Friday, June 21, 2019

1973: The Year John Kenneth Galbraith Made Socialism Mainstream

Galbraith was a Fascist in all but name. I remember reading his "Affluenr Society" about 40 years ago and thinking that he had highlighted a clear problem -- without offering much of a solution to it.  His point that public goods (roads etc.) are almost always inferior in quality to private goods is true but I think now that it has mostly got to be that way.  There is no ready "solution" to it.  Socialist solutions will only make the problem worse. Market solutions (toll-roads etc) can however help

I started writing about economic issues in 1971, first in Reason then National Review. One of my most serious early articles –­and certainly the most unread–­ was a 2800-word critique of John Kenneth Galbraith in The Intercollegiate Review, posing as a book review with the mildly disrespectful title “Irrelevant Anachronism.” 

Ken Galbraith and I met years later, when he was invited to comment about my presentation at a 1987 debate at Harvard [recorded by C-Span] about “The Disappearing Middle Class” on a panel with Lester Thurow, Barry Bluestone and Frank Levy. 

In Paul Krugman’s ill-tempered 1994 book, Peddling Prosperity [which I reviewed as “Peddling Pomposity”], he called Galbraith “the first celebrity economist,” adding that “he has never been taken seriously by his academic colleagues, who regard him as more of a media personality.”

Today, Krugman is a leading celebrity economist and media personality. But he never approached the pop chart supremacy and political clout that Galbraith once had. Galbraith was, for example, the uncontested bandleader behind the deafening drumbeat for Nixon’s price controls in August 15, 1971.

My September 24, 1971 cover story for National Review, “The Case Against Wage and Price Controls” began by dismembering the arguments behind Galbraith’s briefly victorious argument that, “The seemingly obvious remedy for the wage-price spiral is to regulate prices and wages by public authority” [from The New Industrial State, 1967].

Once the central government can tell workers what their labor is worth and tell businessmen how to price their products, that is about as far as we can possibly get from a free market, and Nixon’s New Economic Policy was perhaps as close as the U.S. ever came to full-blown socialism (aside from rationing in major wars). The only thing worse would be allowing the government make virtually all decisions about what producers can produce and consumers can consume ­–­ otherwise known as “socialism.”

In his 1973 book, Economics and the Public Purpose, Galbraith found a “socialist imperative” for virtually every product or service of much importance. As in the case of his campaign for wage and price controls, this clarion call for socialism fit in with the temper of the times and did not generate the concern or skepticism the word sometimes arouses today.

When Americans today wonder what “socialism” means, they could do worse than recall how the quite mainstream commentator John Kenneth Galbraith defined it in 1973. Newsweek provided a concise summary on October 1, 1973 with Arthur Cooper’s glowing review of Galbraith’s book, Economics and the Public Purpose (also the topic of my review about its quaint irrelevance).

In the tradition of New Deal regulatory protagonists Berle and Means (whose inspiration he acknowledged in many books), Galbraith wrote of a “bureaucratic symbiosis” between the federal government and the “planning system” of giant corporations and their “technostructure” of lawyers, scientists, engineers and lobbyists.

Cooper explained:

Galbraith is certain that the people are being exploited by a [corporate-dominated] planning system whose interests run increasingly counter to their best interests… [and is] blunt about what is required to rectify the situation- “a new socialism.” This socialism demands various actions:

*          Set up “full organization under public ownership of the weak parts of the market system- housing, medical care and transportation.”

*          Encourage small-business men and firms in the market system to form trade associations, with governmental regulation of prices and extend coverage of the minimum wage as well as a major increase in the amount.

*          Abandon the unrealistic goal of full employment and institute instead a guaranteed or alternative income for those who cannot find satisfactory work.

*          Convert “fully mature corporations” into fully public [government-owned] corporations. This would mean public purchase of stock for fixed- interest-bearing securities so that capital gains would accrue to the public treasury. Such public corporations as Renault and the Tennessee Valley Authority are run this way now.

*          Also convert large specialized weapons firms doing more than half their business with the government into full public corporations. “The large weapons firms are already socialized except in name”-e.g., Lockheed and General Dynamics.

*          Impose a public authority to coordinate different areas of the planning system. Thus, the promotion of electrical use by appliance firms will not run absurdly ahead of the utilities’ ability to supply electricity.

*          Establish “a special presumption” in favor of public support of the arts.

Admittedly not a “revolutionary,” Galbraith allows that all this will come about only through political processes- once politics itself is emancipated from the grip of the planning system. Since he believes the Republican Party is “the instrument of the planning system,” Galbraith’s hopes repose in the McGovern wing of the Democratic Party. Will Galbraith’s ideas, which may be “radical” but certainly sound sensible, work? Maybe time will tell. But John Galbraith sounds like an idea whose time has come.

Mr. Cooper’s 1973 hope that the time had come for socialism proved a decidedly premature forecast, thanks in part to (1) George McGovern’s unprecedented presidential defeat and (2) the stagflationary disaster resulting from Nixon’s 1971-74 policy of mixing a deliberately debased dollar with Galbraithian wage and price controls.

Belief in socialism requires innocently trusting politicians and bureaucrats to make all your decisions for you, typically by promising to give you goodies that some other chump is expected to pay for. This inevitably involves greatly limiting individual choices: the fewer choices are left, the more “socialist” the system has become. “Single payer,” for example, means a single choice. Take it or leave it. Second or third choices become illegal.

If a single choice from the bossy political duopoly was better than many in the marketplace, we might as well replace all U.S. restaurants with a chain of federal cafeterias, and allow production and sales of only one people’s car in only one color.



Bernie replies

Bernie is good at highlighting problems but his socialist "solutions" are worse than the disease.  They have been tried many times with results that range from the bad to the catastrophic

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leveled a forceful attack on President Trump on Tuesday, accusing the commander in chief of seeking to secure his own reelection by playing to the country’s racial, economic and political divisions.

Sanders’s remarks came minutes after Trump formally launched his 2020 reelection bid at a campaign rally in Orlando, Fla. In a live-streamed response to that rally, Sanders cast himself as the antithesis of Trump, and pleaded with voters to deny the president a second term in the White House.

The Hill Reports:

“We have a president who is a racist, who is a sexist, who is a homophone, who is a xenophobe and he is a religious bigot,” Sanders said. “His strategy to win reelection is to divide people up.”

Speaking to supporters in Orlando on Tuesday, Trump touched on a series of familiar talking points. He decried special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as a “witch hunt,” railed against journalists covering the event and touted an economic boom under his tenure in office.

Sanders’s rebuttal, however, took aim at what the Vermont senator said Trump failed to address at the rally, including the threat posed by climate change and staggering economic inequality in spite of low unemployment rates and a soaring stock market.

“Listening to Trump made me feel very much that he is a man living in a parallel universe, a man out of touch with the various needs of people,” Sanders said.

For Sanders, it was a particularly pointed response, geared more towards building an electoral case against Trump than furthering the calls for political revolution that have defined much of the senator’s career. At no point, did he mention his democratic socialist ideology or criticize compromise-minded politics.

Instead, he made the argument that the country’s top priority, for the time being, should be to reject Trump at the ballot box in 2020.

That may prove to be a particularly effective message for Sanders in an election cycle in which Democratic primary voters are consumed with defeating Trump.

The Vermont senator has stagnated in polls in recent weeks, while other candidates, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have risen. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden, who has made beating Trump the central theme of his presidential campaign, remains the frontrunner.

Indeed, a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday showed six Democratic presidential hopefuls defeating Trump in Florida in hypothetical matchups. In that survey, Sanders led Trump by 6 points.

Sanders said on Tuesday that Trump’s political future was precarious, arguing that “poll after poll is showing the country that Trump is falling further behind in terms of his ability to get reelected.”

And while much of Sanders’s speech touched on familiar topics for the senator – stagnant wages, college affordability and the promise of universal health care – he urged voters to first reject Trump in 2020.

“We got a lot to do,” he said. “But our job most importantly is to defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country. Our job is to keep our eyes on the prize.”

