Friday, April 26, 2019

Seven Times Democrats Ignored Facts or Science for Political Gain

In my many debates with left-leaning people, I’ve noticed a common trend. They seem to confuse emotional arguments with factual arguments. There’s a constant harping on the need to “do something” about some issue without any empirical evidence that supports that “something.” We’re treated to lectures about acting for future generations, “the children” and “doing what’s right,” even if those things turn out to be harmful. If you ask them, they’ll tell you, and they might even believe that they’re making factual arguments, but they’re not. This is why the right is so often accused of bigotry just for having a different opinion on various issues. It’s an emotional accusation meant to silence opposition. We don’t have conversations about issues anymore. Instead of rational discussion, political debate for the left is now a series of fact-free barrages of insults and accusations in the hopes of silencing opposition rather than opening minds to different ideas. That doesn’t stop the left from making bogus and self-righteous claims of tolerance and open-mindedness.

After thinking about this issue for a while, I came up with seven key examples where the left has simply refused to acknowledge facts or science in order to advance their political agenda. There are more examples, for sure, but these are ones I feel are at the forefront right now.

7. Minimum wage increases
Across the country, states and municipalities are passing minimum wage hikes, you know, for the working people! More pay is great for the economy and all, right? Well, no, not really. It seems like places that have passed minimum wage increases have not had the success they hoped for. Seattle lost jobs and income thanks to their minimum wage increase. Restaurants in New York are cutting staff because of the state's minimum wage hike. A minimum wage increase in California is expected to cost 400,000 jobs by 2022. Higher costs of labor (thanks to wage increases) are causing Walmart to invest in robots to do various labor tasks and self-checkout machines. Despite all the examples and studies showing minimum wage hikes having a negative impact, we're still talking about it. Well, not all of us, but Democrats are—legislation for increasing the minimum wage is currently being debated in the House. The evidence for why this is a bad idea is out there in plain sight, but they don't seem to care.

6.Transgender ideology
It seems like since the Supreme Court ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in this country, the next phase of the LGBTWTF movement has been the fascistic forcing of transgender ideology down our throats. The same crowd that argued for gay rights because gay people are “born this way” were suddenly arguing for transgender rights because transgender people weren’t born the way they should have been. This grand delusion has gotten so out of hand that people who don’t deny biology are losing their rights. Parents have lost custody of their children for not supporting their desire to transition. Biological males are allowed to compete on girls' teams and use their physical dominance to crush the competition—sometimes literally. In the UK, “misgendering” someone is now criminal—as is “deadnaming.” Meanwhile, those who come out as transgender enjoy instant status as a hero. Bruce Jenner notably declared himself a woman and quickly became 2015’s Woman of the Year according to Glamour. Bradley Manning, who was convicted for leaking sensitive government information to WikiLeaks and sentenced to 35 years in prison became a hero of the left for coming out as transgender and had his sentenced commuted by Barack Obama.

Anyone with a basic understanding of biology knows you can’t change from male to female or vice-versa. But, the politicization of the issue resulted in a rapid forced acceptance of transgender ideology under the guise of civil rights. Obama turned the United States government into a powerful bully, redefining Title IX to include “gender identity” and forcing schools to allow boys to be on girls' teams and use girls' locker rooms or risk losing government funds.

Any sort of balance brought to the issue is met with resistance. According to Sex Change Regret, 20 percent of those who transition regret doing so after the fact, and 40 percent attempt suicide. The high suicide rate amongst the transgender community is falsely blamed on discrimination, and not the underlying mental illness that results in gender dysphoria.  Sex-change regret is a very real thing that the transgender lobby tries to cover-up and even bullies those who do feel regret from speaking out. We’re not having a national discussion about transgender issues, we are being force-fed transgender ideology and anyone who isn’t willing to deny science is being treated as a bigot.

5. Gun control
Democrats haven’t exactly been a friend of the Second Amendment for some time now, but after eight years of Barack Obama deliberately pushing lies about gun violence and politicizing mass shootings, the base of the Democratic Party has been becoming more open to radical changes in gun laws, including gun confiscation. Obama famously and ridiculously claimed, “It is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.” Even the liberal Washington Post mocked him for that one. The common reaction from the left in response to incidents of gun violence is proposing stricter gun control laws that make it harder for law-abiding citizens to own guns—never mind the fact cities with the strictest gun control laws have the most incidents of gun-related crime or that concealed handgun owners have stopped dozens of mass shootings or that gun-free zones are overwhelmingly targets for mass shootings. The left-wing approach to addressing gun violence is completely unproductive and has the opposite result than was intended.

4. The alleged gender pay gap
The left is so committed to the belief that the government’s purpose is social justice that they seem unwilling to acknowledge when equality has been achieved. Sex discrimination in compensation has been illegal since the Equal Pay Act of 1963, yet the left still believes there is a significant pay gap between men and women. According to them, women make roughly 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. Obama himself perpetuated this myth. The first bill he signed as president was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.  But, he was eventually called out for a gender pay gap in his own White House. Their explanation for the gap was that “men and women in equivalent roles earn equivalent salaries.” I wouldn’t doubt that this accounted for the discrepancy in pay because that’s exactly what accounts for the same discrepancy in pay nationwide. Once you account for variables such as occupation, years in the workplace, and hours worked, the alleged 23-cent pay gap between men and women disappears. The Obama White House understood this when it came to defending their perceived pay gap but deliberately ignored it in order to maintain the alleged inequity as an issue that needed even more government solutions to fix. Despite the Equal Pay Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Act, Obama continued to push for more government solutions for a nonexistent problem, and the left eats it all up because solving problems isn’t really as important as maintain the illusion the problem still exists.

3. Climate change
For decades we’ve been treated to various apocalyptic predictions about what will happen to the earth “if we don’t act now” and we’ve consistently seen these predictions only come true in Hollywood movies.

The notion that we only have twelve years to fix the planet before the world ends has become the latest doomsday prediction to be popularized by the left. This prediction comes from The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 2018 UN Special Report on Global warming of 1.5ºC. Keep in mind that this is the same body that used altered climate data in order to push their own agenda—a scandal climate change radicals ignored when it broke, and have chosen to forget.

The Paris Climate Agreement was seen as the latest global effort to do something about climate change. When President Trump got us out of the illegal treaty, the left chastised him as someone who was dooming the planet. But, as it turned out, the United States, no longer a part of the accord, has led the world in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, while other countries that have signed on to the agreement have broken their promises to reduce emissions. For the left, climate change is another scheme to justify bigger and more government. Facts about climate change, its causes, or even whether it’s even actually occurring are less important than doing something about it. No one is saying we shouldn't be good stewards of the environment, but we can approach the issue in a reasonable way without infringing on people's rights or destroying our economy.

2. Abortion
Abortion is a sacred cow of the left that went from a “necessary evil” that should be “safe, legal and rare” to a divine act that should be free of any restrictions. Their increasingly radical position on abortion has gone in tandem with their denial of science.

Democrats have opposed bans on abortions after 20 weeks, the point when unborn babies are likely to be able to experience pain in the womb. While there is wide support for such legislation amongst the public, Democrats vehemently opposed such legislation. The rise of “Heartbeat Bills,” which ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, similarly has the left in a collective hissy fit. The recent passage of such a bill in the Georgia state legislature has resulted in a promised Hollywood boycott to film in the state.

Opposition to fetal pain and heartbeat bills aren’t simply a denial of science, but a denial of the humanity of the unborn. While most people accept that the presence of a heartbeat and the ability to feel pain makes you a person entitled to basic human protections, Democrats in Congress and presidential candidates refuse to make any sort of compromise on abortion.

1. The Mueller Report
For two years Democrats have pinned their hopes on Robert Mueller finding proof of Russian collusion. They clung to this idea religiously because they needed to hold onto the belief that they could oust Trump from office. Without collusion or obstruction, they had nothing. But that still hasn’t stopped unhinged Democrats from claiming two plus two equals five. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who claimed to have seen evidence of collusion, now claims that the Mueller report proves him right—which is exactly the opposite of what it actually says.

