Friday, May 31, 2019

Twitter is working with academic researchers to decide whether it should ban white supremacists from its platform

There seems to be no agreed definition of white supremacy. Does it include immigration critics and patriots?  It seems to on many occasions.  The only definition that fits all the cases seems to be anyone who disagrees with the Left.

But even if a reasonable definition of white supremacism can be devised,  it is supported only by a few isolated individuals.  It has no substantial organization -- unlike Islamic supremacism or Leftist supremacism.  A supremacist wants to rule the world so is in principle obnoxious.  If it is going to ban anything, Twitter should ban Islamic supremacism and Leftist supremacism. White supremacism is the least of the world's supremacism problems

Twitter says it's looking into whether or not white supremacists should be allowed on its platform, amid increasing calls for a crackdown on extremist content.

The social media giant is examining how white nationalists and supremacists use its platform to help it decide whether the groups should be banned, or if they should be allowed to continue to post so that other users can debate them, according to Motherboard. 

It comes as Twitter has faced criticism over the plethora of extremist content shared on its site and the fact that it has taken few measures to curb hateful rhetoric.

Researchers are looking at what roles Twitter plays in making conversations around white nationalism and white supremacy worse or better.  From there, it hopes to have a better idea of whether or not banning these groups would be the right move.

'Is it the right approach to deplatform these individuals? Is the right approach to try and engage with these individuals? How should we be thinking about this? What actually works?' Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's head of trust and safety, told Motherboard.

Last month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Gadde met with President Donald Trump to discuss the 'health of public conversations on the site.

Twitter has become notorious for its characteristically slow responses to pressing problems on the site, such as abuse, trolls and hateful content.

For that reason, many aren't surprised by the company's decision to look into the issue of white supremacists and white nationalism several years after these kinds of content started to become amplified on Twitter.

'The idea that they are looking at this matter seriously now as opposed to the past indicates the callousness with which they've approached this issue on their platform,' Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, told Motherboard.

Similarly, Heidi Beirich, director of the intelligence project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told Motherboard it has been proven that white supremacists continue to thrive on Twitter.

'Twitter has David Duke on there; Twitter has Richard Spencer,' she told Motherboard. 'They have some of the biggest ideologues of white supremacy and people whose ideas have inspired terrorist attacks on their site, and it's outrageous.'

Twitter has taken some steps to crack down on extremism, joining Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, LinkedIn and others last year in banning right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars show from its platform.

In other ways, Twitter and several social media platforms have yet to fully reckon with the amount of extremist content on their platforms.

YouTube has also become a popular destination for white nationalism and supremacy, but it has so far refused to ban either forms of content from its site.

So far, the only major social media platform to take a stand against white nationalism and white separatism is Facebook, which banned those kinds of posts in March.

Posts that include statements like 'I am a proud white nationalist' and 'Immigration is tearing this country apart' will immediately be banned.

If a user tries to publish a post around these themes, they'll instead be redirected to a nonprofit called Life After Hate, which helps individuals involved in these extremist groups exit them safely.



Leftist political violence in Czechia too

Lubos Motl writes:

Ladislav Jakl, the life-long secretary of ex-president Klaus, was brutally attacked in the Prague subway on Saturday

He was sitting in the subway, approaching Square of the Republic, Yellow Line B, and playing with his phone. Suddenly two attackers came and one screamed: "You are that Jakl, from SPD". SPD is the "nationalist" party - I voted for it on Friday for the first time but it could also be the last time, it's not really my cup of tea in the long run.

Jakl wasn't a leader of SPD, he was just nominated by SPD for Senate (failed) and a Public TV Commission (he's there).

Jakl has had a sleepless night due to pain, a physician ruled out internal injury, so he's just cosmetically impaired on his head and shoulder. He ended on the floor. The attackers left the car on the next stop.

I know Jakl in person. In particular, in late 2014, we shared the slot for a lecture on the climate in Southern Bohemia. I had the more scientific part, he had the more social one. His talk about the climate panic was wise and wonderful.

Just to make you sure that the political violence by the "liberals" doesn't avoid Czechia and climate skeptics are likely to be victims.

Via email


Millennial Attitudes Are Out of Sync with Economic Realities

These days, young Americans are a pessimistic bunch. Earlier this month, Deloitte released its 2019 Millennial Survey, taking a snapshot of public opinion among more than 13,000 Millennials and over 3,000 Gen Z respondents in the United States and beyond.

What did Deloitte find? In a word, pessimism. As the company put it, “Optimism, trust reach troubling low levels.” In other words, young America is a “generation disturbed.”

While many factors fuel my generation’s pessimism, economic uncertainty tops the list. Nearly half of all respondents believe that the changing nature of work will make it more difficult to find or change jobs, while another 70 percent believe they may lack the skills required to thrive in the modern workplace. Meanwhile, barely one-quarter of respondents expect economic conditions in their respective countries to improve over the next year—down from 45 percent a year ago.

Given the changing labor market, much of that uncertainty is justifiable. But there’s more: Young Americans are more skeptical of the business community than ever before, with many perceiving corporate America as a problem facing our country and not a potential solution to many of its shortcomings. According to Deloitte’s research, only 55 percent of Millennials see businesses as having a positive impact on society, compared to 61 percent in 2018.

That’s right: Barely half of all Millennials see businesses as “having a positive impact on society.” Think about that for a second.

Laura Banks, a Millennial cited in the Deloitte report, put it this way: “We have less trust in employers because so many of our parents did lose their jobs, and they had been loyal to companies.”

Indeed, globalization is not an entirely positive experience. While yielding many benefits, the outsourcing of American supply chains to continents like Africa and Asia has resulted in disrupted industries, shuttered factories, and countless lost jobs.

But entirely ignoring the merits of globalization and vilifying the business community as a “negative impact” is quite a leap. In fact, to denigrate the private sector is intellectually irresponsible, considering that private enterprise is primarily responsible for the economic prosperity that we see today.

The numbers bear it out. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the totality of U.S. industry—public and private—combines to account for more than $36 trillion in gross economic output. Of those industries, the private sector alone accounts for nearly $33 trillion of that output—over 90 percent of the U.S. economy.

Economic output translates to job creation, and vice versa. As of April 2019, the private sector employed more than 128 million working Americans. The government (federal, state, and local), on the other hand, put fewer than 23 million Americans to work. These are jobs that would be impossible to finance without the productive capacity of private enterprise.

Here’s another way to look at it: In terms of job creation, the private sector is about five times more powerful than its public counterpart, which is financially dependent on the free market.

Without it, the U.S. economy would simply fall apart. Moreover, it would pale in comparison to the global competitors that have sought to replicate America’s success for decades. Despite the never-ending talk of American decline, U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) accounts for roughly a quarter of the world’s GDP. In fact, America’s share of global GDP is on par with those of China, Japan, and Germany combined.

Because of its productive and innovative private sector, the U.S. economy is without precedent, and is the most prosperous economy in the history of civilization. And our economy remains the global standard, as it was for much of the 20th century.

Ironically, young Americans have a lot to do with that. After all, Millennials represent the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. By next year, the Millennial generation is projected to make up 50 percent of the workforce, populating all levels of the corporate ladder.

And there are plenty of reasons for Millennials—and all Americans—to be optimistic. Our economy continues to expand, hitting a robust 3.2 percent growth rate in the first quarter of 2019. The U.S. unemployment rate has dropped below four percent, and the unemployment rate for the least-skilled workers is outperforming its average to a greater extent than for higher-skilled employees.

In the last four decades, real GDP per person has increased from about $28,000 to more than $55,000, and 60 percent of today’s 30-year-olds are better off than their parents at the same age (when adjusting for family size). Upward mobility may not be guaranteed, but it is still commonplace.

And yet, young America remains pessimistic. While some of that pessimism can indeed be justified, much is totally unfounded, considering America’s socioeconomic status in the world.

Is there room to criticize the business community? Yes. Is our free-market economic system perfect? Of course not. There is always room for improvement.

But to suggest the business community has anything but a “positive impact on society”—in its totality—is to plead ignorance. Quite frankly, our business leaders deserve better.



Why the British loathe The Donald

To our elite, Trump is the wrong kind of rich person.

Now, Trump is an offensive guy, and he has said some truly nasty stuff. But that doesn’t quite explain why he can bring London’s middle classes on to the streets at the drop of a hat. Yes, he has been turned, quite effectively, into a symbol of all that is wrong with the world. But I wonder if there’s something peculiarly British about the fury he elicits here. I reckon it’s got something to do with snobbery. Trump may have been born rich, become a reality-TV star, and is now the most powerful man in the world, but under our class system he is still a person to be looked down upon.

In The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell writes about his private-school education and his younger years as ‘an odious little snob’. As a child of the ‘lower-upper-middle class’, he learned to loathe those above him as much as those below him. ‘I despised anyone who was not describable as a “gentleman”, but also I hated the hoggishly rich, especially those who had grown rich too recently.’ That is Trump to a tee. He’s the wrong kind of rich. The new rich. The beauty-pageant rich. The flashy rich. This is why – prior to politics – he was beloved by so many rappers. And this is why he is so loathed by the British bourgeoisie.

The US, of course, has inherited much of that snobbery. Witness the way the death of the supposedly ‘genteel’ New England aristocrat George Bush Sr became another opportunity to knock Trump for being brash and uncouth. Or the constant unflattering comparisons between the professorial, new-class Obamas and the tacky, new-money Trumps. But there is still something distinct about the British revulsion at The Donald. Not least because ‘don’t give him a state visit – he’ll embarrass our queen!’ is an argument now being made by nominal left-liberals.

