Friday, May 03, 2019

Hooray! Trump Changes Course On Decommissioning Aircraft Carrier Harry S. Truman

In a big conflict you need numbers and even an old ship is better than no ship.  Reagan took four WWII battleships out of mothballs for service in the Middle East and elsewhere so that shows you what can be done

President Trump on Wednesday said he is overturning the military’s plan to decommission the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, promising it will be updated “at the fraction of the cost of a new one” instead.

“I am overriding the Decommission Order of the magnificent aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, built in 1998 (fairly new), and considered one of the largest and finest in the world,” the president tweeted. “It will be updated at a fraction of the cost of a new one (which also are being built)!”

VP Mike Pence delivered the welcome message for the Truman’s crew when he visited the ship pierside at Naval Station Norfolk.

“I met with the president at the White House this morning, and I told him I was going to be with all of you here on the deck of the Truman,” Pence told the crew. “And as I stand before you today, I know that the future of this aircraft carrier is the subject of some budget discussions in Washington, D.C.”

“President Donald Trump asked me to deliver a message to each and every one of you on the deck of the USS Truman: We are keeping the best carrier in the world in the fight. We are not retiring the Truman,” Pence said to thunderous applause.

“The USS Harry S. Truman is going to be ‘giving ‘em hell’ for many more years to come.”

The Pentagon, under pressure from the White House, had proposed retiring the carrier in 2024, about halfway through its normal useful life.



Trump, Pelosi, Schumer Agree to Spend Additional $2 Trillion on Infrastructure

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met with President Donald Trump at the White House today, after which Pelosi and Schumer said it was a "very productive" and "very constructive" meeting in which they agreed with Trump to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure. Schumer added that they had started a "little low" but the "president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion, and that is a very good thing."

"[I]t was a very constructive meeting," Schumer, flanked by Pelosi, told reporters outside the White House.  "It's clear that both the White House and all of us want to get something done on infrastructure in a big and bold way. And there was goodwill in this meeting. And that was different than some of the other meetings that we've had, which is a very good thing."

"We agreed on a number, which was very, very good," he said. "Two trillion for infrastructure. Originally, we had started a little low. Even the president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion. And that is a very good thing."

"We agreed that infrastructure is crucial to the future of America," he said.  "We agreed it creates jobs. We agreed it keeps us competitive. We agreed that for 25 years this kind of a big, bold bill that we could pass would make America a better place. This is not just a one-year or a two-year [project]."

Speaker Pelosi said, "It's about jobs, jobs, jobs. It's about promoting commerce. It's about cleaning air, clean water. It's a, therefore, a public health issue. It's a quality of life issue, getting people out of their cars, not being on the roads so much. And, in every way, it's a safety issue. So we're very excited about the conversation that we had with the president to advance an agenda of that kind."

Both Schumer and Pelosi stressed that the initiative would include broadband, making sure that it is available to every home in America.

"Obviously the roads and the bridges and the highways, obviously water, but also a big emphasis on broadband, that every American home, we believe, needs broadband, an emphasis on the power grid so we can bring clean energy from one end of the country to the other, and several other issues," said Schumer.

As for how Democrat-led investigations of Trump might jeopardize the passage of a major infrastructure bill, Schumer said, "In previous meetings, the president has said, if these investigations continue, I can't work with you. He didn't bring it up. And so we're going -- I believe we can do both at once."

"We can come up with some good ideas on infrastructure, and we want to hear his ideas on funding," said Schumer.  "That's going to be the crucial point in my opinion. And the House and the Senate can proceed in its oversight responsibilities. The two are not mutually exclusive, and we were glad he didn't make it that way."



Democrats face new civil war in primary fight

The bell has rung on round two of the Democratic Party’s civil war.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s entry into the 2020 presidential primary sets the stage for another knock-down, drag-out fight between the establishment wing of the party and the ascendant left, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

That showdown threatens to tear open old wounds the party suffered in the bitter 2016 primary contest between Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Party leaders have tried to move on from that divisive episode, but deep wells of suspicion and distrust remain between mainstream Democrats and the left.

"The civil war that started in 2016 never ended," said one veteran Democratic hand. "It’s still going on."

The 2016 primary contest left liberals fuming at what they viewed as establishment interference in the race, underscored by the hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails that showed favoritism toward Clinton.

And some mainstream Democrats are unnerved by what they view as a group of left-wing interlopers, online brawlers and sore losers trying to take over the party.

The same fight played out in 2017, when party officials elected Tom Perez to be the next DNC chairman. Perez, who was backed by Biden, narrowly defeated Sanders’s preferred candidate, former Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.). That race similarly cut along establishment and grass-roots lines.

Now liberals are on the lookout for any whiff of malfeasance and warning party insiders that they’re playing with fire if they meddle in the 2020 primary.

"If I were in charge of the DNC or Joe Biden’s campaign or any other entity associated with the traditional Democratic Party, I would be going out of my way to embrace the new energy on the left and these anti-establishment forces," said Robert Reich, former President Clinton’s Labor secretary and a leading progressive thinker.

"I hope the establishment wing understands how dangerous it would be to attack Bernie Sanders or anybody else who they may feel represents the left wing of the party. That would be a really stupid thing to do," he added.

The left has won a slew of victories in the years since Sanders’s primary defeat.

There have been changes at the DNC to limit the power of superdelegates, the party officials who propelled Clinton to victory in 2016. A robust debate schedule will ensure that voters are exposed to the full field of candidates.

And many of Sanders’s once-fringe ideas have gone mainstream in the Democratic Party.

"Bernie Sanders has already defined the soul of the party if you look at the current conversation on health care, college tuition, foreign policy and wealth inequality," said Jonathan Tasini, a progressive writer. "That debate is over if the party looks at what voters thirst for."

But many on the left feel like outsiders in the Democratic Party. They’re still worried about officials exerting influence over the primary, particularly if there is a contested convention, which seems likelier this year with the massive field of candidates splitting votes.

"A lot of people still feel burned," said Jacob Limon, who was the Texas state director for Sanders’s 2016 campaign. "We corrected a lot of the imbalances, like the unfair superdelegates dynamic, but there are still a lot of raw feelings around that and a sense that you absolutely cannot burn the grass roots again."

Biden is trying to avoid the perception that he’s the anointed establishment candidate. In an interview on ABC’s "The View," Biden said that he specifically asked former President Obama not to endorse him in the primary.

"I didn’t want it to look like he’s putting his thumb on the scale here," Biden said. "I’m going to do this based on who I am, not by the president going out and saying, 'This is the guy you should be with.'"

But many centrist Democrats are just as worried about how the left will approach the primary contest.

They’re frustrated by Sanders’s steadfast refusal to officially join the Democratic Party and worried by what they view as his team of political assassins. And they wonder whether Sanders’s supporters will accept the outcome of the primary and turn out to vote for the nominee in the general election if Sanders falls short again.

"There is a 'Bernie-or-bust' coalition, and they have no allegiance to the party," said the Democratic strategist. "They don’t care about campaign infrastructure or winning up and down the ballot. They’re just concerned about bullshit litmus tests and defending their guy no matter what and pretending that everyone else is a member of the big bad establishment."

Liberal groups have torn into Biden since he launched his campaign, casting him as a relic of the "old guard" and an establishment figure beholden to corporate interests.

The Sanders campaign swiped at Biden for holding a fundraiser at the home of a lobbyist. The Justice Democrats, a liberal group started by former Sanders campaign aides, tore into the former vice president, saying he "stands in near complete opposition to where the center of energy is in the Democratic Party today."

"The level of nastiness we see here is completely up to Sanders and his camp," said Jon Reinish, a Democratic strategist.

"Joe Biden is an optimistic guy. I can’t think of a sunnier or more unifying person. The way he communicates is in stark contrast to Sen. Sanders, who unfortunately tends to campaign in a language of grievances, conspiracies and victimhood. It’s my hope that Sen. Sanders campaigns on his own merits and policies, but so far his surrogates and he have engaged in the same old attacks. No other Democrat is doing that. Sanders is the one that sets the tone for his campaign here," he added.

