Friday, March 08, 2019

The Left Seeks to 'Smear and Destroy Us All' -- 'Good People Stand Up and Fight'

During her March 1 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), columnist and best selling author Michelle Malkin stressed that "diversity is not our strength" but "unity is," and she called on the "good people" of America to "stand up and fight" against the political left, whose goal is "to smear and destroy us all."

"Our enemies are both foreign and domestic," said Malkin at the conference held in National Harbor, Md. "Inside our already flimsily defended borders, we are not at peace, or rather, the radical left is not at peace with us."

"From the comfort of TV green rooms, Beltway backrooms, corporate boardrooms, and conference ballrooms, it may not look like civil war is imminent," she said.  "But threats and outright violence against you, ordinary, law-abiding people are now regularized features, not just random bugs, of political life in these dis-United States."

She continued, "College students are being punched; elderly citizens are being harassed; MAGA hat-wearers are being kicked off planes and assaulted in school hallways and restaurants; conservative speakers are being mobbed and Molotov cocktailed; ICE agents and their families are being targeted; pro-lifers are being kicked and menaced; pro-Trump, anti-jihad moms on social media are being monitored and doxed. The madness is beyond parody."

"Where are the sanctuary spaces for law-abiding conservatives who simply want to exercise their rights to free speech and peaceable assembly?" said Malkin. "The divide in this country is between decent people who stand up for America and dastardly people who want to bring America to its knees."

"We certainly should make common cause with others across the aisle who share our values, but we should not rush to embrace those whose fundamental aim is to smear and destroy us all," she said.  "That is suicidal."

Noting that her Friday speech was occuring on the seventh anniversary of the death of Andrew Breitbart, Malkin told the conservative crowd that America needs more "disrupters" like Breitbart. America also needs "politicians who will do something to stop the sowers of hate and their handmaidens," she said. "Use the tools at your disposal. Don’t just stand there. Do something!"

In conclusion, Malkin said, "Diversity is not our strength. And I know those words are a trigger. Diversity is not our strength. Unity is. Our common purpose is the common defense of our nation. Good people make America great. Good people stand up and fight. Thank you."



Dan Crenshaw on Limited Government

The congressman eloquently articulated the reason for disagreement on taxes 

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) is no stranger to the fight. The former Navy SEAL lost an eye in an IED explosion during his third combat tour in Afghanistan. Ironically, he’s probably best known so far for his amicable performance on “Saturday Night Live” last November. But he’s not just a warrior who can get along with his leftist opponents. He’s a philosopher espousing the principles of constitutionally limited government.

“Why does the left hate the tax cuts?” Crenshaw rhetorically asked Tuesday. “[Because] they think the people exist to fund the [government]. We believe the [government] exists to protect the inalienable rights of the people. When people keep their money, we get more jobs & wage growth, & less wasteful spending by ‘benevolent’ bureaucrats.”

With that comment, he posted video of his remarks at a House hearing, where he really nailed it (emphasis his):

We’re talking about a difference in philosophy, not just tax rates. It’s a question of whether the government should be taking more of your money or whether you should keep more of your money. It’s the difference in the role of government, in what we believe. It seems to me that you all believe that the role of government is to tax the people as much as possible so that you and your benevolent fellow academics can dream up more programs for the government to spend money on. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that’s what the role of government is for.

The role of government is to protect God-given rights that we have and to ensure that we live as free as possible. The role of government is to tax people to the least extent possible, while still taxing them enough to cover basic needs for government. And if we’re questioning what those needs are, we can just look at our Constitution; they’re generally pretty clear there.

Indeed, the Constitution is quite clear on the role of government, and today’s federal behemoth exceeds its mandate at nearly every turn. Much of that growth has been fueled by exactly what Crenshaw rightly criticizes: “more programs for the government to spend money on.” Democrats have become increasingly cynical and “generous” in their vote-buying scheme to offer “free stuff” to more people. But Republicans are hardly blameless. In 2017 and 2018, Republicans controlled both branches of government responsible for spending — and it increased drastically. Everyone wants to cut government, so long as it’s not their program. Thus, government never gets smaller.

If more elected Republicans would follow through on Crenshaw’s philosophy, that might begin to change.



Meet the California Lawyer Defending Covington Teens, Former Google Employee

What’s it like to be a conservative lawyer in a liberal bastion like San Francisco? That’s exactly what Harmeet Dhillon does every day, and her clients include a dozen of the Covington High School teens, pro-life activist David Daleiden, and many others. Listen to the interview in the podcast or read the transcript below. Plus: Rob Bluey and Rachel del Guidice sit down with Congressman Mike Johnson, who now heads up the largest conservative caucus in the House.

We also cover these stories:

President Trump now says he agrees 100 percent with keeping U.S. troops in Syria.

New Attorney General Bill Bar will not recuse himself and will oversee the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

An Alabama woman who joined ISIS is trying to get back into the country — and her first effort just failed.

This is a lightly edited transcript.

Katrina Trinko: Joining us from CPAC is Harmeet Dhillon, who is a lawyer who lives in San Francisco, so we know she’s used to defending what she believes in.

I wanted to start off with who you represent … clients who were injured in the 2016 Trump rally in San Jose, California, about an hour from San Francisco. Remind us what happened there, and how is the case going?

Harmeet Dhillon: Sure. On June 2, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump came to San Jose for a big rally. I was actually at the rally and did the Pledge of Allegiance. It was a great event. The problem is that the city of San Jose has a liberal mayor, and they did not want Trump to come and so they tried to discourage it. Then he came anyway because California people wanted to hear him, and there were 250 riot gear-clad police from San Jose and surrounding jurisdictions there.

Basically, there was a very aggressive organized protest by people waving Mexican flags and shouting very aggressive anti-Trump epithets, and the police forced all the people who were leaving the event directly into the mob that was protesting the event and then stood there and watched people get assaulted, so we have, I think, 19 plaintiffs who were physically assaulted or chased or otherwise put into fear of their lives at this event.

We sued the city of San Jose, its mayor, its chief of police, and several other police officers on civil rights grounds for violating the civil rights of the attendees, and we were able to keep that case in court. After two motions to dismiss, the city of San Jose appealed it to the 9th Circuit where it languished for almost two years, but we—

Trinko: Really? In the 9th Circuit?

Dhillon: Yes, but we won in the 9th Circuit.

Trinko: Oh, wow. OK.

Dhillon: The court then sent the case back down, and now we’re in the middle of depositions, so we’re having depositions taken of our clients. We’re taking depositions of the police, and we are set by the court for a settlement conference with the federal judge to try to see if we can … broker a settlement.

Trinko: And do you have other political clients right now?

Dhillon: Many. I am also representing David Daleiden, who is the gentleman from the Center for Medical Progress who exposed the National Abortion Federation’s trafficking in human body parts. We’re representing him in the 9th Circuit in an appeal of one of the rulings in the district court case.

I am also representing teachers who are seeking to challenge the union dues in the post-Janus era that’s an ongoing soon-to-be-filed situation in California, and I’m representing families of 12-plus Covington kids who were the target of this mob hatred there, and James Damore, who sued Google for firing him for expressing anti-PC viewpoints in the workplace … and there are more, but those are a few.

Trinko: That’s a lot right there. How is James Damore’s case going? He, of course, as you mentioned, expressed unpolitically correct views. He suggested that maybe, if you look at women as a group and men as a group, they might occasionally have different skill sets, which I think a lot of us would say is common sense. How is his case going?

Dhillon: He didn’t even say they have different skill sets. He said that they have different approaches to problem-solving and that if Google wanted to attract women, which he thinks is a good goal, they need to look at those issues and make Google more attractive to women as opposed to simply forcing quotas down the throats of the workers.

His case, unfortunately, is stuck in arbitration, because workers in all these big tech companies file arbitration, sign arbitration agreements, so we are in arbitration right now with his case, another case of another person who was fired there, and then, in court, we have a class of job applicants who believe they were not hired because they were conservative, white, and male.

Trinko: So you’re in Silicon Valley. You’re representing clients who are no longer with these tech companies. Obviously, we all use Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, etc. Do you think these tech companies can be trusted when they say they want to be a platform for everyone, or do you have concerns?

Dhillon: No, they can’t be trusted. I’m going to be on a panel tomorrow with James O’Keefe, who exposed yesterday the equivalent of shadow banning at Facebook. We’re aware from his prior work of the shadow banning at Twitter, and the leaders of all of these companies, Google is really the worst of all of them, but they’re very liberal.

They wanted Hillary Clinton to win. She didn’t win, and they’re still trying to get their vengeance out of that. But some of these people have this messianic complex as they really want to change the world and shape it in a progressive way, and so I don’t think you can trust them at all.

In fact, many consumer lawsuits have been filed about privacy violations and so forth, so I’d love to see more conservatives take this issue seriously and not just say the market will shift and the market will handle these issues. There’s a certain point in time and a certain volume of power where the market cannot do that.

Trinko: You said you’re representing some of the teams who were involved in the Covington fake news crisis, for lack of a better term. What’s going on there?

Dhillon: One lawsuit has already been filed by a different lawyer for Nick Sandmann, and I can’t reveal the strategy, but there will be more lawsuits filed.

Trinko: Can you say what’s the hope here? Is it holding the media accountable, or what’s the overall goal?

