Friday, February 22, 2019

Do Leftists Believe What They Say?
Truth is not a left-wing value. I first discovered this as a graduate student studying the Soviet Union and left-wing ideologies at the Russian Institute of Columbia University School of International Affairs. Everything I have learned since has confirmed this view.

Individuals on both the left and right lie. Individuals on both the left and right tell the truth. And liberalism, unlike leftism, does value truth. But the further left one goes, the more one enters the world of the lie.

Why does the left lie? There are two main reasons.

One is that leftists deem their goals more important than telling the truth. For example, every honest economist knows women do not earn 20 percent less money than men for the same work done for the same amount of hours under the same conditions. Yet leftists repeat the lie that women earn 78 cents for every dollar men earn. Why any employers would hire men when they could hire women and get the same amount of work done at the same level of excellence for the same number of hours while saving 20 cents on the dollar is a question only God or the sphinx could answer.

So, when New York Times columnists write this nonsense, do they believe it? The answer is they don’t ask themselves, “Is it true?” They ask themselves, “Does the claim help promote the left-wing doctrine that women are oppressed?” Whatever serves that end is morally justified.

The second reason is leftism is rooted in feelings, not reason or truth. From Karl Marx to Bernie Sanders, left-wing preference for socialism over capitalism is entirely rooted in emotion. Only capitalism creates wealth. Socialism merely spends what capitalism creates. Do leftists not know this? Even if they know it, the emotional pull of socialism prevails.

Do leftists believe there are more than two sexes? Of course not. That’s why they renamed “sex” “gender” — and then redefined “gender” to mean whatever one wants it to mean.

So then, on the left, truth is subservient to two higher values: doctrine and emotion. This leads to the question of this column: Do those on the left believe their lies?

Do leftists believe global warming will destroy the world as we know it in 12 years, as recently suggested by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? I don’t know. They seem to talk themselves into believing their hysterias. But they don’t act on them. Here’s a simple proof that the left is lying about the imminent threat of global warming to civilization: Leftists don’t support nuclear power. It is simply not possible to believe fossil fuel emissions will destroy the world and, at the same time, oppose nuclear power. Nuclear power is clean and safe. Sweden, a model country for leftists, meets 40 percent of its energy needs with nuclear power. If you were certain you were terminally ill yet decline a medicine that is guaranteed to cure you, the rest of us would have every reason to assume you didn’t really believe you were terminally ill.

Here’s more evidence the left doesn’t believe its global warming hysteria: How many leftists with beachfront property anywhere in the world have sold it? If leftists really believe global warming will cause the oceans to rise and soon inundate the world’s coastal areas, why would any leftist not sell his beachfront home while he could not only make all his money back but make a profit as well?

Another example of left-wing rhetoric leftists don’t act on: The left tells us that colleges are permeated by a “rape culture,” yet virtually all left-wing parents send their daughters to college. If you were to believe any place has a culture of rape, where 1 in 4 or 5 women is raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, would you send your 18-year-old daughter there? Of course not. So how do any left-wing mothers or fathers send their daughters to college? The answer would seem to be they know it’s a lie — but that doesn’t matter, since the left views telling the truth as incomparably less significant than combating sexism, sexual assault, misogyny, toxic masculinity and patriarchy.

One more example: “Walls don’t work.”

It is inconceivable that people who say this — especially those with walls around their home — believe it. Yet leftists say it with the same degree of ease Stalin labeled Trotsky a fascist, even though Trotsky and Lenin were the fathers of the Bolshevik Revolution.

The question is not whether truth is a left-wing value. The only question is whether leftists believe their lies. And, believe it or not, I still don’t know. So, conduct the following tests and decide for yourself:

Ask anyone you know who says global warming will destroy most life on Earth in 12 years why they don’t advocate nuclear power. If they tell you it’s too dangerous, you know they are hysterics, not followers of science.

Ask anyone you know who believes the global warming threat is an existential one and owns beachfront property why they aren’t selling their beachfront property.

Ask anyone who believes colleges have rape culture why they sent (or are sending) their daughter to college.

It is possible to love truth and be liberal, conservative, libertarian, an atheist, a believer, a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim or a Hindu. But you cannot be a leftist.



More (better) Immigration Plus a Border Wall Make Economic Sense

It was no surprise that President Trump reiterated his demand that Congress pass funding for a wall on the Mexican border during his State of the Union address. The surprise was his off-script comment that he’d like to see increased legal migration to the United States. Increased legal migration in exchange for a border wall makes both political and economic sense.

Congressional leaders are proposing a deal that would secure $1.4 billion for a border wall—far short of the $5.7 billion President Trump requested. But President Trump’s State of the Union remarks hint that both he and Congressional Democrats can do better than this.

He went off the official script when he said, “Legal immigrants enrich our nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.” His script didn’t include “in the largest numbers ever.” It’s precisely through increased legal migration that he can make a political bargain, better secure the southern border, and improve our economy.

Republican bills that bundled border-wall funding and decreased legal immigration in exchange for a path to legality for people brought to the United States illegally as children, so-called Dreamers, failed to pass even when the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress last year. To get bipartisan support, border-wall funding should be coupled with both a path to legality for Dreamers and increased legal migration.

Increased legal immigration could also enhance the effectiveness of any wall in securing the border. Net migration from Mexico has been negative since the Great Recession, according to the Pew Research Center, but economic immigrants looking for better opportunities still flow north in caravans from other Latin American countries. If more immigration visas were issued for people from these countries, they would all come through legal checkpoints. That would put much less pressure on law enforcement and the border.

Law-enforcement resources would be freed up for real criminals, drug-cartel members, and other people ineligible for visas. In short, more visas would dry up legitimate immigrants’ demand to cross the border illegally and any money for a wall or enforcement would become all the more effective at preventing entry by those who intend harm.

An immigration deal along these lines would also improve our economy.

A path to legality for the Dreamers is an obvious no-brainer. They are already in the United States, not going anywhere, and would become more productive if they were granted legal status. This need not be viewed as amnesty by law-and-order Republicans. Normal criminal law holds children to different standards than adults who break the same laws. Why should a child who violated an immigration law, often without any choice in the matter, not also be held to a different standard?

Trump is right that immigrants “enrich our nation.” Immigration, just like international trade in goods, allows Americans to earn more by specializing in those jobs that we’re most productive at. Like trade, it changes the mix of jobs, not the number of jobs, performed by Americans.

Neither does immigration decrease wages for the vast majority of Americans. To the extent that low-skilled immigration harms anyone, it tends to be natives without a high school degree, but even then the impact is small and only temporary.

Studies on the fiscal impact of immigration are more mixed, but most responsible ones find only mild effects in one direction or the other. To the extent that budgetary impacts are a concern, they could easily be addressed with a modest tariff on immigration visas. President Trump seems to be a fan of tariffs.

The United States has been due for immigration reform for over a decade, but partisan politics has stood in the way. If the president means what he said about increasing legal immigration, a path forward exists. Funding a border wall in exchange for increased legal immigration and a path to legality for Dreamers makes both political and economic sense. Politicians on both sides of the aisle should embrace a deal like this.



Ocasio-cortez’s policies are already costing lost jobs and low wages

It is called political risk in investment analysis. It is the risk of what the government is going to do to your investment in a country once you make it.

Political risk in America has generally been low to non-existent. That is because we have a long, highly successful, heritage of free enterprise and capitalism, and officially recorded, constitutionally protected property rights. When we have had wise leaders who have reduced taxes and unnecessary regulations, maximizing economic liberty, the American economy has boomed, creating the broadest, most prosperous middle class and working people in world history.

That is why the American people have always been wise to reject even the hint of socialism in America. They know from first-hand experience that capitalism has made America the richest nation in the history of the planet.

That is not something to be ashamed of, as the socialist Democrats are, because they don’t understand it. America’s wealth and prosperity is not stolen, but produced, by the hard work, skill, and entrepreneurship of the American people. That is what makes us such an insistently independent and free people.

But every time Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her unmasked socialist cohorts openly spout their ignorant, uninformed, poorly thought through socialist lunacies, like raising income taxes back to 70 percent or even 90 percent, raising Social Security payroll taxes on jobs and wages to their highest levels in American history, imposing “wealth” taxes for the first time ever in America, with double taxing death taxes hiked as high as 77 percent, and raising government spending, deficits and debt to the highest in world history (these nuts and dopes say that is fine because we can always print more money), they are creating political risk scaring off those who would bear the burden. They scare off the very investors from around the globe who would invest in America, and create millions of new jobs, and rising wages.

Ms. Cortez, meet President John F. Kennedy, who led Congress to cut income taxes across the board for all, rich and poor, by an equal 23 percent, producing the booming 1960s. Meet President Ronald Wilson Reagan, who led Congress to cut income taxes by 25 percent across the board for all, and then more with bipartisan tax reform to reduce income tax rates all the way to 15 percent for the middle class, and 28 percent for those doing better, creating the booming 1980s. Reagan also introduced zero federal income taxes for the poor. (That policy has resulted in zero federal income taxes for close to 50 percent of all Americans).

Along the way, Reagan found the time to win the Cold War without firing a shot, in British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s famous phrase, with the Soviet Union’s Evil Empire breaking down and disintegrating by 1989.