Many Democrats have since pivoted their focus to the issue of obstruction—which the Mueller report failed to prove. Instead, it documented how the Trump White House gave them access to everything they requested. If the Mueller investigation was obstructed, they’d know better than anyone else and considering it was stacked with anti-Trump partisans, it’s easy to conclude that they would have said so. Let’s not forget, the 1998 Starr report did conclude that President Clinton committed perjury, obstruction of justice, and tampered with witnesses. This ultimately laid the groundwork for Clinton’s impeachment. The Mueller report, however, offers no such roadmap for impeachment. While some Democrats in Congress grudgingly acknowledge this, 2020 Democrats continue to embrace the idea of impeachment, despite the lack of a crime. While impeachment appears to be off the table at the moment, Democrats, are still essentially thumbing their noses at the Mueller report and still plan to investigate, investigate, investigate. Democrats have decided to go on a fishing expedition—essentially using the power of government to do opposition research on Trump before the 2020 election. They still can’t get over the 2016 election and they’re in denial about the Mueller report.



Levin: Trump Has Done Nothing to Freedom of Press Compared to FDR, Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Lincoln

In a video promoting his new book, “Unfreedom of the Press,” Levin says Trump ‘directs his anger correctly” at specific news organizations and reporters – unlike the Russian tyrant:

“This president has been accused of leading a war against the media. (CNN’s) Jim Acosta will have a book out – two, three, four weeks after mine. And, it’s something I was anticipating when I wrote my book.

“Is Donald Trump a great threat to freedom of the press? What has Donald Trump done, exactly, to freedom of the press? He’s done exactly nothing.

“He directs his anger correctly, and his disappointment at specific news organizations and at specific reporters. He’ll call them, here and there, enemy of the people, and, they say, ‘That’s just like Stalin.’

“Let me tell you something, folks: Donald Trump has done nothing to the media.”

“And, I go through the history and compare what he’s done to what past presidents have done – the great John Adams, the great Abraham Lincoln. I go into what others have done: Woodrow Wilson – things that you’ve never heard of before.

“I move from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt to John Kennedy, to Lyndon Johnson, and others. They had true censorship operations that took place.

“Trump has none of these things. And, I go into detail about that so you’ll understand context.”

“I get into the issue of The New York Times, in particular. That’s the paper that leads the way, whether we like it or not. That’s the newspaper that the other news organizations look at. Well, let’s look at the history of The New Times. And I do it in a way that has never, ever been done before.”

“Have you ever heard of, in 1927 and 1928, the great genocide of Ukrainians by Stalin - how he cut Ukraine off from food, water, cut off their trains, cut off their roads? Ten million people starved to death.

“You want to know how The New York Times reported on that during the course of the year? I explain – it is atrocious.

“How about the Holocaust? You’ve heard me talk about that, too.

“Well, I did significant research on this issue, and I talk about what The New York Times did in terms of reporting the Holocaust – or not. Horrific.”

“And, yet, it’s the paper of record, and yet, it’s the paper that people want to work for if you’re a journalist and so forth. Why? So, I get into great detail about it and other news organizations, as well.”

Mark Levin’s “Unfreedom of the Press” debuts in book stores on May 21, 2019 and is currently available for preorder online.



Is Denmark Socialist?

The Left references countries like Denmark as "proof" that socialism works. It's not socialist.

I am a citizen of Denmark, the Disneyland of socialism, where everybody is happy and healthy. Forget the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela and all those power-mad Marxists who got it wrong. Denmark is the model to follow. There’s just one problem. It’s a fantasy.

For it to be true, Denmark would have to be a socialist country. But it’s not. If it were, it would have gone “Venezuela” a long time ago. Sorry to bring all the new fans of socialism the bad news. But that’s the reality.

Yes, it’s true that Denmark has high taxes and a high level of government spending – key features of a socialist mentality. But in almost every other respect, Denmark is a full-on free market capitalist country.

And it has some of the strongest protections of individual property rights in the world.

And it’s a particularly easy place to open a business. According to the World Bank, there is less bureaucratic red tape in Denmark than in any other country, except for New Zealand and Singapore.

And the labor market is less regulated than in most countries. Here’s something you probably didn’t know: there are no minimum wage laws in Denmark.

It’s not surprising then – or maybe it is surprising, given all the misinformation out there – that Denmark ranks consistently as one of the top-ranked free market economies in the world by The Fraser Institute in Canada and The Heritage Foundation.

So, if Denmark is not a socialist country, what is it? The answer is pretty straightforward: it’s a small capitalist country (about the size and population of Maryland) whose citizens pay oodles in taxes in exchange for oodles in benefits.

Well, what’s wrong with that? you might ask. Only this: for the government to pay out such benefits, you need citizens to make enough money to pay the necessary taxes. And that’s only possible through a free market economy.

Let me explain – with some Danish history. Denmark, like its Scandinavian neighbors, Sweden and Norway, made a remarkable economic recovery after the Second World War. The combination of a highly productive work force and – get this – low taxes created a lot of wealth.

So like every other wealthy welfare state, Denmark became wealthy before it created the welfare state.

Relative to Europe, Denmark’s economic high-water mark was in the 1950s; relative to the US, it was the early ‘70s. It was then, in the late '60s and early '70s, that the country’s ruling elite became preoccupied with wealth redistribution. But the price paid for this social experiment was steep and swift.

The expansion of public spending led to a severe economic crisis. The national debt skyrocketed. It took decades of consolidation, structural reforms and curtailing of welfare schemes to straighten out this mess.

This is the stuff you never hear about from the “Danish model” crowd.

The sharp tax hikes and spending also sparked a widespread popular revolt and led to the emergence of the “tax protestors” party, Fremskridtspartiet. Even though the party no longer exists, the widespread desire to cut taxes remains.

It’s worth noting that the welfare state originally began with government pension payments to the elderly. These social security-like payments are now in the process of being overtaken by private pension savings plans – the Danish equivalent to a 401K. That’s right – in reality, Denmark is gradually moving away from US-style social security. It can’t afford it. Denmark, the so-called socialist model, is returning the responsibility for retirement savings back to its citizens.

And what about health care…free – right?

Nothing is free. Danes pay for their health care through high taxes. Private health insurance is available, however. It’s becoming more and more popular as long wait times associated with government-run medical care becomes less and less popular.

But in a welfare state, education is free – right?

Well, that’s another thing about “free”: it doesn’t mean ideal. Almost one in five parents in Denmark chooses to send his or her children to private schools, paying part of the bill themselves.

Yes, college is free, and even includes a living allowance, but there is a growing problem of getting students to graduate. Many wish to stay students and be supported by the state – one of those welfare-state problems socialists don’t like to talk about.

And, again, all this “free stuff” comes with a price. The average Dane pays 50% of his income in consumption and income taxes – that’s right, I said 50% – while earning 15% less than the average American. After taxes, an average American has a 27% higher disposable income than a Dane.

Don’t get me wrong – grey winters aside, Denmark has much to recommend it. It’s just that being a socialist paradise isn’t one of them.

I’m Otto Brøns-Petersen, economist for The Center of Political Studies in Copenhagen, Denmark, for Prager University.



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, April 25, 2019

Time to Enforce the Law on Visa Overstays

Trump orders the DOJ and DHS to look for more ways to limit the number of visa overstays. 

Democrats and the Leftmedia have often sought to downplay President Donald Trump’s loudly voiced calls to tackle the problem of illegal immigration — specifically his emphasis on securing the southern border — by pivoting to point out that the “bigger” problem is visa overstays. While that is a statistically arguable observation (at least one study found that the number of visa overstays represents a higher percentage of illegal aliens than illegal border crossers do) this response is a disingenuous objection to dealing with the real crisis at the border. Why can’t both problems be addressed? Well, it appears that Trump has decided to do just that, calling the Democrats’ bluff.