Dhillon: Keep in mind it wasn’t just the media that attacked these boys. There were prominent liberals and politicians who doxed them, who called for them to suffer harm and their families to be shamed and suffer harm. The school was harmed, so it’s actually a much broader societal problem.

I think this problem of mob rule on the internet and group-shaming and destroying people’s lives over something they said or a smile or a smirk, if you have that, is a big societal-cultural problem that we need to address. So the courts are only going to be able to address so much, but we’re hoping to draw attention to these issues, and it’s bad on both sides when that happens.

Trinko: On that, I think a lot of conservatives are reluctant to often take things to the court. They don’t want to be lawsuit-happy, etc., but it seems like there’s beginning to be a shift where people are more comfortable, perhaps, realizing they don’t have any other option. Do you think that we’re going to see more of these battles fought in the courts going forward?

Dhillon: If we don’t see them, you’re not going to hear anything from conservatives. Nobody’s going to hear your podcast. Nobody’s going to hear from any of us in five years, so we cannot be fighting the wars of the 20th century with the tools of the 19th century.

We have got to fight back in the same way the liberals do. The minute the president signs an executive order, somebody files a lawsuit over it. Republicans and conservatives need to do the same thing.

Trinko: So what is it like for you being a conservative in the San Francisco area?

Dhillon: I was a conservative at Dartmouth College. I was a Sikh in the Deep South where I grew up, and I’m an immigrant. It doesn’t faze me. Popularity contest is not what I’m about, so I believe what I believe and I’m going to say it until my voice is muffled.

Trinko: Did you grow up conservative or did you become conservative, or what was that journey like for you?

Dhillon: My parents registered as Republicans when they became United States citizens, and I’ve always been a conservative.

Trinko: OK. Thanks very much for joining us.

Dhillon: My pleasure.



Number of migrant families crossing border is breaking records

For the fourth time in five months, the number of migrant families crossing the southwest border has broken records, border enforcement authorities said Tuesday, warning that government facilities are full and agents are overwhelmed.

More than 76,000 migrants crossed the border without authorization in February, more than double the levels from the same period last year and approaching the largest numbers seen in any February in the last 12 years.

“The system is well beyond capacity, and remains at the breaking point,” Kevin K. McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, told reporters in announcing the new data.

Diverted by new restrictions at many of the leading ports of entry, migrant families continue to arrive in ever-larger groups in remote parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. At least 70 such groups of 100 or more people have turned themselves in at Border Patrol stations that typically are staffed by only a handful of agents, often hours away from civilization. By comparison, only 13 such groups arrived in the last fiscal year, and two in the year before.

More than 90 percent of the new arrivals were from Guatemala, officials said, with a significant change in the dynamics of the migration: While Central American migrants once took weeks to journey through Mexico to the United States, many Guatemalan families are now boarding buses and reaching the southwest border in as little as four to seven days “on a very consistent basis,” McAleenan said.

The high number of families crossing the border suggest that President Donald Trump’s policies aimed at deterring asylum-seekers are not having their intended effect. Up to 2,000 migrants who traveled in a caravan from Central America last year and faced lengthy delays in Tijuana appeared to have given up their cause as of last month after being discouraged by months of delays at the border. But the families following behind them seem only to have adjusted their routes rather than turn back. Indeed, they are traveling in even larger numbers than before.



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, March 07, 2019

The Democrats decide to lead with their losers

Alex Beam is an unusually realistic Democrat -- though he does want to keep Asians out of Harvard -- so he is pretty right below

Why is the Democratic Party fetishizing losers?

About a month ago, the party chose failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to deliver its response to president Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. Abrams performed creditably (“Good evening my fellow Americans and happy Lunar New Year”), but why showcase a politician who lost an election?

There are 46 Democratic women of color in the House and Senate, some of whom, such as Boston’s Ayanna Pressley, won dramatic victories over entrenched incumbents. It’s true, as Bob Dylan observed, that there is no success like failure. But failure is no success at all.

Another Democratic loser of the moment: Beto O’ Rourke. “Here’s What Beto Could Unleash on Trump” was the headline on a recent Politico analysis of congressman O’Rourke’s recent Senate campaign against incumbent Ted Cruz. Huh? In an article that never seems to end, veteran campaign analyst Sasha Issenberg samples the secret sauce that propelled O’Rourke to . . . one of the more spectacular defeats of the 2018 election cycle.

O’Rourke outspent Cruz, deemed to be one of the least liked politicians in Texas or anywhere, by $30 million and still lost. O’Rourke’s loss was so egregious that Politico itself published a post-mortem of his failed race two days before the election occurred: “Did Beto Blow It?” Writer Tim Alberta reported that even Texas Republicans who hoped Cruz would lose were “baffled by . . . the tactical malpractice of [O’Rourke’s] campaign.”

Bernie Sanders raises $1 million hours after announcing 2020 bid
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders raised more than $1 million within hours of launching his 2020 presidential bid.

There are more losers where those came from. Look who is the leading fund-raiser among current Democratic presidential candidates — Vermont’s Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders, fresh off his 2016 primaries thumping at the hands of failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, represents a state so far off the charts politically and demographically that it was a recent punch line on “Saturday Night Live.”

In the now-famous SNL skit, neo-Confederates and “BlacKkKlansman ” star Adam Driver decide to move to Vermont, a state with “no immigrants, no minorities, an agrarian community where everyone lives in harmony because every single person is white.”

Democratic Socialism tests well in Putney; less so in Peoria, I suspect.

Now Democratic Party whisperers are preparing the way for the biggest loser of them all, former vice president Joe Biden. For younger voters, Biden is the avuncular, do-nothing vice president of the halcyon Barack Obama years. But people like me remember how Biden got to be vice president in the first place: with two botched runs at the presidency, in 1988 and in 2008.

Biden quit the 1988 campaign in the wake of plagiarism charges, and exited the brutal 2008 contest after placing fifth in the gateway Iowa caucuses. He may be a nice guy, but to paraphrase longtime baseball manager Leo Durocher: Nice guys poll poorly in Democratic primaries.

Why trot out this rogues’ gallery of fossils and losers? While it may be true that Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris are not exactly “my cup of tea” (Spike Lee’s hilarious characterization of the movie “Green Book,” speaking to two British journalists at the Oscars), I certainly respect their militant spirit and political acuity. “And yet she persisted” – right on.

It’s going to take a lot of persistence, and a track record of impressive victories, to unseat Trump. Forget the losers and the also-rans. Let’s put in the A team, and hope for a win.



Sen. David Perdue Went to the Border To See for Himself, He Was Not Prepared for What He Saw

Sen. David Perdue of Georgia said he was “not prepared” for the explosion in drug trafficking that he learned about during a recent visit to the U.S. border with Mexico. “I saw something that I was not expecting,” the Republican lawmaker told The Western Journal at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington, D.C., late last week.

“I expected to see the human trafficking, and we saw that with (Border) Patrol overnight,” Perdue said. “What I was not prepared for was the size and scope and how dramatically the drug trafficking has grown.” He said that there has been an “explosion” in drug trafficking in the McAllen, Texas, area, where he visited.

The senator said seizures of fentanyl are up 73 percent from a year ago and methamphetamine is also flowing through the border at high levels.  “This is a drug crisis of gargantuan proportion,” Perdue said.

He said Mexican cartels use human trafficking as a “distraction” to tie up Border Patrol agents, making it easier for drug traffickers to slip through.

NBC News reported the number of migrants crossing into the U.S. hit a 12-year-high for the month of February at 76,100.

Since the beginning of the fiscal year in October, Border Patrol has apprehended over 268,000 individuals entering in the country, a 97 percent increase over the same period in the previous year, according to the White House.

Cartels are thought to make about $2 billion in human trafficking, while trafficking drugs nets over $30 billion, Perdue said.

The senator related there is no doubt in his mind that what is happening at the border is a crisis, noting that is how former President Barack Obama described it, as well.

Perdue said 135 miles of barriers were built along the southern border while Obama was in office.

President Donald Trump has 124 miles under construction and improvement to existing barriers underway, and Congress just authorized 55 miles of new construction, Perdue said.

About 650 miles of the 1,954-mile border are covered with barriers of various forms, including 374 miles of pedestrian fencing, CNN reported.

Perdue said there’s no question that walls work. “We know that where you build walls, illegal activity drops by 95 percent,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday he anticipates enough Republican senators will join with Democrats to pass a resolution seeking to block President Donald Trump’s border wall funding emergency declaration, according to The Hill.

“I think what is clear in the Senate is that there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president and then in all likelihood the veto will be upheld in the House,” McConnell told reporters in Kentucky.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Rand Paul of Kentucky have all said they will vote for a resolution of disapproval, clinching the 51 senators needed.

The resolution of disapproval passed the Democrat-controlled House last week. Trump has the veto power, which would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers to override him.

In addition to the $1.375 billion Congress voted to authorize for barrier funding, the White House plans to redirect $3.6 billion from a military construction fund, $2.5 billion from a Department of Defense drug interdiction program and $600 million from the Treasury Department from a drug forfeiture fund.

The national emergency is specifically being used to tap the $3.6 billion from the military construction fund.

Politico reported that Trump expressed confidence on Friday that if he vetoed the measure, it would not be overridden. “We have too many smart people that want border security so I can’t imagine it (the resolution) will survive a veto,” Trump said.



