Friday, May 24, 2019

Trump's patience finally runs out

I doubt that any national leader ever has endured such a torrent of abuse and accusations as Trump has. So it is no surprise that he has eventually become fed up with it.  He has so far been a miracle of patience but everything has its limits.

The Democrats have only one serious policy: Get Trump.  It suits their hate filled minds.  Rage and hate are what moves them.  So their attacks on Trump come naturally to them.  They could -- and probably will -- keep it up for the next five years of Trump's presidency.  They are in their element.  If they weren't attacking Trump, they would be attacking someone else or something else

US President Donald Trump has angrily lashed out at Democratic leaders' claims he is engaged in a "cover-up".

"I don't do cover-ups," the Republican president said in an unscheduled briefing from the White House.

His remarks came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met fellow Democrats to discuss impeaching the president.

Mr Trump is fighting congressional inquiries by ignoring subpoenas, withholding documents and blocking testimony by current and ex-advisers.

What did President Trump say?
The president spoke minutes after cutting short a planned meeting with the two top Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill.

The trio were due to discuss spending on ageing US roads and bridges, a rare possible area of agreement between the White House and its political antagonists.

But Mr Trump abruptly left the discussion with House of Representatives leader Mrs Pelosi and her Senate counterpart Chuck Schumer after barely five minutes.

The president then appeared in the Rose Garden to make a surprise statement, condemning "phoney investigations" by Democrats.

Mr Trump also charged his political opponents with "abuse" and railed against their invoking of "the big i word" - impeachment.

According to CBS News, Mr Trump walked into the meeting with Mrs Pelosi and Mr Schumer and did not shake either's hand or sit down.

An unnamed source familiar with the encounter said Mr Trump upbraided the House speaker for her "terrible" allegation earlier in the day about a cover-up.

The president demanded Democrats end their investigations against him, or he would not discuss anything else, then abruptly left the room.



The coverup accusations that finally riled Trump:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) emerged from a meeting with her fellow Democrats Wednesday morning, telling reporters "we were exchanging information and points of view" on the various investigations focusing on all things Trump.

"Would you believe that it's important to follow the facts?" Pelosi said on her way to a meeting with President Trump.

"We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up -- in a cover-up. And that was the nature of the meeting."

At that closed-door meeting, no fewer than five Democrat committee chairs -- Elijah Cummings (Oversight and Reform), Maxine Waters (House Financial Services), Adam Schiff (Intelligence), Richard Neal (Ways and Means) and Jerry Nadler (Judiciary) gave presentations, which Pelosi called "impressive."

Pelosi has tried to quell growing calls from Democrats to start impeachment proceedings, but it's not clear that she's succeeding.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Fox News Wednesday morning he thinks Democrats have already started those impeachment proceedings: "They just won't formally declare it," he said.

There are secret memorandums of understanding, secret MOUs, between the various chairmen on how they will coordinate their attack on the president. I mean, they're basically contracts --you're going to do this, we're do this. We're going to share certain information. A coordinated effort to take down the president.

So I think they've already started. They won't formally declare it. I think at some point they will probably do it. The American people know it's not justified, the American people know it's not going to succeed. But I don't think the Democrats can help themselves.

Remember, after all in the very first day of congress they introduced articles of impeachment, Congressman Blumenaur did. So they've been determined to get here -- I think they've already started; they just haven't formally stated that that's what they're up to.

Jordan said there's nothing Republicans can do to appease the "ridiculous" Democrat requests for the president's tax returns, bank records, White House documents and witnesses appearances before the committees:

"So this is the Democrats -- so much focus on taking down the president and not any type of focus on doing what's best for the country. I think this is where they're going to go. So I don't know what we can do to satisfy that. They're bound and determined to do things we've never seen before."



Spendthrift policies encourage socialism

Socialism is the subject of much talk in the United States, fueled by would-be Democratic presidential candidates who lean toward some version of that socioeconomic model—and polls in which many voters sympathize with that view.

As someone who has witnessed varieties of socialism in Latin America and Europe, I think the real danger in the United States is not the ideological radicalization of the Democratic Party, the political conversion of millions of Americans, or the emergence of a viable socialist party on a national scale. Rather, the real danger is the impact that the country’s intractable structural problems could have on people’s idea of how capitalism works.

We have already seen how the financial crisis of 2008, the government’s ensuing rescue of major corporations, the prolonged recession, and the temporary dislocations brought about by globalization have fueled illiberal populism, right and left, in recent years. Many people blame market capitalism for the failure, a decade ago, of a system in which government intervention—specifically, a politically engineered credit boom—played a much bigger role than free enterprise. Given that the last 10 years have seen a major boost to financial assets and corporations (again, through monetary easing and other interventionism) while part of the middle class was painfully reducing its debts, it is likely that the next crisis and recession will reinforce the notion that what is failing is the free market.

We have learned that the U.S. budget deficit grew 15 percent in the first half of fiscal 2019: between October and March, expenses exceeded revenue by almost $700 billion. Contrary to widespread perceptions, the reason had little to do with tax cuts and revenue—which actually grew 1 percent while spending grew 5 percent.

The Treasury has released its 2018 financial report, and it isn’t pretty. Although in recent years the government’s primary deficit (not counting the servicing of the debt) has tended to go down and growing interest payments seemed to be the main problem, projections indicate that both are now headed in the wrong direction. The crux of the matter is the unsustainable commitments the U.S. government has made and refuses to pare down. We tend to talk of the U.S. debt as equivalent to 100 percent of GDP, but that proportion will be dwarfed in the not-too-distant future if nothing changes soon. The debt will double in less than three decades if we leave out government-sponsored entities—such as Freddie Mac; if we include them (which, of course, we should), the doubling will occur much sooner.

The Treasury has also calculated the net present value of future liabilities (essentially Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) to more realistically estimate the debt. If we take that into account, we are talking about five times GDP.

Various studies have projected expenditures to exceed revenues in one of the Social Security trust funds as soon as 2022, and one of the Medicare trust funds has been running a deficit for several years; it will likely be depleted by 2029.

By way of consolation, the United States is not alone. The net present value of pension liabilities amounts to several times GDP in many European countries (more than three times in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy). None of this has anything to do with the free-enterprise capitalist system—quite the opposite. But the populist and, dare I say, socialist zeitgeist in which this crisis of government is taking place will push millions of people to lose faith in markets as the prime drivers of prosperity and social mobility when these imbalances come to a head and produce the inevitable financial and economic disruptions; that is, unless a consensus develops among decisionmakers about the urgent need to attack the statist root of the problem.



The Insanity of the Push for Rent Control

One popular definition of insanity is: doing the same thing again and again while expecting a different result. Decades of evidence show that rent controls are a bad idea, yet several Californian cities maintain their rent-control ordinances. A new proposal working its way through the legislature would double down on this insanity by implementing it statewide.

Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, introduced AB1482 to limit annual rent increases to 5 percentage points above the rate of change in the consumer price index or a maximum of 10 percent, whichever is lower. Gov. Gavin Newsom signaled his support for the bill after it cleared the legislature’s Housing and Community Development Committee by stating “The California Dream is in peril if our state doesn’t act to address the housing affordability crisis” and thanking the committee for passing the “renter protection” bill.

If this bill becomes law, California will be the second state, following Oregon, to implement statewide rent control. Oregon recently approved an ordinance to limit rent increases to 7 percentage points above the rate of inflation.

Despite high housing costs on the west coast, the renewed political support for rent control is surprising. After reaching peak popularity in the 1970s, the number of rent-control ordinances has declined nationally ever since. The most common statewide laws regarding rents prohibit local jurisdictions from controlling rents. Thirty-five states have such preemptions.

Even California policymakers, in a rare bout of sanity, weakened local rent controls with the Costa-Hawkins Act in 1995. The act allows landlords in cities with rent controls to return rents to market rates after a tenant voluntarily vacates or is legally evicted, and eliminates rent controls for single-family homes and units built after 1995.

The nationwide retreat of rent control was consistent with the thrust of decades of economic research, and the new controls fly in the face of that research. Economists have compiled a long list of theoretical arguments and empirical evidence showing the destructive consequences of rent control.

As Matthew Brown summarized in my book Housing America, these destructive effects include “shortages of apartments for rent, decreases in quality and lack of maintenance, decreased construction of new apartments, long waiting times and high search costs [to find apartments], discrimination, homelessness, abandoned buildings, and labor market inefficiencies.”

A 2009 article surveying the vast theoretical and empirical scholarly literature agreed with an 1985 assessment that “the economics profession has reached a rare consensus: Rent control creates many more problems than it solves.” When polled, more than 92% of economists agreed with the statement “A ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available.”

Rent control is an issue on which the econ-101 textbooks, the opinions of the vast majority of economists, and the current scholarly research all point in the same direction. In 1982 economist Thomas Hazlett observed that “economists have been notoriously thorough in convincing themselves of the destructive effects of rent control and notoriously inept at convincing anyone else.” For a while the economists had apparently convinced the vast majority of policymakers nationwide. Unfortunately, insane politicians in California and Oregon seem to have forgotten what everyone else has learned.

Rent control will only make California’s housing problems worse. If politicians really wanted to promote affordability, they would remove urban-growth boundaries and other restrictions that limit the housing supply. That would do more to promote affordability than passing destructive rent-control laws.



