Friday, June 07, 2019

President towers over London, and Queen comes up trumps

Comment from Australia

Scott Morrison [Australian PM] was overshadowed in Britain by Donald Trump. That is no criticism of our Prime Minister. Who in the world wouldn’t be overshadowed by Trump? Maybe the Queen, certainly no one else. For all that, Morrison was hot property in London. Everybody wanted to see him. Everybody loves a winner.

But Trump was the London superstar. The US President was on his best behaviour. Theresa May, beaten, battered and barely functioning, was a figure to excite pity even from Trump and he was as kind to her as a parent with a sick child.

Despite the oddities of his state visit, serious business was done. Trump is only the third US president to receive the honours of a full state visit. Trump responds well to flattery and he certainly did this time. He was charmed and impressed by the Queen.

It is worth pausing to note the incredible global triumph of the Queen. She is surely the most popular woman in the world. She is a magnificent silent rebuke to the age. She does not hector. She does not abuse. She makes no real gesture to the zeitgeist. She doesn’t do psychodrama and self-disclosure. Yet she is the most powerful element of Britain’s vast, accumulated soft power.

It is right for Britain to give Trump a state visit. It is not an honour for an individual but for the office of the presidency, an especially powerful symbol of continuity in a troubled time. The anti-Trump demonstrators covered themselves in ignominy. They are happy to welcome the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, but determined to mock and insult the US President.

Much that Trump has tweeted and said in the past has been vulgar and offensive. But I don’t see how you credibly criticise him for this by being more vulgar, offensive and extreme yourself.

The two most foolish Londoners this week were mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Khan styles himself a moderate, sensible, social democratic politician and once had ambitions to lead the Labour Party. Yet a day before Trump arrived Khan wrote a newspaper opinion piece that denounced him as the moral equivalent of the fascist dictators of the 20th century.

This is, frankly, grotesque on Khan’s part. Those fascist dictators include Adolf Hitler, who murdered six million Jews, invaded and laid waste to his neighbours and waged a world war in which tens of millions were killed.

It is perfectly legitimate to criticise Trump for all manner of things, stylistic and substantial. It is not only functionally insane to equate him to fascist dictators, it is deeply corrosive of the fundamental decencies of political debate. Forget all these pious denunciations of populism from progressive politicians. When figures like Khan use such grotesquely exaggerated moral categories to denounce Trump, they are promoting extremism more effectively than anyone else.

Khan of course does not espouse violence against anyone. But far from being a voice of moderation, he cynically manipulates the emotional extremism of our demented moment in history. He got the reaction he wanted. Trump tweeted critically of Khan, calling him, among other things, a “stone cold loser”. This encouraged much of the British media to embark on a full-scale jihad denunciation of Trump. Mind you, the outrage seemed tired and stale this time. Corbyn railed against Trump for criticising Khan.

There is an element almost of class snobbery here. Trump speaks in colloquial terms, which innately sound rough, whereas Khan speaks in the mellifluous Davos man dialect which, though oleaginous, sounds superficially reasonable. But Khan’s remarks were significantly more extreme than Trump’s.

Corbyn’s performance was even worse than Khan’s. Corbyn decided he would address the street protest against Trump. He also boycotted the state banquet the Queen hosted.

Trump’s own later comments on Corbyn were, by Trump’s standards, mild, calling Corbyn ”somewhat negative”. Corbyn’s irresponsibility is profound. If Corbyn should become prime minister, he will be responsible for Britain’s national security. As Theresa May observed, and as anyone with an IQ above room temperature knows, no relationship is more important to British security than the US relationship. Whether a Trump administration would trust a Corbyn government enough to continue the intelligence-sharing relationship at the heart of the entire Five Eyes Western alliance would be a critical question for British security.

Corbyn did not lead a street protest against Xi, whose government has put a million Muslim Uighurs in centres human rights activists describe as concentration camps. And he has a long history of supporting dictators such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

The only moment I felt a speck of sympathy for Corbyn was when Trump revealed that Corbyn had asked for a private meeting and Trump turned him down.

The biggest issue of substance was the US asking Britain not to allow Chinese telco Huawei to participate in its 5G network. Numerous Conservative leadership contenders have come out in favour of excluding Huawei. May’s preference, according to leaks, was to allow Huawei into the periphery of the network but not its core.

In his press conference with May, Trump said he was sure the Huawei issue would not be a problem. He didn’t force the Brits to capitulate in public but it looks as though they are moving towards the US and Australian position.

Former foreign secretary William Hague, who was in government when Britain was co-operating with Huawei to make sure its equipment was secure for British use, argued in a powerful newspaper column that the Chinese government, the technical issues and the strategic environ­ment had all changed and Britain should now keep Huawei out of its 5G network altogether.

If Trump’s visit achieved that policy change, it was a singular success.

The visit was originally conceived as coming after Britain had left the EU and would be on the lookout for new trade deals. Trump, enticingly, offers Britain a “phenomenal” trade deal if it ever does clear itself of the EU.

But that is all speculative. May formally resigns the prime ministership tomorrow. Everything then depends on the next Conservative prime minister, most likely Trump’s friend, Boris Johnson, who talked with Trump over the phone but otherwise sensibly kept a low profile.

This week, Johnson was the most level-headed British leader of the lot. Apart from the Queen, of course.



Life in the San Francisco Soviet

No free speech.  As in the old Soviet Union, police can come after you for what you say -- even using the good Soviet practice of breaking down your door

San Francisco public defender-filmmaker Jeff Adachi passed away at age 59 on February 22, reportedly from cocaine and alcohol plus a heart condition. Local reporter Bryan Carmody thought the circumstances were unusual and began to investigate. Carmody told Matthew Keys of the California Globe that as he gathered information, an unnamed individual provided him with a 16-page police dossier with photographs and investigator’s reports. San Francisco police began pestering Carmody for the source of his report, which he declined to reveal. The reporter was not charged with a crime, but San Francisco police chief William Scott said the reporter “crossed the line,” motivated by profit or animosity toward Adachi.

Two judges issued search warrants, and on May 10 the police broke down Carmody’s door with a sledgehammer and held the reporter in handcuffs for six hours. Police confiscated Carmody’s notebooks, cellphone, computer, hard drives, and cameras, taking away video equipment worth more than $30,000. Carmody still declined to reveal his source.

In classic style, San Francisco mayor London Breed flip-flopped on support for the raid, and local officials were divided. It remains unclear who launched the raid, but there is no doubt that the action violated Carmody’s First Amendment rights. No word yet whether any officers declined to participate in the raid, or expressed any regrets afterward. The officers’ unquestioned obedience recalls another case in 2012.

In November of that year, voters were to decide four ballot measures on taxes and spending. The Senate Governance and Finance Committee held hearings on these measures, and the California Channel gave voters statewide a chance to watch and gain insights. Senate boss Darrell Steinberg told state employees to pull the plug on the broadcast, and they did so, keeping voters statewide in the dark. Afterward, Steinberg proclaimed “I pride myself on being open and transparent.”

In similar style, San Francisco officials all claim to support the First Amendment. With police and public officials alike, California taxpayers should watch what they do, not what they say.



Biden Swipes Trump Over Brunei LGBT Abuses, But Obama Administration Embraced the Sultanate

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday sought to link the Trump administration’s LGBT policies at home to attacks on LGBT individuals abroad, saying the U.S. should refuse to cooperate with governments responsible for violations, “as we did in our administration.”

But the example he cited – Brunei’s recent phasing in of a penal code providing for death by stoning for sodomy and adultery – was not one on which the Obama administration took a strong public stand when it was first announced more than five years ago.

Addressing the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Ohio gala, the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful assailed the Trump administration’s LGBT policies, and suggested that it was sending a poor example to other countries.

“We have to make it clear – as we did in our administration – the United States of America will not stand for it in any countries and we will not cooperate with those countries who engage in this fratricide that they’re moving on,” he said. “Using religion or culture to discriminate against or demonize LGBTQ individuals is never justified, not anywhere in the world.”

Pointing to difficulties faced by LGBT people in a number of countries, Biden continued, “We’re losing ground to some of the divisive politics we’re battling here at home in the Trump administration.”

“That’s why it’s so important for the rest of us to speak out, make clear how repugnant we find these actions. For example in Brunei, a new law recently put into effect authorizes the execution by stoning of gay sex and adultery.”

“It was only thanks to the international outcry – not withstanding this president – and the global pressure that the sultan pulled back from that position, maintaining a de facto moratorium on the death penalty. Wasn’t that so nice of him? He has very little social redeeming value.”

Brunei’s controversial statute took effect last March, but on the eve of Ramadan Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said a de facto moratorium on executions would remain in force. (He did not rescind the Islamic code itself, saying it was “crucial in protecting the morality and decency of the public.”)