ACLU blasts Democrats' election bill as unconstitutional

The American Civil Liberties Union dealt a blow Monday to Democrats’ new election overhaul legislation, saying the bill does too much damage to the First Amendment and the storied rights group cannot support it.

ACLU officials said they support parts of the bill, such as making it easier to register to vote, but said the legislation attempts to control even the mere mention of a politician, which goes too far.

“They will have the effect of harming our public discourse by silencing necessary voices that would otherwise speak out about the public issues of the day,” the ACLU’s national political director and senior legislative counsel wrote in a 13-page letter announcing opposition.

Democrats plan to put the bill, H.R. 1, on the chamber floor for a vote later this week.

They’ve cast it as their top legislative priority, after saying last year’s elections were tainted by too many problems with voting, and too much money controlling the outcomes of elections and legislating.

The bill is going nowhere beyond the House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday he won’t even bring it to his chamber’s floor.

But opposition from the ACLU could damage the bill’s bona fides with the left.

“When groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, who have traditionally supported the Democratic party, echo my concerns with H.R. 1, it underscores why election reform legislation should not be developed in a partisan manner,” said Rep. Rodney Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, which approved the bill last week.

The ACLU said it objected to lobbying restrictions Democrats wrote into the bill, saying they’re so broad they could prevent a former official from communicating with a senior government policymaker in any agency for up to eight years.

The group also said new disclosure rules are so broad as to be unworkable, preventing independent organizations from taking political action based on something they’d read or talked about even before someone became a candidate.



US new-home sales rose 3.7 percent in December

Sales of new U.S. homes climbed in December to their highest pace in seven months, a sign that lower mortgage rates are helping the real estate market.

The Commerce Department says that new-home sales rose 3.7 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 621,000. November’s sales were revised down to 599,000 from an annual rate of 657,000.

For all of 2018, new-home sales rose 1.5 percent. Purchases began to dip in June as higher mortgage rates worsened affordability, but mortgage rates have fallen since peaking in early November and that appears to be supporting a sales rebound.

Price growth has stalled as sales sipped last year. The median sales price of a new home in December was $318,600, a 7.2 percent drop from a year ago.



Did Trump Just Remind Ilhan Omar Where America Stands by Shutting Down Palestinian ‘Embassy’?

Donald Trump’s presidency has meant some controversial changes in policy here in the United States, but some of those decisions are also having an impact on regions thousands of miles away.

On Monday, the administration announced that it was finally closing its consulate in Jerusalem, and combining those consulate services into the new U.S. Embassy in the same city.

That may seem like a small thing, but it has already resulted in a significant shakeup in the relationship between the U.S. and the Palestinians — and possibly a calculated message from the White House to its domestic opponents.

“For decades, the consulate functioned as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians,” The Associated Press explained. “Now, that outreach will be handled by a Palestinian Affairs Unit, under the command of the embassy.”

According to CNN, the move “leaves the US as the only major world power without a diplomatic mission to the Palestinians.”

Although that change had been planned for several months, it seemed to come about abruptly. “The announcement from the State Department came early Monday in Jerusalem, the merger effective that day,” the AP reported.

When the closure of the consulate was announced in October, “the move infuriated Palestinians, fueling their suspicions that the U.S. was recognizing Israeli control over east Jerusalem and the West Bank, territories that Palestinians seek for a future state,” the AP reported.

There might have been a message being sent on the domestic American political front, too, since the move on Monday came at a time when questions about Palestinian and Israeli relations are even more sensitive than usual.

The same day the consulate closure angered Palestinians, liberals in the U.S. were scrambling to do political damage control after a Muslim-American lawmaker known for her anti-Israel views once again found herself in hot water.

“Leading House Democrats will offer a resolution Wednesday condemning anti-Semitism in response to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s latest remarks on Israel,” pointed out the AP in a separate report.

Omar is the Minnesota liberal who has faced a series of controversies after she implied that Israel — one of the United States’ closest allies — was “evil,” and appeared to repeat anti-Semitic stereotypes about the Jewish people.

Even her own party is distancing itself from Omar, drafting a symbolic resolution to scold the outspoken promoter of Palestine.

“It’s at least the third time the Minnesota Democrat’s words have put her colleagues in a more delicate spot than usual on the U.S.-Israel relationship, and the second time in two months that she’s drawn a stern backlash from party leaders,” said the AP.

That is where the Trump administration’s announcement that the de-facto embassy in Palestine was closing for good could be significant. It sends a firm message to Omar and other Palestinian apologists: America stands with Israel.

Trump is known for his strong negotiating tactics, which he recently put on display by canceling Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s military-sponsored international trip in order to put pressure on Democrats during the government shutdown.

And the same day that the administration ordered the consulate closed, the president lambasted Omar on social media.

It would definitely be his style.



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, March 06, 2019

What Is Conservatism?

Allen West

This past week and weekend the American Conservative Union put on its annual CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) just outside of Washington, D.C. at the National Harbor. It is widely regarded as the largest gathering of “conservatives” in the United States, drawing the top voices in the conservative movement. But, if there is one question that must be posed, does America truly know the answer to the question: What is conservatism?

If there is one thing that the progressive, socialist left has been very adept at doing, it is manipulating language to their advantage. Case in point, government spending is now referred to as an investment. Or who would not want to be considered, progressive? After all, it does connotate moving forward. The actual policies of “progressives” always end up regressing the simple ideals of individual liberty, freedom. And the political left in America, aided by the progressive, leftist media is very good at demonizing and denigrating any opposing philosophy of governance. Consider how a grassroots constitutional conservative movement called the Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party was assailed. They were rebranded as “extremists,” and still to this day, no one in the federal government has been held accountable for unleashing the might of government against citizens who just wanted fiscal discipline from our government.

If one really wants to know what is extreme, talk about a $93 trillion delusion called the “Green New Deal” – an ideological agenda folly that is based on one person’s Nostradamus-like prediction that the world will end in twelve years.

The problem at hand with conservatism is that conservatives are constantly being forced to defend something that needs no defense. And if you truly had a principled discussion with most people, you would find that they embrace conservative values. Sadly, we do not carry that fundamental message across this nation, and yes, it seriously resonates within the minority communities … I know. My parents were registered Democrats. John Lewis was my congressional representative growing up in Atlanta. However, the principles of my folks, affectionately known as Buck and Snooks West, were – faith, family, individual responsibility, quality education, and service to the nation. These were not, and still are not, associated with the principles of progressive socialism.

Case in point, Christianity is based upon an individual decision to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. This is something that only a singular, individual, person can attain – personal salvation. In Christian churches, there is something towards the end of the service called an “altar call,” where congregants are asked to step forward and make the decision for themselves, not as a group. An individual is baptized, not a collective group. That is what is being preached in Christian churches all over our nation on Sundays, and in some cases on Saturday.

And so it is in conservatism, the individual is sovereign, and this political philosophy establishes in our Declaration of Independence that our unalienable rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – are endowed to us by the Judeo-Christian Creator, God. It is not a groupthink assignment. It is something bestowed upon everyone regardless of station in life or demographic. And where did this belief, this philosophy, find its beginning? It all began with the man referred to as the father of classical liberalism, British philosopher, John Locke.

In Locke’s time, the prevailing belief was in Divine Right of Kings Theory (“Divine Rights”). That is where the understanding was a designation of someone as the repository of rights, endowed to them by the Creator, and they determined your bye and your leave, your coming and going. Divine Rights theory was suitable for the monarchial rule system. The king and queen were empowered by God to make any and all decisions affecting the people, and favor was given to those of stature, as determined by the royalty.

However, John Locke introduced a revolutionary concept called Natural Rights theory. His assertion was that there was a direct relationship between all men and women to their Creator, God naturally, and that their rights – life, liberty, and property – emanated from God with no intercessory to them. Of course, Thomas Jefferson studied Locke, and that theory was the basis of our Declaration of Independence.

Classical liberalism and Natural Rights theory both elevate the sovereignty of the individual over the institution of government. This new thought shifted the relationship from one of people being ruled to one of people being governed, and government was formed, and dissolved, based upon the consent of the governed. Today’s conservatism is the heir to the principles, philosophies, and fundamental beliefs of classical liberalism because it is grounded in the premise of individual liberty, freedom, and sovereignty. But how interesting that somewhere along the path of the political spectrum, leftists claimed the moniker of being “liberal.” That goes back to their ability to rebrand themselves, and others, as well as manipulating language, and ideas, to advance their ideological agenda.

At the same time President Donald Trump was speaking at CPAC, there was another speech being given. The other speech was one avowed Democratic Socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders, speaking to a crowd in Brooklyn. While conservatives were gathered, Sanders was speaking of a philosophy of governance extremely antithetical to the founding premise of America. Sen. Sanders was not talking as a classical liberal, conservative, but rather as a Marxist/Socialist. See, Sen. Sanders and his ilk do not believe that we have the innate power, right to determine the path we take for ourselves. Those in favor of socialism do not believe in the concept of equality of opportunity. No, socialism, as an ideology, embraces and espouses the equality of outcomes, which is the true difference between classical liberalism and progressive socialism.