Economics is not an all or nothing matter. Economics works at the margin. Somewhere in the world, millionaires and billionaires were considering investing in America, creating jobs and demand for labor, increasing wages. But with nonsense growing from socialists calling for socialism in America, some have already been scared off.

Think about the silliness of these Democrats calling for socialism in rich and wealthy America, while workers in Venezuela, formerly the richest country in Latin America, have been reduced to rioting in the streets for food right before our eyes, three hundred miles to the south. Those who are represented by these nutcase socialists: Your fellow Americans say shame on you for betraying us, even if you didn’t vote for them.



Emergency Declaration: Demo States File Obstructionist Lawsuit

Claiming his declaration of a national emergency creates a constitutional crisis, Democrats sue

As President Donald Trump predicted when he announced his decision to declare a national emergency over securing the border, 16 states filed a lawsuit on Monday with the leftist Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump has “veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making,” the states allege. California fronts the list, which includes Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. Notably and not surprisingly, all of these states have Democrat attorneys general and all but one have Democrat governors.

But conservatives have been divided over Trump’s decision as well, with many raising objections over questions surrounding the constitutionality of his action. Others have questioned whether the long-running illegal-immigration and border-enforcement problem is in fact a national emergency.

The National Emergencies Act of 1976 does not define by what parameters a “national emergency” may be determined; rather it grants that authority to the president. What the law does limit is what the president can do once an emergency has been declared. So, to reiterate, the declaration of a national emergency is entirely up to the president’s discretion, but once an emergency has been declared, the actions the president is authorized to take have been limited by Congress. The Federalist’s Sean Davis does a nice job highlighting the two most important statutes related to questions of the president’s authority regarding national emergencies: “one authorizing the president to declare national emergencies (50 U.S.C 1601 et. seq.) and the other authorizing the president to reprogram existing federal appropriations in response to an emergency declaration (10 U.S.C. 2808).”

In our view, Trump has thus far operated fully within the narrow bounds of established federal law. Debating if he should or should not have declared a national emergency is a legitimate argument to have, though conflating “should” with “can” serves only to confuse the matter. Whether his decision will have positive or negative political consequences is another matter entirely from questions of constitutionality or statutory authority.

The better argument to have is over the constitutionality of the law Congress passed in 1976. National emergencies have been invoked 59 times by presidents since, and a total of 18 times by George W. Bush and Barack Obama over their terms. As the legal challenge works its way through the courts, we hope the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the law itself. Until then, blaming Trump for taking advantage of the authority the law grants him is misplaced outrage.



How Many Times Trump’s Predecessors Declared a National Emergency

The push for a border barrier marks President Donald Trump’s fourth declaration of a national emergency—about a third as many as his three immediate predecessors in their two terms.

The number of declared emergencies puts Trump on a par with Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

President Gerald Ford, who signed the 1976 National Emergencies Act, did not declare an emergency under it. His successor, Jimmy Carter, made two such declarations during his single term—one of which is still in effect.

In all, 32 presidential declarations of a national emergency remain in effect, counting Trump’s action Friday, while 21 expired or were canceled.

The overwhelming majority of national emergencies involved either blocking access to U.S.-held assets for bad actors on the world stage or preventing financial transactions with those countries or with international entities and individuals.

Trump’s three immediate predecessors—Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton—each served two four-year terms.

Obama declared a national emergency 13 times and nine of those emergencies are still in effect, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The younger Bush declared a national emergency 14 times, and 10 are still in effect. Clinton made 14 declarations, six of which remain in effect.

Reagan, during two terms, and the elder Bush, during his single term, each declared four national emergencies. None is still in effect.

Although declaring a national emergency is nothing new, Trump’s action faces litigation in part because, unusually, it comes after Congress didn’t provide the amount of border wall funding he requested.

The president said Tuesday in the Oval Office that he isn’t too concerned. He noted that he rightly predicted a lawsuit would be filed in a district court under the jurisdiction of the liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“I have the absolute right to call a national emergency,” Trump said, adding: “I actually think we’ll do very well in the 9th Circuit … because it is an open-and-closed case.”



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, February 21, 2019

Leftist authoritarianism again

Bernie's Running Again: 'Our Campaign Is About Transforming Our Country'

What if some people don't want their country transformed? Bernie is not talking about the rivers and mountains.  He is talking about the people.  He wants to make them do various things that they ordinarily would not. His arrogance is astounding.  What gives him the wisdom and authority to disrupt the lives of 300 million Americans?

Even if a majority do vote for him what about the miniority that did not?  Can the majority give him the rightful authority to mess with the lives of the minority?  He has no doubt of it. He is a true Communist.

"I am running for president because now more than ever, we need leadership that brings us together [by force?], not divides us up," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Tuesday in a video announcement.

Sanders said it's not just about winning: "Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice."

Sanders said he is trying to raise a "million-person grassroots movement" that will "help transform this country so that finally we have a government that works for all of us, and not just a few."

In an interview with CBS News Tuesday morning, Sanders was asked for his opinion of capitalism:

"Look, I think what we see in this country and around the world is a lot of great entrepreneurs, but I think what is happening is some of these folks -- we have a system which allows these people to accumulate huge amounts of income and wealth.

"So when I talk about democratic socialism, somebody wants to call me a radical, okay, here it is. I believe that people are inherently entitled to health care. I believe people are entitled to get the best education they can. I believe that people are entitled to live in a clean environment. People are entitled to have decent-paying jobs. That's what I believe."

Sanders predicted that President Trump will say that Sanders wants the United States to become Venezuela:

"Bernie Sanders does not want to have the United States become the horrific economic situation that unfortunately exists in Venezuela right now," Sanders said. "What Bernie Sanders wants is to learn from countries around the world why other countries are doing a better job in dealing with income and wealth inequality than we are."

Sanders said his 2020 presidential campaign will be a "continuation of what we did in 2016."

"You may recall that in 2016, many of the ideas that I talked about -- Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, making public colleges and universities tuition-free -- all of those ideas, people said, ‘Oh, Bernie, they're so radical, they are extreme. The American people just won't accept those ideas.’

“Well, you know what's happened over three years? All of those ideas and many more are part of the political mainstream.”

"So you're saying the party came your way?" host John Dickerson asked Sanders.

"I don't want to say that," Sanders replied. "I think most people would say that," he added.

In his interview with CBS, Sanders had sharp words for Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks chairman and CEO, who has warned that a radical leftist cannot defeat Donald Trump.

"Oh, isn't that nice!" Sanders told Dickerson. "Why is Howard Schultz on every television station in this country? Why are you quoting Howard Schultz? Because he's a billionaire.

"There are a lot of people I know personally who work hard for a living, make $40-, $50-thousand dollars a year who know a lot more about politics than, with all due respect, does Mr. Schultz. But because we have a corrupt political system, anybody who is a billionaire, who can throw a lot of TV ads on television, suddenly becomes very, very credible.

"So with Mr. Schultz -- what is he, blackmailing the Democratic Party? If you don't nominate Bernie Sanders, he's not going to run? Well, I don't think we should succumb to that kind of blackmail."

Schultz has argued that if you're worried about Donald Trump, Democrats need to pick a candidate who isn't so "radical." "That's also what his theory is," Dickerson told Sanders.

Sanders replied, "I think his deeper theory is, hey, I'm a billionaire, leave me alone and let me make as much money as I can without paying my fair share of taxes. He's a billionaire. He's thinking of running for president, suddenly he's a very famous guy. That is a problem with our political system."



Crowd Goes WILD When Melania demolishes Socialism at Miami Rally

First Lady Melania Trump made a rare appearance at a rally on Monday night in Miami. The audience loved it.

She introduced POTUS Trump and let all the Venezuelan-Americans in the crowd know that she, too, understands how it feels to live without freedom.     “The President and I are honored to stand with all of you as we together support the people, great people, of Venezuela,” Melania said.

    “Many of you in the room know what it feels like to be blessed with freedom after living under the oppression of socialism and communism,” the first lady told the Miami audience in a rare public appearance.

    Melania Trump was born in Slovenia in 1970. 20 years later, Slovenia dropped the “socialist” part of its name but did not became an independent republic until 1991.  She became a permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and obtained citizenship 5 years later.

    President Donald Trump on Monday pleaded with Venezuela’s military to support opposition leader Juan Guaido and issued a dire warning if they continue to stand with President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

    “You will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything,” Trump said in a speech at Florida International University in Miami before large American and Venezuelan flags.  Trump added: “We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open.”

    The Venezuelan military could play a decisive role in the stalemate but has largely remained loyal to Maduro.

    In remarks broadcast on state television, Maduro accused the U.S. president of speaking in an “almost Nazi style” and lashed out at Trump for thinking he can deliver orders to Venezuela’s military.     “Who is the commander of the armed forces, Donald Trump from Miami?” Maduro said. “They think they’re the owners of the country.”

    Trump said “a new day is coming in Latin America,” as he sought to rally support among the largest Venezuelan community in the U.S. for Guaido. The U.S. recognizes him as the country’s rightful president and condemns Maduro’s government and its socialist policies.

    As the monthslong political crisis stretched on, the military has blocked the U.S. from moving tons of humanitarian aid airlifted in recent days to the Colombian border with Venezuela. The aid shipments have been meant in part to dramatize the hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine that are gripping Venezuela. Trump said of Maduro, “He would rather see his people starve than give them aid.”