‘Our ambassador has relayed our concerns privately’

Despite Biden’s “as we did in our administration” remark, the Obama administration did not take a firm public stance when the Islamic sultanate first announced the shari’a punishments back in 2013.

Brunei was one of 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement which the Obama administration viewed as a top priority. As such the small, oil-rich sultanate was considered important enough to merit a number of visits by senior administration officials, as well as meetings between President Obama and Bolkiah in Washington and New York.

Obama intended to visit Brunei for an Oct. 2013 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit but canceled due to a government shutdown. Then-Secretary of State John Kerry did visit, and just days later the sultan first unveiled his shari’a penal code plans.

“Phase one” of the code took effect the following May, shortly after Kerry in a statement hailed the “excellent cooperation” between the U.S. and Brunei and described the sultanate as “wonderful.”

The development sparked a boycott – promoted by the Human Rights Campaign and others – of iconic Beverly Hills hotels owned by a Brunei investment fund controlled by the sultan.

But the Obama administration’s response was low-key.

That same month (May 2014), State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed Kerry had not spoken to the sultan since the law was announced seven months earlier, but said, “our ambassador has relayed our concerns privately to the government of Brunei.”

In September 2014, Bolkiah and his wife were invited to a reception hosted by Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Kerry met with Bolkiah in Jakarta a month later.

In June 2015, White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked about some LGBT activists’ criticism of the TPP, because of Brunei’s death-by-stoning plans.

He replied that while some argue such countries should be shunned or isolated because they “discriminate against people because of who they love,” Obama believed that engagement was the best way to advocate for the kinds of values he “has championed while sitting in the Oval Office.”

Three months later, the Obamas again hosted Brunei’s first couple at a reception on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, this time at the New York Palace Hotel.

When the TPP text was released in Nov. 2015, Earnest was asked why it did not include language “addressing laws criminalizing homosexuality in Malaysia and Brunei.”

He replied that there were provisions relating to “raising human rights standards,” adding that whenever Obama travels around the world “he makes clear to the leaders of other countries when he’s visiting with them how seriously we take the issue of human rights.”

Days later Obama met with Bolkiah again, at an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Philippines. In 2016 Bolkiah was back in the U.S. for an ASEAN summit hosted by Obama in California.

President Trump pulled out of the TPP shortly after his inauguration.

When Brunei earlier this year moved ahead with “phases two and three” of the shari’a code, the State Department said in a statement the decision “runs counter to its international human rights obligations, including with respect to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

“All governments have an obligation to ensure that all people can freely enjoy the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled,” it said. “The United States strongly opposes violence, criminalization and discrimination targeting vulnerable groups, including women at risk of violence, religious and ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons.”

Other elements of Brunei’s code range from limb amputation for thieves, lashes, terms of imprisonment, or fines for offenses such as “propagating” a religion other than Islam to a Muslim, drinking alcohol, attempting suicide or “failure to perform Friday prayer.”



FDA Approves $2 Million Drug. Blame the Price on Excessive Regulation

Last year, drug producer Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics received significant criticism for attempting to offer patients access to an experimental treatment procedure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (often called ALS or Lou Gherig’s disease) for $300,000. A drug recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration dwarfs this price.

A new gene therapy drug named Zoglensma became the most expensive drug in the world, costing patients over $2.1 million for one-time use. Zoglensma joins a small (and outlandishly expensive) group of treatments called gene therapy drugs. Gene therapy uses actual genes to treat or prevent diseases.

Before Zoglensma’s approval, its predecessor treatment, named Spinraza, cost patients $750,000 for the first year’s treatment and an additional $375,000 for each additional year. Other FDA approved gene therapy treatments cost between $375,000 and $875,000.

Zoglensma treats spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare genetic disease that restricts the nervous system’s ability to coordinate voluntary muscle movement. Nearly one in eight-thousand people carry the SMA gene. Tragically, the disease typically affects infants. In severe case, infants with SMA are unable to sit upright, suffer from severe joint pain, and ultimately die from respiratory failure. SMA is considered the most common genetic cause of death in infants.

Despite providing rare and promising results, many gene therapy drug prices place them beyond financial reach for many families in tragic situations. But why are these treatments so expensive?

A significant reason is government regulation.

Unlike other drugs regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, gene therapies are subject not only to the regulatory structure of the FDA, but also to the Office of Biotechnology Activities, and the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee. Excessive regulatory oversight creates an elongated and expensive route to approval. By one estimate, an approved gene therapy drug costs nearly $5 billion (five times as high as the average cost of FDA approval). Covering these costs is difficult because many of the diseases gene therapy drugs treat are extremely rare.

Gene therapies are also often tailored to specific individuals, making completing clinical trials for FDA approval very challenging and costly. One estimate holds it costs drug providers nearly $1 million per clinical trial participant. For reference, the first phase of the FDA approval process typically requires twenty to eighty participants. The third and largest phase usually requires at least 3,000 participants.

Gene therapies provide those with rare, serious, and possibly terminal conditions with the ability to significantly improve their quality of life. When pioneering medical breakthroughs provide such an opportunity, it is imperative to provide treatment where possible. Existing regulations serve to hinder access to treatment by making it prohibitively expensive. Drugs costing over $2 million are the latest symptom of the overregulation disease.



My scripture blog

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Thursday, June 06, 2019

Far More Than a Culture War Rages in America
America’s two greatest presidents, Washington and Lincoln, both believed that the ultimate threat to the United States wouldn’t come from abroad in the form of a foreign enemy but rather from within. In his Farewell Address, Washington warned of the dangers of “party passion,” and the “disposition to retaliate… [giving] ambitious, corrupted or deluded citizens… facility to betray, or sacrifice the interests of their own country…sometimes even with popularity…” Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” On another occasion he said, “…if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”

Of all the cultural changes that endanger the well-being and happiness of Americans and impair the governability of the nation, severing the present from the past and the rise of division and intolerance are probably the two greatest threats. In the last 25 years, division and intolerance have increasingly become defining characteristics of American politics and culture — attributes at odds with the vision of the founders and most successive presidents who understood that shared values and unity were the bedrock of American strength.

So all-encompassing has division and intolerance become now, that older generations hardly recognize in contemporary American culture, the place and spiritual home of their childhood. And today, one can rarely take in the arts on stage or in museums, comedy, contemporary Hollywood productions or major league sports without having one’s sensibilities offended or being confronted with politically correct inferences that reflect intolerance and condescension.

Beyond our borders it’s always been a crazy and depraved world. Anti-Semitic prejudice and intolerance has a long history in the Middle East and has been on the rise in Europe and the U.S., taking a turn for the worse on U.S. college campuses in recent years and punctuated this last year with mass murder and attempted mass murder at synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, California. In the last 25 years Christian persecution has been increasing in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa from the upsurge of militant Islam. And just when ISIS appears defeated, the shocking news of mass killings of Christians carried out by Islamist terrorists, who directed their bombings at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka Easter morning reminds us of the harsh reality and magnitude of anti-Christian persecution and intolerance.

In January, Newsweek magazine, which is no friend of Christianity, reported that “Christian persecution and genocide is worse now than in any time in history.” The Pew Research Center recently noted that “in 144 [out of 195] countries in the world, Christians are the most targeted religion.”

To the extent Americans are aware of these facts and that more Christians have died for their faith in the 20th century than at any time in history, some might find consolation that such persecution is primarily taking place outside of the United States. But is that really so and what is to come?

Historians whose research is based on primary sources know that the United States was founded by self-professing Christians. The Founders came from different denominations, but they agreed on fundamental beliefs. And when those fundamentals were applied to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the trajectory of human history was radically changed, for it was Christian Biblical principles that were the basis for man having inalienable rights from God that no government can deny or take away. In the words of President John F. Kennedy many years later: “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.” Similarly it was Christian principles in the Declaration and Constitution that asserted that the legitimacy of government came only from the consent of the people and that human dignity and equality for everyone was the calling of this new revolutionary United States of America.

The supposition that America was founded by Christians based on Christian principles does not mean that every American was or would be Christian. From the beginning, America’s doors were open to people of all faiths — or of no faith — to live in peace and tolerance, knowing they could practice their religion or lack thereof without harassment or discrimination. Christianity not only presupposes respect for people’s free will, but also tolerance, which is the essential guarantor of the rights of others to differ in their personal beliefs and expression.

The earliest groups of settlers coming to America were Protestants — Pilgrims, Puritans, Baptists, Dutch Reformed, Anglicans, and others — and they had various and strong disagreements amongst themselves. By experience, they knew secular government was the only workable option because a theocratic-type alternative would be oppressive and cause perpetual turmoil and civil conflict. Since the founders were Protestants, they were basically optimists and believed that things work together for good because of the dual assumption that the hand of God’s providence is at work in human affairs and that spiritual truth would prevail through man, by love not force, by the example of service and sacrifice for others, and by the exercise of free will in the marketplace of ideas.

