Friday, March 29, 2019

Trump’s been boosted by good fortune, but there are traces of genius

GREG SHERIDAN, writing from Australia

It is tempting to say Donald Trump is a lucky politician. And there is some truth in this. His margin of victory in the 2016 presidential election was so slender in the critical midwest states he won that no one could have predicted it. And no one did, including Trump’s own campaign.

Like most lucky generals Trump also has a big hand in making his own luck. He and his campaign chose the key battleground states that could just conceivably deliver him the presidency and he out-campaigned Hillary Clinton in all of them. To win all of them so narrowly is statistically astonishingly improbable, but Trump is the master of the improbable.

Similarly, one reason Trump has an excellent chance of re-election is that the recession the US seems to be heading for could come after the 2020 presidential election. In any event it should be quite mild. The yield curve inversion indicates it’s coming but there are no massive structural imbalances in the US economy.

Here again, Trump has made a lot of his own luck. I don’t mean the tax cuts and business deregulation that have helped spur the US economy on. They are big policy commitments and should yield long-term growth dividends. I mean instead the way Trump has bullied the Federal Reserve into keeping interest rates low. He is not the first political leader to make cyclical economic policy serve political timetables.

But nothing so perfectly embodies the fusion of Trump’s luck with the undeniable trace of political genius — it’s not too strong a word — that is emerging in Trump as the report of the independent counsel Robert Mueller into allegations of criminal collusion during the 2016 campaign between Trump and Russia.

The element of luck is not Mueller finding no collusion. That, presumably, just reflects reality. The element of luck is the way most of Trump’s enemies, in the Democratic Party and in large slabs of the media, so wildly, insanely, overhyped everything to do with the Russia collusion idea.

Trump is immensely lucky in his enemies. But he creates his own fortune because he drives his enemies crazy. As a result they exercise appalling judgment in their attacks.

I think as President, Trump is a mixed grill. He is a better president than I thought he would be. During the election campaign I followed the debate about whether they should support Trump in a number of US Christian journals. It was a conscientious and serious debate. They recognised Trump was not one of them and would certainly not lead America’s moral revival. But they faced a binary choice: Trump or Clinton. Clinton, they felt, would appoint Supreme Court judges who would abridge their religious freedom and she would support social programs and values they opposed. So most backed Trump, with reservations.

He has delivered good outcomes and bad outcomes. Among the good are four of particular consequence. One is excellent Supreme Court justices and similarly good choices across all the federal courts to which the president can appoint judges. Two is tax cuts and business deregulation. Three is increased defence spending. Four is calling out China on trade and other malpractice, though this could have a bad effect on Australia if a US-China deal results in Beijing buying commodities from the US it would otherwise buy from us.

Democrats, and Trump’s opponents generally, have had relatively little to say on these issues. Instead they’ve concentrated on Trump’s obvious character flaws and the equally obviously seedy nature of some of his associates. Because Trump’s very existence as President contradicts everything they think and, more importantly, feel, they have invested in and created all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories against Trump.

I have come to the view that the independent counsel institution is a corruption of due process that almost always does more harm than good. The Mueller investigation was set up in the hysterical atmosphere that followed Trump’s sacking of James Comey as FBI director. The instant conspiracy interpretation was that Trump sacked Comey because Comey was too vigorously investigating allegations of collusion between Trump and Russia.

It turns out, according to Mueller, there was no such collusion. This takes the wind out of the sails of all Trump’s critics. And because so much of what the Trump critics said was so overblown, so ridiculous, so extravagant and now we can say plainly so wrong, even the credible criticisms they make of him can now be discredited.

This was already so for Trump’s supporters, who won’t hear a word against him. But Mueller had a lot of credibility with independent voters. In his re-election bid, Trump will need some independent voters to add to his base. The Mueller exoneration means it should be much easier for Trump to sell his re-election message to those independents.

Those who think independent counsels are a good thing in general, and Mueller was especially good, will point to the numerous convictions or confessions Mueller obtained. But these fall entirely into two categories. The first, and most pernicious, are process convictions. Mueller has convicted some people and charged others with lying to him. In other words these are alleged crimes that would not have been committed if Mueller’s inquiry had not been called into existence.

The second category of convictions are for tax avoidance and the like among Trump associates, at times when they had nothing to do with Trump’s presidency.

There are some allegations against Trump, such as his paying hush money to a woman he had an affair with, that are simply not grave enough to threaten any presidency. This precedent was established when Democrats forgave Bill Clinton for lying under oath because he was “only” lying about an affair.

Bob Woodward’s book Fear is much more balanced about Trump than its critics allow and is sharply critical of the disrespectful, clumsy and partisan way some of the intelligence agencies dealt with Trump. A former CIA boss, John Brennan, accused Trump of “treason”. Brennan now looks a complete fool. Polls do not show these collusion issues rank seriously with voters. If Democrats focus on them they will strengthen Trump. That Mueller could not find sufficient evidence for even so elastic a charge as obstruction of justice, but nonetheless apparently makes some negative comments about Trump anyway, just shows how dysfunctional the independent counsel mechanism is. If it’s not indictable, it’s up to the political system to sort out, not unelected officials.

This is an enormous win for Trump. The next election is unpredictable, but I put Trump slightly better than even-money odds.



Israel's Golan sovereignty should have been recognized years ago

by Jeff Jacoby

DURING A White House meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, President Trump signed a formal proclamation that the United States recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. In so doing, the president acknowledged a longstanding fact of life, bolstered a vital American ally, promoted stability in a deeply unstable neighborhood, and upheld the oft-ignored but crucial distinction between acquiring territory through aggression and acquiring it through lawful self-defense. Good outcomes all, extending the Trump administration's already exemplary record when it comes to the Middle East.

Trump's policy shift didn't sit well with everyone, of course. Those angrily denouncing it included the dictators and terror-sponsors who rule Iran, Turkey, Russia, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority. A few reflexively anti-Trump editorial boards chided the president for a "pointless provocation" that will "damage US diplomacy." Tellingly, though, there was barely any protest from most Arab governments, which in recent years have come to value Israel as an ally against Iran and its proxies. As a CNN headline put it, "Trump's Golan Heights announcement met with a shrug in the Arab world."

Mr Trump gets a rare smile from PM Netanyahu

Trump's announcement is being described as a pro-Netanyahu campaign ploy, but no matter who wins Israel's upcoming election, the Golan will remain part of Israel. Which is why even Netanyahu's political foes applauded the American announcement. Benny Gantz, the retired general hoping to become Israel's next prime minister, publicly thanked Trump for his proclamation.

The president's signature changes nothing on the ground. Israel has held the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights — a plateau that towers over the Sea of Galilee and much of northern Israel — since the 1967 Six Day War. That war, recall, was one of blatant aggression against Israel: Syria joined Egypt and Jordan in an assault that Syria's Defense Minister Hafez Assad had labeled "a battle of annihilation" to "explode the Zionist presence" in the Mideast.

But Israel declined to be annihilated or exploded. It repelled its invaders and seized the Golan Heights, from which Syria had been shelling Jewish farms and towns for more than 20 years. In the aftermath of the war, Israel offered to return the territory in exchange for peace. Damascus refused to negotiate. It tried to recapture the Golan Heights in a massive armored invasion in 1973. Israel repelled that threat too.

Thus, Israel has ruled the Golan Heights for 52 years (1967-2019) — more than twice as long as the 21 years of Syrian rule that began in 1946. The contrast between the two eras could not be more open-and-shut, as Michael Doran, a former senior director at the National Security Council, testified before Congress last year:

"The last 70 years constitute the laboratory of real life, and its results are incontrovertible," Doran told the House Oversight Committee during a hearing on US-Israel relations. "When in the hands of Syria, the Golan Heights promoted conflict. When in the hands of Israel, they have promoted stability."

Nonetheless, Israeli and US leaders well into the 1990s kept trying to entice Damascus to make peace with its Jewish neighbor in exchange for a return of the Golan. In his first term as prime minister, Netanyahu used a secret back channel to communicate with Syrian President Bashar Assad about a land-for-peace deal.

