Aided by fellow Republicans in the Senate, President Donald Trump is rapidly filling vacancies on U.S. appeals courts, moving some that had liberal majorities closer to conservative control in an ideological shift that could benefit his administration.

These 13 courts wield considerable power, usually providing the last word on rulings appealed from lower courts on disputes involving federal law.

Their rulings can be challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court, but most such appeals are turned away because the top court typically hears fewer than 100 cases annually. Eleven of the courts handle cases from specific multi-state regions, one handles cases from Washington, D.C., while another specializes in patent cases.

Presidents can reshape the federal judiciary with their appointments and seek to appoint judges they believe share their ideological leanings. Republicans typically strive to pick conservatives while Democrats generally aim to appoint liberals, all subject to Senate confirmation.

Although there are no guarantees a judge will rule the way a president might like, the number of Republican and Democratic appointees is generally an indicator of an appeals court’s conservative-liberal balance.

With the Republican-led Senate rapidly considering and confirming many of his judicial nominees, Trump already has appointed 26 appeals court judges. That is more than any other president in the first two years of a presidency, according to Russell Wheeler, a scholar at the Brookings Institution think tank, although he points out that there are more appellate judges now than in the past.

Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, appointed 55 in eight years as president.

Only four of the 13 federal appeals courts currently have more Republican-appointed judges than Democratic selections.

The two appellate courts closest to shifting to Republican-appointed majorities are the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Trump already has made three appointments to the 11th Circuit, leaving it with a 6-6 split between Democratic and Republican appointees. The 3rd Circuit, to which Trump has made one appointment, now has a 7-5 Democratic-appointee majority, with two vacancies for Trump to fill.

Should further vacancies open up on those courts, Trump’s appointees would tip the ideological balance.

The ideological “flipping” of a judicial circuit, where cases typically are decided by panels of three judges, can have a direct impact on how cases are decided and new legal precedents established. Cases before circuit courts span a wide range of issues, from hot-button topics such as abortion, gay rights and the death penalty to voting rights, regulatory and business disputes, employment law and the environment.

Trump pledged as a candidate in 2016 to appoint conservatives to the bench. So far, he has largely kept his promise.

Many of Trump’s judicial nominees have close ties to the Federalist Society conservative legal group, which organizes networking events and conferences for lawyers and law students.

Trump inherited a large number of vacancies, in part because the Senate - controlled by Republicans since 2015 - refused to act on some of Obama’s nominees.

There are currently 13 appeals court vacancies, six of them with pending nominees picked by Trump, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Both the 11th Circuit and 3rd Circuit have major cases pending in which Trump appointees could make their mark.

An 11th Circuit three-judge panel on July 25 revived a civil rights lawsuit challenging the state of Alabama’s move to prevent the city of Birmingham from increasing the minimum wage. Alabama has asked for a rehearing, which would be heard by the entire 12-judge 11th Circuit if the request is granted.

In the 3rd Circuit, the Trump administration has appealed a lower court decision blocking the Justice Department from cutting off grants to Philadelphia over so-called sanctuary city policies limiting local cooperation with federal authorities on immigration enforcement.

When Obama took office in 2009 after Republican President George W. Bush’s eight years in office, the courts were tilted heavily toward Republican appointees, with only one having a majority of Democratic appointees. When Obama left office in 2017 after his own two four-year terms, nine of the 13 regional courts had majority Democratic-appointees.

Leonard Leo, who took leave from his role as executive vice president of the Federalist Society to advise the White House on judicial nominations, said there is “tremendous desirability to flipping circuits that are majority liberal activists.” But Leo said that “every White House is subject to the vagaries of when a judge decides to retire.”

Flipping courts that have solid Democratic-appointee majorities will be difficult for Trump. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has seven vacancies and Trump has already filled one. Even if Trump fills all of them, Democratic-appointees would still hold a 16-13 majority.

Trump and conservative allies have criticized the 9th Circuit for high-profile rulings against his administration including over the legality of the president’s ban on people entering the United States from certain Muslim-majority countries. The Supreme Court, with its conservative majority restored by Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch last year, in June upheld the travel ban policy.

A circuit court vacancy is created when a judge takes a form of semi-retirement known as “senior status.”

“You have to have a wave of Democratic-appointed judges taking senior status for Trump to have any hope of flipping the 9th Circuit,” University of Pittsburgh School of Law professor Arthur Hellman said.



U.S. weekly jobless claims drop to near 49-year low

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment aid fell to near a 49-year low last week and private payrolls rose steadily in August, pointing to sustained labor market strength that should continue to underpin economic growth.

The economy so far appears to be weathering an escalating trade war between the United States and China as well as tensions with other trade partners, including Canada, the European Union and Mexico, which have rattled financial markets.



Despite Obamacare, healthcare spending is spiraling out of control

Former President Barack Obama promised the Affordable Care Act would bend "the cost curve and [start] to reduce costs for families, businesses, and government." But his pledge has gone unfulfilled – patients and taxpayers are spending record amounts on healthcare.

This year, total healthcare spending will increase 5.3 percent, according to a recent estimate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That's after spending rose by 4.6 percent last year to total $3.5 trillion.

Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid deserves part of the blame for this inflated tab.

Starting in 2014, Obamacare enabled states to expand Medicaid to able-bodied, childless adults with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The federal government offered to pay 100 percent of the initial expansion costs and 90 percent of the costs in 2020 and beyond. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have chosen to expand the program. Nationally, Medicaid rolls have grown from 56.5 million people in 2013 to 73.3 million in 2018.

Obamacare's architects hoped that expanding Medicaid would curb healthcare spending. They reasoned that newly insured people would no longer visit the emergency room to obtain treatment for minor ailments. Instead, they'd visit cost-effective providers such as family doctors.

But doling out "free" health insurance hasn't reduced patients' reliance on emergency rooms. In California, the total number of ER visits increased 10 percent in the two years following the expansion.

In fact, Medicaid has been shown to increase people's use of emergency services. In 2008, Oregon expanded Medicaid via a random lottery. Researchers concluded that the partial expansion "increased hospitalizations, emergency-department visits, outpatient visits, prescription-drug use, and preventive-care use" among the new enrollees. However, it "had no statistically significant effect on physical health outcomes."

Medicaid is notorious for delivering poor value to patients at a high cost to taxpayers. It's not at all surprising that expanding the program to millions more people has caused healthcare spending to soar.

Despite Obamacare's failure, numerous Democrats, including Obama, are endorsing a "Medicare for all" plan that would put the federal government entirely in charge of healthcare. Luckily, President Trump has announced his opposition to the proposal. The failure of Medicaid expansion should be enough for any sensible person to realize it's a terrible idea.



The Dangerous Consequences of Calling Sovereignty and Patriotism ‘Dog Whistles’

“Patriotism” and “sovereignty” are now dirty words. That’s what one Washington Post editor said in response to President Donald Trump’s United Nations speech on Tuesday.

“America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism,” Trump said during the speech.

Trump also said: “We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy.”

Karen Attiah, The Washington Post’s global opinions editor, responded angrily. "Chilling to hear Trump use “sovereignty” and “patriotism” as dogwhistles in his #UNGA speech. Gives rhetorical ammunition for the nationalistic parties around the world who want to keep immigrants and refugees out."

It’s incredible to see these once unchallenged concepts, embraced by Americans across the political spectrum, now turned into something ugly and worthy of condemnation.

In many ways, the protection of our liberty stems from national sovereignty, a fact boldly stated in the Declaration of Independence. The just powers of government derive from the “consent of the governed,” not a vague global system.

“We the people of the United States” is more than a slogan. It defines the American way of life, declaring that the people are sovereign as a national unit, under a federal system.

In America, the people rule. If not, then who? Kings? Limitless international bodies? To denounce the idea of sovereignty is to attack America as she has always understood herself—certainly, the constitutional government that has provided the basis for our liberty for over two centuries.

The very fact that concepts like sovereignty and patriotism are no longer universally accepted shows the current challenge placed before Americans and other peoples in 2018. As our national identity and attachment breaks down, what is left in its wake?

Being a “citizen of the world” will never suffice. Placing power in the hands of an international elite is hardly conducive to upholding the interests and the rights of the people, no matter what nation they live in.

As President Theodore Roosevelt noted in his famous “Man in the Arena” speech, citizens of the world hardly make good citizens and neighbors. “The man who says that he does not care to be a citizen of any one country, because he is the citizen of the world, is in fact usually an exceedingly undesirable citizen of whatever corner of the world he happens at the moment to be in,” Roosevelt said.

The loss of patriotism and national sovereignty hardly leads to a free and peaceful brotherhood of man. Instead it leaves a void, a lack of attachment that leads to unseemly or tyrannical ends.

Identity politics emerges from this void. People rally to their ethnic tribe rather than their country or their unique political and historical traditions. It’s no wonder we’ve seen the rise of the hard left and the alt-right, who both feed off of the breakdown of genuine patriotism.

If we want to make sure that America remains a great and united country in the future, we must do a better job of defending our way of life, as Trump did in his U.N. speech.

This starts by doing a better job of educating young people about what our country is about and defending the foundational ideas that made America great to begin with.

Informed patriotism is what we want, as President Ronald Reagan said in his farewell address to the nation.



