Friday, October 12, 2018

The Senate Is an 'Unfixable Crime Against Democracy'?

Brent Bozell makes some good points below and both he and I have written previously on why the last electoral college vote has been greatly misrepresented by the Left, but I think I can make some further points relevant to the present Lefist shriek.

For a start, the shriek implies a very simplistic definition of democracy.  The implied definition -- that a democracy is ruled by the majority vote of the population -- rejects most of the democracies of the present world and of history as not being democracies. To take just two reference points:  The most famous democracy of history -- ancient Athens -- was not a democracy by that definition.  Only about a third of the Athenian population had a vote. And to take a much more recent example, Bill Clinton fell well short of getting a majority of the popular vote in 1992 -- at 43%.  And in Europe it is almost unprecedented for a leading party to gain a majority of the popular vote.

So what is going on?  The plain fact is that people's political beliefs are all over the place in any democracy, including some very wacky befiefs.  So you have to have a way of deriving a parliamentary majority out of that confusion. And doing that can be quite precarious.  There is no doubt that proportional representation is the fairest way of putting into parliament a clutch of politicians who mirror the range of views out there but that almost never leads to simple majority rule.  In Germany and Australia, for instance, the party with the biggest share of the popular vote generally gets to form government but that party can still have a hell of a job of getting any new legislation through their parliament.  Yet it all works, sort of.

The American system deals with the same difficulty in a different way:  It cuts down your choice to just two parties -- leaving voters who like neither party out in the cold.  And there are quite a lot of Americans who like neither party -- as is shown by the low voting turnout.  So a big majority of the popular vote will always be a small minority of the qualified voters.  There is no way that can reasonably be seen as fair but it all works, sort of.

And there is in the American system another deliberate distortion:  Both the electoral college and the Senate are designed to privilege inhabitants of the smaller States.  There is no way that is fair either but it all works, sort of.

Why are the smaller states given enhanced representation?  It goes back to the days when America really was a federation -- something Abraham Lincoln put a stop to.  In those palmy days of independence, States could possibly have refused to join the new Federation of States.  And many considered it.  The smaller States in particular were wary that by joining a federation, they might end up being ruled by the bigger states in ways that were inimical to their own best interests.  So to create the United States of America, the smaller states had to be assured that they would have a voice in decisions that was nearly as strong as the bigger States.  And both the electoral college and the Senate do just that.  And if you now tried to take any of that protection away, you would energize a huge bloc of votes against your party.  It would be electoral suicide.  So it all works, sort of.

So the U.S. system is just one of the many flavors of democracy.  There is no perfect system.  They all have their strengths and weaknesses -- JR

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell revved up his Outrage Machine on Friday night once it became apparent that Brett Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. There was a new crime against democracy — or rather, there was a very old crime. It's called the Senate.

Come again? Senators are elected, but since they voted to give President Trump a narrow victory, it can't be democracy. The Founding Fathers designed a Senate that wasn't elected by the people but by the state legislatures. (Some regret that the 17th Amendment changed that.)

O'Donnell lamented that America's never been worse: "And so the Senate is now deeply undemocratic and getting worse every single day. People who live in countries that have never really pretended to be fully democratic don't feel the disappointment and sickness that Americans feel when democracy so obviously fails."

Someone get O'Donnell a handkerchief, and perhaps a textbook on how a republic operates. Like many Democrats, O'Donnell feels that the popular vote should prevail on everything. The Electoral College must be scrapped because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote — she should be president.

Using the same peculiar calculations, liberals claimed that there are now four Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents who didn't win the popular vote. Those geniuses forgot that George W. Bush nominated two justices after he won the popular vote in 2004.

But let's return to O'Donnell just making things up, like John Belushi's "Animal House" rant about the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor. He blathered: "An American realist knows that the federal government has never even tried democracy, not for one day. And so today in the United States Senate, the senators who represent 55 percent of the American people lost an important Senate vote — again."

The MSNBC host was parroting a survey paid for by Marist and the taxpayer-subsidized liberals at NPR and PBS that found the 49 senators who opposed Kavanaugh represented 55.8 percent of the public.

This sentiment was ably mocked on Twitter by New York Yankees fans.

In the 1960 World Series, the Yankees outscored the Pittsburgh Pirates 55 runs to 27... and lost the World Series. Their wins were blowouts. Theirs losses were close games. O'Donnell mourned that he used to be proud to work in the Senate a while back for Daniel Patrick Moynihan, but it slowly dawned on him that the Senate is "an unfixable crime against democracy" perpetuated by a group of racist, sexist Founding Fathers. He lectured his liberal viewers to get out and vote, "the vote for United States Senate that the Founding Fathers never wanted you to have."

Jim Geraghty at National Review pointed out more flaws in this analysis, writing: "The second-least populated state in the union is Vermont ... the 45th is Delaware; the 43rd is Rhode Island; and the 40th is Hawaii ... All of those states have two Democratic senators."

In fact, election expert Jeff Ditzler of Decision Desk HQ tweeted that the top 10 states by population (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan) have elected 11 Democratic senators and nine Republican senators, and the bottom 10 states (Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire) have elected ... 11 Democratic senators and nine Republican senators.

It's obvious that Friday night felt a lot like election night 2016 to liberals. What's so upsetting to them is that the liberal media can't successfully engage in mind control and run the country by chanting their baloney into the television set. MSNBC just hates that democracy in America doesn't have enough of a liberal bias.



Democrats Don't Embrace the Mob; They Are the Mob

Having convinced themselves that Trump is apocalyptic, they've resorted to rank fascism

“Go to the Hill today. Get up and please get up in the face of some congresspeople.” —Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), July 28

Like so many of his Democrat colleagues and their supporters, Booker endorses thuggery and intimidation as a legitimate expression of political dissent. And having convinced themselves that President Donald Trump is apocalyptic, they and their equally contemptible media allies have fully embraced an “ends justify the means” approach to politics that is nothing less than rank fascism, masquerading itself as a commitment to “social justice.” One of the newer weapons in their wannabe totalitarian arsenal? Doxxing.

For American who may not be familiar with the term, “doxxing” is about searching for, and publishing, a person’s private information on the Internet, almost invariably with malicious intent. Not content with harassing Republicans and members of the Trump administration — even in restrooms — leftists have taken to publishing the personal information of several Republican senators in the hope that protesters will surround their homes and intimidate not just the senators themselves but members of their family, including children, as well.

Last Tuesday, one of the alleged perpetrators of this tactic was arrested. Jackson Cosko, 27, was caught in the office of Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) by one of her staffers, who called the U.S. Capitol Police. At his arraignment last Thursday, Cosko was charged with making public restricted personal information, witness tampering, threats in interstate communication, unauthorized access of a government computer, identity theft, second-degree burglary and unlawful entry. Specifically, he’s accused of posting to Wikipedia the personal information of Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham, Mike Lee, and Orrin Hatch, as well as two other senators who remain unnamed.

According to prosecutors, Cosko was caught “at a computer.” They also allege that one senator’s Wikipedia page contained threats of future doxxing, as in the assertion “it’s my legal right as an American to post his info,” posted on the same page.

Cosko allegedly logged onto the computer using the credentials of the staffer who caught him. Police allege that staffer received a threatening email. “If you tell anyone I will leak it all. Emails signal conversations gmails,” Cosko allegedly wrote. “Senators children’s health information and socials.”

Cosko was a former congressional staffer in his own right — working for Hassan “from January 2017 until May 2018 as a legislative correspondent/systems administrator,” according to a spokesperson for the senator.

Hassan apparently knows how to “pick ‘em” as it were. Another of the senator’s interns, Caitlin Marriott, was the woman who shouted, “Mr. President, f—k you!” across the Capitol Rotunda at Trump on June 19.

Cosko has also worked for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and former Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer.