Fortunately, nothing came of those efforts. Syria's implosion in 2011 plunged the country into a hellish civil war that eventually included Iran, Russia, the Islamic State, and Hezbollah. If Israel hadn't retained the Golan Heights, the plateau would likely have been captured by Iran or ISIS, and Israel might well have faced an unspeakable existential nightmare. Instead, the Golan Heights remained an oasis of stability and decency amid the savagery of the Syrian war. Israel even made use of the territory to provide medical care to thousands of Syrian civilians.

If Israel had seized the Golan Heights as an act of aggression, it would arguably have no right to keep the land even after all these years. But in 1967, Israel was the target. It seized the Golan in a defensive war against an enemy explicitly bent on "annihilation." Syria forfeited its sovereign right to the territory when it was defeated by its intended victim. To claim otherwise is to claim that a belligerent aggressor should lose nothing for waging an unlawful war. That would be folly. By endorsing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, the Trump administration is sending a message of deterrence to would-be warmongers. It's a message that should have been sent years ago. Better late than never.



Assume the Left Lies and You Will Discover the Truth

Reflections on the Trump-Russia collusion lie

Dennis Prager
From the beginning, I repeatedly said the charge that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election was a lie. The president’s description of it as a “witch hunt” was accurate.

I regularly acknowledged that I was putting my credibility on the line by stating that it was all a hoax. But how did I know that? After all, I wasn’t privy to any confidential intelligence.

One answer is I used common sense. The Trump-Russia collusion charge and the Donald-Trump-is-an-agent-of-the-Kremlin charge struck me — and tens of millions of other Americans — as absurd. Vladimir Putin’s influence on the 2016 election was negligible, and as president, Trump has been harder on Russia — in supporting Ukraine’s anti-Russian government, in fighting Syria’s pro-Russian government and in confronting Iran’s pro-Russian regime — than Barack Obama was.

But the biggest reason I never believed the Russian collusion charge was that the charge emanated from the left. And the left lies about everything. Truth is a liberal value, and truth is a conservative value, but it has never been a left-wing value. People on the left say whatever advances their immediate agenda. Power is their moral lodestar; therefore, truth is always subservient to it.

The left wanted to undo the 2016 presidential election from the day Trump won. So they made up the Russian collusion story. This was obvious to every conservative — except for “Never Trumpers,” who, with regard to Trump, have been indistinguishable from the left and were therefore as prepared as any leftist to believe the Trump-Russia collusion tale. We conservatives knew that a) the left wanted to invalidate the election and b) the left lies when it is in their interest to do so. So we knew the collusion charge was a fabrication.

We also suspected that the collusion hoax may well have been an effort to divert attention from the real crimes here: American intelligence agencies’ being used to spy on a presidential candidate for the first time in American history; getting Clinton off the hook for her illegal use of a private server while secretary of state; her use of that office to enrich herself and her husband; and her destruction of the evidence once her hidden emails were subpoenaed.

If you always doubt a leftist claim, you will almost always be closer to the truth. I employed that rule in concluding the collusion story was a fraud, and it served me well.

Name the issue and you will likely find a left-wing lie. The left claims our universities are saturated by a “culture of rape.” Not only is that a lie, but deep down, leftists know it’s a lie. The proof? Every left-wing parent who speaks about the “culture of rape” on college campuses sends his or her daughter to college. As no parents would ever send their daughter to an actual rape culture, left-wing parents who send their daughters to college know it is not really a rape culture. They say it is a rape culture solely to buttress the feminist argument that American males are misogynists and to provide young women with the highest status in the left-wing value system: victim.

Although I haven’t been a student or taught at a college in many decades, that’s how I knew American colleges were not rape cultures. I knew it because the left said they were. Again, just assume the left is lying and you will be close to arriving at the truth.

How do I know there are only two sexes? The most obvious reason is, again, common sense. But the second most powerful reason is the left denies there are only two sexes and claims there is no such thing as sex, only subjective “gender.” Last week, a writer for the left-wing magazine The Nation defended the victory of two high school male-bodied trans women who defeated all the female-bodied women in a Connecticut track competition — because, in his words, “trans women are in fact women.”

Now, we all know trans women are not in fact women, that they are biologically men who regard themselves as women. And in private life, I have no problem treating trans women as women if they look and dress female and take on a female name. But it is completely unjust to have them compete against born females in sports. They are not in fact women; they consider themselves women despite the facts. Again, assuming the left is lying to advance its agenda leads one to truth.

When the left tells us the Earth has 12 years left because of global warming, I assume they are not telling the truth. One bit of proof is that almost no one on the global-warming-will-destroy-life left advocates the safest, cheapest and most practical non-fossil-based source of energy: nuclear power. If they really believed life was existentially threatened by fossil-based fuel, they would be building nuclear reactors as fast they could make them. One reason I haven’t believed man-made global warming will destroy the Earth is that the left does.

So, while the latest left-wing lie — Trump-Russia collusion — is now exposed, there is little to cheer about. Without missing a beat, the left — the Democratic Party, the media and academia — will move on to another lie.

And there will be no soul-searching on the part of the media or the rest of the left.

Why won’t there be? Because no leftist acknowledges the collusion story was a lie.

Truth has never been a left-wing value. Like “gender,” it is whatever you want it to be.



House fails to overturn Trump’s veto

It didn't even get to the Senate

The House of Representatives failed in a vote to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a resolution that would have blocked Trump’s national emergency declaration on the southern border to build the wall, with a vote of 248 to 181, well short of the 287 votes that would have been needed to send the measure to the Senate.

So, that’s it. Trump’s emergency declaration stands, and the $6.7 billion of uncommitted military construction funds and other funds Congress had allocated will be put towards the wall.



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 28, 2019

In praise of the Roman Catholic clergy

I suppose that what I am about to say will be a voice crying in the wilderness -- ignored by everyone.  But I feel I should say it -- particularly in the light of all the justified horror over priestly pedophilia.  My basic point is that a significant minority is not the whole and I want to talk about those priests who have remained godly men.

I am particularly concerned that the foul deeds of a few may lead to victimization of innocent priests.  Like most Australian conservative writers, I suspect that we have already seen a grievous instance of that in the conviction of Cardinal Pell -- who added to his sin of being a priest the even greater sin of being an outspoken conservative.  He doesn't even believe in the great Leftist global warming hoax!  Unforgiveable!  And that he was doing important work in a senior position at the Vatican also put a target on his back

So the Left were out to "get" him for years, with a constant blizzard of unsubstantiated accusations hurled at him so when even a very weakly substantiated accusation of pedophilia against him came before a jury they appear to have decided that there is no smoke without fire.  It seems very likely that the court of appeal will exonerate him.

So am I a Catholic apologist?  Am I writing to defend my own faith?  As Margaret Thatcher famously once said:  "No, no and no"  For starters, I am in fact the most thoroughgoing atheist you could meet.  I agree with German analytical philosopher Rudolf Carnap that no metaphysical statement is meaningful. If you want to know why, read Carnap.

Secondly, I was baptized into the Presbyterian church and I was a strong evangelical Christian throughout my teens.

A Prime Minister of Australia once called the Premier of my home State a "Bible-bashing bastard".  I was of that ilk before a study of philosophy re-oriented me.  So I have NO Catholic background.

I do however rejoice that I have a religious background.  Billy Graham once said that there is a God-shaped hole in everyone. For some people (Muslims?), Satan occupies that hole but the hole is there. Putting it less colorfully, man (including women) is a religious animal and never to have experienced religious commitment is to have missed out on an important part of life. Putting it most prosaically, the old anthropologist's maxim holds true: You have to become part of something to understand it.  And because of my religious background I do have an empathy for and an understanding of religious people, Christians in particular

And that is fundamental to the simple thing that I want to say:  There are God-filled people in all religions, a small minority from whom the love of Christ and the assurance of eternity shines out almost visibly. They stand out vividly to me when I encounter them.  And among the spirit-filled men I have met most have been Catholic priests.