On Monday, the president ordered the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to find ways to limit the number of foreigners overstaying their short-term visas. The White House stated that the administration will “find effective ways to combat the rampant number of overstays” that are “undermining the rule of law and straining resources that are needed to address the crisis at our southern border.”

In signing his executive order, Trump stated, “We have laws that need to be followed to keep Americans safe and to protect the integrity of a system where, right now, there are millions of people who are waiting in line to come to America to see the American Dream.” It will be interesting to see how many Democrats object to Trump’s latest order to enforce the law — or what judge will strike it down.



The haters have Only Just Begun
Objectivity, like Elvis, long ago left the building in Washington and so the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is being read and interpreted through mostly biased eyes.

Democrats, who had counted on Mueller to prove that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, were initially as crestfallen as they were on election night 2016. Still, they are undeterred in the pursuit of their ultimate goal: evicting the president from the White House in a political coup unprecedented in American history.

The special counsel was established to investigate collusion, though not by Trump’s political opponents during the 2016 presidential race, who allegedly funded the infamous Steele dossier, which purported to describe Trump cavorting with prostitutes and other sick behavior during a visit to Moscow.

After more than two years of investigations, subpoenas, witness testimony and millions of dollars wasted, Mueller’s report concluded, “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” As for obstruction of justice, how does one obstruct something that is not a crime?

Predictably, Democrats are not satisfied. Out of desperation and exasperation, some are alleging a cover-up by Attorney General William Barr. Others want to immediately begin impeachment proceedings. For which high crime and misdemeanor?

More experienced Democrats, such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) are rightly cautious. They remember the electoral damage to Republicans when members of that party impeached Bill Clinton. Which wing of their party will prevail?

Politico represents the fallback position for some on the left: “Forget collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice.” Say what? “The most concrete takeaway from the 448-page Mueller report is its damning portrait of the Trump White House as a place of chaos, intrigue and deception, where aides routinely disregard the wishes of a president with little regard for the traditional boundaries of his office…” Maybe so, but bad behavior and disobeyed presidential orders are not impeachable offenses. Let voters decide.

Imagine how President Trump must have felt. Not only the establishment, which includes Democrats and Republicans, but the major media were constantly assaulting him starting before the election and ever since. Some critics have accused him of paranoia, but as the saying goes, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” And out to get Trump they are.

Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel writes: “President Trump has every right to feel liberated. What the (Mueller) report shows is that he endured a special counsel probe that was relentlessly, at times, farcically obsessed with taking him out.”

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said: “It is increasingly clear that the only scandal here is the Obama administration’s repeated failure to act against Russian cyber meddling, and instead, how they prioritized spying on a political opponent — the Trump campaign — and used a phony DNC-funded dossier as justification.”

When President Obama was asked about Trump’s charge that the 2016 election might be rigged against him, Obama responded: “No serious person out there … would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections.”

Add this “witch hunt” to the long list of reasons many Americans hate Washington. None of this political show affects average citizens, who are benefitting from a booming economy, job growth, lowest unemployment in half a century (including minority unemployment) and fewer people receiving food assistance. What does this have to do with more important issues, including illegal immigration and foreign policy?

The left doesn’t want Americans to focus on the administration’s successes, because they are incapable of doing better. They can only repeat their familiar scenario of higher taxes, bigger and more controlling government and “free stuff” for all.

The president and his allies have threatened a counterattack to expose corruption at the Justice Department, which created this fiasco. They should begin immediately.



Why Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Tweeted About 'Easter Worshippers'

Sometimes, a few sentences tell you more about a person -- and, more importantly, an ideology -- than a learned thesis. That is the case with tweets from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama two days ago in response to the mass murder of more than 300 Christians and others in Sri Lanka.

Their tweets are worth serious analysis because they reveal a great deal about the left. Of course, they reveal a great deal about Clinton and Obama, too, but that doesn't interest me.

And that, too, is important. Many Americans -- especially conservatives and "independents" -- are more interested in individual politicians than in political ideologies.

Many conservatives have long been fixated on Clinton -- so much so that probably any other Democrat would have defeated Donald Trump, as conservative anger specifically toward her propelled many people to the polls. Similarly, Republican Never-Trumpers are fixated on Trump rather than policy. They care more about Trump's personal flaws than about the mortal dangers the left poses to America and the West or about the uniquely successful conservative policies Trump promulgates.

And independents all claim to vote "for the person, not the party."

Only leftists understand that one must vote left no matter who the Democrat is, no matter who the Republican opponent is. Leftists are completely interchangeable: There is no ideological difference among the 20 or so Democrats running for president. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is not one degree to the right of Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren.

That is why it is important to understand Clinton and Obama's tweets: to understand the left, not to understand her or him.

Here are the tweets:

Obama: "The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka."

Three hours later, Clinton tweeted: "On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I'm praying for everyone affected by today's horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka."

As they both spelled "worshipers" the same idiosyncratic way and used the term "Easter worshippers," it is likely they either had the same writers or Clinton copied Obama.

Here's what's critical: Neither used the word "Christians." And in order to avoid doing so, they went so far as to make up a new term -- "Easter worshippers" -- heretofore unknown to any Christian.

When Jews were murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Clinton mentioned the synagogue in a tweet. But in her post-Sri Lanka tweet, despite the bombing of three churches filled with Christians, Clinton made no mention of church or churches. In a tweet after the massacre of Muslims in New Zealand, she wrote that her heart broke for "the global Muslim community." But in her latest tweet, not a word about Christians or the global Christian community.

Obama similarly wrote in his tweet about New Zealand that he was grieving with "the Muslim community" over the "horrible massacre in the Mosques." But in his tweet about Sri Lanka, there is no mention of Christians or churches.

The reason neither of them mentioned Christians or churches is that the left has essentially forbidden mention of all the anti-Christian murders perpetrated by Muslims in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and of all the Muslim desecration of churches in Europe, Africa and anywhere else. This is part of the same phenomenon -- that I and others have documented -- of British police and politicians covering up six years of rape of 1,400 of English girls by Muslim "grooming gangs" in Rotherham and elsewhere in England.

Essentially, the left's rule is that nothing bad -- no matter how true -- may be said about Muslims or Islam and nothing good -- no matter how true -- may be said of Christians or Christianity.

Clinton's post-New Zealand tweet also included these words: "We must continue to fight the perpetuation and normalization of Islamophobia and racism in all its forms. White supremacist terrorists must be condemned by leaders everywhere. Their murderous hatred must be stopped."

She made sure to condemn "Islamophobia," but she wrote not a word about the far more destructive and widespread hatred of Christians in the Muslim world, seen in Muslims' virtual elimination of the Christian communities in the Middle East, the regular murder and kidnappings of Coptic Christians in Egypt and the murder of Christians in Nigeria. She calls on "leaders everywhere" to condemn "white supremacist terrorists," one of the smallest hate groups on Earth, but never calls on leaders everywhere to condemn Islamist terrorists, the largest hate group on Earth.

These two tweets tell you a lot about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But far more importantly, they tell you a lot about the left.




White House war on regulations poised to pass goal 'more than 31 times'

The Trump administration’s war on Obama-era regulations is set to nearly double this year’s goal — and potentially go much further — after getting off to a slow start, according to budget experts.

With plans to cut $18 billion worth of regulations in fiscal year 2019, which ends in September, the administration is poised to boost that to $33 billion, according to a mid-year review by the budget watchdog American Action Forum.

What’s more, the administration is moving toward a regulatory cut that the review said would cut an additional $561 billion, 31 times this year's goal.

But it better move fast, said analysts Dan Bosch and Dan Goldbeck. That’s because the administration is not only behind meeting its goal, it has added $10 billion in regulations.