The Constitution was drafted in 1787, but its acceptance was stalled for several years because the larger and most influential states feared that the document gave the federal government too much power and they wanted to amend the Constitution to provide for and guarantee specific protections regarding the rights of the people and the states. Finally, with ten amendments, the Constitution was ratified by the last state, Rhode Island, in 1790. Those protections were of course known as the Bill of Rights, with the First Amendment providing the explicit guarantee of religious liberty, which included related rights of freedom of the press, speech, and assembly.

That the United States was a Christian nation was affirmed in 1892 in the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Holy Trinity Church v. The United States, wherein the Court’s findings included a lengthy and detailed accounting of the Christian foundation of both the individual states’ constitutions and the federal U.S. Constitution. The Court summarized its findings, stating: “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. [It is] impossible that it should be otherwise and in the sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”

Once considered the most towering figure in the Democratic Party, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in 1935 that, “We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic.…[W]here we have been the truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts, we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity.”

Fast forward a generation from Roosevelt and things began happening that rapidly changed the path of American values and culture. Two Supreme Court case rulings on the interpretation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause in the early 1960s removed reference and respect for the Almighty from public schools. Together, Engle v. Vitale (1962) and Murray v. Curlett (1963) ruled it was unconstitutional to have prayer, and readings or recitations from the Bible in the classroom or on the grounds of public schools.

Nine years later in 1971 the Supreme Court took up Roe v. Wade, ruling on January 22, 1973, that under the 14th Amendment, a woman’s right to abortion trumped any other competing rights and could not be abridged by state laws banning abortions. This ruling effectively stripped unalienable rights and equality from both the unborn and the father. In yet another 14th Amendment ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, handed down on June 26, 2015, in a narrow 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court, legalized same sex marriage nationwide, a decision that transformed the definition of the family, which had been for millennia the foundational institution for pro-creation and child-rearing. In the dissenting words of Chief Justice Roberts, that narrow majority ruling was likely to unleash a new level of intolerance and division because it “not only overlooks our country’s entire history and tradition, but actively repudiates it, preferring to live only in the heady days of the here and now.”

That these Supreme Court rulings incrementally and collectively weakened the authority and influence of Christianity in American society and culture, there can be little doubt. In legislating from the bench and creating whole new rights, these Supreme Court rulings are fundamentally problematic, as they run contrary to the Constitution’s requirements of separation of powers. In both Roe and Obergefell, the Supreme Court usurped and nullified the legislature, whose constitutionally defined role was to originate, debate, and vote on new laws — particularly important when those new laws would fundamentally change family life and society. But also — insofar as law is uncompromising — the Obergefell ruling would escalate the culture war because newly created rights of a minority were certain to clash with and encroach on the rights, sensibilities, and long-standing moral values and institutions held by the majority.

The imprimatur of five Supreme Court justices effectively opened the door to some 2% of Americans being able to dictate to the population at large what they can say, how they can conduct their business, and even influence what churches and synagogues are allowed to practice and preach. From there it’s been a short step in the LGBT agenda to demand ever more equal rights — such as equal access to public bathrooms and locker rooms of either sex, and the right to participate in sports under the transgender’s new sex rather than the biological birth gender like everyone else. And the way it has been going, those who dare question these trends are likely to be charged with being homo- or transphobic and engaging in hate speech.

Thus, the mooring of a Christian anchor hat helped provide protection and continuity around common sense and shared values — established over millennia — and for some three centuries dating back to colonial times, was cast aside in the course of a few decades. Effectively, a few Supreme Court decisions were instrumental in bending the trajectory of American society’s values and priorities that had been shaped by 2000+ year-old transcendent virtues, aspirations and unalienable God-given rights to a new direction preoccupied with unrestrained self-interest and man-made worldly rights of self-gratification.

To be fair, gradual steps leading to marginalization and discrimination against Christians in America were underway considerably before the aforementioned Supreme Court decisions. The influence of John Dewey, lauded as the greatest educational thinker of the 20th century, can be traced back to the 1920s. Dewey was an atheist, who believed and said, “There is no room for fixed and natural law or permanent moral absolutes.” In the decades that followed, various quarters of the public school educational establishment sought to downplay and erase the facts about the role of Christianity in America’s founding and shaping of the nation.

In 1986, Dr. Paul Vitz, a professor of psychology at New York University, published the findings of a commission’s study in which he participated to examine the degree and nature of bias in 60 social studies and history textbooks used by 87% of public schools across the United States. Not only was there no God being thanked by the Pilgrims in the first Thanksgiving, but the study found that almost every other reference to the Christian influence of early America was systematically removed.

In this regard George Orwell’s dystopian future depicted in 1984 has already arrived. Orwell wrote: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, and every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

As Orwell also noted, “the whole aim of Newspeak and Doublethink is to narrow the range of thought.” Political correctness has the same goal and that’s why its adherents are so intolerant — seeking to shut down and silence people with whom they disagree on college campuses across the country, clamoring for removal of historic statues and monuments, and demanding that people with differing views on such subjects as climate change and LGBT rights be silenced, fined or arrested.

Shocking as it might seem, a pattern has been emerging in the U.S. with similarities to the longstanding standard practices in Communist and Fascist totalitarian states — that is: to rewrite history and indoctrinate the youth so as to be able to manipulate and control the future cultural and political landscape.

In that sense the U.S. is closer to a future that is reminiscent of developments that led to persecution in 1930s Germany than anyone would like to contemplate or admit. The Nazi propaganda machine censored non-conforming views and sought to isolate and discriminate against Jews — a strategy intended to engender hatred and prejudice against them within the greater German population, thus setting the stage for the genocidal “final solution” of the Holocaust.

This is not to say that Christians are on the threshold of massive physical persecution in the U.S. But make no mistake, Christianity in America is being marginalized and put on the defensive by growing prejudice and outright hostility. And this trend of intolerance and disenfranchisement of Christians is happening at a time when the digital megaphone of social media is getting increasingly dominant.

Propaganda may actually be more effective in America than in totalitarian societies because of the power of repetitive messaging from ostensibly separate and diverse private media sources within the United States. Citizens in totalitarian societies aren’t as easily fooled because they know that the government controls the media and all its messaging.

In America propaganda narratives originate less from government than from progressive-minded groups of people who tend to think and act “collectively.” Many with this collective mindset are naturally predisposed to joining forces with what Boston University Professor Angelo Codevilla described as America’s Ruling Class, by pursuing careers in the knowledge and information industry — where others of a similar progressive mindset tend to work. Institutions that are largely dominated by the Ruling Class include the mainstream media; social media and information search multinational corporations — notably but not limited to the near monopolies of Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Microsoft and Google; the educational establishment and universities; government bureaucracies; large segments of the law practice and the Democratic Party; and many non-profit foundations.

It is noteworthy that the rise of militant secularism and a decline in tolerance and civil discourse has taken place concurrent with the rise and proliferation of social media in America. And for many, visceral hate and name calling have all but replaced civil discourse and debate. America is more divided now than at any time in its history, except perhaps during the period leading up to the Civil war. But because it is hatred and intolerance that fuel this so-called culture war, we have actually opened the floodgates of spiritual warfare, with the forces of darkness and deceit seeking the destruction of the forces of light and truth.

Just so we can’t miss what’s at stake, this epic spiritual battle — that threatens the very foundation of society and the nation — is driven by extreme hate and intolerance, and Christianity, the religion of love and the Savior, is now in the crosshairs.

Who can deny that America’s blessings are unparalleled in human history? The colonists, through their representatives, drafted a revolutionary Constitution that created a system of limited government with checks and balances and separation of power, which also prioritized the protection of the people’s rights and property. It was the first government in human history whose legitimacy came from the people and whose purpose was to serve the people.

As a result the United States rose from colonial poverty to the world’s most creative, prosperous and generous nation in just 200 years. A miraculous accomplishment. And that success happened not by chance, but because the nation’s Christian foundation and Constitution put limits on government and empowered the people to be creative and productive. In the words of the 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, “Who can doubt that it has been guided by a Divine Providence?”

Unfortunately, with affluence comes spiritual laziness. Comfortable and disengaged Americans have forgotten the admonitions by Washington, Lincoln, and a number of modern presidents, that it’s necessary to understand and overcome the forces and determined enemies within who seek power by emasculating the values of individual liberty and the institutions that have made America great. Some 20 years before he was elected the 40th U.S. president, Ronald Reagan reminds us that, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

What’s needed now is an awakening and spiritual revival within Christianity that acts as a positive force throughout America. That revival would not only inspire believers and reach non-believers, but it would also help the silent majority and less engaged people whose yearnings may be simple, such as the return of civility, satisfaction, and joy that comes from being more authentically connected with people and with the nation’s profound heritage. If Christianity is the source of both love and the principles that are at the heart of the Constitution, it is certainly worth defending. For as Christianity in America goes, so goes everything else.