I could name some but to avoid embarrassment I will name just one -- one now deceased.  I am thinking of Father Brady, of the Little Kings movement in Brisbane.  He was an elderly man when I met him, one of the last Irish priests in Australia, but he wore that unmistakeable smile of serene happiness and assurance which told you of his inner peace and willingness to help.  I could see the love of Christ shine out from him. It was unmistakeable to me.  I recognized it immediately.

That is all I want to say.  Some of the best men I have met have been Catholic priests.  The ill deeds of the criminal few should not dim the devoted, lifelong and sometimes inspirational lives of the many.


The Real Threat to Our Republic: The Democratic Party

It seems like only three years ago that liberals were accusing Donald Trump of not committing to accepting the election results if he were to lose — as everyone expected him to. Oh, wait, that was three years ago. In fact, there were a lot of things being said by liberals three years ago that are amusing to look back on today, such as this gem from Jason Silverstein, national politics reporter at the New York Daily News:

Even if Donald Trump wins the popular vote for President in November, it is entirely possible — and even Constitutionally acceptable — that we could be spared from his leadership. For that, we can thank the Electoral College.
“We take for granted every four years that the Electoral College will vote accordingly to the winners of each state's popular vote,” Silverstein said, but "there is nothing in the Constitution, federal law or electoral history” that says that’s how it has to work. “The Electoral College has the freedom to override the people's choice — in part, to expressly stop someone like Trump from taking over.” To Silverstein, the Electoral College was designed to stop Trump, not enable him to be president. The scenario he then presented, that rogue Electors could simply ignore the popular vote in their state and not cast their ballots for Trump, was a ridiculous pie-in-the-sky scenario, but is a fascinating look into how the left fantasized that the Electoral College could “save us” from Trump. In fact, Silverstein’s scenario may have inspired anti-Trumpers to harass and threaten Electors to do just as he envisioned… you know, to preserve the Republic, or something.

Others believed that the Electoral College system gave Hillary Clinton an advantage from the start. “Even before candidates were decided in the 2016 presidential election,” explained MSNBC political reporter Alex Seitz-Wald, “Democrats started with a major advantage – thanks to changes in the Electoral College – over presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.” Of course, once Trump won the election without winning the popular vote, Democrats’ attitudes toward the Electoral College changed drastically. What they had counted on to keep Trump out of the White House had suddenly put him in. The last time this happened was, of course, the 2000 election, where Bush’s narrow margin in Florida gave him an Electoral College victory without winning the national popular vote.

Democrats are pointing to these two elections as reasons why the Electoral College is outmoded, racist, homophobic, transphobic, something-phobic, whatever. The national popular vote is the only truly democratic way to choose our president, they now say. Democrat presidential hopefuls are embracing this idea, and blue states across the country are entering into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, in the hopes of, essentially, overthrowing the Electoral College system. To “preserve” our Republic.

The problem with their position now, besides the obvious, is that when it comes to the Electoral College, it’s not the system they have a problem with, it’s that's the system doesn’t work for them. The last time a Republican won both the national popular vote and the Electoral College vote was in 2004, when George W. Bush defeated John Kerry. But Democrats didn’t simply concede defeat when it was obvious they’d lost fairly.

Bush won Florida easily in 2004, but the results in Ohio were a lot closer, and John Kerry was urged to contest the results in Ohio over allegations of voting “irregularities” statewide. He did not. No number of recounts in Ohio could have resulted in flipping the state and the national popular vote. The only purpose of challenging Ohio was to overturn the Electoral College results. A recount in Ohio only netted Kerry about 300 votes statewide, but that didn’t stop Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) from filing an objection (on behalf of a group of Democrats in Congress) to the counting of Ohio’s electoral votes, and delaying certification of the 2004 presidential election results. This was only the second time in history such a challenge occurred. Nothing came of the challenge, as we know, but it’s also interesting to note that even now, John Kerry believes that the election was stolen from him.

The Democrats’ attitudes toward the Electoral College have nothing to do with the merits of the system, but the merits of the results. If they lose, the system is rigged and undemocratic. If they win, the system has proven itself to work. Democrats have a history of wanting to change the rules for their benefit. Senate Democrats were more than happy to use the filibuster to block President Bush from nominating judges to the courts, but took that power away from Republicans when they used it to block Barack Obama from nominating judges, citing a “broken system.” Democrats don’t believe in the sanctity of rules or law and order, they believe in winning at all costs. They won’t be happy in a system that doesn’t allow them to win 100 percent of the time.

Democrats the mentality of four-year-old children. They have to win every time, otherwise, it’s not fair. The Electoral College isn’t a threat to our Republic, the Democratic Party is.



Russiagate -- a Bright, Shining Lie

By Patrick J. Buchanan

"The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia ... to influence the 2016 US presidential campaign."

So stated Attorney General William Barr in his Sunday letter to Congress summarizing the principal findings of the Mueller report.

On the charge of collusion with Russia, not guilty on all counts.

After two years of hearing from haters in politics and the media that President Donald Trump was "Putin's poodle," an agent of the Kremlin, guilty of treason, an illegitimate president who would leave the White House in handcuffs and end his days in prison, we learn the truth.

It was all a bright, shining lie.

Reeling from Trump's exoneration, big media are now scurrying to their fallback position: Mueller did not exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice.

But Mueller was not obstructed. No one impeded his labors.

As for Trump's rages against his investigation, they were the natural reaction of an innocent man falsely accused and facing disgrace and ruin for a crime he did not commit, indeed, a crime that had never been committed.

The House Judiciary Committee may try to replicate what Mueller did, and re-investigate obstruction. Fine. This would confirm what this whole rotten business has at root always been about: a scheme by the deep state and allied media to bring down another president.

The Mueller investigation employed 19 lawyers and 40 FBI agents. It took two years. It issued 2,800 subpoenas. It executed 500 search warrants. It interviewed 500 witnesses. And it failed to indict a single member of Trump's campaign for collusion with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Which raises this question:

If Mueller could find no collusion, after an exhaustive two-year search, what was the compelling evidence that caused James Comey's FBI and Barack Obama's Department of Justice to believe that such collusion had occurred and to launch this investigation?

Sunday, after Barr's summary of the Mueller report became public, Trump aired his justified anger: "It's a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest, it's a shame that your president has had to go through this. ... This was an illegal takedown that failed."

Is there not truth in this?

Millions of Americans still believe what is now a manifest falsehood — that their president collaborated with Putin in cheating Hillary Clinton out of the presidency. The legal bills of Trump, his family, his campaign aides and his White House staff must be huge. Careers, reputations have been damaged.

The nation has been distracted and bitterly divided over this since Trump's first days in office. He has had a cloud over his presidency since he gave his inaugural address. Any ability the president had to fulfill his campaign pledge and negotiate with the largest country on earth, Russia, a superpower rival, has had to be put off.

Is it unfair to ask: Who did this to us?

Who led the Justice Department into believing Trump conspired with the Russians? Why did it take two years to discover there was no collusion? Who gave Putin and the GRU this victory by helping to tear our own country apart?

Our establishment is forever demanding apologies. Where are the apologies for the outrageous accusations that Trump was guilty of something next to treason?

Sen. Joe McCarthy did not do a fraction of the damage to the reputations of Dean Acheson or George Marshall that the elite media have done, unjustly and maliciously, to the reputation of Donald Trump.

Years after French Artillery Capt. Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of colluding with the Germans in the late 19th century, and was sent to Devil's Island, evidence against another officer emerged.

Soon, it was Dreyfus' accusers who were in the dock of public opinion.

That needs to happen now. The instigators of this investigation, launched to bring down a president, have damaged and divided this nation, and they need to be exposed, as do their collaborators in the press.

The roots of Mueller's investigation go back to the Clinton campaign's hiring of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Trump. Fusion GPS hired ex-British spy Christopher Steele. He had sources in Russian intelligence who provided him with the contents of his infamous dossier. This was delivered to a grateful cabal at the FBI, which used it as the basis of a FISA court warrant to surveil the Trump campaign.