Regardless, this rage against Trump is also not just about him, on either side of the pond. It’s about the people who voted for him because they were fed up of the people now slating him. It’s about the people ‘stupid’ enough to fall for this orange charlatan. One moment in Fire and Fury – the much-disputed, probably fictionalised account of the Trump White House by Michael Wolff – provides an instructive anecdote. Trump is asked by an Eastern European model what ‘white trash’ is. ‘They’re people just like me, only they’re poor’, was his (alleged) response.

That’s what the anger and the double standards and the blimp are really about. And deep down, the protesters know it.



Federal Agency Blames Diversity, Ignores Cause of Deadly 2017 Amtrak Derailment

Must not blame the driver.  That would upset the union

On December 18, 2017, in Dupont, Washington, if an Amtrak engineer had negotiated a curve at the proper speed of 30 miles per hour instead of 78 mph, the deadly derailment that claimed three lives and injured 57 would not have occurred. Two and a half years later, that wasn’t how the federal National Transportation Safety Board saw it.

As Fox News reports, “instead of blaming the engineer, the NTSB cast a wide net that included the various agencies that constructed and operated the line.” The federal board excoriated the Seattle-area Sound Transit agency for “not sufficiently mitigating the danger of the sharp bend.” Amtrak was to blame for “not better training the engineer.” The NTSB blamed the Washington State Department of Transportation for “not ensuring the route was safe before green-lighting a passenger train.” The NTSB also blamed and the Federal Railroad Administration for “using rail cars beneath regulatory standards.”

Relatives of the victims might wonder how all this was allowed to proceed without supervision from the FTSB and other state, local and federal agencies. None of the alleged lapses cancel the blame of the engineer, who hit the curve at more than twice the speed limit. So when NTSB Robert Sumwalt said the accident could have prevented, he was confirming a stranglehold on the obvious. Trouble is, if this is an “institutional problem,” as some regulators claimed, then no person is to blame. Amtrak employees are members of government employee unions, a highly protected class, so no surprise that the NTSB even fails to name the engineer.

As this case confirms, the NTSB is basically a historian of accidents and contributes little if anything to public safety. The Trump administration should mark the NTSB for deep cuts and take a hard look at Amtrak as well. In typical style, Amtrak failed to name the faulty engineer or indicate whether he had been fired or what he might be doing now. But as Amtrak said in a statement, “We remain deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries due to this tragic event.”



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 30, 2019

Expanded or "positive" rights lead directly to authoritarian government -- and that can be very bad

If someone has a "right" to be fed, someone has to be given a duty to feed him.  But what if he refuses that duty?  Coercion is the next step

Liberalism is, after all, based on the idea that individual liberty is the highest political virtue – and who doesn’t love liberty? ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’ These were the words that created the United States of America, and ultimately the global liberal order.

But over time the kinds of liberties demanded by liberals have evolved and expanded. They have shifted from a historical focus on ‘negative’ freedoms toward a contemporary focus on ‘positive’ rights. The philosophical construction of the concept of liberty is contentious and convoluted, but there is an obvious and intuitive difference between the simple freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment to the US Constitution (freedom of religion, speech, assembly, and the press) and the expansive rights promised by Article 25 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (rights to food, clothing, housing, medical care, social services, unemployment insurance and social security).

Political philosophers may be able to derive one from the other, but ordinary people will understand that there is a basic qualitative difference, even if the line between the two is sometimes blurred. Nothing in philosophy is ever simple, but simply put, the freedom to pursue happiness is something very different from the right to be happy. Political liberalism has evolved over nearly three centuries from a philosophy of safeguarding freedoms into a philosophy of demanding rights.

There have been good reasons for this shift. Liberals have come to realise that freedoms on their own are not always sustainable. People sometimes vote to relinquish their freedoms. Very often people use their freedoms to enslave others. Freedom may be just as likely to be used irresponsibly as it is to be used responsibly. Thus the mainstream of liberal opinion has come to the view that the protection of basic human rights, especially the protection of minority rights, is an indispensable prerequisite for the maintenance of individual freedom.

To some extent this is true. But the principle that some human rights must be ensured prompts the question of which ones. Someone has to decide, and if that decision preempts democratic decision-making, then clearly the decision cannot be left up to the people. In fact, among liberal political scientists, the whole idea that the people should define the scope of basic human rights is now sneeringly referred to as ‘majoritarian’ democracy, qualified as if it were no kind of democracy at all.

Mainstream liberals have reasoned that the delineation of the set of human rights that are necessary for the maintenance of individual freedom can only be properly performed by experts. Those experts, the experts in human rights, are by definition educated professionals like academics, lawyers, judges, journalists, civil servants, social workers, medical doctors and lobbyists. By virtue of dedicated study and professional practice they have made themselves the legitimate authorities on the subject. And they truly are the legitimate authorities on the subject. When you want an authority on chemistry, you consult a chemist. When you want an authority on human rights, you consult a human-rights lawyer.

The whole idea that the people should define the scope of human rights is now often sneeringly referred to as ‘majoritarian’ democracy, qualified as if it were no kind of democracy at all

The problem is that politics is a unique field of human activity. Authoritarianism in chemistry may be unproblematic, even desirable. Authoritarianism in politics is dangerous, even when the authorities themselves are above reproach. In the contemporary liberal worldview, certain policies are mandatory, others are beyond the pale, and only the experts can tell which is which. Liberal democracy thus requires the obedience of the voters (or at least the citizens) to expert authority. The people are the passive recipients of those rights the experts deem them to possess. As the domain of rights expands, experts end up making more and more of the decisions – or at least more of the decisions that matter – in an ever-increasing number of the most important aspects of public life: economic policy, criminal justice, what’s taught in schools, who’s allowed to enter the country, what diseases will be cured, even (in many cases) who will have the opportunity to run for elective office. In these areas and more, experts arrogate to themselves the authority to adjudicate competing claims for public resources and private benefits. As society evolves, the areas reserved to expert adjudication seem only to expand. In the course of normal politics, previously depoliticised policy domains rarely return to the realm of democratic determination.

The new authoritarianism of the 21st century has nothing to do with the Trump presidency. It is neither a right-wing authoritarianism, nor a nationalist authoritarianism, nor even a conservative authoritarianism. The new authoritarianism of the 21st century is, paradoxically, a liberal authoritarianism.



Trump’s campaign manager has a plan to punish twitter

Brad Parscale is reportedly nudging his boss to join Twitter competitor and far-right hub Parler.

Donald Trump’s beef with social-media giants is well-documented—just last month, he brought Twitter C.E.O. Jack Dorsey to the White House to whine about the dip in his following that’s supposedly due to anti-conservative bias. Yet despite his gripes, and the gripes of his far-right allies over the de-platforming of people like Alex Jones, Twitter has remained the president’s megaphone of choice. That’s in part because no platform rivals the reach of Twitter, where Trump can broadcast his every thought to millions of people in seconds. But a new report suggests the president’s aides are pushing him to lend his online clout to a Twitter competitor, raising the specter of a social-media ecosystem that’s even more deeply polarized.

According to Politico, Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale is weighing setting up a presidential account on Parler, a Twitter-style site that controversial conservatives, exiled from larger platforms and leery of censorship, have begun to adopt. “It’s something [Parscale is] aware of and is checking out,” a Trump campaign official said of Parler, which has attracted right-wing notables like Milo Yiannopoulos and Candace Owens. (Owens herself endorsed the idea: “Donald Trump should just switch social media platforms altogether because everyone will follow him,”she told Politico.) Per the campaign official, there’s currently no plan to “make a big move to the platform.” But Parscale and Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a Trump ally, have both created Parler accounts and started posting on the site.

The president and his allies have complained increasingly loudly about the supposed “shadow-banning” of conservatives on social media. “Facebook, Twitter and Google are so biased toward the Dems it is ridiculous!” Trump tweeted in December without a hint of irony. “When is Twitter going to allow the very popular Conservative Voices that it has so viciously shut down, back into the OPEN?” he demanded more recently. If Trump were to migrate to Parler, or at least include it in his daily rage-posting, it would certainly attract a great deal of attention to the upstart platform, and would likely increase its usership. It could also worsen polarization, creating a scenario in which Democrats and Republicans don’t merely talk over one another online, but occupy different digital spaces entirely.



Privately-Funded Group Builds El Paso Border Wall, Closing ‘Ridiculously Large Gap’ Used by Smugglers

“We Build The Wall,” a privately-funded organization, announced Monday it has built the country’s first border wall on private land.

Kris Kobach, former Kansas secretary of state, told Fox and Friends the new wall in El Paso, Texas fills a half-mile gap in the existing border, which was constantly exploited by illegal aliens and drug smugglers:

“This is the first time in American history that a private organization called ‘We Build The Wall’ - this is the first time any organization has built border wall on private land. And, it’s happening right here in the El Paso area and it’s not just any piece of land. This piece of land is right where the El Paso wall that separates El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, where that wall ends, there’s been a half-mile gap between the existing wall and Mount Cristo Rey.

“And, it was a ridiculously large gap that the smuggling of both people and drugs would go through.”

Kobach said the organization worked non-stop over the past weekend in order to give the nation a Memorial Day present:

“The wall has been going up over the weekend. We’ve been working 24/7 over the holiday weekend to give America a present on this Memorial Day.”