“Our job is to resist Trump’s effort to divide us up.”  [Democrat identity politics don't divide us up at all?  A big case of projection here]



Trump on The Democratic Party: ‘More Radical, More Dangerous, And More Unhinged’

The Democratic Party “has become more radical, more dangerous, and more unhinged than at any point in the modern history of our country,” President Trump said on Tuesday night.

In a no-holds-barred speech in Orlando, Florida kicking off his re-election campaign, Trump lashed out at the Democratic Party, hitting it particularly hard on the issue of border security.

“No matter what label they use, a vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream,” he told the packed 20,000-seat Amway Center, where according to local media some supporters had been lining up since Monday morning.

“Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage,” Trump declared. “They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it. Not acceptable, it’s not going to happen.”

In one stinging segment of the speech, Trump said nothing would make him happier than to be able to work with Democrats to rebuild U.S. infrastructure, bring down drug prices, and compete with other countries.

“There’s so many great things we could do right now in a bipartisan way. But they’ve been afflicted with an ideological sickness that protects foreign borders but refuses to protect our borders; that promotes jobs overseas but allows our factories to close; that promotes democracy abroad, but shreds our Constitution at home; that declares support for free speech and free thought, but relentlessly suppresses them both; and that constantly savages the heroes of American law enforcement. We don’t want that, we don’t want that.”

Immigration and border security was among the issues the president sought to emphasize most in the rally.

“On no issue are Democrats more extreme and more depraved than when it comes to border security,” he said. “The Democrat agenda of open borders is morally reprehensible. It’s the greatest betrayal of the American middle class – and frankly American life our country has as a whole.”

“Nobody seen anything like it. People are pouring in – but we’ve stopped them.”

Not one of the 24 Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls, he said, has come out publicly in support of the personnel of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol agencies.

“In the ultimate act of moral cowardice, not one Democrat candidate for president, not a single one, has stood up to defend the incredible men and women of ICE and Border Patrol – the job they do is incredible.”

There was not a lot of early Twitter reaction to Trump’s speech from Democratic presidential hopefuls, although Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) posted a video response to a speech which he summarized as “an hour-and-a-half speech of lies, distortions and total, absolute nonsense.”

Sanders listed issues which he said Trump had not mentioned, including climate change, “oppressive” student debt, and gun violence.

“When Trump talked about immigration, he talked about it in his usual racist way – and his racist way is his effort to try to divide us up.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), without referring directly to Trump’s comments in Orlando, tweeted afterwards: “Donald Trump’s treatment of those seeking a better life in our country is inhumane. Make no mistake: In a Warren administration, we will defend and protect immigrants and their families.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tweeted: “Just a reminder: Donald Trump is a coward. He is a misogynist. He has torn apart the moral fabric of this country. And I believe his kryptonite is a strong woman who can’t be silenced.”

‘Abolish ICE’

A number of the Democratic presidential candidates have called for ICE to be shut down or restructured, although most did so around the middle of last year, when then-congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and others were championing the anti-ICE campaign.

Sanders said he wants to “abolish the cruel, dysfunctional immigration system we have today,” a step which he said would mean “restructuring the agencies that enforce our immigration laws, including ICE.”

Warren called for “replacing ICE with something that reflects our values.”

“We need to abolish ICE, start over and build something that actually works,” tweeted Gillibrand.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) told MSNBC, “I think there’s no question that we’ve got to critically re-examine ICE and its role and the way that it is being administered and the work it is doing. And we need to probably think about starting from scratch, because there’s a lot that is wrong with the way that it is conducting itself.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also called for ICE to be shut down.

“I think Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is right,” he said. “We should abolish ICE. We should create something better.”



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

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


Thursday, June 20, 2019

The opening speech in Florida

I am not going to repeat any of the text of what Trump said in the opening speech of his campaign.  Details of that are already widely available.  But I have a few brief comments.

I have studied closely the Fascist/Nazi era in prewar Europe so comparisons with that come easily to mind.  And there is no doubt that Trump's speaking style closely resembles that of Mussolini -- the staccato words, the air of indignation, the facial expressions  and the bodily movements.  And both men were preaching a message of insurgent patriotism -- of taking the country back from those who did not have its interests at heart.

But Mussolini was a very successful orator and leader.  So it is no surprise that another successful insurgent patriot would reinvent his approach.

The similarity to Hitler is much less marked.  Unlike Trump, Hitler was very fluent and did not continue on the same constant emotional level that Trump does.  Hitler's speeches were a crescendo, starting out very calmly and gradually building up to a huge pitch of emotionalism and excitement.  The only similarity I can see between Hitler and Trump is that both spoke extempore, without using prompts.   Obama, by contrast read almost every word of his speeches off a teleprompter. His persona as a speaker and leader was a complete fake.  He was basically a dummy.

So any Leftist reading these comments will be disappointed.  They will love the Trump/Mussolini comparison and say that Trump is therefore a Fascist but will hate the Hitler comparison which says that Trump is not at all like Hitler.  But that is the way that the cookie crumbles.  All it shows is that anybody who judges people by their speaking style is a fool.  It's policies that count, not the window dressing

And the policies of the two men are about as opposite as you can get. Musso summarized his policies as: "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato" (Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State).  Trump, by contrast, is doing his best to get the government out of people's lives  -- JR.


"More than a President":  CNN gets it right for once

"The Fake News doesn't report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high," tweeted Trump on Tuesday morning. "Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild - See you later!" It was his third tweet in 24 hours touting the crowds gathering to witness the campaign kickoff. "Big Rally tomorrow night in Orlando, Florida, looks to be setting records," Trump tweeted on Monday. "We are building large movie screens outside to take care of everybody. Over 100,000 requests."

It's easy to roll your eyes at this now-familiar Trump self-puffery. Biggest crowds in history! More than 100,000 requests for an arena that only seats 20,000! Enthusiasm beyond belief! The fake news won't report on it!

But here's the thing: The spectacle happening in Orlando in advance of tonight's big speech is yet more clear evidence that Trump is more than a politician or even a President -- he is a pop-culture phenomenon the likes of which none of the 23 Democratic candidates running can match.

Trump is viewed -- by his most loyal supporters and even by those who may not support him but don't loathe him -- as a sort of rock star. (The President's reference to his Orlando crowd as never before seen outside of rock concerts was almost assuredly accidental -- but telling nonetheless.) The ardor and commitment of those who stand beside Trump is the envy of any politician looking to keep his base behind him. And the reverence they express for Trump -- buying his MAGA hats, making homemade T-shirts with his face plastered on them, the guy with the "wall" suit -- is the sort of stuff that get-out-the-vote experts salivate over.

That anecdotal energy is reflected in polling, too. Trump's job approval rating among Republicans in the latest Gallup monthly tracking poll was 89% -- and it hasn't been lower than 80% since December 2017. While Trump's overall job approval number was just 43% in the latest CNN poll this month, when you included only those registered voters who described themselves as "very enthusiastic" about the coming election, 48% approved of the job the incumbent was doing while 50% disapproved -- a far closer split.

It's important to remember that prior to being President -- or even running for president -- Trump had woven himself into the cultural fabric. Whether through cameos in movies ("Little Rascals," "Home Alone 2"), his reality TV shows or a steady stream of personal life rumors in gossip rags, Trump was someone known across the country -- and really, across the world. And for a not-small subset of people Trump represented aspirational wealth -- a man who had succeeded so much that he could do and say whatever he wanted, all while living in the lap of luxury.

At the start of his presidential bid, many of the people who turned out were there to see a celebrity, not a politician. They figured that Trump probably had no chance but still wanted to see if he would sign their dog-eared copy of the "The Art of the Deal." Trump won many of them over with his performative nature and his passel of promises about how he could fix everything.

While many of those promises haven't yet come true -- the wall along the southern border is not completed, for example -- lots of Americans who still support Trump don't really care because they voted for a celebrity and that's exactly what they got. They don't hold him to the same standards they hold other politicians because they don't see him as a politician; they see him as a rock star.



Fake News Fail: Fans of Supposedly Unpopular Trump Line Up 40 Hours Early To Watch Him Speak

To hear the predominately liberal establishment media tell it, President Donald Trump is a deeply unpopular politician who assuredly will lose his 2020 re-election bid in embarrassing fashion to whichever Democrat he faces.