President Trump on the 2016 campaign trail and in his administration has made slashing government regulations a key goal. He set in place a rule demanding that two regulations be cut for every new one proposed. The administration has actually surpassed that goal.

In their review, Bosch and Goldbeck found that most federal agencies are behind their regulation cutting goals.

They attribute the boost in costs to the paperwork burden in the 2017 tax cut and the creation of a new “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard.”

But they point to major cuts coming later this year, including savings from deregulating actions targeting pending water and energy programs called for under former President Barack Obama.

“Despite the current net cost figure, the administration appears poised to see net savings on the back end of FY 2019. The overwhelmingly largest component of the upcoming deregulation is the Environmental Protection Agency’s expected repeal of the ‘Clean Power Plan,’ with $51.6 billion in currently estimated total ‘avoided costs.’ Other rules with notable cost reductions include a pair of significant rules also affecting energy production as well as the first stage of the administration’s reconsideration of the ‘Water of the United States’ rule,” said the review.

And it could reach record levels if it moves faster on a pending plan to freeze fuel-economy standards at 2020 levels, junking an Obama plan to increase them.

Said Bosch and Goldbeck, “One massive deregulatory action is not included in this study’s projection. The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule, proposed jointly by the DOT and the EPA, was published in August 2018 and was scheduled to be finalized in March 2019. Though the agencies missed that date, they still may finalize the rule by the end of FY 2019. As proposed, the rule would result in an estimated $563.6 billion in total savings – an amount that would cover the entire FY 2019 regulatory budget more than 31 times.”



The Immigrants We Need Most

Stephen Moore

Of all America's immigrant visa programs, arguably the most successful for the U.S. economy has been the H-1B program. This program admits highly skilled foreign workers who fill vital employment niches to make our Made in America businesses more successful in international markets. Larry Kudlow, the director of President Donald Trump's National Economic Council, calls these immigrants the "brainiacs."

In many ways, he is right. America's high-tech companies use tens of thousands of these visas each year. The workers come for usually about six years, and those that are successful here apply for permanent residence when the visa expires.

The firms that use these visas must affirm that they cannot find workers with comparable skills and must pay a prevailing wage. There is little evidence that these foreign workers displace Americans from their jobs. Microsoft founder Bill Gates has testified that every H-1B immigrant his firm recruits translates into about four or five additional American workers being hired. If we want research labs, advanced manufacturing and scientific advances to happen here, we must have access to the world's best workers. The problem is there is a severe shortage of these visas. Today, there are some 65,000 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program immigrants admitted under this visa category. "In the first week of this fiscal year, nearly 200,000 petitions were received," according to Forbes. This mismatch between demand and supply is restraining America's growth spree.

The H-1B process is cumbersome and expensive for employers, and they wouldn't spend the money on the program if they were not desperate for these talented newcomers. In the last decade or so, the processing time and costs have nearly doubled to get an H-1B immigrant admitted to these shores. This is a drain on the economy and reduces American competitiveness.

I travel the nation from coast to coast and talk to employers, from large manufacturers to high-tech firms to engineering and financial services; most tell me their biggest challenge is finding the skilled workers they need.

The visa limits should be raised and adjusted to meet the demands. The feds should charge employers a higher fee to bring these immigrants to the country, and these funds could be used to beef up border security pay for the cost of administering visa programs.

The solution is to tilt our immigration system away from extended family immigrants and more toward skills and merit. To put America first, it makes sense to give green cards to the immigrants who will do the most good for our country.

Trump wants to shift our visa system to emphasize skill and merit, and Congress should get behind him. Skill-based immigration is one of our best weapons to keep the American economy number one in the world and to ensure we never surrender technological dominance to China or other rising nations that want to knock America off our commanding economic heights.



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, April 24, 2019

President Trump's Obstruction of IN-justice
No wonder Donald Trump was so angry. No wonder he wanted to stop the Mueller investigation. He didn’t collude with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. He knew he was innocent.

And almost three years ago he foresaw that a biased fishing expedition by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his liberal lawyers would undermine his ability to govern and provide Democrats and the liberal media with an endless supply of damaging political ammo.

Now that Attorney General William Barr released the redacted Mueller report, the whole world knows that Mueller completely exonerated Trump of collusion with Russia.

Mueller was unable to decide whether the president was guilty of obstruction of justice. But the desperate Democrats in the House and the disappointed fake journalists over at CNN don’t care that Mueller found Trump guilty of no crime.

They’ll spend the next 20 months parsing the Mueller report’s footnotes and milking the unanswered question of obstruction for every possible drop of political poison they can find.

By noon on Thursday CNN’s all-liberal panel of eight Trump-hating pundits and legal experts like Jeffrey Toobin already were back to their usual tricks.

They spent half the morning spinning the importance of the inconclusive “obstruction” part of Mueller’s report and trashing Attorney General Barr as a shill for the president.

Dana Bash and crew showed no sympathy for the unfair, incorrect and deranged assault they and their soulmates at MSNBC, the New York Times and elsewhere have subjected Trump to for three years.

You’d think Toobin and a few of the others would have been pleased to find out that the president of the United States did not collude or conspire with the Russians to fix the 2016 election.

Instead, ignoring how wrong they were about everything, they were excitedly talking about how the Mueller report’s examples of presidential obstruction attempts could serve as a handy road map to impeachment for House Democrats.

Some CNN panel members, to their shame, were visibly disappointed that Trump was saved by several staffers who had the good sense and ethics to refuse to do what he asked of them.

According to the Mueller report, there were ten examples of Trump trying to get control of the Russia investigation.

They included firing FBI Director James Comey, urging Trump’s useless Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “re-recuse” himself and trying to get various staffers to lie or not cooperate with Mueller.

The facts surrounding those presidential attempts to interfere are not in dispute.

But the president never fired anyone, even though he had the Constitutional power to do it, and he never obstructed Mueller from doing his work.

The White House even turned over millions of documents and the president waived his right to use executive privilege.

If any of his White House staff had followed the president’s requests concerning the Mueller investigation there might have been a legitimate case for obstruction.

But they ignored him. And they did exactly what they are supposed to do — they kept the boss from making a serious mistake.

I say bravo to the president’s staff for saving his butt. They did their job. They protected President Trump from himself.

As the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Thursday, the president reacted to the Russia collusion charges the way any innocent man would react to a frame up.

President Trump had every right to be outraged and frustrated by Mueller’s investigation, which he always knew was a Democratic witch hunt.

If he never colluded with anyone in the first place, as Mueller has proved to the satisfaction of everyone except maybe Rachel Maddow and Adam Schiff, it’s hard to see how the president could be guilty of the crime of obstruction.

If anything, the only thing President Trump was guilty of was trying to obstruct injustice.



Sorry, Democrats, but Your Stars Are Socialists
There was Bernie Sanders at a Fox News Channel town hall, not giving an inch in a forum every Democratic presidential candidate has shunned.

His reward was a cataract of good reviews, and monster ratings. Sanders had a solid hour to try to reach people not favorably inclined to his worldview, at the very least demonstrating that he’s willing to show up outside his political silo.

Why hadn’t any of the other Democrats done it before? Because they lacked the verve and ideological self-confidence of Sanders, as well as the independent streak to buck the Democratic Party’s attempt to hold the line against Fox. As a message candidate, Sanders is willing to take his anywhere.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, miraculously transformed into a relatively moderate Democratic elder stateswoman, has understandably been pushing back against the notion that she leads a socialist party defined by a few radicals in the House.

On “60 Minutes,” she stalwartly declared: “I do reject socialism as a economic system. If people have that view, that’s their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party.” She dismissed the left wing in her caucus as “like, five people.”

In sheer numbers this is true, but it’s the wrong way to count.

