Friday, November 30, 2018

Flaky Flake makes a nuisance of himself again

He has always hated Trump and wants to protect Mueller from being shut down by Trump. Thank goodness he is out in a couple of weeks.

He has no leverage anyway. The Senate is in GOP hands for the next two years so he doesn't matter. And it would be a grave mistake to let one man rule the roost the way he wants to.  Do that once and others would soon follow.  There would be a bedlam of competing special positions

It reminds me of the doings in Austria's Abgeordnetenhaus (lower house of Parliament) in the early years of the 20th century.  Many of the deputies had strongly held personal views that they would not compromise on, so almost no new laws would get through it. There was such dissatisfaction with the situation that some deputies would ring bells and sound horns in response to things they disagreed with. It was chaos.  It was so disorderly that citizens would sit in on its sessions for entertainment.

One of those sitters was the young Adolf Hitler. He ensured that nothing like that happened once he took charge

The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee canceled votes on nearly two dozen of President Trump’s judicial nominees.

The move Wednesday evening by Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican, resulted from a standoff in the panel caused by the refusal of Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona to vote for any judicial picks.

Mr. Flake has said he will oppose all judge nominations unless a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller gets a floor vote. An effort to force one failed Wednesday.

As a result, the committee’s Thursday business meeting was canceled.



Far Left Judges Starting A New Civil War

The ongoing insurrection against the duly elected government of the United States isn’t being led by the violent Far Left thugs of Antifa, nor is it being led by the political thuggery of power-hungry Democrats on Capitol Hill and in their corrupt urban strongholds – it is being led by black-robed revolutionaries working from federal courthouses, especially in the California-centered Ninth Circuit.

The latest raid on the constitutionalist forces was led by U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar who preemptively prohibited the President from declining to process the asylum claims of aliens who enter the United States illegally.

The Mexican government says it is aiding more than 5,600 migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala on the U.S. border — 2,610 in Tijuana and 2,995 in Mexicali.

Judge Tigar, appointed by President Barack Obama, issued a 37-page ruling that appears to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld President Trump’s Executive Order barring travelers from a list of majority-Muslim nations

According to the Washington Post, four Far-Left advocacy groups — the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Al Otro Lado, Innovation Law Lab and Central American Resource Center of Los Angeles — filed suit over the asylum policy hours after the administration issued the new rule in early November.

The order is full of political comments and dicta that render it more of an open borders manifesto than a sober judgement of the legal authorities and precedents that were relied upon in constructing the President’s Executive Orders issued earlier this month.

Tigar’s TRO was the latest in a series of judge-led assaults on presidential authority to defend the United States against the illegal alien invasion and the internal enemies that seek to facilitate it. As the Washington Post noted, federal judges have temporarily blocked President Trump’s efforts to strip funding from ‘sanctuary’ cities and rescind temporary work permits and deportation protections from roughly 1 million illegal aliens who were protected by Obama and thwarted the President’s “zero tolerance” policy that was intended to detain illegal aliens to prevent them from refusing to appear for asylum hearings and simply disappearing into the United States.

Our friend Andrew C. McCarthy, writing for National Review, predicted Tigar’s ruling well before it was issued, writing:

"Therefore, the fact that the administration’s action is entirely reasonable will not matter. No more will it matter that, contrary to numbing media repetition, the rule and proclamation derive from federal statutory law. Nor will it make any difference that, in part, the president is relying on the same sweeping congressional authorization based on which, just four months ago, the Supreme Court affirmed his authority to control the ingress of aliens based on his assessment of national-security needs.

Just two things will matter. The first is that the asylum restrictions represent a Trump policy that reverses Obama policies — specifically, policies of more lax border enforcement, and of ignoring congressionally authorized means of preventing illegal aliens from filing frivolous asylum petitions (with the result that many of them are released, evading further proceedings and deportation). The second is that, precisely to thwart the reversal of Obama policies, President Obama made certain that the vast majority of the 329 federal judges he appointed were progressive activists in the Obama mold.

The media-Democrat complex will tell you this is “the rule of law.” In reality, it is the rule of lawyers: the Lawyer Left on the front line of American decision-making, a line that runs through courtrooms, not Capitol Hill."

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called Tigar’s ruling “yet another example of activist judges imposing their open borders policy preferences.”

“This decision will open the floodgates, inviting countless illegal aliens to pour into our country on the American taxpayer’s dime,” she said in a statement. “We will take all necessary action to defend the executive branch’s lawful response to the crisis at our southern border.”

What Andy McCarthy calls “the front line of American decision-making” is no longer decision-making; it is an all-out Civil War with Far-Left activist judges acting as the shock troops of the insurgents.



The rise of the mind-reading left

Imputing the motives of one’s opponents is no way to win an argument.

The Oxford Union faced heavy criticism last week for extending an invitation to Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former chief strategist. When asked to defend the decision, the president of the union, Stephen Horvath, explained that it ‘is only through listening to the opinions of others that we can fully understand those opinions’. This is not only a reasonable and measured response, it also has the advantage of being true.

In an article for the Guardian, Fred Dimbleby attacked the union for its decision, and in doing so exemplified one of the most troubling aspects of the censorial mindset. ‘So why has the Oxford Union invited him?’, asked Dimbleby, a somewhat redundant question given that he had already quoted Horvath’s answer. But Dimbleby apparently knows the ghastly truth: ‘It’s for the excitement. Leaders of the union are titillated by the idea of having someone like Bannon speak at their institution.’

I am less interested in Dimbleby’s fatuous arguments against freedom of speech, and more in what his article reveals about the intellectually defunct approach of so many on the left. Too often we see polemicists attempting to intuit the motives of those with whom they disagree. Speculation would be one thing, but the certainty which they tend to make these assumptions is chilling. Dimbleby’s sixth sense apparently knows no bounds. He shouldn’t be writing articles for the Guardian, he should be vying for Mystic Meg’s job.

Not only does he claim to have a telepathic insight into the minds of the Oxford Union’s standing committee, he also knows for sure that Bannon is a fascist. As far as I am aware, Bannon has never expressed support for imperialism, the violent suppression of political opposition, or a paramilitary coup against the state. Bannon may be a right-wing nationalist with whom I share little ideological common ground, but I also know that to brand him a fascist would be to open myself up to accusations of historical illiteracy.