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, September 27, 2018

The Palpable, Existential Danger Among Us

The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process has exposed the Democrats for the threat to the American constitutional republic they are.
On Monday, Brett Kavanaugh, the distinguished federal appeals court judge nominated by President Trump to fill the open Supreme Court judgeship the confirmation of which has become perhaps the ugliest, most nakedly political horror show in American history, went with his wife to an interview with Fox News’ Martha McCallum.

“I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process,” Kavanaugh had said following a weekend in which one allegation against him, that he sexually assaulted a woman named Christine Blasey Ford, fell apart when all four of the witnesses she named to corroborate her accusations rebutted her claim. “The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats against my family will not drive me out. The character assassination will not succeed.”

Kavanaugh was right, at least he should have been. But when the Ford allegations died, up came a New Yorker piece outlining another fish story, in which a woman named Deborah Ramirez alleged that Kavanaugh, as a freshman at Yale, had dropped his pants and displayed his 19-year-old manhood to her during a drunken debauch of a drinking party at the school’s dormitory. The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer offered the story almost apologetically; after the requisite clickbait headlines and lede, it spent the second half of its text largely admitting Ramirez’ story lacked any corroboration to speak of and even went so far as to recognize that Ramirez herself wasn’t sure Kavanaugh was the expositionist in question.

And no sooner did the Ramirez gambit meet with a tepid response even from the partisan Democrat legacy media than the “creepy porn lawyer” Michael Avenatti resurfaced. No sooner than his 15 minutes of fame coming from his rather chaotic and not-quite-dignified performance as Stormy Daniels’ ineffective legal counsel were mercifully over, Avenatti conjured himself back into the headlines with a new client who now alleges Kavanaugh was a gang-rape specialist in his youth.

Bear in mind this is a distinguished jurist who had endured no less than SIX background investigations by the FBI which uncovered none of these scurrilous allegations; if there was a pattern of sexual misbehavior by Brett Kavanaugh our premier investigative agency would surely have uncovered it. No red flags turned up — not until a bunch of partisan Democrat political operatives desperate to prevent a doctrinaire constitutionalist judge from taking Anthony Kennedy’s swing vote seat on the Supreme Court decided to pull out all the stops in pursuit of that agenda. In the face of these merciless smears Kavanaugh is forced to confess the kind of sexual truths which, in our current society, are socially disqualifying more than just embarrassing, just to discredit a characterization as a sexual predator concocted purely out of partisan political avarice.

What these people have done to Kavanaugh isn’t the usual Washington political antics — and that says much. After all, it’s still very much in the national memory what Democrats in the Senate tried to do to Clarence Thomas, and what they did to Robert Bork. In the case of Bork the Democrats, led by the serial sexual abuser Ted Kennedy, whose drunken extramarital antics included an actual body count, focused on Bork’s recognized opposition to infanticide as a primary justification for defeating his nomination — and had the numbers to do so. Lacking such numbers a few years later, the Democrats went deeper on Thomas, finding a middling university professor named Anita Hill who had worked with the judge in the federal bureaucracy to spin yarns about his supposed ribald behavior in the workplace. Thomas’s response was forceful and convincing, enough to put him on the Court and banish the Anita Hill imbroglio to partisan quarters of discussion for the next 25 years.

Which is what Kavanaugh’s Fox News interview was aimed at doing. But in the interview Kavanaugh lacked the fire of Thomas, who scalded his tormentors for the “high-tech lynching of uppity blacks” they had planned. Instead, he refuted the allegations of his sexual misdeeds by claiming he spent his high school and early college years as a virgin, a contention which was by turns believable, and tragic.

I don’t want to know Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual history. And if you do, there is something egregiously wrong with you. It’s quite obvious Kavanaugh himself is no more comfortable with the discussion of that information than any of us are, but he’s forced to bear his soul to achieve the pinnacle of his life’s work.

And this is disgusting on a scale we may never have experienced in modern American history — for which one side in our politics is responsible.

What consequences do we impose on the Democrat Party for stooping to this level? Let’s understand that this isn’t just about Brett Kavanaugh — though if it’s restricted to him the events of the past week are destructive and outrageous enough. Who will consent to running for office now? Who will stand for a federal appointment confirmable by the Senate?

Who will be willing to crawl through the mile of rancid sewer-pipe that is the American political process just to achieve a government job?

The answer is the one the Democrats want it to be. Namely, that no conservative will tolerate what Kavanaugh is fighting through. In the future, as National Review’s Andrew McCarthy said, our options will be restricted to polite progressives or the Democrats’ pet RINO’s, if not the hard-core socialists and cultural Marxists the Left would like to impose on us. There is a stark choice — either to go gently into this good night of American dissolution, or fight. Hard. Now.

And this is where this fall’s midterm elections come in.

Here is my interpretation of what’s happening, and my expectation of what’s coming in the next few days — this entire Kavanaugh business comes down to two numbers: 11 and 51.

It takes 11 members of the 21-member Senate Judiciary Committee to move the Kavanaugh nomination to the Senate floor, and there are 11 Republicans on the committee. Only one of those 11 — Arizona’s Jeff Flake, who has embraced the NeverTrump conceit as his personal approval ratings have descended to hellish levels — appears to be problematic for Kavanaugh’s nomination. And only three Republicans on the Senate floor are questionable Kavanaugh votes.

But Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley has to insure he has Flake’s vote before he can move forward, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has to insure he has the Flakes, Susan Collinses, and Lisa Murkowskis before he can hold a floor vote. It’s not yet time to declare the Republican establishment weak and ineffectual on the Kavanaugh confirmation; this isn’t as easy as we’d like it to be.

However, time is running out — and this is the Republicans’ Super Bowl. They sold their voters the idea that if we gave them the House, Senate, and White House, things would finally be made right from the frightening abuses of the Obama years, and we delivered. Republican voters tolerated the poor performances of Senators like Bob Corker, John McCain, Collins, and Murkowski on the assurance that where it came to judicial appointments they would be a marked positive difference from the Democrat alternatives, and in Trump’s case we were told that whether his history was that of a conservative or not, he’d clearly present America with better judges than Hillary Clinton would.

Well, so far Trump, who couldn’t run on what a demonstrated conservative he is, has been immaculate in nominating conservatives to the federal bench. And if the Republican Senate, populated by a gaggle of swamp creatures who for decades have feasted at the expense and adulation of Republican and conservative organizations, can’t confirm Kavanaugh, well…

Let’s remember that Kavanaugh, as sterling as his reputation as a jurist might be, is the very epitome of an establishment Republican. In fact, we can say that he might be the single most salutary example of an establishment Republican in Washington — someone who, on balance, Trump conservatives can appreciate alongside the old Bush guard, and even the more sober-minded liberal (note, liberal, rather than progressive, because increasingly there’s a difference which can’t be ignored) Democrats can concede is qualified for the Supreme Court. If the GOP establishment can’t see Kavanaugh’s nomination as a hill to die on, then may everlasting shame — and electoral apocalypse — fall upon their heads.

It won’t come to that, because it can’t. This week will see Kavanaugh dragged through the Senate into the Supreme Court, whether his dignity survives intact or no. And when it happens, it will be gut-check time for the Republican voter base six weeks from the 2018 midterm elections.

It’s been said, and of course it’s true, that should Kavanaugh’s nomination fail there is zero justification for Republican voters to bother showing up to head off the much-ballyhooed “blue wave” the media is so hard at work trying to gin up in November. Those voters put Trump in the White House as a signal that the corrupt Hillary Clinton-led Washington in-crowd was unacceptable, and if the soft coup signaled by the Mueller investigation hasn’t been enough to infuriate them into reprising their 2016 efforts the Kavanaugh confirmation process should certainly do the job.

Because what the current circus — complete with Sen. Ted Cruz and his wife being assaulted in a Washington restaurant over the Kavanaugh nomination — shows is that today’s Democrats will stop at nothing to achieve political power. There is no limiting principle to those people, just as there was no limiting principle to the Left’s aims in Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile, Venezuela, or Grenada. If Kavanaugh isn’t a wake-up call dictating to America that they must be rebuked at the ballot box, we don’t want to see the next iteration and what might be necessary to preserve our society against the threat it presents.

That might not even be an electoral question. It might be something we do not wish to contemplate. It’s clear, by the actions of the other side, that they’re more than willing to transcend normal politics to have power over us — and that means every single one of our votes must be counted in November.



Philadelphia Will Dismantle Its Asset Forfeiture Program and Pay $3 Million to Victims

Four years after Philadelphia police seized the home of Markela and Chris Sourovelis for a minor drug crime committed by their son, the city has agreed to almost completely dismantle its controversial civil asset forfeiture program and pay $3 million to its victims.

The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm, announced today that the city had agreed to a settlement in a federal civil rights class-action lawsuit challenging its forfeiture program.

"For too long, Philadelphia treated its citizens like ATMs, ensnaring thousands of people in a system designed to strip people of their property and their rights," Darpana Sheth, a senior attorney at the institute, said in a press release. "No more. Today's groundbreaking agreement will end years of abuse and create a fund to compensate innocent owners."