Still, some Democrats are optimistic that the party will come together in the end no matter the outcome.

"In 2016, the question was, do you want Bernie or Hillary?" said Howard Gutman, a former Obama administration ambassador. "The circumstances couldn’t be more different this time around. We have a broad array of strong candidates from the entire Democratic family, and the only issue is, how do we beat Donald Trump? That’s the great unifier."



Florida Legislature Votes to End Sanctuary Cities

Naturally, leftists are apoplectic about this effort to actually enforce the law.   

The Florida state legislature has taken a stand against the American Left’s penchant for selective law enforcement. Last Wednesday, the GOP-controlled House passed a bill banning so-called sanctuary cities that harbor illegal aliens and refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The vote was 69-47 along party lines. On Friday, the state Senate passed its version of the ban by a 22-18 margin. Negotiations between the House and Senate will now commence until an identical bill can be sent to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature.

Barring major changes, the law prohibits local governments from ignoring detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and requires them to hold suspected illegals in jail until the feds can take them into custody. A failure to do so could precipitate fines of up to $5,000 per day. The House version of the bill would also allow lawsuits to be filed against local governments for personal injuries or wrongful deaths tied to sanctuary policies, and suspend or remove government employees or elected officials who refuse to enforce immigration laws.

That very welcome part of the statute stands in stark contrast to the immunity that shields many sanctuary-city officials, most recently upheld by a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That panel refused to allow the family of Kate Steinle to sue the city of San Francisco after their daughter was killed by Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a seven-time convicted felon who had been deported five times. Despite ICE’s request for a detainer, former San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi released Zarate, who was ultimately convicted of a firearms charge, but acquitted of murdering Steinle. Following that stunning verdict, Ellen Canale, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee, made it clear the death of an innocent citizen at the hands of an illegal alien felon wouldn’t alter the status quo one iota. “San Francisco is and always will be a sanctuary city,” she asserted.

Florida is on the verge of preventing similar outrages and, unsurprisingly, Democrats and their leftists allies are apoplectic. Prior to the bill’s passage there were protests staged at the Capitol, and district offices were besieged by sit-ins. The ACLU issued a “Florida Travel Alert,” warning that “Florida residents, citizens and non-citizens, and travelers could face risks of being racially profiled and being detained without probable cause.”

Or, illegal aliens who have no business being in Florida could be detained, prosecuted, and ultimately deported in accordance with federal immigration law.

The Left also played the economics card. The American Business Immigration Coalition sent a letter to the state’s elected officials declaring that “anti-immigrant” legislation will “inflict long-lasting damage to the state of Florida” to the tune of “an annual loss of $121.4M in taxes and $3.5B in GDP, threatening the economic prosperity and safety of all Floridians.”

The letter also trotted out the same tiresome talking points the Left has long used to justify wholesale law-breaking. It stated that the bill “gives traffickers another tool to terrorize and enslave their victims,” that the agricultural industry will be “devastated,” and that both the “documented and undocumented are less likely to commit a crime than native-born citizens.”

Traffickers can only “enslave” those willing to sneak across the border, which remains wide open because a purposefully do-nothing Congress beholden to the globalist agenda allows it — and because the hundreds of sanctuary cities across the nation further incentivize that contemptible reality. That the state’s agricultural industry that would be “devastated” without illegal workers is an argument eerily similar to the one made by pre-Civil War southern plantation owners who claimed to need slave labor to remain economically viable. And if there’s a more bankrupt argument than the insidious notion that Americans should abide a “reasonable” number of wholly avoidable crimes — including murder and rape — solely to accommodate leftist desires to “fundamentally transform” America, one is hard-pressed to imagine what it is.

Yet another propaganda point was disseminated by The Washington Post. “While the definition of sanctuary cities varies, most analysts say Florida does not have any,” the paper asserts.

If that’s the case, then this bill won’t pose any problem.

But that’s not the case, and no one made that clearer than Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina, who told a Spanish-language radio station that he’d rather be thrown out of the police department than follow the proposed law. “I don’t care if you have papers or don’t have papers, where you came from, or who your parents are,” Colina said. “That’s not my job. My job is to make sure everyone in this city is safe.”

No, a police chief’s job is to enforce the Rule of Law — period. Perhaps Gov. DeSantis, who has already successfully suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for his colossal failure of leadership in the Parkland atrocity, will address Colina’s defiance — along with that of every other similarly recalcitrant law-enforcement official — in a similarly no-nonsense manner.

Neptune Beach Republican Cord Byrd, who sponsored the House initiative, spoke to the real issues in play here. “We are more than just a job center. We are a nation of citizens governed by law,” he said. Sen. Joe Gruters, sponsor of the Senate legislation and chairman of the Florida Republican Party, echoed those sentiments. “This bill is about public safety and making sure we remove the criminal element of illegals that are here,” he said. “The president has a laser focus on the failures of Washington in terms of immigration policy, and I think that has made this effort easier.”

Those failures are monumental. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, approximately 775,000 illegals reside in Florida, and more than 20% of students attending Florida schools have at least one parent who is an illegal alien.

Yet those figures are likely low-ball estimates. On Nov. 28, 2018, Pew stated that the number of illegals in the U.S. declined to 10.7 million as of 2016.

That a Yale-MIT study pegged the number closer to 22 million? That ICE is currently holding 50,223 migrants, one of the highest total numbers on record? That the pace of illegal border crossings in 2019 alone is approaching 1.2 million?

The globalist agenda must be served, even if it requires rank propaganda, overt lying, or outright law-breaking to do so.



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, May 02, 2019

Government shutdowns don’t harm the economy. Is there a lesson there?

The U.S. economy grew at an inflation-adjusted 3.2 percent annualized in the first quarter of 2019, putting it on track to get to 3 percent for the year for the first time since 2005, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The startling data undoubtedly caught official Washington, D.C. by surprise, who had been gleefully predicting that the partial government shutdown earlier this year would cause a slowdown particularly to government contractors who, unlike federal employees, were not awarded backpay after the shutdown ended.

Unfortunately for the establishment punditry, whatever effect slower spending might have had was more than offset by the strength of the Trump economy.

The Congressional Budget Office had estimated that the partial shutdown cost the U.S. economy $3 billion of output in the fourth quarter of 2018, and $8 billion of output in the first quarter of 2019, respectively.

But it did not matter.

Most of that came out of $245 million of government contracts a day not paid out during the shutdown. Again, federal employees who were furloughed during that time have already been awarded back pay, including for the last week of 2018, the output of which has been moved into the first quarter of 2019.

Because government spending is factored into the GDP, and the reduction was actually $8.1 billion, amounts to approximately 0.16 percent according to the Bureau, or 0.17 percent annualized that came out of the first quarter GDP’s growth rate.

So, instead of 3.2 percent (really, 3.17 percent rounded up), the economy might have grown at 3.34 percent in the first quarter without the government shutdown.

But that does not matter, either. It will be made up for in the second quarter and beyond as government contractor spending “grows” by $8 billion back to its normal level. As the CBO report noted, “In subsequent quarters, GDP will be temporarily higher than it would have been in the absence of a shutdown.”



Generic Insulin Now Available After Nearly One Hundred Years of Regulatory Protection From Competition

A lesson to be learned

Diabetes is arguably the biggest epidemic of the twenty-first century. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, more than 100 million Americans are diabetic or prediabetic. If left unmanaged, diabetes is fatal and can result in serious health complications, including nerve damage, heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and damage to extremities requiring amputation.

For an increasing number of people with diabetes, regular insulin injections are indispensable for managing their condition. Tragically, insulin in the United States is alarmingly expensive, taking a financial toll on many who need it to prolong their lives. A recent CBS News article reports finding “horror stories every day” of diabetics reducing and rationing their insulin doses, risking long-term complications or falling into a diabetic coma.

Fortunately, these stories may now be a thing of the past.