Rather than using the “garden-variety” steel employed by government wall-builders, which has a useful life of 25 years, “This is all weathering steel that lasts 75 years,” Kobach said.

And, even though the average donation to We Build The Wall is only $67, the privately-funded organization is set to begin building its second stretch of wall, Kobach added.

As Independent Journal Review reports, We Build The Wall was founded by a veteran and is dependent on private donations to fund its wall construction projects:

“We Build The Wall was founded by triple amputee veteran Brian Kolfage who saw a way to build fill in the gaps in the border with funding construction through private donations. Kobach pointed out that the specific gap they were closing up had been used to smuggle drugs as well.”



The Real Inclusive Approach to Immigrants

Some people make better immigrants than others -- but the Left cannot admit that as it clashes with their idiotic belief that all men are equal

Is President Donald Trump’s call for patriotic assimilation, which is a part of his immigration package, a step toward totalitarianism and fascism? These are the hyperbolic claims made in a contentious op-ed by Fabiola Santiago, a columnist at the Miami Herald.

Santiago highlighted my own work in this field, citing a 2016 paper. While ordinarily I don’t react to criticism, especially when over the top, in this case a response makes it possible to elucidate some points.

For starters, she’s wrong.

As it is often the case with those whose proposals actually lead to a reduction in our freedoms, Santiago wraps her argument as a rousing defense of liberty: Assimilation would mean “the end of the romantic notion that we are a free people who can speak as we like, feel as we feel, be who we are, without fear of government reprisals,” she writes.

Let me make three points about this.

First, the survival of political liberty and a political community depends on a shared culture and the habits of character that protect it.

Second, the leading thinkers of the multiculturalism Santiago defends no longer even pretend to be on the side of political liberty.

And third, the comparison she draws between America and totalitarian Cuba gets things exactly backward.

Let’s start with the survival of political liberty. Some cultural traits and habits are necessary to self-rule, and others undermine it. A government charged with protecting our freedoms must promote the former and discourage the latter.

Thrift, self-reliance, a strong work ethic, perseverance, volunteerism, and moderation are qualities that make a population free and prosperous. These also are virtues long associated with America, a nation ahistorically free and prosperous. They must be instilled and practiced. They don’t come in the bloodstream.

A statist, bureaucratic mindset that does not prize the right to private property, the right to freedom of speech and conscience, or the belief that all humans are born free and equal, would on the other hand render our society less free. Immigrants who come freighted with these habits of mind must be invited to forget them and take up new ones.

And indeed, immigrants from countries with these cultural habits always have faced pressure, from the American government and civil society alike, to leave them behind and adopt new ones.

A prime example is the wave of German immigrants who came to America in the 1800s, economically due to the dislocation of industrialization and politically because of the failure of revolutions in 1848. Culturally, many had statist proclivities that were unknown among most Americans.

In 1854, their political leaders in Kentucky adopted a “Platform of the Free Germans of Louisville” that had radical anti-property notions.

One of these notions read that “to occupy nature, the soil, as exclusive property, this no individual has the right to do.” Another said that “labor has an incontestable claim to the value of its product” and if “the capitalist” did not agree, then the government “has to interfere” to secure this right. A third called for the government to pay for instruction in German to the children of immigrants.

That same year, German immigrants in Richmond, Virginia, passed a similar platform calling for these same rollbacks of freedom and adding funds for a German-language university. The Virginia platform also called for a government takeover of the railroads, taxation of church lands, and abolishment of religious schools.

The Americans of the day decided pretty quickly to protect their way of life and compel the new German immigrants to adopt the American worldview, not import their own, thank you very much. The immigrant was not obliged to give up his beer and wiener, which were adopted into the national cuisine. We should all be thankful for all aspects of that arrangement today.

The process worked. By the 1880s, the German-born Wisconsin Congressman Richard Guenther was rallying crowds with these words: “After passing through the crucible of naturalization we are no longer Germans; we are Americans. … America first, last, and all the time. America against Germany; America against the world; America right or wrong; always America.”

The multiculturalism that Santiago defends is at odds with the liberty she purports to advocate, which brings us to our second point.

Santiago—who seems never to be have considered the allure of understatement—maintains that patriotic assimilation “and all the nationalist jargon that comes with it—is the concoction of right-wing think tanks that detest multiculturalism.”

“What Trump proposes,” she writes, “has the markings of the type of domination we fought against in World War II: Fascism.”

A fondness for multiculturalism seems nearly always to go hand in hand with an attachment to cosmopolitanism, or the belief that we are all citizens of the world, with loyalty first to all human beings rather than our own nation. They are both the opposite of assimilation.

Thus, contra Guenther’s hardy call for “America against the world,” Santiago seems oddly vexed that Trump’s call for merit-based immigration would “gut countries of their best minds”—as if they were compelled to come to America. (Doesn’t she care about their self-determination?)

But cosmopolitan aspirations, writes my Heritage Foundation colleague Arthur Milikh, “lack the power to constrain and tutor strong natural proclivities toward anger, pride, and selfishness” and it is the restraint of passions such as these that produce civility and the ability to govern oneself.

So it’s no surprise that the purveyors of multiculturalism no longer hide their disdain for natural rights. Progressive academics from Catharine A. MacKinnon to Louis Michael Seidman, Frederick Schauer, and Kathleen M. Sullivan all have come out against free speech because, in the words of MacKinnon, the First Amendment “has become a sword for authoritarians, racists and misogynists.”

As the most famous textbook on multiculturalism, “Critical Race Theory, an Introduction” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, puts it, critical race theorists “are suspicious of another liberal mainstay, namely rights” because they “believe that moral and legal rights are apt to do the right holder much less good than we like to think.”

These beliefs already have been put into practice, with foreseeable consequences, in Cuba, an unfortunate country that Santiago appears not to understand very well, though I gather she was born there.

Before the revolution’s triumph in 1959, Cuba’s culture had accrued organically, going back to the colonization of the island in 1511 and the founding of Havana in 1519. The Cuban revolution has gone out of its way to eradicate this culture and destroy even its physical manifestations, which is why Havana’s once stately architecture has been purposely left to putrefy.

Cuba’s innate traditions prior to Year Zero are thus rendered by the revolution as corrupt and immoral, a narrative that the international left is only too happy to propagate. In the place of this culture, the revolution has imposed through force a fabricated one.

It is this process that a return to American norms would hope to arrest in this country.

An invitation to assimilate to practices that produce freedom and solidarity and have been part of the American character for centuries—truly the inclusive approach—would be a last-ditch attempt to return America to its organic traditions.



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 29, 2019

DESPERATION: After Failing On Collusion And Obstruction, Democrats Unveil New ‘Get Trump’ policy

They really are out of ideas. The claim that Trump is mentally unfit goes right back to his 2016 campaign.  I have looked at several of the claims e.g here and here and here and show how shallow they are

I was amused by the claim below that Trump had a very strict father.  That is in fact a boilerplate Leftist claim about conservatives generally but the speaker gives no evidence of it in Trump's case. To me, Trump's behaviour has all the hallmarks  of a very permissive upbringing -- which was the fashion during his childhood in the 40s and '50s -- Dr. Spock and all that

It's probably just old age in her case but Pelosi's mental meanderings  suggest that she is the one who is unfit for office.  There is a video of her going about which compiles many instances of her slurring her words and stuttering.

Democrats spent the past two years claiming they had proof that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to win the election and obstructed justice to block Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

After Mueller’s report clearly stated there is no evidence of collusion or obstruction, Democrats have unveiled a new “get Trump” plan.

Now, Democrats are claiming that Trump is not “mentally fit” for office and must be impeached.

Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “I pray for the President of the United States.” When asked if she was concerned about Trump’s mental state, Pelosi answered, “I am.”

Pelosi implied to reporters that Trump had mental issues, said she was “praying” for the president, and suggested that his family ought to “stage an intervention.”

This paved the way for Democrats to now claim that Trump should be impeached because he has “mental issues.”

Last week, Howard Stern spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper to discuss Trump’s mental health and said:

From what I know of Donald and his relationship with his father, it sounds traumatic. It sounds like the father was very domineering.

The father expected a lot of him. And the father, I don’t know, there was military school. You know, you read these drips and drabs and you go wow. I can assure you he’s been traumatized because, you know, Donald, you know, his level of narcissism is so strong.

He has trouble with empathy. We know that. And I wish he’d go into psychotherapy.

During an interview on Friday with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin pushed the same talking point:

“Today, the 25th Amendment has come back into focus because of the extraordinary events that took place in the White House.”

“Speaker Pelosi showed her compassionate side when she said there should be a family intervention. Unfortunately, some conditions are way beyond the capacity of a family intervention to address. This might be far more serious. Professor Bandi Lee, the psychiatrist up at Yale Medical School, had a group do a mental health analysis of the special counsel’s report and they came back and said basically, the president is failing at every level of basic mental and cognitive health.”

“He cannot take in information successfully, he cannot process information successfully, he cannot engage in decision-making without bias, distortion, impulsivity, impetuosity. And he cannot keep himself and others free from danger, which I guess are like the basic minimal requisites of mental health and they’re saying it’s missing in that case. So, the constitution has a mechanism for this. The 25th Amendment.”

After Mueller’s report clearly stated there is no evidence of collusion or obstruction, it is more than clear that Trump’s “deteriorating mental health” is the new plan Democrats will use to push impeachment.



Foolish impeachment talk

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has a bold warning for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — and she won’t like this one bit.