The dirt in the Steele dossier, much of it false, would be secretly shared with Trump-haters in the media to torpedo his candidacy; then, when Trump won, to destroy his presidency before it began.

Now that Trump has been exonerated, the story of how his accusers, using the power of the state, almost murdered a presidency with lies, propaganda and innuendo, needs to be brought out into the sunlight.

For democracy dies in darkness, and this can't happen again.



Mueller Report a Damning Indictment of Media

The fact is that after nonstop allegations and insinuations that Trump was a Manchurian candidate and a puppet of the Putin regime, there appears to be no evidence whatsoever to back up those claims.

This, after devoting almost endless airtime to the issue.

A NewsBusters report found that: “From January 20, 2017 (Inauguration Day) through March 21, 2019 (the last night before special counsel Robert Mueller sent his report to the Attorney General), the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts produced a combined 2,284 minutes of ‘collusion’ coverage.”

As The New York Times’ Peter Baker wrote on Friday, the release of the report would serve as a “reckoning” for Trump, Mueller, and the media.

The result comes as vindication for some in the media like Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist, and a few others who remained skeptical of all the rumors and poured cold water on the rush to indict the president on what seemed to be flimsy charges from the outset.

But for the rest of the who perpetrated the collusion narrative, this isn’t working out so well.

Of course, this indictment in the minds of viewers won’t cause media figures to retreat in shame. But it will likely further deepen Americans’ distrust of the media establishment.

From BuzzFeed’s publishing of the Steele dossier to CNN’s botched story (later retracted) that Congress was investigating a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials,” the media has made numerous errors that turned out to be drive-by hits. These errors received little mainstream attention as reporters moved on to new stories—a new attempt at “resistance” reporting, as former ABC host Ted Koppel called it.

This coverage fueled the wild fantasies of progressive activists around the country: bizarre viral Christmas songs and stories of elderly critics attempting to stave off death to see the Mueller report, to name just a couple.

All for nothing.

Trump is now 2-0 against the media—first, beating Hillary Clinton after reports said it could never happen, and now, coming out on top in the Mueller report.

Trump takes a lot of flak for his attacks on the press, but it’s clear that the media itself has done the most lasting damage to its own credibility, only ensuring that Trump’s criticisms leave a mark.

As Matt Taibbi, a journalist who published a scathing critique of the media, wrote:

“This has been a consistent pattern throughout #Russiagate. Step one: salacious headline. Step two, days or weeks later: news emerges the story is shakier than first believed. Step three (in the best case) involves the story being walked back or retracted by the same publication.”

Taibbi wrote that the “sheer scale” of this media failure will have ramifications for years to come.

“We’ve become sides-choosers, obliterating the concept of the press as an independent institution whose primary role is sorting fact and fiction,” he wrote.

Is there any doubt that this is true?



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 27, 2019

Taxpayers paid for 22 Months, 19 Lawyers, 40 FBI, 2,800 Subpoenas, 500 Search Warrants, 500 Witnesses to investigate baseless Leftist claims about Russia

And still they are not happy

In his summary to congressional leaders on Sunday, Attorney General William Barr said Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his staff "thoroughly investigated allegations" that members of the Trump presidential campaign and others associated with it "conspired with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, or sought to obstruct the related federal investigations."

The FBI launched the counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016; Mueller took it over the following May, after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him as special counsel.

According to Barr, in the course of his 22-month probe, Mueller "employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence forensic accountants, and other professional staff. The Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.

Still unknown: How much did all of that cost us, the taxpayers?

President Trump tweeted in November 2018 that the "Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt" had wasted "more than $40,000,000," but the final tally has not been released.

The Office of Special Counsel has posted its direct expenditures through September 30, 2018, as follows:

For the period May 17, 2017 through September 30, 2017: $3,213,695

 For the period October 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018: $4,506,624

For the period April 1, 2018 through September 30, 2018: $4,567,533

That's a total of $9,394,300, by the reckoning of Mueller's office, with 6 months unaccounted for.

Judicial Watch in December sued the U.S. Department of Justice for records of costs incurred by the security detail for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

As a result of his thorough investigation, Mueller indicted several Trump associates on charges unrelated to Russian collusion or coordination.

But he "did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities," Barr said, quoting from the report.

The second part of Mueller's report involves obstruction of justice, and here Mueller "did not draw a conclusion one way or the other as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction."

Following are the relevant paragraphs from Barr’s summary, which have been seized on by Democrats determined to forge ahead with their investigation/s into Trump world.

After making a "thorough factual investigation" into these matters (obstruction), the Special Counsel considered whether to evaluate the conduct under Department standards governing prosecution and declination decisions but ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion one way or the other as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as "difficult issues" of law and fact concerning whether the President's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction.

The Special Counsel states that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Barr noted that Mueller left it to Barr himself "to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime." And Barr said it does not:

As Barr wrote:

Over the course of the investigation, the Special Counsel's office engaged in discussions with certain Department officials regarding many of the legal and factual matters at issue in the Special Counsel's obstruction investigation. After reviewing the Special Counsel's final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made Without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.

In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that "the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference," and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President's intent with respect to obstruction.

Generally speaking, to obtain and sustain an obstruction conviction, the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct with a sufficient nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding. In cataloguing the President's actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Department's principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense.

Barr concluded his summary by saying he understands the public interest in the investigation: "For that reason, my goal and intent is to release as much of the Special Counsel's report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies."

He noted that some material in the report, including grand jury matters and information that may bear on other pending legal cases, may not be disclosed by law.

But Barr promised to "move forward expeditiously in determining what can be released in light of applicable law."



Trump has driven the Left mad.  They have lost touch with reality and the possible

Michael Reagan

Democrats are so desperate to prevent a second Trump term that their mob of 2020 presidential wannabes are throwing out every dumb, out-of-the-box or unconstitutional idea they can think of to stop him:

– Eliminate the Electoral College.

– Lower the voting age to 6 — sorry, 16.

– Pack the Supreme Court.

The other day Sen. Elizabeth Warren came up with getting rid of the Electoral College and electing presidents directly by popular vote.

It’s a horrible idea that only comes up when Republicans win the White House despite the wishes of huge Democrat majorities in large states like California, New York and Illinois.

It came up in 1980 with my dad and in 2000 with Bush II.

Here it is again with Trump, who lost the national popular vote by several million in 2016 only because Hillary won big in New York and California.

People like Sen. Warren think if we closed up the Electoral College — which was set up by the Founding Fathers as a compromise between big states and small states — it will put their splintered, increasingly leftist and apparently suicidal party back in the White House in 2020.

Other Democrat presidential candidates who’ve never read the Constitution or believe we can simply get rid of the 12th Amendment over a weekend think it’s a great idea.

“Let’s get rid of the Electoral College” is a great applause line when a limousine socialist college professor like Warren throws it out to one of her Constitutionally challenged audiences on the campaign trail.

But since ending the Electoral College would take a Constitutional amendment ratified by three-fourths of the states, it will never happen — and she and the other desperate Democrats know it.

But what about that other radical idea to put Democrats back into power in D.C. — lowering the voting age to 16?

Democrats like it because they know they’d easily get the votes of most 16-year-olds, thanks to the diet of liberal political crap they’re fed everyday by their teachers.

All Democrats have to do is keep promising the kids a fake future that includes free college, stricter gun control laws and a socialist paradise of free health care and green jobs that don’t involve work.

They can also keep telling the kids scary stories about how the world is going to end in 12 years if the party of AOC doesn’t get control and begin outlawing fossil fuels, cows and capitalism.

As for the idea of expanding the size of the Supreme Court from nine to 15, it’s an old Democrat Party trick that FDR tried in the 1930s.

It was brought out of mothballs this week by Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who’s probably right to think he’s just as qualified to be president as Kamala, Corey and at least half of the other wannabes.

FDR tried to add as many as six friendly judges at the beginning of his second term because the Supreme Court’s conservative majority kept slapping down his New Deal laws for being what they were — unconstitutional over-reaches of executive power.

Packing the Supreme Court with new judges who agree with you is not unconstitutional.