His most recent Capitol Hill job is cause for curiosity. His position was initially described as that of an “unpaid intern” for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), whose office says he has been terminated. Yet according to his own lawyer, Cosko was a far more important “fellow in her office,” one “paid by an outside institution,” Fox New reports. What outside institution? Perhaps Rep. Jackson Lee, whose office insists they’re fully cooperating with the police, could enlighten us. No doubt by sheer coincidence, Cosko allegedly posted all the personal info shortly after Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Unsurprisingly, the media has attempted to shape The Narrative. “Kentucky’s Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul joined a growing group of D.C. lawmakers who have had their private information leaked to the public,” reports the Louisville Courier Journal.

Not DC lawmakers. Republicans, three of whom sat on the Judiciary Committee during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.

Moreover, Republican senators needed police escorts to shield them from protesters unlawfully demonstrating in Senate offices. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and John Kennedy (R-LA) were swarmed by protesters demanding they block Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Court.

So how did CNN Political Commentator Sally Kohn view the orchestrated chaos? “This, my fellow Americans, is what democracy looks like,” she insisted.

No, this is what Brownshirt thuggery, replete with more than 300 arrests, death threats aimed at GOP senators and their families, and Kavanaugh and his family, looks like, Ms. Kohn.

As for doxxing, it would be useful if Kohn herself experienced what Rand Paul’s wife, Kelly, has detailed in an open letter directed at Cory Booker, regarding how she and her husband are currently forced to live:

“It’s nine o'clock at night, and as I watch out the window, a sheriff’s car slowly drives past my home,” she writes. “I am grateful that they have offered to do extra patrols, as someone just posted our home address, and Rand’s cell number, on the internet — all part of a broader effort to intimidate and threaten Republican members of Congress and their families. I now keep a loaded gun by my bed. Our security systems have had to be expanded. I have never felt this way in my life.”

Mrs. Paul then reminds the Sally Kohns of the world that Rand was present at the congressional baseball practice when Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer James Hodgkinson — who had a list of Republican names in his pocket — nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise, and that Rand himself had six ribs broken by a neighbor “leaving him with lung damage and multiple bouts of pneumonia.”

“The thing I don’t understand is, why do Democrats like Cory Booker, Maxine Waters, Chuck Schumer, etc., think they are the only ones who can use violence to advance their cause?” asks columnist John Hinderaker. “Do they not understand what a whirlwind they will unleash if they try to use political violence as a path to power?”

Democrats have already unleashed the whirlwind. From the purposeful chaos they created on first day of Kavanaugh’s judicial hearing, right through the end of the seventh FBI investigation they insisted was insufficient, Democrats — in lockstep with a corrupt media lending credence to maliciously outlandish accusations — made sure their ideological allies remained in a heightened state of hysteria. Allies like Jackson Cosko and others who believe it is their “duty” to make America’s lawmakers and their families as vulnerable as possible to the mob.

Allies who, if guilty as charged, must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“There are no random events,” writes columnist Michael Goodwin. “It is a straight line from the unprecedented plot by President Barack Obama’s administration to infiltrate and wiretap the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016 to the scurrilous accusations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.”

It’s what happens where leftists believe they are entitled to run the country, even when the electorate says otherwise. And it’s easy to understand how Democrats can convince a certain segment of the public to act like a hate-filled, braying, anti-democratic mob:

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” —George Orwell, Animal Farm



Pompeo hails 'another step forward' after 2-hour meeting with Kim Jong Un

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday in what he called a "good, productive conversation."

The top US diplomat met with Kim in Pyongyang for two hours before Pompeo flew to South Korea Sunday afternoon for a two-day visit.

In South Korea, Pompeo appeared alongside President Moon Jae-in, who said the world wanted to know the results of the Pyongyang meeting, "so if the secretary can disclose the results, please tell us."

"I don't have much to add," Pompeo replied. "I will surely tell you in private about our conversation. I thought we had a good, productive conversation, and as President Trump has said, there are many steps along the way, and we took one of them today, another step forward."

The secretary of state added that South Korea has been an integral part of negotiations aimed at denuclearizing North Korea, and he passed along Trump's gratitude for the country's efforts.

On Sunday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement that "Chairman Kim invited inspectors to visit the Punggye Ri nuclear test site to confirm that it has been irreversibly dismantled."

Nauert said Pompeo "held productive discussions" with Kim on Sunday. The statement said the two leaders "discussed the upcoming second summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim and refined options for the location and date of that next summit."

Moon said he hoped that Pompeo's visit and a second US-North Korea summit would provide a chance to take "a decisive step forward in the denuclearization and peace process on the Korean Peninsula."

In Tokyo on Saturday, Pompeo promised he would bring up Japan's concerns about North Korea's alleged abductions of Japanese citizens and its nuclear ambitions.

Pompeo said he wanted "a fully coordinated, unified view of how to proceed, which will be what is needed if we are going to be successful in denuclearizing North Korea."

According to pool notes from Pompeo's early Sunday visit to Pyongyang -- the secretary's fourth -- Pompeo and Kim emerged from their meeting and had lunch together before Pompeo left for South Korea.

"I am really pleased for this opportunity. After having a nice meeting we can enjoy a meal together," Kim told Pompeo as they walked down a hallway toward a guesthouse dining room.

Later Kim said, "It's a very nice day that promises a good future" for both countries. Pompeo told reporters in Pyongyang the two "had a great, great visit" and that Trump sent his regards.



A classic piece of Leftist projection

"You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about," Hillary Clinton, who's never been civil, insisted Tuesday. "That's why I believe, if [Democrats] are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that's when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength."


Note that Christ knew of projection long before Freud did -- Matthew 7: 4,5. And his words fit very well in this instance.


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, October 11, 2018

Democrats Have Become A Dangerous Threat To Our Institutions

When modern Democrats talk about preseving “norms,” traditions,” or even the “Constitution,” they’re really talking about preserving their preferred policies. We know this because “liberals” have shown themselves not only willing to destroy the legitimacy of institutions like the presidency, the Senate ,and Supreme Court to protect those policies, they’re willing to break down basic norms of civility, as well.

Take the example of Hillary Clinton. In the very first sentence in her new scaremongering essay, which makes the case that America’s “democratic institutions and traditions are under siege,” she attacks our democratic institutions and traditions. “It’s been nearly two years since Donald Trump won enough Electoral College votes to become president of the United States,” the piece begins.

The intimation, of course, widely shared by the mainstream left, is that Trump isn’t a legitimate president even though he won the election in the exact same way every other president in U.S. history has ever won election. According to our long-held democratic institutions and traditions, you become president through the Electoral College, not the non-existent popular vote.

So when Clinton, or writers at Vox, or The Atlantic, or Politico, or new liberal favorite Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, say it’s “well past time we eliminate the Electoral College, a shadow of slavery’s power on America today that undermines our nation as a democratic republic,” you’re either tragically ignorant about our system or cynically delegitimizing it. Or maybe it’s both.

The Electoral College isn’t ornamental; it exists to undercut the tyranny of direct democracy and ensure the entire nation is represented in national elections. When you attack it, you’re not condemning Trump, you are, in a very palpable way, attacking a core idea that girds much of our governance.

With this in mind, it’s not surprising that the anti-majoritarian Senate is also suddenly problematic for many Democrats. When a NBC reporter, commenting on a Washington Post article, says “the idea that North Dakota and New York get the same representation in the Senate has to change,” he’s probably not ignorant about why the Founders implemented proportional voting, or why there is a difference between the House and Senate, or why the Tenth Amendment exists. He simply favors a system he thinks would allow liberals to force others to accept his preferred policies.

That’s the thing, of course. North Dakotans can’t make New Yorkers ban abortion, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned. They can’t make New Yorkers legalize “assault weapons” if Heller is upheld. But New Yorkers are perfectly content to force North Dakotans to accept both abortion and gun control. So, then, surely nothing could be more frustrating to the contemporary liberal than the existence of an originalist court that values the self-determination of individuals and states.

That is why the effort to destroy Brett Kavanaugh wasn’t only about the nominee, but the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. When you can’t corrode constitutional protections by seating justices that simply ignore the words and purpose of the founding documents, you can proactively smear the people whose decisions do uphold those values.

When Sen. Mazie Hirono, who rejected basic tenets of due process throughout the Kavanaugh hearings, argues Kavanaugh “is going to be on the Supreme Court with a huge taint and a big asterisk after his name,” she, like many others, is giving her followers a pretext to ignore the court.