It is rarely possible nowadays to read an article by a leftist identitarian without the writer at some point divining the secret motives of his or her adversaries. It is the same mentality that has led so many to assume that the Brexit vote was predominantly driven by xenophobia. In a broad poll analysis by the Centre for Social Investigation at the London School of Economics, it was discovered that Leavers were ‘better at characterising Remainers’ reasons than vice versa – something which may be linked to progressives’ greater tendency to disengage from their political opponents’. The findings are depressing, but no great surprise.

After the election of Donald Trump, leftists desperately sought to understand why people had not voted in the ‘correct’ way. It soon became clear that a nuanced discussion of the possibilities was to be rejected in favour of groundless assertions. So we had Suzanne Moore diagnosing the majority of American women as suffering from ‘internalised misogyny’ because they voted Republican. It apparently didn’t cross her mind that there might be women out there who simply do not share her political perspective.

In a similar vein, Laurie Penny decided that Trump won because of ‘white resentment’ born of a frustration that ‘women, migrants and people of colour no longer seem to know their proper place’. When Trump supporters express concern for ‘ordinary people’, Penny tells us, ‘they mean white people’. Few would be foolish enough to deny that there are many individuals whose politics are motivated by prejudice, but this kind of blanket assessment of such a broad contingent of the electorate is hardly a productive tactic.

And last week Carole Cadwalladr, feature writer for the Observer, accused BBC interviewer Andrew Neil of trying to limit her speech by comparing her to the ‘crazy cat woman’ from The Simpsons. Whereas most would surely assume that Neil’s tweet was simply a throwaway barb of the kind one regularly sees on social media, Cadwalladr assures us that it was in fact ‘an attempt to silence’ her, and an exercise in ‘slut-shaming’. If Neil had genuinely intended to slut-shame, one imagines he might have chosen a better example of sexual debauchery than an elderly cartoon woman who keeps cats.

Whenever I read articles of this kind, I am always struck by the sheer sense of certitude on display. Has it ever occurred to the likes of Dimbleby, Moore, Penny and Cadwalladr that they might be wrong? If it has, there is little evidence of it in their work. This kind of rigidity comes when critical thinking is abandoned. To close oneself off to the possibility of alternative opinions, and only to see the world through the lens of confirmation bias, is a form of intellectual death.

Nobody has ever been persuaded to alter their convictions by having them misrepresented. I do not disbelieve these prominent voices on the left when they tell us how frustrated they are at what they perceive to be the rise of the far right. I also have little doubt that their intentions are good, even if their conclusions are bad. But if they are serious about changing minds, it would serve them well to try arguing against their detractors’ actual viewpoints rather than those they imagine them to hold.



Border Patrol Union: Agents Will Use 'Reasonable Force' to Repel 'Invasion'

Hector Garza, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing Border Patrol agents, told Fox News Monday night that agents used great restraint in dealing with rock-and-bottle-throwing migrants in Tijuana on Sunday, as the foreigners tried to storm across the border into the United States.

"This was an assault. This was an invasion on our agents, on our country. And our agents had to respond with a very low level of force, which is the tear gas that was deployed."

The caravan members easily overran the Guatemala-Mexico border, but it won't happen here, Garza said:

These people think that they're going to do the same things they did on the Guatemala-Mexico border, they're wrong. Our agents are properly trained. They are going to be using reasonable force.

And something that they are reporting to us is that these migrants were using these children as human shields as they were launching rocks at our agents. So they had no regard for human life. They did not care about the other migrants; they did not care about the kids. And our agents did a great job by using this tear gas to be able to disperse the crowd.

Now, our agents could have been justified to use a higher level of force, but they did not. They used a very low level of force and they were successful. They did a great job out there.

Garza said it's a "good thing" that President Trump has sent the U.S. military as backup and support for Border Patrol agents.

"But with more caravans on the way, "it is going to get out of control," he said, "and that's why Congress needs to act and we have to make sure we do build that wall so that we can avoid these type of confrontations because people will end up getting hurt.

"Now again, our agents are properly trained and they're going to do the best job that they can out there. But again, these caravans, they need to stop. And we need to do our job and also Mexico needs to do their job as well, helping us on the southern border."



The Left Hysterical Over Border Patrol But Where Were They When Obama Admin Used Pepper Spray On Rock-Throwing Migrants?,/b>

The reaction Sunday by the pearl-clutching left and their media allies to the chaotic scene on the southern border could serve as Exhibit A in a case study on hypocrisy, and goes to show that it’s all about politics.

Unless the Obama administration is held to a different standard when setting the precedent for actions taken by the Trump administration.

Hundreds of illegal immigrants from the migrant caravan made a mad rush on the U.S. border, with some becoming violent, attacking Border Patrol agents with rocks. Agents held their ground, fighting back with flash bang grenades and tear gas.

All of which sent Democrats into a frenzy.

And while the rock throwing drew little attention, the media was quick to report on children — who were forced on this perilous journey and placed directly into harms way by their parents — being caught up in the fracas.



Trump rescues Britain from its elite

Being half British, Mr Trump has an interest in Britain

He slams Theresa May's Brexit deal as 'great for the EU' and warns it will harm UK-US trade

President Donald Trump has warned Britain “may not be able to trade with the US” because of Theresa May’s Brexit deal in comments that could torpedo her hopes of winning Parliament’s backing.

Mr Trump said the agreement Mrs May reached with Brussels on Sunday “sounds like a great deal for the EU” as he urged the Prime Minister to think again.

The President’s intervention flies in the face of Mrs May’s claims that Britain will be able to strike free trade deals around the world after Brexit despite her concessions to the EU.

The timing could hardly have been worse for Mrs May, coming after she had spent hours in the Commons trying to convince MPs that her deal was the right one for Britain.



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, November 29, 2018

The mask is off the American Left

They were ruling nicely until Trump came along so they are pitting all their great resources against him

In 2010, Claremont Institute Senior Fellow Angelo Codevilla reintroduced the notion of "the ruling class" back into American popular discourse. In 2017, he described contemporary American politics as a "cold civil war." Now he applies the "logic of revolution" to our current political scene.

The primary objective of any people who find themselves in the throes of a revolution is to find ways of diverting its logic from its worst conclusions. Prior to the 2016 election I explained how America had already “stepped over the threshold of a revolution,” that it was “difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate how it might end.”

Regardless of who won the election, its sentiments’ growing “volume and intensity” would empower politicians on all sides sure to make us nostalgic for Donald Trump’s and Hilary Clinton’s moderation. Having begun, this revolution would follow its own logic. What follows dissects that logic.