It would appear, however, that the people of central Florida and the surrounding area didn’t receive that message, as reports indicate there has been a phenomenal display of support for the president in that region that the mainstream media are reluctant to share with the rest of the country.

That show of support comes by way of the massive number of Trump supporters who have sought to obtain tickets to a Tuesday night rally in Orlando that will mark the official launch of the president’s re-election campaign.

Supporters started lining up for the rally early Monday morning, roughly 42 hours prior to the start of that event.

On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Big Rally tomorrow night in Orlando, Florida, looks to be setting records. We are building large movie screens outside to take care of everybody. Over 100,000 requests. Our Country is doing great, far beyond what the haters & losers thought possible — and it will only get better!”

Orlando’s WKMG-TV reported that the first handful of Trump supporters to arrive outside the Amway Center for the rally at 8 p.m. Tuesday showed up around 2:30 a.m. Monday.

The very first man in line, Gary Beck of Panama City, told the station, “There’s going to be a bunch of people, and it’s going to be pretty intense.”

“The electricity is going to be high,” he said. “It’s time for America to get back on its feet and be made better than it’s ever been before.”

Despite having a long wait in line until the event begins, those who showed up early will no doubt consider themselves lucky by Tuesday night, given that while their entry to the event is all but assured. The same cannot be said of the tens of thousands of other Trump supporters who have requested tickets to the rally, upward of five times as many as the 20,000-seat venue is permitted to hold.

Indeed, Florida Today reported Thursday that there had been such a massive response to the announcement of the campaign kickoff rally that organizers were forced to make the event a “first-come, first-served” affair.

“Orlando rally entry is on a first-come, first-serve basis, so a ticket doesn’t necessarily guarantee entry,” Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary for the Trump 2020 campaign, said in a statement to the news outlet. “There will be screens outside the venue to watch the rally once capacity is reached.”

The huge demand for the Orlando rally tickets is the opposite of what the establishment media would have everyone believe about Trump’s popularity.

Instead, the liberal media want Americans to think the Democratic candidates — who are drawing dozens, sometimes hundreds of supporters to their events — have the bulk of the nation behind them while Trump stands virtually alone.

The many people in central Florida who are willing to stand in line for a chance to see and support their president tell a vastly different story.



Why Doesn’t the Left Want To Know How Many US Citizens Live in America?

Questions as part of the coming census will include age, sex, ethnic origin, race, household relationship and if a housing unit is owned or rented. Reinstatement of the citizenship question will hang on the failure or success by Democrats to obstruct a Supreme Court vote.

President Donald Trump believes that “When a census goes out you have the right to ask whether or not someone is a citizen of the United States.” Democrats against the reinstatement of a citizenship question have bills in the House and in the Senate that would prohibit it.

Census results provide the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, congressional redistricting, electoral college votes, and the annual distribution of billions of dollars to states, counties and communities. The Constitution mandates a census every ten years.

A citizenship question was in the census until 1950 when two census forms were initiated; a short and a long form. From 1970 to 2000 a question regarding citizenship remained in the long form.

In 2010, President Barack Obama removed it. Trump wants it reinstated.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the reinstatement by the end of June, in time to have a resolution for the 2020 census. California and other states sued to block reinstatement. States with large immigrant populations fret that congressional seats and federal funding will be impacted.

Leftist groups assaulting the citizenship question include The Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, Muslim Advocates, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, National Association of Latino officials, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, several unions, and 124 more organizations. Declarations propose that a citizenship question is racially discriminatory.

Fearing that the Supreme Court would vote for reinstatement, outrageous political delay tactics from the House Oversight and Reform Committee are led by Congressman Elijah Cummings. He demands Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross provide additional testimony and secured documents. He issued contempt citations on each of them. Democrats hope to run out the clock on the Supreme Court’s ability to vote in a timely manner.

Trump invoked Executive Privilege to block Cummings heinous “slow the process” tactics. If he succeeds, the Supreme Court decision will be postponed, and the time frame will have passed.

President Lyndon Johnson signed The Voting Rights Act into law in 1965, with a goal to overcome legal barriers that prevented African-Americans from exercising their right to vote. There have been amendments; but the major premise remains: to ensure there are no legal barriers preventing American citizens from voting.

Only U.S. citizens are eligible to vote. To enforce the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department needs to know how many eligible citizens exist and where they live.

States with large immigrant populations claim that asking about citizenship will frighten people to avoid filling out census forms. The Census Bureau is legally bound to confidentiality, and cannot share respondents answers with anyone — not the IRS, the FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security or any government agency.

Congressional seats are not assigned by the number of citizens, but by the number of residents. Cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Chicago, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and others have high numbers of congressional seats due to large citizen and non-citizen populations. Non-citizen residents are counted in the census which could result in more congressional seats.

If there are fewer voters in a district than citizens eligible to vote, it could be a case for voter suppression under the Voter Rights Act. If there are more registered voters in a district than there are U.S. citizens, that could cause concerns of voter fraud.

In either case, the Justice Department must have citizen census numbers in order to make an informed determination.

Political acrimony is being used to prevent the 2020 census from determining how many residents of this country are U.S. citizens. In this, the left is on a fool’s errand.



Manafort To Avoid Time at Rikers Following Letter from Top DOJ Official

Paul Manafort was reportedly headed for Rikers Island to await trial on the state level in New York but will be held in a federal facility following a letter from a Department of Justice higher-up, reported The New York Times on Monday.

Manafort, a former lobbyist, was convicted on charges of tax illegalities brought by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his Russian interference investigation.

Federal prison officials said Monday that the former Trump campaign chairman will not be held at the notorious Rikers Island after Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen took an interest in where Manafort was held, The Times reported.

New York prosecutors did not object to Manafort’s attorneys’ proposal that he remain in federal custody and be made available to the state when necessary for health and safety reasons, a senior DOJ official told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Manafort is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan ahead of his arraignment next week, federal prison officials told Manhattan prosecutors Monday, according to a source cited by The Times.

A senior DOJ official confirmed to TheDCNF that Manafort had been transferred from Pennsylvania, where he is currently serving his sentence, to New York.

Manafort could stay at the Manhattan facility or go back to the Loretto, Pennsylvania, prison where he is serving seven-and-a-half-years, people with knowledge of the matter told The Times. Both are federal facilities.

Manhattan’s district attorney obtained an indictment of Manafort on 16 state felonies in mid-March.

The fraud charges brought by District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. mean Manafort could still have to serve prison time if convicted because President Donald Trump’s commutation and pardon powers extend only to federal sentences.

Manafort is serving a federal sentence as a result of two separate trials.

He pleaded guilty to and was convicted of charges related to political consulting work he did in Ukraine prior to joining the Trump campaign in 2016.

Manafort’s lawyer Todd Blanche, however, continues to object to the charges brought by Vance.



Only In Seattle: White Woman To Teach An ‘Undoing Whiteness’ Yoga Class

Just another "alternative" nut

If you’ve ever felt guilt as a white person doing yoga — you know, appropriating another culture like that — there’s a solution: you can take a yoga class focused on “undoing whiteness,” and instead of just releasing all of the tension in your muscles, you release all of the white supremacy embedded in your body.

The Seattle Times reports:

This spring, [Laura] Humpf publicized an “Undoing Whiteness” yoga class at Rainier Beach Yoga, geared toward white people wishing to “unpack the harmful ways white supremacy is embedded” in their “body, mind and heart.” Along with providing a contemplative space, the class would dissect the “pathology of whiteness” — an obliviousness to the batch of privileges society grants white skin — and how it operates in daily life.

Humpf, 39, sees her class as going beyond yoga’s elegant poses. It seeks, she says, to arrive at yoga’s literal meaning: union. White supremacy thwarts achieving that union within the individual and with others, says Humpf.

Along with posing the toxic whiteness out of themselves, participants hear excerpts from the book “Witnessing Whiteness,” meant “to help white people deal with discomfort around race-based conversations.”



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 19, 2019

Amazon hits out at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for saying it pays warehouse workers 'starvation wages' with tech giant saying they pay $15 an hour minimum

Does she ever get anything right?