If there is a “taint,” a proper constitutionally mandated solution exists: provide evidence and impeach him. Otherwise, there is no asterisk. Republicans didn’t break any constitutional norms. Trump nominated a candidate with a blemish-free ten-year record on the DC appellate court.

Republicans in the judiciary committee had hearings in which Democrats could question the nominee. Republicans even added additional hearings after Democrats leaked uncorroborated accusations. Republicans then asked for a seventh FBI investigation into the nominee before voting. Then the entire Senate voted. There is no asterisk.

Of course, if Democrats had been in charge of the Senate, they would have been free to shelve that nomination just as Republicans had done with Merrick Garland, when they also decided adopt the “Biden Rule.” If Democrats had followed the norms of the Senate in 2013, rather than using the nuclear option, they might have been able to filibuster Kavanaugh. They didn’t.

Instead, during this entire constitutionally mandated process we just went through, Democrats demonstrated a malicious disregard for the institution, not only by slandering those they disagreed with, and by leaking uncorroborated accusations, and by attacking the principles of Fifth and Sixth Amendments, and by ignoring long-held Senate rules during the proceedings in their Spartacus moments, but by preemptively declaring the pick illegitimate the day the president announced it.

According to liberals, every conservative-run institution is illegitimate. Working out how it’s illegitimate is the only question.

Even the questions in the aftermath of the Kavanaugh vote point to misunderstanding of process. Did Democrats “fight hard enough” to stop a nomination? What does that even mean? You fight by winning the argument, and by appealing to a large swath of Americans to win the Senate, and by winning the vote. In a decent nation, you don’t win by smearing your political opponents as gang rapists, and you don’t win by acting like a mob and screaming at your fellow citizens in restaurants and elevators.

After all, Hillary, and others who write about Trump’s supposed annihilation of our institutions, seem wholly concerned about aesthetics, manners, and policy, not procedure or institutions. Civility is a worthwhile issue, but it is a separate issue. You might find immigration and environmental policy of primary importance, but not getting your way isn’t a constitutional crisis. When they act like it is, liberals—and it’s getting progressively difficult to give them that descriptor—are destabilizing the institutions they are claiming to save.

How many times did a Democrat even mention the Constitution during the Kavanaugh hearings? I imagine, if we’re lucky, a perfunctory handful. Trump, far more than the previous administration, has strengthened proper separations of power. One of the ways he’s done it is by his judicial appointments. And Democrats’ inability to make any distinction between the neutral processes of governing and their partisan goals makes them, to this point, a far bigger threat to constitutional norms than the president.



America hits best unemployment rate in 49 years

The September jobs report released today shows a continuation of the booming labor market, with the unemployment rate falling to 3.7 percent, the lowest in 49 years. Average weekly wages rose at an impressive 3.4 percent over last year. These are the pocketbook issues that actually make a difference in the lives of voters. If Republicans can make the case that their policies are largely responsible for this increased pay and improved job prospects, they can maintain control of Congress in midterms.

So far this year, the average number of jobs created each month is 16 percent higher than last year, suggesting that the tax cuts that took effect this year are boosting the labor market. This is the sixth straight month the unemployment rate has been at or below 4 percent, the best in a half century. Black and hispanic unemployment rates hover near record lows. In addition to the unprecedented number of job opportunities, wages are increasing at their quickest pace in a decade, rising about 50 percent faster than during the second term of President Obama. But the legacy media continues to stick to its “stagnating wages” talking point.

What makes this wage growth even more impressive is that it has coincided with a significant influx of less skilled workers into the job market. Since the 2016 election, the unemployment rate has fallen by 20 percent. Hundreds of thousands of people, who had quit looking for work altogether, have returned to the workforce to take advantage of this historic opportunity. Over the last couple years, the labor market has grown far faster than the long running trend would have suggested.

This top line wage growth figure only takes into account wages before taxes. Wages after taxes are growing even faster as tax cuts have reduced the amount of federal withholding taken from paychecks. Americans are receiving higher take home wages because of a doubled standard deduction, doubled child tax credit, and lower tax rates that took effect this year. The new 20 percent small business tax deduction is contributing to this historic labor market. This is strengthening the economic backbone of the country by allowing them to protect a fifth of their earnings from taxes and reinvest it in their operations and employees.



Good news about Obamacare premiums can't hide long-term pain

Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar recently announced that premiums for a benchmark Affordable Care Act 2019 plan on the federal exchange will drop 2 percent nationally compared with 2018 premiums — the first reduction since the law's implementation.

While this is encouraging news, it is no cause for a major celebration. When Obamacare's exchanges open for business in just a few weeks, on Nov. 1, many consumers will still find exchange plans unaffordable. Rates will soar by double digits in many states. Despite the slight decline in the national average premium, the typical 2019 plan sold through the exchange will still likely cost more than twice as much as the average individual market plan in 2013, the year before most Obamacare provisions went into effect.

Until Obamacare's incoherent rules and regulations are loosened, there will be no sustained relief for everyday Americans.

Hefty premium increases are the new normal. Americans who shopped for Obamacare-compliant coverage off the exchanges fared just as poorly as those who watched rates soar on the exchanges. The average individual market plan sold through eHealth, an online insurance marketplace, cost $197 per month in 2013. In 2018, the average plan on eHealth was $440 per month — a 123 percent increase.

Republicans are lessening premium pain
Consumers won't get much relief this enrollment cycle. But at least they won't be penalized for going without coverage, as Republicans reduced the fine for violating the individual mandate to zero.

Premiums for the benchmark 2019 silver plan in Burlington, Vermont, will rise 23 percent relative to 2018. In the nation's capital, they're going up 21 percent. In Seattle, premiums are jumping 12 percent.

These hikes are the inevitable result of Obamacare's premium-inflating mandates.

The law requires all plans to cover 10 essential health benefits, from prescription drugs to pediatric dental care. Insurers have raised prices in response. As much as 11 percent of Pennsylvania's premium increases and 8 percent of Georgia's were due to the essential health benefits mandate, according to a McKinsey study.

Obamacare also forbids insurers from denying coverage to customers based on their health status or charging sicker enrollees more than healthy ones. And it bars insurers from charging older enrollees more than three times what they charge younger enrollees, even though older people are five times costlier to insure.



The Left’s Pattern of Overlooking Due Process

The notion that certain Americans are pre-emptively guilty of wrongdoing, whether there’s any corroborating evidence to back up an accusation or not, isn’t reserved for conservatives who happen to be in contention for a Supreme Court seat.

In the hierarchy of progressive values, due process is a bottom dweller.

Over the past decade, you could see the illiberalism evolving on college campuses, where Democrats subverted basic standards of justice.

It was the Obama administration that demanded schools judge cases of alleged sexual assaults under a “clear and convincing evidence” standard rather than on a “preponderance of evidence” standard, allowed accusers to appeal “not guilty” findings, and permitted the meting out of punishment before any investigation was even conducted, among other big problems.

Democrats are simply shepherding those corrosive standards into the real world.

Another area of American life where we continue to see egregious attacks on the presumption of innocence is gun ownership. You might remember that a couple of years ago, Democrats engaged in a much-covered congressional “sit-in” to support legislation that would have stripped Americans on secret government watchlists—hundreds of thousands of people who had never been accused, much less convicted, of any crime—of their constitutional right to bear arms.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in fact, proposed legislation that would have restricted not only American citizens on faulty watchlists but anyone who had been on any watchlist at any time during the previous five years and anyone who had traveled to select Middle Eastern countries.

Apparently, Democrats believe limiting the number of refugees from Syria is unconstitutional but explicitly restricting the constitutional rights of Syrian immigrants here legally is just fine.

Then again, the entire effort was a frontal attack on about half the Bill of Rights. At the time, even the American Civil Liberties Union, which has increasingly turned away from its guiding principles, argued that policies based on flawed terror lists would undermine civil liberties.

In much the same way they are attempting to sink the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation, Democrats relied on theatrics, bombastic rhetoric, and a compliant media, which framed the issue exactly how they had hoped.