    For the visit, which was unscheduled, Melania broke first lady precedent by traveling to an active combat zone. To take selfies with soldiers and speak military members, FLOTUS wore a suede mustard belted blouse with dark green pants.



The dangers of democracy have become real with America's empty-headed Democratic party

Democratically elected people’s assemblies historically have been known for their mediocrity, and the U.S. has been no different. The great champion of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, in 1835 observed, “I was surprised to find so much distinguished talent among the citizens and so little among the heads of the government. It is a constant fact that at the present day the ablest men in the United States are rarely placed at the head of affairs,” a condition that worsens the more democratic the government becomes.

But over the last decade, the ineptitude of our Congressmen has increased dramatically, to the point that today Congress looks like the green room for the Gong Show. The last midterm especially brought to Washington some representatives whose abject ignorance of even basic math is astonishing, and whose embrace of ideas hostile to the American Constitutional order are frightening. More troubling, some of them have become the de facto leaders of the Democrat progressives, the mangy tail that today is wagging the already scrofulous dog. The possibilities for entertainment are many, but so are the dangers to our Republic.

The rising star of this dubious cohort is the toothy, goofy Representative from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her Mr. Ed grin and exophthalmic stare are ubiquitous on the internet and cable news. AOC–– she has already earned an honorific acronym­––has become the face of the millennial fad of socialism that was given legs by Bernie Sander’s insurgent presidential candidacy in 2016. For Dems obsessed with regaining power and smiting the hated Donald Trump, however, AOC, though too young to run for president, has better optics and publicity than yet another old white guy who has spent his years in the Senate comfortable with the establishment status quo.

AOC, on the other hand, represents the “future” of the Democrats, still advertised as “the emerging Democratic majority,” as a 2002 book of that name called it, comprising women, minorities, and the college-educated. This new coalition was supposed to do what Thomas Jefferson did to the Federalists in 1800–– “sink federalism into an abyss from which there will be no resurrection for it,” as he accurately predicted. The election of Barack Obama seemingly confirmed the Dems’ optimism, and his carefully groomed successor, Hillary Clinton, promised to continue Obama’s “fundamental transformation of America.”

Donald Trump, of course, stood athwart this “arc of history” yelling “Hell, no!” As the progressives tell the tale, Trump was carried aloft by the racist resentment of white working-class “bitter clingers” and “deplorables.” Colluding with the Rooskies to steal votes, and enabled by the undemocratic remnants of “white supremacism” like the Electoral College, Trump pulled off a coup and deprived the Democrats of their end-of-history consummation.

In reality, the Dems’ wounds were self-inflicted. Instead of heeding the counsel of Bill and moving to the center and reaching out to the forgotten men and women of the working class, Hillary endorsed the new New Left. She didn’t even campaign in the states that pushed Trump over the Electoral College finish line. And then the Democrats drew all the wrong lessons from their shellacking.

The high profile of AOC is the premier example of this lapse in political judgment and blind hubris. Sure, she’s young and “hip,” as the bougie techno-dorks define that term. She’s got a lot of idealistic pep, an emotion prized by those who think enthusiasm and idealism are more important than coherent ideas, philosophical integrity, moral probity, and practical wisdom. And most important for the diversicrat left, she’s a “Latina,” one of those “people of color” who usually on closer inspection turn out to be indistinguishable from a white person of similar education and socio-economic privilege. Not many farmworkers or maids grow up, as AOC did, with a nickname like “Sandy.” She’s what Thomas Sowell calls a “mascot” for white progressives for whom “diversity” is only skin-deep.

Unfortunately, Ocasio-Cortez is, to put it politely, woefully misinformed. Her manifest ignorance is so egregious that it’s easy to believe her policy positions like the Green New Deal are parodies of progressivism, and AOL herself is a Republican Manchurian Candidate whose aim is to discredit the Democrats with contemptuous laughter. Her “Green New Deal” has already been exposed, its violation of the laws not just of economics but of physics, laid bare. It’s a preposterous wish-list redolent of commie Woody Guthrie’s “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” where “handouts grow on bushes,” just like the Green New Deal’s promise to “pay people unwilling to work.” And it’s equally ignorant of the real-world limits that keep the utopian “pie” forever in the “sky.”

What’s more astonishing is that many in her party are climbing on board this preposterous program, mostly the prospective or proclaimed 2020 primary candidates who want to draft off of AOC’s celebrity. But that crew is mediocre and politically inept in its own right. Elizabeth Warren is probably mortally wounded by her appropriation of Cherokee identity for careerist advantage, not to mention her trite, parlor pink anti-capitalism and schoolmarmish demeanor. Corey Booker, another POC “mascot” like AOC, beclowned himself at the Kavanagh inquisition with his bizarre “I am Spartacus” mangled metaphor, and his desperate pivoting from his earlier more moderate record.  Kamala Harris, yet another POC “mascot,” got her break by being San Francisco mayor Willie Brown’s squeeze, and the beneficiary of $400,000 in city money he threw her way. She followed that up with a spotty, often incoherent tenure as California’s Attorney General. And don’t forget her support for “Medicare for All” and her desire to “eliminate all that,” meaning private health insurance.

In short, the sort of candidates that portend a wipeout of 1972 or 1980 proportions. But what’s the alternative for Democrats? Their frenzied hatred of Trump and hysterical tantrums have isolated and marginalized any possible blue centrist who could revive a Clintonian “Third Way” and challenge Trump on terms that appeal to voters outside the base. So too have the Salemite #MeToo hysterics, whose imperative “to believe” ancient charges of sexual assault, and willingness to suspend Constitutional safeguards for the accused, have alienated millions of voters. And now they are eating their own, like Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, a POC accused of two sexual assaults from long ago. So too with the identity-politics Montagnards currently conducting a Thermidor against fellow Democrats like Virginia Governor Ralph Northam for 30-year-old racial offenses.

As for the old white guard, People of Pallor like Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden will have a tough time going up against female POCs. Imagine the primary debates and the eggshells both will have to tread in order to avoid any “microaggressions” or “mansplaining” or “white privilege” airs or inadvertent verbal gaffes detectable only by the commissars of racialist code-talking. It’s also likely we’ll hear more accusations of sexual impropriety like the ones about Sanders’ randy staffers on his 2016 campaign. And “groping” Joe Biden has a video track record of unseemly massaging of women.

You can forget Starbucks plutocrat Howard Schultz, who compounds the crime of being white and male with the worse crime of being richer than his affluent rivals. It takes a millionaire to really hate a billionaire. And he’s already created a lot of bad blood by saying he’ll run as an independent, which the left sees as a typical flabby liberal cop-out. As Pelosi’s refusal to negotiate over couch-change for a border barrier shows, the progressives are going to want hair and blood on the walls, not engage in give-and-take.

What promises to be a political Gong Show, then, will be even more entertaining than the current collection of talentless exhibitionists. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t serious stakes at risk in 2020. I remember the Nineties, when I had fun mocking in print the goofy postmodern “higher nonsense” coming out of the academy. My concern was to defend higher education’s traditional mission of training minds in the skills of critical thought and the great traditions of Western civilization. I saw a long-term decline if such trends continued, but I didn’t realize the consequences could be so immediate and bloody.

It took the carnage of 9/11 to show the dire effects of hilarious intellectual hijinks. The fashionable self-loathing of postmodern multiculturalism had eroded our capacity to understand clearly the motives of the terrorists and their illiberal, anti-humanist, intolerant religious motives. Postcolonial darling Edward Said may have been a prep-schooled phony and an intellectual fop little known beyond the conventions and seminars of mediocre academics, but his works had poisoned the disciplines like history and Middle Eastern Studies that should have been explaining clearly the nature and motives of the West’s oldest enemy. Instead they were apologists for murderers who despised our freedoms and respect for human rights.

In politics as in academe, absurdity, while amusing, can still be dangerous. A progressive victory in 2020 will mark a revival of the destructive forces unleashed during Obama’s two terms. Trump has slowed the assault for now, but we can’t let the buffoonery of the Democrats lull us into complacency. The stakes of failure are too high.



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, February 20, 2019

Why are the Left returning to Communism?

For most of the 20th century, the Left were angry about disparities in income and power and they thought that government control of just about everything would fix that. Stories about poverty and oppression in the Soviet Union were dismissed as "Lies of the capitalist press". I remember being told that personally by an Australian Communist in the '60s.

Self deception is powerful but it was not powerful enough to withstand the "perestroika" and "glasnost" of Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev. When the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union said that Sovetskaya Rossiya had big problems, even the most diehard Leftist had to sit up and take notice.  And the complete implosion and breakup of the Soviet Union under Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin threw the whole of Leftist ideology into a cocked hat.  Their great examplar of an alternative system to capitalism was gone as if in a puff of wind.

So we all know what happened after that.  Talk about money and power took a back seat among the Left.  Instead political correctness reigned supreme -- and still does mostly.  It was no longer the poor to whom the Left offered their dubious sympathies but rather every downtrodden or disadvantaged group under the sun.  They no longer had a grand narrative but they could nag. There have already emerged from the Left some intimations of support for pedophilia so that will undoubtedly blossom in due course. Anything to upset the status quo

Memories are short, however, and the Soviet disappointment no longer is in the mind of many Leftists -- not only young Leftists but also in the aged minds of people like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, who should know better.  They probably do know better  but count of the ignorance of the masses who never knew much about communism and who have now forgotten what little they knew.