During an interview on “Fox News Sunday” with host Chris Wallace, Graham warned that if Pelosi tries to impeach President Donald Trump, her political career will likely be over. “She knows that impeachment would be political suicide because there’s no reason to impeach the president,” Graham said.

The South Carolina Republican went on to warn that Pelosi will lose control of the U.S. House of Representatives and possibly her job if she pushes impeachment.

“She’s trying to keep the party intact. If she goes down the impeachment road, Republicans take back the House, we keep the Senate, President Trump gets reelected, but her job is very much at risk,” Graham said.

“So what I think is going to happen here – I think that she’s going to be driven towards impeachment. If she goes down that road, it will be suicide for the Democratic Party,” he added.

Later in the interview, Graham went nuclear on Wallace for trying to paint him as a hypocrite on impeachment.

Wallace played a clip of Graham from the late 1990s, where he called for the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton after it was revealed he lied to Congress and the special counsel about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“It is your job to supply us with the things we need to provide oversight over you,” Graham said in the video.

“Why is it an impeachable offense for Clinton or Nixon back then to ignore congressional subpoenas, but it’s okay for President Trump to do now?” Wallace asked.

Wallace was clearly trying a “gotcha question” with Graham, but it backfired on him.

Graham set the record straight and explained how his comments about Clinton from 20 years ago aren’t comparable to Trump today.

“Mueller is the final word on this for me,” Graham said. “If Clinton had stiffed Ken Starr, that’s different. What [Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY)] is doing is trying to destroy the president and his family.”

“If I were the president, I’d fight back against this political revenge coming out of the House,” Sen. Graham said.

“Mueller was the man of the law. Mueller was an independent voice that we all trusted to be fair. I don’t trust House Democrats to be fair,” he said.

To Graham’s point, Attorney General William Barr put the final nail in the collusion coffin and said that Robert Mueller found no evidence that Trump, his campaign, or any American colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

The president has been completely vindicated after the two-year Russia witch hunt.



Ex-CNN Contributors Drop MASSIVE Truth Bomb: ‘Hate Trump’ Network ‘Openly Despises Conservatives’

Former CNN contributors are coming out to reveal the truth about the far-left network that serves as the communications wing of the Democrat Party. For the American people to have a hunch is one thing, but to hear it from the mouths of multiple horses is another beast altogether.

According to several former contributors to the cable news network, CNN has increasingly become the anti-conservative, “hate Trump” network that allows only Republicans critical of the president on their airwaves and has systematically “squeezed out” conservative voices.

“Most of us got squeezed out involuntarily,” former CNN contributor and former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) told Mediaite. “I was there for 2 years and was certainly willing to continue. It was clear to me in the end that the Republicans they prefer are anti-Trump Republicans.”

Mediaite also spoke with former CNN analyst Stephen Moore, who echoed Kingston’s sentiments about the network’s apparent preference for anti-Trump Republicans, noting that one of the few Republicans they feature is former Ohio Gov. and vocal Trump critic John Kasich.

“CNN is the hate Trump network,” said Moore. “They just trash Trump every single hour of every single day. All they’ve talked about for two years is the Muller report and how bad does it make them look now that it proved nothing?”

Another former CNN contributor that has not been shy about voicing complaints about CNN’s “obvious” bias is talk radio host Buck Sexton, who told Mediate that the network now “openly despises conservatives who are pro-Trump.”

For instance:

President Trump defended his now infamous Charlottesville comments. His exact words from 2017, per Real Clear Politics:

“Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”

After another question at that press conference, Trump became even more explicit:

“I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.”

Enter CNN’s Jim Acosta, who got torched for lying:

Trump defends his “very fine people” comments on Charlottesville: “People were there protesting the taking down of the monument of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that.” Fact check: There were many neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Fact check this: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”

That’s what @realDonaldTrump said that day and you were standing 10 feet away from him. You do your network proud.

Yellow Journalism

*  Trump openly condemned the neo-Nazis & white supremacists
*  called them “criminals and thugs”
*  said “racism is evil”
*  said those responsible would be “held fully accountable”

This is brazen revision of history that would make the Katyn murderers proud.



Trump Overrules Congress, Uses Emergency Powers To Push Through MAJOR Deal

No hope of co-operation from the Democrat Lower house

President Donald Trump is overruling Congress and attempting to use emergency powers to push through a major deal in the Middle East.

According to The Hill, the Trump administration has invoked an emergency provision of the law to immediately finalize an $8.1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies without getting a measure passed in Congress.

With Iran’s continued threats and hostility towards the United States, the president is attempting to provide more weapons to America’s allies in the Middle East.

The Trump administration also announced on Friday that 1,500 U.S. troops will be deployed to the Middle East to protect American forces and personnel already there from any potential attacks from Iran.

The package — which is composed of more than 20 separate deals and is valued at $8.1 billion — includes precision guided munitions, bombs, ammunition, and aircraft maintenance support.

The arms are being sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with the UAE then transferring some to Jordan.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement on Friday saying the 22 arms sales are needed to “help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“Delaying this shipment could cause degraded systems and a lack of necessary parts and maintenance that could create severe airworthiness and interoperability concerns for our key partners, during a time of increasing regional volatility,” Pompeo said.

He added: “These national security concerns have been exacerbated by many months of congressional delay in addressing these critical requirements, and have called into doubt our reliability as a provider of defense capabilities, opening opportunities for U.S. adversaries to exploit.”

Pompeo added that using the emergency provision is intended as a “one-time event.”

“Section 36 is a long-recognized authority and has been utilized by at least four previous administrations since 1979, including Presidents Reagan and Carter,” he said. “This specific measure does not alter our long-standing arms transfer review process with Congress. I look forward to continuing to work with Congress to develop prudent measures to advance and protect U.S. national security interests in the region.”

Notices posted on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency website show the approvals include sales to the Saudis for surveillance aircraft support and maintenance of Saudi aircraft, and to the Emiratis for 20,004 precision guided munitions kits, 331 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 20 RQ-21A Blackjack drones.



Liberal Activist Judge Gets SUSPENDED For Six Months, And It’s All Because Of President Trump

A Utah judge has been suspended for six months without pay after he made a series of critical statements about President Donald Trump online and in his courtroom over the past few years.

The Utah Supreme Court filed its court ruling this past week on Judge Michael Kwan’s actions.

Kwan, who has served as a justice court judge in Taylorsville for 20 years, was cited for “improper use of judicial authority and his inappropriate political commentary,” the latter often involving President Trump.

The court noted multiple times when Kwan had provided political comments that criticized Trump, as a presidential candidate in 2016 and as president on his Facebook page and in court.

Three days after the 2016 election, Kwan wrote on Facebook, “Think I’ll go to the shelter to adopt a cat before the President-Elect grabs them all” — a reference to the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump was heard bragging about grabbing women’s genitals without consent.

Almost a month after Trump’s inauguration, Kwan said “welcome to the beginning of the fascist takeover” and questioned whether Congressional Republicans would be “the American Reichstag,” this time referring to the political body of Nazi Germany.



Democrat policies breed disease

Thousands of lives may be at risk this summer in Los Angeles and politicians could be to blame, according to one famous TV doctor.... “I want to give you a prediction here. There will be a major infectious disease epidemic this summer in Los Angeles.”

Pinsky described to Kilmeade what he believes to be the almost medieval conditions in the City of Angels and compared local politicians to Nero, the infamous Roman Emperor who allegedly fiddled while his nation burned.

“We have tens and tens of thousands of people living in tents. Horrible conditions. Sanitation. Rats have taken over the city. We’re the only city in the country, Los Angeles, without a rodent control program. We have multiple rodent-borne, flea-borne illnesses, plague, typhus. We’re gonna have louse-borne illness. If measles breaks into that population, we have tuberculosis exploding. Literally, our politicians are like Nero. It’s worse than Nero,” Pinsky 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)


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

We’re Not the Same Under the Skin

Blood can be racially or ethnically specific, and it makes a difference

“We need black blood.” I didn’t know what to say to this, not least because it had been said by the head of donor services at England’s National Health Service Blood and Transplant. The interview was for a book I was writing on blood, and his statement shocked me. Surely we’re all the same under the skin?

I knew the history of race and blood was an ugly one. America’s earliest blood bank, founded in 1937 at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, noted race on donor forms and other blood banks followed suit. During World War II, African-American blood was labeled N for Negro (and some centers refused African-American donors outright) and given only to African-American soldiers. Writing to Eleanor Roosevelt, the chairman of the American Red Cross, Norman H. Davis, admitted that segregating blood was “a matter of tradition and sentiment rather than of science,” but didn’t stop doing it until 1950. Louisiana banned the segregation of blood only in 1972.

But the Red Cross was wrong: While no one is suggesting forced segregation of blood bags, it’s now scientifically established that blood can be racially or ethnically specific.

Most people know about the eight major blood groups: A, B, AB and O, each of which can be positive or negative (the Rh factor). These are determined by genes, and what group you are depends on what combination of proteins and sugars — antigens — are on the outside of your red blood cells. The International Society of Blood Transfusion lists 360 known antigens, but the combinations are infinitely more. Many have no bearing on routine blood transfusion, though all were discovered because they caused a problem with compatibility.

A successful blood transfusion relies on sameness. If incoming blood has an antigen that you lack, your body can react badly to it. In extremely rare cases, the reaction can be fatal; and even if not, it can tax the immune system in people who are already weakened by their condition. Also, you will make an antibody, a sort of immune storm trooper, to better recognize the same antigen next time. Patients who need regular blood transfusions — those who have sickle cell disease, thalassemia or leukemia, for example — may face an ever decreasing pool of suitable blood because they keep creating antibodies.