But the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 was such a transparent abuse of executive power that many Democrats in Congress joined with the Republican minority to oppose FDR’s planned power play.

Unfortunately for the country, FDR ultimately got his way when two justices changed their minds and voted to uphold the constitutionality of the Social Security Act and other New Deal legislation.

But his scheme to pack the high court backfired on him politically, which is something today’s desperate Democrats might want to remember.



An up-and-coming conservative: Marion Maréchal in France

If anything, the French are even more Patriotic and Conscious of their National Identity than Americans are. Perhaps because they are a more homogeneous population.   So Mr Trump might be a pointer to the future success of Marion Maréchal

Marine Le Pen’s niece takes her crusade to protect Catholic France into the classroom

The revamped Confluence neighbourhood of Lyon is a laboratory for modern eco-living. A self-driving electric bus runs along the river Rhône, and green architecture overlooks converted docks. Waterfront cafés serve health food, and arts centres rise on former industrial land. The new influx of metropolitan types into the district helped Emmanuel Macron win fully 82% of the vote in the second round of the French presidential election in 2017 against the nationalist Marine Le Pen.

Yet today this neighbourhood is also the improbable new home to a rather different sort of experiment, run by the youngest member of the Le Pen political dynasty. In a side street a private graduate school, the Institute of Social, Economic and Political Science, opened its doors last autumn. It is the brainchild of Marion Maréchal, niece of Marine, and granddaughter of Jean-Marie, founder of the National Front (now the National Rally). In theory the 29-yearold Ms Maréchal has given up politics, having been elected to the National Assembly for a term in 2012 while still a law student. In reality the third-generation Le Pen has ambitious plans to shape the agenda on the right—from outside electoral politics.

France may cherish conceptual thinking, but its aspirant politicians usually tread a route to electoral office via jobs as party hacks or on ministerial staff. Time spent in think-tanks or academia, American-style, is uncommon. What makes Ms Maréchal’s choice arresting is not that it reflects her political retirement: sitting in an empty classroom at the Lyon site, she states unambiguously that “I will certainly go back into politics.” It is, rather, that she sees the spread of ideas, and honing of a right-wing ideology, as a means of “continuing to be in politics, but in a different way”.

Dismissed by French educationalists as a gimmick, the school is a centre of training, not research. It offers two-year diplomas— not yet approved by the French state—to just 90 students in social sciences and business. Class topics, pinned to the wall in the entrance hall, range from media training and leadership to “France, Christianity and secularism” and “world Islamist organisations”. This push to break the “ideological conformity” of French thinking is part of what Ms Maréchal calls “cultural politics” or “meta-poli-tics”. “Our fight cannot only take place in elections,” she told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington last year.

Ms Maréchal calls her brand of politics “conservative”. Which is telling, not least because the word is rarely used in France to define politics, and carries American echoes. Indeed, Benjamin Haddad, of the Atlantic Council in Washington, sees a parallel between the youngest Le Pen’s plans and the way American conservatives built institutions to mount a takeover of the Republican Party ahead of Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980. She is in contact, if irregularly, with Steve Bannon; and the former editor of the London edition of Breitbart News is on her school’s advisory board.

The conservative label also reflects Ms Maréchal’s obsession with preserving French Catholic identity, in an attempt to put an acceptable face on what is often a toxic nativist discourse. If Ms Maréchal rails against French secularists, who chase nativity scenes from town halls at Christmas, her main gripe is mass Muslim immigration. “I don’t want France to become a land of Islam,” she says. The “great replacement” theory popularised by Renaud Camus, an essayist who warns that Europe will be demographically swamped, is “not absurd”, she adds, quoting a study suggesting that the “indigenous French” will be a minority by 2040. “Just like you,” she told her Washington audience, “we want our country back.”

Perhaps most striking, Ms Maréchal’s embrace of the word “conservative” reflects a political strategy that sets her apart from her aunt. Marine Le Pen is more exercised by unfettered capitalism and “savage globalisation” than by family values, in line with her courtship of the working-class former Communist vote in France’s rustbelt. Hers is a classic anti-elite populism—her slogan for elections to the European Parliament in May is “Let’s give power to the people” —and she wears the populist tag as a badge of pride.

Ms Maréchal, like her grandfather, is more attuned to the economic worries of small businesses and artisans. And her core project is the defence of a France of church spires, rural roots and family values, which taps into a seam of Catholic nationalism. Unlike her aunt, she marched against gay marriage. Naturally, she does this with a modern French twist: Ms Maréchal is separated from the father of her young daughter, and photos of her with a member of Italy’s Northern League have made the celebrity press. But Ms Maréchal’s aim is not, Italian-style, to unite the populist right and left; “I don’t call myself a populist,” she says. It is, rather, to merge the right and the far right, by allying the working-class vote with that of the “bourgeoisie enracinée” (rooted bourgeoisie).

A new Maréchal plan [Maréchal is French for "marshall"]

Plenty of obstacles stand in the way, among them historical baggage and wide differences between the far right and the French Republicans over Europe, not to mention Ms Le Pen’s tight grip on her own party. Ms Maréchal will not challenge her aunt any time soon. Yet party politics in France, and in Europe, are unusually fluid. The Republicans have bled moderates to Mr Macron, shifting the party’s centre of gravity to the right. One ex-deputy, Thierry Mariani, recently defected to Ms Le Pen. Italy shows how unlikely political bedfellows can nonetheless end up together, and in power.

Above all, Ms Maréchal is in no rush. She stands to benefit from the broader success of reactionary books (by authors such as Eric Zemmour) and journals. Valeurs Actuelles, a right-wing magazine, sells more copies each week than Libération, a leftish paper, does each day. The editor of L’Incorrect, a monthly, sits on Ms Maréchal’s advisory board. It was in 1992 that the youngest Le Pen made her debut, as the blonde infant on a campaign poster in her grandfather’s arms. Today, confessing “admiration” for “his struggles”, she is playing the long game. It would be rash to ignore her.



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 26, 2019

Wealth is less to do with hard work or luck and more to do with your genes, DNA study shows

The findings below were well-known from twin studies but our knowledge of genetics has now advanced to the stage where we can look for the actual genes which underlie those findings.  And we are now begining to see them.  We can see that the genes that lead to high intelligence also lead to higher income etc.  In their usual blind way, Leftists usually dispute that IQ tests really measure anything.  But when you are seeing the associations in actual human genes, there is much less room for dispute.  The full, very detailed paper underlying the report below is here

It should be noted that the same studies which show a strong IQ influence on income also show negligible effects from family environment and other environmental variables.  Your genes really are your destiny and there's not much you can do about it. That finding will put a lot of noses out of joint on both the Right and the Left but that is what the data shows

Wealth and success may be less to do with hard work or luck and more to do with DNA, it seems. An analysis of 286,000 Britons showed that the genetic make-up of those who earned over £100,000 differed from those on low incomes.

A scan pointed to 24 ‘golden genes’ that affect intelligence, the immune system, and the strength of muscles and heart – and so can make the difference between economic success and poverty.

The discovery follows work at the Centre For Cognitive Ageing in Edinburgh.

Three-quarters of the genes are linked to intelligence, the scientists found. But physical attributes also affect the chances of being wealthy and some of these may be inherited.

‘Genetic variants associated with higher income correlate with a genetic predisposition for greater intelligence, a longer lifespan, better physical and mental health, fewer feelings of tiredness, having fewer children and better living conditions,’ the researchers say in a paper which is yet to be published.



'Progressive' = The New Nazi.  Both show an obsession with race and a contempt for life

Democratic Socialists, National Socialists and the ties that bind.

Before Donald Trump was elected President, and certainly since, self-described "progressives" or "democratic socialists" in the Democratic Party have denigrated anybody who opposes their agenda as Nazis. But are they engaging in psychological projection? Consider the following recent events.

Comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Jim Clyburn and Rep. Rashida Tlaib display contempt for Jews -- in Rep. Clyburn's case, for victims of the Holocaust. Heavily Democratic legislatures in New York, Illinois and Virginia perpetuate the wanton destruction of human life by passing laws allowing abortion to the moment of birth. In Virginia, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam said a woman can choose whether a baby who survived a botched abortion should live. False flags are cynically organized to delude the unsuspecting and promote an agenda. Behind those developments is the pervasive identity politics that defines some groups as inherently better than others.

In those four areas -- anti-Semitism, genocide, false flags and identity politics -- do "democratic socialists" and Nazis share more than the former want to admit.

Contempt for Jews is not limited to Nazis or "democratic socialists." But by embracing Islam in their politics of "diversity" and "inclusion," the "democratic socialists" tolerate Islam's anti-Semitism. The Nazis understood the connection between Islam and anti-Semitism so well that they sought Islam as an ally in their politics of extermination.

Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, broadcast anti-Semitic messages from Berlin with Hitler's blessing from 1941 until the end of World War II. Al-Husseini -- a close ally of Hassan al-Banna, the Muslim Brotherhood's founder -- told Arabs in the British Mandate of Palestine to "kill the Jews wherever you find them," thereby continuing a personal campaign that lasted nearly 25 years.

The Waffen-SS also had a special Muslim division, the Handschar, named after the German word for scimitar. Comprised of Bosnian Muslims, the Handschar division perpetrated atrocities against Jewish civilians. Notably, it was the only division in the Waffen-SS allowed to have chaplains, with one imam presiding over each battalion.

Today, Hitler's "Mein Kampf" circulates widely in the Arab world, with no discouragement from Muslim clerics.

The House Democrats' flaccid response to its members' anti-Semitic remarks reflects the refusal to confront Islam's anti-Semitism. Their resolution condemning all forms of bigotry -- without mentioning Rep. Omar by name or Islamist terrorism -- reveals Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the house, to be this century's Neville Chamberlain.

Promoting the wanton destruction of human life extends beyond abortion. Last March, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown -- a Democrat whom Planned Parenthood endorsed for re-election last year -- signed legislation allowing mentally ill patients to be denied food and water unless that patient issued an advanced directive to the contrary before becoming debilitated. Previously, only caregivers with power of attorney could make such a decision. The bill received unanimous support from the Democrats in the Oregon legislature's House of Representatives.

In January, Oregon's Democrats introduced another bill expanding the state's law governing medically assisted suicide to include any patient with an incurable disease or intolerable pain. Currently, only patients who are expected to live no more than six months because of a terminal disease qualify.

This March, Maryland's House of Delegates -- the lower chamber of that state's legislature, the General Assembly -- approved legislation allowing medically assisted suicide. The bill passed 74-66 on March 7 -- with 73 of the chamber's 99 Democrats supporting it. Within days, members of Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer Labor Party sponsored similar legislation in each house of the state legislature. Six states and the District of Columbia permit physician-assisted suicide.

Such laws follow the ultimate logic of the Nazis' euthanasia program, Aktion T4, which Hitler personally initiated in 1939 and which doctors administered. Designed to eliminate what the Nazis called "life unworthy of life," the program focused on the chronically ill, the elderly, the disabled, and the mentally incapacitated -- whether adults or children -- using mercy as one excuse for extermination.

During Aktion T4's two years of open operation, nearly 70,000 died from starvation, dehydration, lethal injection and gassing. The Nazis built six gas chambers designed as showers to fool the victims. Though public pressure forced the Nazis to discontinue the program in 1941, it provided the basis for the murderous methods used in death camps.

The utilitarian impulse governing the use of tissue from aborted fetuses for such bizarre experiments as creating humanized mice -- usage that has the Democrats' implied consent -- also governed the Nazis' use of prisoners for their own macabre experiments in concentration camps. In one example, camp doctors infected children with tuberculosis, removed their lymph nodes to determine the disease's progress, then executed their subjects.

The "democratic socialists" and the Nazis even share the propensity to promote their agendas by fabricating incidents. Eight decades before Jussie Smollett staged a hate crime supposedly perpetrated by Trump's supporters, the Nazis orchestrated a scenario that plunged the world into war.

On Aug. 31, 1939, with relations between Germany and Poland rapidly deteriorating, Polish troops attacked and briefly took over a German radio station near the Polish border to broadcast this message: "Attention! This is Gliwice. The broadcasting station is in Polish hands."

Gliwice was the Polish name for the then-German town of Gleiwitz. Gunfire could be heard during the broadcast. German police overpowered the troops and re-captured the radio station.

Only the Polish troops were not Polish troops. They were members of the SS, who not only carried out the attack but dressed concentration-camp inmates in Polish army uniforms and killed them as "proof." One of the "troops" was an unmarried German farmer who sympathized with the Poles. The SS arrested him a day earlier and murdered him.

German radio carried news of the faux attack within hours. It seemed that Hitler's assertions about the Poles oppressing and killing German nationals had merit. The next day, Sept. 1, Hitler declared war against Poland. World War II had begun.

The Gleiwitz "attack" belonged to a campaign of false flags orchestrated in late August 1939 by the SS and German military intelligence, the Abwehr. Attention to detail was so meticulous that the Abwehr also provided Polish military equipment and Polish military identification to the fake troops.

Nearly 80 years later, a swastika and the words, "Heil Trump" and "Fag Church" were found on the walls of St. David's Episcopal Church in Brown County, Ind. immediately after Trump's election. The graffiti was "among numerous incidents that have occurred in the wake of Trump’s Election Day win," wrote the Washington Post. Yet six months later, police arrested organist George Nathaniel Stang for vandalizing his own church.

"I suppose I wanted to give local people a reason to fight for good, even if it was a false flag," wrote Stang, who wanted to "mobilize a movement."

That movement reflects the "democratic socialists' " goal of arbitrarily favoring ostensibly oppressed groups at the expense of those in power. That goal varies from the Nazis' racial policies only in the nature of the groups. Otherwise, both narratives are fundamentally identical.

Just as the "democratic socialists" view women, African Americans, Latinos, Muslims and the sexually non-straight as needing special protection from powerful whites, Christians and capitalists, so did the Nazis view "Aryans" as needing special protection from Jews, socialists and capitalists. Just as the Nazis viewed "Aryans" as superior due to their race, so do "democratic socialists" view the marginalized as inherently superior due to their victimization.

If racism is the belief that ethnicity matters more than values, ideas and ethics, then "democratic socialists" and Nazis are identically racist. In both cases, individual rights and equality under the rule of law mean nothing.

Herbert Marcuse, a philosopher of the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School, rejected the American ideal of individual liberty under law in favor of preferences for designated groups at others' expense. Marcuse advocated a "policy of unequal treatment" that "would protect radicalism on the Left against that on the Right,” he wrote.

Such a policy, Marcuse wrote, would demand "the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements" that oppose Leftist goals, and "may necessitate new and rigid restrictions on teachings and practices in the educational institutions."

This was the Nazis' practice in service of their ideology. This is the democratic socialists' goal in service of theirs.

Tucker Carlson discussed the applied consequences of Marcuse's approach March 11 during his Fox News show:

"You sometimes hear modern progressives described as the new Puritans. That’s a slur on colonial Americans. Whatever their flaws, the Puritans cared about the fate of the human soul and the moral regeneration of their society. Those aren’t topics that interest progressives. They’re too busy pushing late-term abortion and cross-dressing on fifth graders. These are the people who write our movies and sitcoms.

The Left’s main goal, in case you haven’t noticed, is controlling what you think. In order to do that, they have to control the information you receive. Google and Facebook and Twitter are on board. They’re happy to ban unapproved thoughts without apology. They often do. So do the other cable channels, and virtually every major news outlet in this country. ... They demand total conformity."

Indeed, in issuing warnings about Nazis, the "democratic socialists" and their appeasers in the Democratic Party are issuing warnings about themselves.



Liberalism Is Dehumanizing

By David Limbaugh

Liberal ideology is rife with inconsistencies, but none is greater than how its supposedly animating motivation — human compassion — is contradicted by its devaluation of human life.

Liberals have long claimed superior compassion and demonized conservatives as being uncaring. This has always been untrue while superficially appearing to be true, and liberals have evangelized countless young minds with this seductive canard.