Communism is an extreme expression of envy and envy has always been a strong force politically so it is a very promising road to power among unscrupulous and ambitious frauds.  It gave the Left half the world for a time.

So in America we now have a resurgence of the old fraudulent  ideas of the 20th century Left.  What Bernie Sanders and Occasio Cortez preach is as if communism never happened.  The old reality-defying ideas about using vast government legislation to correct imbalances of power and wealth have roared back.  America managed to withstand such ideas in the 20th century so we can have good hopes that this new outburst of authoritarianism will not succeed --  but we cannot be complacent.

There is a big article in The Economist that gives a comprehensive but rather skeptical outline of current Leftist thinking.


Leftist hatred of their own society is at an all-time high

The recent news that the University of Notre Dame, responding to complaints by some students, would “shroud” its twelve 134-year-old murals depicting Christopher Columbus was disappointing. It was not surprising, however, to anyone who has been paying attention to the widespread attack on America’s past wherever social justice warriors congregate.

Notre Dame may not be particularly friendly to its Catholic heritage, but its president, the Rev. John Jenkins, demonstrated that it remains true to its jesuitical (if not, quite, its Jesuit) inheritance. Queried about the censorship, he said, apparently without irony, that his decision to cover the murals was not intended to conceal anything, but rather to tell “the full story” of Columbus’s activities.

Welcome to the new Orwellian world where censorship is free speech and we respect the past by attempting to elide it.

Over the past several years, we have seen a rising tide of assaults on statues and other works of art representing our nation’s history by those who are eager to squeeze that complex story into a box defined by the evolving rules of political correctness. We might call this the “monument controversy,” and what happened at Notre Dame is a case in point: a vocal minority, claiming victim status, demands the destruction, removal, or concealment of some object of which they disapprove. Usually, the official response is instant capitulation.

As the French writer Charles PĆ©guy once observed, “It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.” Consider the frequent demands to remove statues of Confederate war heroes from public spaces because their presence is said to be racist. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, for example, has recently had statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson removed from a public gallery. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has set up a committee to review “all symbols of hate on city property.”

But it is worth noting that the monument controversy signifies something much larger than the attacks on the Old South or Italian explorers.

In the first place, the monument controversy involves not just art works or commemorative objects. Rather, it encompasses the resources of the past writ large. It is an attack on the past for failing to live up to our contemporary notions of virtue.

In the background is the conviction that we, blessed members of the most enlightened cohort ever to grace the earth with its presence, occupy a moral plane superior to all who came before us. Consequently, the defacement of murals of Christopher Columbus—and statues of later historical figures like Teddy Roosevelt—is perfectly virtuous and above criticism since human beings in the past were by definition so much less enlightened than we.

The English department at the University of Pennsylvania contributed to the monument controversy when it cheered on students who were upset that a portrait of a dead white male named William Shakespeare was hanging in the department’s hallway. The department removed the picture and replaced it with a photograph of Audre Lorde, a black feminist writer. “Students removed the Shakespeare portrait,” crowed department chairman Jed Esty, “and delivered it to my office as a way of affirming their commitment to a more inclusive mission for the English department.” Right.

High schools across the country contribute to the monument controversy when they remove masterpieces like Huckleberry Finn from their libraries because they contain ideas or even just words of which they disapprove.

The psychopathology behind these occurrences is a subject unto itself. What has happened in our culture and educational institutions that so many students jump from their feelings of being offended—and how delicate they are, how quick to take offense!—to self-righteous demands to repudiate the thing that offends them? The more expensive education becomes the more it seems to lead, not to broader understanding, but to narrower horizons.



US Constitution Rejects Premise of Judicial Supremacy – And So Should All Americans

Americans today are inclined to accept, without thinking much about it, the idea of judicial supremacy.

We think that the federal courts—and especially the Supreme Court—have an extensive discretion to decide for us the big questions of public policy that come before the nation.

After all, the Supreme Court has taken upon itself the authority to decide whether and to what extent abortion may be regulated, and, more recently, to decide the definition of marriage.

Moreover, we think that the court’s decisions on such questions are final, that there is no way the people or their representatives can effectively assert their own understanding of the Constitution against what was laid down by the judges.

As I explain in a new “First Principles” paper for The Heritage Foundation, Americans should reconsider this uncritical embrace of judicial supremacy.

Judicial supremacy is inconsistent with the much more modest conception of the judicial power put forward by the American Founders. Moreover, it is inconsistent with the fundamental American aspiration to be a self-governing people.

The classic founding exposition of the judicial power is provided by Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist Papers. There, Hamilton emphasizes the limited character of the judicial power envisioned by the Constitution.

A properly functioning judiciary, he contended, will be the “least dangerous branch” of the federal government and the “weakest of the three departments of power.”

The power of judicial review, Hamilton explained, is essential to maintaining a limited Constitution. But judicial review does not bestow on courts a wide-ranging discretion to decide what is good and just for the country.

Rather, it empowers courts to strike down laws only in those cases in which there is an “evident opposition” between the law and the Constitution.

The judicial power, in other words, exists to defend the clear provisions of the Constitution, not to empower judges to find new, previously unheard of rights, based on novel theories.

Moreover, Hamilton reminds us that the Founders never intended the courts to have an unfettered power to determine the meaning of the Constitution without having to answer to the people or their political representatives.

After all, Hamilton presents the judiciary as the weakest branch in part because it has to “ultimately depend on the aid of the executive arm for the efficacy of its judgments.”

That is as much as to say that the executive may decline to lend its aid to the courts when they have overstepped the proper bounds of their power.

Finally, The Federalist Papers remind us that judges who abuse their judicial authority are subject to impeachment. Judicial usurpation of the powers of the other branches of government, Hamilton argued, would be deterred by “the power of instituting impeachments in one part of the legislative body, and of determining upon them in the other.”

The power over impeachment “alone” would provide “a complete security” against an overreaching judiciary, because there “can never be a danger that the judges, by a series of deliberate usurpations on the authority of the legislature, would hazard the resentment of” Congress, which possesses “the means of punishing their presumption, by degrading them from their stations.”

Recovering the Founders’ limited conception of the judicial power is necessary to preserving the integrity of the American people as a self-governing people.

By rejecting judicial supremacy, we ensure that when the people’s will is thwarted by the courts, the people, through their political representatives, still retain the authority to reassert their will when they have not been persuaded by the reasoning of the judges.

That surely is essential to the self-respect of a self-governing people, that they must be persuaded—not commanded—by the courts.

That, too, is the promise of the American experiment: self-government under the laws and the Constitution, not under the discretionary supervision of judges.



Attention Working Americans: Democrats Want To Hike Payroll Taxes By $1.5 Trillion

Amid all the hoopla about Democrats wanting to raise taxes on the rich, they are quietly working on a bill that would increase taxes on every working family in America. Why? To fund expanded benefits for baby boomers hitting retirement.

The Social Security 2100 Act would hike the combined payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers from 12.4% today to 14.8% by 2043. The bill would also apply the payroll tax on incomes over $400,000.

According to the Social Security Administration, in the first 12 years alone, this would amount to a $1.5 trillion tax hike.

A Staggering Social Security Tax Hike
Once the tax hike's fully phased in, workers and employers will be paying $340 billion more a year in payroll taxes.

As a share of GDP, Social Security taxes would rise to 6.5%, up from the current 4.5%.

For families making the median income, it means paying an extra $720 a year to Social Security. But that's only half the tax bite. The employer's share effectively comes out of workers' pockets as well, in the form of lower wages. So, the real increase is more like $1,400 a year.

It is, in other words, a staggering tax hike.

The economic effects of this hike will not be pleasant. Andrew Biggs, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, explained to the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this month, the impacts will likely be: a reduction in the labor supply, as well as less private savings and more household debt, particularly among lower-income families.

Biggs also notes that such a tax hike will raise far less money than predicted, not only because there will be fewer jobs, but because the payroll tax hikes will suppress wage growth, which will mean less income tax revenue.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. John Larson, says that, even so, this plan will not only keep Social Security solvent, it will allow for a big increase in benefits.

More Social Security Benefits

Among other things, Larson wants an across-the-board increase in benefits for current and future retirees. A higher annual cost of living adjustment. And a stronger minimum benefit.

"The Social Security 2100 Act shows that Social Security is affordable," Larson says. "It increases benefits and strengthens the Trust Fund, and it is fully paid for." The bill has some 200 co-sponsors — all Democrats.

On paper, at least, Larson is correct.

Number crunchers at the Social Security Administration said that, even with the added benefits, the plan would keep the program solvent for at least the next 75 years.

But that's just an educated guess. And not a very good one.

First, it doesn't account for the negative effects the tax hike would have on jobs, wages and economic growth.

Second, the Social Security Administration doesn't exactly have a stellar record when it comes to making such long-term projections.

For example, in 1983, the federal government boosted Social Security taxes, and cut benefits. This was supposed to keep Social Security on a sound footing for 75 years or more. In fact, the Social Security Administration predicted that the program would be running annual surpluses until about 2025.

In reality, Social Security started running annual deficits in 2010. By 2025, these annual shortfalls are on track to likely top $202 billion. The Trust Fund is now on track to become insolvent by 2034.

By expanding benefits now, and hoping the tax hikes will fill in the gap later, Larson risks only further destabilizing the program's already shaky finances.