The Institute for Justice filed the suit in 2014 on behalf of the Sourovelises, a couple whose house was seized without warning after their son was caught selling $40 worth of drugs outside. The same day the Sourovelises dropped their son off for court-ordered rehab treatment, they returned to find police had locked them out of their own home, even though there was no evidence they were aware of the drug activity.

The lawsuit alleged that the city was seizing 300 to 500 homes a year, violating residents' constitutional rights and creating an illegal profit incentive, since forfeiture revenue directly funds police and district attorney budgets.

Under civil asset forfeiture laws, police can seize property—cash, cars, and even houses—suspected of being connected to criminal activity, even if the owner is not charged with a crime.

Law enforcement groups say such laws are a vital tool because they let them disrupt organized crime by cutting off the flow of illicit proceeds. Civil liberties groups reply that the practice has far too little due process for innocent property owners and far too many perverse profit incentives for the police. Those incentives often lead law enforcement to target everyday people rather than cartel bosses.

As I wrote in 2014, reporting on the daily happenings inside Philadelphia's asset forfeiture court:

Philadelphia hauled in $64 million in seized property over the last decade, according to an investigation by the Philadelphia Inquirer. That's more than Brooklyn and Los Angeles combined. Not only does Philadelphia take in more than other cities, but the average seizure is significantly more petty. A City Paper review of 100 cases from 2011 and 2012 found the median amount of cash seized by the District Attorney was only $178.

A 2015 report by the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union found that almost a third of cash forfeiture cases in Philadelphia involved money owned by people who had not been found guilty of a crime. In one of the worst examples, police seized $2,000 from an 87-year-old pensioner after finding two joints (her husband, a retired dock worker, smoked marijuana to relieve his chronic arthritis) in their apartment.

Residents caught in the asset forfeiture machine had to repeatedly appear for hearings in Room 478, a small "courtroom" in the upper floors of Philadelphia City Hall. The hearings were run by prosecutors. No judge was present, and defendants were not afforded court-appointed lawyers. If a defendant missed a hearing, their property could be summarily taken.

Philadelphia dropped its forfeiture case against the Sourevelises after their plight drew national media attention, but last year a federal judge allowed the Institute for Justice's suit to proceed as a class action. The city also put stricter rules into place for when houses could be seized and voluntarily stopped using forfeiture funds to pay the salary of police and prosecutors.

Under the terms of the settlement, codified in two binding consent decrees, Philadelphia will no longer seek property forfeitures for simple drug possession and will stop seizing petty amounts of cash without accompanying arrests or evidence in a criminal case. It will also put judges in charge of forfeiture hearings, will streamline the hearing process, and will ban the Philadelphia district attorney and Philadelphia Police Department from using forfeiture revenue to fund their payroll.

The city will disburse the $3 million settlement fund to qualifying members of the class action based on the circumstances of their case. A Philadelphia resident whose property was forfeited but was never convicted of a related crime, for example, will receive 100 percent of the value of the property.

Last June, the Pennsylvania legislature passed modest reforms of state asset forfeiture laws. The reforms increased the reporting requirements for asset forfeiture, raised the burden of proof necessary to seize property, and codified Philadelphia's new procedures for seizing homes into law. More than half of all U.S. states have passed some form of asset forfeiture reform in recent years, and in July a federal judge declared Albuquerque's asset forfeiture program unconstitutional.

"I'm glad that there is finally a measure of justice for people like me who did nothing wrong but still found themselves fighting to keep what was rightly theirs," Chris Sourovelis said in a press release. "No one in Philadelphia should ever have to go through the nightmare my family faced."



The key point in Trump's U.N. speech

The actual point of his speech was encapsulated in his use of one key word — “globalism”.

The term “globalist” can be traced back to the 1940s, but has gradually seeped back into the public discourse over the last couple of years.

It was a favourite of the alt-right — Steve Bannon, for example, is a big fan — and is now apparently part of the president’s vocabulary.

“America will always choose independence and co-operation over global governance, control and domination,” he said.

“We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy. America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism. And we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.”

In his 2016 inauguration speech, Mr Trump famously declared his foreign policy would put “America first”. He doubled down on that message in front of the General Assembly.

“The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid. But few give anything to us,” he said.

“We will examine what is working, what is not working, and whether the countries who receive our dollars and our protection also have our interests at heart.

“Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends. And we expect other countries to pay their fair share.”

The United Nations is full of people who believe in countries working together for the common good. Mr Trump thinks each country is better off focusing on itself.

That’s a perfectly reasonable and coherent worldview, but it marks a radical departure from the words of other American presidents, who generally embraced America’s responsibility, as the world’s richest and most powerful nation, to lift up its neighbours.

Mr Obama’s collegial approach to foreign policy failed miserably when Syria descended into a horrifying civil war on his watch. And we all know what Mr Bush’s enthusiasm for international intervention led to.



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, September 26, 2018


By economic historian Martin Hutchinson

As President Trump imposes tariffs on China and elsewhere, much dark muttering is heard from the media and conventional economists about Smoot-Hawley and the 1930s. They are too gloomy.

Three developments in the last few decades have made it sensible to look again at this question. First, the inexorable growth of welfare states in every Western country, together with the increase in life expectancy, has destabilized budgets, making them impossible to balance. As a result, public debt which in the United States had fallen steadily since the end of World War II until 2000, has turned up again sharply and is inexorably increasing. The Obama administration and its overseas contemporaries, with their sluggish economic growth and phony Keynesian rationales for wasting money, have everywhere except Germany turned a difficult problem into an impossible one. Public debt levels everywhere except Germany are heading relentlessly upwards and will within the next decade reach historically unprecedented levels in the United States and several other countries.

The EU’s solution to this problem is an ever-escalating level of VAT. This effectively acts as a tariff, since exports are free from the tax while imports are subject to it. Thus, EU and British sanctimony about free trade is sheer hypocrisy. However, it also subjects domestic consumers to the VAT levy on items produced domestically as well as overseas, producing a highly regressive tax system that bears especially heavily on poorer consumers.

A second change since Smoot-Hawley is the spread of manufacturing capabilities to far more countries. Back in the 1930s, most products could only be produced in advanced economies that had undergone full industrialization. Other economies, often part of a colonial system, were mostly producers of agricultural and mine output, while importing industrial products. Only in a few sectors, such as textiles, was the industrialization process sufficiently cheap and simple to allow textile industries to develop even in poor countries.

Today there are over 100 different countries from which many products can be sourced, and the major centers of manufacturing capability have moved to emerging markets with lower labor costs. Consequently, trade has infinitely many routes it can take to achieve its objectives, and a tariff that blocks sourcing in one country still leaves a vast array of other sourcing possibilities open to the importer.

The third and most important change since the 1930s is the invention of computers, and more particularly the possibility of intelligent software that can track the trade barriers existing at any instant, calculate the optimal source for the components of a particular consignment of goods, then place sourcing and shipping orders to ensure that those goods are produced and delivered to where they are needed.

With the changes that have happened since the 1930s, the outcome of a tariff escalation today would be very different to that of Smoot-Hawley. At that time, if there was a high tariff against a particular import, there were few alternative sources of the item, and little ability to find out what the possibilities were. With intelligent software (which may still need to be designed for this specific purpose but is undoubtedly feasible with today’s technology) it will today be possible to find all the alternative sources of an item as well as the possibilities for substitutions of other items from other sources. Thus, an interlocking network of tariffs today need not be anything like as trade-destroying as was Smoot-Hawley. It will simply result in new routes being found for the global sourcing process that has grown up in the last few decades.

Tariffs today would thus kill much less trade than equivalent tariffs did in the 1930s and would have a correspondingly smaller adverse effect on the efficiency of the global economic system. Since more trade would remain after the tariffs, they would produce more revenue for the Federal budget, thus helping to balance it. Even a modest 10% tariff averaged over the current $3 trillion of U.S. imports would produce $300 billion of additional annual revenue for the federal budget, not enough to balance it but enough to make a sizeable hole in the deficit.

In addition, a world of tariffs would divert a considerable amount of trade towards domestic production, thus moving the U.S. closer to a balanced payments position and producing additional revenue from the people employed in the domestic production. Overall, with a substantial tariff, the U.S. tax system would be balanced between domestic production and international trade.

To the extent that tariffs deterred international trade which would otherwise take place, the lower domestic taxation and higher domestic production would encourage economic activity elsewhere. By ensuring that a higher percentage of world output was manufactured closer to where it was consumed, a tariff system would increase (not decrease as is conventionally asserted) the efficiency of the world economy. Global sourcing may have got easier, but it is still expensive, inefficient, time-consuming and prone to fraud.

Contrary to free-tradist thinking, the overall effect of a balanced and moderate set of international tariffs should not depress global GDP, indeed it should increase it because of the greater balance in the world’s fiscal system. There will no longer be corporate tax havens, because the tariff arrangements with such havens will generally be onerous, but there will be tariff havens, which have tariff arrangements that allow goods to move exceptionally cheaply between the different trading blocs.