Averting a War With Iran: Despite Leftmedia hyperventilating, the Trump administration is making some good moves   

With the exception of Russia and China, Iran is arguably the biggest threat faced by the United States. In some ways, Iran is an even bigger threat — and that’s despite the fact that both Russia and China have substantial strategic nuclear arsenals. That makes resolving the latest tension points with Iran a good thing.

It all started with warnings from the intelligence community about a possible Iranian threat. Contingency plans were drawn up, but signs that a major war was the plan were absent. What is more likely is that the United States was trying to deter Iran from doing something stupid — simply by reminding the mullahs that we have them badly outgunned.

Prior to this past December, we didn’t really need to rattle sabers much, mostly because the presence of then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis alone sufficed as deterrent. The prospect of his wrath was far scarier than that of a Khaleesi gone mad with a dragon. Without Mattis as a behavioral motivator, it means we have to be a little more, shall we say, blunt.

Iran is a country that may need more blunt behavioral motivation than most potentially hostile entities. This regime has routinely voiced its intention to wipe Israel off the map, an action and endeavor that necessarily would entail a new Holocaust — albeit one to which Israel would not meekly submit. Iran has a long track record of supporting terrorists, including those responsible for the devastating attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983.

Contrary to the rantings of those like Bernie Sanders, America is not provoking Iran; Iran’s been carrying out hostile actions against us — especially via proxies. Iran’s assistance has been directly tied to the deaths of American troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their Houthi stooges fired missiles at the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) on multiple occasions.

We at The Patriot Post have noted this track record before, particularly in defending President Donald Trump’s veto of a congressional effort to force the United States to stop backing the Saudis. The need to stick by the Saudis cannot be understated, given the track record of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Thankfully, Trump has been willing to put America’s interest first, including denying the F-35 to the Erdogan regime.

Re-directing Turkey’s F-35s to Israel would be a nice way to help address the Iranian threat. So is continuing to support the Saudis. While Mohammed bin Sultan allegedly ordered the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, he’s also openly recognized that Israel has a right to exist and is making some steps toward respecting women’s rights as well — in other words, changes in the right direction.

Nobody wants what would be a costly war with Iran. Thankfully, that seems to have been averted. And Trump’s warning will hopefully be heeded, although the irrational and genocidal theocrats of Tehran will probably be back to their antics when they think they can get away with it.



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 23, 2019

Trump: 'You Do Have a Military-Industrial Complex. They Do Like War.'

The threat of an official end to Iran sounds to me like a threat to use nukes

President Trump, speaking about hostile foreign powers, Iran especially, told Fox News that if he can solve tensions economically, he prefers that to a military solution.

But he said he's up against a military-industrial complex in Washington that wants to keep the wars going:

Well, I'm the one that talks about these wars that are 19 years (long), and people are just there. And don't kid yourself, you do have a military industrial complex. They do like war.

You know, In Syria with the caliphate, so I wipe out 100% of the caliphate that doesn't mean you're not going to have these crazy people going around, blowing up stores and blowing up things, these are seriously ill people...But I wiped out 100 percent of the caliphate.

I said, I want to bring our troops back home -- the place went crazy. They want to keep-- you have people here in Washington, they never want to leave. I said, you know what I'll do, I'll leave a couple hundred soldiers behind, but if it was up to them they'd bring thousands of soldiers in.

Someday people will explain it, but you do have a group, and they call it the military-industrial complex.

They never want to leave, they always want to fight. No. I don't want to fight, but you do have situations like Iran. You can't let them have nuclear weapons. You just can't let that happen.

President Trump made the remarks last week in an interview with Fox News's Steve Hilton. The interview aired on Sunday night.

On Sunday evening, following reports that an Iranian-backed militia may have fired the rocket that landed near the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, Trump tweeted: "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!"



CheOC, Omar and Tlaib, Oh My!

It is almost as if the Democrats want to lose the 2020 presidential election.

Most of their front-runners and all who currently serve as federal election officials eagerly signed onto Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ — hereafter “CheOC” — Green New Deal legislation and embraced her warning that the world only has twelve years left before the ravages of global warming become unstoppable.

Now, the thoughtful and serious CheOC tweeted on Mother’s Day, “This is a technique of the GOP, to take dry humor + sarcasm literally and ‘fact check’ it. Like the ‘world ending in 12 years’ thing, you’d have to have the social intelligence of a sea sponge to think it’s literal. But the GOP is basically Dwight from The Office so who knows.”

To be fair, nobody thought she meant the world would vanish after 12 years but her hard deadline, again, was to act before climate change became irreversible. That was the impetus for the radical change contained in the Green New Deal and embraced by its supporters.

Of course, the radical solutions proposed in her released and rapidly pulled back fact sheet around her proposal which included murdering all the cows in America and ending domestic airline travel along with the internal combustion engine were justified by the short time frame for action. The Ocasio-Cortez recanting of the hard deadline effectively saws the limb off on those eager to embrace the hot new thing in D.C. and actually gives aid and comfort to former Vice President Joe Biden who favors the slower approach that CheOC still eschews.

And in case you missed it, the duo of Representatives Ilyan Omar and Rashida Tlaib seem to thrive on rolling rhetorical hand grenades under the DNC building.

Rep. Omar, who has come under constant scrutiny for her outrageous comments about Israel, compounded her verbal dismantling of Democrat legitimacy when an October 2017 tweet of hers was uncovered where she tweeted, “In his selective memory, he forgets to also mention the thousands of Somalis killed by the American forces that day! #NotTodaySatan.

The revelation of the tweet by then Minnesota state Representative Omar, a Somali refugee who fled with her family from the very warlords and violence that the U.S. troops were seeking to overcome as they tried to deliver food supplies to a starving population, was stunning as it brought into stark reality that those very refugees who Americans generously welcomed to our country, actually are being taught to hate us within their ethnic enclaves.

And Representative Tlaib of Michigan refusing to be outdone, spoke of the German Nazi Holocaust that murdered six million Jewish people,

“There’s always kind of a calming feeling, I tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors — Palestinians — who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people’s passports.”

Tlaib continued, “And, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And, I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways, but they did it in a way that took their human dignity away and it was forced on them.”

So in a period of two weeks, CheOC (besides discovering what a garbage disposal is in a shock video) walked away from the 12 year timeline of doom that is the predicate for her legislative prescription that would destroy the U.S. economic system, Rep. Omar is discovered to have dismissed the sacrifices of American fighting men immortalized in the movie Blackhawk Down, and Rep. Tlaib revealed that thinking of the Holocaust calms her.

It is no wonder that their fellow freshmen Democrats who represent districts that have historically leaned Republican or which President Trump won in 2016 have begun to scramble to distinguish themselves from the terrible trio.

And the fact that House Democrats have failed to rein in CheOC, Omar and Tlaib serves as proof to swing voters in America of the party’s far leftward lurch.

A white flag decision which makes one wonder whether Democrats are conceding a second term for Donald Trump, and an inevitable GOP House takeover in 2021.



No, AOC is not the new normal and young people are not socialists

The Atlantic article last week on young voters painted a gloomy picture for conservatives, claiming that a majority of Generation Z — young people born after the mid-nineties — hold far-left views in alignment with those of democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The authors rely on the 2019 Harvard Youth Poll to make the claim that Generation Z surpasses the Millennial generation in their appetite for socialism, and that young people are driving the American policy agenda to the left.

The data, which the Institute of Politics at Harvard generously provided to the public, blatantly contradicts these claims. Instead, the data shows an increasing share of young Americans identify as moderates, liberal identity has been declining steadily for over ten years, and young people largely reject Ocasio-Cortez’s key proposals, including her ‘Green New Deal’ and 70 percent income tax plan. In reality, a majority of Generation Zers are political moderates who support America First policies on issues like illegal immigration and foreign wars, and are critical of big-government policies that they fear could negatively impact economic growth. What’s more, the share of young people today who identify as liberals has declined by a staggering 41 percent since 2008, while the share of young moderates has more than doubled over the past 11 years, according to publicly available Harvard IOP polls.

Let’s start with the one of the far-left’s most prized proposals: radically overhauling transportation systems and buildings to address climate change. This is a no-brainer, given everything we’ve seen in the media lately, we all know young people are the champions of combating climate change through draconian government intervention without a second thought, right? Wrong. Despite the pollsters going so far as to label the proposals plucked directly from Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal as ‘the bold action we need’, less than a third of young people agreed with them (31 percent). A full 33 percent said the ideas might be good but were worried about the economic impact, 21 percent didn’t know, and 12 percent stated the ideas were too radical to even consider. A combined 66 percent of young people either didn’t support the proposals, had reservations, or weren’t sure how they felt about them, as shown below. That’s a pretty resounding rejection of the Green New Deal from a constituency that the mainstream media would have us believe is enthusiastically driving the agenda.

What about income inequality, another policy area where socialist champions like Ocasio-Cortez allegedly lead the nation’s youth in demanding wealth redistribution and government intervention? Surely, young people can at least embrace the socialist ideal of levying a 70 percent income tax on the highest earners, and enacting a $15 minimum wage. Not by a long shot. The Harvard poll gave young people every opportunity to enthusiastically embrace these proposals, once again labeling them as ‘bold action’, but less than a quarter of young people agreed. Just 24 percent embraced the proposals, while 31 percent expressed concerns about, shocker, the economic impact. Meanwhile 21 percent outright rejected a 70 percent income tax and $15 minimum wage, and an equal share admitted they weren’t sure what to think. A net 73 percent of young people either had reservations, outright rejected, or weren’t sure about these two core elements of leftist economic solutions.