It's difficult to convince embryonic liberal activists that individual liberals may be compassionate but their governing ideology and the inevitable consequences of their policies are not. It's also difficult to make them see that conservatives are compassionate and tolerant when we stand for unchanging moral standards and openly disagree with policies that liberals successfully peddle as compassionate.

But beyond the superficial rhetoric, liberalism does not stand the test of compassion, because it subordinates individuality to identity groups and the collective and degrades human dignity. One of the great ironies of secular humanism is its purported championship of mankind as the measure of all things while undermining what makes us human. How can a philosophy that devalues human individuality ultimately be compassionate toward human beings?

The most obvious example is liberals' extreme advocacy of abortion, making it a holy sacrament that is not about individual choice but a paranoid conviction that pro-lifers threaten women's rights, health care and autonomy.

Another example is socialism, which the leftist-dominated Democratic Party is virtually embracing today. Throughout history, socialists have duped millions of well-meaning people into believing that free market capitalism is evil and socialism is noble. I don't even subscribe to the glib pitch that it is wonderful in theory but doesn't work in practice. It's also unappealing in theory because it is fundamentally at odds with human nature and the human spirit. It arrogantly assumes it can remake human beings as irresponsive to incentives and devoid of their competitive spirit and their natural yearning for liberty.

In practice, socialism has consistently impoverished and enslaved. With its top-down control of the economy, it obliterates individual economic liberty and thus robs individuals of an essential part of their humanity. Government-forced transfer payments — taking other people's money to satisfy one's sense of moral self-worth — is a far cry from charity and compassion. I know of no conservatives who oppose a social safety net for the truly needy, provided it incentivizes the able-bodied to return to the workforce.

When it comes to health care, of course conservatives want to maximize people's access to the highest-quality care at the lowest prices and most choices, but they dispute that forcing everyone to be insured helps achieve any of those goals efficiently. What is true of socialized medicine is true of socialism generally: It doesn't work anywhere in the long run — including in Sweden, truth be told. How compassionate are socialism and less extreme big-government liberalism when they destroy economic growth and prosperity and, left to their own devices, often lead to totalitarianism? Socialism, just like much of economic and political liberalism, is more about people seeking power and control over individual lives.

The latest rage is intersectionality, which establishes new hierarchies of victimhood and privilege based on the overlapping and interrelated categories of disadvantages that groups of people have experienced. We must no longer look at discrimination through the "single-axis framework" of race, gender, class, disability, etc., but understand how the various identities intersect. Some people have multiple "burdens" or "disadvantages," such that black women, for example, suffer more discrimination than black men and white women. Unless we refine our thinking to account for these combinations of disabilities, the most disadvantaged will be ignored. Isn't this exhausting? Who really thinks like this if not forced to?

This is why feminists have recently been shamed for promoting their singular cause while presumably ignoring the plight of transgender people, gay people, the disabled and black women in particular. It is why intersectionality zealots are questioning whether Sen. Kamala Harris is "black enough" to be president, as her father is Jamaican and her mother is Indian. She may not be black enough because she is not African-American — a bona fide descendant of American slaves. It is why race- and gender-obsessed people are upset that the three Democratic presidential front-runners are white men.

It doesn't seem to occur to these self-described supporters of democracy that three white guys happen to be ahead because people are voicing their opinions. It also doesn't seem to bother the Democrats expressing their preference for white men that though they won't dare challenge the orthodoxy of intersectionality, they are violating its premises with their voting inclinations.

Among other things, intersectionality is dehumanizing because people are demonized or protected depending on their group, not on what they have done or what they have personally experienced. How can people not see that this kind of thinking violates our basic sense of justice and accountability? Intersectionality, perhaps even more than the rudimentary forms of identity politics that preceded it, is also damaging to people because it forces them to focus on themselves as victims of disadvantaged groups rather than encourage them to strive, as individuals, to be the best they can be.

If the results of liberals' policies — as opposed to their good intentions, posturing and virtue signaling — count for anything and if the ideas they promote are as dehumanizing as they appear, though many individual liberals may have enormous hearts, the ideology to which they are in thrall is stunningly uncompassionate.



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 25, 2019

The stupid Leftist dream of "affordable housing"

The dream is not stupid but the means Leftists use to address it invariably are.  Read the article below and I will add some comments at the foot of it

Cambridge has emerged as ground zero in the struggle to create more affordable housing amid Greater Boston’s sizzling real estate market.

Sure, other communities — Newton and Arlington among them — are debating controversial zoning changes that could spur taller, bigger buildings. And in Boston, city councilors are weighing a new tax for high-end properties that would funnel money to affordable-housing construction.

But a step that the Cambridge City Council could take might be considered even more radical.

City officials are essentially deciding whether to establish an entirely new citywide zoning code, but one that just applies to 100-percent affordable residential projects.

Developers of these affordable units would be able to build taller and denser projects than what would normally be allowed in a particular neighborhood. Apartment buildings could go up in places currently limited to just one- or two-family homes.

The proposal drew passionate pleas from both sides during a City Council committee hearing on Wednesday. To many people, this zoning change is a long-needed concept that should be replicated in other Greater Boston cities to keep up with the intense demand for housing. To others, it’s the kind of well-intentioned urban planning that could wreck a neighborhood.

The truth is, Cambridge already does more than most communities. About 15 percent of the city’s housing stock is considered affordable, compared to a statewide average of nearly 10 percent.

But affordable-housing developers, many of them nonprofits, say this dramatic zoning change could be essential to compete in a city where 1,100-square-foot condos can hit the market for nearly $1 million.


Who the heck do these Leftist clowns think is going to build in these rezoned areas?  Building any new building runs big financial risks so the final project has to be very profitable before any builder is prepared to leap in.  And how is it going to be profitable if the owner can charge only "affordable" rents.  I predict that one of two things will happen:

 1) Nothing new will be built in the areas concerned as builders look elsewhere for profitable projects;

2).  New projects will be built but the rents will be "affordable" to only a token degree.  No other outcome is possible

What is needed to get housing costs down is deregulation in general and ending land use restrictions in particular, both of which are anathema to the control freaks of the Left


The Insane Want to Run the Asylum

By Rich Kozlovich

The left is insane.  How do I know that?  It's real easy. Leftism has been a massive failure from its very beginning with the French Revolution and the resulting "Terror" the ruling class imposed on French society. A totalitarian pattern that's been repeated with every socialist dominated society.  So, to keep insisting on repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting a different outcome is insane.  At least that's what Einstein thought, and I agree!

Currently, there's a "clown car" of leftist loons running to become President of the United States in 2020.  What are they promoting?

Every one of them wants to abolish the Electoral College, pack the Supreme Court, lower the voting age to 16, create new states by splitting up California, recognizing Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia as states, in order to create more Democrat Senators, impose a New Green Deal that will destroy the economy all the while claiming it will "reinvigorate the workforce" , demonstrating a complete lack of economic clarity.

They work to stop prosecutions on illegal aliens who've committed crimes claiming it's discriminatory. How can anyone not think this is complete nonsense?  Have we lost our minds? Why would the Supreme Court have to hear this?

These people have committed crimes. First, they're here illegally and secondly, they're stealing someone else's identity.  They're criminals! Why is that so hard to accept?  But leftist logic declares it discriminatory.

In spite of the fact student loans have, destroyed the affordability of a college education they want to forgive all those loans and make college free. Can you imagine how the costs would skyrocket then?

They insist that Global Warming is man made and is going to destroy the world in twelve years. Prince Phillip said something like that fifteen years ago.  He also said there were only months left before we were past the point of no return.  Amazing! He's still flying around the world and living the good life. But in the sane world,  time is on the side of those of us who've taken an opposing view.

Islamists have practically taken over the Democrat party to the point many have a legitimate fear we're facing a new holocaust in the near future.

As for those who claim to be conservatives - what a confused lot!

Many who refer to themselves as conservatives are lost because they're not real conservatives with firm moral and intellectual foundations.