In our Constitution, the final two amendments in our individual Bill of Rights – the Ninth and Tenth Amendments – refer to the fact that those powers not enumerated to the federal government reside to the states, and to the individual, the governed. What those who support socialism prefer is to rule and for progressive socialists to determine what is a right, and their definition of a right is tied to their ideological agenda. The progressive, socialist left does not support the idea that you have a right to keep and bear arms, to defend yourself. And why would they? After all, if the left cannot impose their will by way of threats, coercion, mandate, dictate, intimidation, and violence, they fail – evidence, Venezuela.

Conservatism is classical liberalism. It is all about individual rights. The folks calling themselves liberal are hardly so. They are truly the legacy of Karl Marx and Friederich Engels – progressives, statists, collectivists, Marxists, and communists. I do not disparage them for being so. I just do not care for the deceitfulness, but truthfully, they are no longer in hiding.

Classical liberalism, our modern-day conservatism, comes from folks like John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and Ronald Reagan. The other folks trace their legacy from Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, and Chavez/Maduro.

Seriously, folks, on whose side do you wish to be?



A 129 Year Old ‘Grave’ Warning About Democrats Proves True Today

In Kansas, one man, Nathaniel Grisby, had his dying wish, to warn future generations about the Democratic Party, fulfilled. 129 years ago, this warning was etched on his gravestone in accordance with his final wishes.

A bit of background on Lt. Nathaniel Grisby:

Son of Reuben Davis GRIGSBY Sr. & Nancy BARKER. Born 11 October 1811 in Nelson Co., KY. Died 16 April 1890 in Attica, Harper Co., KS. Buried in Attica, Harper Co., KS. He was a Civil War veteran, a 2nd Lieut., of Company G, 10th Indiana Cavalry. He was a farmer.

Nathaniel was a dear friend of Abraham Lincoln.

After Lincoln moved to Illinois in 1830, Nathaniel moved with his father to Carroll Co., MO in 1855.

In 1860, he was living in Norborne. He wrote to Lincoln and received an appointment as Republican Precinct Committee Man. He placed Lincoln’s name on the 1860 ballot. All of Natty’s neighbors were Southern sympathizers. He had been talking about electing Lincoln for president in town. One morning at about 2 or 3 a.m. a neighbor rode up and told Natty not to light any lights. The neighbor wanted to warn him that his neighbors were planning to murder him and if he wanted to live he should be on his way.

After the warning, Natty moved back to Spencer Co., IN where he and four of his five sons enlisted in Company C 10th IN Cavalry (Richmond Davis did not enlist). Natty was named 2nd Lieutenant.

The family apparently returned to Carroll Co., MO but in 1885 they moved to Harper Co., KS and settled on a farm in the extreme northwest corner of the county. In 1890, they moved to Attica, KS. Nathaniel was buried in Attica.

After Nathaniel died, this inscription was added to his grave, fulfilling his last request:

“Through this inscription I wish to enter my dying protest against what is called the Democratic party. I have watched it closely since the days of Jackson and know that all the misfortunes of our nation has come to it through this so called party therefore beware of this party of treason"

Put on in fulfillment of promise to Deceased. Reprinted as posted on one side of the monument of N. Grigsby.”

Snopes confirms that this is real, and not a photoshop.

Do you think Nathaniel’s 129 year old “warning” about Democrats is still spot-on?



Polling Populist Socialist Support

More and more voters — especially Democrats — are opting for a deadly ideology.

The entire Democrat Party, from leadership to the grassroots, is moving far and fast to the left. Poll after poll shows that many of the rank and file now prefer socialism to capitalism. An avowed socialist named Bernie Sanders will be a formidable threat for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2020. And much of the field is running on Medicare for All and some version of the Green New Deal. No wonder President Donald Trump threw down the gauntlet on socialism in his State of the Union Address.

Thus, it’s no surprise to see more polling bearing this out. First up, Harvard University asked registered voters whether the U.S. economy should be “mostly capitalist” or “mostly socialist.” Some 65% chose capitalism, but a very troubling 35% favored socialism, including a majority of voters between the ages of 18 and 24. A similar percentage — 64% — identified the Democrat Party as promoting socialism. Among Democrats? The split was just 51% to 49% in favor of capitalism.

Second, a Public Opinion Strategies survey found that 77% of Democrats think the country would be “better off” by going socialist. Likewise alarming: 45% of surveyed registered voters agree, while just 51% disagree. Again, younger voters are the driving force here — those under age 45 favor socialism by a 53% to 40% margin.

Then again, an NBC News poll found that of a list of qualities or characteristics for a president — black, white, woman, homosexual, Christian, Muslim, someone under 40, someone over 75, etc. — voters are least enthusiastic about a socialist, followed closely by someone over 75. Bernie Sanders, call your office.

As for the first two polls and the overall trend, we’d argue that socialism’s favorability is a case of the average voter — especially young ones who don’t remember the Soviet Union — having no idea that socialism actually means government control of the means of production. Instead, they’re enticed by all the “free” stuff being dangled by Demo politicians to buy votes.



President Trump right to walk away from North Korean denuclearization talks

By Robert Romano

Telling the world that “sometimes you have to walk,” President Donald Trump on Feb. 28 walked away from the Hanoi Summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, citing an insufficient agreement on the part of North Korea to fully disarm its nuclear arms and capabilities.

It was the right call. President Trump deserves all the credit in the world for attempting to bring an end to the Korean War after almost 66 years, denuclearizing the peninsula and for encouraging North Korea to join the global economy. There haven’t been any nuclear tests or rocket launches for many months that, if nothing else, have made the endeavor worthwhile and dialogue possible when in 2017 it looked like war might be possible.

Doing so protects American interests and national security, as well as the interests and security of North Korea’s neighbors and U.S. allies, South Korea, Japan and Australia. It also advances the interests of the other nations in the region including Vietnam that wish to avoid war.

It doesn’t mean that the talks are necessarily over, as Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged to continuing working with their counterparts.

But North Korea’s demand that the sanctions come down without achieving full denuclearization had to be a non-starter. Trump was right to walk away from what would have been a bad deal.

As Trump explained at his press conference in Hanoi, “Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that.  They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that. So we continue to work, and we’ll see.  But we had to walk away from that particular suggestion.  We had to walk away from that.”

Going back to the commitments that were made in 2018 at the Singapore Summit, the agreed-upon framework stated, “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

So, North Korea already has its security guarantee. In return it had agreed to commit to complete denuclearization. The next step was to open up the country and begin disarming, and as progress was made, the sanctions could be lowered. But not beforehand.

But as Trump noted, “[Kim] has a certain vision and it’s not exactly our vision, but it’s a lot closer than it was a year ago.  And I think, you know, eventually we’ll get there. But for this particular visit, we decided that we had to walk, and we’ll see what happens.”

So, they still need to come to an agreement about what “complete denuclearization” is, but in the meantime that does not mean all the progress made to date is lost.

The security guarantee made sense and continues to make sense, as it signals to Kim that President Trump meant business and would be a man of his word — and leaves open the possibility that the process can continue. The North Koreans need only consider the examples Iraq, Libya and Ukraine where disarmament of major weapons programs led to leaving each country vulnerable and open to being destabilized and even leading to civil war. Disarmament programs in recent history have not necessarily led to peace and security.

So, it’s a heavy lift diplomatically for President Trump and the State Department to outline an alternative where Kim and his government have a future post-disarmament. It’s not an easy task. Which is why Trump is right not to rush it. He’s doing the right thing. It’s better to get it done correctly than to get it done fast.

At the same time, Trump and Pompeo have to be wary that Kim is not just trying to run out the clock on the Trump administration. And they must also consider the ongoing trade talks with China as Beijing sponsors Kim and North Korea and is its top trading partner.

It could be that North Korea represents nuclear blackmail in China’s bid for global dominance in trade. Meaning, it may not be possible for North Korea to be settled while trade with China is still an open question. President Trump recently postponed increasing tariffs against Chinese goods. It may be that to exert pressure on North Korea to come to terms, the U.S. needs to get tougher in its trade posture with China to achieve a resolution throughout the region. Stay tuned.



Total Leftist bigotry


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, March 05, 2019

Why do Folk Hate Trump?

Below in the answer given by John C. Wright, followed by some of the comments

Someone asked me why folk hate Trump. The answer, of course, is that only two groups of folk hate Trump, once he became the GOP nominee and, later, leader of the free world: Leftists, who are traitors to their nation and species, and Nevertrumpers, who are traitors to their party.

But why the hate?

Because he is blunt and inarticulate and tactless, immoral, womanizing, and rich as Croesus. Add to that the fact that he is a genius for organization, a canny manipulator of the news, and has sympathy for the common man. He restored balance to the Supreme Court. He is also a patriot. He heaps scorn on idiotic leftwing pieties which everyone else, including right wing opponents, never dare treat with disrespect. He has restored the military, lowered taxes and unemployment and singlehandedly removed all Obama era obstacles to our current oil golden age.

Therefore, by leftwing ideas, he should be failing at everything he attempts. Foreign powerS should scorn and loathe him, not love and respect him. But in fact the elite hate him most of all because he is one of them, but he is more elite than any of them, richer than their millionaires, more famous than their tv stars, more popular and far, far more effective than their politicians.