It has unfolded faster than foreseen. Its sentiments’ spiraling volume and intensity have eliminated any possibility of “stepping back.” The Democratic Party and the millions it represents having refused to accept 2016’s results; having used their positions of power in government and society to prevent the winners from exercising the powers earned by election; declaring in vehement words and violent deeds the illegitimacy, morbidity, even criminality, of persons and ideas contrary to themselves; bet that this “resistance” would so energize their constituencies, and so depress their opponents’, that subsequent elections would prove 2016 to have been an anomaly and further confirm their primacy in America.

The 2018 Congressional elections are that strategy’s first major test. Regardless of these elections’ outcome, however, this “resistance” has strengthened and accelerated the existing revolutionary spiral. We begin with a primer on such spirals, on the logic of mutual hate that drives them, and on their consequences; move to a general description of our evolution’s driving logic, describe the 2016 elections as the revolutionary spiral’s first turn and the “resistance” thereto as the second. Then we examine how the “resistance” affects the other side, and how this logic might drive our revolution’s subsequent turns.

The Cycle and Us

Corcyra’s revolution in 427 BC, the fifth year of the Peloponnesian War, is a paradigm of revolutionary logic. Thucydides tells us that the citizens’ divisions had been of the garden-variety economic kind. Its Assembly had taken an ordinary vote on an ordinary measure. But the vote’s losers, refusing to accept political defeat, brought criminal charges against their opponents’ leader. By thus criminalizing differences over public policy, by using political power to hurt their opponents, they gave the revolutionary spiral its first turn.

The spiral might have stopped when the accused was acquitted. But, he, instead of letting bygones be bygones, convinced the assembly to fine those who had brought the charges. After all, they had to be taught not to do such things again. The assembly approved the fine.

But the second use of political power to hurt opponents gave the revolutionary spiral its second turn. Had the original wrongdoers paid up, the problem might have ended right there. Instead, outraged, they gave it the third push, bursting into the Assembly and murdering him. That ended all private haven from political strife. Civil war spiraled into mutual destruction, until the city was well-nigh depopulated.

Thus does Thucydides’ account of how revolutionary logic manifests itself in personal behavior echo through the ages—an account that strikes Americans in October, 2018 as all too familiar: “men too often take upon themselves in the prosecution of their revenge to set the example of doing away with those general laws to which all alike can look for salvation in adversity, instead of allowing them to subsist against the day of danger when their aid may be required.”

The more freely to harm enemies, “words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them.” “Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defense. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected … even blood became a weaker tie than party …. The fair proposals of an adversary were met with jealous precautions by the stronger of the two, and not with a generous confidence … when opportunity offered, he who first ventured to seize it and to take his enemy off his guard, thought this perfidious vengeance sweeter than an open one…success by treachery won him the palm of superior intelligence.”

How near we are to all that, and how far from once-great America! The American republic’s essence had been self-restraint toward fellow citizens deemed equals. The Constitution of 1787 had been its paradigm. Under its words and by its laws, Americans had enjoyed safety and predictability for themselves and their way of life. But Progressives’ subordination of the Constitution, laws, and institutions to their own purposes and for their own primacy ended all that.

The rest of America’s increasing realization that only fire can fight fire has followed naturally. This is our revolution: Because a majority of Americans now no longer share basic sympathies and trust, because they no longer regard each other as worthy of equal consideration, the public and private practices that once had made our Republic are now beyond reasonable hope of restoration. Strife can only mount until some new equilibrium among us arises. Our Logic The logic that drives each turn of our revolutionary spiral is Progressive Americans’ inherently insatiable desire to exercise their superiority over those they deem inferior.

With Newtonian necessity, each such exercise causes a corresponding and opposite reaction. The logic’s force comes not from the substance of the Progressives’ demands. If that were the case, acquiescing to or compromising with them could cut it short. Rather, it comes from that which moves, changes, and multiplies their demands without end. That is the Progressives’ affirmation of superior worth, to be pursued by exercising dominance: superior identity affirmed via the inferior’s humiliation.

It is an inherently endless pursuit. The logic is rooted in disdain, but not so much of any of the supposed inferiors’ features or habits. If it were, the deplored could change their status by improving. But the Progressives deplore the “deplorables” not to improve them, but to feel good about themselves. Hating people for what they are and because it feels good to hate them, is hate in its unalloyed form.

Hence, in our revolution, as in others, which side first transgressed civility’s canons matters only historically. In our revolution, as in others, truth comes to be what serves to increase fellow partisans’ animus against socio-political opponents, and words to mean neither more nor less than what serves the speaker at any given time. As Thucydides pointed out, once people cease adhering to “those general laws to which all alike can look for salvation in adversity,” partisan solidarity offers the only immediate hope of safety. And that, in turn, is because “those general laws” are by, of, and for the good of all.

 Once people no longer see any good common to all, justice for each becomes identical with advantage. The only good or justice that prevails is the good or justice of the stronger. As Plato points out in Book I of The Republic, far from being a rare phenomenon, this is mankind’s default state. Hence, among us as well, subjection by force is replacing conviction by argument.

Here too, as contrasting reactions to events fan antagonisms into consuming flames like a bellows’ blows, victory’s triumphs and defeat’s agonies’ become the only alternatives

Although understanding our revolution’s logic tells us nothing about how it will end, keeping it in mind sheds light on what is happening at any given time.

Our Revolution

The 2008 financial crisis sparked an incipient revolution. Previously, Americans dissatisfied with their Progressive rulers had imagined that voting for Republicans might counter them. But then, as three-fourths of Americans opposed bailing out big banks with nearly a trillion dollars, the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates joined; most Republican legislators joined all Democrats; The Wall Street Journal joined The New York Times, and National Review joined The Nation; in telling Americans that doing this was essential, and that their disapproval counted for nothing.

And then, just as high-handedly, all these bipartisan rulers dropped that bailout scheme, and adopted another—just as unaccountably. They showed “government by the people, for the people” to be a fable. This forced the recognition that there exists a remarkably uniform, bipartisan, Progressive ruling class; that it includes, most of the bureaucracies of federal and state governments, the judiciary, the educational establishment, the media, as well as major corporate officials; that it had separated itself socially, morally, and politically from the rest of society, whose commanding heights it monopolized; above all that it has contempt for the rest of America, and that ordinary Americans have no means of persuading this class of anything, because they don’t count.

As the majority of Americans have become conscious of the differences between this class and themselves they have sought ever more passionately to shake it off. That is the ground of our revolution.