You can imagine such bills will reappear when they’re back in charge. Until then, though, Democrats have been doing some gun grabbing—and I don’t mean it figuratively—on the local level.

California, a state that already features the strictest gun control laws in the country, just enacted a law that raises the allowable age to buy a shotgun or rifle from 18 to 21.

The United States might be willing to hand weapons to young men and women who volunteer to protect their country, but Gov. Jerry Brown doesn’t believe those young men and women should be able to protect their own property or families.

An even more outrageous new law bans Californians who’ve been hospitalized more than once in a year for mental health issues from owning a gun.

Federal law already prohibits the sale of a gun to anyone who “has been adjudicated as a mental defective.”

Until now, a person had an option to appeal the ban and show “a preponderance of evidence” that he would use firearms in “a safe and lawful manner.” Now California bans one-time patients from owning firearms for the rest of their lives.

This is an excellent way to stigmatize people who suffer from maladies that often have nothing to do with violence or criminality.

Now, I was going to ask the reader to imagine an alternate scenario in which Republicans pushed a bill prohibiting those who have been in hospitals—for, say, nervous exhaustion or an addiction—from being able to freely express their opinions in public ever again.

If a law-abiding American can be stripped of his Second Amendment rights, then why not his First Amendment rights? But then, these days, I imagine many Democrats would simply answer, “It depends on what the person is going to say.”

Another California law allows police to verbally ask to confiscate a gun rather than make their case in a written request. Under “red flag laws,” guns can be confiscated from citizens who’ve never been charged with, much less convicted of, breaking any law. And it’s getting easier and easier to do it.

All it takes in many states is for a family member, neighbor, or co-worker to accuse you of a pre-crime. One of Maryland’s many new laws (signed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan) allows the police to confiscate weapons for up to a year—or until the next person accuses you of a crime you are only yet to commit.

There is risible evidence that these new regulations will stop mass shootings or lower gun crime. But as William Rosen, deputy legal director for Everytown for Gun Safety, explains, “red flag laws” are needed to “step into that gap.”

What gap? You know, the pesky space between protecting the ideal of presuming innocence and completely ignoring it when you feel like it.



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, October 10, 2018

Thank you Harry Reid

Without Harry, we might not now have a justice Kavanaugh on SCOTUS.  It was Dear Harry, when he was Democrat Senate leader,  who nuked the long standing filibuster rule for judicial nominations.  Kavanaugh would have needed 60 Senate votes if that rule were still in force.  Lots of people told Harry that he was setting his party up for a fall in future but being a typical Leftist he was incapable of looking beyond his nose.  In the eternal present that Leftists inhabit, thinking ahead is amost impossible.  So there were Obama nominees to get through and that was all that mattered.  Out with the filibuster! Democrats are sometimes their own worst enemies.


Trump's Approval is UP!

It seems likely that the Democrat tantrums about Kavanaugh have rebounded against them   

Was it the good economic news of record-low unemployment numbers? Was it the successful renegotiation of NAFTA? Was it the Senate Democrats’ hateful smear job of newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh? Was it a combination of all of these? This past Friday, Rasmussen released its latest presidential tracking poll showing that 51% of likely voters now approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance, compared to 48% who disapprove. This is Trump’s highest approval rating since March 2017.

One reason for Trump’s growing approval may have more to do with his uncanny ability to get his political opponents to reveal their true colors. By refusing to play by Washington’s conventional politically correct “rules,” Trump tweaks the “sensibilities” of the political elites. In so doing he has effectively exposed a growing political cancer of social-Marxism that has almost completely infected today’s Democrat party — a party that now has no room for political centrists but rather has become a bastion of the extreme Left.

When Americans witnessed the number of high-profile Democrats who willingly threw out one of our nation’s bedrock principles of jurisprudence — the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” — in order to weaponize a “social justice” mob all for the sake of seizing power, many were rightly horrified and left wondering, just who are these Democrats?

It appears now that more Americans are recognizing that despite, or maybe even because of, his obvious character flaws, Trump is actually the best man for this dirty job. Through thick and thin, Trump has demonstrated that he will stand and fight to come through on his promises. Frankly, the fact that his approval rating isn’t even higher shows just how far the nation still has to go.



The left eyes more radical ways to fight Brett Kavanaugh

Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation was the fiercest battle in a partisan war over the judiciary that has been steadily intensifying since the Senate rejected Judge Robert H. Bork in 1987.

An even greater conflagration may be coming.

“This confirmation vote will not necessarily be the last word on Brett Kavanaugh serving a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court,” said Brian Fallon, executive director of the liberal group Demand Justice and the top spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Facing a Supreme Court controlled by five solidly conservative justices, liberals have already started to attack the legitimacy of the majority bloc and discussed ways to eventually undo its power without waiting for one of its members to retire or die.

Some have gone as far as proposing — if Democrats were to retake control of Congress and the White House in 2020 or after — expanding the number of justices on the court to pack it with liberals or trying to impeach, remove, and replace Kavanaugh.

Either step would be an extraordinary violation of constitutional and political norms. No justice has been removed through impeachment. And a previous attempt at court packing, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after a conservative-dominated Supreme Court rejected important parts of his New Deal initiatives during the Great Depression, is broadly seen as having been misguided.

Either step would also face steep odds. Some Republicans would have to go along for them to work: A court-expansion bill would need the support of 60 senators to overcome a filibuster, and while a simple majority of the House could vote to impeach, removal would require two-thirds of the Senate.

Still, even the political pressure of the threat might make some of the conservative justices more cautious. While Congress rejected Roosevelt’s court-reform bill, the court changed course while lawmakers were considering it and started upholding New Deal laws — a move called “the switch in time that saved nine.”

Today, the majority five on the Supreme Court are all movement conservatives — Republican lawyers who came of age after an ideological backlash a generation ago to decades of liberal court rulings. As judges, they tend to rule more consistently for conservative outcomes than older Republican appointees, including retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

And just as in the early decades of the 20th century, when a conservative-dominated Supreme Court repeatedly struck down progressive economic policies including child labor and minimum-wage laws leading up to the New Deal fight, Democrats fear that the new majority will systematically crush their achievements — not just hollowing out past gains such as abortion rights, but also striking down programs they hope to enact if they regain power, such as expanding Medicare or efforts to curb climate change.

For the next few weeks, many Democratic strategists want to change the subject from the Supreme Court, hoping that Republican voters’ passions aroused by the Kavanaugh fight will fade before the midterm elections. Noting that the election is approaching, Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that talk of impeaching Kavanaugh was “premature.”

“Talking about it at this point isn’t necessarily healing us and moving us forward,” he said.

But Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on “Fox News Sunday” that he intended to help House Republicans in swing districts campaign on the issue over the next month, saying their Democratic opponents should be asked whether they supported impeaching Kavanaugh and “Do you want an outcome so badly that you would basically turn the law upside down?”

Still, many liberals are quietly looking forward to reviving the fight if they win a House majority and subpoena power, rather than resigning themselves to waiting for a conservative justice to leave the court. The oldest of the five, Justice Clarence Thomas, is just 70.

Many are vowing, for example, to try to uncover more files from Kavanaugh’s time as an official in George W. Bush’s White House in hopes of finding evidence to support their accusations that he lied under oath about his actions.

“We’re going to get those documents that are shielded from view, and they will provide further proof that he lied,” Fallon said. “And these sexual assault allegations have created a wave of outrage and challenge to the court’s legitimacy that may even eclipse the impact of the lying.”

Because of the Presidential Records Act, any Bush administration files that Republicans refused to seek during the confirmation hearings may remain hard for Congress to subpoena until 2021. But an eventual finding could provide a basis to try to impeach Kavanaugh.

“If a careful examination of the entire scope of his legal history — thus far withheld from the Senate — demonstrates that Mr. Kavanaugh lied under oath, the constitutionally prescribed remedy would be impeachment proceedings,” more than three dozen of the most progressive House Democrats wrote to President Trump urging his withdrawal ahead of the confirmation vote.