All rright, so maybe Ocasio-Cortez’s “bold” proposals are a little ahead of her time even for the vast majority of 18 to 29-year-old Americans, but can we at least admit that over time, young voters are shifting to left? Again, no. While Millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996 — were arguably the most progressive generation, these voters are now in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties. As the Millennial population has aged, their views have remained relatively liberal compared to older generations, but the views of Generation Z are stalling, if not outright reversing, the liberal youth cycle.

Look no further than the Harvard Youth Poll from 2008 which showed a full 46 percent of young people considered themselves liberal or liberal-leaning, while 19 percent considered themselves moderate, and 35 percent considered themselves conservative or conservative-leaning. Keep in mind a majority of those respondents are now in their thirties, and compare those numbers to the latest Harvard Youth Poll.

Just 27 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds now consider themselves liberal — a 41 percent decline in liberal affiliation since 2008. Meanwhile, the share of young people who now consider themselves moderate has more than doubled, from 19 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in 2019. That is an increase of 58 percent. Read that again: the share of young people who say they are moderate has more than doubled since 2008, and the share of young people who say they are liberal has declined by well over a third over the same time period. The share of young people who say they are conservative has declined modestly, from 35 percent in 2008 to 26 percent in 2019.

Conclusion? No, Generation Zers are not more liberal than Millennials were. In fact, today’s 18 to 29-year-olds are significantly more likely to identify as moderates than in the past, and Ocasio-Cortez’s most radical proposals on income inequality and the Green New Deal earn abysmal support from young Americans. The overwhelming majority of Generation Zers reject radicalism, and express economic concerns when presented with socialist policies, despite pollsters using terms like “bold” to goad them into agreement.



The Labor Department’s Harwood Grant Program Should Be Eliminated

Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at the U.S. Department of Labor awards grants to unions and union-affiliated organizations through the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. Although the Harwood grant program is supposed to train and educate “workers and employers on workplace safety and health hazards, responsibilities and rights,” it is little more than a union giveaway program. Due to the chronically low number of trainees, the dubious training quality, the unwillingness of wealthy grantees to assist with funding their own training programs, the ample availability of safety training, and amount of federal resources needed to manage the program, Congress should honor the Trump Administration’s request and eliminate the Harwood grant program.

In spite of all of the advantages that many Harwood grantees have, including years of experience dealing with safety hazards, training, and government grants, they regularly fail to meet their own goals. Some grantees boast in their applications about the number of union members they have, the number of employees at friendly companies or institutions who “need” training, or the extent of their shop steward network; yet, time after time, they request a contract extension to allow more time to meet their goals. What makes this situation even more perplexing is that trainees are sometimes even paid by their employers to attend training and that goals are often modest, such as training a few hundred people over the course of a year.

Training provided by the Harwood grant program seems unremarkable. Many of the training sessions are short, lasting just 30 to 60 minutes, and much of the training is also provided by trainees who may only have a small amount of formal training on a topic. Additionally, the information taught at these training sessions is largely from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), OSHA, or other OSHA grantees; sometimes grantees even apply for another grant to train on a topic they have previously covered.

Harwood grants are often awarded to connected, multi-million dollar organizations, yet these grantees typically contribute little or no money to fund their own training programs. Furthermore, there does not appear to be any effort to seek funding from state or local governments or charitable foundations to help cover the cost of these training programs. Nonetheless, grantees tend to receive grant, after grant, after grant. While grantees contribute little or nothing to funding these training programs, grantees or affiliated organizations often spend large sums of money on political expenditures and lobbying.

Instead of committing to help fund their own training programs, grantees routinely request funding for employees’ health insurance and pensions; some even seek money for rent and utilities. In addition, as the grant applications show, some grantees are requesting taxpayer funds to subsidize the six-figure salaries and benefits of their executives.

Safety training is, and should be, easily accessible. There are many sources of training, such as colleges, trade associations, state governments, and the U.S. Department of Labor. A large amount of safety training programs are available online. Furthermore, businesses should take responsibility for training their own employees. With recent tax and regulatory cuts, businesses should be better able to afford to pay for training that meets the exact needs of their employees. Additionally, unions should be knowledgeable about the safety hazards facing their industries or professions and should gladly offer safety training to their members or to potential members.

Managing the Harwood grant program requires a lot of government resources. For example, OSHA holds orientation meetings for grantees, conducts on-site financial reviews, and conducts field observation of training classes. In one case, an OSHA employee, who had scheduled a training observation meeting, emailed the grantee to ask, “Are you sure about the two hour Susan Harwood Grant Training on Machinery and Machine Guarding for workers at Eii Inc?” [1] The OSHA employee also included text from the Eii Inc. website which stated that the company had received the OSHA Star Voluntary Protection Programs Award, which recognizes “excellence in occupational safety and health protection.”

For all these reasons, Congress should eliminate the Harwood grant program. Failing that, Congress should further restrict the grants, including requiring matching non-federal investment in these training programs. If the training these grantees provide is truly needed, then they should either be able to provide significant funding themselves or find a foundation or a wealthy donor willing to contribute.



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 22, 2019

Absurdity of Candidates Promising ‘Free’ Goodies, and Modern Monetary Theory

Below is an orthodox analysis of government spending but Obama's big spending without inflation has thrown that into doubt.  Trump is just following the Obama precedent to see where it leads. Modern monetary theory claims to account for the new reality but it is not much of a theory. Prudence as advocated below would be wise but we are basically in uncharted waters now

As the campaign in the 2020 presidential race heats up, so do the promises, with each new candidate vying for who can offer voters the most goodies.

But goodies don’t come cheap. Many of the promises being thrown around could prove quite expensive to implement. The implications for the economy should be obvious.

Experts in fiscal policy can’t help pondering some important questions:

Should the federal government create additional fiat currency to directly finance government spending and then issue government bonds or raise taxes if this newly created currency begins to stoke inflation?

Should Congress enable the Treasury to unilaterally change tax policy to prevent inflation stemming from this spending largesse and to manage the business cycle?

Can politicians actually be entrusted to allow the unpopular decisions (spending reductions or tax increases) required to prevent potentially disastrous inflationary consequences of fiat currency expansion?

Should the trillions of dollars of government debt be viewed as public asset—as something we as the public merely owe ourselves?

For proponents of modern monetary theory, the answer to all of the above is “yes.” This defiance of economic and political reality rivals the absurdity of the Flat Earth Society’s rejection of geographic reality.

The fact is, fiat currency represents value; it doesn’t create value. An increase in the supply of fiat currency without a corresponding decrease in the scarcity of resources leads to the price of those resources increasing—i.e., inflation.

The Federal Reserve printing presses cannot magically transform digital bytes into sparkling treasure. Alchemy makes for great fiction, but dismal public policy.

The absolute value of every existing unit of currency declines, harming consumers and investors. Such government-induced inflation also siphons wealth from the holdings of savers to the federal government as the real worth of accumulated savings declines.

In ages past, kings and emperors required commercial transactions be conducted using coinage from the sovereign mint. In order to enrich the Crown without resorting to outright taxation, the mint would debase coinage by diluting gold and silver with cheaper metals, such as bronze and copper. Economic and political mayhem often followed.

Churning out paper and digital fiat currency is far easier than the metal debasement of yesteryear. The results become disastrous even more quickly.

Look at Venezuela’s current 80,000% annual inflation, the destruction of the German mark in World War II, Zimbabwe’s 1,730% annual inflation in 2007, or Argentina’s 1,100% annual inflation in the 1980s. In fact, from 1980-2005, two dozen nations experienced bouts of hyperinflation of at least 1,000% over a one-year period.

Rudyard Kipling’s warning of false economics prophets stated it well: “[W]e were promised abundance for all, by robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; but, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy.”

As economist Henry Hazlitt explained, “[Inflation] unbalances, reduces, and misdirects production. It leads to unemployment and to malemployment.”

Regardless of the demonstrable harm, governments struggle to deny themselves the attainment of temporary political gain through manipulation of the money supply.

Here in the United States, our own central bank has pursued a nearly constant—albeit less grossly negligent— inflationary course over the past century. The most recent episodes of distortionary activity include multitrillion-dollar purchases of government debt and mortgage securities.

To prevent this newly created money from flooding the economy—and stoking inflation—the Federal Reserve began paying banks to hold excess reserves in the Fed’s digital vault. Banks obliged.

Although this prevented massive inflation, the monetary experimentation resulted in relatively less funds available to other sectors, likely contributing to the historically slow recovery following the Great Recession.

To their credit, modern monetary theorists acknowledge the inflation risk of newly created fiat currency funding government spending. But even if their proposals to issue government debt and hike taxes successfully staved off inflation, the bottom line remains: As government gobbles up more of the economy, less wealth is left in the hands of the populace.

There is no free lunch. We will pay either through the visible burden of direct taxation, the hidden tax of inflation, or higher borrowing costs (as the government competes with businesses for available capital).

Such realities might not make for a great stump speech, but facing them squarely now can save us a lot of headaches down the road.



A nihilist-Driven Birth Dearth:  Four straight years of a declining birth rate reflects the Left's effects on Americans

According to provisional data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), America’s birth rates hit a 32-year low in 2018. The data on more than 99% of America’s birth records indicates there were 3.788 million children born last year, marking the lowest total since 1986.