Sen. Rand Paul: Violence Is 'Inherent to Socialism'

All their policies are coercive. Coercion is their only idea for how to get desired things to happen

Speaking to The Blaze’s Andrew Wilkow, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) said that violence is “inherent to socialism.” The senator explained that he and his wife discuss this topic within their forthcoming book “The Case Against Socialism”:

“And in it, we talk about, is it an accident that you get violence and genocide under socialism? Or is it an inevitability, is it inherent to socialism?” Senator Paul answers the question in the affirmative: “Really, is violence inherent to socialism? And I think the answer is absolutely yes.”

He said that in the upcoming book they note varying levels of socialism. In a small quantity, “it’s just sort of I threaten you with a fine but there’s no real followup,” Sen. Paul explained—but he said when the government seeks to take away private property by force, that is when violence ensues:

“And so the ultimate conclusion of socialism where you really take people’s property, people do resist and it becomes violent and that’s when you have the Gulag,” Paul said, pointing to history: “Whether it was Stalin, or Hitler, or Mao, Pol Pot, Maduro or Chavez, Castro—doesn’t seem to be that there is a benign socialism out there.”

While people highlight Scandinavia, Sen. Paul disagreed with applying the label of socialism to the region, stating that “they point to Scandinavia, which in reality really isn’t socialism, it’s a high tax welfare state, but you still have private property. They didn’t go confiscate the property in Sweden.”

Sen. Paul highlighted the pomposity of an ideology that claims the government can make better decisions for people than they can make for themselves:

“Socialism, or big government, or government control of things, ultimately is the most arrogant and elitist concept you can imagine. Because it is a very arrogant concept for me to think, I know what church would be best for you, I know what school would be best for you, and I think you’re eating too many hamburgers and that you need more vegetables—all of those things are arrogant for me to presume that I know best for you.”

He described the dichotomy between ideologies:

“And this is what is the real difference between those who believe in liberty and those who believe in coercion, is, they think they know what’s best, and they’re willing to send a guy with a truncheon and beat you over the head if you don’t listen.”

“And they say, ‘Oh, we’re not willing to do that we’re just going to fine you.’” But upon failure to pay the fine, “They’ll put you in jail,” he said, noting, “Ultimately it’s the threat of state violence, but because they presume they’re right.”



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, June 05, 2019

Democrats 2020: The Grievance Party
Describing the Democratic Party as one built on “identity politics” used to be a pejorative. But Georgia’s failed 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, recently defended this description of her party. “I would argue that identity politics is exactly who we are,” said Abrams, “and it’s exactly how we won. … When we refuse to engage in the conversation of identity politics, when we refuse to acknowledge that we see you and we understand you and we understand the barriers that you face, then what we are met with is a lack of trust.”

Fellow Democrat and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg apparently failed to get the memo. A week before Abrams embraced and even expressed pride in Democrats’ identity politics, Buttigieg was blasting President Donald Trump for his “racist” use of it. Trump, said Buttigieg, engages in “peak white identity politics” that creates a “crisis of belonging” in America “designed to drive apart people with common interests.” Buttigieg added, “When you do not belong, it doesn’t just put you in a bad mood; it puts you in a different country.”

By “identity” politics, Democrats really mean grievances. The party leaders push the narrative that blacks, Hispanics, gays, etc. are victims, whether due “inequality” or “sexism” or “racism” or “otherism.”

Take 2020 Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris, who announced plans to end the alleged grievance of “unequal pay.” Harris claims women working full time make 80 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men. She insists it’s worse for minorities: Black women are only paid 61 cents on the dollar, Hispanic women 53 cents. Never mind that the Labor Department long ago debunked this myth.

In 2009, the Labor Department, after controlling for education, job differences, number of hours worked and other factors, found that the wage gap between genders shrank to 5%: “A greater percentage of women than men tend to work part-time. Part-time work tends to pay less than full-time work. A greater percentage of women than men tend to leave the labor force for childbirth, childcare and elder care. Some of the wage gap is explained by the percentage of women who were not in the labor force during previous years, the age of women, and the number of children in the home. Women, especially working mothers, tend to value ‘family friendly’ workplace policies more than men. Some of the wage gap is explained by industry and occupation, particularly, the percentage of women who work in the industry and occupation.” As to the remaining 5% difference, the report said even that could be explained by reasons other than sexism.

Harris’ proposed “equal pay” law mandates that companies obtain federal certification to demonstrate women are not being underpaid. Failure to certify could cost billions in fines. Companies also incur fines of 1% of average daily profits for each 1% “gap” between the pay of male and female employees who perform the same job.

Harris might like to start with her own Senate office. Her average male Senate staff salary was 6 cents more on the dollar compared to that of a female staffer, the Washington Free Beacon found. Men earned more on the dollar compared to women during the first full month on Harris’ presidential campaign. But this is par for the course. President Barack Obama repeatedly railed against the alleged “pay gap” between men and women. Never mind that during his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama paid his non-intern male Senate staffers more than he paid female staffers, $54,397 to $45,152, respectively. In the White House, President Obama continued his “sexist” tradition, paying male staffers more than female staffers, $71,000 to $60,000, respectively, according to a 2011 annual report. Sen. Hillary Clinton, from 2002 to 2008, also paid male staffers more than female staffers — $15,708.38 more, with females getting 72 cents on the dollar compared to men, according to Senate expenditure reports.

Socialist Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders peddles another grievance: If some get paid a lot, why can’t others get paid more? “If we are a nation that can provide contracts to baseball players for hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Sanders, “don’t tell me we cannot pay teachers in this country the kind of wages and salaries they deserve.”

Sanders might be on to something. He implicitly suggests that under a privatized educational system, teachers would be compensated at the level of their expertise, as defined by the free market. Under such a private system, schools could bid for “top draft picks,” the best students coming out of education colleges. Put the Annual Teacher Draft on cable TV. The best sign lucrative contracts, renewed based upon performance, with pay adjusted up or down accordingly. No tenure, no requirement of an act of God to fire someone for incompetence. Grievance solved.

Sanders for secretary of the Department of Education!



No Credit Where Credit It Is Due
The quote is attributed to President Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan kept it on his desk: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

It is even more amazing what has been accomplished with the American economy, but Democratic presidential candidates, the media and economists such as Paul Krugman of The New York Times refuse to give President Trump any credit. Recall that it was Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner, who predicted that Trump’s election would trigger “a global recession.” One continues to wait in vain for an “I was wrong” statement from him.

The Economist, a center-left British magazine that includes coverage of events in the U.S. and is no fan of the Trump administration, recently published a remarkable editorial that contains gems Republicans should quote between now and the next election. They include a strong rebuke to the contention of many Democrats that “working people” are still struggling and that the improved economy continues to benefit only the wealthiest 1 percent.

The bleak picture painted by Democrats, the editorial says, “is at odds with reality.” The Economist refers to a worldwide “jobs boom” and (note to Bernie Sanders and others promoting socialism) asserts that, “Capitalism is improving workers’ lot faster than it has in years … the zeitgeist has lost touch with the data.”

Noting that U.S. unemployment at 3.6 percent is the lowest in 50 years, the magazine says, “Less appreciated is the abundance of jobs across most of the rich world.”

A more educated population, the matching by websites of jobs to qualified applicants, and, yes, economic stimulus efforts that helped fuel the emergence of economies from the last recession have all contributed to the American economy and many European economies.

Then there is this, which has been the gospel of conservatives for decades when it comes to welfare and its disincentive for many to find work: “… reforms to welfare programs, both to make them less generous and to toughen eligibility tests, seem to have encouraged people to seek work.”

This has forced liberal politicians to shift their focus from the unemployed to the “quality” of jobs. British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is quoted as saying, “Our jobs market is being turned into a sea of insecurity.”

“Reality begs to differ,” says The Economist. “Official projections” predict that by 2026, “America will have more at-home careers than secretaries.” Jobs and the skills necessary to fill them are changing, but not so rapidly that workers — and especially younger people — cannot adjust their education and training to match the new requirements.

Wages are rising almost everywhere, and, as the editorial says, tight labor markets “lead firms to fish for employees in neglected pools, including among ex-convicts. … American wonks fretted for years about how to shrink the disability-benefit rolls. Now the hot labor market is doing it for them.”

This is the argument that conservatives, many Republicans and the Trump administration have been making for some time. Economic growth, not government, raises most boats.