The idea of court packing emerged even before Trump nominated Kavanaugh. As soon as Kennedy announced his retirement in June, some liberals began calling for Democrats to prepare to expand the court by two justices when they regain power, permitting a future Democratic president and Democratic-controlled Senate to try to transform the court’s controlling faction from its five Republican appointees to six Democratic ones.

Still, opening that door could lead Republicans to simply expand the court again when the pendulum swung back, continuing the downward spiral.

Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, deemed it wishful thinking that Democrats would uncover irrefutable evidence of perjury by Kavanaugh. She said it was “inconceivable” that the Senate would convict and remove him and warned that even such an effort would damage the rule of law by delegitimizing the court as an institution that stands apart from partisan politics.

“They are speaking out of anger and frustration, and I hope it is not a way most Democrats would like to go. To say, ‘We’re so angry about losing one fight that we basically destroy the entire institution in a fit of pique,’ that is not going to be helpful to anyone,” she said. “I don’t think they would like that to be the standard applied across the board; I opposed Justice Kagan’s confirmation, but I’m not trying to impeach her.”

Indeed, Roosevelt’s court-packing proposal failed to gain support even from his fellow Democrats. Roosevelt should have been more patient, letting the court evolve through elections and natural turnover, William H. Rehnquist, then the chief justice, said in a 1996 speech looking back at that era.

“Although Roosevelt lost that battle, he eventually won the war by serving three full terms as president and appointing eight of the nine members of the court,” Rehnquist said. “This simply shows that there is a wrong way and a right way to go about putting a popular imprint on the judiciary.”

Still, liberals today are increasingly questioning the legitimacy of the process by which several conservative justices won seats on the court, noted Russell Wheeler, a Brookings Institution visiting fellow who studies judicial confirmations. For example, many on the left are still seething at Senate Republicans’ refusal to give a hearing in 2016 to Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s last nominee for a vacancy, and consider Justice Neil Gorsuch to be occupying a stolen seat.

“The conservative majority will include four justices who were appointed by presidents who achieved office despite losing the popular vote, and added to that, the percentage of the voting population represented by Senate Republicans reflects a minority of the overall population,” Wheeler said. “And then you have the asterisk next to Justice Gorsuch’s name.”

Lee Epstein, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis who studies the judiciary, predicted that Chief Justice John Roberts, aware of the danger to the court’s legitimacy, will try to guide it into staying quiet for at least several years.

“This could be a terrible moment for the court,” she said. “The Republicans aren’t going to be running government forever, and it could lead to the kind of clash that we had in 1936 with Roosevelt. That was a bad moment for the court and a bad moment for the country.”

Swiftly after Kavanaugh’s confirmation Saturday, Democrats promised they would be watching closely.

“The legitimacy of the Supreme Court can justifiably be questioned,” former attorney general Eric Holder wrote on Twitter. “The court must now prove — through its work — that it is worthy of the nation’s trust.”

In an essay on Vox, progressive political and policy writer Matthew Yglesias also took note of a line of “optimistic” thinking that Roberts, concerned about preserving the court’s popular legitimacy, could serve as a brake on the other four conservatives — as he did when he voted to uphold part of the Affordable Care Act in 2012.

But if the five conservatives stick together and severely circumscribe a future Democratic majority’s ability to govern, he wrote, “Democrats will face some difficult questions about whether to try court-packing or other forms of exotic procedural extremism in order to secure the authority to govern.”

In that case, he said, the silver lining for liberals is that Kavanaugh was confirmed, as opposed to being withdrawn and replaced by an untarnished but ideologically similar nominee. The cloud over his presence, Yglesias predicted, will help the left’s “necessary delegitimization” of the court.



The hate is still boiling. Colbert Show Writer says of Kavanaugh: ‘I’m Just Glad We Ruined His Life’

Lovely people

The confirmation hearings on Brett Kavanaugh were disgusting, driven by Democrats who held a vicious 36-year-old allegation of sexual assault against the Supreme Court nominee until the 11th hour and then set about tearing down a good man who’d work his whole life to achieve his dreams of serving on the high court.

And that was always their intention. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) had a letter from the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, all the way back in July, yet she never mentioned the alleged assault until the Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote on the nomination in mid-September.

The Daily Wire reports:

Once she divulged the allegation (never corroborated by even a single witness, mind you), Democrats encouraged equally-scurrilous charges against the judge, including those brought by porn star lawyer Michael Avenatti.

So that was their mission: Destroy Kavanaugh. They had to go back 36 years — to when he was a 17-year-old high school student — to find anything remotely questionable, then picked about his entry in his high school yearbook, alleging that many references were about sex. The hearing itself was so violent that his two young daughters had to be escorted out of the Senate hearing room amid the chaos.

And the Democrats nearly succeeded. Throughout their grandstanding, they pretended that they were simply hunting for “the truth.” They demanded FBI probes and, along with the mainstream media, sought as much dirt as they could get on Kavanaugh.



Trump Unashamedly Celebrates Columbus Day While Columbus OH Does The Opposite

President Donald Trump wished Americans a happy Columbus Day in marked contrast to his predecessor with a Monday morning tweet.

Trump’s proclamation hails Columbus’ discovery of the Americas in 1492 and makes no mention of any impact on indigenous Native Americans, saying:

"Columbus’s daring journey marked the beginning of centuries of transatlantic exploration that transformed the Western Hemisphere.  On Columbus Day, we commemorate the achievements of this skilled Italian explorer and recognize his courage, will power, and ambition — all values we cherish as Americans."

The administration’s declaration is starkly different from the 2016 Columbus Day proclamation issued by former President Barack Obama. Obama’s statement celebrated Columbus Day but included a prominent paragraph, which notes:

"As we mark this rich history, we must also acknowledge the pain and suffering reflected in the stories of Native Americans who had long resided on this land prior to the arrival of European newcomers. The past we share is marked by too many broken promises, as well as violence, deprivation, and disease. It is a history that we must recognize as we seek to build a brighter future — side by side and with cooperation and mutual respect."

The City of Columbus, Ohio however will no longer celebrate the federal holiday honoring Christopher Columbus, after whom the city is named.

Law and Crime reports:

Rather than re-naming the holiday and dispensing with it entirely–as many states and cities across the country have done over the past few decades–Columbus Day will remain the name of the holiday for now, but simply won’t be observed in any official capacity.

In effect, the decision mostly means that Columbus city government will function as usual on Columbus Day. According to a media advisory released by the municipality:

The City of Columbus will be open on Columbus Day on Monday, October 8, 2018. All city offices will maintain regular hours of operation. Trash collection and parking enforcement will also remain regularly scheduled.

So, does that mean the citizens of Columbus–and city employees in particular–are missing out on a holiday? Not exactly. Instead of observing Columbus Day as a governmental entity, the City of Columbus will observe Veteran’s Day instead.



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, October 09, 2018

The Left just cannot face reality

SNL  put on a sketch designed to deride the Kavanaugh victory -- and CNN approved.  Below is what CNN said.  They claim  that Trump and the GOP just don't "get" women.  If they had said that they don't "get" feminists that would have been spot on.  But feminists are not all women and most women will have sons and brothers and other male friends and relatives whom they value -- so the feminist attacks on men will overwhelmingly be alarming to normal women.

The megaphone demands from feminists and the Left during the Kavanaugh hearings -- to the effect that due process and the presumption of innocence must be abandoned whenever some disturbed woman accuses a man of an offence -- will rightly be perceived by most women as a dire treat to their loved ones.  Feminists just don't load the simple fact that most women have male relatives that they care about and most women will not therefore wish to expose males to the unjust perils that hate-filled feminists have in mind for them.

The demand that women should always be believed is particularly pernicious.  Particularly in Britain, there are a lot of false rape allegations. The Brits do regularly put some of the women concerned behind bars for a couple of years -- as it is a very distressing and disruptive experience to the innocent men affected.  That is one thing that other jurisdictions could learn from Britain.

And the Democrats have now identified themselves with these crazy anti-men demands.  It must hurt them electorally.  53% of white women voted for Trump in 2016.  It will surely be higher next time.