Wouldn’t it be easier if all our blood was the same? Blame bugs. Much of the variance “has been driven by evolutionary selection by bacteria, malaria and parasites,” says Connie Westhoff, executive scientific director at the National Center for Blood Group Genomics at the New York Blood Center. If malaria finds its way into the bloodstream via a particular antigen, that antigen may change to defend itself, leading to different blood types. Cholera thrives better on intestinal cells derived from O-type stem cells, but O is also more protective against malaria. For many complicated reasons, only 27 percent of Asians have type A, but 40 percent of Caucasians do. Type B is found more commonly in Asia than Europe.

This works not just with blood types. Sickle cell trait is now known to protect against malaria, which is why sickle cell, a painful and debilitating disease caused by malformed blood cells, is found frequently — but not only — in people with African heritage, because malaria thrives in Africa.

This past winter, the case of a little girl named Zainab Mughal in South Florida illustrated all this complexity perfectly. Zainab, who is now 3, has neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer, and her treatment — chemotherapy and stem cell transplants — means she will need blood.

But she also has rare blood. She belongs to the fewer than 1 percent of the population missing an antigen that makes her blood some of the rarest in the world. She lacks both the antigens Indian B and Big E. Via appeals to the American Rare Donor Program, and then the International Rare Donor Panel in England, Zainab’s local blood banker, One Blood, found five donors with the same extremely rare type.

It was a tall order: The Indian B antigen is lacking in the blood of Iranians, Pakistanis and Indians, so donors had to have both parents from these populations. Two donors live in the United States, two in Britain and one in Australia.

Publicity about Zainab’s case, though it was extreme in its rarity, helped raise awareness.

Yet it is a difficult message: that our blood is different. When it comes to finding stem cells for bone marrow transplants, the search also has to be discriminatory. This time the issue is HLA, the human leukocyte antigens present in white blood cells.

“The reason why ethnicity comes into the picture,” says Dr. Abeer Madbouly, a senior scientist at Be the Match, a program run by the National Marrow Donor Program, the largest stem cell donor registry in the world, “is that HLA encodes the immune system, and the immune system goes through particular conditions based on where you are.” Depending on the threat, each population will develop particular sets of HLA types. In a diverse population like that of the United States, finding a matched donor becomes more challenging.

“Let’s say you have someone with African roots and someone from Asian descent coming together, and then they have an offspring of mixed ethnicities,” Dr. Madbouly says. “You have an African HLA and an HLA type common in Asian areas coming together to form a new type of HLA that is not common in either.” Though Be the Match added nearly two million donors to its registry last year, only 30 percent were what Dr. Madbouly calls “diverse.” That’s not enough.

Zainab’s situation is rare. What concerns blood bankers is a more common condition caused by uncommon blood. Sickle cell disease is predominantly found in African- Americans, and thalassemia among South Asians, and both conditions require precisely matched blood. But there is a shortfall between ethnic minority patients who need blood, and ethnic minority donors. In New York, Caucasians are 35 percent of the population but 58 percent of donors. Twenty-eight percent of New Yorkers are African-American but only 8 percent of donors, and that’s after five years of outreach by the New York Blood Center with its PreciseMatch campaign.

Even so, there was trouble when the Blood Center began in 2009 to offer the option to “self-declare” ethnicity on its donor forms. This was efficient: Without a budget to precisely screen every donation, they could home in on antigens known to be specific to certain populations. At first staff members were upset. “We didn’t educate the staff,” Dr. Westhoff says, “to know that we weren’t segregating the blood just to be segregating. We were doing it to send all the African-American units to the sickle program children because they were doing much better with blood that came from this same ethnic group.”

Disquiet was inevitable given sensitivity about whether race is skin-deep and whether differences should be highlighted. But the startling truth about blood is that acknowledging its differences can tip the balance between life and death for people who need it.

Blood bankers are reluctant to talk about why some communities are keener to donate than others, but read some of the “myths about blood donation” that they regularly publish and a picture emerges: Blood donation doesn’t make you put on weight. Nor does it affect your sex drive (though you shouldn’t do vigorous exercise within 24 hours). It is not against Islamic law or tradition. One of the most common reasons people who don’t donate give is that no one has asked them.

Cases like Zainab’s help reach these populations: Many of the 25,000 people who emailed in wanting to help were first-time donors. But as Susan Forbes of One Blood says, “The goal is for them to make it a habit and come back, and help boost the blood supply wherever they live.”



Don't knock NATO

Jeff Jacoby

THIS SEASON marks the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest feats of statesmanship since the end of the Cold War: the opening of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. It was in the spring of 1999 that Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic became the first of the nations from behind the Iron Curtain to join the Atlantic alliance. Seven more nations joined in 2004, and another three since then.

NATO today comprises 29 countries in Europe and North America. Much has gone wrong in the world over the past two decades. The enlargement of NATO is one hugely important thing that went right.

That is not the received wisdom, however. Elite academics and pundits have been denouncing the expansion of NATO ever since the idea was first broached.

Enlarging the alliance would be "a dreadful, potentially catastrophic idea," the Cato Institute's Ted Galen Carpenter warned at the time, calling it a 1990s "equivalent of the Treaty of Versailles, which sowed the seeds of revenge and an enormously destructive war." The Federation of American Scientists decried NATO expansion as "a Pandora's box" that would needlessly provoke Russia. Foreign-affairs sage George Kennan condemned it as "a fateful error." Opposition to NATO's eastward growth has flourished on the isolationist right and the pro-Russia left. So-called "realist" scholars blame it for Vladimir Putin's aggression against Ukraine. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman derides the expansion of NATO as "one of the dumbest things we've ever done."

But the naysayers are wrong.

NATO was founded 70 years ago in the turbulent aftermath of World War II. With the Soviet Union ruthlessly imposing totalitarian police states on half the European continent, the new allies were intent on keeping Europe's other half free and at peace. In the famous formulation of its first secretary general, NATO was created to "keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down" — and it did. Under America's nuclear umbrella, Western Europe remained safe from Soviet violence throughout the Cold War. Just three years after its birth, NATO began to expand, admitting Greece and Turkey in 1952, West Germany in 1955, and Spain in 1982. With each new accession, the zone of European stability and democratic freedom widened, and Moscow's scope for aggressiveness was reduced.

The end of the Cold War consigned Soviet communism to the ash-heap of history, but it didn't render NATO obsolete — far from it. It was as necessary as ever to "keep the Russians out," and newly liberated Eastern European nations lobbied to join the alliance. Writing in the March issue of Foreign Affairs, historian M. E. Sarotte described how leaders of the fledgling democratic governments in Budapest, Warsaw, and Prague first began talking about NATO membership within months of the end of communist rule in 1989, and how they earnestly pressed the matter with Bill Clinton after he became president in 1993.

"In our values and spirit, we are part of Western Europe," the Czech president (and former political prisoner) Vaclav Havel told Clinton. Lech Walesa, Poland's democratic hero, put the stakes bluntly: "We are all afraid of Russia," he said. "If Russia again adopts an aggressive foreign policy, that aggression will be directed to Ukraine and Poland."

If that was true for former members of the Warsaw Pact, it was even truer for the Baltic countries. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia had been forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, and desperately feared what Russia might do in the future to reassert its hegemony. When they broke free at last from the Kremlin and knocked on NATO's door, should the allies have turned them away?

Critics routinely claim that Russia was bound to feel endangered by NATO's expansion, but that turns reality on its head. NATO never threatened Russia. It was the threat of Russia's aggression that led most of its former satrapies into the arms of the alliance. Moscow may bristle, but a bigger NATO has kept it at bay. Russia has not dared to attack or invade any NATO member. Contrast that with its violent assaults on Ukraine and Georgia, which are not NATO allies.

After winning the Cold War, America might have pulled out and gone home. But just as NATO expansion continued to "keep the Russians out," it continued to "keep the Americans in," deeply invested in maintaining European peace and stability. Under US leadership, NATO provided the space for a new, post-Soviet normalcy to take hold. Within NATO's borders, peace has reigned for 70 years. Germany, once such a hateful menace, abandoned its murderous, militaristic ways. Liberal democracy has not triumphed everywhere in Europe — Hungary under Viktor Orban and, especially, Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan have grown alarmingly authoritarian. But the day is long past when half the continent could be terrorized, or plunged into war, by totalitarian superpowers.

That would never have happened had it not been for NATO. Seventy years after its creation, the Atlantic alliance remains one of the towering achievements of modern statecraft, with a membership that is bigger, and therefore better, than ever.



Pence Tells West Point Grads To Expect To See Combat

Vice President Mike Pence told the most diverse graduating class in the history of the U.S. Military Academy on Saturday that the world is “a dangerous place” and they should expect to see combat. “Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said.

Pence congratulated the West Point graduates on behalf of President Donald Trump, and told them, “As you accept the mantle of leadership I promise you, your commander in chief will always have your back. President Donald Trump is the best friend the men and women of our armed forces will ever have.”

More than 980 cadets became US. Army second lieutenants in the ceremony at West Point’s football stadium.

Pence noted that Trump has proposed a $750 billion defense budget for 2020 and said the United States “is once again embracing our role as the leader of the free world.”

“It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life,” Pence said. “You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen. Some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere.”