While acknowledging “The jobs boom will not last forever” and that a recession will eventually “kill it off,” the editorial concludes that the economic boom “deserves a little appreciation.”

It deserves more than that and would be more than appreciated if it all happened under a Democratic president. Republicans and the Trump administration should seize on this reality and promote it every day, asking voters if they want to continue with these successful policies or return to low economic growth and fewer jobs.

It is a question Democrats and their policies of higher taxes and reimposed regulations will find difficult, if not impossible, to answer.



Inheritance Welfare Liberals — The Effluent of Generational Wealth and Privilege

Irony: Legions of leftist cadres hate the wealthy elite benefactors who gave them rise.
“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” —John Adams (1780)

(Note: I have referenced what I call “inheritance welfare liberalism” in columns for two decades. What follows is a long overdue column devoted to this cultural malignancy eroding our nation’s foundational legacy of Liberty. It is especially virulent among affluent millennials who embrace leftist political and social organizations and policies, and spend their time and money propagating the same.)

Founder John Adams, before serving as vice president to George Washington and following him as our second president, was a Boston lawyer and Revolutionary War leader. In 1774, on the insistence of his second cousin Samuel Adams (my favorite of the Founders after Washington), John Adams played a key role in the drafting of the letter of grievances to King George III.

A year later, it was Adams who nominated Washington as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. And in June of 1776, Adams organized and chose the Committee of Five who would draft our Declaration of Independence: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, and Adams himself.

Bookending his Revolutionary War role, in 1783 Adams was appointed the American commissioner to negotiate the Treaty of Paris, ending the hostilities between Britain and the newly formed United States. The treaty was signed on September 3, 1783, and American independence was officially recognized.

Countless volumes have been written about Adams, perhaps the best being the 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning epic John Adams by historian David McCullough, which was also the basis for an acclaimed documentary series.

Adams, who was also father to our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, is frequently and fittingly quoted in The Patriot Post, and even a cursory review of his quotes in our Founder’s Quote Database reveals his timeless wisdom.

But for as long as I’ve been a student of American history and its relevance in the present, particularly the history of our Founders and the extraordinary legacy of Liberty they bequeathed to us, there has been one quote from Adams that always caused me consternation.

In May of 1780, before the pivotal battle of Kings Mountain and the surrender of British commanding general Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown, Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail in which he asserted: “I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”

In the context of his time, I understand the sentiments expressed by this esteemed Founder, but later generations proved the substance of his words errant. It was assumed by Adams that successive generations would be imbued with the patriotic virtues required to sustain Liberty.

But there is no such inherited legacy, as Thomas Paine noted in his 1776 pamphlet, Common Sense: “When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.”

And on the degrading influence of generational wealth on virtue, Alexander Hamilton wrote, “As riches increase and accumulate in few hands, as luxury prevails in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard.”

In his day, Adams’s words were shaped by a desire for peace and prosperity, for the ability of his sons to be free not to focus on war-fighting but on the sciences, that their children might be free to focus on the arts.

The problem with his perspective on posterity is that the generations following those who have sacrificed much to sustain Liberty know progressively less about the cost of sustaining that Liberty, and they tend to consider it a hereditary right rather than a responsibility. The consequence is a spiral into the fatal cycle of democracy, which follows this sequence: from bondage to faith; from faith to courage; from courage to Liberty; from Liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back into bondage.

This cycle is perpetuated by an abject ignorance of generational history — no sense of the price paid for freedom. The great 18th-century philosopher Edmund Burke observed, “The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” Indeed, that delusion is dependent on erasing the knowledge of the past. As 20th-century philosopher George Santayana concluded in his treatise, The Life of Reason, “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” English writer and dystopian philosopher Aldous Huxley put it more succinctly: “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”

James Madison’s Supreme Court justice, Joseph Story, wrote that if Liberty is to be extended to the next generation, then we must teach successive generations well: “Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.”

Like Liberty, a dollar earned and a dollar inherited are both dollars, but a dollar earned has a very different value to its holder than a dollar inherited.

Among the most influential in each generation are its wealthy. This would include the creators of wealth, but mostly it’s those in succeeding generations who inherited their wealth and its commensurate privilege. They are from “families of means,” not fortune-builders but fortune-spenders, disconnected from the challenges and difficulties most often associated with wealth creation.

I’ve written at length about notable politicians who were what I call “inheritance welfare liberals” — those who inherited their wealth and, by extension, the opportunity and class standing it provided. They are beneficiaries of generational privilege, dependent on financial inheritance and no longer embodying the essential spirit of the self-reliance that created that wealth — the self-reliance that forms the core of American Liberty. The resulting “dependence ethos” is virtually indistinguishable from the dependence ethos of those who have been generationally inculcated with the belief that they’re dependent upon welfare handouts from the state.

Though markedly dissimilar in terms of their power and influence, the underlying difference between inheritance welfare liberals and generations of poor welfare recipients is that the former depend on investment and trust distributions, while the latter depend on government redistributions.

The most influential inheritance welfare politician of the 20th century was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who seeded the so-called “Great Society” and the modern welfare state, effectively enslaving generations of poor people.

Of course, it’s not a universal truth that all who inherit wealth and opportunity are condemned to a welfare mentality. In some cases, the first generation has inspired the succeeding generation to work hard — to invest their lives rather than spend their lives.

But in most cases, by the third generation of those who are painters, poets, musicians, or otherwise engrossed in the arts, they have little if any attachment to the first generation which provided them the freedom and luxury of such pursuits. They place little value in their grandparents’ sacrifices to establish and maintain Liberty and the privilege they enjoy. They form today’s liberal elite, who put their time and resources into political and social causes that are antithetical to Liberty and free enterprise.

Because they have little genuine sense of self-reliance and are dependent on the labors of others, they identify with and become outspoken advocates for the dependence of others. They are the primary benefactors of today’s Democrat Party, which is devolving into a socialist party as it attracts ever-greater legions of “useful idiots.”

Ironically, these wealthy elite fund the front lines of class-warfare cadres, the effluent of generational privilege, who hate the very same inheritance welfare benefactors who gave them rise.

I should note that generational welfare-inheritance influencers are not always leftist protagonists. Some also form the core of establishment Republicans. The common denominator between wealthy leftists and establishment Republicans is that both groups are very disconnected from the bedrock grassroots Americans upon whom they’re utterly dependent for their existence.

John Adams’s wisdom on Liberty has been timeless and enduring, but his assertion about sequential generational beneficiaries of what was earned by previous generations has proven to be deeply flawed.

Finally, as it relates to the inheritance of Liberty, this just-past Memorial Day, I offered some advice to those who genuinely want to demonstrate their gratitude to all who gave the last full measure and paid the highest price for their Liberty, and those who, likewise, want to thank active duty and veteran military service personnel for the freedom they have, and continue to defend, at great cost.

That advice: Strive to be, first and foremost, an American citizen worthy of their sacrifice.

Tragically, most young people have no context for understanding what it means to be “an American citizen worthy of their sacrifice,” because their Liberty and privilege was inherited, not earned. Consequently, their ideas have been largely shaped by self-centered social and academic influencers who not only take Liberty for granted but who embrace the statism that progressively suppresses it.



Large AFRICAN Group Wades Across The Rio-Grande Into The United States

A group of illegals from Angola, Cameroon and Congo waded across the Rio Grande River and into the United States, video from Customs and Border Protection shows.

The video shows male and female adults walking through the water and into Texas, several with children on their shoulders.

The attempted invasion occurred on Thursday, according to the agency. The river — or “natural barrier” — was so shallow, the surface didn’t reach the adults’ waists.

There were 116 in the group, the agency says.



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, June 04, 2019

The Real Constitutional Crisis: Unaccountable Bureaucracy

Bureaucrats not only threaten our Constitution but actively trample it all the time

For the last few weeks, the lemming-like Democrat/Media Complex has been promoting the highly coordinated message that America is in the midst of a “constitutional crisis.” They’re right on the mark, but due to their reflexive hatred of Donald Trump, they’ve picked the wrong target. It isn’t the president who threatens the Constitution. It’s a cadre of unelected, unaccountable, insulated bureaucrats who not only threaten it but have actively trampled it — for years.

An investigation conducted by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), a nonprofit legal organization “that defends Americans’ liberties when threatened by government overreach and abuse,” reveals the enormous implications of unaccountable power-mongering. In the midst of pursuing litigation against the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) labeling of vaping devices and e-cigarettes as tobacco products, and thus subjecting them to regulations that will damage the industry and perhaps adversely impact public health — all of which is antithetical to the FDA’s mission — they discovered a career bureaucrat had signed off on the rule.