Identity and Power

Our time’s sharp distinction between rulers and ruled, the ever decreasing interchange and sympathy between them, is rooted in the disdain for ordinary Americans that the universities have sown since the Civil War. Ordinary Americans and their rulers are alienated now in ways unimaginable to the Northerners and Southerners who killed each other a century and a half ago, but who nodded when Abraham Lincoln noted that they “prayed to the same God.” Both revered the American founding. Both aspired to the same family life. Often, opposite sides’ generals were personal friends. And why not? The schools they attended, the books they read, did not teach them the others’ inferiority. They were one people.

Now, we are no longer one people. In our time, the most widespread of differences between rulers and ruled is also the deepest: The ruled go to church and synagogue. The rulers are militantly irreligious and contemptuous of those who are not. Progressives since Herbert Croly’s and Woodrow Wilson’s generation have nursed a superiority complex. They distrust elections because they think that power should be in expert hands—their own. They believe that the U.S Constitution gave too much freedom to ordinary Americans and not enough power to themselves, and that America’s history is one of wrongs.

 The books they read pretend to argue scientifically that the rest of Americans are racist, sexist, maybe fascists, but above all stupid. For them, Americans are harmful to themselves and to the world, and have no right to self-rule. That is why our revolution started from a point more advanced in its logic than many others. The anti-establishment “wave elections” of 2010 and 2014, in which the Democratic Party lost Congress and control of a majority of state legislatures, only led America’s Progressive rulers to double down on their positions of power in the judiciary, the media, corporations, etc. The Supreme Court struck down a referendum by liberal California defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had become law by near-unanimity, was overturned bureaucratically and judicially. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, on the books just as firmly, was undone by executive, judicial, bureaucratic, corporate, and mediatic subordination of religious freedom to anti-discrimination.

By the 2016 election, America’s Progressive rulers were demonizing and punishing persons who define male and female by their birth and personal plumbing. 1984’s Big Brother had not been so imperious. The 2016 election’s primaries were all about the American people’s search for means of de-throning increasingly insufferable rulers. Even on the Democratic side, many bridled at their self-serving unaccountability. But since the Democrats are the party of government, it was clear that protection from and vengeance against the existing power structure would have to come from the nominal opposition party.

Yet the Republicans were very much part of the problem. That is why 2016’s real struggle took place within the Republican primaries, the most enduringly significant fact of which is that Jeb Bush, the candidate most closely identified with the Progressive ruling class, spent some $150 million and secured only three convention delegates. Americans in general, and Republicans in particular, were looking for the polar opposite. Donald Trump was out of central casting—seemingly a caricature of what the ruling class said about its opponents. But the words he spoke were less significant than that he spoke with angry contempt for the ruling class. That—and the crowded field that never allowed a head-to-head choice—is what got him the chance to be the alternative to the ruling class. And that is what got him elected President of the United States.

Those who voted for Trump believing or hoping that he would do a, b, or c, were fewer than those who were sure that he offered the only possibility of ending, or at least pausing, the power of an increasingly harmful, intolerant, disdainful, socio-political identity. In 2016 one set of identities revolted against another. That was the revolution’s first turn. “The Resistance” The ruling class’s “resistance” to the 2016 election’s outcome was the second turn. Its vehemence, unanimity, coordination, endurance,and non-consideration of fallback options—the rapidity with which our revolution’s logic has unfolded—have surprised and dismayed even those of us who realized that America had abandoned its republican past.

The “resistance” subsequent to the election surprises, in part, because only as it has unfolded have we learned of its scope prior to the election. All too simply: the U.S government’s upper echelons merged politically with the campaign of the Democratic Party’s establishment wing, and with the media. They aimed to secure the establishment candidates’ victory and then to nullify the lost election’s results by resisting the winners’ exercise of legitimate powers, treating them as if they were illegitimate.

The measure of the resistance’s proximate success or failure would come in the 2018 elections. Partisan “dirty tricks” are unremarkable. But when networks within government and those who occupy society’s commanding heights play them against persons trying to unseat them, they constitute cold civil war against the voters, even coups d’etat. What can possibly answer such acts? And then what? These people, including longstanding officials of the FBI and CIA, are related to one another intellectually, morally, professionally, socially, financially, politically, maritally, and extramaritally. Their activities to stop the anti-establishment candidate, and president—in this case, Trump—have spanned the public and private realms, and involved contacts in Britain and Australia. They enjoy The Washington Post’s, The New York Times’, the Associated Press’s, CBS’, NBC’s,  ABC’s, and CNN’s unquestioning megaphone effect to the rest of the media.

The Democratic Party’ opposition “research,” for which the wife of a senior FBI official was partly responsible, was cross-validated by the FBI and became the substance of a counterintelligence warrant for surveilling the Trump campaign.

After Trump’s victory, the intelligence agencies’ summits continued their political and socially partisan alliance as “resistance” against the elected President. Even before inauguration, the Times and the Post published what the highest intelligence officials said were the agencies’ conclusion (no evidence, just conclusions) based on highly classified information, that Trump had “colluded” with Russia to steal the election.

When the surveillance and the investigation turned up nothing, intelligence and Justice Department officials played peek-a-boo with snatches of classified information behind transparently bogus claims of national security, and tried to catch him in perjury traps and other “procedural violations.” With the Media’s help, they created headlines and hampered Trump from governing. Two years later, the agencies continue to fight Congress’s demand that the classified bases for the allegations be made public. The intelligence agencies’ “resistance” has also meant that the executive aides whose jobs require security clearances—nearly all do—are hostage to these agencies’ agendas.

Even as Trump was being inaugurated, CIA withdrew the clearance from the official he had appointed to oversee African affairs at the National Security Council. The reason? The young man had criticized the Agency. Trump’s accession to the agencies’ assertion of the power to decide with whom he may or may not speak of the nation’s secrets radically decreased the number and quality of appointees. Trump’s similar deference to the Agencies’ classification and selective leaking of politically sensitive materials has also helped “the resistance.”

The bipartisan ruling class inside and outside the government have made the “resistance” a “full court press.” Non-governmental parts of the ruling class are full partners in the “resistance,” often in partnership with government, from which they draw money directly or via special treatment, with the support, of course, of the media. Planned Parenthood, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the NAACP, and countless other such groups have helped restrict the 2016 election’s effects by an unending stream of lawsuits and “reports,” amplified by the press, that have intensified attacks on the politically incorrect.