When the “North American Free Trade Agreement” includes Canadian quotas on milk imports and a 218% average duty on dairy imports beyond those quotas, it is not truly a free trade agreement at all, as Richard Cobden would have understood it. Likewise, the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership’s imposition of $70 billion in U.S. intellectual property protection, far exceeding the free trade effect of the agreement, indicated that TPP was little more than a handout to the Hollywood and Silicon Valley lobbies. Quotas are essentially infinite tariffs; they block trade far more than ordinary tariffs, while intellectual property protections are impediments to trade, not enablers of it. All such quotas, bounties and trade regulations are sources of inefficiency that produce no revenue (or, in the case of bounties, consume revenue) and block economic activity. They should be swept away.

The regime under which we have been working is not one of free trade and has been grossly mis-sold as such. For fiscal and other reasons, we will be far better off with a world trading system that includes revenue-generating tariffs, which can be optimized and dealt with by high-quality software.  The world will be a happier place with less regulation, no bounties or quotas, and with openly disclosed tariffs, set at a moderate level.



America's Totalitarians

Today's leftists believe it is their solemn duty to take the country back even if our republic is destroyed

“We had to destroy the village in order to save it” was a quote popularized during the Vietnam War. Today’s Democrats, along with their allies in Hollywood, academia, Big Tech, and media, believe it is their solemn duty to take the country back from the “dregs of society” and their “ally in the White House,” even if our republic is destroyed.

And they’re increasingly embracing totalitarianism as the means to their end.

“I don’t use the ‘T’-word lightly,” writes columnist Sohrab Ahmari. “I’ve spent years pushing back against those who fling it about in free societies like ours. But totalitarianism doesn’t require cartoonish, 1984-style secret police and Big Brother. The classical definition is a society where everything — ethical norms and moral principles and truth itself — is subjugated to political ends.”

Political ends Democrats are willing to trash the Constitution to achieve. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mark Warner (D-VA), and Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are demanding that the intelligence community, the FBI, and the Justice Department defy President Donald Trump’s order to release unredacted documents to Congress until they are vetted by the so-called Gang of Eight, calling it a “brazen abuse of power.” Former CIA Director John Brennan insisted deep-state officials — unelected and publicly unaccountable officials — were obligated to “push back” against the order as well.

Congress has lawfully subpoenaed the documents, yet a defiant deep state has refused to release them for months, citing “national security concerns.” Those concerns have already been debunked on two separate occasions, including the wiretap warrant applications presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that ultimately revealed the warrant to spy on Carter Page was based on the Hillary Clinton/DNC-funded Steele dossier. Moreover, redactions made by the FBI removed critical exchanges such as this: Lisa Page: “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Peter Strzok: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

Trump initially ordered “immediate declassification,” but now wants the inspector general to review documents on an “expedited basis,” due to concerns about how it would impact the Russia investigation. Yet in a tweet he noted that he can still “declassify if it proves necessary. Speed is very important to me — and everyone!”

Indeed. The 2018 election is “not going to be just about economic growth and running on the economy,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) explains. “It’s going be about what the other side did to play dirty, to dirty up a campaign … by corrupting the FBI and the DOJ. That is important for the American people to know as we have to deliver that message going into October.”

Who’s going to deliver it? The New York Times reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein secretly proposed recording Trump’s Oval Office conversations and discussed the idea of Cabinet officials removing him via the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein insists he was joking. Times reporter Adam Goldman says otherwise.

The far bigger story? Rosenstein’s statements were reportedly corroborated in memos written by Andrew McCabe and given to Robert Mueller and kept at the FBI, according to the Times. Yet they were kept from Inspector General Michael Horowitz — while he conducted his investigation of McCabe? If Horowitz is corrupt, “expedited basis” becomes a meaningless term with regard to deep-state corruption impacting the midterm election.

Unfortunately, our law-enforcement agencies aren’t the only government departments where rank partisanship — bordering on sedition — exists. Last week Project Veritas released a trio of damning videos. One featured State Department employee and Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) member Stuart Karaffa bragging about drafting DSA communications at work, and stating his mission with regard to Trump administration policies. “Resist everything … Every level. F—k s—t up,” he declared.

The second video showed DOJ paralegal and DSA member Allison Hrabar, part of the DSA group that harassed DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a DC restaurant, bragging about using the department’s Lexis Nexis account to access home addresses of government officials DSA sought as protest targets. DOJ employee Jessica Schubel, former chief of staff for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is also shown discussing her efforts to resist the administration as well.

In the third video, Government Accountability Office auditor and DSA member Natarajan Subramanian admits he breaks rules “every day.” He boasted, “If you’re in an executive branch agency, you can slow-ball things to a degree.”

Three of these subversives expressed one common belief best stated by Karaffa: “I have nothing to lose. It’s impossible to fire federal employees.”

The DOJ, the State Department, and the GAO are conducting investigations, but if history is any indication, Karaffa’s right. At best it takes on average from 170 to 370 days to fire a government employee according to the GAO. Appeals can drag the process out for years.

Columnist James Simpson optimistically notes there are bills being contemplated in both chambers of Congress that would “greatly streamline the process for firing employees who are poor performers, insubordinate, or otherwise engaged in misconduct.” Will they pass?

Perhaps Simpson hasn’t noticed that some of the nation’s worst government employees are members of Congress.

In fact, it’s impossible to imagine how much lower Democrats can sink than their Stalin-esque treatment of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanugh, or how much more spineless Republicans can get acquiescing to their contemptuously orchestrated delay. Sentient Americans know this spectacle has nothing to do with Kavanaugh or the increasingly dubious charges leveled against him. “From abortion to gay marriage, plus a host of less titillating issues, modern liberalism has lived by the Court,” Ahmari explains. “And liberals fear their cause will die by the Court.”

Thus, force-feeding their agenda to the American public — by any means necessary — has become the American Left’s modus operandi. Can’t win elections? Insist Russian collusion was to blame and demand an investigation, call voter ID requirements “racist,” or simply grant illegals the right to vote. Don’t like the current administration’s foreign policy? Undermine it, like John Kerry is doing with Iran. Can’t persuade an American public to embrace your ideology? Have your progressive tech allies censor opposing viewpoints or manipulate searches; transform college campuses and public schools into citadels of progressive indoctrination that breed contempt for the nation’s history, traditions, Constitution and its exceptionalism; and turn everything from entertainment venues to corporate business operations into platforms for progressive virtue-signaling.

It’s become clear that virtually every aspect of modern-day progressivism is driven by the same despicable delusions that have animated every totalitarian movement since the dawn of time:

Our cause is “noble” and thus, the ends justify the means.

The 2018 election will likely be one of the most clarifying moments in the nation’s history. Either an American Left whose “win by any means necessary,” Constitution-crushing proclivities — never more exposed than right now — will be rejected by the electorate, or the number of Americans poisoned by a corrupt education system has reached critical mass, and a majority of voters will embrace totalitarianism, destroying America in order to “save” it. Save from whom?




Yale Study: Twice as Many Undocumented Immigrants as Previously Thought in U.S.

A new Yale study has concluded that the population of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. is close to double the generally accepted estimate.

The population of undocumented immigrants is widely thought to be around 11.3 million. But the study, which was conducted by three Yale-affiliated researchers, indicates that the total may be more than 22 million. Even the authors were surprised by their findings.

“Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,” said one of the study’s authors, Edward Kaplan, a professor of operations research at the Yale School of Management. “Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was 50 percent higher. That caused us to scratch our heads.”

“There’s a number that everybody quotes, but when you actually dig down and say, ‘What is it based on?’ You find it’s based on one very specific survey and possibly an approach that has some difficulties. So we went in and just took a very different approach,” said another of the study’s authors, Jonathan Feinstein, a professor of Economics and Management.

To arrive at their estimate, the authors used operational data such as deportations and visa overstays as well as demographic data such as death rates and immigration rates.

“We combined these data using a demographic model that follows a very simple logic,” Kaplan said. “The population today is equal to the initial population plus everyone who came in minus everyone who went out. It’s that simple.”

“The analysis we’ve done can be thought of as estimating the size of a hidden population,” he added. “People who are undocumented immigrants are not walking around with labels on their foreheads. . . . There are very few numbers we can point to and say, ‘This is carved in stone.'”

The researchers said their goal in crunching the numbers was not a political one.

“We wouldn’t want people to walk away from this research thinking that suddenly there’s a large influx happening now,” Feinstein commented. “It’s really something that happened in the past and maybe was not properly counted or documented.”



A dash of reality from Britain's "Daily Telegraph"

A history lesson for those who would smear the moderate Right: the Nazis were socialists

By Norman Tebbit

The [Leftist] New Statesman magazine has become rather unsettled in recent weeks about what it describes, on the front page on September 14, as "the far Right wing rising again", and "the return of fascism".

Those headlines were printed across the cover picture of a huge Nazi rally of steel helmeted men. There was not much inside to back up the scary front cover.

Indeed, inside the cover story had the headline "The Dark European Stain" but the author, Thomas Meany, seemed to pour cold water over it all.



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, September 25, 2018

Experts warn the next recession will be 'worse than the Great Depression' and predict it will hit US within two years

This is just scare talk designed to get its authors publicity.  Prophecies are almost always wrong and this one is based on conventional economic thinking.  But conventional economic thinking failed already in the Obama years. Obama spent vastly  more than he raised in taxes (around $9 trillion), which should have set off roaring inflation -- except it didn't -- no-one knows exactly why.

And Trump's tariffs should have led to a depressed economy -- except that they didn't.