We all know that Leftists have the attention-span of a goldfish and live in an eternal present so perhaps we can understand that they have forgotten that revealing 53% but even their attention span should have been sufficient to allow them to note the large number of women who knew Kavanaugh through work and universally spoke well of him.  And the large number of conservative women who rallied in support of him should have been visible too. And what about the increasing tendency of young conservative women to reject feminism -- for instance Allie Beth Stuckey in the USA, Lauren Southern in Canada and Daisy Cousens in Australia.  Conservatives get on very well with them!   But, no, they too are no doubt invisible to Leftists. They see only what they want to see. From a psychological viewpoint they would readily be seen as severe neurotics, heavily protected mentally by the full panoply of the Freudian defense mechanisms

And a diagnosis of neuroticism does suit the Left quite well.  Neurotics are more or less continually unhappy and Leftists are too.  They are never satisfied.  No matter what destructive reform they achieve, they still want more.  They will go all the way to bloody revolution if they can. They are chronically discontented people. There is always some apparent "injustice" that fires them up. They are a destructive force that is a danger to us all.

Neurotics are not mad however and the feverish opposition to Kavanaugh was in its own way rational. It seems highly likely that the Left will now no longer be able to get through the court what they could not get in any other way -- such as homosexual marriage and unrestricted abortion. Trump has shut down America's alternative and Left-leaning legislature. The court will now rule according to what the constitution actually says rather than on "emanations and penumbras".

'SNL' gets it right: Trump and GOP are clueless about women

(CNN)"Saturday Night Live's" opening sketch last night reflected a reality of today's Republican leaders: They just don't get women.

We saw this play out when President Donald Trump (the real one, not Alec Baldwin) declared on Air Force One last night that recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was "squeaky clean" and that, in his view, Kavanaugh's biggest supporters were the women of America.

Trump claimed women "were in many ways stronger than men in his favor." At that point, he should've just added, "And live from New York, it's Saturday Night!"

Trump's remarks would've been a perfect fit for "SNL's" cold open last night, which focused on how the GOP is obliviously out of touch with women, or simply doesn't care about them. The sketch featured impersonations of Republican senators celebrating the confirmation of Kavanaugh by partying in a locker room.



McConnell Sees Electoral Dividends With Kavanaugh Victory

In the end, Democrats, the Left, and other progressive sects have learned a lesson, even if they don’t realize it, you don’t mess with Cocaine Mitch. It was a brutal fight. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who President Trump had nominated to fill the vacancy left by Anthony Kennedy, was being eaten alive by the left-wing smear machine. He was facing three allegations of sexual misconduct that lacked in evidence or corroborating witnesses. It looked as if this fight was going to be a smooth win, but these allegations, dropped at the last minute, dragged us into the gutter.

It was a knife fight—and we won. Period. While the Left is happy their base is animated, this unfair, brutal, and totally outrageous character assassination attempt against Judge Kavanaugh infuriated the GOP, especially scores of conservative female voters who saw right through the smear campaign. It was a double-edged sword: the more the Left tried to destroy Kavanaugh, the more jacked up the GOP base became. And it isn’t just Trump supporters, Bushies, Never Trumpers, every wing of the GOP united behind this man. McConnell made a note that this fight has done wonders to get Republicans enthused for the 2018 midterms (via WaPo):

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he never considered urging the White House to withdraw Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court and called opposition to the judge a “great political gift” for Republicans ahead of next month’s midterm elections.

In an interview with The Washington Post hours before Kavanaugh’s near-certain confirmation on Saturday afternoon, the Kentucky Republican again underscored his confidence in Kavanaugh’s denials of allegations of sexual misconduct decades ago while decrying the protesters who have challenged senators for days.

“I never thought Judge Kavanaugh would withdraw,” McConnell said during the interview with The Post. “When your integrity is attacked like his was, a withdrawal was certainly no solution to that, so we were in the fight to the finish.”

McConnell, overseeing a razor-thin 51-49 GOP majority, said the GOP is already seeing a boost in polling in Senate races because of the Democratic opposition to Kavanaugh combined with the protests. Republicans are on offense in the fight for control of the Senate, with 10 Democrats seeking reelection in states President Trump won in 2016.

“It’s been a great political gift for us. The tactics have energized our base,” he said, adding: “I want to thank the mob, because they’ve done the one thing we were having trouble doing, which was energizing our base.”

He elaborated further with Roll Call:

“I think there’s no question that the tactics have energized our base like we were unable to do before this,” McConnell said. “Not only the tactics of the Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, but then those who literally have our members under assault I mean — they’ve come to our homes, they’ve you know basically brushed up against members.” ...

“The base is on fire. I was talking to several of my political advisers yesterday about what we’re seeing out in the red states is a dramatically rising interest,” McConnell said.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Wednesday indicated that the battle over Kavanaugh's nomination had helped close the enthusiasm gap.

Eighty-two percent of Democrats surveyed said the election was "very important" compared to 80 percent of Republicans. In July, the survey showed that 68 percent of Republicans deemed the election very important, compared to 78 percent of Democrats....

Democrats, of course, have the bulk of the incumbents in competitive Senate races on the 2018 map that are closely contested.

Ten Senate Democrats are running in states Trump won in 2016, but operatives on both sides agreed that at least two of them -- Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey -- are further out of reach for Republicans.

Sen. Joe Manchin III was the only Democratic senator in a state Trump won by double digits who decided to support Kavanaugh. The others, including Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester on Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, opposed the judge for various reasons.

The Kentucky Republican name-checked those four Democratic incumbents as having, “voted frankly quite foolishly on this issue given their own electoral prospects.”

Polling showed that Joe Manchin’s re-election would be all but assured if he voted for Kavanaugh. Overall, Red State Democrats were put in a terrible political positionin this nomination fight. They could vote for Kavanaugh, but risk the wrath of the progressive grassroots and loss of access to key Democratic campaign financing. And they could vote against him, but be forced to update their resumes because they would be out of a job come January. Claire McCaskill knows this all too well.

On the Right’s flank, Arizona and Tennessee could be Democratic pick-ups, though I doubt how a rural, GOP state like Tennessee flips, but we’ll see. Missouri and Florida look like likely pick-ups for the GOP. If we hold the line in Tennessee, lose Arizona, and win in Missouri and Florida, we’re left with how the upper chamber started at the last Congress, 51-49. Still, a lot can change. The polling post-Kavanaugh has yet to be released. And in Arizona, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has been caught telling some tall tales about her upbringing. Stay tuned, but the fact remains that the GOP position is much better than in the House—though with the base energized, perhaps we could hold the line there. It would be a slim majority, but still a win—and one that would trigger another liberal meltdown.

UPDATE: Manchin may have voted with Republicans, but Mitch still plans to make a play to nab his seat:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Republicans will still campaign against Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) despite his being the only member of the opposing party who voted to approve now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

“Joe Manchin’s still a Democrat, and we’re trying to hold the majority,” the Kentucky Republican said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” when asked if he would tell President Donald Trump not to campaign against the red-state Democrat.

But McConnell said he appreciated Manchin’s vote, which he called “the right thing to do.”

Maybe Manchin should re-register as a Republican if he wins re-election, which he very well could, despite West Virginia being a deep-red state.



They're Not Done: The Left Is Gunning To Impeach Kavanaugh If Democrats Retake The House

They’re having a meltdown, folks. It’s delicious. The liberal tears are flowing. I’ve been drinking them up since 3:30 PM yesterday, but this fight is not over. It might not be a full-blown blitz. It certainly won’t be as intense as the attempted character assassination attempt against now-Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh that we saw over the past week in this hellacious nomination fight.

It will be more of a manning the watchtower because left-wingers are pushing to impeach Kavanaugh, which will be magnified if Democrats retakes the House in the upcoming midterm election. At the same time, Donald Trump Jr. had a more aggressive warning, which I agree with as well. This is a war.

Trump supporters - The fight isn’t over. You better believe that Democrats are going to do everything in their power to impeach Kavanuagh from the Supreme Court if they take control of Congress in November.  This is war. Time to fight. Vote on Nov 6 to protect the Supreme Court!