Pence spoke as the U.S. plans to send another 1,500 troops to the Middle East to counter what the Trump administration describes as threats from Iran; as the longest war in U.S. history churns on in Afghanistan; and as Washington considers its options amid political upheaval in Venezuela. The administration is also depending more heavily on the military to deter migrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

The class was the most diverse in West Point’s history, and Pence said he wanted to acknowledge “the historic milestones that we’re marking today.”

The 2019 cadets included 34 black women and 223 women, both all-time highs since the first female cadets graduated in 1980. The academy graduated its 5,000th woman Saturday.

The 110 African Americans who graduated were double the number from 2013.

Pence said the graduates also included the academy’s 1,000th Jewish cadet.

Pence did not serve in the military but noted that his late father served with the Army in the Korean War.

“And as I stand before you today here at West Point I can’t help but think that First Lt. Edward J. Pence, looking down from glory, is finally impressed with his third son,” Pence said. “So thank you for the honor.”

The ceremony was Pence’s second visit to West Point and his first as commencement speaker.



Trump sees 'great progress' in trade negotiations with Japan

President Trump said on Sunday that "great progress" is being made in trade negotiations with Japan.

The president focused on agriculture and beef in a tweet sent during his trip to Japan, adding, however, that "much will wait until after" the nation’s elections in July.

"Numerous Japanese officials told me that the Democrats would rather see the United States fail than see me or the Republican Party succeed - Death Wish!" he added in another post.

Speaking to a reception of Japanese business leaders Saturday evening, Trump said the relationship between the U.S. and Japan "has never been stronger" and called it an "exciting time" for commerce between the two countries.

“You're doing fantastically well. I was looking very closely on the ride over at some of the numbers being produced in Japan, and you're doing great,” he said, according to a White House transcript of the president's remarks.

“I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that's OK. Maybe that's why you like us so much. But we'll get it a little bit more fair, I think. I think we'll do that,” he added, noting that Japan is ordering a “great deal” of U.S. military equipment. Trump also mentioned last week’s reopening of Japanese markets to U.S. beef exports.

“We welcome your support in these efforts, and we hope to have several further announcements soon and some very big ones over the next few months,” he said.

Trump's visit to Japan also included a number of ceremonial events, including a round of golf Sunday morning with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump on Sunday also attended a sumo tournament, where he awarded a "United States President’s Cup" trophy to the champion.



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 27, 2019

Media Forced to Cover FBI Lovebirds Story

A message from Phelim McAleer

Well it has just been unbelievable - we have had a great launch with amazing media coverage of our FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers project. We have supporters like you to thank for the current success of this project.

Politico has called the show, which stars Young Superman Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson, “Hamilton for the Make America Great Again crowd.” That isn’t such a bad analogy. Should we get T-shirts made with this inscription?

The Hollywood Reporter states that the play, which we are also filming, will put Trump's campaign and presidency under the spotlight. That’s what we are hoping will happen. When we release the film online, you won't believe what was going on behind the scenes, with law enforcement personnel boasting in texts to one another that they were subverting the democratic process.

USA Today also says that the focus of the play is on Trump. That is half right since the focus of the play is on revealing the truth about those who tried to end the Trump campaign and presidency.

This is only part of the coverage this story has received, but the great thing about these reports is that the mainstream media are forced to cover the story that they really, really want to ignore. FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers is a verbatim play consisting entirely of the text messages between FBI agents Page and Strzok and their answers when questioned in private by a Congressional panel. We have the transcript of that grilling and the play has no added drama - it is just their own words verbatim.

As Dean Cain said: “I look forward to playing Peter Strzok as written by Peter Strzok.”

What is especially infuriating is that Deadline Hollywood saw us writing about the death threat to actors and their audience of this production, and the only thing they thought was noteworthy was that we were “fundraising” of it. This is crazy!

Someone has threatened to burn alive actors and their audience, and Deadline Hollywood thinks this is a non story and doesn't reach out to us or to industry people to get them to condemn it. Instead, they believe that the people who received the death threat are the ones who should be condemned.

This is why it so important that the FBI Lovebirds project goes ahead. The truth is that we are slightly behind where we would like to be at this stage in fundraising. We should be 35% funded and we have just hit 26%. We did get off to a good start but undoubtedly things will slow down over the Memorial Day weekend. We want to continue to expose the lies that are being told and continue to force the media to cover this story, even in their own twisted way. Without the proper funding, we won't be able to properly film and promote the project and release it to a wide audience.

So please, give what you can. If you have already donated, think about giving again. Would you also do us a favor? If you share this link - - with just 5 others and they donate the same as you, this project could be funded within hours. This would be a phenomenon that the media could not stay quiet about.

Via email


Nancy Pelosi, profile in courage? Hardly

by Jeff Jacoby

I WONDER SOMETIMES whether officials at the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, which presents the annual Profile in Courage Award, have ever read Profiles in Courage. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1956 book, then-Senator John Kennedy described eight US senators who upheld an unpopular political position with fortitude, even though it meant defying their party or allies and jeopardizing their careers.

Recipients of the Profile in Courage Award are supposed to epitomize the kind of political fearlessness that JFK extolled. But while some have indeed been exemplars of conscience who put the public good ahead of their own political safety, others definitely have not. At times the award has served as a kind of consolation prize for haughty liberals whose disdainful manner alienated their constituents. At other times it has amounted to little more than a lifetime achievement prize for famous Democrats, such as Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy.

On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the newest Profile in Courage honoree. She received the award, according to the JFK Library, for shepherding passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and for "leading the [Democratic] effort to retake the majority" in the House of Representatives in 2018. Those accomplishments, impressive as they were, had nothing to do with political bravery. They attest to Pelosi's legislative and electoral acumen, not her moral grit. The Affordable Care Act was the top priority of a Democratic president and the Democrats who controlled Congress; it took no heroism to push it into law. As for quarterbacking her party's efforts to win more House seats — that's what party leaders are expected to do. No courage required.

Yet when Pelosi found herself in a situation where political courage was required, she showed none.

Just a few months ago, the House was roiled by the anti-Semitism of freshman Representative Ilhan Omar. In public comments, the Minnesota Democrat perpetuated the ugly stereotypes that Jewish money dominates American policymaking and that pro-Israel Jews in Congress are motivated by "allegiance to a foreign country." That outraged respected party veterans, who introduced a resolution condemning such anti-Jewish bigotry. But the measure triggered an uproar from far-left Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus, who rallied around Omar and demanded that the resolution be watered down into a bland condemnation of all forms of hatred.

That was when the speaker of the House could have shown real mettle and insisted that Democrats repudiate the anti-Semitism in their ranks. Instead, she caved to the extremists. The strong resolution was spiked, and Pelosi lamely excused Omar on the grounds that she hadn't understood the "full weight" of her slurs.

But if Pelosi doesn't fit the description of a profile in courage, there are others who do.

When Senator Susan Collins of Maine decided last October to support Brett Kavanaugh's elevation to the Supreme Court, she knew well that "her vote will haunt her politically for the remainder of her career," as The New York Times put it. The pressure on Collins to oppose Kavanaugh was noisy, public, and abusive. A crowdfunding campaign raised millions of dollars for a future campaign to unseat Collins if she didn't vote no. Her office was inundated with profane and threatening messages.

The House speaker is a Democrat, a liberal, a safe incumbent, and a powerful politician. Those don't add up to a profile in courage.

Undeterred, Collins cast the crucial vote for Kavanaugh, carefully explaining her reasons in a speech on the Senate floor.

Now that's what JFK would have called a profile in courage.



Profile of a Hater: Rep. Ilhan Omar

What should have been an inspiring story turned sour due to her own bitter hatred.

At one time, hers was an inspiring story: A young child is plucked from a Kenyan refugee camp four years after having escaped the strife in her home country of Somalia, and she and her family ultimately arrive in the U.S. before her 11th birthday. Instead, the feel-good tale of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has been sullied by her oft-documented anti-Semitism and her seeming ungratefulness for such good fortune. In fact, only her family’s wealth, prominence, and privilege allowed her such an opportunity, all while she rails against the “privilege” of others.

Now 37 years old, Omar’s rapid political rise tells part of the story, while then-candidate Donald Trump told another part on a 2016 campaign visit to Minneapolis: “[We] have seen firsthand the problems with faulty refugee vetting,” he said, “with large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state, without your knowledge, without your support or approval.” Among those refugees was Omar, who was just about to be formally elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, having won the Democrat-Farmer-Labor (DFL) primary over a 44-year incumbent legislator who fell victim to the changing demographics in a district that includes a Minneapolis neighborhood known as “Little Mogadishu.”

The area Omar now represents in Congress was formerly the district of Muslim convert Rep. Keith Ellison, yet it also hosts about half of Minnesota’s modest Jewish population. Not surprisingly, then, Omar’s anti-Semitic statements, as well as those expressing support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel were front and center during the campaign to succeed Ellison. While Omar denied backing BDS at a town hall event, Powerline blogger (and Minneapolis attorney) Scott Johnson put it succinctly: “Omar knows precisely what she is doing. She lies baldly and without conscience.” Ultimately, Omar got the DFL endorsement, which was tantamount to victory in her D+26 district.

To play devil’s advocate, perhaps there’s some truth to Omar’s claims that Republicans “spread misinformation about how refugee resettlement works.” She claims the current setup gives states “leverage” over knowing how many refugees they would get. That said, surely Omar doesn’t believe that “ignorance is really pervasive in many parts of this country,” does she? Or is she referring to the Left, which routinely traffics in half-truths and demagoguery?