And if the worse comes to the worse, Trump may be bold enough to declare a debt jubilee, which would really rev up the economy, with Wall St and China the big losers -- whom no-one would mourn. I have covered the issues of a jubilee previously

The next recession could put the 2008 financial crash to shame if two experts' predictions about the worldwide debt of $247trillion are correct.

Expected to hit the United States within the next two years, the impact has been compared to the severe worldwide economic crisis which started 1929 and last until 1939.

'We won't be able to call it a recession, it's going to be worse than the Great Depression,' economic commentator Peter Schiff, told the New York Post. 'The US economy is in so much worse shape than it was a decade ago.'

Economic commentator Peter Schiff (left in 2013) and Murray Gunn (right) head of global research at Elliott Wave International believe the next crisis will be worse than 2008

It means by the time President Donald Trump's first term should come to a close, the country – which saw debt more than double to $21trillion over a decade - could be a dire situation.

This is despite the lowest unemployment rate in a generation, tax cuts for businesses and the Dow hitting record highs.

Low wages are thought to be a factor in the slowing down of economic recovery.

'Obviously, there is a whole lot of optimism — but there is a very good chance the US economy is in recession within the next two years,' Schiff continued. 'This is already the second-longest economic expansion in history.'

The Post reports that he was wrong in the past when he said the US Federal Reserve would 'fail in its roundabout quantitative easing campaign to 'reflate' housing and stocks in the wake of the financial crisis'.

However another expert supports his prediction that the economy is more trouble than we realize.

'Should the [US] economy start to shrink, and our analysis suggests that it will, the high nominal levels of debt will instantly become a very big issue,' Murray Gunn, head of global research at Elliott Wave International warned.

He notes that household debt in America currently outdoes what is was in 2008 and is around $13.3trillion.

As part of that mortgage lending is near what was it was 10 years ago at more than $9trillion.

Student loans have more than doubled compare to a decade ago, going from $611billion to around $1.5trillion today.

Auto loans have also outdone the 2008 figure at $1.25trillion and credit card balances are akin to what was just before the big crash.

They blamed central bankers using cheap money financial free economies for the reason global debt is now $247 trillion compared to $177trillion in 2008.

'We think the major economies are on the cusp of this turning into the worst recession we have seen in 10 years,' Gun said about the debt that's two-and-a-half times the size of the world's economy.

'People will look to central banks to help them out, but the authorities will be found wanting,' Gunn continued.

'Our prediction is that central banks will go from being feted for 'saving the world' in 2008 to being vilified for being impotent in the coming deflationary crash.'



Donald Trump to deny permanent resident permits for migrants seeking public aid

Immigrants who rely on public benefits for food, housing and medical care could be denied green cards under new rules put forth by the Trump administration that would effectively limit family-based "chain migration," as the president calls it.

The administration said at the weekend that the rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security would affect about 382,000 people a year, but opponents have said it could have a far greater chilling effect, leading current green card holders to stop using public benefits for fear of being deported.

"Those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially," Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement on Saturday, adding that the new rule would "promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers."

The rule is one of several efforts by the Trump administration to further restrict legal immigration, including limits on those seeking green cards to immigrate to the US and those already in the country on temporary visas trying to adjust their status to stay permanently.

It does not need to be approved by Congress but faces a 60-day public review once published in the Federal Register in coming weeks. "After DHS carefully considers public comments received on the proposed rule, DHS plans to issue a final public charge rule that will include an effective date," the agency said.

Immigrant advocates and congressional Democrats have already vowed to fight the rule, and political observers said it could become a factor in upcoming midterm elections that will determine which party controls Congress.

"I see the Trump administration's hostility towards immigrants as part of a strategy of mass distraction to keep the focus on fomenting outrage directed at Latinos while keeping the focus off of the corruption and graft that are gripping the White House and the GOP," Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement.

"Self-sufficiency has been a basic principle of United States immigration law since this country's earliest immigration statutes," the nearly 500-page proposal states, insisting that "the availability of public benefits not constitute an incentive for immigration."

Under federal law, those seeking green cards must prove they will not be a burden to the state, or a "public charge." But the administration's new public charge rule would require immigration officials to give added weight to an applicant's potential dependency on public assistance.



Kavanaugh Has Found 1982 Calendar, Detailed Entries Help Clear His Name

The last-minute attempt to derail Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation as the next Supreme Court justice has just hit a serious snag.

Facing damaging but almost completely unsubstantiated claims that he acted improperly with a girl back when he was a teenager, the conservative nominee has dug into his personal archives to defend himself.

Up until now, the vague accusations made by Christine Blasey Ford had only resulted in a “he said, she said” stalemate. Liberals insisted that Blasey Ford’s story of a bad encounter at a drunken party be believed, while conservatives have pointed out that the nearly 40-year-old claim is impossible to verify.

Finally, Kavanaugh has presented tangible evidence that the accusation doesn’t hold up.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the judge has found old calendars from the period when the unproven groping allegedly took place — and they appear to support his claim that the incident didn’t happen.

“Kavanaugh has calendars from the summer of 1982 that he plans to hand over to the Senate Judiciary Committee that do not show a party consistent with the description of his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford,” explained The Times.

“The calendar pages from June, July and August 1982, which were examined by The New York Times, show that Judge Kavanaugh was out of town much of the summer at the beach or away with his parents,” the newspaper continued.

“When he was at home, the calendars list his basketball games, movie outings, football workouts and college interviews. A few parties are mentioned but include names of friends other than those identified by Dr. Blasey.”

Here is perhaps the biggest nail in the coffin for Blasey Ford’s already-flimsy story: The calendar contains entries for parties, but none of the names included in those entries match the names Blasey Ford listed.

That any names were included in his calendar entries for parties shows Kavanaugh was remarkably thorough about recording his social schedule.

That fact is yet another point in favor of Kavanaugh and against his accuser. The woman behind the claim has admitted that she can recall almost nothing specific about the incident, including its location, time, or other people involved.

The few names brought up by Blasey Ford have refuted her story and indicated that they don’t remember a party with both her and Kavanaugh.

“Mr. (Mike) Judge has told the Judiciary Committee that he remembered no such incident and had never seen Judge Kavanaugh behave in such a way,” explained The Times, referring to one alleged witness of the drunken party.

“The only other two people identified as being in the house at the time, but not the bedroom, have also said in recent days that they did not recall the incident. Patrick J. Smyth said he did not remember such a party or see any improper conduct by Judge Kavanaugh.”

“Leland Keyser, a former classmate of Dr. Blasey’s at Holton-Arms, said she did not know Judge Kavanugh or remember being at a party with him,” stated the newspaper.

Accusations of this type are of course serious, and conducting due diligence is part of the vetting process for anyone nominated for a powerful position.

There comes a point, however, when weak and impossible to prove allegations need to be put to rest. Blasey Ford may genuinely believe that something like the incident she described did happen; she may be telling the truth about a teenage trauma affecting her for decades, too.

The problem is that there is zero evidence it was Brett Kavanaugh who did what she claims, and no way short of a time machine to prove her accusations.

By all accounts, Kavanaugh has been a responsible and thoughtful family man and legal scholar for the entirety of his adult life — and that record needs to stand far above one person’s increasingly shaky claim.



Trump Jr. Unleashes in Rare Op-Ed: Democrats Are Now the Party of Lawlessness and Anarchy

In an opinion piece published by The Denver Post on Friday, President Donald Trump’s oldest son dove right into his vigorous criticism of the current state of the Democrat Party — and he made the point crystal clear.

“In their efforts to appeal to the extreme left-wing elements in their base, the Democrats are becoming the party of lawlessness and anarchy,” Donald Trump Jr. wrote in a bold opening statement.

Trump Jr. pointed to the demonstrations of protest by Democrats at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“While radical Democrat ‘activists’ attempted to derail the proceedings — over 200 were arrested during the course of the hearing — Senate Democrats put on their own protest from the rostrum, marked by a complete disregard for law, order, and basic decency,” he continued.

“While it might shock Americans to see their elected officials behave this way, it’s not surprising from Democrats,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, the unofficial motto of the Democrat Party now appears to be ‘attack and subvert the laws of the land whenever and wherever possible.’”

Trump Jr. went on to say that it is this sentiment that has become the basis of the Democratic party platform.

On this point, he indicated Democrats’ embrace of open borders and sanctuary cities.

“Not only do Democrats consistently support illegal aliens and look for every possible opportunity to give them citizenship (and let them vote in elections), but they also openly enable violent criminal illegal aliens through their support of sanctuary cities.

“For years, Democrats have opposed Republican efforts to crack down on sanctuary jurisdictions — cities and countries in Democrat control that refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and willingly release illegal alien criminals onto our streets.”

He went on to call out some high-profile Democrats — like Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand — who are pushing to get rid of ICE.

Trump Jr. cited the Obama presidency as a time when Democrats’ hostility towards law enforcement flourished. Now, that open hostility is reaching politicial opponents, Trump Jr. wrote.

“Being pro-illegal immigration and anti-police is bad enough, but the Democrats have also begun to implicitly, and sometimes even explicitly, endorse violence against Republicans in pursuit of their political agenda,” he wrote.

The younger Trump said that Democrats don’t just ignore violence from their side, but actually encourage it.