Drug producer Eli Lilly and Company recently released Lispro, the first ever generic insulin to enter the U.S. market. Lispro is available in pen or vial form and lists for $137.35 per vial (or $265.20 for a pack of five pens), half the price of Humalog, its brand-name alternative. Generic insulin provides much-needed financial relief. As Eli Lilly and Company CEO and Chairman Dave Ricks noted in a statement, “We don’t want anyone to ration or skip doses of insulin due to affordability. And no one should pay the full Humalog retail price.”

But many are still upset that a generic alternative is still expensive and is coming so late. Ben Wakana, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Patients For Affordable Drugs, echoes the frustrations of many when he expressed, “Charging nearly $140 for a vial of insulin—a drug that was invented almost a century ago—is still too high.”

He has a point. Insulin has been available to treat diabetes since 1922. The first generic insulin was approved just a few weeks ago. Why?

Unlike pharmaceuticals, which enjoy 20 years of patent protection from competition, insulin is classified as a biological compound. Under the FDA’s regulatory system, producers can extend patents for biological compounds by slightly modifying their product components. This possibility creates an incentive for insulin producers to alter their products rather than releasing generic drugs and competing by offering patients lower prices.

As my coauthors and I note in an article published in the Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, insulin has been adapted to enter the bloodstream quicker, to last longer by using different preservatives, and has also been extracted from different animals since first becoming available to patients. Many of these changes offered little medicinal benefits but protected producers from generic competitors. The result is that three insulin producers encompassed 99 percent of the market for nearly one hundred years.

Offering a generic alternative for insulin is a much-welcomed addition to the diabetic care market. I expect this change to prolong and save many lives, which is certainly worth celebrating. However, the development of insulin in the United States also provides a cautionary tale of how devastating the misaligned incentives created by poorly designed regulations can be for patients.

It’s been a costly and long-lasting mistake. Let’s hope we learn from it.



FedGov: A Check-Writing, Wealth Redistribution Machine

When you think of all the ways that the U.S. government spends money, which of its functions do you think tops the list?

USA Today‘s John Merline reviewed several decades of the U.S. government’s annual budgets, including the latest budget proposal from President Trump, and has arrived at an inescapable conclusion:

What is the government’s primary function? If you look at the debates that rage each year when the president’s budget comes out, you’d think it was defense spending. Or food stamps. Or cancer research. Or student loans....

But if you look beyond the headlines at the actual budget document, you learn that those are all squabbles over crumbs. Today, the one thing the federal government does above all else is write checks. Lots of checks. Nearly $3.2 trillion worth of checks. Each and every year.

Buried in a separate volume of the annual budget are “Historical Tables,” which provide rich detail on how the government has spent taxpayers’ money going back as far as 1789. Three of these tables track “payment for individuals,” defined as “federal government spending programs designed to transfer income (in cash or in kind) to individuals or families.” It doesn’t include things like salaries paid to federal workers or services rendered.

According to the Trump budget, the government will hand out $2.6 trillion—that’s trillion with a “t”—directly to individuals or paid for services on their behalf this year. An additional $568 billion will go out as “grants to states,” which then pay the money in the same way.

In other words, 70 percent of everything the federal government will spend this year will amount to writing checks to benefit individuals. That’s up from 28 percent in 1968 and 50 percent in 1991. At $3.2 trillion, these federal money transfers will equal the entire economies of Canada and Mexico combined.

Even more perversely, much of that money is simply recycled through the U.S. government’s coffers as an intergenerational transfer from today’s middle and upper class income earners to the former middle and upper class income earners of the retired population.

For all practical purposes, the U.S. government is little more than “a check-writing, redistribution machine that costs trillions”—one that Merline observes is horribly inefficient because in practice, “much of what the federal government does today is rob Peter to pay...Peter.”

Only a politician or a bureaucrat would ever want more of such a nonsensical system!



Trump Wants to Speed Up Asylum Adjudications and Impose Fees

President Donald Trump on Monday announced that his latest plan to secure the border and "restore integrity" to the immigration system focuses on asylum-seekers.

In a presidential memorandum, President Trump directed Attorney General William Barr and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan to do the following:

-- Propose regulations to ensure that all asylum applications adjudicated in immigration court are finalized within 180 days. (Many of the hundreds of thousands of people claiming asylum at the Southwest border are coming to the United States for economic opportunity, which is not grounds for asylum. The huge influx has produced an immigration backlog of some 800,000 cases.)

-- Propose regulations setting a fee for an asylum application, not to exceed the costs of adjudicating the application; and impose a fee for work permits for the period that the asylum claim is pending.

-- Propose regulations to bar asylum seekers who entered the country illegally from receiving work permits until they receive the court's permission to stay here; and to ensure immediate revocation of work permits for aliens who are denied asylum or become subject to a final order of removal.

The memo also directs the Homeland Security Secretary to "reprioritize the assignment of immigration officers," as the Secretary deems necessary, to improve adjudications of credible and reasonable fear claims; to strengthen the enforcement of the immigration laws; and to ensure compliance with the law by those aliens who have final orders of removal.

Trump tweeted about his latest attempt to stem the mass influx of foreigners, mostly Central Americans, who are flowing over the border in numbers not seen for years -- more than 100,000 inadmissible aliens encountered in March alone.

“If the Democrats don’t give us the votes to change our weak, ineffective and dangerous Immigration Laws, we must fight hard for these votes in the 2020 Election!” Trump tweeted on Monday.

In a second tweet, he wrote: “The Coyotes and Drug Cartels are in total control of the Mexico side of the Southern Border. They have labs nearby where they make drugs to sell into the U.S. Mexico, one of the most dangerous country’s in the world, must eradicate this problem now. Also, stop the MARCH to U.S.”



Biden Plays the Race Card

As he debated with himself whether to enter the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination, Joe Biden knew he had a problem.

As a senator from Delaware in the '70s, he had bashed busing to achieve racial balance in public schools as stupid and racist.

As chairman of Senate Judiciary in the hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas in 1991, Biden had been dismissive of the charges by Anita Hill that the future justice had sexually harassed her.

In 1994, Biden had steered to passage a tough anti-crime bill that led to a dramatic increase in the prison population.

Crime went down as U.S. prisons filled up, but Biden's bill came to be seen by many African Americans as discriminatory.

What to do? Acting on the adage that your best defense is a good offense, Biden decided to tear into President Donald Trump — for giving aid and comfort to white racists.

His announcement video began with footage of the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, highlighting Trump's remark, after the brawl that left a female protestor dead, that there were "very fine people on both sides."

"With those words," said Biden, "the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment, I realized that the threat to this nation was unlike any I had seen in my lifetime."

Cut it out, Joe. This is just not credible. Even he cannot believe Trump had in mind the neo-Nazis and Klansman chanting, "Jews will not replace us!" when Trump said there were "fine people" on both sides.

If this were truly a road-to-Damascus moment for Biden, calling forth a new resolve to remove so morally obtuse a resident of the Oval Office, why did he have to agonize so long before getting in the race?

And was Charlottesville, a riot involving Klansmen, neo-Nazis and radicals, really a "threat to this nation" unlike any Biden had seen in a lifetime that covers the Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam, the riots in 100 cities after Martin Luther King's assassination and Sept. 11?

Even the anti-Trump media seemed skeptical. Their first interviews after Biden's announcement were not about Charlottesville but why it took so long to call Anita Hill to apologize.

Yet there is an unstated message in the Biden video. It is this:

With the economy firing on all eight cylinders, and the drive for impeachment losing steam, a new strategy is emerging — to take Trump down by stuffing him in a box with white supremacists.

The strategy is not original. It was tried, but backfired on Hillary Clinton when she called Trump supporters "deplorables ... racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic ... bigots."

This didn't sit well with some white folks in Wisconsin, Michigan and Middle Pennsylvania.

Yet the never-Trumpers seem to think it could work this time.

After Saturday's attack on the Passover service in Poway, California, which took a woman's life, Trump denounced the atrocity, expressed his condolences, called Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who had been wounded, and consoled him for 15 minutes.

"Nevertheless," wrote The Washington Post Monday in a front-page headline, "President's words push race to fore of campaign."

"The rise of white nationalist violence during Trump's tenure is emerging as an issue," said the Post, because Trump "previously played down the threat posed by white nationalism (and) ... also has a long history of anti-Muslim remarks."