The CDC also noted that this is the fourth straight year of declines. That’s because slight gains made by women in their late 30s and early 40s, were more than offset by record-low birth rates for women in their teens and 20s. More ominously, the total fertility rate also hit a record low of 1.728 births per woman — meaning there aren’t enough babies being born to maintain current population levels.

Why does this matter? “A country’s birthrate is among the most important measures of demographic health,” columnist Ariana Eunjung Cha explains. “The number needs to be within a certain range, called the ‘replacement level,’ to keep a population stable so that it neither grows nor shrinks. If too low, there’s a danger that we wouldn’t be able to replace the aging workforce and have enough tax revenue to keep the economy stable.”

Those who responded to the report cited obstacles to child-bearing that included a lack of child care and parental leave, high insurance costs and job instability, as well as a lack of other policies to help younger adults cope with student-loan debt and housing costs.

University of Southern California demographer Dowell Myers believes those obstacles reflect an overall feeling of hopelessness. “The birthrate is a barometer of despair,” Myers asserts, explaining that people don’t have children unless they’re optimistic about the future.

No doubt, but quite likely something more insidious is in play here. Previous generations of Americans have coped with similarly pressing problems, yet continued to have children and raise families.

So what’s changed? While the opposite of optimism is pessimism, the bet here is young Americans have heartily embraced nihilism: Traditional values and beliefs are unfounded, and existence itself is both senseless and useless.

That’s not hard to understand, since they’ve been fed a steady diet of nihilism beginning as early as kindergarten. That’s where they begin learning that America is an inherently flawed, hopelessly bigoted nation in need of “fundamental transformation.” Transformation that wholly embraces the nihilistic dogma that men are “toxic,” whites are “privileged,” minorities and women are “victims,” gender is “fluid,” Christians are “bitter clingers,” the rich are “greedy and selfish,” certain speech is “hateful,” and social justice must transcend the Rule of Law.

More telling, as one moves up the educational ladder, the level of infantilism increases, as students become coddled by “trigger warnings,” attuned to “micro aggressions” and comfortable with safe spaces — replete with Play-Doh, therapy dogs, and coloring books.

Unfortunately for many young Americans, it’s a seamless transition from their “helicopter parents,” who are firmly convinced that even the slightest dent in their child’s self-esteem has the makings of life-long catastrophe — especially in a world where everyone gets a trophy just for showing up. This one-two punch has produced a generation of Millennials that considers itself the most stressed generation in history.

Thus, growing up — as in the primary prerequisite for responsible child-bearing — is to be feared.

Yet the most nihilist agenda force-fed to America’s youth is global warming. “It is not an easy time for people to feel hopeful, with the effects of global warming no longer theoretical, projections becoming more dire and governmental action lagging,” The New York Times reports. “And while few, if any, studies have examined how large a role climate change plays in people’s childbearing decisions, it loomed large in interviews with more than a dozen people ages 18 to 43.”

Those interviewees felt “saddled with painful ethical questions that previous generations did not have to confront,” the Times adds.

Really? Wholly inaccurate doom-and-gloom predictions have been an integral part of the leftist agenda for decades. In 1970, Nobel laureate and Harvard biology professor George Wald insisted the world “will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” The same year Population Bomb author Paul Erlich declared that the “death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next 10 years.” Erlich further insisted “all important animal life in the sea will be extinct.”

In 1975, British science writer Nigel Calder warned that the world will endure a new ice age, a threat that “must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.”

And who can possibly forget the pronouncements of Al Gore and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who predicted the end of polar ice caps by 2014, and the end of the civilized world itself in 12 years, respectively?

Independent Women’s Forum senior policy analyst Patrice Onwuka views such rhetoric as counterproductive. “I would love to see a national campaign that says, ‘If you want to have kids, you should,’” she stated. “What we should not be hearing particularly from the far left is, ‘No, don’t have children right now because they are going to die in 12 years.’ And unfortunately, that’s what is picking up steam.”

What else is counterproductive? The Left’s ongoing love affair with abortion on demand right up to — and on occasion, beyond — the moment of birth. Since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling in 1973, this nation has endured 60 million abortions.

Coupled with declining birth rates, that genocidal level of carnage ought to elicit a slew of proposals regarding ways to incentivize child-rearing and the moral responsibility necessary to undertake it properly. Instead, exactly like the EU, America’s Ruling Class has a “better” idea: incentivize a wholesale invasion of the nation by illegal aliens, coupled with it unsupportable levels of legal immigration — and tell Americans it’s all for their own “demographic good.”

What are they really saying? Americans must sell out their culture, customs, language, and borders to maintain the solvency of Social Security and Medicare.

Does it get more cynical? The Trump administration has announced a comprehensive plan to deal with illegals, but every sentient American knows it’s a non-starter, because every sentient American knows that when each party had two years of unassailable control of Congress and the White House, the border remained wide open, and visas continued being overstayed with impunity. Moreover, the cap on H-1B visas for legal immigrants has already been filled — for the year 2020.

“Getting married, raising families, staying in one place, still working with our hands, and postponing gratification may be seen as boring and out of date,” writes Victor Davis Hanson. “But nearly 2,000 years later, all of that is what still keeps civilization alive.”

Not without hope. And for an American Left that embraces the institutionalization of victimhood and the grievance culture that sustains it, the choice between keeping civilization alive and “saving the planet” is becoming irreconcilable.

That’s the essence of nihilism. And unless Americans become willing to reject the intellectual and moral bankruptcy that sustains it, expect the “birth dearth” to continue.



Anti-Semitism Must Be Defeated at Home and Abroad

Israel is under attack—both in its own homeland and in ours.

One week, The New York Times runs an anti-Semitic cartoon. The next week, Hamas launches 600 rocket attacks against Israel.

These are merely some of the more recent occurrences in an ongoing effort by the global anti-Israel community—which now includes members of our own Congress—to delegitimize and destroy one of our most reliable allies and to bolster a terrorist regime that harms Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Israel’s opponents employ a host of double standards. Hamas attempts to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible through indiscriminate rocket attacks, yet international outrage is directed at Israel’s precision strikes—in self-defense—against military targets that seek to minimize civilian casualties.

But just imagine if the situation were reversed, if Israel’s enemies were the ones who held a decisive military advantage. Hamas would without a doubt destroy Israel if only they had the capability, but Israel time and again has shown exceptional restraint in seeking peace.

When President Donald Trump rightly followed through on our longstanding commitment to move the U.S Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the anti-Israel community insisted that Israel be the only nation on earth denied the right to determine its own capital. 

The United Nations falsely accuses Israel of human rights violations while ignoring actual human rights violations committed by nations like Cuba, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, all of which sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Here in the United States, anti-Semitic attacks, including at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue and last month at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California, have led to a growing unease among Jewish communities.

Even in Congress, anti-Semitic statements have become a regular occurrence, with members such as Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., characterizing Jews in Israel as using money and hypnotism to control world leaders—slurs that have centuries-old anti-Semitic roots.     

House leadership recently had the opportunity to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, yet lacked the courage to stand up to these vocal anti-Semitic members, opting instead to pass a vaguely worded resolution against “hatred” in general.

Just this week, in an attempt to smear Israel, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., made the wildly inaccurate claim that Palestinians provided “safe haven” to Jewish refugees, when in fact Palestinian leaders (including the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini) allied themselves with Hitler and attempted to bar entry to those fleeing persecution.

Ever since, terrorist groups like Hamas have waged violence against Israel, with the recent rocket attacks being only the latest instance. And to do this day, the Palestinian Authority compensates many who are imprisoned for acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens, along with many families of terrorists who died committing such acts.

But what the blame-Israel-first crowd refuses to acknowledge is that Hamas is responsible not just for violence against Israel, but for victimizing Palestinians themselves. The terrorist organization has not allowed legitimate elections to take place since it took over Gaza in 2007. And the Palestinian people have paid dearly—both materially and with their lives—for multiple wars started by Hamas against Israel.

In fact, hundreds of fed-up Gaza residents recently protested their government’s actions, and were fired on by Hamas forces.

Hamas also consistently misuses funds that could be used to benefit the Palestinian people, instead choosing to fund terrorism. Hamas spent $90 million to build tunnels for use in terrorist attacks—money that could have funded thousands of homes or hundreds of medical clinics.

And if that weren’t enough to demonstrate Hamas’ true priorities, consider that they routinely use Palestinian residents as human shields, firing rockets at Israel from schools, mosques, and hospitals in order to maximize their own civilian casualties and win international sympathy when Israel responds in self-defense.



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, May 21, 2019

Congress Passes Dangerous HR 5 to legalize discrimination in America

The so-called “Equality Act” legalizes religious discrimination, and obliterates parents’ rights

Under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed HR 5 (236-173-23), a bill that would legalize religious bigotry in America, and threatens every ministry, business, and family in the United States.

“This legislation represents the greatest threat to people of faith in ministry and the marketplace today,” said Aaron Baer, president of Citizens for Community Values. “Not only does HR 5 eliminate existing religious protections, it tells women, children and people of faith that they are second-class citizens.”

HR 5 is a Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity bill that, among other problems:

Requires biological men be allowed in women’s restrooms, locker rooms, and showers if they claim they identify as women.

Requires boys be allowed to play in girls’ sports in public schools if they claim they identify as women.

Forces women’s homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters to allow biological men who claim to identify as women to bathe and bunk with women.

Allows state government to remove children from parents’ custody who don’t consent to dangerous conversion/hormone therapy.

Forces doctors to participate in “gender transition” surgeries and procedures.