They thought Hillary would finish Obama's work and usher in a socialist utopia with themselves in charge, glorious days of adultery and pederasty, and no Constitution to hinder their powergrabs, and no Church to call them sinners. Then Trump smashed it all. For the first time in living memory, the progressives are losing ground


Tim Hansen

Also, people are lying. I remember after he won how people told they were scared on the behalf of their transgender, lesbian and gay children and friends. He has never said anything in that regard that gives them reason to be scared.

Small children apparently asked their parents and teachers; "Will there be a nuclear war now when the evil man is in power?".
And many hate him because in their mind Hillary was already president. When she lost they was furious and believed their anger and protests could alter reality by sheer will.

A march for women's rights ended up being a protest against Trump. They were wearing pink hats and many were literally dressed as giant vaginas. And they made their small girl wearing obscene signs or signs that claimed they were the future president because they were females (these are the same kind of people that wanted the female Marine Le Pen to lose in France).
The media is lying and portraying him as a monster who takes children away from their parents. They claim he is a racist and white supremacist.

Celebrities who don't know anything about politics pretend they are politicians and rage against him. There are never any arguments, just rumors and emotions. He is so hated that people think they have the right to pull off Trump supporters their MAGA hats.


Rudolph Harrier

Nevertrumpers hate Trump because he exposes all of their cons. For example, one big con that they had was that the only thing that matters is winning the presidency, because the president will appoint Supreme Court justices and the Supreme Court will determine law for longer than any congress or president.  Therefore the right thing for conservatives to do was to sacrifice most of their principles (such as pro-life issues, defense of the family, fiscal responsibility, border security, etc.) to vote in a "moderate" who could win, as opposed to someone who was more conservative and would surely lose.

The presidency of Donald Trump reveals that someone outside of that "moderate" mold can win (and much more easily than the likes of McCain and Romney who we were asked to sell our principles for). Beyond that, since President Trump actually has been able to appoint justices, it reveals that the nevertrumpers never cared about that in the first place. Now everyone can see that all the nevertrumpers wanted were cozy positions of power for themselves and their friends, where they never had to do anything controversial on behalf of their voters.

The longer President Trump is successful, the more difficult it will be for nevertrumpers in the future to disguise themselves as "principled conservatives." We know that all of their talk of focusing on candidates who can win is a lie, and that they would prefer to lose if it made their lives easier. We know that their talk of the importance of the Supreme Court is a lie, and that they only talk about it because they never thought they would ever be able to appoint a justice. And worst of all for them, we know that they can be ignored without consequence.



In honesty I've always disliked the man because he's an open and unrepentant adulterer who has spent his entire life worshipping Mammon, and gloried publicly in the ways Mammon has blessed him, prosletyzing wide and far the idea that being rich and famous is the only way to win. Not uncommon or unusual, of course, and these offences are not crimes in the books of those who hate him. (They anathemized the word "sin" long ago.)


John C Wright

"In honesty I've always disliked the man because he's an open and unrepentant adulterer who has spent his entire life worshipping Mammon"

That is a perfectly good reason to dislike him as a man. It is for that reason I hate King David and George Washington. They were also wealthy womanizers.

But this is also precisely what makes Trump a thorn in the eye of the Left, who, as socialists, worship Mammon more perfectly than any capitalist ever would or could. To them, the acquisition of material wealth justifies mass murder, mass theft, and the abrogation of all terms of the invisible social contract binding ruler to ruled.

Trump is more Hollywood than Hollywood, more Soros than Soros, and just as bling as a rap star. Very tasteless. But he also saved the Republic. Shame on us that we let things get to within one election of the end of our form of government -- Hillary would have been the last in all but name -- without allowing our more polite, more godly, and more civil gentlemen of the right to fight. So we picked a fighter, someone too rude and crude to care when the fainting matrons of the press clutched their pearls.

It is also evidence that God Almighty can use the weak and foolish of the world -- and Trump. morally , is a very weak man -- to upend those the world deems wise.



Scaramucci Fires Back At Michael Cohen In Classic Fashion

The Mooch is loose once again! Former White House Communication Director Anthony Scaramucci went after ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in an interview with Fox and Friends and also said that he could give hundreds of examples that prove President Trump is not a racist.

Cohen, who once loved President Trump so much that he wrote love letters in an attempt to make a book deal, has seemed to have a “change of heart” now that he is going to jail for three years and seeking a shorter prison sentence. With no evidence, Cohen stated in his testimony last week that the President is a “racist.”

The Mooch had some words for Cohen saying that he didn’t like the ex-lawyers approach. Read what he said below:

"I’m not in love with the approach because at the end of the day, you know, we have to be — hold sacred a couple things. The neighborhood I grew up in you can’t do what Michael is doing right now … I would never agree with it, I would never tell my kids to do it, Michael might be mad at me for saying it but I just don’t like the approach of going after somebody who helped build you. And you spent 12 years with."

Keep in mind that Scaramucci and Cohen were good friends at one point. Scarramucci then went on to address Cohen’s comments where he blamed the President for being a racist.

"The president’s not a racist. People forget this but he got the Rosa Parks Medal for helping to get the New York Stock Exchange to close during the Martin Luther King Jr. birthday. If you guys remember, I’m on Wall Street for 30 years. Ronald Reagan signed the Martin Luther King Act for the national holiday, and the New York Stock Exchange stayed open for many years. It was Donald Trump and Sandy Weill and Reverend Jesse Jackson that lobbied and pushed the Stock Exchange to close to recognize that holiday."

Later on, Scarramucci stated that he could give “hundreds of examples” of why President Trump is not a racist and even brought up the time where Cohen introduced then-candidate Trump at a Cleveland rally.

By the way, Michael gave a speech with Darrell Scott and others in Cleveland introducing then-candidate Donald Trump, expressing all the things that he has done where he doesn’t really think about race. So, to me, I don’t like it. I think it’s, you know, and I would tell my kids — I’ve got five of them — you can’t do that.

When it comes down to it, Cohen has been taken over by the far Left agenda in an effort to take down the President. Cohen, who is literally going to jail for lying to Congress, is hoping that if he continues to lie to Congress in an effort to please the Left, that maybe his three year prison sentence will be reduced. Thank goodness we have people like The Mooch to set the record straight.



Trump Secures MULTI-BILLION Dollar Deal For America, Didn’t Leave Vietnam Empty-Handed

President Trump cut short his second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un after the sides couldn’t come to terms on an agreement for denuclearization. Kim wanted all sanctions lifted in return for partial denuclearization. Trump wasn’t about to let that happen, so he left.

However, POTUS did not leave Vietnam empty-handed. He secured a $15 billion deal.

Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways and VietJet Aviation JSC signed deals to buy 110 aircraft from Boeing Co. during President Donald Trump’s visit to Hanoi for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

Bamboo agreed to purchase 10 787-9 Dreamliners worth about $3 billion, while VietJet’s order is for 100 737 Max planes valued at $12.7 billion, Boeing said Wednesday. VietJet’s 100-plane commitment was unveiled at the Farnborough air show last year. The accords were signed in the presence of Trump and Vietnam’s President Nguyen Phu Trong.

Vietnam’s airlines are expanding their fleets as rising incomes and the region’s growing economies are spurring many to fly for the first time, boosting demand in the Asia Pacific, whose air-travel market is projected to surpass that of North America and Europe combined. Demand in Vietnam is also expected to climb after U.S. regulators last month gave their approval to the nation’s air-safety system, making its airlines eligible to begin direct flights to the U.S. and codeshare with American carriers.

U.S.-based aviation technology company Sabre also inked a deal with Vietnam Airlines.



Ocasio-Cortez Turns on Her Party After Rogue Dems Defy Pelosi on Gun Measure

The new face of the Democratic Party might be turning into a headache for some of her own allies.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who has vaulted into fame for her progressive politics, is making things uncomfortable for Democrats who split with the party line on a gun control measure in the House.

And she’s doing it very publicly. In a Twitter post on Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez turned on members of her own party who voted with Republicans to add a provision for illegal aliens to a gun control bill mandating universal background checks on all firearms transfers.

Republicans introduced an amendment that would require that the bill include Immigration and Customs Enforcement being notified if an illegal alien attempted to buy a gun.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had implored Democrats to vote against the amendment as part of a “blanket policy” to oppose Republican procedural motions, according to The Hill.

In a news conference on Thursday, Pelosi told reporters she wanted members of her conference to deny Republicans even a symbolic victory. The amendment eventually passed, according to The Daily Caller.

“Vote ‘no.’ Just vote ‘no,’ because the fact is a vote ‘yes’ is to give leverage to the other side, to surrender the leverage on the floor of the House,” Pelosi said after a closed-door meeting of House Democrats, according to The Hill.

But 26 Democrats voted with the Republicans on the measure, likely fearful of having to explain in the next election why they were apparently protecting illegal aliens.

“I vote my district,” Rep. Conor Lamb told The Hill on Thursday.   The Pennsylvania Democrat represents a largely conservative area of western Pennsylvania, where gun rights are strong.

At that Democrats’ private meeting, Ocasio-Cortez told Democratic moderates they were putting themselves on a “list” to face primary challenges in 2020 from more progressive liberals, according to The Washington Post.

In a Twitter post on Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez continued her criticism. “Mind, you, the same small splinter group of Dems that tried to deny Pelosi the speakership, fund the wall during the shutdown when the public didn’t want it, & are now voting in surprise ICE amendments to gun safety legislation are being called the ‘moderate wing’ of the party,” she wrote.