The article should be taken seriously. For the Post is not only an enemy of Trump but a powerful institutional ally of the left. And during presidential campaigns, it doubles as an oppo research and attack arm of the Democratic Party.

"Violence, Hate Crimes Emerge as 2020 Issues" declared the inside headline on the Post story. The Post is not talking about customary crimes of violence in America or D.C. — robbery, rape, assault, battery, murder — a disproportionate share of which are committed by minorities of color.

The crimes that interest the Post are those committed by white males against minorities, which can be used to flesh out the picture of America that preexists in the mind of the left, if not in the real world.

Yet it does appear that issues of race, tribe and identity are becoming an obsession in our politics. This weekend, The New York Times faced charges of anti-Semitism for a cartoon of a blind Trump in a skullcap being led by a seeing-eye dog with the face of "Bibi" Netanyahu, who had a Star of David on his collar.

Recoiling under fire, the Times pulled the cartoon and apologized.

On Monday, Rev. Al Sharpton met with "Mayor Pete" Buttigieg. Subject of discussion: Reparations for slavery, which ended more than a century before the mayor was born.

"All is race," wrote Disraeli in his novel "Tancred." "There is no other truth."



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, May 01, 2019

A new theory for why Republicans and Democrats see the world differently:  Our political divisions aren’t red versus blue, but fixed versus fluid

The above is a heading that clever young Ezra Klein put up on his site late last year.  It looks like Ezra's political science degree from UCLA did not include any psychology.  Otherwise he would have realized that there is nothing new in his theory.  It is in fact an old dodge that Leftists have been using at least since 1950.  I have done a lot of research on it.

What it boils down to is what we in Australia would tend to call a "switcheroo".  You don't change the facts. You just stick another label on them -- even if you have to make up a new name for the purpose.  The 1950 group led by Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno invented the label "intolerant of ambiguity to characterize conservatives while Leftists were "flexible"

Of course the Left is flexible.  They have been for a long time  -- super-flexible. When Hitler invaded Poland, he did so with Communist Russia as an ally.  And American Communists (longshoremen particularly) were vocal supporters of Hitler at that time. They saw Nazism as a fraternal socialist system -- which was in fact pretty right.  But when Hitler invaded Russia, American Communists didn't miss a beat.  They immediately became Anti-Nazi.  Very flexible.  "No principles" would be another way of putting it

And they do 180 degree turns all the time.  When Mr Obama began his presidency he was an outspoken opponent of homosexual marriage.  When the wind among Leftists began to blow in the opposite direction, however, his views promptly "evolved" to the opposite.

And when Bill Clinton failed to win a majority of the popular vote in his win of the presidency, that was fine and dandy.  It wasn't even an issue. But when Donald J. Trump also failed to win a popular majority that was and is an outrage that can only be fixed by a change in the constitution -- which mandates an electoral college.

And Leftists actually tell us that they have no principles.  They repeatedly tell us in any debate where they look like losing that "There is no such thing as right and wrong".  That's the ultimate in "flexibility".  Anything goes.  And they are even flexible about that.  Some things ARE wrong if they say so.  Racism and Donald J. Trump for instance.  Their flexibility is so great as to lead them into self-contradiction, which is about as mentally inadequate as you can get.  Only Freudian compartmentalizion enables it.

Meanwhile we silly old conservatives try to arrive at realistic and internally consistent policies.  How rigid, inflexible and intolerant of ambiguity we are!  The authors below call the divide  a  “fixed” versus “fluid” worldview but it's the same old relabelling of the chronic Leftist illogicality and inconsistency versus the conservative push for order and rationality.

In their illogicality we can often recognize all the old Freudian defense mechanisms: denial, projection, compartmentalization. Leftists use them all in their desperation to avoid recognizing how reality constantly contradicts their theories. They need those theories to justify their hatred of the world about them. In their need to think socialism makes sense, they are even sticking with Maduro at the moment.  Freudian denial, of course.

Their only loyalty is to their hatreds and socialism is hatred of the normal human way of doing things -- where you have to work for what you get.  That hate is the driving Leftist motive has  been thrown into sharp relief by the arrival in politics of Donald J. Trump.  He has elicited an unending orgasm of hate from them

“Of the many factors that make up your worldview, one is more fundamental than any other in determining which side of the divide you gravitate toward: your perception of how dangerous the world is. Fear is perhaps our most primal instinct, after all, so it’s only logical that people’s level of fearfulness informs their outlook on life.”

That’s political scientists Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler, writing in their book Prius or Pickup, which marshals a massive trove of survey data and experimental evidence to argue that the roots of our political divides run so deep that they make us almost incomprehensible to one another. Our political divisions, they say, aren’t about policy disagreements, or even demographics. They’re about something more ancient in how we view the world.

Hetherington and Weiler call these worldviews, which express themselves in everything from policy preferences to parenting styles, “fixed” versus “fluid.” The fixed worldview “describes people who are warier of social and cultural change and hence more set in their ways, more suspicious of outsiders, and more comfortable with the familiar and predictable.” People with a fluid worldview, by contrast, “support changing social and cultural norms, are excited by things that are new and novel, and are open to, and welcoming of, people who look and sound different.”

What’s happened in recent decades, they argue, is that politics in general, and our political parties in particular, have reorganized around these worldviews, adding a new, and arguably irreconcilable, difference into our political divisions. That difference is visible in everything from what we think to where we live to how we shop, but it’s particularly apparent in how hard it is for us to understand how the other side views the world.



Synagogue Shooters Have Trump Hatred in Common

The evil psychopaths who shot up the synagogues in Poway and Pittsburgh undoubtedly share a number of traits in common, but prominent among them is unremitting hatred of Donald Trump. The Poway shooter put it — how shall we say it — in succinct terms, calling the president a "Zionist, Anti-White, Traitorous, C*cksucker." His Pittsburgh doppelgänger was almost as disgusting.

Despicable as they are, these two creatures can't really be accused of Trump Derangement Syndrome, because, unlike many in mainstream media, they are at least somewhat correct in their assessment. Trump is pro-Israel, indeed likely the most pro-Israel president since Truman, who defied his own State Department to recognize the Jewish state.

Come to think of it, Trump probably defied his State Department too, or a good part of it, in actually moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem (rather than just promising to do so as other presidential candidates have) and then throwing recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel into the bargain. Both of these actions were, according to the "experts," supposed to set the Middle East ablaze. Nothing of the sort happened. All this while Trump was absurdly accused of anti-Semitism by the heavy breathers in our media, before and after his election.

But back to the repellent Poway/Pittsburgh duo. What can we do about such people and do they constitute a serious new movement on the right, or the anti-Trump right, whatever that is? The answer to the second question is simple: No. Groups like the Klan barely exist anymore, nor are they being founded in any significant way as we speak. People like this are pathetic copy cats of each other, but not a lot more. The United States is not, at heart, an anti-Semitic country, nor is it a racist country, despite what Maxine Waters et al. may want to drill into us at every opportunity. We are a nation of mostly pretty decent people.

Unfortunately, however, there are some crazy lone wolves out there and, unfortunately too, there always will be, just as there will be in every country. It's the luck of the human draw. The best we can do about them is to apply common sense. We can make sure our schools, religious institutions, etc., are well-guarded by trained personnel, including legally armed citizens under the Second Amendment, and have the best intelligence we can get about these crazies to stop them before they act. If we see something, we say something. We won't be entirely successful at this, sadly, and such events will continue to occur. But we can do our best.

The greater danger to our country, however, is not the actions of these demented lone wolves who are, in essence, equal opportunity lunatics. The Poway guy evidently tried to burn down a mosque. The two are psychological second cousins to the homicidal maniac who shot up the Charleston church. Same pathology, different religions. But beyond their murderous outbursts, these people are essentially powerless in the culture at large. They are despised and rightly so. They accomplish nothing.