Amazon fired back at New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Monday after she accused the company of paying 'starvation wages' to its warehouse workers and said low pay worker pay helped enrich billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos. She also said the firm underpaid 'every single person' in its workforce.

The Internet shipping giant responded after Ocasio-Cortez blasted the company in an interview on ABC's 'This Week' program Sunday. 

'.@AOC is just wrong,' the company wrote Monday, tagging her roughly 4 million followers on Twitter. 'Amazon is a leader on pay at $15 min wage + full benefits from day one. We also lobby to raise federal min wage,' the firm wrote.

Amazon executive and former Obama White House press secretary Jay Carney chimed in on Twitter: 'More than 42% of all working Americans earn less than the $15/hour Amazon pays entry-level fulfillment center employees. And all our employees get top-tier benefits. I’d urge @AOC to focus on raising the federal minimum wage instead of making stuff up about Amazon,' he fired back.

The firm hiked wages last year after coming under criticism by the gap in pay between warehouse employees and top execs.

This year Forbes magazine listed the Bezos family at the top of its billionaires list (Bezos is getting divorced from wife MacKenzie following revelations he was having an affair), with an estimated $131 billion worth.

A company spokesperson called the charges 'absurd,' adding that 'hourly associates at our Staten Island facility earn between $17.30 and $23 an hour, plus benefits which include comprehensive medical, dental, and vision insurance,' Fox Business reported.

'On top of these benefits, Amazon pre-pays 95% of continuing education tuition costs through its Career Choice program for associates who want to pursue in-demand careers. For anyone who wants to know what it's like to work in an Amazon fulfillment center, sign up for a tour today,' said the spokesperson.

Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at Bezos in a Sunday interview with ABC News where told host Jonathan Karl how she thinks Bezos made his trillion dollar company founded in 1994 a success.

She was asked if a true progressive program was put in place, would someone like Bezos still be a billionaire? AOC has made it clear she thinks having billionaires is immoral.

'But if his being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access healthcare…'

She said the amount Amazon workers are paid is 'certainly part of the equation'.

Amazon increased the minimum wage to $15 last November in response to criticism. The federal minimum wages has been $7.25 since 2009.

The company paid no tax to the US in 2018.

'When you have a very large workforce and you underpay every single person and then you also participate in taking billions of dollars of government subsidies, that could be part of it,' the New York Democrat told ABC's This Week.

'Whether Jeff Bezos is a billionaire or not is less of my concern than if your average Amazon worker is making a living wage, if they have guaranteed health care and if they can send their kids to college tuition-free,' she said Sunday.

'And if that's the case, and Jeff Bezos is still a billionaire, that's one thing.'

Bernie Sanders and AOC recently vowed to outlaw a new Amazon credit card designed for people with poor ratings over its high interest rate.

The Vermont senator accused the tech giant of 'greed' over the 28 per cent interest rate on its new card, and said it will only 'make the poor even poorer'. 'Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and I will outlaw it,' he added, in reference to legislation the pair introduced last month which would cap credit rates at 15 per cent.

Amazon launched its new secured credit card earlier this week. Users pay a deposit - in Amazon's case between $100 and $1,000 - to 'secure' a line of credit which acts as collateral and sets their spending limit.

In Amazon's case, the cards would only be available to those on their $119-per-year Prime package. The deposit would only be repaid when customers upgrade to a regular Amazon Store Card after seven months of on-time payments. Both the secured card and store card can only be used for Amazon purchases.

Sanders and AOC's bill, which was introduced last month, came after Sanders found the average annual salary for an Amazon worker is $28,000 but half of their employees were paid under that amount.

Likening Wall Street lenders to 'loan sharks', they say it is unconscionable that banks borrow at 2.5 per cent while lending at an average rate of 17.7 per cent. Many customers pay a far higher percentage on their loans.

The proposal also would let more than 30,000 post offices provide banking services for low-income Americans who currently don’t have ready access to banks.

With Republicans in control of the Senate, the proposals have virtually no chance of becoming law, but provide Sanders with a stumping tool as he runs for President.

Amazon cancelled plans to build a second headquarters in Long Island City recently after they faced backlash from residents of New York's Queens borough, including AOC, who complained about the negative affect the company would have on the community.



Elites Have No One to Blame for Populism but Themselves

Victor Davis Hanson

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election, and the “yellow vests” protests in France?

What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment?

What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and the stunning recent Australian re-election of conservatives?

Put simply, the middle classes are revolting against Western managerial elites. The latter group includes professional politicians, entrenched bureaucrats, condescending academics, corporate phonies, and propagandistic journalists.

What are the popular gripes against them?

One, illegal immigration and open borders have led to chaos. Lax immigration policies have taxed social services and fueled multicultural identity politics, often to the benefit of boutique leftist political agendas.

Two, globalization enriched the cosmopolitan elites who found worldwide markets for their various services. New global markets and commerce meant Western nations outsourced, offshored, and ignored their own industries and manufacturing (or anything dependent on muscular labor that could be replaced by cheaper workers abroad).

Three, unelected bureaucrats multiplied and vastly increased their power over private citizens. The targeted middle classes lacked the resources to fight back against the royal armies of tenured regulators, planners, auditors, inspectors, and adjustors who could not be fired and were never accountable.

Four, the new global media reached billions and indoctrinated rather than reported.

Five, academia became politicized as a shrill agent of cultural transformation rather than focusing on education—while charging more for less learning.

Six, utopian social planning increased housing, energy, and transportation costs.

One common gripe framed all these diverse issues: The wealthy had the means and influence not to be bothered by higher taxes and fees or to avoid them altogether. Not so much the middle classes, who lacked the clout of the virtue-signaling rich and the romance of the distant poor.

In other words, elites never suffered the firsthand consequences of their own ideological fiats.

Green policies were aimed at raising fees on, and restricting the use of, carbon-based fuels. But proposed green belt-tightening among hoi polloi was not matched by a cutback in second and third homes, overseas vacations, luxury cars, private jets, and high-tech appurtenances.

In education, government directives and academic hectoring about admissions quotas and ideological indoctrination likewise targeted the middle classes but not the elite. The micromanagers of Western public schools and universities often preferred private academies and rigorous traditional training for own children.

Elites relied on old-boy networks to get their own kids into colleges. Diversity administrators multiplied at universities while indebted students borrowed more money to pay for them.

In matters of immigration, the story was much the same. Western elites encouraged the migration of indigent, unskilled, and often poorly educated foreign nationals who would ensure that government social programs—and the power of the elites themselves—grew.

The champions of open borders made sure that such influxes did not materially affect their own neighborhoods, schools, and privileged way of life.

Elites masked their hypocrisy by virtue-signaling their disdain for the supposedly xenophobic, racist, or nativist middle classes.

Yet the non-elite have experienced firsthand the impact on social programs, schools, and safety from sudden, massive, and often illegal immigration from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia into their communities.

As for trade, few still believe in “free” trade when it remains so unfair. Why didn’t elites extend to China their same tough-love lectures about global warming, or about breaking the rules of trade, copyrights, and patents?

The middle classes became nauseated by the constant elite trashing of their culture, history, and traditions, including the tearing down of statues, the Trotskyizing of past heroes, the renaming of public buildings and streets, and, for some, the tired and empty whining about “white privilege.”

If Western nations were really so bad, and so flawed at their founding, why were millions of non-Westerners risking their lives to reach Western soil?

How was it that elites themselves had made so much money, had gained so much influence, and had enjoyed such material bounty and leisure from such a supposedly toxic system—benefits that they were unwilling to give up despite their tired moralizing about selfishness and privilege?

In the next few years, expect more grassroots demands for the restoration of the value of citizenship.

There will be fewer middle-class apologies for patriotism and nationalism. The non-elite will become angrier about illegal immigration, demanding a return to the idea of measured, meritocratic, diverse, and legal immigration.

Because elites have no answers to popular furor, the anger directed at them will only increase until they give up—or finally succeed in their grand agenda of a nondemocratic, all-powerful, Orwellian state.



The Left Held National #ImpeachTrump Rallies: ‘almost nobody showed up’

Activists held rallies across America on Saturday in support of impeachment against President Donald Trump. There was just one problem: hardly anyone showed up.