The problem? The bureaucrat had no authority whatsoever to do so. “The Constitution’s Appointments Clause requires that rules binding Americans must be issued by ‘officers of the United States’ — i.e., government officials appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, or hired by cabinet secretaries under congressional authorization,” PLF’s legal policy director Clint V. Brown explains. “Such officials are subject to political accountability, which allows them to wield political power such as issuing binding rules.”

By contrast, career bureaucrats are government employees hired through a merit system that is supposed to be immune to political influence in both hiring and firing procedures.

Because of this ruling, PLF decided to look more extensively at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversees the FDA. What they discovered should infuriate every American who supports the Rule of Law and the Constitution: “Looking at all rules issued by HHS from 2001 to 2017, we found that 71 percent of the 2,952 rules we reviewed were unconstitutional,” Brown reveals. “The worst offender within HHS is FDA, where 98 percent of rules are unconstitutional.”

Note first that a single government agency averaged implementing just under 174 rules every year for nearly two decades. Note further that even at the lower rate of 71%, 123 of those rules were unconstitutional. And while Brown notes that many of them are “highly technical’ and aimed at "scientific drug and food development,” others “are significant regulations that carry huge costs and have a substantive impact felt by businesses and consumers.”

Why has this occurred? Because we have a Ruling Class that is more than willing to abdicate responsibility and allow “faceless and unaccountable bureaucrats who never have to answer to the voters or the political process” to run the country. And because of the aforementioned merit system, firing many of these people is virtually impossible, no matter how badly they perform.

Is there any doubt that such a dynamic breeds arrogance?

Brown offers a partial solution to the problem, explaining that Trump could require that “only Senate-confirmed officials sign-off on his administration’s rules.” Yet that presumes those officials will be in charge of promulgating regulations and be beholden to the president should they fail to do his bidding.

Are they? In an effort to bash the president, the Miami Herald asserted that Trump was on the verge of “dumping” (more linguistic coordination) as many as 1,000 illegals per month on the state of Florida. Yet according to the president himself, he had no knowledge of the plan and subsequently killed it. White House and DHS officials characterized it as a “misunderstanding,” while both the Herald and Politico insisted Trump’s “chaotic” immigration policies were to blame.

Were they? Or was this incident indicative of unilateral action undertaken by officials interested in pursuing their own agenda, hoping Trump won’t notice or won’t care?

But Trump does care about immigration policy, and when he did take on the bureaucracy by removing DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph D. “Tex” Alles because they weren’t in alignment with his agenda, The Washington Post characterized it as a “purge” while The New York Times portrayed it as “political bloodletting.”

That would be the same Washington Post and New York Times that both insisted there was no crisis at the border until there was a “new reality” (Post) and we had reached a “breaking point” (Times).

America’s real breaking point? Bureaucratic arrogance — and the lawlessness it engenders — is metastasizing, driven by a 2016 election that didn’t produce the properly “enlightened” results favored by those bureaucrats. “Real coups against democracies rarely are pulled off by jack-booted thugs in sunglasses or fanatical mobs storming the presidential palace,” Victor Davis Hanson writes. “More often, they are the insidious work of supercilious bureaucrats, bought intellectuals, toady journalists, and political activists who falsely project that their target might at some future date do precisely what they are currently planning and doing — and that they are noble patriots, risking their lives, careers, and reputations for all of us, and thus must strike first.”

This evolution of bureaucracy to the point where we have a de facto government-within-a-government was not unforeseen. “The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations,” wrote president Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937.

That’s because, as Roosevelt so astutely noted, “the employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress.”

The Pacific Legal Foundation has blown up that long-cultivated fairy tale in no uncertain terms. And even more ominously, it’s not hard to conclude that unconstitutional rules perpetrated by the likes of bureaucrats at HHS might be among the most benign efforts to undermine the will of the American people. Far more brazen abuses of power has already been documented at agencies like the EPA, NSA, and the IRS.

In a better nation, the PLF’s revelations would engender a top-to-bottom review of every government agency, and every rule or regulation promulgated and enforced by unelected bureaucrats. In this one, Americans remain beholden to bureaucrats empowered by impotent, self-interested politicians, equally invested in avoiding accountability.

Or even worse. House Democrats called Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson “cruel,” “mean-spirited” and “despicable” for not breaking the law that prohibits him from providing housing assistance to illegal aliens.

“Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless we have a tyranny without a tyrant.” ―Hannah Arendt

That’s America’s real constitutional crisis.


Does the Constitution Mandate Universal Birthright Citizenship? Here’s the Answer

Amy Swearer

Who is a United States citizen by birth? This question has increasingly received national attention, in large part because of President Donald Trump’s promise to “end birthright citizenship.”

As I explain, however, in my recent Heritage Foundation legal memo titled “The Citizenship Clause’s Original Meaning and What It Means Today,” Congress definitively settled that question in 1866 when it passed the 14th Amendment. The problem is that Congress’ answer was far different from what Americans today often assume.

Even though the U.S. government has long abided by a policy of universal birthright citizenship—that is, of treating all persons born in the United States as citizens, regardless of the immigration status of their parents—the reality is that the Constitution doesn’t mandate this policy.

In fact, while the Citizenship Clause eliminated race-based barriers to birthright citizenship, Congress expressly intended to limit birthright citizenship based on the strength of a person’s relationship to the United States.

More importantly, the government today needn’t amend the Constitution in order to restrict citizenship for the U.S.-born children of illegal or non-immigrant aliens. It could simply stop abiding by a broad policy never required by the Constitution in the first place.

Context and Legislative History:

In the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, the Supreme Court held that the U.S.-born descendants of African slaves were not and could never become citizens. In short, black people were simply Africans, not African-Americans, and relegated to the status of perpetual aliens in the nation where they were forced to live and die.

This holding created a previously nonexistent permanent barrier to citizenship based on a person’s race or national origin. It also left the freed slaves essentially stateless—they logically owed allegiance to no sovereign except the United States government, but were nonetheless permanent aliens.

After the Civil War, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 as a direct attempt to override the Dred Scott decision and statutorily expand citizenship to the freed slaves.

That act defined the parameters of birthright citizenship for the first time in U.S. history—“[A]ll persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.”

Congress drafted and passed the 14th Amendment primarily to strengthen the protections of the Civil Rights Act by writing them into the Constitution itself. Under the 14th Amendment, citizenship belongs to “all persons born … in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

Some advocates of universal birthright citizenship argue that because the 14th Amendment’s definition of citizenship differs from that of the Civil Rights Act, Congress meant to override the Civil Rights Act and adopt the English common law’s jus soli—that is, the principle of citizenship by virtue of birth within a country’s geographical boundaries alone.

The legislative history strongly undercuts this argument. The 14th Amendment did not override or counteract the Civil Rights Act. On the contrary, the two definitions existed side by side for the next 70 years, and both courts and legal scholars roundly understood them as complementary.

The change in language was exclusively the result of disagreements over how best to exclude tribally-affiliated Native Americans from birthright citizenship, and in no way reflected a desire by Congress to fundamentally change the principles of citizenship initially laid out in the Civil Rights Act.

This is important because it means that the two definitions of birthright citizenship logically work together and inform each other. In other words, a person who is “subject to a foreign power” is also not “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” and vice versa.

The legislative history of both the Civil Rights Act and the 14th Amendment shows quite clearly that, while Congress sought to expand birthright citizenship to include the freed slaves, it also sought to exclude broad categories of individuals who maintained only a qualified or limited allegiance to the nation.

As several congressmen put it, birthright citizenship was reserved for those who, like the freed slaves, were subject to “the complete jurisdiction of the United States.”

To be “subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States” simultaneously meant that a person was not meaningfully subject to a foreign power such that his or her allegiance to the United States was divided or qualified.

Notably, even modern advocates of universal birthright citizenship agree that at least some individuals were excluded from citizenship because they owed only a qualified allegiance, despite having been born “in the United States.”

For example, few people seriously argue that the Citizenship Clause applied to Native Americans who were born subject to their tribal governments. Even though they were born “in the United States,” their allegiance was divided between the United States and their tribal governments, which were considered “quasi-foreign nations.”

The same legislative history that so clearly excludes tribal Indians from birthright citizenship also makes clear that the Citizenship Clause does not cover the U.S.-born children of other individuals who owe only a minimal, qualified, or temporary allegiance to the United States.

This explicitly meant the exclusion of “temporary sojourners,” who owe the United States a “sort of allegiance,” but who remain meaningfully subject to a foreign power.

While the concept of “illegal immigration” did not exist at the time of the 14th Amendment’s passage, the same principles would disqualify individuals who are illegally present in the United States.

What About Wong Kim Ark?

Despite claims by advocates of universal birthright citizenship that the Supreme Court has already held universal birthright citizenship to be “the law of the land,” the reality is far different.