Silicon Valley’s corporate giants played a large and growing part. Since well before the 2016 election, suppressing dissent has been at the very top of Progressives’ agenda. Suppression of dissent is what Political Correctness is all about. The First Amendment and dedication to freedom of speech’s deep roots in American life have limited its grip and blunted the ruling class’s efforts to penalize whatever they choose to call “hate speech.” E.g., one Blake Lemoine, a senior engineers at Google, discussed with colleagues censoring anything favorable to Tennessee’s Republican senatorial candidate, Marsha Blackburn because said they, she is a terrorist.

Such talk in such places is as good evidence as any of how broad and deep is the assault on Americans’ freedom of speech. Every executive order, every law, every utterance, occasions obstruction, and obloquy in the strongest terms. Reductio ad Hitlerum is commonplace.

Since the beginning of the Trump administration, some federal district court judge somewhere has either stayed or outright declared every action of his and his subordinates unconstitutional, dictated remedies, and passed that off as the rule of law.

Thus do such judges exercise the powers of the president and Congress. At a minimum, fighting such obstruction through the appellate courts (panel and then en banc) and then to the Supreme Court takes months or years. And since the Supreme Court has been the Left agendas’ chief legitimizer, holding on to it by any and all means has been a priority.

Pons asinorum

 The revolutionary import of the ruling class’ abandonment of moral and legal restraint in its effort to reverse election results cannot be exaggerated. Sensing themselves entitled to power, imagining themselves identical with legitimacy, “those general laws to which all alike can look for salvation in adversity“—here the US Constitution and ordinary civility—are small stuff to them. Their ruling class’s behavior regarding Judge Brett Kavanaugh’ nomination to the Supreme Court has been a further, epochal step in this regard. No one doubted that the ruling class would “Bork” Kavanaugh. But the 1986 attacks on Judge Bork had caricatured his ideas, not slandered the man. The 1991 charges against Clarence Thomas, though untrue, had involved an accuser who actually had contact with him and hence might possibly have been true. But it was virtually impossible for the accusations against Kavanaugh to be true. Their patently insincere manner and substance advertised their purely slanderous nature. Those who made them did so knowing that all alleged witnesses denied knowledge of the event.



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, November 28, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Compares Migrant Caravan To Jews Fleeing Holocaust

As usual, she is being brainless.  The central Americans in the caravan have asylum already -- in Mexico.  They are in no danger where they are.  The Mexican government even has a resettlement scheme for them which some of them -- likely the genuine refugees among them -- have accepted.  Those remaining in the caravan are simply economic migrants, trying to steal access to assets and systems in the USA built up by others

New York Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday compared members of the migrant caravan attempting to enter the United States to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany during the Holocaust.

Members of the caravan on Sunday rushed the border at the San Ysidro port of entry, which connects Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, California.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol closed the port of entry in response and reportedly used tear gas to disperse the crowd of migrants.

Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to denounce the treatment of the caravan members.

“Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime,” she wrote. “It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany. It wasn’t for targeted families fleeing Rwanda. It wasn’t for communities fleeing war-torn Syria. And it isn’t for those fleeing violence in Central America,” she added.

Some of the caravan members reportedly threw rocks at American authorities before tear gas was used.



Migrants Arrested And Deported After Rushing the U.S. Border

Members of both American and Mexican law enforcement are delivering justice to the migrant caravan that’s attempting to storm the U.S.-Mexico border, making dozens of arrests and hundreds of deportations.

While the media was happy to give the caravan cover as mere “asylum seekers” (and certainly some percentage of the caravan are simply asylum seekers), law enforcement knows better.

As we reported earlier today, border patrol has thus-far apprehended 42 migrants from the caravan, who were throwing rocks at law enforcement (strange behavior for asylum seekers, don’t you think?). Caravan migrants stormed the U.S.-Mexico border when they reached it yesterday, rather than legitimately claim asylum. The majority of those arrested were adult males.

Ironically, our response has been comparatively tame compared to Mexico’s, who is outright deporting caravan migrants. According to the Washington Examiner, “The Mexican government announced Sunday evening that it will deport nearly 500 migrants who rushed the U.S. border between Tijuana and San Diego. In a statement, Mexico’s interior department said these migrants were captured with the help of local authorities of the government from the state of Baja California and will be deported after attempting to cross the border ‘violently’ and ‘illegally.'”

It’s not right-wingers in the media presenting the caravan as a violent invasion, it’s Mexican authorities themselves. Indeed, the caravan appears less popular on Mexico’s side of the border than in the mainstream media. While members of the media are happy to brand any criticism of the caravan as “racist,” Mexican’s are protesting the caravan en-masse. Tijuana’s mayor joined the protests sporting a “Make Tijuana Great Again” hat.

The Myth of “Racist” Border Control

Anyone that’s ever derided pro-border control policies as “racist” should see Mexico’s response to the caravan as a complete refutation of that (but they won’t). In addition to the overwhelming opposition the Mexican public is having to the caravan (which isn’t even trying to migrate to their country), Mexico’s immigration laws are stricter than ours in some regard. In addition to deporting more illegal immigrants to Central America than the United States, Mexico:

* Rejects a far larger percent of requests for asylum than the U.S.

* Regulations immigration based on race, as not to disrupt the “domestic demographic equilibrium.”

* Vigorously enforces their “invisible” border with Guatemala.



You’ve Been Hoaxed! The ‘Illegal Alien Mom With Barefoot Kids’ Photo Was Staged

Yesterday’s Headline is today’s hoax. The illegal alien mother ‘fleeing’ from the border wall was all a lie. It was a setup.

After further review, yesterday’s ‘horrific’ picture of a woman with barefoot children running from the US border wall was a hoax. In the background of the picture a group of men are posing for one camera man and another is running towards another camera man. In other areas, people are just standing around. The woman with the children was just a photo-op:

The Gateway Pundit notes: The high resolution picture shows guys in the background posing for a cameraman proving again that liberals are easily fooled:



Trump on Monday: 'We Will Close the Border Permanently If Need Be'

President Donald Trump began his work-week very early Monday morning, tweeting before 6:30 a.m.:

"Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!"

Television footage on Sunday showed a crowd of illegal immigrants trying to storm the U.S. border in Tijuana, near San Diego. The rushing of the border prompted U.S. Border Patrol agents to close the San Ysidro port of entry to both foot and vehicular traffic on Sunday morning through late Sunday afternoon.