The Blaze Reports:

Who organized the rallies?

The rallies were organized by far-left activist group, which is pressuring congressional Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.

“Events will be visible, family-friendly, public gatherings to demonstrate to our representatives that impeachment is the will of the people. Together, we will inform our communities about Trump’s abuses and the process of impeachment, then make plans to convey our support for impeachment to our elected officials,” the group said on its website.

MoveOn partnered with nearly two dozen groups, including the far-left Women’s March, to host more than 130 protest events in cities across the country. Some politicians, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Minn.), even spoke at rallies.

Pictures across social media revealed that just dozens of activists showed up at most rallies, while just a few hundred showed up in larger, more liberal cities.



Trump Pushes a Major Win for Hunters and Anglers: Access to Huge Swaths of Previously Off-Limits Land

As part of President Donald Trump’s commitment to open public lands to the public, his administration has proposed expanding access at federally controlled wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries by more than 1.4 million acres.

The proposal is currently up for public comment and could take effect this fall.

“He’s basically said, ‘Git-R-Done,’” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said of Trump in an interview, according to the Washington Examiner.

“The president fundamentally gets that hunters and anglers are the true conservationists in our society. He understands that history and that we need to act in efforts to expand hunting and fishing while at the same time being respectful of private land rights, respectful of state law,” Bernhardt said.

The proposal would increase the number of places managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service that are open for hunting and fishing. Sites in the National Wildlife Refuge System open for hunting will increase from 377 to 382, while sites open for fishing will increase from 312 to 316.

Within the National Fish Hatchery System, 15 sites will be open for hunting or fishing for the first time, according to a statement on the Interior Department’s website. A full list of sites is available through the Fish and Wildlife Service’s website.

“President Trump is committed to expanding public access on public lands, and this proposal is executing on that directive by opening and increasing more access to hunting and fishing by the Fish and Wildlife Service at more stations and across more acres than ever before,” Bernhardt said in a Department of the Interior news release.

“Hunting and fishing are more than just traditional pastimes as they are also vital to the conservation of our lands and waters, our outdoor recreation economy, and our American way of life.

“These refuges and hatcheries provide incredible opportunities for sportsmen and women and their families across the country to pass on a fishing and hunting heritage to future generations and connect with wildlife.”

In the Examiner interview, Bernhardt said access is the first step to appreciation of all America’s outdoors has to offer, and recalled his access to federal lands in Colorado as an example.

“Exposure matters,” he told the newspaper. “Having those opportunities to succeed and fail made me more confident and made me more willing to accept challenges. [If] I lived somewhere where my parents had to drive 300 miles for me to hunt or fish, it wouldn’t have happened at all, though that might have been a lot better for my grades,” he said.

Bernhardt related a comment from former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, who told Bernhardt early in his career with the Interior Department to buy a boat.

“He said, ‘You need to get a boat. The great thing about a boat, if you get your kids on one, even if they are with their friends, they’re stuck with you,’” Bernhardt said, noting that his children are now as fond of the outdoors as he is.

In the Examiner interview, Bernhardt said that his staff went through federal regulations and culled a slew of them to simplify life for sportsmen, and that the new rules align federal regulations with state ones to end confusion.

“You’ve got to be a lawyer to figure out if you can hunt or can’t hunt,” he said, describing the current rules-heavy climate that limits access to public land.

“The biggest reason people don’t start or don’t stay hunting or fishing is largely the access to areas. I think there’s a lot of opportunity to expand access,” he said.

The proposal has the support of many groups that support the outdoors. “This announcement will benefit America’s sportsmen and -women by providing access to prime hunting and fishing areas,” Christy Plumer, chief conservation officer for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said according to the Washington Examiner.



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 18, 2019

NYT writes: U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid

President Trump tweets: "Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country..."

The story gives Russia forewarning that the USA has expert code crackers too and is thus a betrayal.  But the NYT is a firmly Leftist organ so it will of course do anything it can to harm the USA. All of the major bills advocated by the Democratic party in recent months -- such as the "Green New Deal" -- would be hugely disastrous for the American economy and the welfare of ordinary Americans -- but that's a feature, not a bug

Remember the "Affordable Care Act", which made health insurance effectively UNaffordable for many who previously did have insurance?  Again a feature, not a bug

The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.

In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections.

Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.

But it also carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.

The administration declined to describe specific actions it was taking under the new authorities, which were granted separately by the White House and Congress last year to United States Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that runs the military’s offensive and defensive operations in the online world.

But in a public appearance on Tuesday, President Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was now taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort “to say to Russia, or anybody else that’s engaged in cyberoperations against us, ‘You will pay a price.’”



American prosperity is rolling forward — despite impeachment-obsessed Democrats

By former Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.)

Now that House Democrats are on the verge of plunging the nation into an impeachment crisis, America is about to learn what President Obama was talking about when he lectured frustrated Republicans that “elections have consequences.”

Boy, do they.

A quick comparison of this session of Congress with the last clearly illustrates the point. By any measure, the 115th with about a thousand bills passed out of the House was, as then-Speaker Paul Ryan said, “One of the most productive sessions of Congress in a generation.”

Fast forward a year and there is little in the way of accomplishment, as some of us forewarned, in the 116th Democrat-controlled House. Not even a budget resolution. By contrast, the 115th passed three budget resolutions (I was senior freshman on the Budget Committee), and for the first time in over two decades passed nearly 80 percent of its appropriations on time.

About the only thing the 116th is guaranteeing in next year’s spending bills is a repeal of the Hyde Amendment ban on taxpayer funding of abortion.

Of course, the biggest achievement of the Trump administration and its work with the last session of Congress was a return of 3 percent economic growth with wages growing faster than at any time over the last decade. In fact, it’s been so successful that Joe Biden is trying to take credit for it.

But, as Bill Clinton used to say, that dog won’t hunt.

The truth is the Obama-Biden administration presided over the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression averaging just 1.5 percent annual GDP growth. All the while massively raising taxes and doubling the debt. The Carter-style malaise wasn’t lifted until tax and regulatory reform took place under the Trump administration and the 115th Congress.

Indeed, as important as tax reform was, freeing the economy from the Obama-era regulatory bender of some 600 “major” (having an economic effect of $100 million or more) rules was what really jumpstarted growth. By the end of 2016, there were over 95,000 pages in the Federal Register — the most since 1936, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Even after the election on Nov. 9, 2016, the Obama administration released another 145 regulations, costing more than $16 billion. The total compliance burden was the economic equivalent of the federal income tax costing Americans roughly $15,000 per household.

That’s why in the first 100 days of the 115th Congress we passed, and the president signed, a record 14 Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions successfully overturning these costly federal mandates — immediately saving at least $3.7 billion and 4.2 million hours filling out federal paperwork.

In Minnesota and across the country, this meant a resurgence in mining, logging and manufacturing jobs resulting in the US becoming a net energy exporter for the first time in 75 years. Contrast that with the $93 trillion “carbon tax” known as the Green New Deal seeking to retrofit every building in America and all of a sudden the infamous “bridge to nowhere” starts to look like a bargain.

There’s more work to be done with so-called agency “guidance letters” that have the force of law but get around congressional oversight. I introduced the Reforming Executive Guidance (Reg) Act in the 115th to make these documents subject to the CRA as well as the Administrative Procedure Act and just recently the administration put agencies on notice that all regulatory actions should be subject to review.

Finally, as Democrats refuse to fund border security, their $32 trillion “Medicare for All” scheme aims to provide benefits for undocumented immigrants and remove restrictions on taxpayer funded abortions — even late-term ones. Indeed, on health care, the Pelosi Democrats seem committed to finishing the job of socialized medicine that Obamacare started, even flirting with the idea of eliminating private employer-sponsored insurance.

And in case you thought the 115th was just a partisan exercise, think again. For the first time in decades, criminal justice reform was signed into law with the First Step Act as well as the bipartisan Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018. I was proud to sponsor the latter with Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), giving nonviolent offenders a second chance instead of lengthy or lifetime prison sentences.