Requires businesses to participate in same-sex weddings, even if the wedding violates their religious beliefs.

Requires faith-based ministries to abandon their statements of faith in hiring practices.

Via email


Socialism is neither a fair nor 'progressive' political philosophy

While politicians, pundits and college professors heap praise upon the supposed benefits of socialism, the reality is unfortunately all too clear for Venezuelans. Years of economic mismanagement and political instability that led to mass shortages of food, medicine and other necessities has culminated in recent weeks to rioting in the streets and an ongoing, violent political tug-of-war over the nation’s leadership.

And while socialism remains unpopular among most Americans (especially non-coastal elites), there can be no doubt that socialism seems to be enjoying a resurgence among many members of the millennial generation.

How can we explain this, especially given recent events in Venezuela?

What do college students even mean when they use the word “socialism”? Do they mean basic economic fairness or increased spending on social programs, or do they mean the system that runs counter to basic human nature (and basic economics) and has failed every single time it has ever been attempted?

How does one go about refuting socialism when its proponents themselves appear unclear on what it is they actually are advocating? “Socialism” becomes whatever policy proposals progressives happen to prefer at any given moment.

Maybe a better approach would be to start with what socialism is not:

Socialism is not new: Despite the social media savvy or slick rhetoric of many of the new socialists, socialism in no way is a new or “progressive” political philosophy or approach to government. In fact, varieties of socialism were directly responsible for the deaths and misery of millions throughout the 20th century.

Socialism is not working in Europe: This is one of the favorite tropes paraded by the new socialists: “Look at Sweden! They are socialist and thriving.” However, Sweden is not socialist. Instead, Sweden’s recent prosperity is the result of free-market deregulation. If you want to see how socialism works in actual practice, check out Venezuela.

Socialism is not more fair or just: How much wealth is “too much”? How much independence should we have when making our own economic decisions? Why is that a matter for the government to decide? “Soaking the rich” by arbitrarily deciding who has too much wealth is not only not fair, it doesn’t make sense. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos have done more to improve the lives of millions throughout the world through investment and the provision of valuable goods and services than any government bureau could ever dream of. We should want more millionaires and billionaires in America, not fewer. 

Socialism is not superior to capitalism: Capitalism is the best system thus far discovered by mankind to most effectively provide quality goods and services to society, at competitive prices, all the while lifting the maximum number of people out of poverty. And all through voluntary exchange without the need for coercion by the government or other entities.

Socialism is not better for the individual: One indisputable fact we can take from the 20th century is that socialism does not lead to greater freedom or dignity for the individual. Socialism, by its very nature, requires force. Pursuant to the good of society you will be told how much of your money you can keep, what you can buy and what you can do. Or else. This is not freedom; it is tyranny. What matters is the actual proven results of public policies, not the supposedly good intentions of those who enact them.

In the end, the only reason the new “democratic” socialists (because voting for tyrants to take your rights is so much better than their just doing it directly) have the ability to decry the alleged injustices and inhumanity of capitalism is the wealth, development and material comfort capitalism has provided for them.

When you are starving or struggling to survive, you don’t have a lot of time to complain.

But sipping their lattes from corporate coffee shops, tweeting from their iPhones while wearing designer clothing from head to toe, the new socialists may appear either disingenuous or downright dumb.

But most are likely just ignorant.

The remedy to this affliction isn’t to call them names or question their motives. Instead, we should strive to help them understand the economic and political realities they seem to disregard so that we can work together towards a brighter, more prosperous future here in our own country.



Resist price controls on prescription drugs

President Trump has made great strides in dismantling the big-government legacy of his predecessor, Barack Obama. Historic tax cuts, dozens of regulations cut for every new one implemented, and two conservative Supreme Court justices, to name a few.

President Trump’s free-market reforms have proven wildly successful. The economy is growing, and consumer confidence is at historically high levels. This progress makes it even more disappointing to see the White House considering price controls on prescription drugs.

The White House is considering a proposal created by the Department of Health and Human Services to control U.S. prescription drug prices called the International Pricing Index (IPI). This system would determine how much to pay for drugs under Medicare Part B — including vaccines and cancer medications — based on their costs in other countries, including those with socialized health care systems. At the same time, Republican Sens. Scott Hawley and Rick Scott have introduced similarly ill-conceived legislation in Congress.

If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. It would be incorrect to assume other countries have lower prescription drug costs because the markets naturally decided so. The International Pricing Index would be aggregating the drug prices of nations that have already artificially lowered drug prices.

You can’t get something for nothing. The government cannot mandate lower drug prices and expect no consequences in the market. In fact, we have already seen the dangers of price controls in other sectors of the economy, from wages to housing. They interfere with supply and demand, causing waste and shortages.

The prescription drug market would be next. Currently, the United States leads the world in medical research and innovation. Drug makers set prices that allow them to recover the high costs of inventing these new drugs, testing them and satisfying the regulations required to bring them to market. If they cannot afford the costs of inventing new lifesaving drugs, they simply won’t invent them anymore.

Who knows what lifesaving medications and treatments would have been invented if drug companies had the resources to pursue them? The missed opportunities would be devastating. Price controls may feel like a win against Big Pharma, but ultimately, American families who need these future treatments will be the ones who lose the most.

Prescription drug price controls attempt to combat the “global freeloading” of socialist countries by becoming more like them. They alleviate the competition between the United States and other countries by making America less great.

Ironically, the International Price Index is a product of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation (CMMI), which is turning a blind eye to the damage price controls would have on pharmaceutical innovation. The CMMI was created and placed under the umbrella of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) when Obamacare was passed.

That’s right — price controls would not only fail to advance the fight against Obamacare, they would be enforced through Obamacare. It’s a bit of a mixed signal, considering President Trump himself has supported the challenges to Obamacare in the courts.

President Trump’s economic success has been a result of reducing government intervention and allowing the markets to operate naturally. Price controls would be a complete about-face from this winning economic strategy.

The Department of Health and Human Services has no business making economic decisions on behalf of the American people. Congress makes laws, and agencies help enforce them, not the other way around. Implementing price controls on pharmaceuticals exceeds the bounds of what the CMMI is allowed to do under law, and doing so would be a step backwards in the fight for a restrained executive branch.

Governing by executive overreach was a hallmark of the Obama administration to achieve policy wins by circumventing the legislative process. If President Trump falls into the same trap, he would be no better than the previous administration.

In President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union speech, he told the American people, “America was founded on liberty and independence. Not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free.”

Now, HHS Secretary Alex Azar and big-government Republicans like Rick Scott and Josh Hawley are trying to convince him to break that promise, one price control at a time. Heading into the 2020 election, President Trump must renew his resolve that America will never be a socialist country, and he can start by resisting socialist price controls on prescription drugs.



The catastrophic costs of socialist policies

At every turn, Democrats want to restrict consumer choice and businesses’ ability to turn a profit. Instead, they hope to replace free markets with state-mandated controls, decided by their hand-picked crew of bureaucrats in Washington.

Frighteningly enough, we now have elected officials from one of the two major American parties calling openly for state control of resources. They’re either ignorant of or are turning a blind eye towards the failures of socialism in the history of the 20th century, as well as the disasters brought on by socialism in the present day. One need look no further than Venezuela to see a real-time example of socialism-induced catastrophe.

President Trump was right to rebuke socialism in his State of the Union address. This sets the stage for 2020 at a time when economic growth has raised the standard of living for all Americans. Tax cuts, deregulation and free markets have lifted Americans out of poverty. Socialism would put an end to the country’s economic growth and widespread prosperity.

The Green New Deal, Medicare-for-all, and 70 percent income tax rates will not benefit Americans. These socialist policies rest on coercion by the state and would leave Americans with less money, fewer choices, and a lower standard of living. They’ll also wreck the budget.

The Green New Deal alone would come with an insane $8.3 to $12.3 trillion price tag over ten years. On the low end, The Green New Deal is even more expensive than what we pay for Medicare annually. On the high end, the Green New Deal is as expensive as Social Security.

Medicare-for-all ultimately seeks to abolish private health insurance and would put us on a fast track toward placing all Americans on government-run health insurance. No longer would Americans be able to switch providers to get a better deal. There would be only one deal  -- you, locked into whatever some bureaucrat decides is best for you.

At the same time, wait times at hospitals increase and drug supplies become scarce under government-run health care. Premiums and deductibles would skyrocket at a faster rate than during Obamacare. Just like the Green New Deal, the expected cost of Medicare-for-all is astronomical at $32 trillion over 10 years. Sensing a trend here?

With the dent these proposals put in economic growth, how could we ever afford them? Even with individual marginal tax rates on high-income earners exceeding 90 percent in the 1950s, individual income tax revenue did not exceed 7.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) at any point during the decade. Individual income tax revenue as a percentage of GDP was 8.3 percent in 2018, and the highest marginal income tax rate was 37 percent.

The Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all would inhibit economic growth, while higher taxes wouldn’t even raise tax revenues to fund the programs. The entire socialist economic model doesn’t work. Wealthy societies and free markets are the key to healthy people and prosperity.

Democrats’ socialist proposals fail to accomplish what their supporters claim -- all at a hefty price. Even worse, they concentrate power in a centralized government bureaucracy unaccountable to the people.



San Francisco Homelessness Rises 17% After City Spends $300 Million Annually to Solve Problem

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that homelessness in the Golden City has risen by 17% since 2017 as more and more people live in their vehicles and as the city spends hundreds of millions of taxpayer money in an attempt to solve the problem.