It is true that, in 1898, the Supreme Court held in United States v. Wong Kim Ark that the U.S.-born child of lawfully present and permanently domiciled Chinese immigrants was a U.S. citizen under the 14th Amendment.

At its core, Wong Kim Ark was about the government’s attempt to circumvent the 14th Amendment and keep Chinese immigrants and their children from ever becoming citizens, by any means, just because they were Chinese.

At the time, federal law barred Chinese immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens, and they were, according to treaty obligations with China, perpetual Chinese subjects.

Much like the freed slaves, Chinese immigrants were prohibited from subjecting themselves to the complete jurisdiction of the United States because of their race, and were relegated to permanent alienage in a country where they would live and die.

This type of race-based discrimination in citizenship was precisely what the 14th Amendment was intended to prohibit, and the Supreme Court rightly recognized the system for the unconstitutional travesty it truly was.

While the opinion can also be read as affirmatively adopting jus soli as the “law of the land,” it can just as easily be read as adopting only a flexible, “Americanized” jus soli limited to the factors of lawful presence and permanent domicile.

This second interpretation renders the holding consistent with the original meaning of the 14th Amendment. It is also precisely what many legal commentators at the time thought the Supreme Court meant, too.

In short, Wong Kim Ark only deviates from the original meaning of the 14th Amendment if one chooses to read it acting under the assumption that the Supreme Court intended to upend decades of precedent and judicially supersede the clear intent of Congress. That assumption is unnecessary, illogical, and dangerous.

What This Means Today

What this means in practice is that the original meaning of the 14th Amendment’s Citizenship Clause has not necessarily been rendered moot by the Supreme Court. The United States government may today treat all U.S.-born children as citizens, but not because the Constitution requires it—or even because the Supreme Court judicially mandated it.

Ultimately, the government may cease to treat the U.S.-born children of illegal and non-immigrant aliens as citizens without first amending the Constitution.

They are not subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States because they do not meet the requirements of lawful permanent residency envisioned by Congress or laid out by the Supreme Court in Wong Kim Ark. Moreover, their failure to meet these requirements is not the result of race-based prohibitions.

The U.S.-born children of immigrant aliens (also known as lawful permanent residents) are, however, citizens by birth, and rightfully so—their parents are subject to many of the same rights and duties as American citizens, and have taken meaningful preliminary steps toward U.S. citizenship.

These are precisely the “lawfully present and permanently domiciled” individuals whose citizenship has never been questioned under the 14th Amendment.

Embracing the original meaning of the Citizenship Clause is not about racial prejudice or disdain for immigrants in general.

On the contrary, such a move recognizes that American citizenship is reserved for all those who, regardless of race or former allegiances, have taken meaningful steps toward solidifying permanent bonds with the American people, and have taken up the duties and responsibilities inherent to those bonds.

This is something both citizens and would-be citizens alike should celebrate.



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, June 03, 2019

Trump backs No Deal Brexit ahead of state visit to Britain, says Farage should mastermind exit negotiations with Brussels and vows to secure a UK-US trade deal after Britain leaves EU

People seem to forget that Trump is half British, so that surely gives him a good warrant to make comments about British politics.  It also tells us that his offer of a trade-deal with a post-exit Britain is a real one that he would get right behind -- to Britain's benefit.  There are many ways in which trade with America would suit Britain better than trade with the EU

Donald Trump has sensationally urged the British government to involve Nigel Farage in Brexit negotiations with the EU.

The President hailed the Brexit Party leader as a 'very smart person' who could have bolstered Theresa May's botched deal that she failed to push through Parliament.

On the eve of his state visit to the UK, his criticism of the Prime Minister's decision to omit Mr Farage from talks with Brussels will likely put noses out of joint in Downing Street.

'I like Nigel a lot. He has a lot to offer. He is a very smart person. They won't bring him in,' he told the Sunday Times.  'Think how well they would do if they did. They just haven't figured that out yet.' 

Mr Farage struck up a friendship with Mr Trump in 2016 when he endorsed his Presidential campaign and spoke at one of his Mississippi rallies. 

And Mr Trump - a former businessman who prides himself on his ability to strike deals - said that if he were tasked with leading negotiations he would 'walk away' if he could not broker the agreement he wanted.

He also suggested that if Mrs May had brought Mr Farage to the table earlier she may have been able to take a withdrawal agreement back to the Commons which MPs could swallow.

His branding of Mr Farage's exclusion as a 'mistake' by the Prime Minister comes a day after revelations he waded into the Tory leadership contest by seemingly backing Boris Johnson.

And tonight, it emerged ministers and courtiers fear President Trump could embarrass the Queen by publicly backing Brexit in front of her at a Buckingham Palace banquet tomorrow.

Officials involved in the planning of the controversial State visit are braced for Mr Trump to use his banquet address to heap praise on the UK's decision to quit the EU, despite the Royal Family's scrupulous attempts to remain above the political fray.

Palace sources last night insisted the Queen would be 'more than capable' of dealing with such controversy and Foreign Office insiders said they had not broached the subject with Washington.

A Whitehall source said: 'We've learnt that asking them to steer the President off a subject tends to have the opposite effect.'

And a Palace insider added: 'We are not in the business of telling a foreign leader what they can and cannot say for political reasons.'

However, such an intervention by Mr Trump would cause fury, given the lengths to which the Palace has gone to distance the Queen from the divisive debate about Britain's relationship with the EU.

When one newspaper accused the Queen of supporting Brexit in 2016, the Palace made a furious and unprecedented complaint to the Press regulator.

Comments about Brexit would mark a second breach of protocol by the President following his unusual endorsement of Boris Johnson to be the next Prime Minister – before Theresa May has officially resigned.

And after his diplomatic gaffe of backing the current Tory leadership frontrunner, Mr Trump is poised to anger Downing Street further by meeting Brexit Party boss Nigel Farage.

Mr Trump last week described him as a 'friend' and it is thought the pair could be guests at a dinner hosted by the President on Tuesday evening at the official London residence of the US Ambassador. Spokesmen for both men said last night they had yet to receive such an invitation.

In a separate development, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was forced to deny that he had pleaded with Mr Trump to endorse his bid for No 10, after the President said in an interview that some of Mr Johnson's leadership rivals had sought his blessing.

A Foreign Office source said that while it was true that Mr Hunt was in regular contact with Mr Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, it was 'categorically untrue' that he had sought an endorsement.

Jeremy Corbyn condemned Mr Trump's intervention in the leadership contest. 'President Trump's attempt to decide who will be Britain's next Prime Minister is an entirely unacceptable interference in our country's democracy,' said the Labour leader, who has snubbed an invite to tomorrow's State banquet.

Mr Trump responded to the Labour leader's decision by saying Mr Corbyn was 'making a mistake' in not attending because as a potential future Prime Minister 'he would want to get along with the United States'.

Commons Speaker John Bercow is also boycotting the banquet.

The Government last night pleaded with the public to welcome Mr Trump to London, arguing that 'the special relationship is generational, not one person'.

Home Office Minister Ben Wallace said: 'The relationships are daily and long-developed relationships. You don't unpick that. The special relationship is not Presidents and Prime Ministers.'

The US president also praised hard Brexiteer Boris Johnson, and it looks as if he will meet with the Foreign Secretary during his visit

Last night, President Trump's intervention sparked calls for the Queen to scrap tomorrow's banquet, to punish him.

Liberal Democrat MP Sir Ed Davey, a former Cabinet Minister now bidding to replace Sir Vince Cable as his party's leader, said: 'The Queen would be perfectly entitled to cancel Trump's dinner, given he's insulted the Duchess of Sussex and interfered in the selection of our next Prime Minister at a time of national crisis. 'We don't need friends like that.'

Sir Ed was referring to interview comments Mr Trump made describing the American-born Duchess of Sussex as 'nasty' over comments she made in 2016 threatening to move to Canada if he became President.

President Trump and his family will be wined and dined by the Queen and other Royals tomorrow night, along with 170 guests picked for their cultural, diplomatic or economic links to the US, in the opulent Buckingham Palace Ballroom

President Trump will be accompanied by First Lady Melania and four of his five children – Donald Jnr, Eric, Ivanka and Tiffany.



Electoral College Opponents Attempt to Have It Both Ways

Electoral College foes have been trying to get their way in Nevada for a decade. Have they finally succeeded?

Nevada’s state Senate approved National Popular Vote legislation on Tuesday. The measure is now awaiting approval from Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat.

The governor’s signature will add Nevada to a growing movement to ditch the Electoral College. Worse, Maine and Oregon could be close behind: National Popular Vote’s plan has already been approved by both states’ senates.

After years of stagnating, National Popular Vote has obtained support from four states in just one short year—or five states, if you count Nevada.