The fact is that the most compelling stars of the party are self-declared socialists with a knack for generating controversy and media attention, and with committed mass followings. Pelosi might wish it weren’t true, but poll numbers, fundraising and follower counts don’t lie.

Sanders is reliably second — sometimes first — in national and state presidential polling. He’s outraised everyone else in the field and, with his massive small-donor base, probably can continue to do so for the duration. More than anyone else, he has defined the Democratic Party’s current agenda.

It’ll be much harder to maintain that the Democratic Party isn’t socialist if it nominates one as its presidential candidate, which everyone paying attention realizes is a real possibility.

If this happens, it won’t be the work of conservatives hoping to negatively brand the Democrats, but of the party’s faithful. The same goes for the prominence of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It is often said that conservatives are “obsessed” with her; maybe so, but the same is true — and probably more so — of everyone else.

AOC has been on the cover of Time magazine, Rolling Stone (with Nancy Pelosi, as it happens), Hollywood Reporter and Bloomberg Businessweek. Annie Leibovitz photographed her for Vogue. She’s been interviewed by “60 Minutes.”

She has nearly 4 million Twitter followers, and more than 3 million followers on Instagram, where she feeds the insatiable obsession of her fans — not her critics — with videos from her apartment.

She was among the top 10 House Democrats in fundraising the first quarter, and had the highest percentage of small donors (her ally, Ilhan Omar, also excelled).

It’s obviously vexing to Pelosi to see a House majority built by the careful avoidance of ideological extravagance and won in marginal districts hijacked, at least in terms of public attention, by a few freshmen and a 77-year-old Vermont socialist.

They might not define the center of gravity of the party at the moment, and the radical freshmen have lost most of their tussles with Pelosi. But there is a reason that they are so famous, with such fundraising prowess. The crusading purity of Bernie Sanders has an inherent appeal, and the outrageousness of the freshmen attracts attention, which always begets more attention.

Yes, there are vast numbers of Democrats out there who aren’t on Twitter or Instagram. Maybe there are enough of them to nominate Joe Biden, or a Pete Buttigieg can win on a progressive platform clothed in a moderate demeanor.

But the party’s stars will have something to say about it. The great Zionist Theodor Herzl maintained, “It is the simple and fantastic which leads men.” As Bernie Sanders showed, it’s also willing to go on Fox News.



U.S. to end all waivers on imports of Iranian oil, crude price jumps

The United States on Monday demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, a move to choke off Tehran’s oil revenues which sent crude prices to six-month highs on fears of a potential supply crunch.

The Trump administration on Monday said it will not renew exemptions granted last year to buyers of Iranian oil, a more stringent than expected decision that caught several key importers who have been pleading with Washington to continue buying Iranian oil sanctions-free.

The United States reimposed sanctions in November on exports of Iranian oil after U.S. President Donald Trump last spring unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 accord between Iran and six world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program. Eight economies, including China and India, were granted waivers for six months, and several had expected those exemptions to be renewed.

Tehran remained defiant, saying it was prepared for the end of waivers, while the Revolutionary Guards repeated a threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipment channel in the Gulf, Iranian media reported.

The White House said it was working with top oil exporters Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ensure the market was “adequately supplied.” Traders, already fretting about tight supplies, raised skepticism about whether this more stringent approach, along with ongoing sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry, could backfire in the form of a major spike in prices.

“It is a surprise that the requirement to cease importing Iranian oil should come at this next May deadline,” said Elizabeth Rosenberg, director of the energy, economics and security program at Washington-based Center for a New American Security. “Having only several weeks’ notice before the deadline means there are lots of cargoes booked for May delivery. This means that it will now be harder to get it out by the deadline.”

Iran’s oil exports have dropped to about 1 million barrels per day (bpd) from more than 2.5 million bpd prior to the re-imposition of sanctions. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a briefing Monday, said “we’re going to zero across the board,” saying the United States had no plans for a grace period for compliance beyond May 1.

The White House intends to deprive Iran of its lifeline of $50 billion in annual oil revenues, Pompeo said, as it pressures Tehran to curtail its nuclear program, ballistic missile tests and support for conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

A senior administration official said President Donald Trump was confident Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will fulfill their pledges to compensate for the shortfall in the oil market. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Frank Fannon said Riyadh was taking “active steps” to ensure global oil markets were well supplied.

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, in a statement on Monday, did not commit to raising production, saying it was “monitoring the oil market developments” after the U.S. statement, and that it would coordinate with other oil producers to ensure a balanced market. OPEC is next scheduled to meet in June.

While Saudi Arabia is expected to boost output again, analysts fear the U.S. move - along with sanctions on Venezuela - will leave the world with inadequate spare capacity.

The international Brent crude oil benchmark rose to more than $74 a barrel on Monday, the highest since November, due to the uncertainty surrounding increased supply from Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations, while U.S. prices hit a peak of $65.92 a barrel, the highest since October 2018.

“Despite high and fast-rising oil prices and high geopolitical disruption risk, (Trump) is betting the farm that Saudi Arabia and the UAE will contain upward price pressure by more than offsetting Iranian oil,” said Robert McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group, an energy consultancy.

In addition to China and India, the economies of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece had also been granted waivers.

Trump has been clear to his national security team in recent weeks he wants the waivers to end and national security adviser John Bolton has been working on that within the administration.

“One thing that has clearly been going on inside the administration is a debate about when they should get to zero,” said Rosenberg.

In recent months, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members have cut supply dramatically. OPEC, along with ally Russia and others, agreed to reduce output by 1.2 million bpd, but they have exceeded those benchmarks, with Saudi Arabia alone reducing supply by 800,000 bpd.

While Italy, Greece and Taiwan already have halted purchases, doing so could prove much more challenging for China and India. Turkey, another buyer, already has slammed the U.S. decision. “We had indicated privately that zero was coming and now we’re here,” a senior administration official said on Monday, referencing Turkey’s concerns.

Geng Shuang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at a daily news briefing in Beijing on Monday that it opposed unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran and that China’s bilateral cooperation with Iran was in accordance with the law.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying the South Korean government had been negotiating with the United States at all levels to extend the waivers and that it would continue to make every effort to reflect Seoul’s position until the May deadline.

In India, refiners have started a search for alternative supplies but the government declined to comment officially.

A spokesman for the Japanese embassy in Washington said Tokyo was not planning to comment on the decision but Japanese officials say the Iran issue was discussed at a meeting between the Japanese foreign minister and Pompeo last Friday.

It is also expected to come up during a visit to Washington this Friday by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which is expected to focus on North Korea and the challenge posed by China’s rise.



9th Circus rebukes Trump, upholds most of California’s sanctuary laws

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals discarded the Trump administration’s attempt to block two of California’s sanctuary laws and determined Thursday that the laws, which restrict local cooperation with federal law enforcement, will remain in place.

One of the laws in question, Senate Bill 54, bars police and sheriff officials from notifying federal immigration authorities, in most cases, about when an immigrant inmate was released from jail. The other, Assembly Bill 450, requires employers to notify their staff if there will be an immigration inspection of employee documents.

According to Judge Milan Smith Jr., there is "no doubt" that Senate Bill 54 “makes the jobs of federal immigration authorities more difficult." Even so, he argued that the law "does not directly conflict with any obligation" for states or local governments imposed by federal laws "because federal law does not mandate any state action."

Smith also determined that Assembly Bill 450 "imposes no additional or contrary obligations that undermine or disrupt the activities of federal immigration authorities."

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals did block a portion of a third sanctuary city law that was passed in 2017, known as Assembly Bill 103. The court blocked part of the law requires state officials to examine federal immigration detention facilities in California.

"Only those provisions that impose an additional economic burden exclusively on the federal government are invalid," Smith wrote.



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, April 23, 2019

NY Post cover

President Trump tweeted an image of Friday’s New York Post cover, which had the bold headline, “TRUMP CLEAN.”