MoveOn also announced it was canceling a six-figure advertising campaign for Bredesen "due to his Kavanaugh position" and foreclosed any possible further efforts to help Manchin. Priorities USA, Democrats' largest super PAC, is not spending money in either race and won't be, said spokesperson Josh Schwerin.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who would become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee if Democrats retake the House, and who would probably be the point-person on issues of impeachment, has signaled that he would reopen an investigation into Kavanaugh, who would be a sitting member of the high court by the time the new Congress is sworn in in January....

…40 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which speaks for the left flank of House Democrats, sent a letter to Trump last week suggesting Kavanaugh's impeachment could be the outcome of further investigation....

"This is absolutely a scrimmage for impeachment," said Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign adviser. "I believe they will try to impeach Brett Kavanaugh, I believe they will try to impeach President Trump."

But many liberals think impeaching Kavanaugh, or even talking about it, is not only bad politics, but dangerous for democracy.

"That is not happening anytime soon," said Jim Manley, a former aide to Harry Reid, the former Democratic Senate leader. "I really wish folks would stop this talk of impeaching Kavanaugh and keep the focus on where it belongs" — the midterm elections. ...

…progressive opinion leaders are urging liberal voters not to invest energy or hope in what Mother Jones magazine calls a "liberal fantasy."

Worse still, warned Jonathan Turley, a prominent liberal legal scholar, impeaching Kavanaugh would set a dangerous precedent that either party could use to alter the balance of power on the court for political reasons.

"This is a terribly reckless idea for the Democrats to pursue," said Turley, a professor at George Washington University's Law School. "If we start to impeach justices based on shifting congressional majorities then we'll reduce ourselves to the level of Robespierre."

Why are some on the Left urging their side to move on from Kavanaugh? It’s because it will never happen. You need a supermajority of Senators to remove a federal judge. Democrats will never get 67 votes—ever. In the meantime, let’s say they do dabble in this nonsense; it will only animate the GOP base heading into a presidential election and give excellent fodder for Trump to bash Democrats. We would win this fight, but I’d rather spend the energy owning liberals on other fronts. Nevertheless, the threat is there. The Left has become unhinged. We must remain vigilant. Most of all, don’t forget to vote this November.



Leftism is largely inborn.  Is bureaucracy too?

All the twin studies how strong heritability for Left/Right political orientation.  Leftists are born dissatisfied and conservatives are born contented.  And Leftists love bureaucracy.  They can hardly get enough of it.  As V.I. Lenin remarked: "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything".  So is there also an inherited bureaucratic instinct?  Something I encountered recently inclined me towards that belief.

A little background:  I have a pinup on my bedroom wall.  It is a picture of the Queen.  No doubt many would say that I must be a poor thing to have the Queen as my pinup but it is a large and beautifully done portrait so I think it could be called a pinup.

And I am an unapologetic monarchist.  I believe that a constitutional monarchy is the best form of government,  Americans have to wait 4 years before they can get rid of an unpopular  President but, in a monarchy on Westminster lines, parliament can boot out at will any Prime Minister who has lost popularity --which the Australian parliament has done rather a lot of in recent years. So it suits my views that I have a picture of Her Majesty and Prince Philip on my wall.

But I have acquired that picture only recently.  There is an Australian tradition that Federal politicians can give out free pictures of Her Majesty to their constituents.  So I wrote to my local Federal MP, Terri Butler, member for Griffith, and requested one.  She represents the Labor Party so I was slightly surprised that she wrote back to me and agreed.  I had to pick the picture up from her electorate office but that was not far away from me so off I went.

When I arrived and rang the bell a large sandy-hired young man appeared. When I made my request he said; "We haven't received any correspondence about this".  I said, "I wrote to Parliament house".  He said "Did you get a letter from Terri Butler about this?"  I said I had.  "Have you got it with you" -- "No". "Where is it?" -- "At home".  And he went on generally in a rather circular way about having authorization to give me the picture.  I inherit a rather short temper from my father however so I very soon started to shout and bang on the counter.  That dislodged him and he gave me the picture.

As the  pictures are freely given out, there was absolutely no need for any bureaucracy but this employee of the Labor party dreamed some up anyway.  He appears to have a bureaucratic temperament.  I suspect it was inherited -- JR


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, October 08, 2018

The Power of ‘I Stand With Brett’

Amy Swearer encounters the silent majority

Friday morning, as the Senate prepared to vote to advance Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, I took a field trip with some of our interns. It wasn’t anything intensive—just a lap around the Capitol to observe the anti-Kavanaugh protests.

One of our female interns carried a sign. It was a simple sign with four words: “I stand with Brett.”

I somewhat expected those words to attract attention—they are, after all, words so contrary to the sentiments expressed by the majority of individuals who held signs around the Capitol this week.

What I did not expect was the type of attention it would draw and from what type of people.

You see, we were mostly ignored by the large groups of screaming, borderline-hysterical, anti-Kavanaugh protesters. Occasionally, a lone individual would heap some abuse our way, often in the form of telling us we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. But overall, it appeared they had bigger fights to pick than with four fairly innocuous young adults who kept a respectful distance.

No, the attention we attracted was from people largely overlooked amid the shouting. And they were almost unanimously supportive.

Normal, everyday people—tourists from all areas of the country, couples pushing strollers, families with teenage daughters, middle-aged friends, elderly women out for a walk—all quietly, calmly approaching us for a word of thanks.

We could not go 50 yards without being stopped by someone expressing their gratitude or asking if we had any extra signs. I can’t tell you how many wanted to take pictures with the sign. I gave up counting the thumbs ups and smiles. I can’t tell you the number of ways we were thanked by different individuals.

What I do know is that the amount of encouragement received by people who would otherwise have stayed silent in the shadow of the larger anti-Kavanaugh mobs gave me hope.

More than anything, I was heartened by the women. For too many women, “I stand with Brett” is a phrase we’ve been told we mustn’t utter in public. It’s a conclusion we’ve been told we mustn’t reach. A rationale we’ve been told we mustn’t embrace.

And so many women have stayed silent. We’ve quietly absorbed the abuse aimed at us. Without retort, we have stood by and refrained from engaging in a prolonged ideological battle we fear we’ll fight alone.

But inside, we know. We know that there is not and has never been a shred of corroboration for the claims of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. We know that “Believe all women” is an irrational and untenable ideology that undermines every argument that we should be treated equally to men. We know that a good man has been forced to go to war for his honor and his family because he is being slandered on the altar of social justice run amok.

For dozens of women today, these four words printed on poster board were their voice, and they let us know it.

Reason and truth do not always belong to the loudest in the room. Sometimes, they belong to the whisperers the world barely acknowledges, and castigates when it does.

So let me unequivocally state today what so many of us have long known, but have too often refused to say publicly: Women, it’s OK.

It’s OK to not believe other women when the evidence is contrary to their claims.

It’s OK to adhere to basic concepts of rationality and fairness when making a judgment about a man accused of sexual misconduct.

It’s OK to stand with Kavanaugh if your reason so implores you.

These are things we need not only whisper in private. We can say them out loud, and boldly. Behind our whispers is a mighty roar to let others know they are not alone in thinking for themselves.



The U.S. Economy Is More Free Than It’s Been in Years

Economic freedom is good—whether in itself or because of the longevity, prosperity, and associated liberty it brings.

In a country that seems determined to reenact the 1850s, or the Weimar years, or maybe Italy's years of lead, good news about politics and the economy can seem exceedingly rare. But brace yourself for a shock, because this country around you that looks poised to tear itself apart has quietly broken a decades-long retreat from economic freedom, becoming a place more supportive of private business and the ability of individuals to make a living.

This good news comes courtesy of the latest report on the "Economic Freedom of the World," published last week by Canada's Fraser Institute and the Cato Institute and using data up through 2016. "The foundations of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, and open markets," write authors James Gwartney, Robert Lawson, Joshua Hall, and Ryan Murphy—though there's rather a lot more behind the numbers, as you might expect.

Readers of Reason will take it as a given that freedom—the ability to order your own affairs and make consensual arrangements with willing people—is a good thing in itself. But the report notes that "countries with greater economic freedom have substantially higher per-capita incomes." In fact, those in the least-free quartile of countries have the lowest per-capita income at $5,649, rising to $11,465 in the third quartile, $18,510 in the second quartile, and $40,376 in the quartile containing the most economically free countries.