Regardless, Omar lets the mask slip when, referring to recent pro-life legislation passed in Alabama and Georgia, she says, “If [the Religious Right] cared about or were concerned about children, they would be concerned about the children that are being detained and those that are dying in camps across our borders, or the children who are languishing in hunger and facing homelessness.” Setting aside the swipe at the pro-life movement, wouldn’t it be preferable if those children weren’t put in the position of being detained in the first place?

What Congress now has in Omar is an ardent leftist in a somewhat unique package: the first Somali-American elected to Congress and one of the first two Islamic women to serve. So that’s why, this week, she celebrated the “honor to preside over the House Floor” as speaker pro tempore. Far from any kind of real rebuke for her bile, she’s rewarded.

But her anti-American tendencies are evident when she talks to her political peers. Speaking to Benjamin Wallace-Wells of The New Yorker as part of a glowing article on Omar’s political rise, she told him, “We have values and ideals of prosperity and equality and protecting human dignity. All of these things are part of the American value system.”

So far, so good — until this: “But in actuality we have mass incarceration. We have people who literally are sleeping outside in sub-zero weather. We have all kinds of atrocities. We are caging children at our borders. We have police officers who are shooting unarmed black men. So we have practices that really do not live up to the values and the ideas that are very much part of our DNA.”

Omar goes on to say that her first impressions of America were romanticized, but then reality hit her hard. Writes Wallace-Wells, “It explained the reaction she had when, four years later, her family was accepted into the United States. In the camp, they had been shown films of pristine, quiet American suburbs. Omar arrived in busy, dirty New York in 1992, and asked her father why there was so much trash everywhere and people sleeping outside. He said not to worry, that this was not the end of their trip. ‘I didn’t imagine this was also a land of homeless people,’ she said.”

Ilhan Omar is a very fortunate woman in two respects, even though she doesn’t seem thankful for the first and hasn’t yet realized the blessing of the second. First, as a “feminist with a hijab,” she’s been given opportunities that are denied to millions of women in Islam-dominated nations. But second, since fellow freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is sucking up nearly all the oxygen in the room, Omar’s vile and outlandish statements aren’t part of the public conscience yet. And this is perhaps Omar’s biggest blessing to date.


CBS News Encourages Physical Assaults Against Political Right

With its embrace of the left’s milkshake assaults on politicians, CBS News has joined CNN’s campaign to encourage violence against the political right.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was just the latest right-leaning politician attacked with a milkshake over the weekend, and as my colleague James Delingpole points out, there is nothing funny or harmless about these assaults.

“Once you start suggesting that physical assaults of any kind are acceptable then you are legitimising violence. And violence has a nasty habit of escalating,” Delingpole writes, and that is exactly correct. The right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose, and hurling a milkshake at someone is a physical assault. Period.

Even if it does not escalate beyond the milkshake, you are still throwing a physical object at someone, which at worst could injure them and at best vandalizes their property in the form of their clothes.

Physical assault is an extremely easy and moral line to draw, and we all know the media would hit Defcon 1 if a Barack Obama or Elizabeth Warren was ever hit with a milkshake. Nevertheless…

Here is CBS News openly encouraging physical assaults against their political enemies on the right:

"Protesters in Britain have weaponized the milk shake. In the latest of a series of attacks on right-wing politicians, Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage was doused with a milkshake yesterday. That was actually salted caramel if anyone is wondering.

[Laughter.] He was campaigning. These attacks have come to be known as milk shaking. Now, this follows egging. It follows pieing, punching. I don’t know. I’m sure it feels great. I’m sure people love the feeling. Pictures fly around the world. Put some of that energy into campaigning and maybe the people you don’t want to be in office won’t be in office."

That is not some talking head cracking wise, that is a so-called journalist, Tony Dokoupil, who co-hosts CBS This Morning.

This is yet another example of how the corrupt establishment media want to create an Animal Farm Affirmative Action world where the left enjoy more civil rights than the right.

When the right says something the media do not like, it is violence, racism, and dangerous. When the left does actually assaults someone, it is “great.”

The political elite, academia, the news media, Hollywood, and our tech lords are all abusing their power to grant the left the civil right to say and do whatever they like — including violence (see: Antifa).

Meanwhile, the right is silenced and slapped with scarlet letters over terms and traditional beliefs; for refusing to call a biological man a woman, for  opposing abortion and gay marriage, for using the term “illegal alien” as opposed to the Orwellian mush that is “undocumented immigrant.”

We are censored, blacklisted, de-platformed, and disappeared over ideas and words, while the left engages in actual violence and is applauded for it.

And now you have CBS News joining CNN in legitimizing, condoning, and encouraging physical assaults, but only against one class of people, the unprotected class.

Now ask me again why the political elite, the news media, tech lords, academia, and Hollywood are so desperate to take away our Second Amendment civil right to own a firearm…

So far there have been more than 330 documented hate crimes against Trump supporters. CNN and CBS consider that only a good start.



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 26, 2019

Lessons from history in support of Trump

Primarily Australian and German lessons

To this day it is widely accepted in Australia that R.G. (Bob) Menzies (later Sir Robert Menzies) was our greatest Prime Minister. He was the Prime Minister of Australia from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966. He is Australia's longest-serving prime minister, serving over 18 years in total. He ran Australia in the '50s and most of the '60s in what many now look back upon as a golden age. (I do. I was there). There was great embarrassment if unemployment exceeded 2% and life was generally tranquil, though Communist unions did their best to make trouble.

Doing nothing can be a good policy

But when people say what a great man Bob was, a common response was:  "But what did he DO?"  And that is a hard question to answer.  Whenever people came to Bob and suggested something that the government should do,  Bob would reply:  "But if we do that, that will create another problem here".  So Bob would send the suggestions away, saying that the best thing to do was nothing. 

People are always calling on the politicians to do something so it takes great political talent to do nothing.  And doing nothing means that the size of the government stays pretty small -- unlike what mostly happens today when the government never ceases to expand.

So Bob's talent was to let the people of the nation create any change they desired, with little or no government interference.  If enough people backed the change it would happen.  If it had little backing it would not happen.  So prosperity and quality of life increased almost entirely through private initiatives.

So the torrent of legislation to which all governments subject us was a comparative trickle under Menzies. He generally resisted the urge to meddle. And under him Australia was peaceful, calm and secure -- with unemployment negligible and living standards steadily rising. Contracts were enforced, criminals were punished and taxation was a fraction of what it is now. There was welfare for those who really needed it

Bob was however of Scottish origins and he inherited the great Scottish reverence for education.  So he saw it as a real problem that poor families could not send their children to university.  So, for once, he DID something about that. He instituted a scheme where the Federal government would send to university all children from poor families who had scored in the top third of High School grades.  The government not only paid the tuition fees but even gave the kid a living allowance.  It was called the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme and I was one of its beneficiaries.

 So Australian conservatives today only have to remember the world of Menzies in the 1950s and 1960s to realize that their ideal of a much smaller and fairer government is far from an impossible dream.

"Honest" Frank Nicklin

But Bob was rare even among conservative politicians for his ability to do next to nothing.

So let me mention another such rarity: "Honest" Frank Nicklin.  Would you believe a politician with the nickname "Honest"?  In WWI he was a war hero and after the war he was a banana farmer.  In 1957, he became the Premier of my home state of Queensland and ran Queensland for around 10 years in the 60s.  Frank was by all accounts a very nice man:  A pre-Reagan Reagan.  He got on well with the bureaucracy and even the unions.  So life in Queensland was very tranquil in his time.

How Frank did it can perhaps be gleaned from the words of a unionist who had just gone to see him with some request.  He was asked afterwards what had happened with his request.  He answered:  "Mr. Nicklin can say No in the nicest possible way"!

But, like Bob Menzies Frank did do something:  He spent a lot on upgrading the infrastructure -- roads and bridges etc.


And then we come to an example that older Americans will know about: Ike.

Ike didn't like to rock boats and mainly just wanted to let people get on with their own lives.  He kept the government low-key and tried to reduce government financial deficits.  But he too did SOMETHING.  Like Frank Nicklin, he spent a lot on building up infrastructure -- a big network of high quality interstate highways.  That network is in rather bad repair these days but if all the money wasted on the global warming myth had been spent the way the three men above operated, there would be no such problem today.

But it is wrong to say that conservatives favour the status quo.  Conservative-run legislatures legislate as energetically as any  but mostly that is just to undo the damage caused by previous Leftist policies.  It is Leftist changes that they oppose, not all change.  But, as we see above, even the three champion conservative leaders did also make positive changes: carefully considered changes that generated broad consensus

Trump looks to be going down a similar road.  He is mainly unwinding Obama-era initiatives rather than launch initiatives of his own.  But he too has the one big thing he wants to accomplish:  The Wall

East Germany and the virtue of stability

But the  Communist State of East Germany (the DDR or Deutsche Demokratische Republik) also has something to tell us about change. The regime is now long gone but its demise is particularly instructive.

When the Gorbachev reforms in Russia allowed it, thousands of East Germans breached the Berlin wall, leading to the downfall of the East German regime and a peaceful takeover of the Eastern lands by the West Germans in 1990.