What is dangerous to the culture at large is the obvious growth of anti-Semitism in the upper reaches of our society, in the academy, politics, and the media, the people who supposedly should know better, the people who have real influence. And I'm not just talking about the obvious — the new members of Congress already famous for their anti-Semitic statements and tweets. The international edition of the New York Times just published a cartoon that would have been welcome on the pages of Der Stürmer. And needless to say, Trump was involved, the president transmogrified into a rapacious Jew in a skullcap being led on a leash by the prime minister of Israel. How nauseating. How abhorrent.



"The Guardian" says:

Trump’s record on white nationalism under new scrutiny after synagogue shooting

Donald Trump, who last month said he did not believe white nationalism was a growing threat, on Saturday condemned the synagogue shooting in California. Photograph: UPI/Barcroft Images
The Trump administration faced fresh scrutiny on Sunday over the president’s fraught record on white nationalism in the wake of a suspected hate crime at a synagogue in California on Saturday, which left one woman dead and three injured.

Trump unequivocally condemned the shooting, telling a rally on Saturday evening in Wisconsin: “Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community. We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated.”

But the president stated last month, following a hate-inspired mass shooting that left 50 Muslim worshipers dead in Christchurch, New Zealand, that he did not believe white nationalism presented a growing threat.

“I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess,” Trump told reporters in March.


Above is the idiotic headline and opening in The Guardian of 29th., immediately after the recent synagogue shooting at Poway, CA.  It was a blatant attempt to to blame Trump for the shooting -- before anything was known of the shooter's motives.  The usual Leftist leaping to conclusions.

There has however been little subsequent reporting about the shooting.  Why?  Because we now know that the shooter DESPISED  Trump.  He was a Leftist!  So a news blanket must be thrown over the whole matter.  The Left have been the main home of antsemitism since Karl Marx, as anyone who has read his
Zur Judenfrage will be aware.  Hitler was simply being a good Leftist of his day in hating Jews


Rabbi Thanks Trump for His Words of 'Comfort and Consolation'

At a Sunday afternoon news conference, an emotional Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein thanked President Donald Trump for his words of "comfort and consolation" following the shooting on Saturday at a synagogue near San Diego.

"I see a sight that is indescribable," Goldstein said, as he described the act of evil on the final day of Passover: "Here is a young man with a rifle, pointing right at me. And I look at him. He has sunglasses on. I couldn't see his eyes. I couldn't see his soul. I froze."

A parishioner, 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye, died as she put herself between the 19-year-old gunman and the rabbi.

"As I was in my house, I received a personal phone call from our President Donald Trump," the rabbi told a news conference.

I was amazed to answer the phone and (hear) the secretary of the White House is calling. And he spent close to 10-15 minutes with me on the phone. It's the first time I have ever spoken to a president of the United States of America.

He shared with me condolences on behalf of the United States of America. And we spoke about the moment of silence. And he spoke about the love of peace and Judaism and Israel. And he was just so comforting, and I'm really grateful to our president for taking the time and making that effort to share with us his comfort and consolation.



Heavily armed men escort migrants across US border, surveillance video shows

New government video obtained by Fox News shows heavily armed men at the U.S.-Mexico border escorting a migrant mother and son into the United States. Border Patrol officials told Fox News this is an unusual event and express concern that it will become a more regular occurrence – possibly leading to violence.

U.S. Border Patrol surveillance cameras caught the armed smugglers escort the migrant family at 10 p.m. Saturday near the town of Lukeville in the southwest corner of Arizona.

The video shows four to five men in full tactical gear and masks -- carrying long guns and AK-47 assault rifles – escort a Guatemalan woman and her 8-year-old child under a vehicle barrier. The armed escorts turned back across the border. The woman and child turned themselves into border agents, who responded to the incursion.

The area is almost identical to where last week agents apprehended 399 Guatemalan immigrants who arrived in several buses just a 100 yards from the border. The area contains no pedestrian fence and is adjacent to the busy Highway 2 in Sonora, Mexico.

Their nighttime entry under the cover of darkness contrasts with the bold daytime illegal crossings that have become common since migrants realized the U.S. is seemingly powerless to prevent “catch and release.” It also took advantage of forces spread thin along the border due to the surge of Central American unaccompanied children and families. Recently, border patrol cameras have captured video of cartel-operated drones monitoring their movement.

Roughly a dozen agents responded when camera operators noticed the incursion Saturday night. The mother and son remain in government custody.

The breach underscores what officials have been telling an indifferent Congress for months about being overwhelmed by the surge of asylum seekers crossing the border.

Border officials said the incident represents how criminal organizations are behind the lucrative surge of Central American immigrants. Guatemalans are paying roughly $7,000 to smugglers for transport from their home to the U.S. border.

“This is highly unusual and highly concerning to the agency,” said a border official who briefed Fox News. “These armed individuals along the border represent an escalation of tactics. This is not mom and dad and kids deciding to head to the border. This is a no kidding, orchestrated effort to bring individuals to the US.  It is not just the numbers. It’s who is running this enterprise.”



Robert E. Lee Is a U.S. Citizen, Thanks to Joe Biden


If you've paid any attention to Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. during his 45 years of desiccated public service, you weren't suprised that he launched his 2020 presidential campaign with a huge load of malarkey. He's Biden, so of course he lies. He told a real howler about President Trump's reaction to the 2017 murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, and Biden's enablers in the media let him get away with it because they hate a lie unless it comes from a Democrat. Trump never said Nazis and white nationalists are "fine people," and in fact he explicitly condemned them. He was talking about people who respect Robert E. Lee as a historical figure and don't want to tear down statues of him. Personally, I couldn't care less if you melted down every Robert E. Lee statue ever made, but I understand the argument. Recognizing Lee's place in history isn't an endorsement of slavery. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," and all that.

I knew Biden was lying, but I didn't realize he was also being a huge hypocrite. He's done more to restore Robert E. Lee's reputation than any other 2020 candidate. Mike Brest, Daily Caller:

"Former Vice President Joe Biden was a part of the 94th Congress that voted to restore Confederate General Robert E. Lee's citizenship over 100 years after his death, and yet Biden attacked President Donald Trump’s support of the general in his campaign announcement video earlier this week...

While many have began criticizing the dead former Confederate leader, in 1975 the Senate, which included freshman Democratic Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, unanimously approved the reinstatement of General Robert E. Lee’s citizenship to the U.S....

Independent Virginia Sen. Harry F. Byrd spearheaded the push for reinstating Lee’s citizenship posthumously, and it passed through both chambers after the House, voting 407 to 10 in favor of the reinstatement on July 23, 1975."

The media and other Democrats are screaming at Trump for saying Robert E. Lee deserves to be remembered as a military tactician. But at least Trump never helped restore Lee's U.S. citizenship.



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 30, 2019

Eradicate Poverty? We Already Know How
Want to help the poor? Champion free enterprise. That flouts the conventional wisdom — at least as it’s presented by many politicians and “mainstream” media outlets. They would have us believe that free enterprise (or to use their preferred bogeyman, capitalism) exacerbates poverty. In fact, they think we can’t help the poor without a heavy dose of socialism.

But the facts aren’t on their side. They have the equation exactly backwards. What alleviates poverty isn’t so much government doing something. It’s government getting out of the way.

“Democratic capitalism has done more to pull people out of poverty than any other system in the history of humanity,” best-selling author Arthur Brooks says in a recent video for the Daily Signal.

He recalls the stark pictures found in National Geographic magazine in the early 1970s, illustrating the famine that was killing hundreds of thousands of people in east Africa. Seeing these poor children with distended bellies and flies on their faces was heartbreaking, but the message, Mr. Brooks recalls, was that nothing could be done.

“Even as a little kid, I knew the charity wasn’t going to get it done,” says Mr. Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute. “It was a hopeless feeling.”

So one would hardly expect conditions to have improved for the world’s poor in the decades since then. And yet, unbeknownst to most people, they have.

Some 70 percent of Americans think that hunger has gotten worse since 1970. But it’s not true: 80 percent of starvational poverty has been eradicated in the last 50 years. Poverty still exists, to be sure, but has been substantially reduced since Mr. Brooks saw those searing images in National Geographic.