Again, the contrast is striking with House Democrats now in control obsessed with never-ending investigations and partisan witch-hunts after $25 million, 500 subpoenas and a million-and-a-half documents found no evidence of collusion. Then again, if they really believe they were hired to start a full blown impeachment crisis in the middle of an economic expansion, they should take the vote.

Republicans in 2020 may just be sitting back channeling Clint Eastwood’s famous onscreen line: “Go ahead, make my day.”



Bernie Sanders: Americans 'will be delighted to pay more in taxes'

Another Leftist flight from reality

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, continued to defend Democratic socialism and argued that Americans would be "delighted to pay more in taxes" if his policies are carried out.

On Wednesday, Sanders attempted to sway voters into the ideology of Democratic socialism and argued in favor for what he called an "Economic Bill of Rights," where every American would have a right for items like free health care and education. He also insisted that President Trump is a "corporate socialist" for providing billions in subsidies and tax breaks for corporations.

During an appearance on CNN, the Democratic candidate was asked how he will respond to Trump's attacks on the campaign trail, specifically when the president invokes Venzuela as an example of failed socialism.

"Look, what we have to understand, for example... the United States is the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right," Sanders explained. "In many countries in Europe, Germany for one, you go to college and the cost of college is zero. I think in Finland they actually pay you to go to college. In most countries around the world the level of income and wealth inequality, which in the United States today is worse than at anytime since the 1920s... that level of income and wealth inequality is much less severe than it is right here in the United States."



One year after net neutrality ended, the Internet works better than ever

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement celebrating one year since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ended net neutrality:

“One year ago today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wisely ended the Internet regulatory nightmare that was to be net neutrality. Chairman Pai’s action was met by apocryphal cries of doom about the future of the Internet. Well, one year later, the domestic Internet is doing fine with advancements moving ahead which will deliver dramatically faster Internet to more Americans within the next five years.  With 5G and Internet speeds about to become 100 times faster than they already are, technology was always going catch up and rapidly overtake the stated rationale for the Obama era net neutrality regulations. Now that the limits of 3G and 4G infrastructure have been surpassed, the fear of throttling Internet speeds has become a footnote in history.

“Regulating the pipelines that the bits and bytes which make up the Internet might make sense to the 70+ year old philosophical and political leaders of the Democratic Party, but Pai’s vision of creating more and diverse types of pipelines to handle data travelling at ever increasing speeds is what leads us to the Internet of the future. We never needed net neutrality, which was nothing more than an obstacle to the 5G transformation of our digital economy.

“Americans for Limited Government thanks Chairman Ajit Pai and his fellow Commissioners on the FCC for their vision in ending net neutrality and allowing the flourishing of the Internet superhighway.”



Another amoral black

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by former campaign staffer Alva Johnson, saying “the complaint presents a political lawsuit, not a tort and wages lawsuit.”

“If plaintiff wishes to make a political statement or bring a claim for political purposes, this is not the forum,” U.S. District Court Judge William Jung added.

In an interview with MSNBC in February, Johnson said she briefly was with presidential candidate Donald Trump on an RV during a campaign stop in Florida and told him to “go kick ass” before he stepped out to rally a group of campaign interns. She claimed Trump held her hand and began getting closer before kissing her near her mouth.

“I knew it was inappropriate because I worked in human resources. So I knew that it was completely inappropriate. It was gross and creepy. Like I could sometimes still see those lips,” Johnson told MSNBC host Chris Hayes.

Several other people who were present at the time of the alleged incident, including former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, have indicated that it never happened, according to a February report by MSNBC. The White House has maintained that the alleged incident was a fabrication. “This accusation is absurd on its face. This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eyewitness accounts,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in February.



What happens when and where Judeo-Christian culture prevails

I should like to have taken an anthropologist with me to a small country town in California, USA, where I spent a week with my wife in the home of our granddaughter, Leah.

Camarillo is an unusual place to find a Jewish community, but our grandson-in-law, Rabbi Aryeh Lang, leased a shop in the main centre some years ago and has converted it into a synagogue.

Right next to the main shopping centre - no more than about a dozen shops, a bank, medical centre and supermarket - is a large retirement village accommodating 3,000 retirees who live in separate one- or two-bedroom cottages. It has everything from a golf course to a swimming pool and private TV station.

In addition to the large Jewish retiree population, there are a growing number of young families shifting out from Los Angeles. It is also the centre of a strongly Christian population, the backbone of the USA.

I went with my grandson-in-law to visit Jewish patients at the St John Pleasant Valley Hospital, a five-star hospital in every respect. The rabbi is on easy terms with staff and the Catholic chaplain.

While there, I was told of a patient who had been operated on, but it was thought he would not walk again. However, he did walk down the passage, and the nurses stood in line and clapped. It was this kind of atmosphere that impressed me deeply.

Greeted by strangers

Many times, crossing a road, a car or commercial vehicle, approaching 50 metres away, would brake and stop to allow me to cross. Strangers would greet me.

In a supermarket, at the checkout, the girl asked me for my card which entitles regular customers to a 10 per cent discount. When I explained that I was a visitor, the woman behind me, a complete stranger, put her card through the machine for me. Somewhat dubious about accepting a discount to which I was not entitled, I could only thank her.

When my wife and I needed a doctor, and I explained that we were not covered by insurance in the US, he halved his fee by not charging my wife for her visit. I later learned, from a circular he sent out, that he was a "born again" Christian.

This is what I mean when I talk about societies that remain faithful to the Judeo-Christian cultural tradition, and why those who scoff at it are undermining our society and almost inevitably propelling the West into abject surrender to forces of evil.



Insane woman Links Trump to Cancer, Says Climate Change Is Reason Why Biden Can’t Cure Cancer

In psychiatry, such statements would be called thought disorder -- symptomatic of schizophenia

Failure to address climate change was cited by “The View” host Joy Behar this week as a possible reason why Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden might not be able to make good on his pledge to cure cancer.

The former vice president launched the Biden Cancer Initiative to promote research into possible cures.

Behar suggested it will not be Biden’s fault if he fails to deliver.

“I would say that curing cancer is going to be much more difficult when there’s so much climate change and pollutants in the environment. Because a lot of cancer is environmentally caused,” she said.

Behar then took a jab at President Donald Trump.

“This president rolls back anything that will clean the air. They’re working against each other if they don’t also clean up the emissions.”

“He already had a big initiative that he helped the government fund for brain cancer. And I think this should be at the forefront of a platform in every way. I don’t know why curing cancer hasn’t been,” Behar said.



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

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


Monday, June 17, 2019

Do sweet drinks give you heart attacks?

I haven't had time lately to look at the latest medical research but as soon as I do I find the utter crap below.  It's quite grievous that one finds this in a leading medical journal. There must be an utter drought of good medical research. It's looking like you could wipe off 99% of all published medical research with no loss.  Most of the authors would do more good driving taxis.

Here's what the researchers did: They threw out 85% of their data and did the analysis on the remaining 15%.  Why did they do that?  Because it was the only way they could get the conclusion they wanted. Snobs look down on sweet drinks and, as elitist snobs,  they wanted to prove that such drinks can kill you. Sadly, even with the gross abuse of their data, they still found only the most marginal effect in the desired direction.

Clearly, in their data as a whole the finding was of "no effect" from the deplored drinks.  They would not otherwise have introduced such a great distortion into their statistics. So their research does in fact prove something -- just not what they wanted it to prove.  It proves that sweet drinks are completely harmless.  Drink all you like of them.

Association of Sugary Beverage Consumption With Mortality Risk in US Adults: A Secondary Analysis of Data From the REGARDS Study

Lindsay J. Collin et al.


Importance:  Research has linked sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption to coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, but the role of nutritionally similar fruit juice and the association of these beverages with mortality risk is unknown.

Objective:  To assess the association of SSBs and 100% fruit juices, alone and in combination (sugary beverages), with mortality.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  This cohort study is a secondary analysis of data obtained from 30 183 participants in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. The REGARDS study was designed to examine modifiers of stroke risk. Enrollment took place from February 2003 to October 2007, with follow-up every 6 months through 2013. Overall, 30 183 non-Hispanic black and white adults 45 years and older were enrolled in the REGARDS study. Those with known CHD, stroke, or diabetes at baseline (12 253 [40.6%]) and those lacking dietary data (4490 [14.9%]) were excluded from the current study, resulting in a sample size of 13 440. Data were analyzed from November 2017 to December 2018.