The report released Thursday shows that studies "indicate at least 1,153 more homeless people are in the streets compared with two years ago, when the federal tally set the total number at 6,858." The number, 8,011, was determined using federal guidelines. According to the paper, this number is actually most likely much lower than the city's own estimation set to be released in July which uses different standards for homelessness.

Accordingly, "The number of people living in cars, RVs and other vehicles has risen by 45% since the last one-night count was taken two years ago."

“I’m really disappointed in these numbers,” said Jeff Kositsky, head of the city Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing told the Chronicle. “I can make no excuses. These numbers are bad, and we have to own that.

San Francisco holds the most homeless people in the state of California, but overall California has an astonishing 24% of the nation's homeless population.

San Francisco Mayor Breed says the answer to the problem, despite spending $300 million each year, is simply more spending. The somewhat recently elected mayor is calling for help from regional and federal resources. "We need more resources from the federal and state governments for housing, period, and we need to build housing faster. S.F. can’t do it alone," she told the paper.

“There’s not just one thing that’s going to fix this,” she added. “I know this count will discourage a lot of people, but it’s important to remember where we were last year. Last year you saw a lot of big tent camps — like at 13th Street, and now we have a beautiful Navigation Center (shelter) there. We’ve helped 1,200 people out of homelessness since I came into office. We have made progress.”



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, May 20, 2019

Trump celebrates the Federal election win by Australia's conservatives

Donald Trump has called PM Scott Morrison to re-affirm the importance and strength of the US-Australia alliance after the Coalition’s surprise victory last night.

“President Donald J Trump spoke this evening wth Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia. The President congratulated the Prime Minister on his coalition’s victory,’ the White House said.

“The two leaders reaffirmed the critical importance of the long-standing alliance and friendship between the United States and Australia, and they pledged to continue their close cooperation on shared priorities.”

Earlier, Mr Trump and the White House welcomed Mr Morrison’s victory in the election, with the president tweeting “Congratulations to Scott on a GREAT WIN.’

More HERE 


Socialist mindset: Nationalize and infantilize<.b>

What’s the difference between the average big-government liberal and a full-fledged socialist?

Socialists sometimes comprehend the devastating effect regulation has on private enterprise — and for them, that’s half the point of regulation.

Socialists also don’t try as hard as ordinary liberals to hide the fact that they don’t trust you to make decisions for yourself.

Socialists Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are trumpeting a new proposal, the Loan Shark Prevention Act. It would ban lending at effective interest rates, including all fees, greater than 15%.

On Twitter, Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, touted this as an extension of his home state’s price controls on credit. “In Vermont, the payday loan industry doesn’t exist,” Sanders bragged, “because interest rates on small dollar loans are capped at 18%.”

We’re glad he put it that way, for this is a proposed control on the price of credit, and too many advocates of price controls speak as if they are making the thing more affordable. In fact, as Sanders acknowledged, price controls make the thing in question unavailable.

Tell short-term lenders they can’t charge interest according to risk, and they will not suddenly start charging a lower rate. They'll stop selling or lending altogether. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez seem to understand that their rule would have this effect.

Ocasio-Cortez suggests perfidy on the part of financiers. “Big banks won’t service poor communities unless they make a killing off them,” she explained on Twitter on Thursday. “That’s why they charge predatory rates.”

Wrong again, Ocasio-Cortez! When lenders charge high rates, it’s not to “make a killing,” it’s to make a profit and thus stay in business. If a lender charges rates disproportional to the risk of default and operational costs, a competing lender would charge lower rates and scoop up the business and profit. Sure enough, payday lenders' profit margins seem to be perfectly ordinary, in a range between 5% to 10%, according to estimates.

Price controls on credit simply means no credit for borrowers with low incomes or who are a high risk for some other reason.

The "big banks," criticized by the New York Democratic congresswoman, backed out of short-term lending because of regulatory pressure from the Obama administration. More regulation generally means less competition, which leads to the higher prices that socialists say they are fighting.

For them, it's a happily virtuous cycle. Regulations drive up prices, and they respond by imposing price caps. When these drive companies away, they declare a shortage. To overcome this supposed “market failure,” they propose that the government take over the industry — full-fledged socialism.

Sure enough, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez have an idea: Let Uncle Sam enter the short-term lending business. Ocasio-Cortez says she’s “pairing” price controls with a proposal for “postal banking.” They want Uncle Sam to be the payday lender. The federal state should replace private enterprise, they argue. That’s why they’re called socialists.

The other premise behind these policies is that the government ought to treat adults as if they were children. Banning interest rates above 15% says to a person who is willing to pay $7 to borrow $500 for a month (an annual rate of 16.8%): You’re just wrong to do that; it's not good for you; we're banning it.

Treating adults like children and having the state replace private industry are bad ideas. It is, in a literal sense, un-American. The country was founded on the premise that people should be free to govern themselves and take responsibility for the consequences.

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are relatively honest about their terrible ideas, but they're still terrible ideas.



Trump Gets Another Judge on the Ninth Circuit Over Democrat Objections

President Trump has been remaking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, shifting further and further to the right. On Wednesday he got another victory with the confirmation of Kenneth Lee in a 52-45 vote. And Democrats are really miffed about this one.

Lee's confirmation came despite neither Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, nor Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a 2020 presidential contender, returning a blue slip on his nomination.
The blue-slip rule — a precedent upheld by Senate tradition — has historically allowed a home-state senator to stop a lower-court nominee by refusing to return the blue slip to the Judiciary Committee. How strictly the precedent is upheld is decided by the committee chairman, and enforcement has varied depending on who wields the gavel.

So don't let headlines and rhetoric fool you, there is no longstanding precedent that negative blue slips could stop a nominee from being considered. Democrats just wanted to use them for that purpose.



Tlaib's antisemitic hate elicits stunning support from Democrats

The Left gets into Jew-hate overdrive.

Just when we thought the Democratic Party could stoop no lower into Corbynism, we are treated to comments made by Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), which were stunningly breathtaking in terms of their sheer mendacity and revisionism. In a podcast interview with Yahoo’s Skullduggery, Tlaib noted that she always has a calming feeling when thinking of the Holocaust because it was her Palestinian ancestors who provided safe haven for the Jewish survivors of post-Holocaust Europe. Then she lamented about the high cost her ancestors endured because of their alleged benevolence toward the Jews, and cited the loss of their homes, land, livelihood and human dignity as examples.

Tlaib, who is an avid supporter of the anti-Semitic BDS crew, ended her revisionist version of history by hoping for a one-state solution. This is a pernicious euphemism for flooding Israel with millions of hostile Palestinian “refugees” and their descendants, and is a common refrain for those wishing for Israel’s destruction.

Tlaib’s lies were so outrageous and revisionist that it’s difficult to believe that her interviewers allowed them to go unchallenged but unchallenged they went. Perhaps their lack of challenge was a function of ignorance or perhaps something more nefarious was at play; either way, it is incumbent on those interested in furthering the truth to rebut these fabrications whenever they rear their ugly heads.

We begin to deconstruct Tlaib’s grotesque lies and distortions by first addressing her ridiculous claim that her Palestinian ancestors provided Jews with safe haven. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. With a few notable exceptions, Palestinian Arabs were vociferously hostile to their Jewish neighbors. In 1920-21, 1929 and 1936, Palestinian Arabs initiated violent, large-scale riots against Jews often culminating in wholesale slaughter of civilians. The most notable of these was the 1929 Hebron massacre where 59 Jews, men women and children, were murdered by their Muslim neighbors. Many more were seriously wounded, and women were raped. A common refrain by Muslim rioters during these violent outbursts was “Falastin bladna wa al yahud clabna,” which translates to “Palestine our land, the Jews our dogs.”

These anti-Jewish riots were instigated and orchestrated by the Muslims’ chief spiritual leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini. Husseini was deeply anti-Semitic and fostered excellent relations with Hitler and his chief SS henchman, Heinrich Himmler. Husseini was on Hitler’s payroll, received a lavish Nazi salary and conspired with Himmler to form the Waffen SS Handschar battalion, an all Muslim battalion whose thugs wore fezzes emblazoned with Nazi insignias. The battalion played an active role in murdering Jews who resided in the Balkans. After World War II, some joined the armed ranks of their Palestinian kinsmen in an effort to continue Hitler’s genocidal aims.

The Palestinian nexus with Nazism did not end with Husseini. Several prominent Palestinian figures, whose only commonality with the Nationalist Socialist Party was their shared hatred of the Jewish people, forged deep bonds with the Nazis. Among them was Fawzi Kaoukji, who commanded Arab terror gangs during the 1936 riots. Kaoukji spent most of World War II in Nazi Germany acting as a propaganda tool for Hitler. Following the war, Kaoukji commanded the so-called Arab Liberation Army, whose forces, intent on destroying the nascent state of Israel, tried but failed to overrun Jewish communities in Galilee. Another insidious character was Hassan Samaleh, a Palestinian Arab terror commander who also spent much of the war years in Germany performing the Nazi’s bidding. In addition, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, the Arab side recruited numerous mercenary ex-Nazis to fight for their cause.