Life expectancy also rises and "is about 20 years longer in countries with the most economic freedom than in countries with the least."

And freedom appears to be indivisible, with the rights to run your business and use your property closely linked to the rights to criticize leaders and change the government. "Greater economic freedom is associated with more political rights and civil liberties," the report notes.

So economic freedom is good—whether in itself or because of the longevity, prosperity, and associated liberty it brings.

All of this should be important to Americans because the U.S. has been sliding in the rankings for many, many years. The 2012 report mourned that "[f]rom 1980 to 2000, the United States was generally rated the third freest economy in the world, ranking behind only Hong Kong and Singapore," but that it "has experienced a substantial decline in economic freedom during the past decade."

That year, the U.S. came in at number 18. If you're American and concerned about longevity, prosperity, and associated liberty, that wasn't a good sign.

But now, "the United States returned to the top 10 in 2016 after an absence of several years." While not back to its high-water mark, the U.S. is now ranked in sixth place. And if you're wondering, the U.S. ranking didn't improve because everybody else is going down the drain more quickly than us; our score actually rose, meaning the country became more free in economic terms.

If we can avoid tanking the world's economy in a trade war, we have some friends who might want to join the celebration.

"Worldwide, economic freedom has increased during the past three decades," the report points out. "Moreover, the increase in economic freedom of developing economies since 1990 has been more rapid than the increase of high-income industrial countries. The institutions and policies of developing countries today are substantially more consistent with economic freedom than was the case in the 1980s."

Remember that link between economic freedom and per capita income mentioned above? Now take that and apply that to the entire planet. Then wrap your mind around a report recently published by the World Bank finding that "the number of extremely poor people—those who live on $1.90 a day or less—has fallen from 1.9 billion in 1990 to about 736 million in 2015."

It's worth noting that the other major measure of economic freedom, the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom, still has the United States at an unimpressive eighteenth place—but that's despite real improvements in the country's performance. Heritage found an all-time high in global economic freedom; the U.S.'s improvements got swamped in that overall rising tide.

"The increase in its overall score would seem to indicate that the decade-long decline in America's economic freedom may have been arrested. There are signs of renewed labor market dynamism and increased growth, and major regulatory and tax reforms are spurring business confidence and investment," the Index's editors wrote.

That's not to say you should stop worrying; we're humans and we're perfectly capable of flushing away the good times. President Trump's protectionist instincts—his view of trade as a zero-sum game in which the U.S. is necessarily pitted against its partners—is brewing up a nasty conflict.

In May, more than 1,100 economists signed a letter deliberately echoing the one sent to Congress in 1930 urging rejection of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which subsequently contributed to the devastation wrought by the Great Depression. "Congress did not take economists' advice in 1930," the modern letter warns, "and Americans across the country paid the price. The undersigned economists and teachers of economics strongly urge you not to repeat that mistake."

Also disturbing, is that "global support for free markets seems to have been falling continuously since the 1990s," as described by Pál Czeglédi and Carlos Newland for the Economic Freedom of the World report. They examine several possible reasons before citing Nobel Prize winning economist James Buchanan to the effect that people seem to favor some sort of "parentalistic" protection. This role has been played in the past by religion, but in increasingly secular societies the state has stepped in with all of its coercive power.

It's an interesting theory that's worth exploring elsewhere. But, for whatever reason, surveys find increasingly wealthy populations voicing decreasing support for the economic freedom that made them prosperous. It's quite possible that anti-market fervor has slowed or even halted progress toward economic freedom in much of the world, Czeglédi and Newland add. They speculate that as governments substitute the preferences of politicians for the outcomes of voluntary exchange with inevitably unpleasant results, sentiment will shift again.

For the moment, though, the United States is an economically freer place in an economically freer world. That means improved prospects for long, free, and prosperous lives for all of us—if we don't mess it up.



Trump's 'Compromise' on Border Wall

"When will Republican leadership learn that they are being played like a fiddle by the Democrats on Border Security and Building the Wall?" Trump said.

"Without Borders, we don't have a country," he said. "With Open Borders, which the Democrats want, we have nothing but crime! "Finish the Wall!" he declared.

What inspired this presidential declaration?

A House-Senate conference committee had just finalized another massive spending bill. They called this one a combined "minibus" and "continuing resolution."

Unlike the "omnibus" Trump had signed in March, this minibus-continuing resolution did not fund the entire government in one bill. The "minibus" part of it, however, did "marry" the spending bill for the Department of Defense to the spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. It would fund those departments through all of fiscal 2019.

The "continuing resolution" part of it would fund only until Dec. 7 — and, according to the House Appropriations Committee, only at "current levels" — any other federal departments that did not have their own appropriations bills signed into law by Sunday, when fiscal 2018 ended.

In other words, those departments would be funded until one month after the upcoming midterm elections.

The Department of Homeland Security — which is responsible for the border wall — was one of these.

During the year, the House Appropriations Committee had approved a Homeland Security bill that provided $5 billion for the wall for fiscal 2019. The Senate committee had approved only $1.6 billion, making no increase from the 2018 level. And the massive minibus-continuing resolution would presumably maintain fiscal 2018's funding level — but only through Dec. 7.

Three days after Trump's tweet, the Senate approved this bill, 93-7. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-.Ky., in supporting it.

On Sept. 20, Trump tweeted about the bill again. This time, he put some of his words in capital letters.

"I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill," he said, "and where will it come from after the Midterms? Dems are obstructing Law Enforcement and Border Security. REPUBLICANS MUST FINALLY GET TOUGH!"

Six days after this tweet, the Republican leadership brought their minibus-continuing resolution up for a vote in the House. It passed with 185 Democrats voting for it but only 176 Republicans. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R.-Calif., in voting for it, while 56 House conservatives voted against it.

Funding for the border wall was not the only significant issue in this bill.

The original Labor-HHS-Education spending bill that the House Appropriations Committee approved in July included language that defunded both Planned Parenthood and research that uses tissue taken from babies killed in induced abortions. But that language was not included in the final minibus-continuing resolution that funded HHS for all of fiscal 2019.

Thus, the bill did not provide the funding Trump was seeking for the border wall, but it did provide the funding Democrats wanted for Planned Parenthood and aborted-baby-parts research.

On Friday, Trump signed into law this bill he had correctly called "ridiculous."

"This spending package reflects the compromise Republican leaders sought with the White House that postpones a fight over Trump's demand for a border wall until after the Nov. 6 midterm elections," the Washington Post reported that day.



Federal Government Cut 1,000 Jobs in September; -16,000 Under Trump so far

The number of people employed by the federal government declined by 1,000 in September, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Since President Donald Trump took office, federal employment has declined by 16,000.

In December 2016, the month before Trump’s inauguration, there were 2,810,000 people employed by the federal government, according to the BLS data. By August 2018, that had declined by 15,000 to 2,795,000. In September, it declined another 1,000 to 2,794,000.

At the same time, overall government employment (including those employed by state and local governments) increased 13,000 in September and has climbed by 100,000 since December 2016.

In December, 2016, there were 22,306,000 people employed in state, local and federal government combined. By August 2018, that had climbed to 22,393,000. In September, it jumped again to 22,406,000.



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Sunday, October 07, 2018


All of us won who spoke and wrote in support of the President's nomination to SCOTUS of Judge Kavanaugh.  But most of all it was another triumph for our hero, Donald J. Trump. He is an incredible winner.  The wall is next!

I am pleased to hear the following emailed comment from Tom Fitton of "Judicial Watch":

"We are grateful that a majority of the Senate rejected the leftist smears, abuse of process, and rejection of constitutional norms. Now there must be accountability for this lawless assault on our constitutional republic. Judicial Watch has launched an investigation into the Senate ethics and legal abuses by anti-Kavanaugh Senators. And we will continue to pursue our Senate ethics complaint against Sen. Booker for his admitted violation of Senate rules, the violation of which requires expulsion from the Senate"