The cover followed Thursday’s release of the Mueller report and teased an editorial that began, “Not guilty. Of collusion or obstruction. That’s essentially what the Mueller report… confirms.”

Minutes after the Saturday evening tweet, the president retweeted White House social media chief Dan Scaviono, who wrote: “I am with the President at the Southern White House, I have never seen him happier!”


Trump says he was so happy because America was doing so well.  But the Mueller report must have been a great relief for him. That he bore the most ferocious attacks for two years is an amazing testimony to his psychological strength and amazing evidence of  the evil that was hurled at him.  He deserves every bit of the relief he felt.  What he endured would have crushed a lesser man.  And through it all he still made a big difference


Those imprisoned for breaking laws should have no say in making laws

by Jeff Jacoby

IN THE WORLD according to Bernie Sanders, billionaires, insurance companies, gun owners, and Wall Street have too much political power.

But criminals don't have enough.

During a campaign stop in Iowa on Saturday, the Vermont senator and 2020 presidential hopeful declared that convicted felons should have the right to vote. In his view, murderers and armed robbers ought to be allowed to participate in elections — not just after their prison sentence is completed, but even while they're behind bars.

"I think that is absolutely the direction we should go," Sanders told an audience at the West Middle School gymnasium in Muscatine. "You're paying a price, you committed a crime, you're in jail. . . . But you're still living in American society and you have a right to vote. I believe in that, yes, I do."

It's a daft idea, though to be fair to Sanders, it isn't unheard-of — his own state of Vermont, as well as Maine, allow imprisoned felons to vote. But those are outliers. In the other 48 states and the District of Columbia, people locked up for breaking laws don't get to play a role in making laws. Rapists and embezzlers serving time are excluded from electing legislators and statewide officeholders. Convicted burglars, sex traffickers, and racketeers may not vote on ballot initiatives and referendums.

Vermont and Maine are the safest states in the nation, which perhaps explains their lackadaisical attitude about giving political power to prisoners. Everywhere else in America, it is understood that when you are convicted and sentenced to prison for a serious crime, you lose certain rights: the right to liberty, the right to assemble freely, the right to bear arms, the right to privacy — and the right to vote. Criminals are locked up because they are deemed unfit to live among their fellow citizens and join in normal civic life. The harm they caused to their victims and the damage they inflicted on their community disqualify them from being treated as legal and political equals.

Society punishes convicted felons by denying them control over their own affairs. Permitting them to exercise control over society's affairs by voting would be not only irrational, but unjust. Incarcerated criminals should not have a say in shaping criminal law. Rapists should not be allowed to dilute the vote of rape victims. The crook sent to prison for election fraud has no business taking part in the next election.

Massachusetts used to be like Vermont and Maine; it not only permitted felons to vote while in prison but even to organize voter registration drives and run for office. When a group of inmates at the state prison in Norfolk launched a political action committee in 1997, the public was galvanized into action. In 2000, by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, voters adopted an amendment to the state constitution, stripping incarcerated criminals of the right to vote. That brought Massachusetts into line with nearly every other state.

One state senator wants to yank Massachusetts back out of line.

Echoing Sanders' call for enfranchising prisoners, state Senator Adam Hinds of Pittsfield has introduced a proposal to repeal the 2000 amendment and once again authorize prison inmates to participate in state elections. "I feel it's incumbent . . . to dismantle laws and policies that reinforce inequality and unequal rights in this Commonwealth," Hinds told a hearing of the Legislature's Election Law Committee. He draped his proposal in rhetoric about "overincarceration" of "communities of color," but that is largely a red herring. Whites make up by far the largest share of Massachusetts prisoners, according to the Massachusetts Department of Correction. There may be legitimate concerns about race when it comes to policing and prosecution, but there is no insidious racial motive in denying felons the vote. The only class the 2000 amendment was designed to discriminate against is convicted criminals.

Like the right to travel freely or the right to own a weapon, the right to vote is a meaningful component of citizenship in our democracy. In the American system, those who commit serious crimes are penalized with the loss of many rights that law-abiding citizens take for granted. "You're still living in American society and you have a right to vote," Sanders told his Iowa audience, but he was wrong. Felons locked in prison are not living in American society. It is precisely their punishment to be taken out of society, and deprived of the privileges of self-government.

Not everyone gets to vote. For good reasons, there is no suffrage for children or for non-citizens. For equally good reasons, there is none for criminals behind bars. If felons want to vote, let them break the law in Vermont.



IT BEGINS: Republican Governor Will Sign Bill That ABOLISHES ‘Columbus Day'

Phil Scott, ever heard of him? He’s the Republican governor of Vermont. Winning a GOP spot in the state of Bernie Sanders can’t be easy, yet Scott needed to make it clear that he’s not exactly proud of his country.

Phil is set to sign a bill that abolishes “Columbus Day,” just like New Mexico and South Dakota have already done.

The bill to dump the traditional holiday passed through the state legislature in Montpelier on Wednesday and is now on the governor’s desk waiting for a signature, the Burlington Free Press reported. “I see no reason that I would not sign it,” Scott told the media, “but we’re reviewing the bill as we speak.”

“I know it’s controversial from many standpoints, from many people, but you know, it’s just a day, and we’ll get through it,” Scott added. “And we’ve been treating it as something different over the last couple of years through resolutions. Without any technical difficulties within the bill, I’ll probably sign it.”

Alaska passed an “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” resolution in 2017 but had never officially recognized Columbus Day in the first place.



After ‘No Collusion’ Fail, Guess How Many Times The Media Mentioned Impeachment In One Day?

Oh, the liberal media. When will they stop with their incessant and blatant spinning?

After the Mueller report was released on Thursday, it appears as though the media went into serious disaster-management after word was received that there really was no collusion between Team Trump and the Russians.

So what was the focus of the myriads of reporters faced with this dilemma? Impeachment. (yawn) And just how many times did they utter that silly phrase?

309 times.

As reported by Newsbusters: Although the Mueller report did not recommend any charges against the President, liberal journalists on cable and broadcast networks spent Thursday suggesting to audiences that impeachment was imminent, if not inevitable. Throughout Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, liberal talking heads on cable and broadcast news networks mentioned impeachment an astonishing 309 times during their coverage the of the newly-released Mueller report.

Are you serious? 309 times?

You would think that after the Mueller report, a phrase with that high of a number of utterance would be “no collusion.”

But leave it to the Democrats to focus on damage control, rather than the truth.

So which media outlets feel it necessary to do such shameless spinning, according to Newsbusters? In total, the word came up 309 times, with the vast majority (286) coming from cable networks CNN (148) and MSNBC (138).

This study looked only at the 18 hours of regular daily programming, thus excluding any coverage that took place between midnight and 6:00 a.m. EDT Friday morning. An updated count of the full 24 hours is pending. Those numbers also did not include cases in which the term was uttered by politicians or other explicitly partisan actors, such as Trump attorney Jay Sekulow.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell were particularly keen on discussing the prospect of impeachment. The term appeared a whopping 34 times during the one-hour The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. Interestingly, journalists also mentioned impeachment 34 times on Blitzer’s The Situation Room, but over the course of two hours, between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. EDT.

It’s quite possible that their own redundancy started to annoy the viewers, which is why yet another phrase started to emerge as the day continued on:

By the early afternoon, numerous pundits had begun referring to the Mueller report as “a road map for impeachment.” CNN’s Dana Bash used that catch phrase twice during the 12:00 p.m. EDT hour: “What he did here, as Pamela just laid out, is a road map, a ten-episode road map for really serious consideration for impeachment.” Hours later, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes opened his show with the same terminology.

But luckily for them, not all of the Democrats are guilty of this sin-of-spin. Yes, every once in a while someone steps up and does the right thing.

Because of this, we need to throw a bone to the congressional Democrats who had the good conscience to not jump on the impeachment-wagon, as Newsbusters reported.