When some of the caravan members tried to rush into the U.S. outside the port of entry, federal agents fired tear gas to turn them back, press reports said.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted, "Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border, or if originating countries would not let them form (it is a way they get certain people out of their country and dump in U.S. No longer). Dems created this problem. No crossings!"



Poll: Immigration Up Sharply as No. 1 Problem in U.S.A.

A new survey shows that Americans view "immigration/illegal aliens" as the number one problem facing the United States this month. It was cited by 21% of Americans as the most important problem and this percentage is up from 13% in October, an increase of 8 percentage points.

In the survey, Gallup asked Americans to mention the problems they view as most important. Gallup reported the answers for problems  cited by at least 3% of respondents.

At the top of the list was "immigration/illegal aliens" at 21%.

"Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership" came in second at 18%.

"Healthcare" was third at 11% and "unifying the country" was tied at fourth and fifth with "Race relations/Racism," both at 9%.

"Unemployment/jobs" was at the bottom of the list, tied with "Education," at 3%.

Neither climate change nor gun control made the list.

"Americans are more likely to name immigration as the top problem facing the U.S. in November than they were in October -- it surged to 21% from 13%," said Gallup. "Mentions of healthcare as the most pressing issue also increased, from 6% last month to the current 11%."

"The current 21% who cite immigration or illegal aliens is about as high as the record 22% Gallup recorded in July," reported Gallup.  "The issue's move to the top of the list comes after a large group of Central American immigrants, widely described in the media as a caravan, formed last month with intentions of crossing the U.S. border."

"It became politicized by President Donald Trump, who declared the caravan a 'national emergency' and sent 5,000 troops to the border to try to prevent illegal entries," said the survey firm.

Gallup further reported, "Currently, 35% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. -- consistent with the 33% to 38% range for this issue since May. Twin 38% readings, recorded in June and October, marked a 12-year high for the measure."

Gallup conducted its survey Nov. 1-11, prior to and after the Nov. 6 midterm elections.



Let’s Give Thanks For Leftists Being Themselves

Traditionally, CHQ has posted a Thanksgiving message lauding the history of Thanksgiving and asking our readers and friends to join us in the traditions and quintessentially American spirit of the holiday. And we extend that greeting and good wishes again this year to our readers and friends.

But we also have a somewhat counterintuitive cause for thanksgiving this year that we want to share with our conservative, populist and libertarian friends.

We ask that everyone give a brief thanks for the fact that the mask is finally off the new Radical Leftist  Alexandria Ocasio CortezDemocrats, and that Americans are going to be given the opportunity to see them, and their frightening vision for America’s future, in wide screen technicolor now that they have the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

True, had Republicans maintained the majority in the House, many of us would be giving thanks for the Divine intervention that preserved that GOP majority despite its many lies, failures and betrayals, but one should also recognize the providential hand in revealing the truth about the Democrats that had been successfully hidden behind the veil of Republican incompetence.

While Democrats ran their campaigns on their traditional issues of giving voters free stuff, such as health care for all, that was not really why they were running for office, and now that they have the House majority their real agenda is slowly being revealed.

You may recall that we shared with CHQ readers Prof. Angelo Codevilla’s recent essay “Our Revolution’s Logic” and highlighted his conclusion that, “Progressives deplore the ‘deplorables’ not to improve them, but to feel good about themselves. Hating people for what they are and because it feels good to hate them, is hate in its unalloyed form.”

People of good will might be inclined to object to that characterization of Democrats: Surely “public service” or a desire to help the less fortunate or other eleemosynary ideals motivate most people seeking public office they would argue.

Post-election, Democrats have, without apology, proven that idealistic view to be complete bunk.

Rep. Eric Swalwell on Friday said the U.S. government would use its nuclear weapons in a hypothetical war against Second Amendment supporters refusing to give up their firearms.

As Fox News reported, the California Democrat, who is openly considering a run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020, made the outlandish remark on social media after a gun-rights advocate pointed out that the lawmaker once called for gun owners to surrender their assault weapons.

“So basically @RepSwalwell wants a war. Because that's what you would get. You're outta your f------ mind if you think I'll give up my rights and give the [government] all the power," Joe Biggs tweeted at Swalwell.

This prompted Swalwell to defend himself, saying it would be a “short war” because “the government has nukes,” implying the government would use its nuclear arsenal against its own citizens.

Does Democrat Eric Swalwell want to improve you or help you? No, he wants to kill you if you disagree with him.

Democrats like Rep. Eric Swalwell aren’t running because they are committed to “public service” or to improving life for the American people; they’re running to make you do things you may not want to do, and they want to use all the power the government has to bend you to their will.

The Democrats have also elected two Muslim women to Congress, and they are already getting the truth out about the anti-Semitism that has infected the Democratic Party, particularly at its youthful grassroots level.

Representative-elect Ilhan Omar (MN-5) and Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, been feted in the national news media for becoming the first Muslim women in Congress, gracing the cover of magazines and becoming the subjects of glowing profiles. However, omitted from all of that oozing reporting is the inconvenient truth that Omar and Tlaib are about as anti-Semitic as you can get.

As Tiana Lowe documented in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, in 2014, Tlaib headlined an anti-Israel “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” rally with Dawud Walid, a flagrant anti-Semite who has blamed the "wrath of Allah" on "the Jews." Tlaib is also a friend of Linda Sarsour and an admirer of Rasmea Odeh, an anti-Semitic terrorist.

Omar's rhetoric is far more openly unhinged on the matter. In 2014, Omar tweeted, "Israel has hypnotizes the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel." This year she called Israel an "apartheid regime."

Lest any American be left wondering what all of this means, it means that for the first time since the fall of the Democrats’ southern power base in the Ku Klux Klan, anti-Semitism will have open advocates on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

And then there is Democratic – Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the new face of the Democratic Party, whose incredibly dumb comments have launched a cottage industry of internet memes and social media trolling.

You can view two good ones through these links: Ken Webster Jr’s Pursuit of Happiness Radio Show and another by Amanda Head of “socialism makes you stupid.” However, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s dumb comments mask a hard-Left Socialist agenda that is anything but a joke.

Healthcare is a “human right,” says Representative-elect Ocasio-Cortez, and “the most very basic needs to sustain modern life should be guaranteed in a moral society.”

What’s more, “Capitalism has not always existed in the world and will not always exist in the world,” and Ms.  Ocasio-Cortez “can't name a single issue with roots in race that doesn't have economic implications, and I cannot think of a single economic issue that doesn't have racial implications. The idea that we have to separate them out and choose one is a con.”