“We can have ideological differences and that’s fine. But these tactics allow a small group to force the other 200+ members into actions that the majority disagree with. I don’t think that’s right, and said as much in a closed door meeting.”

However, Ocasio-Cortez denied she was planning to support primary challengers to Democratic incumbents in the next election cycle.

“If you’re mad that I think people SHOULD KNOW when Dems vote to expand ICE powers, then be mad. ICE is a dangerous agency with 0 accountability, widespread reporting of rape, abuse of power, + children dying in DHS custody,” she wrote. “Having a D next to your name doesn’t make that right.”

ICE is a dangerous agency with 0 accountability, widespread reporting of rape, abuse of power, + children dying in DHS custody. Having a D next to your name doesn’t make that right.

Every Democrat in Congress knows the kind of national audience Ocasio-Cortez is commanding these days, and know how important she has become to the progressive wing of their party.

Even if Ocasio-Cortez isn’t threatening a primary battle, she could well be giving Democrats in swing districts a headache all the way into the 2020 election cycle.



‘Black Guns Matter’ Founder Has Plan To Turn Inner Cities Conservative

Trying to break the stranglehold of the Democratic Party on the United States urban areas, the founder of the group Black Guns Matter told the Conservative Polical Action Conference last week that the key for conservatives to make gains in traditionally Democratic districts is to take the message to the streets.

And that means focusing on the right guaranteed under the Second Amendment.

“We have to put more conservative principles in urban America,” Maj Toure told National Rifle Association board member Willes Lee on Thursday during an on-stage CPAC interview.

“We go to where there’s high violence, high crime, high gun control, high ‘slave mentality’ to be perfectly honest, and inform urban America about their human rights, as stated in the Second Amendment, to defend their life.

“Urban America has been left out of that conversation,” he said.

A resident of North Philadelphia, Toure knows something about the urban environment.

He knows about firearms. He might be familiar to viewers of NRA TV, where he’s made numerous appearance, and has been recognized with this group by the National Sports Foundation.



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, March 04, 2019

Trump Boldly Defends America During CPAC Speech. Naturally, CNN Compares Him To Hitler

On Saturday, President Trump spent his day at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) where he addressed a wide variety topics. The extremely patriotic speech was greatly loved by the conservative audience.

The speech, which to the normal viewer, was a good, patriotic speech, was interpreted completely different by CNN analyst Sam Vinograd who compared President Trump’s speech to Adolf Hitler killing six million jews. You can’t make this stuff up.

“The men and women here today are on the front lines of protecting America’s interests, defending America’s value, and reclaiming our nation’s priceless heritage,” Trump said to the audience at CPAC. “With your help, we are reversing decades of blunders and betrayals. These are serious, serious betrayals to our nation and to everything we stand for. It’s been done by the failed ruling class that enriched foreign countries at our expense. It wasn’t America first, in many cases it was America last. Those days are over, long over.”

Seems pretty innocent, right? Well according to Vinograd, this speech was just as bad as killing 6 million jews. The radical CNN analyst who is also a former Obama official, said: “His statement makes me sick, on a personal level, preserving your heritage, reclaiming our heritage, that sounds a lot like a certain leader that killed members of my family and about six million other Jews in the 1940s.”

Vinograd then said that Trump “pretends that there are massive flows of illegal immigrants coming over our borders.” She conveniently ignored the fact that there were over 360,000 arrests made on the border last year.

It gets worse. Vinograd then suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind Trump’s CPAC speech. Trump Derangement Syndrome runs deep at CNN.

“By the way, this whole CPAC speech, how many pieces, parts of President Putin’s to-do list was President Trump trying to accomplish today?” Vinograd said. “He denigrated our institutions – the Department of Justice and U.S. Congress, he spread misinformation and conspiracy theories, he undermined the credibility of several of our institutions – he sowed divisions, he sowed confusion, he was speaking to his base but he was also saying things that really looked like Vladimir Putin scripted his speech. So it helped him perhaps with his base, and politically, while at the same time, making Russia’s job a lot easier.”

Talk about a sociopath! It’s one thing to not like someones speech, but quite bizarre to compare someones innocent speech to the killing of six million jews and blaming the Russian President for what was said as well.

Maybe Vinograd was just a little butt hurt at what Trump had to say about CNN.

“I’ve learned because with the fake news — if you tell a joke, if you’re sarcastic, if you’re having fun with the audience, if you’re on live television with millions of people and 25,000 people, in an arena and if you say something like Russia please, if you can, it is Hillary Clinton’s e-mails! Please, Russia, please!” Trump said jokingly at CPAC. “Please, get us the e-mails! Please!”

“So everyone is having a good time, I’m laughing, we’re having fun and then that fake CNN and others say, ‘he asked Russia to go get the e-mails. Horrible!'” Trump said. “I mean, I saw it like two weeks ago. I’m watching and they are talking about one of points. He asked Russia for the e-mails. These people are sick and I’m telling you — they know the game. They know the game and they play it dirty. Dirtier than anyone who’s played the game. Dirtier than it’s ever been played.”

One thing Trump is extremely good at, is getting under the skin of CNN employees which obviously seemed to be the case considering Vinograd compared the speech to Adolf Hitler killing six million jews. CNN’s radical agenda seems to be getting more and more out of hand and it’s an extreme disservice to the American people.



Amid a sea of Leftist lies, the truth still matters

We were listening to Jordan Peterson, along with thousands of other Sydneysiders who turned out to hear him. Lots of men in suits, some in shorts and cut-away tanks, all neat and polite and eager to listen. Some women too, but mostly men, and mostly young men.

This Canadian psychologist became famous only a few years ago for refusing to follow a Canadian law that instructs people about which pronouns to use. That Peterson is a now a cultural phenomenon is itself a phenomenon worth pondering.

His fame speaks to the enduring power of reason. It tells you that not everyone has fallen for the new rules where victimhood must be prized, and feelings are the new measurement of morality.

There is a hunger for Peterson’s core messages about responsibility and reason, values many others have discarded as relics of another age.

Peterson took his rapt audience on a tour of the importance of truth, in part by examining this question to the panel on Monday night’s Q&A program.

“Do you believe in God?” asked someone in the audience.

Peterson critiqued the answer from one panel member in particular. In response to the question, feminist, trade unionist and writer for The Guardian Van Badham said she is both a Christian and a Marxist.

Wrong, said Peterson. You can be a Christian and a Marxist only if you are deluded or disingenuous. It is not that Christianity and Marxism are different, like an apple v a pear. They are ­diametrically opposed to one another. Only someone who understands only one or the other, or neither, could claim to be both.

Why did Peterson pursue this issue for so long on Tuesday night? Because truth matters, and it matters to understand the difference between being a Christian and being a Marxist.

Peterson took the audience on a long excursion through the collective guilt and class war tenets of Marxism. It is a doctrine premised on materialism and the violent overthrow of a rich oppressor class.

Christianity is a spiritual belief system for the soul that focuses on the power of the individual. Christianity makes room for the state: Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.

Whereas Karl Marx believed that “the first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion”.

Victorian pastor Murray Campbell kicked a goal for truth too, writing on his blog after listening to Badham that not a single country that has fully embraced Marxism has allowed for religious freedom. In fact, “the sum total of Marxist states that support Christianity is zero”.

Badham can be either a Marxist or a Christian. She cannot be both. Care to punt whether she prefers collective guilt or individual responsibility?

The Marxist idea of collective guilt is having an unfortunate resurgence. It explains the Smollett story after all. The actor faked a hate crime on himself because he assumed that people would jump to defend a gay black victim bashed by two men in MAGA hats, no questions asked.

Just as so many people sided with a woman to stop a white, middle-class, conservative man being appointed to the Supreme Court, no matter how flimsy the evidence against him. Just as people jumped, brains disengaged, to condemn schoolkids from Covington Catholic school so they could side with a Native American man, even though the adult man was the ­aggressor.

In this brave new world, social justice movements are based on this one guiding principle: in the hierarchy of power, if you’re up near the top, you are presumed guilty of oppressing those below.

Notice that this word “social” is used to signal incontrovertible goodness, as in social justice, ­social conscience, social equality, social licence to operate, or corporate social responsibility. Being incontrovertibly good renders them beyond challenge by decent people. Except they are not always good.

The #MeToo movement was always prone to abuse by those who assume an accused man is a guilty man because women must be believed. It explains why Gillette knew it would hit a social conscience sweet spot with an advertisement premised on all men being bad, hence the need for a commercial telling them to be good.

Other movements, from Black Lives Matter to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Jewish businesses, are all premised on this same crooked notion of presumed collective guilt.

Here, then, is the next question for those interested in the truth. Can we trust our justice system not to succumb to this same misguided tenet of our times? What happens if the idea of collective guilt seeps into the legal system, into a jury room, and ensnares an innocent man?

Take the shocking sexual abuse crimes within the Catholic Church. What if this new, yet old Marxist idea — if you find the powerful, you will locate the guilty — dislodges the fundamental idea that a person’s guilt must be established beyond reasonable doubt?

Is the guilty verdict against Cardinal George Pell, convicted last December for sexual abuse crimes in a he said/he said trial, an example of this new form of justice? The first jury could not agree on Pell’s guilt.