He brought up Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California, who has recently spoken of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in a “knock off the first, and go after the second” scenario.

He also mentioned Rep. Keith Ellison, deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who in January tweeted a picture of himself holding the book “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook,” which Trump Jr. called “the bible for the violent domestic terrorist group that shares the book’s name.”

(The fact that a man who apparently admires a book like that is running for attorney general in Minnesota — the chief law enforcement officer in the state — should give even Democrats pause.)

Trump Jr. then noted CNN host Chris Cuomo, who defended antifa thugs in August by claiming that,  “All punches are not equal morally,” and that “Fighting hate is right and in a clash between hate and those who oppose, those who oppose it are on the side of right.”

That might sound good on television, but as Trump Jr. wrote, tolerance for violence tends to create more violence.

“The problem with Cuomo’s interpretation, as we’ve seen through numerous college campus protests — and the recent phenomenon of mainstream conservatives like Dennis Prager being censored on social media websites — is that anyone who doesn’t support the radical agenda of the left-wing is slandered as hateful by Democrats and their extreme liberal base,” Trump Jr. wrote.

“Therefore, in their minds, it becomes morally justified to punch even the most mild-mannered and moderate conservative in the face.”

His father, Trump Jr. wrote, chooses instead to put Americans first by protecting the U.S from criminal illegal aliens, giving law enforcement the support it needs to carry out its duties well, and by enforcing the protection of free speech.

“Donald Trump and the Republican Party stand for law, order, and safety. The Democrats stand for lawlessness, disorder, and anarchy,” Trump Jr. concluded. “The choice this November could not be more clear — the people will pick law and order.”

Let’s hope that Americans can rally behind this message so that we can start undoing the culture of disorder which has been so visible recently.

And that will start with voting in November — and getting other Trump supporters to the polls, too.



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, September 24, 2018

How Government Leakers, Media Have Waged War On Trump

For two years, top-level officials within our nation’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies and their allies in Congress have systematically targeted President Trump and his associates for destruction.

They have done so by colluding with the media to selectively and illegally leak classified and sensitive information from numerous investigations into Trump-Russia. Their motive seems pretty clear: overturn the results of an election via impeachment as if we lived in some “Banana Republic.” And having visited over 110 countries and six continents as a retired Naval Officer, I know a Banana Republic when I see one.

Some unelected bureaucrats collaborated with former British Intelligence agent Christopher Steele as he compiled political opposition research for Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton Campaign and DNC, via Perkins Coie law firm.

Others launched FBI surveillance of Trump Campaign members based on rumor and innuendo from foreign sources like Steele and former Australian Ambassador to the U.K., Alexander Downer.

The #Resistance went to the very top.

    Peter Strzok was the No. 2 official in the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Division and a key player in both investigations of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server and the Trump Campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. His FBI lover Lisa Page was the legal counsel to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The most recently revealed Strzok-Page text discusses a “media leak strategy with DOJ.”  And how their sister intelligence agencies were “leaking like mad.” Despite denials from Strzok’s lawyer that he was trying to prevent leaks, his actual texts and timeline from April 2017 belie that claim.

    Former FBI Director James Comey admittedly passed sensitive memos about meetings with President Trump to a friend to leak to the New York Times in order to help generate a Special Counsel appointment. He was successful.

    Former CIA Director John Brennan reportedly leaked sensitive information from the Steele Dossier to then-Sen. Harry Reid, who promptly disclosed it to the public.

    Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, the No. 4 official at the DOJ, continued to feed information to FBI leaders from his longtime friend Steele, even after the FBI officially cut ties with him  Ohr’s wife Nellie, a Russian expert, even worked for Fusion GPS to probe Trump.

Most of the leaks targeted Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, two members of the National Security Advisory Committee. And most of those breaking news scoops appeared in either the Washington Post or New York Times. But it didn’t stop there.

As the former Trump campaign director of national security and the person who supervised the committee to which Page and Papadopoulos were assigned, I have also been the victim of leaks.

For example, in late Summer 2017, the very next day after my Special Counsel four-hour closed testimony, Rosalind Helderman from the Washington Post telephoned out of the blue saying she heard the special counsel was interested in a specific topic that had come up. Coincidence?

I immediately called the FBI Agents who conducted my interview warning of severe consequences if there were any more leaks — if that’s what had happened. They swore it was not them personally, and they’d relay my concerns to their supervisor.

Also in Summer 2017, when the House Intelligence Committee postponed my allegedly private testimony, two reporters from CNN and ABC called asking if it was true that I had canceled for unknown reasons. Pure character assassination attempt designed to make a national news story out of nothing.

Reporters who have repeatedly received and published leaks stemming from the Trump-Russia investigations, like The New York Times’ Ali Watkins, and Roz Helderman, both of whom regularly targeted Page and Papadopoulos, should be compelled to testify before Congress, or any other criminal or civil trials, and reveal the identity of their sources.

Leaking information from Trump-Russia investigations is not a victimless act. Aside from fueling impeachment calls against President Trump and damaging the lives of innocent people who have been swept up in investigations and lost their jobs (and who have yet to be accused of any wrongdoing whatsoever), they have cost millions of dollars in personal legal bills to defend ourselves and reputations.

The DOJ inspector general and Congress must hold the leakers and complicit co-conspirators in the media accountable. Failure to act swiftly and decisively guarantees the further erosion of the rule of law and democratic principles as defined by the Constitution. America must never truly become a Banana Republic.



FY 2018 Refugee Admissions: 70.8 Percent Christians; 15.4 Percent Muslims

The difference between a Muslim president and a Christian one

The proportion of Christians to Muslims among refugees from around the world admitted to the United States has changed significantly in FY 2018, with Christians comprising seven in ten new arrivals, and Muslims fewer than two in ten.

With ten days of the fiscal year to go, a total of 21,561 refugees have been resettled since October 1 last year, of whom 15,278 (70.8 percent) are Christians and 3,333 (15.4 percent) are Muslims, according to State Department Refugee Processing Center data.

In FY 2017 by contrast, 47.2 percent of the 53,716 refugees admitted to the U.S. by both the Obama administration (during roughly the first one-third of the year) and the Trump administrations (during roughly the remaining two-thirds of the year) were Christians, and 42.1 percent were Muslims.

(Of the 53,716 refugees resettled in FY 2017, 56 percent arrived during the Obama administration and 44 percent during the Trump administration.)

And in FY 2016, 44.5 percent of the 84,994 refugees resettled in the U.S. by the Obama administration were Christians and 45.7 percent were Muslims. That was the first time in a decade that the total refugee intake from around the world included more Muslims than Christians.

The Christian refugees include large contingents of Catholics, Protestants and Pentecostalists from the Democratic Republic of Congo – which alone accounts for almost 39 percent of the total number of refugees resettled in the U.S.

There are also sizeable numbers of Baptists from Ukraine, Orthodox Christians from Eritrea, and Christians (no denomination specified) from Burma.

Muslim refugees comprise 2,016 individuals identified simply as Muslim, with Burma (857) and the DRC (324) accounting for the largest groups; 655 Shi’ites, including 504 from Afghanistan; and 486 Sunnis, with Afghans again making up the largest number (226).

The U.S. has also admitted 173 Ahmadiyya – all from Pakistan, a country whose constitution does not recognize Ahmadis as Muslims, and whose penal code criminalizes Ahmadi worship.


In recent years the makeup of Syrian refugees in particular became a sensitive issue, both because of overall security concerns but also because so few of those admitted were Christians.

That was the case despite the Obama administration’s determination in 2016 that ISIS’ atrocities against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in areas under its control amounted to genocide.

The disparity was especially stark in FY 2016, when of a total of 12,587 Syrian refugees admitted – accounting for 1.8 percent of all refugees admitted that year – 12,486 (99.2 percent) were Muslims and 68 (0.5 percent) were Christians, including Orthodox, Greek Orthodox and Catholic.

Although Muslims do significantly outnumber Christians in Syria, the Christian minority nonetheless made up around 10 percent of the total population when the civil war began in 2011.

In FY 2017, the U.S. resettled 6,549 Syrian refugees, or 12.2 percent of all refugees admitted that year. Of those Syrians, 6,405 (97.8 percent) were Muslims and 113 (1.7 percent) were Christians.

In FY 2018, however, of 60 Syrian refugees admitted – just 0.27 percent of all refugees admitted this year – 40 (66.6 percent) are Sunni Muslims and 20 (33.3 percent) are Christians.

The skewed figures during the Obama administration prompted some Republican lawmakers to call for non-Muslim minorities to be prioritized but the administration rejected the appeals, with President Obama saying prioritizing non-Muslims would amount to a “religious test.”

President Trump came into office vowing to prioritize Christian refugees.

Although his policies have seen a sharp drop in the overall number of refugees admitted to the U.S., the shift in the Christian-Muslim ratio has been marked.



How George Washington Warned Us About Tribalism and Disunity

Sept. 19 is the 222nd anniversary of the publication of President George Washington’s Farewell Address. Appearing in newspapers nationwide, it announced Washington’s intention to retire from public life after his second term.

For most of American history, the Farewell Address was required reading in grade schools across the nation and was continually invoked in the public discourse.