A Better Way

There's a bigger problem with this plan, however.

Social Security is already too gargantuan. (It eats up 24% of the federal budget.) It takes too large a share of workers' incomes, discouraging private savings. And for most people working today, it provides a lousy — often negative — rate of return.

Rather than expanding Social Security, the U.S. should be moving in the opposite direction through partial privatization. Let workers put more of their own hard-earned money in personal savings accounts that can't help but perform better than Social Security.

After all, that's what Sweden did in the 1990s, when it realized its public retirement program was going bankrupt. And we all know how much Democrats love to compare the U.S. to countries like Sweden.



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, February 19, 2019

Gross hypocrisy and Leftist bias in Wikipedia: Altemeyer

Revised and updated

I put up some information on the Wikipedia page for Bob Altemeyer.  Altemeyer is a particularly witless Leftist psychologist who made large and derogatory claims  about conservatives that he later had to retract.  But there was nothing on his Wikipedia page about that retraction.  So I put up a brief account of that.  What I put up was wholly scholarly and fully referenced -- just what Wikipedia says it wants.  But criticism of Leftists is not allowed of course, so my contribution was deleted after only a few days.

I imagine that they will find some quibble to justify their deletion of my entry but I am pretty sure that the outcome would have been different had I praised brainless Bob. Anyway, after a couple of run-ins with them, I have no confidence in being able to navigate my way onto Wikipedia again -- so I am putting up below what I originally submitted to Wikipedia. Altemeyer is an unusual name so a Google search on that name should still find my comments, whether the Wikipedians like it or not:

The centerpiece of Altemeyer's research is a questionnaire he designed called the Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) scale. If you get a high score on it you are allegedly revealed as a Right-Wing Authoritarian. A major problem with the RWA scale is revealed, however, when we find that it identifies the Communists of the old Soviet Union as right-wing.  But if they are right-wing who is left wing? 

His confusion arises from his apparent  definition of conservatism as "opposed to change".  That definition is however politically naive.  Conservatives from Burke onward have never been opposed to change as such but rather opposed to changes desired and enacted by Leftists.  Is Donald Trump opposed to change? The current Left/Right polarity is between conservatives who want less government control and Leftists who want more of that.  Altemeyer seems to be unaware of that so his work has no current political relevance.

In detail: The decline and fall of Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe enabled use of his RWA ("Right Wing Authoritarianism") scale there. Studies in the East such as those by Altemeyer & Kamenshikov (1991), McFarland, Ageyev and Abalakina-Paap (1992) and Hamilton, Sanders & McKearney (1995) showed that high RWA scores were associated with support for Communism!! So an alleged "Rightist" scale went from being Rightist to being a predictor of Leftism! If you took it at face-value, it showed Communists were Rightists!

After that, Altemeyer more or less gave up his original claim and engaged in a bit of historical revisionism. He said (Altemeyer, 1996, p. 218) that when he "began talking about right-wing authoritarianism, I was (brazenly) inventing a new sense, a social psychological sense that denotes submission to the perceived established authorities in one's life". It is true that he did originally define what he was measuring in something like that way (in detail, he defined it as a combination of three elements: submissiveness to established authority, adherence to social conventions and general aggressiveness) but what was new, unusual or "brazen" about such a conceptualization defies imagination. The concept of submission to established authority was, for instance, part of the old Adorno et al (1950) work. What WAS brazen was Altemeyer's claim that what he was measuring was characteristic of the political Right. But it is precisely the "Right-wing" claim that he now seems to have dropped and the RWA scale is now said to measure simply submission to authority. See:

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

    Altemeyer, R. (1996). The Authoritarian Specter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Altemeyer, R. & Kamenshikov, A. (1991) Impressions of American and Soviet behaviour: RWA changes in a mirror. South African J. Psychology 21, 255-260.

    Hamilton, V. L., Sanders, J., & McKearney, S. J. (1995). Orientations toward authority in an authoritarian state: Moscow in 1990. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 356-365

    McFarland, S. G., Ageyev, V. S., & Abalakina-Paap, M. A. (1992). Authoritarianism in the former Soviet Union. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 1004-1010


What I said above was designed to be acceptable encyclopedic writing but I can go further than that.  I can offer a more extended critique of Altemeyer's work.  And continued critique would seem to be needed.  The RWA scale is still widely used in psychological research and generally seems to be used without any awareness of the invalidity of the instrument.  It is still commonly paraded as a measure of something right-wing, which it clearly is not.  So I think a more extended consideration of what it measures is called-for.

In the beginning

In one sense, what it measures is perfectly clear;  It measures the old 1950 Adorno  conception of authoritarianism -- in which Marxist theoretician Theodor  Adorno and his friends claimed to have discovered a "new anthropological type": The authoritarian.  Authoritarians were conservative, racist, both dominant and submissive, rigid in their thinking, "intolerant of ambiguity",  and a product of bad relationships with their father. The authoritarian was just a maladjusted psychological mess generally. Adorno did not claim that all conservatives were authoritarian but it became generally assumed that they were. Leftists just loved the idea.

It was clear early on -- even to Altemeyer -- that the F scale which the Adorno team devised to measure their conception of authoritarianism was fatally flawed.  But that did not dent the great appeal that the Adorno theory had for Leftists.  And Altemeyer was one who drank the Kool-Aid.  He swallowed the Adorno theory hook, line and sinker.  His project was to devise a better measure of the concept rather than to question the concept.  The RWA scale was his replacement for the old F scale

But it was very much like the F scale.  Its items consisted of aggressively worded versions of popular sayings from the past.  Pflaum (1964) had shown that you could create a parallel form of the F scale by gathering together sayings that had been popular during the pre-war "Progressive" era.  Progressive ideas dominated American life throughout the first half of the 20th century so ideas that were popular at that time were also progressive or at least compatible with progressivism.

The Progressive era

But what were progressive ideas?  The ideas do not sound progressive now.  The great hero of the progressive era was Teddy Roosevelt.  He even founded his own "progressive" party (often referred to as the "Bull Moose" party).

So what did TR believe in? He believed in battleships (he built lots of them) and that war is a purifying force for a nation.  He had many ideas that sound "Right wing" these days, largely because modern-day progressives tend to reject them. See here and here for a fuller account of the American "Progressive" era.

And Adorno, Pflaum and Altemeyer all created collections of the old Progressive ideas and proudly presented them as being both authoritarian and "Right-wing".  That conservatives had been in opposition throughout almost the whole of the Progressive era was ignored.  The wars of conquest (Cuba, the Philippines etc) waged under the aegis of TR were met with conservative isolationism.  And the big government ideas of FDR were solidly opposed by conservatives of the day.

After WWII

So in the immediate post-war era we had the strange spectacle of pre-war Leftist ideas being presented as conservative. And most Leftists bit the bullet.  Pre-war Progressive ideas had been shared by another prominent socialist of the pre-war period, Adolf Hitler, so it was urgent to distance post-war Leftists from his ideas.  And what better way to do that than to try to pin such ideas onto conservatives?  In 1950 all Leftists would have been be aware that Hitlers ideas had also largely been their own until recently  but Leftists can pivot on a dime when it suits them so Leftist psychologists did just that.

So it is true that the RWA scale statements do reflect authoritarianism -- but it is the authoritarianism of the pre-war Left.  Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian.  In Mr Obama's famous words, Leftists aim to "fundamentally transform" their society.  And it was not the geography or topography of America that  Obama was talking about.  It was the American people.  He wanted to make them do things that they would not normally do (like pay more in taxes) and to stop them from doing things that they would normally do (like mock homosexuals).  Whether or not you agree with the desirability of his program, the point is that it was inescapably authoritarian.  It aimed to dictate behavior.  Conservatives do have some authoritarian impulses at times (restricting abortion etc) but Leftism is authoritarian root and branch.  Telling other people what to do and making them do it is the whole of their program.

Looking inside the black box

So what do conservatives do when confronted with RWA statements?  Because of the old fashioned content of the items they may agree with some of them.  Conservatives tend to have some respect for things of the past.  But that agreement will not be politically relevant. That they can see something in the old ideas will not tell you anything about their likely choices on the current political scene. The old ideas are not at issue so will not influence current choices.

Leftists, on the other hand, will tend to reject most of the statements as something they now disagree with -- but  will rightly see them as not of current political relevance now so will not relate them to current political choices. Their attitude to the old items will not influence their currtent choices.  So neither their agreement nor disagreement with the statements will predict their current political choices. And it doesn't.  The scale is an exercise in political irrelevance.

So from both sides of politics you will have agreement with the statements that is not of current relevance -- and that shows in the fact that conservatives and Leftists are not demarcated by agreement with the scale items.  It  explains why big scorers on the RWA scale are just as likely to be on the Left as on the Right.  It is just not a scale of current political relevance.   Some of the items may touch on what are still current issues but the aggressive way they are expressed will not be supported by either conservatives or Leftists -- e.g. items supporting oppression of homosexuals would be generally rejected by both sides.

So the RWA scale measures an old-fashioned form of LEFTISM but not anything of current political relevance. Which is why the scale does not correlate with current political preferences in (for example) American Presidential elections.  A lot of high scorers would have voted for Mr. Obama.

And it also explains why high RWA scorers in Russia today tend to be members or former members of the Communist party.  In Russia today, Communism IS old-fashioned Leftism


Pflaum, J. (1964) Development and evaluation of equivalent forms of the F scale. "Psychol. Reports" 15, 663-669. 