Exposures: Sugar-sweetened beverage and 100% fruit juice consumption was estimated using a validated food frequency questionnaire and examined using categories of consumption that align with recommended limits for added sugar intake as a percentage of total energy (TE; less than 5%, 5% to less than 10%, and 10% to 12-oz serving increments.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  All-cause and CHD-specific mortality were determined from cause of death records and family interviews and adjudicated by a trained team. Multivariable adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated using regression models.

Results Overall, 13440 participants had a mean (SD) age of 63.6 (9.1) years at baseline, 7972 (59.3%) were men, 9266 (68.9%) were non-Hispanic white, and 9482 (70.8%) had overweight or obesity. There were 1000 all-cause and 168 CHD-related deaths during follow-up (mean [SD] follow-up, 6.0 [1.8] years). Mean (SD) sugary beverage consumption was 8.4% (8.3%) of TE/d (4.4% [6.8%] TE/d from SSBs; 4.0% [6.8%] TE/d from 100% fruit juice). Among high (less than 10% of TE) vs low (less than 5% of TE) sugary beverage consumers, risk-adjusted HRs were 1.44 (95% CI, 0.97-2.15) for CHD mortality and 1.14 (95% CI, 0.97-1.33) for all-cause mortality. Risk-adjusted all-cause mortality HRs were 1.11 (95% CI, 1.03-1.19) for each additional 12 oz of sugary beverage consumed and 1.24 (95% CI, 1.09-1.42) for each additional 12 oz of fruit juice consumed. In risk-adjusted models, there was no significant association of sugary beverage consumption with CHD mortality.

Conclusions and Relevance:  These findings suggest that consumption of sugary beverages, including fruit juices, is associated with all-cause mortality. Well-powered and longer-term studies are needed to inform their association with CHD mortality risk.



Trump or bust: President warns of market crash 'the likes of which has not been seen' if he is not re-elected in 2020

This is more than a boast.  Trump has got his results mainly by reviving business confidence.  There would be a real freeze-up of that if he left

President Donald Trump has said that failure to re-elect him would result in economic disaster.

'The Trump Economy is setting records, and has a long way up to go....However, if anyone but me takes over in 2020 (I know the competition very well), there will be a Market Crash the likes of which has not been seen before! KEEP AMERICA GREAT,' he said in a tweet on Saturday morning.

The tweet was sent as his motorcade rolled from the White House to Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, Virginia.

Trump officially starts his 2020 campaign on Tuesday with a rally in Orlando, Florida.

He appeared to be gearing up for full campaign mode, testing a message that will highlight economic growth and low unemployment under his administration.

'Despite the Greatest Presidential Harassment of all time by people that are very dishonest and want to destroy our Country, we are doing great in the Polls, even better than in 2016,' he said in another tweet. Trump added: 'will be packed at the Tuesday Announcement Rally in Orlando, Florida.'

Trump has claimed several times this year - and as recently as Friday - that the U.S. stock market would be 5,000 to 10,000 points higher if the Federal Reserve hadn’t raised interest rates four times in 2018.



Pompeo: Iran Attacked Those Tankers

Two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of Iran Thursday, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid the blame squarely on Iran.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today," Pompeo declared Thursday. "This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication."

Moreover, Pompeo added, "This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests, and they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations."

That unprovoked aggression may come with consequences. Pompeo said, "These unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran. ... Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum-pressure campaign lifted. No economic sanctions entitle the Islamic republic to attack innocent civilians, disrupt global oil markets and engage in nuclear blackmail."

In any case, Pompeo concluded, "The international community condemns Iran's assault on the freedom of navigation and the targeting of innocent civilians. ... The United States will defend its interests and stand with our partners and allies to safeguard global commerce and regional stability."

As for where this fits in the chronology of recent events, The Wall Street Journal editorial board observes, "The assault on the tankers validates the U.S. decision the past month, met with skepticism at the time, to send the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln into the Gulf along with destroyers and cruisers, in the expectation that Iran was planning an attack in the region. Indeed it was."

And a footnote: One of the responding U.S. Navy vessels was the USS Bainbridge. Students of history will recall that the Bainbridge also hosted the SEALs who killed the Maersk Alabama hijackers. Seems like the Revolutionary Guard is playing with fire — especially considering they're literally caught on video released by U.S. Central Command.



Gowdy And Chaffetz Rip Media Hypocrites Over How They Ignored Obama Admin Stonewalling Congressional Investigations

Once again we see the Harry Reid effect.  Leftists change the rules without foreseeing that two can play that game.  But asking a Leftist to think ahead is asking a leopard to change its spots

In an interview of former congressman Trey Gowdy by former congressman Jason Chaffetz, they excoriate the absence of outrage from the media when the Obama administration stonewalled investigations by Congress.

Gowdy praised Chaffetz for trying to speak to the media when he was in Congress, but then decried them for their “duplicity” and unfair “relativism.”

“Hey, how about six years worth of not being able to get information from President Obama’s administration?” he responded.  “I mean, where was the outrage?” he asked rhetorically.

Chaffetz agreed. “Where are the Politico, [The] Hill, Washington Post articles about how outrageous it is the executive branch was not cooperating with legitimate oversight?” he asked.

“You don’t see any of it!” Gowdy exclaimed. “So look I get that our former line of work ain’t that popular,” he continued, “but folks in the media are not trusted as much as we need them to be in a robust, thriving democracy, and at some point, they need to ask themselves, I wonder why we’re not trusted, I wonder why people think we’re in the tank for Democrats?”

Later in the interview, Gowdy also mocked former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe for recent comments where he said that the president should be impeached.

“I really don’t know anyone who gives a damn what Andy McCabe thinks about impeachment and Donald Trump,” said Gowdy. “I really don’t, other than the reporter that asked him!”



Mass Homelessness Exposes California’s Political Dysfunction

California’s great wealth only masks its increasing dysfunction. Nothing highlights this quite like the explosion of homelessness in the Golden State.

By any measure, California’s homelessness crisis is reaching epic proportions.

There are now nearly 60,000 homeless people living in Los Angeles County, a 12% increase from the previous year, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

Los Angeles is hardly an outlier.

“Other localities in California saw substantial increases compared with 2017, when they last conducted a count,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “In San Francisco, the number rose 17% while Alameda County, which includes Oakland, saw a 43% increase. Homelessness grew 42% in San Jose over the past two years and 31% in Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley.”

San Francisco, for all of its radical politics, is a beautiful city by the bay. Yet it’s evolving into a dysfunctional, filthy mess.

“Even in the good old days there was a Skid Row. Now the beggars, drug addicts, and lost souls are all over the city,” wrote San Francisco columnist Carl Nolte.

How bad has it become? Nolte wrote:

The city is out of control. Traffic is a mess, but it’s rare to see a traffic control officer. Trucks are double-parked everywhere. The city is dirty—a friend just back from Mexico City was astounded to find the streets there far cleaner than the ones in her native city. There is so much human waste on the streets of San Francisco the city formed a ‘poop patrol’ where workers are paid $71,000 a year, about same as the average school teacher.

Still, California seems to have more pressing matters to attend to, like banning plastic straws, plastic bags, and paper receipts. Also, providing free health care coverage to illegal immigrants.

California maintains a generous welfare regime, and its temperate and generally pleasant weather make it a natural haven for homeless people.

These populations are growing at a quickening pace, even as cities like San Francisco grow in wealth and opulence. Even worse, diseases that are more associated with medieval times than modernity are quickly spreading.

Los Angeles is currently suffering from an outbreak of Typhus, a flea-borne disease spread by rats. This comes hand-in-hand with the growing homeless community: Filthy conditions and widespread homelessness have aided the spread of this deadly disease, which has affected police officers, city officials, and others around the city.

But as is typical for California, the state’s “remedies” never address the underlying issues and instead try to quell the homelessness problem with more direct welfare methods.

If anything, this has just created a larger incentive for homeless people to come to the state—but not as a means of escaping their situation or to receive the help they need.