All of this socialist cant is mixed in with complaints that Ocasio-Cortez can’t afford an apartment in DC until her congressional salary kicks in (despite declaring between $5,000 and $15,000 in cash on her financial disclosure) and promises that Democrats will act on her Socialist Manifesto "If we work our butts off to make sure that we take back all three chambers of Congress — uh, rather, all three chambers of government: the presidency, the Senate, and the House…"

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez may not be as dumb as she often sounds, her social media presence shows a certain strategic sense that bears further study, but what she says about where she wants to take America should mobilize every limited government constitutional conservative to action between now and the 2020 election.

There’s much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving; a world at relative peace, a booming U.S. economy and a President who has worked hard to lift the heavy hand of government from the backs of America’s working families. But let’s not forget to also give thanks for the power of truth, as Democrats, through their own words, slowly disclose who they really are.



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, November 27, 2018

Is Ocasio-Cortez the gift to the GOP that keeps on giving?

Democrats are starting to turn on each other as the Democratic Party moves further left, and it’s only going to help Republicans in the end.

Far-left Democrats and so-called progressives were ecstatic about the election of self-described democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but some of her peers in Congress are probably less thrilled. Last week, Ocasio-Cortez made it known that she was setting her sights on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi by protesting in her office with a group of environmental activists.

On Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez confirmed that she will be opposing establishment Democrats who are not left-wing enough.

Ocasio-Cortez teamed up with far-left group Justice Democrats to launch a campaign to challenge some Democrats in primaries, according to Politico.

“Long story short, I need you to run for office,” she urged far-left radicals.

If there is one thing that Democrats in Congress care about, it’s their comfortable jobs.

“All Americans know money in politics is a huge problem, but unfortunately the way that we fix it is by demanding that our incumbents give it up or by running fierce campaigns ourselves,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “That’s really what we need to do to save this country. That’s just what it is.”

Ocasio-Cortez continued her rhetoric against incumbent Democrats on Twitter.

“If you’re a strong progressive leader in your community and committed to getting money out of politics, I want you to join me in Congress. I want you to run,” she tweeted.

The ever-increasing movement to the left from the Democratic Party base puts other Democrats in a tough spot.

Moderate Democrats have the decision to either sacrifice their values and go along with the madness, or they could try to work with Republicans again.

If Democrats want to keep their seats in Congress, they need to show moderate voters that they won’t succumb to socialism. Working with Republicans to help President Donald Trump’s agenda could help.

Some Democrats might even leave their party after being singled out by the radicals coming in. However, some unprincipled Democrats will likely capitulate and join the radical leftists.

Either way, such a large schism in the party will no doubt hurt Democrats in the long-run. Ocasio-Cortez’s activity could well rip the party apart. And that will only help President Donald Trump. Ocasio-Cortez clearly doesn’t see that now, but she likely will before too long.

If Democrats have an ounce of integrity left, they will see that their party is off the rails. If they don’t, that’s good news for Republicans.



Charting the Danger of the Modern Left
No one understands the dysfunctions and debilitating impact of America’s political system in the swamp better than Mark Melcher and Steve Soukup. For decades between them, they followed Washington for Wall Street at one of America’s largest brokerage houses. For the last 16 years, the two have run their own, independent research shop, delivering political commentary and forecasting to the investment community, studying the intersection between politics and economics. This pushed them into a relentless pursuit of the new left — measuring its deleterious impact on everything it touches — most especially Western civilization.

To this end, Melcher and Soukup have put the fruits of their study into print. “Know Thine Enemy: A History of the Left,” is nearly 1,000 pages long. It has been divided into two volumes, the first of which is available from Amazon (and Barnes & Noble). The purpose of this effort is to teach readers everything they can about the left, its origins and its many forms. They also identify the men and women who pushed back against the left, including the conservative icon Russell Kirk, to whom their book is dedicated.

The authors start their story at the Enlightenment, one of mankind’s greatest achievements, but also one of its most dangerous moments, or as they write in the introduction:

“(The left) emerged in the eighteenth century during the so-called Enlightenment period, and was based on the belief that science and reason should replace religion as the foundation of a modern society. The purveyors of his new ideology had trouble agreeing on details of this new belief system, and this resulted in the wide proliferation of leftist prototypes, among the best-known of which are communism, socialism, Marxism, fascism, and, in the United States, progressivism and liberalism.

"While different from each other in many important ways, all of these models originally shared several important philosophical ideas. These include an aversion to Christianity and religion generally, to capitalism, and to the concept of private property; a belief in the perfectibility of mankind; a belief in the superiority of reason over faith; a claim to an affinity with the working classes; and the promise of a world of peace, equality, and prosperity, free from the evils that religion had foisted on the mankind.”

In volume one, the two political historians trace the left from Voltaire and Rousseau, through the French Revolution, to Kant and Marx, to Great Britain with its Utopian Socialists and Bloomsburies, back to the Continent for the anarchists and proto-fascists, and then to the United States and its “progressives.” Most people think of the left only as Marx and his murderous acolytes, but Melcher and Soukup demonstrate that the left has been a consistent feature of Western civilization since the French Revolution, each scheme dedicated to undermining the existing order and creating a “new” man — whether he likes it or not.

The book allows the left to indict itself by citing the words of leftists themselves — most of which were written by dense and arrogant men in dense and arrogant prose. Fortunately, the authors’ narrative and their collection of easy-to-understand and highly respected secondary sources provide the reader with more than enough information to see just how dangerous and how similar various leftist movements have been.

I have spent my entire career advocating for free-market economic policies, trying to convince the leaders of this country that unnecessary government interference in the marketplace — and let’s face it, most government is totally unnecessary — destroys liberty and inhibits prosperity. The authors help to explain why this effort is absolutely necessary. The authors document the inevitable destruction unleashed by the left wherever it has reared its ugly head. They show how the ideas of leftism played a huge role in the creation of our administrative state, the bureaucratic apparatus that defies the Founders’ instructions that the government exists to secure our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“Know Thine Enemy” is a comprehensive takedown of the left and it should be read by those who want good to triumph over evil. (No, I’m not inciting violence here, but those who have abused political power for their own self-aggrandizement are not just misguided intellects.) Too often, we say that the left is wrong but well-intentioned. Some are. But most simply want government to control other people’s lives and they believe in Stalinistic methods to achieve that goal.