Yet in recent decades, the address has faded into obscurity. That’s a shame, as it is a treasure trove of wisdom from the man who did the most to create our country—who knew, as well as anyone else, what it took to create a modern, large-scale republic.

After all, it was Washington who led the nation through the War of Independence, oversaw the drafting of the Constitution, and served as its first president. Washington addressed the document specifically to the American people—not just to policymakers—and recommended that they give his advice their “frequent review.”

The Farewell Address is mostly known for its warnings against political parties and entangling alliances during the nation’s youth. Certainly, Washington made those points, and offered practical advice on a wide array of other subjects. They include making permanent the powers of the federal government, obeying the Constitution, being sensible in public spending, accepting the necessity of taxes, and cultivating peace with other nations insofar as this was possible.

Wise though these recommendations may be, they underscore deeper philosophical arguments. To reduce the document to mere policy prescriptions misses the point. Besides, not all of them were meant to last forever.

Washington published his address when the United States was an infant nation, surrounded by European superpowers. His recommendations were intended “to gain time to our country … to progress … to that degree of strength … to give it … command of its own fortunes.”

Although Washington advised cultivating peace for a time, he envisioned an America that one day could “choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.” America would have greater freedom in due time. Policies would change as circumstances change.

If that’s the case, what can we today gain from reading his valedictory message? The answer lies in something Washington knew very well—something that hasn’t changed since 1796: human nature.

Washington strongly believed in the depravity of mankind. He identified a “love of power … which predominates in the human heart.” In his eyes, man could be “ambitious and unprincipled,” but even worse, he is “designing”—in other words, deceitful and scheming. Man often hides his depravity under the veneer of virtue and love of country. Washington described men as “cunning” and called for the American people to “guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

If man is corrupt, it only follows that nations are as well. Washington believed nations not only seek their own interests, but often trample over the rights of other nations. This is why he warned us about “the insidious wiles of foreign influence” and counseled that “there can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation.”

In other words, Washington warned that America’s opponents, both foreign and domestic, would pose as its advocates—they would use deception in their efforts to promote an alternative agenda. Specifically, he called Americans to suspect the motives and patriotism of their fellow citizens who:

Reject the national government. “Distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken [the union’s] bands.”
Promote narrow interests at the expense of the nation’s interest as a whole: “[Parties are] often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community.”
Undermine religion and morality: “In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars [religion and morality].”
These were the hallmarks of America’s domestic adversaries: a rejection of the authority of the national government and the role of religion in society, and an obsession with narrow interests.

During Washington’s time, narrow interests often centered on geographical affiliations. Today, they often center on one’s racial or ethnic background or income level. Division along these lines has led to a toxic identity politics that demotes national identity while elevating lesser sub-identities—to the detriment of national unity. Washington likely could not have fathomed this sort of identity-based division, yet he warned that narrowly defined views in general would negate the national interest if pursued without compromise.

Not only was man corrupt, but he was also frail and prone to error. Washington argued that some citizens might believe they are serving America’s best interest while actually undermining it. He described these citizens as “deluded … tools and dupes” under “infatuation”—the very victims of those who practiced deception.

These two observations—the depravity and frailty of man—form Washington’s first core message: that America has real enemies, both foreign and domestic, some of whom are unaware of their pernicious effects on the country.

While Washington founded a nation based on humanity’s highest ideals—liberty and equality—he believed that America must reject naïve idealism about human nature, and not put too much faith in the good will of other countries.

Washington’s second core message focused on how America might survive in a world full of treachery. He unabashedly promoted America’s interest above that of other nations, referring to it 21 times in his address. Observers today will often critique this emphasis on the national interest as being devoid of morality—as if virtue and patriotism were mutually exclusive. After all, didn’t Washington decry the tendency of nations to pursue their own interests at the expense of the rights other nations?

While it is true that interest is often derived from selfish motives, Washington argued this need not always be the case. It is possible to promote one’s interest with respect for other nations’ interests and in support of a greater moral cause. After all, he advised the American people to “observe good faith and justice toward all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.” He hoped America would conduct itself “as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.”

Washington believed a nation could pursue its interest legitimately, under the restraint of justice and morality, while also being prepared for war. In addition, promoting American strength and prosperity, he believed, would ultimately prove the viability of republican government to the world and give America “the glory of recommending it to … every nation which is yet a stranger to it.” It would increase liberty’s appeal to a global audience and, therefore, benefit mankind.

This message serves as an antidote to those who dispute the morality of national self-interest or believe America is obligated to pursue the well-being of other lands and peoples over its own.

The father of our country envisioned an America that was prosperous, generous, and in command of its own destiny. He foresaw “a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation” giving “to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.” He hoped that America would one day live up to its highest ideals and conduct its affairs in an exceptionally just way.

To secure this future, however, Washington counseled Americans to reject the dreamy idealism about foreign nations and their intentions—an idealism that those dedicated to liberty and equality can find enticing.

He also warned us to be vigilant against both overt and covert enemies in our midst, and he trusted the American people—not just their representatives or bureaucrats—with this vigilance. His message speaks not only to us, but to all men and women who desire to establish and perpetuate a republic: Do not be naïve about human nature, for your adversaries (whether foreign or domestic, intentional or unintentional) will often appear as your friends.

Only with this in mind can an aspiring republic do what it has every right to do and ought to do: advance its own interests and, therefore, those of men and women everywhere who desire liberty.

In this era of uncertainty and division, we may do well to set apart Washington’s advice, as he hoped, for our “frequent review.”



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, September 23, 2018

The "ethnocentrism" fraud

Most  psychologists are Left-leaning, and leftists have an enormous talent for seeing only what they want to see, so we can be sure that psychological theories will show Leftists in a good light and conservatives in a bad light.

And, as we know only too well, race is a central Leftist obsession. They never stop talking about race and racism. American Leftists in the days of the Ku Klux Klan were very anti-black.  The Klansmen were Democrats, as were segregationists Orval Forbus and George Wallace.

But when the atrocities of Hitler made anti-minority thinking odious, the Left abandoned that orientation, though it hung on in the South for a while.  So what did the Left do when anti black attitudes became unfashionable?  Did they abandon all talk of race and focus on something else. No way!  With "affirmative action" and so on they did a rapid about-turn and became anti-white. They just love simple formulas and categorizing all sorts of different people in terms of race was too sweeping a formula for them to let go

And Leftist psychologists made it even simpler.  They invented the concept of "ethnocentrism" -- which was a claim that you disliked "outgroups" because you were strongly attached to your own "ingroup".  So all patriots were suspect racists.  The Left hate patriots because the Left want to tear society down while patriots want to preserve it.

So it was an enormously convenient simplification if white racism could be traced to patriots. Leftists routinely accuse conservatives of simplistic thinking but if you want to know what Leftists are like, just look at what they say about conservatives.

And all that came out in 1950 in the form of a big book called "The authoritarian personality" under the lead authorship of prominent Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno. Adorno et al. had to allow that some patriotism could be OK but it was under a cloud generally.

But the ethnocentrism theory is false. Leftist psychologists just assumed it.  The only "proof" they had for it was that they could find some aggressive expressions of patriotism and some aggressive expressions of racism which correlated with one another among freshman students -- forming a reliable "scale". But at no time did they try to sample normal expressions of patriotism and normal expressions of racial attitudes and see if those two types of attitude were correlated. *

So I did that. I did it repeatedly in fact.  And I always used proper general population samples, not available groups of students. And I always got the same result:  Patriotism and racism were unrelated. Some patriots disliked blacks but roughly equal numbers of patriots did not dislike blacks.  You could not predict from knowing a person's degree of patriotism what he would think of blacks

So far in  my writings I have been content to point that out as it decisively explodes the central Leftist explanation for racism.  But I now think I can go further.  I think I can explain WHY Leftists cling to that falsehood.  They believe it because that is the way they think. They judge others by themselves. They hate the achievements of whites and they also hate patriots.  It is THEY who are ethnocentric -- but in a negative way.  They are generally hostile.  And that goes all the way back to Karl Marx.  Marx hated everybody, including his own mother.  It's in part his unwaveringly hostile tone that makes him an enjoyable study to the Left.

Instead of loving their ingroup Leftists hate it and they also hate those who thwart their goal of "fundamentally transforming" their country -- to use Obama's phrase of 2008. Attitudes to an ingroup and attitudes to what they see as an outgroup are strongly correlated among Leftists. Knowing what Leftists say about whites will enable you to make an almost CERTAIN prediction of their attitudes towards patriots. The whole affair is yet another example of my dictum that if you want to know what Leftists are like psychologically, just look at what they say about conservatives. Monolithic thinking is a trait of the Left, not of the Right.

The tendency of people to see their own faults in others is what Freud called "projection". And the Left are great projectors. They hate just about everybody so they think that conservatives do too. They even see patriotism as a form of hate. And many conservative writers these days have woken up to that and often now identify  Leftist accusations as projection. A good example is to be found in the recent utterances of Hillary Clinton.  Most of what she has been saying about Donald Trump would be much more apt as a description of her.  I put up an article recently that gave some examples of that.

Her claim that Trump is attacking democracy is a particular howler. Who is attacking democracy?  It wouldn't be the people who refuse to accept as legitimate and proper the result of a properly conducted democratic election in 2016, would it?  It wouldn't be the people who are doing their level best to unwind the result of that election would it? It wouldn't be the collective sore losers of the Left, would it?