“Since 1970, the percentage of the world’s population living on the equivalent of less than a dollar a day has fallen by more than 80 percent,” he wrote in a 2012 Washington Post article. “Hundreds of millions of people have been pulled out of grinding deprivation.”

Can we thank U.S. foreign aid, or some well-crafted U.N. development project? Those are the remedies usually touted by pundits and politicians.

Nope. It was free trade.

In China, for example, some 400 million were pulled out of absolute poverty between 1981 and 2001, thanks to free trade and foreign investment. People can rail all they want about globalization, but it’s made a huge difference in the lives of poor people who would otherwise languish and die.

At The Heritage Foundation, we’ve been documenting the effect of free enterprise for years with our Index of Economic Freedom. This annual guide takes a hard look at the economic conditions in every country around the globe, and the evidence is unambiguous: The freer the country, the more prosperous it is.

Per-capita incomes are much higher in nations that are economically freer. Economies rated “free” or “mostly free” in the 2019 Index enjoy incomes more than twice the average levels in all other countries — and more than six times higher than the incomes of people living in economies rated as “repressed,” such as Cuba or Venezuela.

So how do we help the poor today? Not by yielding to the demands from many on the left who insist we need more government. We alleviate poverty by explaining who the real hero is: free enterprise. We highlight its successes and show that poverty persists where it is denied.

“This is not about business,” Mr. Brooks adds. “This is not about ideology. This is about human lives — real people, real faces, real stories. These are the people that we need to fight for today. And we know how to get it done.”



The left’s projection is on display over the Census citizenship question

By Bill Wilson

Like clockwork, the lunatic left mouthpiece at the Washington Post, Dana Milbank, jumped on the Supreme Court hearing over the upcoming Census like a dog to the Pavlovian bone. The citizenship question has been used in all but three Censuses in modern history. But according to Milbank, the entire intention of the Trump administration’s move to include a question on the Census about citizenship is nothing more than a nefarious stab to “preserve white power.”

Now, I doubt anyone has missed the point that in today’s America anything the radical left does not like is immediately labeled “racist,” or an expression of “white privilege.” It is a tar used to smear anyone not toeing their Maoist line. Their Cultural Revolution aims to destroy history, to alter reality, to remove all opposition and condemn any resistance to their rule. It is the ultimate lie, of course. But in the Through the Looking Glass world the radical Left is constructing, there is no room for dissent, honest or otherwise. Do as you are told or face the wrath of the mob.

The sad truth is there is some racism in this exercise but not what Milbank and his ilk want you to believe. There is overt racism from the Left. They use race like a weapon and have not a care in the world for the damage they do to the very people they purport to support. Let’s take a quick look.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development wants to institute a rule that people in public housing be citizens. Why? Because they project that 40 percent of the public housing units have illegal aliens in them. Meanwhile, we have a homelessness crisis — disproportionately affecting African-Americans — while there is no housing available. Well, if the illegals were kicked out, that would nearly double the number of housing units available for Americans. Now, that Mr. Milbank, is racism. You want to deny poor African-Americans housing so you can give them to illegal aliens.

Want more? Data now reflects the impact of Trump administration policies on illegals. While our border is under attack, the overall presence of illegal aliens is down. And what has that done? Made jobs available to millions of unemployed African-Americans, including teenagers who need that first job. And, with the reduction of the artificial lower end of the labor pool, the price of labor — wages — have been rising. Now, everyone can understand why the Open Borders crowd and their plutocrat fan-club favor flooding the labor market to reduce wages. But why, Mr. Milbank, do you and your leftist friends want fewer jobs for African-Americans and lower wages for the jobs they do get?

One of the oldest tricks in the propaganda book is to accuse your enemy of your own greatest crime. That is what we are seeing from Milbank and the radical left. The most egregious example of this was Hillary Clinton contending that Donald Trump was guilty but could never be indicted. Really? From her? That, from one of the most criminally inclined politicians in American history? No indictment for breaking the law on her keeping classified emails on a private email server, when it was obvious to even her pets at the FBI that she is guilty as sin. No indictment over the land scam called Whitewater. No indictment — no accountability whatsoever — for letting American diplomats get butchered in Libya after people begged her for more security. The list of highly questionable actions where Hillary Clinton was “let off the hook” is too long to list here but check it out. From the Uranium One controversy, to selling seats on trade missions to the outright scam that was the Clinton Foundation, for her to try to say that somehow Donald Trump is privileged and poor Hillary is just an everyday American is ridiculous to the extreme.

In a few weeks we will know if the Supreme Court allows the Trump administration to ask the simple question about citizenship. Hopefully reason will prevail and they will go forward. And should that be the case, get ready for an avalanche of denunciations from the Milbank types. But remember, virtually everything they charge, allege or slur against Trump is actually their own sins. They just hope the people won’t notice.



Medicare Trustees Report Reality-Checks Bernie Sanders’ Socialist Delusions

Medicare is basically broke already

The report once again demonstrates Medicare’s shaky financial standing, as the retirement of 10,000 Baby Boomers every day continues to tax the program’s limited resources.

Many of the left’s policy proposals come with the same design flaw: While sounding great on paper, they have little chance of working in practice. Monday brought one such type of reality check to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and supporters of single-payer health care, in the form of the annual Medicare trustees report.

The report once again demonstrates Medicare’s shaky financial standing, as the retirement of 10,000 Baby Boomers every day continues to tax the program’s limited resources. So why would Sanders and Democrats raid this precariously funded program to finance their government takeover of health care?

Medicare’s Ruinous Finances

Before even dissecting the report itself, one major caveat worth noting: The trustees report assumes that many of the Medicare payment reductions, and tax increases, included in Obamacare can be used “both” to “save Medicare” and fund Obamacare. In practice, however, sheer common sense suggests the impossibility of this scenario—as not even the federal government can spend the same dollars twice.

The last trustees report prior to these Obamacare gimmicks, in 2009, predicted that the Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) Trust Fund would become insolvent in 2017—two years ago. To put it another way, under a more accurate accounting mechanism, Medicare has already become functionally insolvent. Obamacare’s accounting gimmicks just allowed politicians (including President Trump) to continue to ignore Medicare’s funding shortfalls, thus making them worse by failing to act.

Even despite the double-counting created by Obamacare, the Part A Trust Fund faces significant obstacles. Monday’s report reveals that the trust fund suffered a $1.6 billion loss in 2018. This loss comes on the heels of a total of $132.2 billion in trust fund deficits from 2008 through 2015, as payroll tax revenues dropped dramatically during the Great Recession.

Worse yet, the trustees report that trust fund deficits will continue forever. Deficits will continue to rise, and by 2026—within the decade—the Trust Fund will become insolvent, and unable to pay all of its bills.

Replacing One Decrepit Program with an Even Worse One
Another little-noticed element of the report also hints at the problems single-payer supporters face. For the third straight year, the trustees issued an “excess general revenue Medicare funding,” further illustrating the program’s questionable finances.

In 2003, House conservatives included this mechanism in the Medicare Modernization Act, which requires the trustees to make an annual assessment of the program’s funding. If general revenues—as opposed to the payroll tax revenues that largely cover the costs of the Part A program—are projected to exceed 45 percent of total program outlays, this provision seeks to prompt a debate about Medicare’s long-term funding.

Compare this provision, which triggers whenever general revenues (i.e., those not specifically dedicated to Medicare) approach half of total program spending, with single payer. As these pages have previously noted, here’s what Section 701(d) both the House and Senate single payer bills would do to Medicare:

(d) TRANSFER OF FUNDS.—Any amounts remaining in the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund under section 1817 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i) or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund under section 1841 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395t) after the payment of claims for items and services furnished under title XVIII of such Act have been completed, shall be transferred into the Universal Medicare Trust Fund under this section.

Both bills would liquidate both of the current Medicare trust funds—and abolish the current Medicare program—to pay for the new single-payer plan. But how do Democrats propose to pay for the rest of the estimated $32 trillion cost of their program? Sanders referenced a list of potential tax increases (not drafted as legislative language), but the House sponsors didn’t even bother to go that far.