For their part, congressional Democrats did not appear keen on discussing impeachment. The closest any member of that party came to actually endorsing the idea on Thursday was when House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler was asked about the option during a press conference: “That’s one possibility. There are others.”

So there are at least SOME Democrats who are operating in good conscience. Too bad they aren’t the ones who run the Fake News Media.



BIG LEAGUE! Trump Smashes Another Economic Record, But The Media Could NOT Care Less

Another day, another economic record for the Trump administration. This one involves unemployment benefits hitting a 50-year low.

Those last two sentences alone should be enough to get the mainstream media to report, but they’re more concerned about getting 45 out of office than anything else.

U.S. employment numbers continue to get better. Data released yesterday showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest in almost 50 years last week.

Why it matters: More important than the single print was the direction of the trend. The 4-week moving average of initial claims fell to 201,250 last week, the lowest reading since November 1969.

Will the mainstream media care to report?

Of course not. They are far too concerned about impeaching a president who has been exonerated of colluding with Russia because that is what truly matters.

The left does not want unity. They want division until they have complete control.

Americans are increasingly foregoing unemployment benefits as the job market remains strong and the economy shows signs of acceleration.

The initial claims of jobless benefits dropped to 192,000 in the week ending April 13, down 5,000 from the week before (pdf). That means less than 59 out of 100,000 Americans applied for the benefits—a record low. Economists had forecast claims would rise to 205,000 in the latest week.

Meanwhile, retail sales in March increased by 1.6 percent—the most in 18 months—as households boosted purchases of motor vehicles and a range of other goods, the latest indication that economic growth picked up in the first quarter.

When President Trump mentioned that black, Hispanic, and Asian unemployment has hit record low levels at the 2019 State of the Union address, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) did nothing. She didn’t stand. She didn’t clap.

For Republican voters, the answer is simple. All you have to do is check President Trump’s name on election day, 2020. Nobody else stands a chance.



Thanks Mueller! Trump Campaign Gets FLOODED With Donations After Russia Report Shows No Collusion

On Thursday, the full un-redacted version of the Mueller report was released by Attorney General Bill Barr that proved President Trump in no way colluded with the Russian government.

In the 24 hours after the report’s release, the Trump Campaign saw an increase in donations of 250% which totaled $1 MILLION dollars. Thanks Robert Mueller!

“The release of the full Mueller report directly led to the campaign raising more than $1 million. Relative to our recent daily average, the Mueller news drove a 250 percent increase in fundraising from grassroots donors,” Trump campaign’s COO Michael Glassner said.

The Trump Campaign was able to pull the bulk of the donations through a video that hammered the Democrats, titled “Now it’s time to investigate the investigators.”

According to the New York Post, “The video also asked supporters to check a page where they could donate $28 for a limited-edition “I SPY TRUMP TEE,” which pokes fun of President Barack Obama’s official painting — the one where he’s surrounded by plants — and instead shows Obama hiding in those bushes with binoculars spying on Trump.”

This boost in campaign donations has propelled the total campaign donations amount to over $40 million and has boosted their total amount raised since January of 2017 to over $97 million. The Trump Campaign has set a very high goal of $1 billion in donations by the time that the polls open in 2020.

Trump’s camp and the White House has reveled jubilantly in the report’s release since it emerged on Thursday.

Trump’s campaign has raised more than $97 million since 2017. After expenses, he has a little over $40million

Most of Trump’s re-election campaign money came from the first quarter in 2019 when he raised $30million. He had $10million to start the year off with.

The majority of the donations (nearly 99 percent) in Q1 were $200 or less.

Trump’s fundraising far surpasses the other candidates who are running in 2020.

Bernie Sanders has the second highest amount with a little over $17million and John Delaney has $10million.  Elizabeth Warren has $11million.

One of the most important donation statistics was the fact that 99% of Quarter 1 donations were of $200 or less. This means that we aren’t seeing a few very rich people donating large amounts of money to the campaign and instead, we are seeing a very large amount of middle class donations considering most donations made are under $200. This shows the strength and support from the Trump base.



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, April 22, 2019

Potential Consequences of Spying on the Trump Campaign

Looks like the excreta might be hitting the rotating device later this year

Actions by Justice Department officials in spying on a Donald Trump campaign adviser in 2016 could be a crime or merely an administrative offense, legal experts say.

Crimes could include perjury or misleading a court, they say, while disciplinary action for an administrative offense could mean being fired or losing a law license.

Testifying last week before two separate congressional panels, Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General report about the surveillance of Trump campaign aide Carter Page will be released in May or June.

Barr also indicated that he planned a further review of  government “spying” on the Trump campaign.

What’s known is that the Obama administration’s Justice Department obtained a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to conduct electronic surveillance on Page in October 2016.

The inspector general’s review is looking at whether Justice Department or FBI officials did anything improper in obtaining the warrant approved by a federal judge.

“Before looking at the legality, the department should examine the process behind getting a FISA warrant against a presidential campaign. That’s something that should be approved by the attorney general first,” John Yoo, a former assistant U.S. attorney general under President George W. Bush, told The Daily Signal.

Domestic spying on political opponents was a big part of what prompted the FISA law in the 1970s after President Richard Nixon’s administration, the goal being to put a check in place.

“The whole point of FISA was because Nixon was spying on political opponents,” said Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “This seems to have violated the purpose of FISA, which is to make sure surveillance is always merited [and] is not political.”

After the Watergate scandal, which led to Nixon’s resignation, Congress was concerned about how the Nixon administration used the FBI and the CIA to target political opponents.

Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho, chaired a select Senate committee that investigated intelligence gathering. The 1978 FISA law was an outgrowth of what was called the Church Committee.

Prosecutable crimes might have been committee by Justice Department personnel, said Robert Ray, who as an independent counsel completed the investigation of President Bill Clinton.

“The FISA court is in place to ensure the careful use of tools in the tool box, and to have oversight of the potential collision with the political process,” Ray told The Daily Signal. “This is always a big deal when you mix politics and prosecutions and is always dangerous.”

Ray said the potential criminal charge that came to mind was perjury, if Justice Department lawyers seeking the FISA warrant were dishonest in making the application to the judge.

“Intentionally misleading a court in a document that is sworn to under oath would be perjury,” Ray said. “But you would have to prove the person knowingly provided false information. Misleading might not be enough.”

Ray said the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility might look at the matter, to determine whether an official committed an act that requires discipline or dismissal. The matter could be referred to the state bar of any practicing lawyer who is accused of providing misleading information.

“If this matter has the attorney general’s attention, then it is all on the table,” Ray said. “It could examine sending this to the OPR, whether there was commission of a crime, any and all of the above.”

It doesn’t seem likely that the FISA application was misleading, though, said Charles Stimson, a former federal prosecutor and former military judge.

Stimson noted that a page in the FISA application for a warrant explained that the information was based on an opposition research dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, Christopher Steele.

Although the application did not say it was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee, Stimson said, the application letter was clear that the document was opposition research directed against Trump.

“From a pure legal standpoint, it was accurate,” Stimson, now manager of the national security law program at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

“It arguably wasn’t completely forthcoming,” he said. “But the fact is, a federal district court judge had the information and ruled on it and reauthorized surveillance. … There is a gray zone. It didn’t say Hillary Clinton paid for it and that it wasn’t verified.”

However, Stimson noted that a court could require Justice Department lawyers to explain why their lack of information in the application wasn’t a case of trying to defraud the court. He also said a bar complaint could lead to the loss of a law license.

But department lawyers have a reason to be forthcoming with FISA court judges, Stimson added. “There is an ongoing relationship with the Department of Justice and those lawyers,” Stimson said. “The last thing these lawyers want to do is burn their credibility.”

David Kris, an assistant attorney general during the Obama administration, argues that although special counsel Robert Mueller found no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to give Trump an edge in the 2016 election, the larger Russia investigation itself—as well as the FISA warrant on Page—was still legitimate.