REFERENCE: Adorno,T.W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D.J. & Sanford, R.N. (1950) The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper.

* It is however of considerable interest that anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan used  published  codes  and  data  collected for the standard cross-cultural sample of 186 societies to look at both ethnic loyalty and xenophobia.  She concludes: "If interethnic hostility is the flip side of intraethnic loyalty, the two should be strongly correlated and have the same determinants. Neither is the case".


Project Veritas Catches Deep State Redhanded
We’ve long known that unelected leftist bureaucrats embedded in the bowels of the federal government have been lawlessly targeting conservatives and abusing their power to thwart the agenda of duly elected Republican policymakers. The proof keeps pouring in.

The Obama administration’s IRS deliberately discriminated against conservative groups in their applications for tax-exempt status. This isn’t an empty partisan allegation from an imaginary “right-wing conspiracy.” In 2013, an IRS official admitted scrutinizing groups with right wing identifying names, such as “Tea Party” and “patriots.” An inspector general’s report that year confirmed this nefarious practice.

At least two groups of cases were settled in 2017 with the IRS agreeing to a “substantial financial settlement” in one and expressing “its sincere apology” in another. This is the kind of tyrannical behavior that liberals used to care about.

In a case involving the Linchpins of Liberty and some 40 other conservative organizations, the IRS confessed that it used “heighted scrutiny and inordinate delays” and required unnecessary information in its review of applications for tax-exemptions.

In the NorCal Tea Party Patriots case, involving more than 400 groups, plaintiffs contended the IRS used their tax information for improper purposes.

I know opponents of President Donald Trump roll their eyes in ridicule at the mere suggestion of a deep state committed to undermining Trump’s agenda. That’s the stuff of paranoid conspiracy theorists or unhinged Trumpublican tribalists, they say. Well, James O'Keefe, and his Project Veritas, has shown, again, that there is a “there” there.

O'Keefe recently released secret videotapes in which some of these boorish bureaucrats brazenly admit their chicanery, and even brag about it. On Tuesday, Project Veritas released the first of its tapes unmasking these proud pinheads boasting of sabotaging the Trump agenda. The video features State Department employee Stuart Karaffa, a smarmy, self-proclaimed socialist using his government position to resist official Trump administration policies. Karaffa is a member of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America, bless his heart.

He admits to drafting DSA communications at his worksite. “I’m careful about it,” says Karaffa. “I don’t leave a paper trail, like I leave emails, and like any press s-— that comes up, I leave that until after 5:30. But as soon as 5:31 hits, got my, like, draft messages ready to send out.” Precious.

Karaffa’s arrogance is astounding. He says he doesn’t believe he’ll be caught and punished, saying, “Maybe someday I’ll go to board of elections jail, probably not.” But what comes next is way worse and ought to infuriate all federal taxpayers. “I have nothing to lose,” he adds. “It’s impossible to fire federal employees.” He also expresses confidence that none of his superiors will detect his conflicts of interest even though he openly discloses them on his required forms. “Somebody just rubber stamps and it goes forward … I don’t know if (the ethics officer is) is all there. He’s so checked out.” Well, that’s comforting.

Most outrageous was Karaffa’s description of his objective toward the administration’s official policies: “Resist everything … Every level. F— s— up.”

In the second released video, Project Veritas exposes Department of Justice paralegal Allison Hrabar reportedly using government hardware and software as part of her socialist activism, and Jessica Schubel, former chief of staff for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Obama administration, attempting to thwart Trump’s agenda.

Hrabar, also a member of Metro DC DSA, was supposedly one of those who chased Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen from a D.C.-area restaurant. That was beyond despicable. Hrabar allegedly uses the LexisNexis search engine on her work computer to find home addresses for DSA protests, such as that of D.C. lobbyist Jeremy Wiley. She reportedly ran his license plate to help locate his home. Hrabar smugly brags that as an employee of the DOJ, “We can’t, like, get fired.”

Hrabar also reveals that one of her DSA colleagues, who works in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, slows down the process to help people stay on food stamps longer.

Schubel admits on the tape to the existence of “a little resistance movement” within the federal government, and says that her friends at the Department of Health and Human Services give her confidential information before it is officially released. “Yeah. It’s kind of like the Nixon, deep throat-type of thing,” she gloats. She further admits, “There’s a lot of talk about how we can, like, resist from inside (the Justice Department).”

Isn’t it cute when leftists virtue signal their feigned concern for the integrity of our democratic process? When you hear a leftist complaining about interference with our elections — or corruption of “our democracy” — just remember that they are ends-justifies-the-means progressives who care not a whit about lawful elections, only advancing their agenda.

With their persistent lawlessness and overreach, the mavens of the “resistance” have awakened a sleeping giant in grassroots conservatives throughout the nation, and they will come to regret it.



Four Characteristics of the Liberal Mind that Are Destroying Society

Conservatives often blame liberals for the breakdown in society today. After all, liberals challenged an order that existed and replaced it with a situation that is now unraveling.

This unraveling can be traced to the efforts of liberal activists to influence legislation and elections and to liberal control of the media that shape the debate.

The fragmented and polarized state of society is proof that something has gone terribly wrong.

Defining the Liberal Mindset

However, it is not only the activism that has caused the social decay of institutions, manners and communities. It is a mindset that determines the course of their action. Understanding the characteristics of the liberal mind helps people grasp the nature of the crisis.

This is not easy to do since liberal thought can be defined by its lack of definition and love of ambiguity Such characteristics might also be shocking because they cross party lines and include people from all walks of life. The premises of this mindset come from the classical liberal philosophy that is widely accepted by everyone. Only when these premises are taken to their final consequences, do the harmful effects become evident. The damage is now everywhere.

A Gradualist Progression Away from the Truth

One characteristic of the liberal mind is its gradualist progression away from the objective truth. In its early stages, the liberal mind does not deny the existence of objective truth outright. Instead, liberals deplore its rigidity. Instead, they offer half-truths that mitigate the hard-hearted attitudes of conservatives, smoothing the slide into error. The liberal mind likewise does not initially embrace error but is drawn toward and harbors sympathy for it.

Thus, the liberals might defend private property, but support excessive taxation on those who have large properties. They would oppose crime but propose leniency for felons because of imagined injustices they might have suffered.

The liberal mind is constantly looking for half-truths to appear more compassionate and kind.

Searching for Conclusions that Please

A second characteristic of the liberal mind is that it does not seek objective and external truths that explain reality. Liberals seek instead only those conclusions that please them. They search for perspectives that fit their temperaments, lifestyles and ways of being. These are the thoughts that guide their lives.

This liberal mind is perfectly expressed by the famous Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey which stated: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

A Distorted Vision of Freedom

The liberal mind gives rise to a mode of action which is easily defined. The foundation of liberal action is a distorted vision of freedom that consists of doing only what one wants to do.

Thus, liberal action tends to be relativistic and subjective, following the whims of the individual. It can be imaginative and fantasy-driven when a person takes the action to its final consequences.

Liberal action is also characterized by a spirit of doubt toward that which does not correspond to personal whims. Such doubt, however, is never directed toward that which does not please liberal whims.

A Dislike of Rules and Laws

The final characteristic of the liberal mind is a dislike of rules and laws. Law by definition is restrictive.

Law consists of those reasonable precepts coming from a competent authority to which all must conform for the sake of the common good. Rules and laws upset the liberal mind, which feels attacked by them.

Thus, liberals dislike anything that imposes restraint such as laws, manners or morals. In more advanced stages, even the restrictive nature of clothing or grammar can irritate the sensibilities of the liberal mindset.

This explains the liberal hostility to the Church and traditional notions of religion. God is the First Lawgiver and punishes those who sin against His Commandments. The liberal mind prefers a god for whom nothing is a sin. This god is one of the liberals own making. In their view, he radiates compassion, not justice.

A Common Trait

While these four psychological characteristics differ, they do have a common trait. They all are self-centered.

What governs liberal minds and actions are the dictates of each individual’s ideas, tastes and desires. The individual is the center of everything. Each person determines right and wrong, truth and error.

The Descent to Anarchy

Up to this point, the liberal order has survived because it lived off of the firm foundations of a Christian moral order. The moral influence of the Church, natural law and other institutions served to temper the disordered ideas, tastes and desires of individuals. The adverse effects of the liberal mind were mitigated by its gradualism. As long as the most extreme liberal elements stayed in the zone of half-truths, society could absorb their destructive influence.

The problem today is that half-truths now dominate and error is pushing the envelope ever closer to chaos. The liberal mind naturally leads to anarchy when taken to its final consequences. It admits no authority other than its own. It will accept no law nor respect any institution that encroaches upon the individual “right” to do whatever one wants.

Everyone wonders why the nation is polarized and fragmented. As social bonds decay, there is no unifying principle in society save that of self-centeredness. Everyone becomes increasingly isolated, lonely and frustrated.

In the words of philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, the world becomes “nothing but a meeting place for individual wills, each with its own set of attitudes and preferences and who understand that world solely as an arena for the achievement of their own satisfaction, who interpret reality as a series of opportunities for their enjoyment.”



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)