In sum, single-payer supporters would take a program on shaky financial footing, and replace it with a program that Democrats have little idea how to fund. Apart from the fact that the American people can’t afford this “reform”—how much of that $32 trillion tax increase would you like to pay?—American seniors certainly can’t either.



Congress must find conservative solution to the entitlement crisis

Since Democrats took control of the House, there has been no shortage of bad legislation that has either been pushed through the lower chamber or advocated by progressives. Democrats were set to consider yet another “caps deal” to bust its own spending maximums set under the Budget Control Act. The Democratic leadership has pulled it from the schedule as progressives and moderates in the party disagree on spending levels. Progressives, of course, want more spending on domestic programs.

These caps only have to do with discretionary spending, excluding most of our federal entitlement programs. Make no mistake though because Democrats want to increase spending on those as well. However, lest the United States face a fiscal collision second to no other in the history of the world, we must instead reform, rather than grow, our federal entitlement programs so that we shrink our biggest federal spending programs.

The left continues to insist, with measures like Medicare for All and the Social Security 2100 Act, that it is a good idea to expand these already near bankrupt programs. Fortunately, conservatives have a plethora of ideas on the table. They would make the step of reforming entitlements, and decreasing mandatory outlays as a result, a reality. From simply decoupling Social Security from Medicare Part A benefits for retirees or implementing a per capita cap on Medicaid spending to a full Swiss style debt break or even a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution, the scope of possible reforms is broad.

All that needs to happen is for our elected officials in Washington to put their selfishly motivated political calculations aside and do what is best and what is required to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all  foreign and domestic enemies. Each member of Congress swore to do this when he or she entered our legislative body, and many have taken this oath to serve our country multiple times.

Notably, Republicans across the country campaign in election after election on fiscal responsibility. Many Republicans in state and local governments act on their promises and contribute to balanced budgets that states and municipalities are bound to follow. However, this is not the case for others. There is nothing fiscally responsible about running away from the problem at hand and, by and large, this is what Republicans, save for a few true budget hawk conservatives, continue to do in Washington.

Sometimes, the Republican leadership and rank and file members will appear interested in the issue of fiscal responsibility while in office, paying lip service to the issue or holding a vote. However, supporting a show vote every once in a blue moon on a weak balanced budget amendment that everybody knows is doomed to fail or making the occasional floor speech about our broken budgeting process is also not enough to tackle this.

Votes such as the one on the balanced budget amendment held by the Republican leadership last April following shortly after members were coerced into passing a massive omnibus spending bill are an affront to Americans who are deceived by what their elected officials choose to send in email updates. These members know that real action is what matters, but they do not want to deal with the hardship that fighting for something they may believe in requires. But no matter what they do, the facts of the case are clear and the situation is only going to get worse.

Our $22 trillion debt is entirely unsustainable. It has more than tripled in the past decade and a half alone with no signs of slowing down. It drags down our economy and dampens the positive effects of tax reform and deregulation. It is the single greatest national security threat our country faces today. Whether the solution is seeking reforms to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, ObamaCare, welfare, or any number of other drivers of our debt, inaction is simply not an option. There is no excuse for more inaction by Congress, and especially by Republicans, on reforming entitlements and getting mandatory spending on a sustainable path.

Fiscal responsibility means prioritizing our national finances, paid for by taxpaying citizens, over the selfish motives of public officials. In Congress, this may seem a tall order, but it must be done. Members should look to champions of entitlement reform ideas for guidance to see it through.



Powey Synagogue Shooter Left Manifesto With Hate Statement About Trump: a “Zionist, Anti-White, Traitorous, C*cksucker”

One women died and several injured  in shooting on Saturday at a San Diego synagogue. Police have one man in custody. The shooting took place exactly six months after the Tree of Life Shooting in Pittsburgh.

One of the victims is the synagogue’s Rabbi, Yisorel Goldstein, who founded the Chabad center in 1986.

Police said the killer left a manifesto. Authorities are also examining his social media accounts.

According to reports the manifesto was posted on Pastebin on Saturday.



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 29, 2019

3 of the Most Telling Failures of Socialism

Some conservatives may be discouraged by the latest surveys confirming that nearly one-half of millennials are receptive to living under socialism and regard capitalism as a captive of greed. In fact, they present us with a golden opportunity to educate all Americans about the manifold failures of socialism and the miraculous advances the world has made under free enterprise.

For example, the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson revealed at a Heritage Foundation event that between 2000 and 2012, “the rate of absolute poverty in the world fell by 50%.” That is, “the poor in the world are getting rich at a rate that is absolutely unparalleled in all of human history.”

Heritage’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom reported that the greatest advances came in African and Asian countries (such as Botswana and Taiwan) that limited rather than expanded the role of government. More than 100 countries, many of them with less developed or emerging economies, showed marked advances in economic growth and individual prosperity.

Such good news is seldom reported by the mainstream media, Peterson said, because of the technological revolution that’s occurring in every form of media. All the broadcast networks, leading newspapers, and magazines exist in a shrinking market with dwindling margins of profit. To attract attention they are turning to an old journalism axiom: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

The news media obsess over the latest school shooting and bloody street riot. And yet, Peterson pointed out, the rates of violent crime in the United States and in most places “have plummeted in the last 50 years.”

The U.S. is now safer than it has been since the early 1960s, but the reporting of violent crime in America has materially increased as the mainstream media, in pursuit of ratings and revenue, have highlighted the dark side of society.

Conservatives must step forward to tell the truth about capitalism: the better life it has brought to billions of people, the diversity and freedom of choice it celebrates, the individual responsibility it encourages, the continuing miracle of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” its rejection of government planning that always leads to dictatorship.

Which brings us to the urgent task of exposing the chimera that socialism is just another political system. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and their fellow socialists carefully omit any mention of the principles laid down by Karl Marx, the founding father of Socialism, such as the abolition of private property and the centralization of the means of production and of decision-making. But make no mistake: There are radical socialists waiting in the wings to promote these extreme initiatives.

It’s up to us to tell the truth. Socialists promise a classless society but create the prison camps of the Gulag and the Isle of Pines. They assure peace but engage in wars of national liberation. They abolish private property but depend upon the underground economy. They stamp out religion but worship Big Brother. They bring down corrupt dictators but institute a dictatorship of the Party.

Here are some of the most telling failures of socialism:

One, socialism has never succeeded anywhere, including the Marxism-Leninism of the Soviet Union, the National Socialism of Nazi Germany, the Maoism of Communist China, the Chavez-Maduro socialism of Venezuela. It has never come close to anywhere near Marx’s ideal of a classless society.

Two, Marx has been wrong about nearly everything he predicted. The nation-state has not withered away. Capitalism didn’t break down as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Workers haven’t become revolutionaries but capitalists. The middle class hasn’t disappeared; indeed, it has expanded exponentially around the world (see the above about the sharp decline in global poverty). Marx’s attempt to use Hegel to create a “scientific socialism” has been an abject failure.

Three, socialism denies the existence of an essential human trait—human nature. Marx borrowed from the Enlightenment to declare that human nature was malleable, not constant. Christian theology with its idea of a fixed God-given nature infuriated Marx.

The socialist state established by Lenin tried for seven decades to create an entirely new human being—Soviet Man. In December 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev gave up trying and dissolved the world’s most spectacular failure in human engineering.

Four, socialism depends not upon the will of the people but on the dictatorship of the Party to remain in power. In “The God That Failed,” six famous Western intellectuals describe their journey into socialism and their exit when they encountered the gigantic gap between their vision of a socialist utopia and the totalitarian reality of the socialist state.

After visiting the Soviet Union, the French Nobel Laureate writer Andre Gide said: “I doubt where in any country in the world—not even in Hitler’s Germany—have the mind and spirit ever been less free, more bent, more terrorized and indeed vassalized than in the Soviet Union.”

What price socialism? The Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang listed the “little terrors” that prevailed in China—making children of 12 subject to capital punishment, sending women to work in underground coal mines, harassing workers during their lunchtime with threats of prison if they were late returning to work. A Soviet defector said of the perpetual surveillance: “We lived in a world swarming with invisible eyes and ears.”