The left should focus on lifting poor people up, not tearing rich people down

But they get their buzz out of hating the rich

Today’s progressives love touting themselves as champions of the working class. And to them, there’s no better way of doing so than through their anti-rich rhetoric.

Take the response to former Starbucks CEO and billionaire Howard Schultz announcing he was considering running for US president in 2020.

There are many criticisms to be made of Schultz’s pitch. He has tried to present himself as a relatable ‘self-made’ man. But it’s likely most Americans would relate more to the barista behind a Starbucks counter than the self-described ‘rags to riches’ former CEO of the company.

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and others have also suggested that Schultz running as a centrist independent would actually help Trump.

But progressive lawmakers, some of whom are millionaires themselves, have chosen to hit out at Schultz’s personal wealth.

Massachusetts senator and 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren attacked the billionaire for thinking he could ‘buy the presidency’. She is worth $4.7million, making her the 69th wealthiest person in Congress according to Roll Call.

However you feel about Schultz’s potential candidacy, his wealth is beside the point. But this line of attack reveals that many progressives have become myopically obsessed with the super wealthy recently.

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently agreed to the notion that a system allowing billionaires to exist is ‘immoral’. This comes shortly after her proposal to raise the marginal tax rate on incomes over $10million to between 60 and 70 per cent.

Warren has been pushing similar ideas. She wants to create an annual tax on the ultra-wealthy, with a two per cent tax on those making $50million or more and up to three per cent on billionaires.

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is also back in the game, introducing a bill that would tax estates of those who inherit more than $3.5million and reinstate the 77 per cent estate-tax rate on wealth over $1 billion.

These progressive superstars constantly talk up the corruption of the one per cent. But this only helps to hide the fact that most of the policies they are pushing for would actually hurt working Americans.

The popular idea of a Green New Deal, which aims to fight the growing threat of climate change by investing in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure, would no doubt kill thousands of jobs in the fossil-fuel industry. Those blue-collar jobs, which are already scarce, often define the community they serve and would be gone forever if the plan was ever implemented.

The ones pushing for these radical climate-change policies often deflect the concerns over lost jobs with claims that cleaner, more environmentally friendly jobs would be right there waiting for workers. Little do they see how dispensable that makes many of the affected blue-collar workers feel.

The idea of tuition-free college is another favourite proposal of progressives.

They claim it would give everyone an equal opportunity to get a university education. But they fail to recognise other pathways to success, particularly in the skilled trades, which are often more economically beneficial in the long run.

Progressive politicians’ focus on free college only really makes sense when you consider that their supporters are more likely to be found on a university campus than in a manufacturing plant.

The estimated cost of Sanders’ original free-college plan was about $47 billion a year, to be paid for by a speculation tax, also known as a ‘Robin Hood tax’, which would place a levy on every stock, bond or derivative sold in the US.

But, amid the push to tax the rich to fund preposterous entitlement programmes, you barely hear any ideas from progressives like childcare tax credits or paid sick leave. Nor do you see many progressives fighting for workers to be able to collectively bargain.

They are pushing policies that would bring down the rich instead of policies that would improve life for working-class Americans.

In the end, it is only elite progressives who have this obsessive wealth complex. Struggling Americans aren’t sitting around every day thinking about how much they despise the one per cent. They’re too busy trying to pay bills, pay back loans, and put food on the table.



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, February 18, 2019

The authoritarian Left is rampant

They are on the attack all over America

The Secular Coalition for Arizona has been triggered.

The offense is so great that the group has launched a national media campaign to parrot the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) “hate group” smear of Alliance Defending Freedom. They want to censor and blacklist ADF and people like you who share the belief that free speech and religious freedom must be protected.

What set them off? An Arizona state license plate that simply says, “In God We Trust.”

No, this is not a joke. The State of Arizona offers the opportunity for organizations to create license plates that express their viewpoints and then offer those specialty license plates for purchase through the DMV. A portion of those private funds are donated to the organization that designed the plate, and the rest goes to the state.

Through this program, Alliance Defending Freedom created a license plate that affirms the First Amendment and reads “In God We Trust.” This license plate is listed among more than 60 other plate designs offered for purchase.
No one is required to purchase a specialty license plate, and no tax dollars go to the organizations that have created the specialty plates.

Arizona has every right to offer this opportunity, just as the Secular Coalition for Arizona has every right to create its own license plate featuring its own viewpoint if it wants to.

But that is not what the Secular Coalition for Arizona chose to do.

Activists have ramped up attacks on freedom of speech. They’re willing to use the power of the government to silence views they disagree with—to silence you. This must stop.

Should special interest groups like the SPLC get to decide if your views are acceptable?

The Secular Coalition for Arizona thinks so. They’ve worked with some state legislators to propose a bill that demands the immediate repeal of the “In God We Trust” license plate to stop ADF from receiving money from the purchases of that plate.

But a bill like that could have disastrous consequences for freedom of speech.

After all, have you ever seen a license plate that supports veterans or wounded warriors? What if a pacifist took offense? Should we be forced to silence every viewpoint that anyone in the world might be offended by?

Where would it end?

This is what happens when activists try to use the government to shut down and silence speech it disagrees with. And it’s happening across America.

New York City is censoring private conversations that therapists have with adult patients who come to them for help to address unwanted same-sex attractions or confusion over gender identity.

The American Humanist Association is trying to destroy a WWI veterans memorial in Maryland known as the Bladensburg Peace Cross simply because it is in the shape of a cross.

Non-profit adoption providers are being threatened and forced to stop helping place kids with a loving family for operating consistently with their faith-based missions.

Conservative commentators are being barred from speaking on public university campuses—and attacked and threatened when they do.

These are just a few examples of attempts to handcuff freedom of speech and silence people of faith. But we don’t have to stand idly by while our freedoms are stripped away.

We can defend our right to speak freely and consistently with our faith without fear of government punishment.

If the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Secular Coalition for Arizona disagree with us, that’s fine. They have the freedom to do so.

But trying to shut down our speech—or ban someone from being able to purchase a license plate—isn’t the answer. That’s not how free speech works in this country.

The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for everyone. It’s not up to the government or activist groups to determine whose speech is acceptable.

But this is what the SPLC is known for. Time and again it targets and seeks to destroy any groups or individuals it disagrees with by labeling them “haters.”

And yet, the SPLC has been widely and resoundingly discredited by investigative journalists, charity networking organizations, and commentators because they are activist, partisan, and unreliable. It’s been sued many times for spreading falsehoods about various groups – most often religious and conservative groups. The SPLC even recently paid $3.375 million and issued a public apology to settle a threatened defamation lawsuit by Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, whom the SPLC falsely labeled an anti-Muslim extremist!

On the other hand, ADF is one of the nation’s most successful and respected advocates at the U.S. Supreme Court. With God’s blessing and your prayers and support, we’ve won nine cases at the high court since 2011.

Via email from ADF


Kamala Harris Caught In Another Lie: Claims She Got High / Listened to Snoop and Tupac in College… 10 Yrs. Before They Launched Their Careers

She has a good chance of becoming the next Democrat Presidential candidate.  That brown skin is a real aphrodisiac to the Left.  So this matters

Democrat Kamala Harris told “The Breakfast Club” she used to get high and smoke joints.

But as Jerry Dunleavy noted, Kamala Harris was in college 10 years before Tupac and Snoop hit the scene. So… She’s lying.

Kamala graduated from college in the 80’s. Snoop & Tupac didn’t release their first albums til the 90’s. This is basic rap history.



Democrat foot-shooting

According to the Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll, President Donald Trump’s approval rating reached 52% this week. No doubt part of this high-water mark was engendered by his inspirational State of the Union Address. Yet just as likely, it’s because he represents a stark contrast to a Democrat Party engaged in an unprecedented race to the bottom of the socialist/Marxist barrel.

We begin with anti-Semitism. As far back as their 2012 national convention, Democrats heartily booed making Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Since then, their contemptible connections with rabid anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan remain ongoing, including the latest revelation that Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) wrote a column for the Final Call, an official publication of Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. Tlaib’s colleague, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), was forced by party leaders to issue an apology for the age-old anti-Semitic smear about Jewish influence and money affecting foreign policy. And in a first for Democrats, both women are supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.


Abortion on demand is another topic where Democrats have finally clarified their position — in contemptible terms. In New York, legislators cheered a bill that eliminated most restrictions on abortions after 24 weeks, allows midwives and nurse practitioners to perform the procedure, and ends criminal charges for harming children in the womb. “I am directing that New York’s landmarks be lit in pink to celebrate this achievement and shine a bright light forward for the rest of the nation to follow,” gushed Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo’s “bright light” shone brighter in Virginia, where State Delegate Kathy Tran (D) testified in favor of her own legislation permitting abortions “through the third trimester,” which “goes up to 40 weeks,” she declared. Unbelievably, Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam upped the ante. “If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered,” he stated. “The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

A discussion about post-birth abortion? In the real world, that’s called murder. Among Democrats? A “woman’s right to choose.”

Even some Democrats knew Northam went too far. Thus, with a lot of help from other party loyalists, more familiarly known as the mainstream media, Northam became the face — make that the blackface — of a coordinated campaign designed to change the conversation from infanticide to racism.