Stalin, Lenin, Marx, Mao, Pol Pot, Antifa, Castro, Che Guevara and the like use power to reduce the sanctity of the individual for the common good of the collective. It is a kind of enslavement that degrades the human spirit and makes us poorer over time. But the real villains here are not the leftists of yesteryear who set back the quest for human freedom and material progress, but the modern left — the academics, the politicians, the media mavens — who know, or should know, full well the destruction and retardation of statism, but still selfishly pursue it.

The underlying message of this book is that the modern left must be stopped and thoroughly discredited before they do society real and irrevocable harm.



An anti-poverty program even conservatives can love

Why subsidizing wages is the best way to help lower-income Americans — and their communities.

For most of America, it’s been the economic recovery that wasn’t. The most prosperous fifth of the nation’s ZIP codes account for all job growth since 2007, according to the Economic Innovation Group’s Distressed Communities Index; the rest of the country has experienced a net employment loss. Just five counties account for the entire gain in business establishments; the rest of the country has fewer than before the recession hit.

We need to spread prosperity more widely, but we have little experience doing that well. Government efforts to spur development in a particular place tend to falter, with resources steered by the political process toward boondoggles that do little to buttress a region’s economic vitality. Most support ends up coming from our safety net’s transfer payments, which help to meet people’s immediate needs but perversely weaken the labor market in the process.

There’s a better way, one with bipartisan pedigree, mechanisms for implementation in place and funding available. It’s called a “wage subsidy.”

The principle behind a wage subsidy is simple enough: If society recognizes the value of work and truly wants to promote it, we should be prepared to help pay for it. When you subsidize something, you get more of it. Subsidizing work makes jobs pay more than they otherwise would, attracting people from the sidelines into the labor force. Some of the subsidy’s value accrues to employers, too, who will find it more attractive to create jobs for less-skilled workers. The result is higher employment levels at higher wages, with enormous benefits for not only struggling households, but also struggling communities.

We subsidize work on a limited scale today, through a program called the Earned Income Tax Credit that makes low-income households eligible for substantial payments during tax season each year—more than $5,000 for some families. But the EITC’s annual, lump-sum payments have serious limitations: They align poorly with the financial needs of people living paycheck to paycheck. They don’t make clear the full earnings that workers can expect from low-wage jobs. And as structured today, the benefit goes almost entirely to households with children, even though drawing young, single workers into the labor force should be a top priority.

A properly designed wage subsidy would operate much like the current payroll tax, but in reverse—instead of deducting money from each paycheck based on how much the worker has earned, the government would put money in. The amount would be calibrated to the worker’s hourly wage, so someone earning $9 per hour might get a $3-per-hour subsidy; someone earning $13 per hour might get an extra $1. Once a worker’s market wage reached $15 per hour, the subsidy would cease.

The critical distinction between a wage subsidy and traditional approaches to supporting struggling households and communities is its direct attachment to work. America already transfers more than $1 trillion annually to lower-income households, a total that has surged four-fold since the 1970s even as median wages stagnated. But nearly all that support is provided without reference to work, and in fact usually discourages work. That’s because increases in earned income reduce benefits, which makes the decision to try to earn a living seem a losing proposition for recipients. With a wage subsidy, by contrast, the incentive is reversed: taking a low-wage job is the way to become eligible, and working more is the way to receive a larger benefit.

A parallel problem, and solution, exists for depressed places. Local economies suffering from deindustrialization now rely on the safety net to stay afloat, which means in practice that they “export need.” In other words, instead of making things that others want in return for the goods and services they want from the wider world, they rely on their own lack of earned income to attract transfer payments. Taxpayer largesse supplies them with the things they want in return for nothing at all. The thriving occupational therapy office in an otherwise vacant plaza becomes the town’s exporter, selling to the nation its care of local residents on disability. Using similar logic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture promotes food stamp enrollment as a “win-win for local retailers and communities. Each $5 in new SNAP benefits generates almost twice that amount in economic activity for the community.” Add in Medicare and Social Security, and in vast swaths of the country a third or even a half of all personal income arrives via government benefits.

As with people, a wage subsidy reverses this dynamic for places. Subsidy payments are also transfers, of course, but they arrive in paychecks attached to the community’s productive workers. Rather than rely on people not working to attract dollars from Washington, the community’s workers become its engine of prosperity—and all jobs within the community can be ones that generate resources. To be sure, an economy in which all communities support themselves without transfers is the goal; but until we reach it, a wage subsidy represents the best substitute. Instead of suggesting food-stamp enrollment as the way to help your local economy, the government can suggest getting a job—any job.

Some wage-subsidy proposals have a more explicitly “place-based” orientation, targeting support to depressed regions. This goes too far. For one thing, the politics of deciding who should be eligible would be a nightmare. For another, low-wage workers struggling to make ends meet are a pervasive feature of our national economy, and they deserve this form of support wherever they live. By setting a standard subsidy calculation nationwide, most of the subsidy will already flow to those places that have the weakest labor markets and lowest wage structures.

Certainly, a nationwide subsidy costs more than a targeted one, but America’s ever-expanding safety net already contains the resources to fund the program—resources that are being spent less effectively, in ways that deliver less value to recipients and often discourage work in the process. Without disrupting our support for people who cannot work, we could shift assistance for people who can work—or, indeed, already are working—toward this new form that encourages work and delivers cash in each paycheck to those who do work. Substantial funding would come from replacing the existing Earned Income Tax Credit. Programs like food stamps and disability could revert to their pre-recession scales. Some Medicaid spending, which yields appallingly low returns for recipients, could likewise be redirected. Best of all, as the subsidy moves people back into the workforce, their need for government transfers will decline.

The principle of supporting work is a bipartisan one, but Republicans resist the creation of yet more programs, while Democrats reject any shifting of funds from existing programs as “cuts”—even when the resources would still flow toward low-income households, but in a more effective manner. Both sides, however, can achieve their goals through a wage subsidy. It would make what we already spend go further, strengthen labor markets, reward work and move more families and communities toward self-sufficiency.



Italy: Salvini says going forward on 'father and mother' ID card

Minister says will ignore privacy watchdog's view

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has said the ministry is "going forward" on replacing "parent 1" and "parent 2" with "father" and "mother' on electronic ID cards for children.

"We are going forward" despite the opposition of Italy's privacy watchdog which is against the change, said Salvini.

"There is no privacy guarantor that can deny a child's right to have a mother and a father," he said. The Italian association of municipalities, ANCI, also came out against Salvini's proposed change on Friday.

Family Minister Lorenzo Fontana, a League member, said "well done Matteo, you go forward on right things!".


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)