The second jury found him guilty. Pell has always maintained his innocence. There are legitimate concerns about the evidence supporting a guilty verdict.

To be sure, none of us here knows what happened in the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral in December 1996. But all of us should agree that the truth matters. Except many don’t agree that truth matters.

On Wednesday, The Australia Institute’s Ben Oquist plumbed the sewers of collective guilt. He claimed that the causes that Pell believed in, from his support of traditional marriage to his scepticism about the hype over climate change, and political allies who shared those views are now diminished by Pell’s conviction.

Welcome to our brave new world where the retreat from reason and truth continues apace.



Oregon’s Proposed Rent Controls Would Shrink Supply of Housing

Some follies never die

Oregon just took a big step this week toward becoming the first state in the nation to impose statewide rent controls—a step in the wrong direction.

Senate Bill 608—which has now passed both houses of the Legislative Assembly—limits annual rent increases to the inflation rate plus 7 percent and imposes stringent restrictions on the ability to evict tenants without cause. (It exempts new construction for 15 years.)

A united Republican caucus was joined by only three Democratic House members in opposition when it passed the lower chamber Tuesday. Only one Democrat opposed the legislation when it cleared the state Senate on Feb. 12.

The Willamette Week reported that Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, is likely to sign the measure into law.

Unfortunately for Oregon residents, public policy crafted in defiance of economic reality yields poor results, good intentions notwithstanding.

Rent control is the cause celebre of the chief sponsor of the legislation, state Sen. Shemia Fagan, D-Portland. She knocked off incumbent state Sen. Rob Monroe in a Democratic primary last May in part by sharply criticizing his opposition to rent control.

Her win proved instrumental in shifting the entire Democratic caucus to the left on the issue. Her stern message to fellow Democrats: “They need to take a message from my victory. My community is not interested in watering down my victory.”

Across Oregon, stringent zoning restrictions, density limitations, and aggressive environmental regulation limit supply of housing while increasing the costs of construction.

Rental costs reflect those realities. Capping rent increases does nothing to make housing less costly to build. But it will have the perverse effect of shrinking future supply by deterring new construction and incentivizing landlords to spend less money on upkeep and remodeling.

With rents capped, demand likely will increase further, but with supply unable to keep up with demand, housing shortages will likely continue.

“Oregon Democrats are carpet-bombing our state with regulations that will deliberately destabilize the housing market and leave it obliterated,” said Jonathan Lockwood, a spokesman for a group of Republicans in the Oregon House and Senate. “And in the smoldering remains, they will cry out that Senate Bill 608 wasn’t enough.”

The legislation also denies landlords the option to give a tenant a one-month “no-cause notice” to vacate a unit after 12 months of tenancy. Ostensibly, the intent of the sponsors is to protect tenants from higher-priced rents elsewhere or the inconvenience of relocating.

Legislators neglected to take note that a no-cause notice is also the best way for a landlord to remove a tenant engaged in harassment of his or her neighbors. In effect, this new prohibition will restrict compliance with Fair Housing Act protections against harassment.

Salem, Oregon, property manager Melodie Atkinson warned in a Feb. 8 op-ed in The Oregonian that “taking away landlords’ ability to issue these no-cause notices removes a valuable tool in protecting other tenants from one who has been harassing them or engaging in behavior that falls short of a for-cause eviction.”

She added, “Under current law, residents are better protected, and bad actors creating a hostile environment are given ample time to make alternative arrangements.”

Criticism of rent control as bad economics is hardly limited to landlords or to free-market conservatives.

As far back as 1965, Gunnar Myrdal, one of the visionaries behind Sweden’s welfare state, warned, “Rent control has in certain Western countries constituted, maybe, the worst example of poor planning by governments lacking courage and vision.”

Economics professor Assar Lindbeck, Myrdal’s fellow Swede, cautioned in 1972, “In many cases rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city—except for bombing.”

In 1989, communists running Vietnam linked the abject condition of Hanoi’s housing directly to rent control. Then-Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach said, “The Americans couldn’t destroy Hanoi, but we have destroyed our city by very low rents. We realized it was stupid and that we must change policy.”

Although the Oregon legislation may score cheap political points, rent control and handcuffing property managers does nothing to solve the affordable housing problem.

It’s no surprise that with its already onerous restrictions on landlords, rents in Portland soared 42 percent from 2010 to 2017, more than triple the overall rate of inflation. Now, these ills are likely to adversely affect the rest of the state, too.

By contrast, reforming land-use laws—in effect, increasing supply—would be a big step in the right direction. With increased supply, rental prices could plateau or even decline.

The governor defends land-use regulations as a reason why the state’s wine industry thrives. Even if that were true, the unaffordable rental costs would amount to a hidden tax on the general public (many of them working class) in order to allow wealthy vineyard owners to thrive.

Adding new controls will only force renters to live in more dilapidated conditions and preclude additional units from being built.

That’s what you might call a Pyrrhic victory for Fagan and her fellow advocates of rent control.



Lookit that chin

Lying Liz Warren has a hatchet jaw.  So what?  It in fact explains a lot about her.  Females normally have much more receding chins than males.  That's why a receding chin on a male is commonly regarded as "weak". A "strong" jaw on a woman is normally inherited but what exactly is inherited?  Testosterone, male hormones. 

And as most men who live with women know, hormones can have strong behavioral effects. Male hormones tend to enable ambition, strong drive and aggression.  And that summarizes comrade Warren pretty well.  Despite the huge gaffe of falsely claiming native  ancestry, she is still pushing on.  She still wants to be President. Most women would have gone home to their families after such a big setback but not the lady with the chin -- JR.


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

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


Sunday, March 03, 2019

The party to be at

A report of fun times in the big tent

The most popular organization at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is one most famous for filming its members wearing diapers on a college campus.

Turning Point USA’s Thursday-night bash was the most sought-after party at CPAC, the annual conference of right-leaning college students, presidential aspirants, overly passionate political junkies, and attention-starved conservative media stars.

White House communications director Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive, mingled with guests in the party’s VIP section, while serial plagiarist Benny Johnson—now TPUSA’s chief creative officer after leaving The Daily Caller in February—warmed up the crowd. On the sidelines, conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl chatted with college students drinking a tequila cocktail called “Mexico Will Pay for It.”

The party also served as a celebration of the group and its founder Charlie Kirk, the baby-faced conservative pundit whose popularity is on full display this week at CPAC.

Among the high-profile attendees was lawmaker Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), who rose to fame for his beef and eventual reconciliation with a Saturday Night Live cast member, and members of President Trump’s innermost circle.

Former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle spoke briefly at the TPUSA party, saying the executive director of the college conservative group “always brings the house down.”

Her boyfriend Donald Trump Jr. toasted Kirk, too, recalling how he initially dismissed him, but eventually came to love him for “kicking some ass for the youth of America.”

“This didn’t exist a few years ago. Charlie, thank you for doing that man,” the president’s son said. “Thank you for making me party, and making people see what this party is all about.”

Each year, the conservative conference buzzes with the energy—and the tension—set off by combining the right’s various factions and superstars. And each year, the ethos of the conservative movement is typically reflected by the group holding court the most.

For example, Breitbart News—now seemingly a non-entity compared to TPUSA—blew out its budget in 2017 for a post-CPAC party on a boat, the same year white nationalist Richard Spencer was kicked out of the conference. And while many attendees found 2018’s CPAC conference to be sleepier than past years, that conference was when conservative media stars like Dr. Sebastian Gorka, freshly ushered in by the Trump era, were swarmed by supporters seeking selfies.

This year, TPUSA took its turn in the bizarre CPAC spotlight. “For years it’s been a revolving door of who is bubbling to the top of the conservative movement,” BlazeTV host Eric Bolling told The Daily Beast. “A couple years ago, Ben Shapiro was that guy. It feels it’s moved to TPUSA,” he observed.

The group has an outsized presence at the 2019 conference. According to a Turning Point spokesman, at least 30 staffers and more than 100 “student ambassadors” have flocked to the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center to represent TPUSA.

The group’s evening bash featured a mechanical bull ride, a cardboard cut-out of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)—the conservative movement’s newest villain—with “pendeja,” Spanish for moron, scrawled on her face, and prominently placed TV screens featuring pro-Trump memes on loop.

CPAC attendees gave Kirk two standing ovations for his Thursday afternoon speech, which he used to position Turning Point USA as the right’s first line of defense against insurgent leftists like Ocasio-Cortez.

“For years, I have warned the conservative base that there is going to be a socialist under the age of 35 who’s going to come to Congress,” Kirk, who is 25 years old, said.

Speaking earlier in the day, the pro-Trump CEO of the pillow company My Pillow dubbed Kirk and the group’s communications director Candace Owens “two of the most amazing speakers I’ve ever met.” During her speech, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also praised TPUSA leadership.

“People like Candace Owens, like Charlie Kirk, we need more leaders like that,” the powerful Republican Party official declared.

At TPUSA’s exhibit booth, a crowd of Kirk fans waited for the chance at free stickers and buttons. One of the group’s signs mocked the “Coexist” bumper sticker—a plea for peaceful relationships between all religions— by replacing the religious symbols with guns and bullets.

Nearby, Turning Point fans posed with a life-size cut-out of Kirk dressed in his signature outfit: A navy suit and sneakers.