Unfortunately for Democrats, their entire identity-politics agenda became the center of attention. It turned out Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted he also donned blackface at a party in 1980, despite issuing a statement calling for Northam to step down, while Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax was accused by two women of sexual assault and rape, respectively. Fairfax’s reaction to the assault allegation? “F—k that b—ch.”

These stalwarts are joined by Elizabeth Warren who, despite repeated denials that she used faux Native American bona fides to advance her career, wrote “American Indian” on her 1986 registration card for the Texas legal bar. Warren also implied there may be other equally “clarifying” documents in existence.

Racism? #MeToo demands to unquestionably believe the victim of sexual-assault allegations, irrespective of proof? Going as far back in the past as necessary to impugn someone’s reputation? Cultural appropriation? As of now, every one of these Democrats have made it clear they intend to reject their party’s “ethos of enlightenment” and persevere. The very same ethos their party and the media inflicted on Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“Democrats need an identity-politics intervention,” the Wall Street Journal editorial board insists. “Having unleashed race, gender, sexual orientation and class as the defining issues of American politics, these furies are now consuming their authors. Where’s Barack Obama when Democrats need him?”

Barack Obama? The Cambridge police “acted stupidly” Obama? The “if I had a son he would look like Trayvon” Obama? The “slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ” Obama? The same Obama who attended Rev. Jeremiah “God damn America” Wright’s church for 20 years? How about the Obama who championed Harvard Law professor Derrick Bell, credited with pioneering “critical race theory,” which maintains America’s legal system is inherently biased against blacks and other minorities?

Barack Obama did as much as any president in the history of the nation to advance the odious idea that America is inherently flawed and requires “fundamental transformation.” And Democrats have not only embraced that agenda, they have doubled down on it.

And they’re still doing it. As part of the deal to avert a government shutdown, Democrats demanded and apparently received a total of 40,520 ICE detention beds, representing a 17% reduction from current levels, and far short of Trump’s request for 52,000. That ICE has released tens of thousands of convicted criminal aliens awaiting the outcome of their deportation proceedings — including murderers, those convicted of sexual and aggravated assault, kidnapping and drunk driving? According to former ICE Director Tom Homan, the agency is currently detaining 47,000 criminal aliens.

Are Americans ready for 6,480 more of them to hit the streets so Democrats and their spineless GOP collaborators can cut a deal to keep the government open? Will they tire of a Democrat Party that prioritizes the needs of illegal aliens over those of American citizens?

On Monday, 37-year-old Joseph Alcoff was bought to court to face charges that include aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation. He was allegedly part of an antifa mob that attacked two Hispanic Marines last November. He was also an organizer for Smash Racism DC, a group that took to heart the “push back” and “get up in the face” intimidation tactics championed by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Sen. Cory “Spartacus” Booker (D-NJ), respectively, when they massed outside Tucker Carlson’s home in an effort to intimidate the Fox News host.

Why bring up the trials and tribulations of an alleged thug? Because according to Fox News, Alcoff was “a well-connected, aspiring political player in Washington who may have even had a hand in key policy proposals” advanced by Democrats. All while he remained “an Antifa leader in Washington.”

Finally, we must address the terminally addled Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Green New Deal. Aside from the economy-wrecking efforts and the jackboot level of government control it represents, two things stand out: Only a nation with a thoroughly compromised education system could produce legions of people ignorant enough to believe this could actually work; and nearly every Democrat 2020 presidential contender supports it — all its pernicious nonsense notwithstanding.

“Trump in 2020 might have controversially slurred his future Democratic rival as a socialist, radical late-term abortion advocate, open borders chauvinist, a Medicare destroyer who wished to make it free for everyone, or wacko environmentalist intent on banning gas and diesel engines,” writes Victor Davis Hanson. “Now he won’t have to smear anyone: the Democrats have largely done that to themselves.”

It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.



Amazon Pulls NYC HQ2 — Cuomo Blames Ocasio-Cortez

A state already reeling from tax revenue loss misses out on at least 25,000 new jobs.

The speculation turned out to be authentic. On Thursday, Amazon officially reneged on its New York City headquarters. The rumor that it would do so first appeared last Friday in The Washington Post, which disclosed that “ is reconsidering its plan to bring 25,000 jobs to a new campus in New York City.” The Post elaborated, “The project … faces withering criticism from some elected officials and advocacy groups appalled at the prospect of giving giant subsidies to the world’s most valuable company, led by its richest man.” A man who, by the way, owns The Washington Post.

“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens,” Amazon announced yesterday. Why? “A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”

One of those politicians is actually Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who crowed about having “defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.”

Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo, already battling a revenue shortfall in the state, isn’t happy. He complained, “A small group politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community — which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City — the state’s economic future and the best interests of the people of this state.” He didn’t name Ocasio-Cortez, but the Millennial heartthrob was clearly one of his prime targets.

The second headquarters was to be split between Queens, New York, and the DC suburb of Crystal City, Virginia — a determination that our Thomas Gallatin previously reported was cronyistic from the get-go. “In the end, the reasoning behind this decision is obvious: direct access to the levers of financial and political power in two high-profile leftist enclaves,” wrote Gallatin. “Instead of locating the new headquarters in the most business-friendly states and environments, Amazon chose leftist power centers knowing that the company will be able to seamlessly pass on any higher costs to consumers. And the tax benefits to Amazon work out to almost $50,000 per job created. Cronyism at its finest.”

In this regard, Amazon’s backtracking is good. It’s one thing if a neighborhood decides it doesn’t want a huge corporate HQ in its backyard, but Amazon had no other choice given the prevailing political headwinds.

According to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, “We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.” The truth is New York City should not have been a finalist, especially when superior suitors were fiercely vying to be selected. Amazon says, “We do not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time.” Regardless, it has an opportunity to make a better business decision than it did back in November.

As the Washington Examiner saliently puts it, “In the end, the termination of this deal is a win for everyone. The socialists get to crow about keeping their neighborhoods poor. New York’s taxpayers don’t have to pay Jeff Bezos exorbitant sums to do business in their state. And Amazon, having learned its lesson about dealing with socialists, might benefit as well if, instead of seeking special handouts, it seeks in the future to create jobs in low-tax states with right-to-work protections and a friendly-but-fair business climate for everyone.”



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

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


Sunday, February 17, 2019

A simple solution to solve legislative gridlock

Remove some of the powers that nationally unelected political party leaders now have

John Droz, Jr.

Which citizens voted to give Nancy Pelosi the power to shut down our government? None. And yet there she is, able to close down numerous government services, with just the power of her intransigence.

We need to look at a simplified legislative example to understand the problem and the solution. To properly grasp this situation, it’s important to understand that essentially all legislation originates from specialized legislative committees.

Let’s say that Republicans introduce a bill (H.R. 54321) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Let’s also say that Democrat Representative Jones decides that supporting 54321would be in the best interest of his constituents and the country as a whole.

The fly in the ointment here is that in this case the House Democrat Leader has decided that Democrats should oppose 54321. Now Representative Jones is in a bind.

If he chooses to vote for 54321, the House Democrat Leader could ensure that he suffers severe political penalties. (If Speaker Pelosi has enough votes anyway and Mr. Jones will be in a tough reelection fight next year, she may cut him some slack and let him “vote his conscience” – and her long-term political best interests.)

What potential penalties could Rep Jones suffer if he goes against the wishes of the Speaker? He could be stripped of any committee leadership positions he has, or lose his seniority on a committee. He could be bumped from a committee membership that he values. Any bills he introduces could go nowhere.

So his choice is: a) do what is in the best interest of his constituents and the country regarding 54321; or b) do what is in his own best political interests (and that of Ms. Pelosi). Unfortunately, the current system we have assures that “b” will almost always be the choice made.

In a nutshell, this is why there is gridlock – because legislators often vote in lockstep as a political party block, rather than what is in the best interest of their constituents and country!

The concern here is that not a single citizen voted for anyone to be the House Democrat Leader (or Republican Leader, as all of this applies to both parties, and in the Senate). As such, why does this nationally un-elected person have the power to control the destiny of our entire country?

The easy solution to fix this undemocratic and unreasonable situation is to remove some of the power these nationally unelected political party leaders have. Here are two simple examples that would have a profoundly beneficial impact:

1) remove their power to appoint legislators to committees, and

2) remove their power to appoint chairpersons to committees.

Once those unwarranted powers were removed, these party leaders would have a much smaller cudgel to browbeat their party members into lockstep submission. Instead, legislators would be much more inclined to vote for what was best for their constituents and the country. Democrat Representative Jones could support Republican bill 54321without fear of major political reprisals from his party leadership.

Isn’t that more like the way the legislature should work in a truly democratic republic?

The details of how committees would be assigned could be worked out to be fair and non-political. For example, the majority party would still have the majority of members on committees. Let’s say that there are nine Democrat committee positions on a certain House committee. Any Democrat representatives who are interested would submit their names – and the nine members would be determined by a lottery (NOT the whims of the House Democrat Leader).

To keep everyone from submitting his or her name to every committee, each representative would be limited to volunteering for a set number of committees (perhaps six). To award longer term members for their extended service, any representatives with more than two terms could have their names entered twice in the lottery for each committees they were interested in.

Once House or Senate committee members are chosen, it will be up to the majority committee members (NOT the party Leader) to elect a chairperson from their party group.