Kris wrote in the Lawfare blog:

[T]here is the Steele dossier, which was first publicly revealed in January 2017, but was in the FBI’s hands before then. People argue about the extent to which the Steele dossier has held up; the best and most recent assessment that I have seen, here, is that it has held up quite well.

But in any event, the document was properly taken seriously then given Steele’s history as a former British MI-6 officer and reliable informant (as documented in the Carter Page FISA applications). … There was a lot of justifiable investigative activity into the campaign and campaign officials and their relationship with Russia and the Russian government.

However, Stimson contends that Barr has legitimate reasons for wanting to review the matter that go beyond the FISA warrant.

“The attorney general of the United States should want to know how a counterintelligence investigation against a leading presidential candidate began,” Stimson said. “He will want to look at the entire matter. How did it get to the point of a FISA warrant? Maybe it was predicated entirely on the dossier. Maybe there was some there there.”



The Trump Administration Is Cracking Down On Illegal Aliens' Housing

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) plans to crack down on illegal aliens who are taking advantage of public house assistance programs, The Daily Caller reported. As it currently stands, illegal aliens are now allowed to receive financial housing assistance. They often skirt this rule by living with family members who are U.S. citizens and receive their assistance from HUD.

The new rule would prevent illegal aliens from living in homes that receive HUD funding, even if they're not the ones actually receiving the assistance. Those who are caught with illegal aliens living in their homes will have to comply with the new rule or move to a different non-HUD location.

To determine whether or not a household is complying with the program, families will be screened through the "SAVE" program, which stands for Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements.

HUD estimates that there are tens of thousands of illegal aliens who are skirting the requirement process by living in these "mixed families." As of now, millions of Americans are on the HUD waitlist because there isn't enough money to assist everyone.

“This proposal gets to the whole point Cher was making in her tweet that the President retweeted. We’ve got our own people to house and we need to take care of our citizens,” a HUD official told The Daily Caller. “Because of past loopholes in HUD guidance, illegal aliens were able to live in free public housing desperately needed by so many of our own citizens. As illegal aliens attempt to swarm our borders, we’re sending the message that you can’t live off of American welfare on the taxpayers’ dime.”



Ignore Medicare for All Advocates’ Claims on Life Expectancy in US. Here Are the Facts

OK.  I'll mention the elephant in the room: Using statistics for whites only, America would be among the leaders in longevity.  Blacks pull the average down because of their many adverse lifestyle choices

Ponder this: If self-styled “progressives” in Congress impose total government control over health care, will ordinary Americans enjoy a longer life span? 

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chief sponsor of the Senate “Medicare for All” bill (S. 1804), often reminds us that the United States spends roughly twice as much per capita on health care as most other economically advanced countries, but American life expectancy is lower than that of almost all these high-income nations.

Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., lead sponsors of the House’s Medicare for All bill (H.R. 1384) say, “The quality of our health care is much worse than [that of] other industrialized countries. The life expectancy in the U.S. is lower than other nations, while our infant mortality is much higher.” 

These are misleading generalizations. In fact, American medical outcomes for the most serious conditions—for example, lower mortality from heart attacks and strokes, as well as survival rates from a variety of cancers—are generally superior to those of other advanced countries.

America’s high level of investment in advanced medical technologies, including innovative drug therapies, has improved medical outcomes and has directly contributed to longer life expectancy among our senior citizens.

According to the “Economic Report of the President,” issued in March:

The United States’ all-cause mortality rates relative to those of other developed countries improve dramatically after the age of 75 years.

In 1960—before Medicare—the U.S. ranked below most EU countries for longevity among those [ages 50 to 74], yet above them among those age 75 and higher. This pattern persists today.

True, America needs to improve overall life expectancy at birth. According to a major 2018 study of 11 high-income nations in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Japan has the highest life expectancy at 83.9 years, and the U.S. comes in last at 78.8 years.

These disparate findings reflect the vast size and diversity of the United States, including a bewildering array of behavioral, racial, social, economic, environmental, demographic, and metabolic risk factors.

The medical journal’s researchers thus caution “ … the United States average, in comparison to averages of much smaller, more homogenous countries, may lead to erroneous conclusions.”

For example, the life expectancy of Minnesota, a state comparable in size and demographics to Sweden or Denmark, has more similar population health outcomes to these countries than Minnesota has in comparison to Mississippi.

In a 2017 study for the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that 74% of American variation in life expectancy—indeed, the largest source of variation—was attributable to behavioral and metabolic risk factors.

The recent annual declines in American life expectancy, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were largely attributable to increased drug overdoses (opioids) and suicides. 

Then, there is the special category of infant mortality. “Our infant mortality rate, kids and babies who are dying, is the highest,” says Jayapal, the Washington lawmaker.

The truth is more complicated. In their 2018 study, the JAMA researchers report that American infant mortality is indeed higher than in 10 other high-income countries. Notably, however, the researchers also found that when adjusting for low birth weights, the U.S. statistical ranking improves significantly.

They write: “When adjusting neonatal mortality to exclude deaths of infants born weighing less than 1,000g [about 2.2 pounds], the United States ranked fifth relative to the other countries, with 1.61 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared with a mean of 1.70 for all 11 countries.”

Comparisons of infant mortality between the United States and other countries are often flawed because definitions of terms and measurements are different.

As Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute, notes, “The United States … counts every live birth in its infant-mortality statistics. But France only includes babies born after 22 weeks of gestation. In Poland, a baby has to weigh more than 1 pound, 2 ounces to count as a live birth.

“The World Health Organization notes that it is common practice in several countries, including Belgium, France, and Spain to ‘register as live births only those infants who survived for a specified period beyond birth.”

Note also that the United States has high rates of pre-term births. American medical professionals, including those participating in Medicaid, will thus intervene in complex and difficult cases and literally spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to save the life of a premature infant.

Medical professionals in other countries do not necessarily make the same moral and financial commitments.

Factors influencing longevity are far more complex than how a nation organizes the financing and delivery of medical care. Total government control over the financing and delivery of health care, championed by self-styled “progressives,” will not guarantee Americans’ longer life spans.

Waiting in line for medical care is no prescription for a longer life. 

Personal behavioral changes, including diet and exercise, can make a difference in longevity, but so also can the American-style investment in innovative medical technologies and America’s superior responsiveness in treating deadly disease.



Seattle Man Punches Priest After Asking, 'How's Trump?'

Clergy of the Eastern Orthodox churches are much more prone to wearing clerical garb and other religious identifiers in public than are Catholic or Episcopalian clergy.  It sounds like that is what got the assailant below het up


Now that CBS is normalizing political violence, it's open season on anybody the left doesn't like. It's okay to punch Nazis, and a Nazi can be anybody you want. Even a priest.

From his home at the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Abbot Tryphon told KIRO 7 about how he was suddenly attacked Tuesday morning while gassing up at the Mobil Station on Southwest 148th Street in Burien.

“I have never been hit as hard,” the Russian Orthodox priest said Wednesday. The at-large suspect “zeroed in on my cross, because when he started coming my direction, he had this look of anger.”
The leader of the Vashon monks said the man who struck him first asked, “How’s Trump?” When Abbot Tryphon answered, “I have no idea, that’s when he hit me.”

I'm not sure how this idiot connected "priest" with "Trump," but he did. That was his motive. He saw somebody who represented Trump to him, and he attacked. Anybody who likes Trump is a Nazi, and apparently priests like Trump. So he punched the priest.

Which is good, remember?

Oh wait, I forgot, that's different. It's not toxic rhetoric when they do it. They're just exercising their right to free speech by explicitly calling for political violence. Whereas those evil Republicans are thugs who are inciting violence by daring to criticize Ilhan Omar.

Then the Dems wonder why even a cuck RINO traitor like me, who probably wanted Hillary to win, won't join them.



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