Easterners had not generally foreseen any negative consequences of reunion but some soon emerged. In particular, the businesses and industries of the East were not remotely competitive with their Western counterparts and rapidly went broke.  This led to very high levels of unemployment and economic depression generally in the East and there very soon emerged among some people "Ostalgie" -- a longing for the old Communist regime, a longing that continues among some to this day

What Easterners miss from the old regime was stability, particularly stability of employment, but they also missed the orderly and predictable availability of goods and services as well.  You didn't have to compete for anything.  All was provided, albeit at a low level. So there was a brotherly feeling among Easterners and that is missed by some too.

So it is clear that some of the aspects of extreme socialism were and are appreciated by some people. The entire developed world does have a degree of socialism (welfare measures etc.) so there is clearly something basic in the appeal of socialism.

The great discovery of 18th and 19th century Britain, however, was that individualism was also beneficial -- particularly for generating wealth.  Money talked and it talked loudly.  Britain did have its socialist system (Workhouses, poorhouses, church schools etc) but they left plenty of room for individual enterprise.  And the rest is history, as they say.  In the developing, mostly European, world of the 19th century, Britain became the model and socialism took a back seat to individual enterprise because of its obvious advantages

So an obvious question is whether capitalism can deliver some of the things that socialists like.  The extensive welfare provisions already in existence already go some way towards that but is there more that we can do without wrecking our successful economic model.

East Germany gives us the clue.  The one thing that "Ossis" particularly liked was stability, the absence of change.  In particular they liked economic stability -- confidence that you would have a job tomorrow and that the job is easy to do.

That is in fact a thoroughly conservative wish.  Stability and an absence of change are good conservative values.  So where have we gone wrong?  Why did it take a Communist state to put conservative values into practice?  The answer is that all of life is a tradeoff.  Only feminists think you can have it all. And we have traded too much for economic liberty.  East Germany was poorer but more secure and relaxed and that tradeoff suited many people.

Menzies and tariffs

And there is a robust Anglo-Saxon democracy with all the traditional liberties that did offer something like East German tradeoffs.  Again we come to Australia in the 1950s under the long running Prime Ministership of the very conservative R.G.  Menzies.

Australia was very autarkic at that time.  It made its own cars and kitchen appliances plus much else.  Some goods were imported, chiefly from Britain, but Australian manufacturers were encouraged and were readily given tariff protection.  If you made toasters in Australia you did not have to worry about overseas competition.  A nice little tariff would protect you.

So businesses and their employees could relax.  Their factory would just keep running year after year.  The workers could plan their savings and their holidays with no fear that their job would suddenly vanish due to a new competitor entering the market and selling the product at a cheaper price.

And under that system there was very little unemployment. Anyone who wanted one could get a job.  Unemployment was always under 2%.  It was a crisis if it seemed likely to rise to 2%.  There is nowhere like that in the world today.

So Australia at that time was a capitalistic economy with East German characteristics.  Despite its tariffs, Australia was in the '50s one of the most prosperous places in the world. 

Australia is a major primary producer so there was often steak on the dinner table, most houses had a substantial backyard where you could grow most of your fruit and vegetables if you were so inclined, you could get on a steam train and go interstate to visit family and friends at vacation time, there was always the family car for local trips, the newspapers had lots of interesting news, particularly from overseas,  you could hear all the latest songs on the radio, the ladies had pretty dresses and even in small towns there were several bars where one could drink cold beer after a hard day's work.  What else is there?

But that is lost today.  Australia is now a normal nation with few tariffs and unemployment around 5%.  And you can buy things for pocket change that once would have been a serious hit on the budget.

Trump's tariffs

But there is hope. Trump  too looks like going down something like the Menzies road.  American unemployment has sunk to levels way below anything expected. So Trump has got an amazingly successful recipe for American prosperity.  Whatever he has been doing must be given great credit for creating a multitude of new jobs

Yet what Trump has been doing runs completely against conventional economic wisdom.  Economists preach free trade as the highroad to prosperity -- but Trump has been a champion of tariffs and import restrictions.  Yet Trump has recently said that he learned the free trade story while he was at Wharton and still regards it as the ideal.

So it is clear that free trade alone is not enough for prosperity in the real world we have at the present.  You actually have to sponsor jobs -- by protections if necessary -- in order to get good job growth.  There was striking evidence of that in the 19th century -- when American industry prospered mightily behind high tariff walls. 

So how do economists explain the 19th century boom?  It is to them a classic case of the "infant industry" exception.  American technology and industry were still very new and well behind the mature industries of the old world. So it had to be given time to catch up. And that does seem to be what happened.  So the 19th century experience is not necessarily a guide to the 21st century.  It gives us no assurance that Trump's policies will continue to succeed. As initial optimism wears off and the costs become evident, one could argue that America will rebound to the old 5% level of "frictional" employment.  You cannot square the circle for long.

Logical that may be but the Menzies precedent offers hope that Trump's success with jobs will NOT be ephemeral

Robert Menzies was a very conservative man. So what were his economic policies?  They were very protectionist and focused on creating and preserving Australian jobs. And Menzies stuck to his high tariff policies for the whole of his long Prime Ministership. So that sounds a lot like Trump's policies, does it not?  So what was unemployment like in the Menzies era?  It was almost always UNDER 2%.  It was regarded as a political crisis if it looked like it would go over 2%.  Frictional unemployment barely existed.

So the lesson is clear:  Maximum jobs requires some protection of industry.  Both Trump and Menzies have demonstrated that.  It could be called the "Trump/Menzies Rule": That there is a trade-off between tariffs and unemployment such that as tariffs go up unemployment goes down.  And the Australian precedent says that we can even hope for 2% under Trump.  How good is that?

So WHY is an actively protectionist administration needed for businessmen to be maximally enterprising?  It's dead simple.  It gives businessmen throughout the country the feeling that government has got their back.  It gives them the feeling that government will at least be on their side if there is a push for change of any sort.  Democrat administrations are, by contrast, enemies of business -- and blind Frederick can see that. Hence up to 9.6% unemployment under Obama compared with 3.8% under Trump. Businessmen are people too.  They respond to incentives and recoil from attack. So that is the theory:  Tariffs stimulate business confidence and confident businessmen go on a hiring spree in their keenness to make money

Trump has an economics degree from the Wharton school so he knows the downside of tariffs.  He knows that his tariffs are impoverishing to a degree but he also knows that stability is a neglected but important value. Money is not everything. It is unlikely that America will ever come near to East Germany in an offering of stability but Mr Trump is rebalancing American priorities in that direction, which should make America a better place overall.


Trump, Barr fight back against judicial tyranny of nationwide injunctions

This is a "Harry Reid" issue, where Democrats fail to think ahead.  If this egregious practice is not stopped now,  it will be open for Trump judges to block all the actions of a future Democrat administration.  That could be good

We are facing a constitutional crisis. Through the use of nationwide injunctions, a group of liberal federal district judges are fighting to maintain Obama era policies until President Donald Trump leaves office.

And now, President Donald Trump is fighting back as his administration seeks a case to be brought in federal court against the practice.

These judges’ actions are an attack on our system of government undermining the value of voting and the public’s trust in the impartiality of the judicial branch. These injunctions must be halted, either by the Supreme Court or by legislation.

Nationwide injunctions, which are also called universal or national injunctions, are issued by federal district judges and prohibit the federal government from enforcing laws or policies against anyone, not just the plaintiffs in the case.

There have now been 37 nationwide injunctions issued against the Trump Administration, which is significantly more than were issued in the entire 20th century. In contrast, there were only two nationwide injunctions during the first two years of the Obama Administration; and there were no nationwide injunctions issued during the first 175 years of our Republic.

Recently, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr gave a speech attacking nationwide injunctions, saying that the bar for getting one from a district judge is too low: “When Congress passes a statute or the President implements a policy that is challenged in multiple courts, the Government has to run the table — we must win every case.  The challengers, however, must find only one district judge — out of an available 600 — willing to enter a nationwide injunction. One judge can, in effect, cancel the policy with the stroke of the pen.”

And this is bad for democracy, Barr said, “Nationwide injunctions undermine the democratic process, depart from history and tradition, violate constitutional principles, and impede sound judicial administration, all at the cost of public confidence in our institutions and particularly in our courts as apolitical decision-makers dispassionately applying objective law.”

Barr is not the first prominent conservative to take aim at these injunctions. Barr’s predecessor, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has also denounced the injunctions. Sessions stated, “Increasingly, we are seeing individual federal district judges go beyond the parties before the court to give injunctions or orders that block the entire federal government from enforcing a law or policy throughout the country…. This trend must stop. We have a government to run. The Constitution does not grant to a single district judge the power to veto executive branch actions with respect to parties not before the court. Nor does it provide the judiciary with authority to conduct oversight of or review policy of the executive branch. These abuses of judicial power are contrary to law…”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has indicated his skepticism of the legitimacy of the injunctions. Thomas wrote, “These [universal] injunctions are beginning to take a toll on the federal court system—preventing legal questions from percolating through the federal courts, encouraging forum shopping, and making every case a national emergency for the courts and for the Executive Branch. I am skeptical that district courts have the authority to enter universal injunctions… They appear to be inconsistent with longstanding limits on … the power of Article III courts.”

Elections must have consequences. Members of Congress and Presidents are elected to set and implement federal laws and policies; and unelected, unaccountable lower court judges must not be allowed to obstruct the policies of the elected branches of the government indefinitely. The Supreme Court will soon weigh in on nationwide injunctions and make it clear to district court judges that they have no authority to issue these injunctions.

If the Court fails to do so, then it will fall to Congress to enact legislation to end these acts of judicial tyranny once and for all.



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)