By the way, there would still be a House (and Senate) party Leader. Their jobs would be to be: a) a spokesperson regarding their party’s official position on various matters; b) an educator of their caucus members as to the pros and cons of any legislative matter; and c) a negotiator with the Executive Branch.

In addition to extracting their committee power, item “b” is a key difference, for it changes party leaders from being dictators to being educators. That would be a major improvement over the current system – and would unquestionably lead to less political gridlock.

That, in turn, would be an extraordinary improvement, helping to ensure that legislators act more responsibly — as well as in the interest of their constituents and the country.

After this major problem is resolved, some of the other powers of theses party leaders should also be examined and possibly changed: such as the power to keep bills from being voted on.

One final point is worth noting.

None of this was as important in the not-so-distant past – 75, 50 perhaps even 25 years ago. Back then, legislators and legislative sessions were not full-time, 365-days-a-year affairs. Legislators actually had real jobs during much of the year. They did not believe they weren’t doing their job if they weren’t enacting more laws – which didn’t as often mean writing broad, often ambiguous legislation, and then turning that legislation over to regulatory agency bureaucrats to interpret, implement and enforce.

They did not seek to control more and more aspects of our lives – culminating in legislation that would put federal bureaucrats in charge of our energy, economy, buildings, jobs and living standards.

And not very many years ago, our political parties were not controlled – or at least constantly pressured into submission and obedience – by noisy members of Congress and tax-exempt activist groups that are determined to radically, fundamentally and completely transform the United States into a country governed not by We the People but by a small cadre of legislators, regulators and judges.

But that is what we face today. That is why reforms like these are essential.

Via email from Paul Driessen


Trump Signs Funding Bill, Declares Emergency to Secure Border

The bill falls far short of the border spending Trump demanded, so he will now carry out his threat

In a Rose Garden ceremony this morning, President Donald Trump signed an omnibus spending deal that includes $1.35 billion for the construction of a border barrier. He also said he’s signed the order declaring a national emergency to tap into as much as another $8 billion in funding for the border barrier. This announcement set off Democrats and some Republicans in voicing their objections.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) warned, “A Democratic president can declare emergencies, as well. So the precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans.” Pelosi then pointed to one of the Democrats long-running hobby horses and said, “Let’s talk about … the one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America. That’s a national emergency. Why don’t you declare that emergency, Mr. President? … But a Democratic president can do that.” Except we have a little thing called the Second Amendment…

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voiced constitutional concerns over Trump’s decision, stating, “We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution. Today’s national emergency is border security. But a future president may use this exact tactic to impose the Green New Deal.” But Rubio did note that he would await further details of Trump’s emergency declaration before determining whether he’d support it.

Regarding the subject of national emergencies, it’s important to note that the National Emergencies Act of 1976 was passed primarily as a means of keeping better track of the emergency powers granted to the president and determining which declarations were still in effect. Essentially, the authority to declare a national emergency grants the president special temporary power to deal with a crisis directly related to foreign threats that arise against American interests both domestic and abroad. There are currently 31 active national emergencies, the oldest being Jimmy Carter’s sanctions against the Iranian government.

In declaring a national emergency, Trump can point back to his repeated calls to Congress to act on the growing illegal-immigration crisis that has contributed to the drug-related deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and the murders of many others, costs American taxpayers billions annually in welfare services provided to illegal aliens, and hurts American workers by flooding the labor force with low-skilled illegal workers. Trump has worked to paint Democrats into a corner on this issue, demonstrating that they have no desire to protect American citizens first and foremost, which is their constitutional duty.

Recall that Democrats didn’t voice any objections when Barack Obama overreached his executive authority some 76 times, as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) notes, and yet when Trump seeks to use his rightful executive authority to enforce the nation’s laws, Democrats (and a few Republicans) squeal about constitutional overreach.

While we would certainly have preferred to see Congress act to provide the full funding for the construction of a more secure border barrier and increased border security, Trump’s emergency declaration is well within his constitutional authority. However, there is no question that this battle will soon move to the courts.



MAGA: Quality of Life and Optimism Soaring to New Heights

Trump called the U.S. economy "the envy of the world." A lot more Americans are agreeing.

In his State of the Union Address last week, President Donald trump heralded the “thriving” U.S. economy, which he called “the envy of the world.” Some have called the president’s characterization of the economy hyperbole, but there’s a plethora of evidence proving he’s right: The economy is changing Americans’ quality of life and stimulating confidence.

The IBD/TIPP Quality of Life Index is one metric that backs the president. The index has been tabulated for 17 years now, and it “asks the public whether they think their quality of life will be better, worse or the same over the next six months,” as explained by Investor’s Business Daily. The full-span average is 56.2. By that measure, Barack Obama’s 53.7 rating was subpar. But the index balloons to 59.3 halfway through Trump’s first term. The most interesting variable is independents. According to IBD, “Their quality of life averaged 52 under Obama. It’s averaging 58.8 under Trump.”

This segues nicely into Gallup polling regarding Americans’ confidence. Gallup reports that “Americans’ optimism about their personal finances has climbed to levels not seen in more than 16 years, with 69% now saying they expect to be financially better off ‘at this time next year.’” This percentage is bested only by the 71% registered in March 1998. Moreover, “Fifty percent say they are better off today than they were a year ago.”

Clearly, the Trump economy isn’t limp like it was under Obama. And that’s due to a combination of heavy deregulation, impressive job creation, and tax reform. Amazingly, Democrats are trying to spin all of these — but especially tax reform — as detrimental. Presidential candidate Kamala Harris even asserted, “The average tax refund is down about $170 compared to last year. Let’s call the President’s tax cut what it is: a middle-class tax hike to line the pockets of already wealthy corporations and the 1%.”

Fortunately, most Americans are rejecting this snake oil because they understand more take-home pay as a result of less tax withholding means a lesser refund come tax filing. And their quality of life and optimism are the better for it.



Hey, Democrats, I've lived in a socialist country with income 'equality' and it was miserable

Maria Elvira Salazar, daughter of Cuban political refugees, warns Democrats 'drank the Kool Aid' on socialism. Former Republican House candidate Maria Elvira Salazar says Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have no idea what they are advocating for.

The Democratic Party’s lurch to socialism led to a presidential rebuke at the State of the Union on Tuesday night. From Sen. Bernie Sanders’s call for “Medicare-for-all,” to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal of a “Green New Deal,” to Democratic presidential hopefuls’ hankering for stiff tax hikes, prominent members of the Democratic Party seem unwilling to miss any opportunity to advocate for greater government control of the economy.

Yet as Democrats justify grandiose proposals by decrying income inequality, many of us who immigrated to the United States from socialist countries see great irony. After all, unending income equality is what drove us to leave our native lands in the first place.

My family left post-Mao Communist China in the mid-1980s precisely because there was so much equality to go around. As a child, I lived in Guangzhou, the third largest city in China. Everyone in my city was equal in having no running hot water, no modern toilet facilities, no refrigerator, no washer, no dryer, and no color television.

Imagine a world without Whole Foods, Safeway and Walmart, or the plethora of products stocked on their shelves. Imagine no Vitamin Water, no Gatorade, no Starbucks, no Panera Bread, no candy bars and no sea salt potato chips. Now imagine instead being allotted food stamps from the government, indicating how much your family can eat.

There was abundant equality in the dearth of economic opportunities as well. The state told us where to live, where to work, what to buy, and for how much. Worse yet, my fellow citizens who lived in the countryside were even more impoverished.

When the state runs the economy and its citizens’ lives, there will be plenty of equality in scarcity, poverty and hopelessness.

After decades of totalitarian rule and grand socialist experiments, China had a meager per capita GDP of less than $200 in 1980. By comparison, America’s was $12,500 that year.

Around that time, China decided enough misery was enough. It embarked on historic economic reforms and opened up the country to the world. Liberalization introduced market prices, allowed for the return to household farming from collectivization, created Special Economic Zones in coastal areas that attracted foreign investment and promoted exports, exposed state-owned factory production to profit incentives, and opened up the market to private firms and entities.

As China began to dismantle bits and pieces of its command economy, Chinese citizens came face to face with the liberating effects of what the market made possible. There were many firsts.

For the first time, we could buy goods on the open market rather than using food stamps. For the first time, we could open up businesses instead of being confined to lifetime, government-assigned employment.

For the first time, we could have possessions that we had not seen before – clothing that was not gray and drab, electronics that exposed us to brand new images and music, goods that we coveted without even knowing it.

In the end, even Communist China did not want the kind of economic equality that existed during my childhood. Hence, the country opened up its economy, implemented bold reforms, and adopted capitalism, even though it retained many communist characteristics.

Over the past 40 years, China became the second largest economy in the world.

However, don’t for a minute forget the lesson that still applies: When the state runs the economy and its citizens’ lives, there will be plenty of equality in scarcity, poverty and hopelessness.

Today, this is a lesson that prominent Democrats seem eager to forget. Less than 30 years after the former Soviet Union collapsed and the United States emerged victorious from the Cold War, Americans increasingly find it necessary to debate the shortcomings and evils of socialism all over again.

It was left up to President Trump to declare on Tuesday night: “Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence – and not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”

It is crazy that the leader of the free world had to state this. It is crazier still that he will have to deliver an even more robust defense of democratic capitalism in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. Hopefully, the Democrats’ vision of economic equality will not prevail.



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)