In many ways, Tlaib’s comments represent a form of Holocaust revisionism as well for she completely whitewashes the role Palestinian leaders played in eradicating European Jewry. The 1936 Arab riots led directly to the issuance of the infamous 1939 White Paper by the British Mandatory authorities. In an attempt to placate the Muslims and curtail their violence, the British curbed Jewish immigration to just 75,000 souls over a five-year period; this at a time when Jews were desperately trying to leave Europe for safer shores but were instead, cruelly turned away. The dreadful fates of the passengers aboard the MS St. Louis and MV Struma represent direct products of perfidious British policies, which were prompted by Palestinian terror and violence.

Tlaib’s ancestors, the so-called champions of safe haven for the Jews, rejected outright the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, sparking a conflict which resulted in their defeat. Far from benevolence, the Palestinians exhibited hate, xenophobia and anti-Semitism in the extreme, and likely would have perpetrated mass ethnic cleansing and a second Holocaust had they won the war. The anti-Semitic attitudes exhibited by the Palestinians in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s are no different than they are today.

Tlaib’s shockingly anti-Semitic comments were rightly condemned by President Trump, the GOP, and Jewish groups. As for the Democrats, after a period of disgraceful silence, they shockingly but unsurprisingly rallied behind the freshman lawmaker. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer claimed that Tlaib’s words were taken out of context and in a grotesque form of moral inversion demanded that Trump and the GOP issue an apology to Tlaib. As for Tlaib, she accused her critics of engaging in “Islamophobia.” It’s the old, tired story of the victimizer playing the victim card.

This stunningly shameful reaction by Democratic Party heads demonstrably shows us how the Democrats are hedging on the issue of anti-Semitism and galloping further and further to the Left. Fear of alienating the radical left-wing of the Democratic Party has muzzled centrist Democrats. But this level of cravenness represents a double-edged sword for the Democrats. Voters who were once card-carrying Democrats and loyal to a fault now watch in dismay and horror as the malignant cancer of anti-Semitism takes root within the Party they once called home. In 2020, Democrats will pay the price for their hedging and cravenness.



Trump plans to release thousands of migrants in two Democratic strongholds, Florida officials say

Florida officials are raising alarm and pressing for details about the purported intention of the Trump administration to send hundreds of immigrants a week to two heavily Democratic counties in South Florida.

Customs and Border Protection has not publicly disclosed its plans. But a partial picture of a new approach to managing a record influx of immigrants at the southern border came into view on Thursday based on the accounts of local leaders in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Even allies of the president were nonplussed. The state's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, joined federal lawmakers from Florida - Republicans and Democrats alike - in questioning the apparent effort to foist the immigration and asylum burden on two local jurisdictions without equipping them with the resources to house, feed, educate, and protect new arrivals.

``We want a better plan from our federal government,'' said Palm Beach County's mayor, Mack Bernard, a Haitian-born Democrat, at a news conference. ``We are not a border state.''

As arrests at the border continue to increase - threatening to derail the immigration agenda that has formed the cornerstone of President Trump's domestic policy - South Florida officials said they have been told to expect the arrival twice a week of 135 asylum seekers, rerouted from the El Paso area. That is equivalent to about 1,000 people per month, divided between the two counties.

Law enforcement officials who were briefed on the plans said the arrivals were set to begin within the next two weeks and that no end date had been set. They said they still hoped federal authorities would reverse course.

Neither Border Protection nor its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, returned a request for comment.

The alarm was sounded by officials in Florida on the same day that Trump publicly appealed to Congress to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, primarily by prioritizing the skills of newcomers. The trepidation, however, came in response to developments behind the scenes, several weeks after Trump embraced a strategy of filling sanctuary cities with immigrants who lack papers. He called the proposition, rejected by Immigration and Customs Enforcement as inappropriate, his ``sick idea.''

Broward and Palm Beach Counties lie next to one another on the state's Atlantic coast. Neither has sanctuary status limiting cooperation with immigration authorities, a status that would be outlawed under a measure recently advanced by the state Legislature.

But the counties are among Florida's most reliably Democratic jurisdictions, leading the president's critics to speculate that he was setting his punitive program into motion.

``The blatant politics, sending them to the two most Democratic Counties in the state of Florida, is ridiculous,'' Gary Farmer, a Democratic state senator representing part of Broward County, told Politico. ``You can't make this stuff up.''

Each of the counties has a sizable Hispanic population, though not as large as in Miami-Dade, which is the state's most populous county. Miami-Dade is also a center of the state's Republican-aligned Cuban voting bloc, which delivered for Trump in 2016.

The swath of South Florida comprising Broward and Palm Beach counties is host to a number of Border Patrol stations, including one in West Palm Beach where authorities said the migrants would be processed, given a notice to appear and then released.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said at a news conference on Thursday that he had been informed of the plans earlier this week by a Border Patrol chief based in Miami. Bradshaw said the migrants were characterized to him as ``family units.''

Having conveyed his concerns to members of Florida's congressional delegation, the law enforcement officer said he had called acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to raise objections to what he knew of the approach.

``No accommodations for shelter or a place to live,'' Bradshaw said. ``Just no real plan on what's going to happen to these 500 people every month that's going to come to Palm Beach County and be released into our community.''

The sheriff said he was worried about the criminal backgrounds of the immigrants, as well as about the ability of public and charitable institutions to cope with the new arrivals. ``We think it's a danger to this community,'' he said.



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

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


Sunday, May 19, 2019

The scientific allergy to the truth

It is amazing to me how scientists and other academics so often prefer self-serving myths to reality -- despite the truth being in plain sight. I encountered that repeatedly during my research career in the late 20th century.

The biggest example of that pig-headedness in recent times is the absurd global warming theory.  A majority of scientists seem to accept it as truth despite the evidence being so conclusively against it.  Its central claim -- that CO2 in the atmosphere warms the earth -- is starkly contradicted by the "grand hiatus" from 1945 to 1975-- when over a 30 year period, CO2 levels leapt while temperature levels remained flat.  That huge disconfirmation would be fatal to a truly scientific theory.

And from 1950 to the present day, academic psychologists are determined to believe that conservatives are in some way mentally defective.  Psychiatrists, for instance, have never ceased "diagnosing" Mr Trump as mentally defective in some way, with NYC "shrink" Bandy Lee in the vanguard.

But perhaps the most extraordinary belief of academic psychologists -- going all the way back to 1950 --is the still frequent claim that conservatives are the "authoritarians" of the world, despite the immeasurably largest example of authoritarianism in C20 being the ghastly Soviet system.  Were the Soviets conservative?

And the old bit of Soviet disinformation to the effect that the National socialist ideology of Hitler's Germany was "Rightist" is still generally believed -- despite the fact that all of Hitler's major doctrines (antisemitism, eugenics, close government control of industry etc.) were characteristic of the Left in Hitler's day.

So it must come as no great surprise that a recent great  breakthrough in historical scholarship should be greeted with academic disbelief. The Voynich manuscript (MS) has at last been convincingly and extensively deciphered. The MS was a vast work by medieval standards, with copious illustrations that should have given a highroad into the meaning of the text

But no-one could "crack" the meaning of the text.  It appeared to be an alphabet of some sort but nobody knew how the letters sounded so their meaning remained unknown.  Generations of scholars, cryptographers and computer experts had tried to "crack" the code involved, with nothing emerging that made sense of more than a few lines of the MS.

Than along came Gerard Cheshire, a young English linguist who claimed to have deciphered the whole thing after only 2 weeks of work -- by making some very simple assumptions.  That was an enormous slight on the reputations of all the big names who had gone before him so was bound to be disbelieved.  And it has been.  Scholar after scholar has rubbished Cheshire's work.

Cheshire first circulated his findings in 2017 so he is aware of the criticisms of his work and has replied to them.  But the criticisms are not at all fatal to his findings. Cheshire foolishly claimed that the pidgin Latin in which the MS was written was widely used in Europe. That is unlikely but not necessary to his argument.  I would claim that it was a form of pidgin Latin that was used either in Italy or in Aragon, as Aragon dominated some parts of Italy in the Middle Ages.  That the Pidgin Latin of Aragon might have absorbed some words from other pidgins of the times surely poses no difficulty.

A more serious criticism is that Cheshire's translations are to a degree speculative. They are. But that is normal in philology. Words change both their meanings and their forms over time and getting back to the particular meaning at a particular time is no easy matter. So all language reconstructions are to a degree speculative. There is even debate over the correct translation of some parts of Beowulf, which is written in Old English and is generally well-understood. And let us not forget the difficulties of translating even modern German words into modern English words adequately

But the journal article (linked below) is the best evidence for Cheshire's claims. I wonder how many critics have actually read through the vast academic journal article concerned. I have.  And I find it most impressive.  Cheshire repeatedly shows that his interpretation of the "alphabet" used in the MS makes sense.  He shows that the words produced by it are Latinate -- similar to other evolved versions of Latin. 

Once he has transformed the MS words into our familiar Latin alphabet, however, he sometimes has to speculate on the meaning of the word at that particular time and place.  And he makes a good fist of that.  And he does that over and over again.  And it is that repeated success that is so convicing. It shows that he has got the key to getting it right.  If he were wrong he might get a few lucky hits but showing that his system works over and over again throughout the MS could only come from his understanding of the MS being correct.

So why are so many academics rubbishing his work?  Jealousy, basically. That he did so easily what they agonizingly failed to do is a big blow to their self-esteem.  And they want to avoid that blow by disbelieving it.  Freud called it defensiveness. JR


Trump immigration plan secures border, emphasizes merit, limits chain migration and puts America first

By Robert Romano

President Donald Trump on May 16 unveiled his immigration reform plan that would secure the border, place an emphasis on merit-based migration and limit family chain migration.