If Hillary Clinton had won the Electoral College in 2016, would this be happening? So far, National Popular Vote has been approved by blue states—and only blue states. Many Democratic state senators seem driven by Clinton’s loss: Democrats couldn’t win the Electoral College. Now the system must go.

Straightforward change has proven difficult, so they resort to dishonest tricks: In Minnesota, National Popular Vote’s compact was hidden in an elections omnibus bill. That didn’t work, so it was hidden, again, in an appropriations bill.

In many states, committee hearings are scheduled at the last minute, making it difficult for Electoral College defenders to testify. In Maine, National Popular Vote supporters resurrected a bill, despite the “ought not to pass” vote it earned in a legislative committee. Other state legislators and journalists have been invited to junkets in Hawaii, Aruba, or Key West, Florida.

Somehow, Electoral College defenders are never invited to these “educational” sessions. In fact, the fight over America’s presidential election process is beginning to more closely resemble kindergartners bickering on a playground—and the process has about as much integrity.

“That’s not faaaaiiir! I don’t like those rules. I’m better than you. I’m taking my ball and going home.”

Even the structure of the National Popular Vote legislation is dishonest.

The Constitution provides that America’s state-by-state presidential election system cannot be changed without the consent of three-quarters of the states (38).

Nevertheless, National Popular Vote seeks an end run around this process. It wants states to sign a simple interstate compact instead.

By the terms of that agreement, states agree to give their presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of the outcome within a state’s borders. The compact goes into effect when states holding 270 electors (enough to win the presidency) have signed on.

To date, 14 states plus the District of Columbia have agreed to the compact’s terms. Taken together, these states hold 189 electors. Nevada adds six more, bringing the total to 195—just 75 electors short of 270. If Maine (four electors) and Oregon (seven electors) join the cause in the next few weeks, National Popular Vote will be only 64 electors short of its goal.

National Popular Vote’s compact would radically change the presidential election system, even as it pretends to leave America’s current state-based Electoral College untouched.

National Popular Vote must be laughing all the way to the bank. It relies on the state-based aspects of the system when convenient, but then switches to reliance on a national tally when that’s convenient.

Consider what is happening on another front: California legislators are working to prevent President Donald Trump from appearing on their state ballot in 2020.

Assuming Trump is the Republican nominee, how could he possibly win the national popular vote when he will be unable to win even a single vote from the largest state in the Union? With the National Popular Vote Compact in effect, the election will be over before it begins.

California is entitled to omit candidates from its own ballot in America’s state-by-state election process. Indeed, many presidential candidates have been omitted from state ballots in the past, including Abraham Lincoln, Harry S. Truman, and Grover Cleveland. But it’s dishonest, at best, to seize the rights of state sovereignty for one purpose but then to pretend that a national tally can work for another.

Don’t worry. Red states such as Texas are likely to omit the Democratic candidate from their own ballots in self-defense.

And so the race to the bottom begins.

Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten. One important rule? You don’t change the rules of the game just because you lost. Instead, you work on your weaknesses, improving so you can win next time.



The Left's battle against 'inequality'

The fallback race card.

In his book "Discrimination and Disparities," economist Thomas Sowell notes that a disproportionate percentage of first-born siblings become National Merit scholars compared to siblings born later, presumably because the first-born starts life with no sibling competition for parental attention. This, says Sowell, illustrates the absurdities of expecting equal results when equal results do not even occur within the same family among siblings raised under the same roof with the same parents.

When I was growing up in South Central Los Angeles, one of my closest friends was "Paul." We met in the second grade and attended the same elementary school, middle school and high school. Not only did we take many of the same courses with the same teachers, our houses were identical.

When I first invited Paul to my home, about a half-mile from his, he was astonished. "Whoever built your house," he said, "built mine, too." He was right. When I visited his house, I found that the only difference was that my house had one tiny additional window that his did not. Same schools. Same teacher. Same neighborhood. Same house design.

Paul was a gifted athlete. Name the sport, he excelled. He was a starting pitcher for the baseball team, the starting shooting guard for the basketball team and the starting quarterback for the football team. He picked up a tennis racquet, hit balls against a backboard for a few weeks and then made the tennis team.

His parents were divorced, making Paul was one of the few kids in the neighborhood at that time to come from what my parents called a "broken home." Paul saw his dad infrequently. He rarely spoke about him. When he did, it was not positive.

Paul had a problem with anger. For the smallest offense, he could tell someone off, friend or foe, sometimes even his basketball coach. One time, after Paul came late to practice again, his basketball coach threatened to bench him the following game. Paul barked back, "Either I play or we lose." He played. They won.

When the coaches from major colleges came to see Paul play basketball, his best sport, they were impressed. But then they asked the high school coach about Paul's character, whether he was "coachable." Paul's coach, concerned about maintaining his reputation with college coaches, told the truth. Paul, he said, was a "coach killer." Bye-bye, Notre Dame. Bye-bye, Duke. Bye-bye, UCLA.

Paul ended up going to a small local college, not known for basketball. Did he double down, get better in hopes of transferring to a powerhouse basketball school? Hardly. Paul sulked, blamed racism and spent his first year of college playing basketball halfheartedly — that is, when he wasn't smoking dope and opining on "the oppression of the black man in America."

I went off to college in the East. When I returned during the summer, I visited Paul, who by then had changed his name to "Jamal" to distance himself from the "slave" religion of Christianity. When I informed him that Arab slavers took more blacks out of Africa and transported them to the Middle East and to South America than Europeans slavers took out of Africa and transported to North America, he told me to stop reading "the white man's history." He insisted "racism" had wrecked his basketball career, a career he argued that, but for the racism he encountered, was destined for the NBA. "Paul," I said, "you and I lived in the same neighborhood, in houses designed by the same builder, went to the same schools, took the same classes, had the same teachers. Why didn't 'racism' stop me?"

When I was in law school in Michigan, I visited my aunt who lived in a suburb of Detroit. During one visit, a friend of hers stopped by. He was a black man, about 40 years old. He sat near my aunt and me as we discussed my law school classes. Suddenly, the man began to cry. I could not imagine what I'd said that could've caused such a reaction. "Sorry," I said, "did I say something to offend you?" He gathered himself. "No," he said. "I wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer. But I got sidetracked with 'jackassery,' hung around with a bunch of knuckleheads and just wasted my time."

It doesn't have to be like this. My father always told my brothers and me the following: "Hard work wins." "You get out of life what you put into it." "You cannot control the outcome, but you are 100% in control of the effort." And "before you complain about what somebody did to you, go to the nearest mirror and say to yourself, 'What could I have done to change the outcome?'"

And finally, my dad said: "No matter how good you are, bad things will happen. How you respond to those bad things will tell your mother and me whether or not we raised a man."



China not as great a threat on rare earths as they’d like you to think

“Don’t say we didn’t warn you!”  That was a People’s Daily commentary threatening that China will cut the U.S. off from rare earth minerals used to make high tech components for computers, smart phones and military weapons systems.

The People’s Daily is an official newspaper for Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the largest newspaper group in the nation, and the threat comes as U.S. and Chinese trade officials attempt to find a way forward from their current impasse in negotiations.

The commentary was headlined “United States, don’t underestimate China’s ability to strike back” and spoke of America’s “uncomfortable” reliance on rare earth minerals from China.

That part is at least true. We do rely on rare earths from China (and elsewhere). The U.S. consumed about 9,500 metric tons of rare earths in 2018, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and we are 100 percent reliant on imports of rare earth metals.

Most of it, 80 percent, does come from China.

But left out of the analysis is that China has been losing global market share since its high-water mark of 95 percent of global production in 2010, down to 80 percent global market share now, mostly thanks to Australia ramping up production, which is now the number two producer in the world at 20,000 metric tons in 2018. Australia also has all of the elements we would be looking for, according to Geoscience Australia.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, “The estimated value of rare-earth compounds and metals imported by the United States in 2018 was $160 million, an increase from $137 million in 2017.”

These numbers do not account for rare earths used in manufacturing in China and then exported. But what’s China going to do, stop making computers and exporting them?

With all of that context, it does not seem like China blocking exports of rare earths may be much of a threat. Certainly not worthy of the hysteria we’re seeing.

What the U.S. has lacked is a domestic source. But that is changing. We have about 1.4 million metric tons of reserves in the U.S., and after years of not mining rare earths, in 2018 the U.S. ramped up production to 15,000 tons of compounds according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Barrett reports the Mountain Pass site has reopened in California’s San Bernardino County, and is currently exporting to China for processing but, as Barrett happily notes, MP Minerals, the company that owns it, “says it will re-open the mothballed processing facilities at Mountain Pass next year so that the mine can extract rare earth metals at home.”



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)