 "Democrats talk about legalizing marijuana, murdering babies, welcoming Jihadists, seizing our guns, Soc. Sec. payments to illegals, demanding the popular vote over the Electoral vote and supporting ignorant Marxist puppet loons like AOC who wants everything free for all with no idea how to pay for it, short of the common tactic used by all governments… steal it from the producers. This applies to Bernie and the high cheek boned, blond Indian Princess, Elizabeth Warren. While other Democrat contenders may lurk in the shadows, they only try to out promise the other guy with what they would do with our money. These are simple people, you know, Morons."

How could any legitimate conservative feel they're "wandering in the wilderness" or "culturally powerless" in the face of all that?  Every one of these initiatives should all be a fuse that light fires in every real conservative.  The rest are all phonies and traitors to the very concept of conservatism, like John Kasich, John, McCain and a host of others.  All with stunningly slippery moral convictions.

As I see it, as a society we have four options.

Ignorance, which is fixable.

Stupidity, which is ignorance coupled with complacency.

Insanity, which is unavoidable if you accept their conclusions
- or -
Clear rational thinking which means accepting the reality that to be on the left is irrational and misanthropic, morally defective and everything these leftist loons say are lies of commission and lies of omission.

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 C.E.) once noted; "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."  How much more important is it to keep the insane from turning society into an insane asylum with they, the lunatics in charge?



The Left Is Doubling Down on Schemes to Pack the Supreme Court

I am pretty sure the court itself would disallow "packing"

Anything the left can’t control, it aims to destroy.

From campaigns to abolish the Senate to the growing movement to upend the Electoral College after Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the 2016 presidential election, progressives have few qualms about getting rid of long-standing constitutional institutions.

Now they’re doubling down on their efforts to wage war on the Supreme Court.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that Democrats should consider court-packing during an appearance at Yale, noting that he would try to add two seats if he were president.

The left has relied on the Supreme Court to solidify its policy gains over the past half-century in particular. Now it faces the prospect of an originalist-leaning institution overturning some progressive precedents.

Left-wing groups are openly advocating that the next Democrat president pack the Supreme Court to expand the number of justices behind the now traditional nine.

Politico reported that one initiative, appropriately named “Pack the Courts,” is trying to get 2020 presidential candidates to sign onto a pledge to do just that.

“At Demand Justice, we strongly believe that reforming the court—especially by expanding it—is the cornerstone for rebuilding American democracy,” said Brian Fallon, director of Demand Justice and a former Hillary Clinton press secretary, according to Politico. “The Kavanaugh court is a partisan operation, and democracy simply cannot function when stolen courts operate as political shills. We are thrilled to work in coalition with the team at Pack the Courts to undo the politicization of the judiciary.”

Some Democrats, at least initially, have resisted the court-packing temptation.

However, the left will exert enormous pressure on Democrats to buckle under the power of a left-wing base that is unconcerned about preserving institutions that they see as standing in the way of social justice.

This partisan attempt to pack the court under the guise of “reform” is nothing new. When Justice Anthony Kennedy—often seen as a swing vote on the high court—retired, some progressives immediately jumped in to make the case that it was time to use full-blown court-packing once they return to power.

The fact that progressives made this argument before Justice Brett Kavanaugh even sat on the high court shows that there wasn’t really a deeper problem with “the Kavanaugh court” other than the fact that it now contained more originalists.

One has to imagine too that if President Donald Trump simply took the left’s advice and started carrying out his own court-packing, they would denounce him as a tyrant.

However, it’s far too much to expect intellectual consistency in this matter. The Supreme Court as traditionally constituted is a threat to the left’s ability to radically transform America.

It must be destroyed.

While this brazenly partisan attempt to blow up the Supreme Court has certainly been an uncommon phenomenon in recent political debates, it’s not entirely unprecedented.

The Constitution actually says nothing about the number of Supreme Court justices, who serve for life, or more specifically “during good behavior.”

In the early 19th century, the Supreme Court’s size changed a few times with little fanfare. In part due to the lesser capacity of the federal government in those days, the court wasn’t seen as powerful and important as it is today.

The high court settled into having nine justices in 1869, and has stayed that way ever since.

Only once was this number seriously challenged after that time. President Franklin Roosevelt infamously attempted court-packing in the 1930s.

When the Supreme Court struck down many of his cherished New Deal programs, FDR threatened to pack the court with new justices. Specifically, he requested that Congress allow him to appoint a new justice for every current justice over 70.

Roosevelt cited age and caseload as the reasons to carry out his plan. But as popular as FDR was in 1937, the country responded negatively.

The plan was met with fierce resistance. Democrats had almost unprecedented control of Congress, but many lawmakers recoiled at the idea of bludgeoning the Supreme Court and undermining its independence.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Erwin Griswold, a professor at Harvard Law School, said dramatically in 1937, according to Smithsonian Magazine:

"There are at least two ways of getting rid of judges. One is to take them out and shoot them, as they are reported to do in at least one other country. The other way is more genteel, but no less effective. They are kept on the public payroll but their votes are canceled"

Many Americans saw FDR’s move as a naked power grab, not unlike Thomas Jefferson’s attempt to impeach Federalist justices when he was president (which didn’t go well).

Almost paradoxically, these perceived partisan attacks on the court have served to strengthen its reputation in the American mind, for good or ill.

But can we be so sure that the country would be united in thwarting such a brazen scheme today?

Openly embracing socialism was once thought unthinkable in mainstream American politics, too.

For now, the movement to pack the court may just be a palliative to soothe the anger of the left-wing base. However, if these ideas ever came to fruition they would cause further damage to the notion that we live under a constitutional system that puts laws over men.

Sen. Burton Wheeler, a staunch Democrat ally of Roosevelt, gave perhaps the most succinct reason to oppose such a court-packing scheme in a 1937 speech:

"Create now a political court to echo the ideas of the executive and you have created a weapon. A weapon which, in the hands of another president in times of war or other hysteria, could well be an instrument of destruction. A weapon that can cut down those guarantees of liberty written into your great document by the blood of your forefathers and that can extinguish your right of liberty, of speech, of thought, of action, and of religion. A weapon whose use is only dictated by the conscience of the wielder"

It’s certainly correct to worry about the power of the Supreme Court, which has become distended compared to the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

But taking a partisan ax to the way the court is structured won’t fix the problem.



Democrats' Orwellian 'Equality' Act

House Democrats reintroduced their so-called "Equality Act" last week. The bill would add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, as The Heritage Foundation explains, "Where the original Civil Rights Act of 1964 furthered equality by ensuring that African-Americans had equal access to public accommodations and material goods, the Equality Act would further inequality by penalizing everyday Americans for their beliefs about marriage and biological sex. Similar sexual orientation and gender identity laws at the state and local level have already been used in this way."

Frankly, the "Equality Act" would step all over Americans' First Amendment rights. Heritage further highlights five specific groups who would be harmed should the act ever become law: employers and workers, medical professionals, parents and children, women, and nonprofits and volunteers. In other words, the law would directly impact virtually everyone living in America.

This ill-conceived legislation is the kind of heavy-handed, government-forced thinking that many have long warned against. The law would not merely protect those individuals expressing new sexual "norms" or gender "identity" from suffering physical harm; rather it seeks to force all Americans to accept and embrace leftist ideology. It would compel speech. We have already seen examples of this reality, where in Virginia just last year a high-school teacher was fired for his refusal to address a gender-dysphoric individual by their preferred pronoun. The teacher argued that to use a pronoun contrary to the biological sex of the student went against his faith, as it would be engaging in a lie. He noted that he believed God created human beings and furthermore determined their biological sex, and therefore the teacher was not free to ignore this reality or pretend otherwise.

Democrats claim the law would ban discrimination, but the reality is that it would simply insert a new and much more dangerous discrimination — a kind of discrimination that runs counter to the Liberty all Americans share under the Constitution. It would effectively create a more "equal" classification of individual whose status would trump the freedom and rights of others. The truth is, this law is not about equality at all; it's about using the power of government to force others into conforming to the immoral ideals of a protected class. It is in fact evil.



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.

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