Grant Newcome, a student at Maryland’s Salisbury University, walked away from the booth excited about his new TPUSA “Socialism Sucks” button. Newcome said Kirk and the organization have reached out to millennials on campus, while other conservative groups have failed to reach young people.

“I just love the way he goes on campuses and challenges the academics to their faces,” Newcome said.

Even Turning Point’s critics have noticed the group’s outsized presence at CPAC.

Kevin Martin, a young conservative activist who has organized students and anti-Turning Point dissidents, and created a rival group, remarked that TPUSA stepped up its CPAC operation “big time.” Kirk walked right past him, trailed by students pleading for selfies.

And while the group has been warmly embraced at CPAC, TPUSA faces increasing flak from the outside, and from within its own ranks.

Owens—who roamed the halls Thursday surrounded by an entourage, a bodyguard, and selfie-seeking fans—shot to fame last year after Kanye West tweeted positively about her. But she alienated the rapper by falsely claiming that he had designed the logo for “Blexit,” her group devoted to convincing African-Americans to vote Republican.

After Owens blundered through a bizarre statement about Adolf Hitler in December, making international headlines, several Turning Point campus chapters called on her to resign as the national organization’s communications director.

And Kirk’s feverish and prolific tweeting often veers into conspiratorial, far-right, and typically fact-free rhetoric—always in the service of defending all things Trump.

Turning Point has also been plagued by leaked internal chats and text messages that show its members making racist remarks—often making its members sound more like the alt-right than a mainstream conservative group. In one set of leaked chats, members joked about Muslim refugees raping people, and discussed dressing up as ICE agents to “aggressively grapple Latinas and deport them.”

In a leaked text exchange, TPUSA’s former national field director Crystal Clanton remarked: “I hate all black people. Like fuck them all… I hate blacks. End of story.”

But none of that mattered Thursday night.

Sporting an oversized red MAGA T-shirt, Kirk led the bar in chants of “USA” and “build the wall,” while exhilarated, blazer-clad fanbros swarmed to take pictures and videos of him.

At one point, Kirk took the stage to thank attendees and proudly survey his new kingdom. “This is MAGA country,” he shouted.



Lindsey Graham Credits Trump for ‘Tough’ Leadership

When President Donald Trump first entered the Oval Office two years ago, Sen. Lindsey Graham was a little reticent to give him his phone number.

“President Trump and I did not start well,” the South Carolina Republican said in remarks Thursday to hundreds of conservative activists. “But now I’ve given him my phone number.”

Trump famously gave out Graham’s old cellphone number to the world when both men were seeking the Republican nomination for president.

“We’ve got a lot in common. I like him, and he likes him,” Graham quipped, provoking laughter.

Graham, now chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told his audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was “never more proud of Trump” than during the ultimately successful effort to win Senate confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Graham attracted the admiration of skeptical conservatives in September, when he made an impassioned defense of Kavanaugh as fellow Judiciary Committee members weighed a newly surfaced accusation that the nominee sexually assaulted a teenage girl when they were in high school.

“I want to thank the president for nominating Brett,” Graham said at CPAC. “He did something not everyone does. He had somebody’s back when it really mattered. There were a bunch of people saying we need to move on, and the president said, ‘No, thank you.’ That’s truly called draining the swamp.”

Graham asked the CPAC audience to imagine what would have happened if Democrats had been able to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Qualified prospective nominees would be reluctant to step forward if the tactics employed against Kavanaugh had prevailed, he said.

Graham also made it clear that he would work with Republican colleagues on the Judiciary Committee to confirm more conservative judges.

Throughout his talk, Graham also credited Trump on a range of topics:

“Why is Rocket Man talking to Trump? Because he knows he means business.”

“Why is the Taliban at the peace table? Because we are kicking their a–.”

“Why is the caliphate destroyed? Because Trump is letting the military do its job.”

“Why is Iran on the run? Because Trump recognizes a bad deal.”

“Why is Kavanaugh on the court? Because Trump is tough.”



Progressives vs the working class

The Amazon-NYC debacle revealed whose side AOC and Co are on

New Yorkers are still sore about Amazon abandoning its planned NYC headquarters, and with it the prospect of thousands of new jobs. And they know who to blame for it: the city’s progressive politicos.

Most New Yorkers wanted the tech giant to come to New York City, especially the working-class people of the outer borough of Queens in which the company’s new ‘HQ2’ was to be located. An overwhelming majority of Latinos and blacks – 81 per cent and 70 per cent respectively – were in favour. The main source of opposition came from white elites in Manhattan.

And it is not hard to understand why workers were in favour. Amazon committed to bring 25,000 jobs, with an average salary of $150,000. This would have had a strong knock-on effect, creating thousands of additional jobs in construction, retail and restaurants. The tech firm would have generated billions in tax revenues to spend on local services, including badly needed infrastructure improvement. Amazon would have attracted other tech companies, too, creating the possibility of moving the city’s economy away from its over-reliance on Wall Street.

The loss of such opportunities felt like a blow to most New Yorkers. This is why the celebrations among left Democrats who campaigned to kill the Amazon deal sounded so discordant, so out-of-touch. ‘Anything is possible’, tweeted congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was a prominent opponent of the Amazon deal, and who represents a district in Queens that would have benefited from it. She and her fellow progressives had ‘defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world’. Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren joined the celebrations.

The progressives’ opposition to Amazon was pure grandstanding, and the cavalier way they treated the removal of thousands of jobs revealed how aloof they are. They claimed to oppose the $3 billion incentive agreement that the city had offered Amazon. But in truth they only sought to score political points against ‘greed’ and ‘billionaires’, not giving a damn about the people whose lives would be affected. Outside of New York, especially in the harder-hit areas of the Rust Belt, people looked on with amazement: we, the sentiment went, are dying for new jobs, and you have an opportunity for thousands, and you just turn them away? And then congratulate yourselves?

It was especially galling to know that the opposition to Amazon was built on financial stupidity. ‘If we were willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest those $3 billion in our district ourselves, if we wanted to’, said Ocasio-Cortez. ‘We could hire out more teachers. We can fix our subways.’ Sorry, Alexandria, but there’s no pile of $3 billion for you to spend now that Amazon has left. This was structured as a tax break: if Amazon generated $30 billion in tax revenues over 10 years, it would get a break on $3 billion, and the city would get $27 billion. Such nonsense from Ocasio-Cortez only added to the impression that she is an airhead who has no idea what she’s talking about. (See her brilliant economic insight that ‘unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs’.)

In one sense, it is understandable that Ocasio-Cortez is so out of touch with the majority of her constituents: she rarely speaks to them. She is a celebrity, and her powerbase is Twitter and the adoring media who report her every utterance to us on a daily basis. Time spent on social media and in front of cameras in Washington means no time for locals. Indeed, she has yet to open her district office (she says it is still under construction), while other first-time Congress members from New York have set up their offices.

The even more damning truth is that Ocasio-Cortez’s and other progressives’ opposition to Amazon was entirely consistent with the group whose outlook they truly reflect: the white upper-middle class. In her primary victory over Democrat Joe Crowley, Ocasio-Cortez’s main support came from the whiter, more gentrified parts of Queens; the black and Latino areas voted for Crowley. That group, along with the city’s more elite set in Manhattan, formed the minority opposition to Amazon. These are people who don’t want their comfortable lives disrupted by a newcomer like Amazon. Their self-centred opposition is rooted in NIMBYism, not social justice.

The Amazon debacle has exposed as utterly false progressives’ claims to speak for working people. The reality is that they were dead-set against what the majority of workers wanted. The opposition claimed they were protecting workers’ rights, by demanding New York City remain a ‘union town’. But Amazon workers would have had the right to form a union, as per federal law; these progressive politicos wanted to impose a union. While sounding pro-worker, they were in fact being patronising. It is up to the workforce to organise themselves, not have a ready-made union bestowed on them by Democratic Party representatives. Now New York workers won’t have any opportunity to start a union at Amazon.

Another key plank of opposition to Amazon was an apparent opposition to subsidies (tax incentives) to corporations. Yet Democrats have been happy to cut deals in the past. As Seth Barron noted, the two politicians that led the local opposition to Amazon – state senator Michael Gianaris and city council member Jimmy Van Bramer – have been big supporters of subsidies for film and television producers. In turn, these media companies just happen to be large donors to the Democrats’ election campaigns.

Amazon is a powerful behemoth of a company, with questionable labour practices, for sure. And it looks like its owner, Jeff Bezos, is increasingly trying to assert political influence. (Some speculate that the only reason he wanted to locate his two new HQs in Washington and New York was for the networking connections, not the engineering talent.) But the kneejerk rejection of Amazon in a particular location like New York is an own goal. The better approach would have been to accept Amazon, and then fight any bad practices. Now the 25,000 jobs will simply be created elsewhere – Amazon says it will mainly place them in northern Virginia and Tennessee. It is hard to see how anyone could claim this as a ‘defeat’ for the company.

The opposition to Amazon shows how progressives claim the mantle of the people, yet represent the upper strata of society, whose interests are opposed to those of workers. In the name of stopping gentrification, they are in fact enforcing the desire of the urban gentry for a quiet life. They are fearful of the destabilising consequences from economic growth, while workers are desperate for change. The only good thing to come from the Amazon pull-out from New York is that it has exposed who the progressive Democrats really represent.



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)