Given the ignorance of so many of our fellow, especially young, Americans, telling the truth about socialism has become an imperative. If we do not, Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and their fellow travelers will fill the vacuum with their misleading rhetoric. This is the truth about socialism: It is a pseudo-religion founded in pseudo-science and enforced by political tyranny.



Islamist Terrorism Remains the World’s Greatest Threat to Peace

After the horrific mass murder of 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, there was widespread coverage and a torrent of mainstream news networks contemplating the threat of white supremacy.

These conversations, completely reasonable and necessary in the face of violent attacks from a racist gunman, soon began deteriorating into politically motivated and specious claims contending that “white supremacy” had become the predominant  terror threat in the world.

Well, the coordinated bomb blasts aimed at Christian worshippers on Easter Sunday, which killed at least 290 people and injured hundreds more, demonstrates the kind of meticulous planning, funding, resources, and support that is still exclusively the domain of radical Islamic terrorism.

It’s not merely that the act was planned to maximize the death toll, but that it is a continuation of long-standing efforts by Islamists to destroy the Christian communities left in Asia.

Those who kill in the name of Islam are part of a worldwide, historic, ideological, and political movement that includes, to various degrees and various reasons, radicalized men and women from both great factions of the faith.

Then again, terrorist groups—as well as their recruitment and propaganda outfits—are often functioning in Islamic regimes, which either actively sustain terror, tolerate these groups, or pay them off to engage in terrorism elsewhere.

The Christians who remain in the Islamic world are often oppressed in other ways. In a number of these nations, publicly praying in any faith but Islam is forbidden and, in many, converting to Christianity is still punishable by death.

“Islamic extremism remains the global, dominant driver of persecution, responsible for initiating oppression and conflict in 35 of the 50 countries on the list,” according to Open Doors, a worldwide Christian group.

The idea that a similar threat exists in the West is risible. There’s not a single Western country that doesn’t afford Muslim citizens the same rights it does as all other citizens. No government on Earth supports white supremacy.

There is no funding infrastructure for those who support white power. There is no Christian or Jewish denomination, or any notable political factions, in those nations that imbue white supremacy with any theological or ideological legitimacy. There is no white supremacist government trying to obtain nuclear weapons, and none sending its terrorists to other countries. In the world’s free nations, where any political party can participate in the process, the power of racist groups is minimal.

Yet the American left continues to downplay the danger, first by arguing that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, and then by lumping every white-skinned person who commits a terrorist act into one imaginary coherent political movement to contrast against it.

It’s true that Americans have been spared much Islamic terror since 2002—a year that, curiously, nearly every graph media uses to measure domestic terrorism starts—but only because we’ve spent billions of dollars each year and immense resources, both in lives and treasure, keeping it out of the country and fighting it abroad.

Another reason the majority of Americans might not comprehend Islamic radicalism’s reach is the skewed intensity of the media coverage. Political correctness and a chilling fear of being labeled “Islamophobic” makes it difficult to honestly report on terrorism around the world.

In addition to the massacre this Easter in Sri Lanka, at least 200 Christian civilians have been murdered in Africa by Islamic militants thus far in 2019—many of them killed by machete, some by bombings. Many more Christians have been murdered during the past calendar year.

In November 2018, for example, 42 people were slaughtered in an attack on a Catholic mission in the Central African Republic. In October, 55 Christians were murdered by a group of Islamists in Nigeria. Another 29 were killed when 10 churches were burned down in Ethiopia last summer. Another seven Coptic Christians were gunned down in Egypt—and others spared only because of the good work of police.

There are pockets of racists in the world, and individuals who engage in terrible acts of violence against innocent people. These are dangerous men, capable of doing tremendous damage. But no group threatens global peace the same way that political Islam does. None has its reach or material and theological support. None has created more mayhem and death in the world since the end of the Cold War. The Sri Lankan massacre is just another harrowing reminder.



Candace Owens Attacks Joe Biden For Race Baiting

Candace Owens sent out a “wake up” call slamming Joe Biden’s race-baiting 2020 presidential campaign announcement.

“So Joe Biden jumps into the race claiming that white supremacy made him realize our nation was at stake,” the Turning Point USA communications director tweeted on Thursday in response to Biden’s third attempt to run for president.

BLACK AMERICA, WAKE UP! I am SICK to my stomach that they are going to try to use us AGAIN to gain power.

Biden launched his 2020 bid with a video message Thursday that took a shot at President Trump, slamming him for his August 2017 comments after the Charlottesville, Virginia rallies.

“He said there were ‘very fine people on both sides.’ Very fine people on both sides?” Biden said in the video. “With those words, the President of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate, and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had seen in my lifetime.”

Owens also took aim at Biden in another tweet, reminding him that “Trump just reversed your white supremacy” with the federal prison reform bill, known as the First Step Act, which the president signed into law in December.

“The man who WROTE the crime bill of 94 which led to the mass incarceration of black men is now running because he’s worried about white supremacy,” Owens mocked the Democrat, referring to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1993, Biden warned of “predators on our streets” who were “beyond the pale” in a speech on the Senate floor a day before the vote on the controversial bill.

His central role in shaping and shepherding the tough-on-crime bill will likely face scrutiny in a Democratic primary should he run for president in 2020. His 1993 comments, which were in line with the broad political consensus to tackling crime at the time, are at odds with a new bipartisan coalition of activists and lawmakers who are trying to undo what they say is a legacy of mass incarceration fostered by that era.

Many on Twitter applauded Owens’ fierce attack on Biden right out of the starting gate.

How long has Joe been around. All of a sudden he cares about (or talks about) white supremacy, as if it is a new thing (if it actually existed). How dumb are these democrats?? Total fish brains. Nobody should trust a person who “just now” cares about stupid talking points.



The ‘Empire’ Crew Want Jussie Smollett Rehired: “He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity.”

You can't makes stuff like this up

At this point, everyone knows Jussie Smollett staged his own hate crime attack for publicity purposes. It still amazes me that he can stand here with a straight face and tell us he was attacked. There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence against him. It’s like he thinks we’re all stupid or something.

Some of his former co-stars on “Empire” are demanding Fox to rehire him, even though he’s a bloody liar who will only draw bad publicity for the show.

“Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of Empire,” the Oscar nominees and the rest of the portrayers of the Lyon clan wrote in an April 19 letter obtained by Deadline that was sent to Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment chair Dana Walden, Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn, Daniels, Empire co-creator Danny Strong and various executive producers on the series.

Reiterating the support and intentions Henson briefly expressed on April 4 on The View, the correspondence signed by Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe and Nicole Ari Parker among others adds, “We understand the past months have been difficult to process—sometimes the headlines brought more confusion than clarity, yet we now have a conclusion to this ordeal.”

“Throughout Empire’s five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character,” the letter continued. “He is kind. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity.”

“He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped,” the letter continued. “We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.”

“It’s clearer every day that the extreme political climate in our country has only made our system of justice and the court of public opinion more unjust,” the letter added.



Leftist violence in Britain too

A Colchester election candidate is speaking out after she was punched and sworn at in what her colleagues believe was a politically motivated assault.

Conservative Carla Hales was out canvassing when she felt three punches in her side – causing injuries which required x-rays on her ribs and back.

The 46-year-old is standing for the seat of New Town and Christchurch in the Colchester Borough Council elections on May 2.

The music teacher, who is now recovering, was on the campaign trial in Bourne Road when she was attacked on Wednesday afternoon.

“I've been a victim of verbal abuse when knocking on people's doors before,” she said. “But I never would have expected anything like this.

“I was taking some pictures for social media in Bourne Mill – I didn't hear anyone coming up behind me, but then suddenly I felt three quick punches to my side.”

She said she was then sworn at and the perpetrator shouted an offensive comment about her political party.

Despite going to hospital and having x-rays on her back and ribs – showing heavy bruising – Mrs Hales was back at work the next day.

“I needed to get away from it all,” she added. “I promised a school I would do some music lessons for the kids and I wasn't going to turn back on it.

“On Saturday I will be back out canvassing – my husband John has been fantastic support and I've received lots of messages from the public asking to join me.”



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