These changes are long overdue and come after more than 50 years since immigration has been meaningfully addressed by Congress.

On border security, Trump proposed using customs and border fees to create, in the President’s words, a “permanent and self-sustaining border security trust fund” that in the future could be used to make improvements and expand the wall, without the need for Congress to get involved with annual appropriations.

This would deal with normal wear and tear on border barriers that have gone into disrepair and give an administration the flexibility needed to react quickly when the drug cartels and gangs shift the routes they are pursuing to smuggle heroin and other drugs across the U.S. border.

Trump said, “Everyone agrees that the physical infrastructure on the border and the ports of entry is gravely underfunded and woefully inadequate.”

The President also reported on progress being made to build the wall by the Army Corps of Engineers, saying, “we should have close to 400 miles built by the end of next year, and probably even more than that.  It’s going up very rapidly.”

On human trafficking, the President proposed addressing current law and the Flores decision that incentivizes children to be smuggled into the U.S., saying, “Current law and federal court rulings encourage criminal organizations to smuggle children across the border.  The tragic result is that 65 percent of all border-crossers this year were either minors or adults traveling with minors.  Our plan will change the law to stop the flood of child smuggling and to humanely reunite unaccompanied children with their families back home — and rapidly. “

Trump also promised to rein in bogus asylum claims. According to Justice Department data through 2016, up to 43 percent of asylum seekers depending on the year never make their court appearances after they are released, with tens of thousands simply disappearing into the woodwork every year. In 2016 alone, 34,193 cases were completed in abstentia and ordered to be deported because the alien had not shown up in court.

In addition, only about 10 percent of those whose credible fear claims are initially granted are actually given asylum, according to the White House.

An order from Attorney General William Barr to immigration judges addresses that in part by blocking some of those making asylum claims from being released on bond while their proceedings are ongoing.

Said Trump of the problem, “legitimate asylum seekers are being displaced by those lodging frivolous claims — these are frivolous claims — to gain admission into our country… My plan expedites relief for legitimate asylum seekers by screening out the meritless claims.”

Trump also said that it was time to restrict the family chain migration system and shift towards a merit-based system depending on the economic needs of the nation. Trump noted of the 1.1 million new permanent legal residents admitted every year, “Currently, 66 percent of legal immigrants come here on the basis of random chance.  They’re admitted solely because they have a relative in the United States.  And it doesn’t really matter who that relative is.  Another 21 percent of immigrants are issued either by random lottery, or because they are fortunate enough to be selected for humanitarian relief.”

In other words, about 87 percent of those coming to the U.S. are not based on economic needs but upon familial relations or luck of the draw, and only 12 percent explicitly come for work. Trump proposes increasing work-based immigration from 12 percent to 57 percent and reducing familial immigration to just immediate families and visa lotteries commensurately.

Trump underscored the problem that we are turning away doctors and other highly educated persons because they choose to follow the law, and the law provides no room for them to stay: “Under the senseless rules of the current system, we’re not able to give preference to a doctor, a researcher, a student who graduated number one in his class from the finest colleges in the world — anybody… Some of the most skilled students at our world-class universities are going back home because they have no relatives to sponsor them here in the United States.”

The plan met with support by Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning, who said, “The framework laid out by the President today is a smart way forward and it is important that Democrats support it and securing the border in a humane way, build a merit-based system and move away from family chain migration. Any attempts to add amnesty or other poison pill provisions would be an admission that Democrats are unwilling to work on basic issues of common ground on securing the border, reforming our broken system and treating immigrants humanely.”

In other words, the President’s plan puts America first — and it’s about time.



Trump Takes a Promising First Step to Resolving Our Balkanization Crisis

Progressive naysayers will want to denounce immediately President Donald Trump’s call for an immigration approach that “instills the spirit of America into any human heart.” They should resist the temptation. If they truly love inclusion as much as they say they do, clearly this is the right path.

That is not to say that every part of the Americanizing portion in the new immigration policy the president outlined from the Rose Garden on Thursday was airtight. But by adding patriotic assimilation to the policy mix of the new approach, the president took an important first step in the right direction.

Trump was returning to a hallowed American tradition that goes back to the Founders, was kept alive by Abraham Lincoln, fed by Progressives such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and was personified by Ronald Reagan. All of them advocated assimilation among immigrants and took pride in America’s unique ability to achieve it.

So when Trump opened his remarks by saying, “Out of many people, from many places, we have forged a nation under God,” he was not “breaking norms” as his critics so often charge him with, but returning the country to the norm that has existed for centuries.

Only in the past two or three decades have far leftist critical race theorists and street activists attempted to plant the notion that assimilation was anything but desirable or even beautiful.

Where the policy misses the mark somewhat is by making a civics test a requirement for an immigration visa. “To promote integration, assimilation, and national unity, future immigrants will be required to learn English and to pass a civics exam prior to admission,” the president said.

These are generally not bad things in themselves, but by making a demonstration of an active interest in patriotic assimilation one of the requirements of immigration, the plan left itself open to system-gaming and, worse, could fail entirely to advance the agenda of Americanization.

Anyone can study George Washington’s Farewell Address or Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the National Mall. They may even mean it, and intend to immigrate to America with hopes of joining the mainstream, becoming American and succeeding in life.

Doubtless, this is what now happens with the majority. Nobody in his right mind immigrates anywhere in the hope of becoming an aggrieved, “marginalized” victim. Our grievance studies professors may have laid the foundation of a victimhood culture in America, but in most of the rest of the world, being a victim is a degraded status.

The problem is that once they come in, having passed a civics test or not, immigrants (and the native born as well) would still come under pressure to respond to the incentives to balkanize that our system currently continuously provides.

That includes everything from the constant messages our children receive K-12 about diversity being “our strength,” the constant pressure in university to withdraw to the imaginary oppressed group into which the system has consigned you, ending in a segregated graduation ceremony, and their continuation in the corporate world.

A recent report at The College Fix found that 71% of colleges surveyed “have some version of an ethnically separate graduation.”

There is also, then, the very real advantages that people at all stages of their lives receive from “ticking the box” and producing a victimhood narrative. These include racial preferences in university admissions, government contracts, housing, etc.

It is farcical that, alone among the millions that have come to America in previous immigrant waves, today’s immigrants can be declared victims as soon as they set foot on U.S. soil. That endows them to the fruits of compensatory justice upon entry.

It is that entire system that must be dismantled before we go back to a policy that “strengthens our culture, our tradition, and our values” that the president envisioned. There are steps—from ending the incentives of racial preferences to returning to cultural instruction in schools—that should be worked into the immigration plan.

Cultural knowledge promotes an egalitarian society and reduces economic inequality. The children of the rich already come equipped with it.

This 2016 paper, “Patriotic Assimilation is an Indispensable Condition in a Land of Immigrants,” helps explain the background and proposed next steps.

In a late 1988 speech, Reagan remarked, “You can go to Japan to live, but you cannot become Japanese. You can go to France to live and not become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey, and you won’t become a German or a Turk. Anybody from any corner of the world can come to America to live and become an American.”

Trump is right to try to give us this gift again.



America Deserves Spygate Answers

AG Barr has tasked John Durham with digging into the misuse of intel assets against Trump. 

Attorney General William Barr has appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. That’s a good thing, as is the inclusion of the heads of both the CIA (Gina Haspel) and FBI (Christopher Wray), along with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Given that Robert Mueller’s report cleared President Donald Trump of collusion, investigating the investigators is also a very necessary thing. No wonder Democrats are panicking.

Why? Because the considerable resources of the United States intelligence community and federal law-enforcement agencies were turned on the political opponents of those in power before the 2016 election. As Barr put it last month, “Yes, I think spying did occur.” This is the sort of thing we’d expect from the likes of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, and, of course, Vladimir Putin in Russia. In America, such abuse should raise grave concerns … even if the administration had a good reason for doing so, which it clearly didn’t.

Case in point: In 2007, Charles Stimson, a DOD official in George W. Bush’s administration, criticized the Gitmo Bar — a name for the attorneys representing the terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay — and suggested that clients of those firms should make them choose between representing al-Qaida or corporate retainers. He was run out of office for that “offense,” even though the Gitmo Bar provided al-Qaida with far more than Jane Fonda gave the North Vietnamese.

Imagine if the Bush administration had turned the FBI on the Gitmo Bar the way Barack Obama’s administration turned the FBI on the Trump campaign. Does anyone think that MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post would be giving those investigators the same deference they demanded on Mueller’s behalf? If you believe that, we at The Patriot Post have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

We need answers. We needed answers about other problematic actions in the past, like Operation Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of the Tea Party, and the targeting of journalists Sharyl Attkisson and James Rogan over their reporting, to name a few of Obama’s “non-scandals.” Of course, we never got those answers. All we got were whitewashes.

With the end of the Mueller probe, we now need to know what prompted the FBI’s actions before, during, and after the 2016 election. What evidence was used to justify spying on the opposition party’s presidential campaign? Why did investigators choose the techniques they chose? Were the omissions in the FISA applications honest mistakes, or was something more sinister involved? And what was behind the “unmasking” of American citizens caught up in surveillance?

Many conservatives have been understandably skeptical of the FBI’s conduct. If there were honest mistakes, let’s reveal them and make changes so they’re not repeated. And if there were deliberate abuses, let’s punish those responsible.

After all, it’s worth remembering that Donald Trump’s only “crime” was running against — and defeating — Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States.



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)