California has thrown billions of dollars at the problem, and plans to throw billions more. But that won’t solve the underlying issues. The problem is a culture that has allowed homelessness, filthy streets, and increasingly unlivable conditions to persist.

There are productive measures that can be taken to at least alleviate the crisis.

One step would be to address the problem of mental illness.

The deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill en masse has had serious consequences, and there’s no doubt it has contributed to the present surge in homelessness. This is a nationwide phenomenon.

There may be at least some hope in San Francisco, where the City Council recently took an overdue step making it easier to involuntarily commit the mentally ill to institutions. Simply taking these mentally ill individuals off the street helps reduce drugs, crime, and general lawlessness in society, which are all compounded by homelessness.

Some cities have taken other measures that seem to have made progress.

According to City Journal, in Houston “local leaders have reduced homelessness by 60% through a combination of providing services and enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for street camping, panhandling, trespassing, and property crimes.”

Houston’s focus is on making the city a cleaner, more sanitary place for all residents.

These measures often prove more effective than simply reducing housing costs, as City Journal noted, because the high cost of housing, while a burden on the working poor, is rarely the cause of homelessness.

Even so, California could put a dent in its own housing costs by tackling housing regulations that have reduced the amount of housing available and pushed costs upward.

As I wrote last year, “no-growth policies combined with draconian environmental restrictions—such as the California Environmental Quality Act passed in the 1970s—made new building impossible or prohibitively expensive.”

So, three things California could do to start turning this crisis around are: reducing housing prices through deregulation, ensuring that the mentally ill receive necessary treatment and are taken off the street, and strictly upholding the rule of law.

Will the powers that be in California finally get smart?

Probably not, but if they don’t, the crisis—and the embarrassment—will only intensify as middle-class Americans continue leaving the state in droves for greener (or redder) pastures.



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

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


Sunday, June 16, 2019

America is being divided by a fountain of hate from the media

Ever since the Mueller Report was released on April 18th, and as America moves closer to the 2020 presidential election, our country is quickly wrenching itself apart along partisan lines. Disturbingly, the media are enthusiastically throwing gasoline on this rift.

Liberal journalists are not merely playing the role of partisan commentators. It’s bad enough that they are. Could it be as it appears, that some reporters may have actually colluded with entities at various government agencies throughout the ongoing Russia collusion saga?

Indeed the media may be the “enemy of the people.”

According to the Washington Examiner and other media outlets, the  DOJ inspector general's FISA abuse investigation is expected to wrap up sometime in June – possibly even in the next week. Rep. Matt Gaetz has stated of this report that “one of the other nuggets that the inspector general is working on is the corruption that existed between the media and members of the FBI.” Gaetz doubled down on the media’s corruption over the past two years: “where members of the mainstream media were giving concert passes and athletic tickets and other incentives to people in the FBI to leak to them so we’ll be seeing that even before we see the inspector general’s report on how this fraudulent investigation began.”

The media have been, and are to this day, acting as partisans, with some journalists openly encouraging their colleagues to campaign against the president. Liberal journalists blatantly pick sides and by so doing bear great responsibility for tearing apart an already highly divided nation. A February 2019 Pew poll, documents our growing partisan divide: “Republicans and Democrats have grown further apart on what the nation’s top priorities should be.”

This partisan rift is ongoing and dangerous. The media’s partisan bias and the role they have played in dividing America is undeniable.

Major media talking heads resort to the trope that they are merely reporting the facts and letting the public make what it will of their “factual” reporting, but consider the reporting after the Mueller Report came out, whereby the media doubled down on their campaign for the president’s impeachment:

“TV news coverage of President Donald Trump was just as hostile (92% negative) in May as it was in the months immediately before Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his final report in March, according to the latest analysis by the Media Research Center.

“In fact, the Russia investigation now accounts for twice as much of President Trump’s overall evening news coverage as it did prior to the report’s completion.”

According to a 2017 Pew Study, the coverage of this president is more negative than virtually any other president, and more focused on his personality than his policy.

If President Trump is a proxy for the media’s disposition towards conservatives, which he is, then the divisive and partisan nature of the “reporting” is bound to lead to even more division. Consider some recent examples of reporting to date.

A recent State of the Union on CNN with Jake Tapper, where Tapper asked Kellyanne Conway whether President Trump's response to Charlottesville was, as he has said, “perfect.”

Conway forcefully made the case that the President's “very fine people on both sides” comment was clearly in reference to people peacefully opposing the removal of Confederate statues, not to the neo-Nazis. After several back and forths with Conway, Tapper simply wouldn’t drop his criticism of it not being “perfect.” Conway eventually shot back, “It looks like you, and others, looking at 2020, are worried that this guy can't be beaten fairly and squarely.” Obviously, Tapper was employing the racism dog whistle and Kelly Anne was not having any of it.

The problem with such an exchange is not the actual conversation, but the implication. Tapper’s comments were insidious accusations of racism speaking on behalf of the left. By harkening back to Charlottesville, Tapper was drudging up old accusations that the president and his “basket of deplorables” are the worst type of people this nation has to offer – neo-Nazis and racists.

Then there is the May 4th AM Joy show with host Joy Reid, which is also illustrative: the MSNBC host interviewed Malcolm Nance who warned that if Trump is re-elected in 2020, we may not have a "nation" anymore.

In other words, if Republicans and conservatives win in politics, our country as we know it, will cease to exist. According to Reid and her colleagues in the media, it is conservatives, nearly half of the country, who are causing the country to fracture.

Reid and Nance are emblematic of the media’s disposition overall towards the average Trump supporter. And that’s disconcerting considering just how many Americans are part of that base of support. According to the most recent FiveThirtyEight poll, Trump’s approval rating as of the writing of this piece hovers around 42 percent. That is nearly half the country and a cohort of people for whom liberal talking heads at MSNBC, CNN, and other liberal outlets are alluding to when they discuss and opine on the horrors of a possible Trump re-election. It is conservatives, the talking heads on “The View” claim, who are a “cult of mentally crazy people.”

When the media regard nearly half the American people with such disdain, and report the news accordingly – and during an already divided time in our history – the end result may well be a house divided against itself, which cannot stand. If and when it all comes down, the media will have played a pivotal role in bringing our American house down.



Trump Policies Lifting Blacks, and They're Noticing

He won 8% of the black vote in 2016, but that may increase in 2020 due to good policies.

Forget the regular Leftmedia polls. The findings of multiple election-prediction models sent shock waves through Democrat ranks recently, with every model predicting President Donald Trump will win reelection in 2020.

Steven Rattner, former economic adviser to Barack Obama, reported on the findings of Yale professor Ray Fair’s model, which correctly predicted Obama’s electoral victories in 2008 and 2012, even forecasting the popular-vote share within 0.6%.

That same model now predicts Trump winning with 56% of the vote in 2020. In a dozen models reviewed by Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, Trump wins in every one.

If that turns out to be the case, it will likely be in part because of an increased percentage of the black vote for President Trump. In 2016, Donald Trump garnered just 8% of the black vote; double the percentage won by John McCain in 2008, and 50% more than Mitt Romney in 2012.

But that was before he took office and began implementing his America-first, economy-boosting policies. These policies are the “magic wand” Obama couldn’t find; policies resulting in the lowest unemployment rate in half a century, and the lowest black unemployment rate ever recorded. Prior to President Trump, black unemployment had fallen below 7% just once in U.S. history. As of May, it had been below 7% for 15 straight months.

It was also President Trump who signed the GOP’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, creating Opportunity Zones that incentivize private investment in disadvantaged communities plagued by poverty and crime, populated most often by minority households.

These policies have translated into nearly 1.5 million black Americans gainfully employed who were out of work under Obama — now lifted out of poverty with a chance to thrive, and to take pride in their financial independence.

President Trump has taken action to lift the black community in other ways as well.

He has received bipartisan praise for signing the FIRST STEP Act, a criminal-justice-reform bill spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Under the law, nonviolent offenders can qualify for reduced sentences by participating in programs that teach them basic life skills, with the goal of ending the revolving door of repeat offenders.

The bill, now law, has reduced prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders by an average of 29.4%, from an average original sentence of 239 months to an average of 166 months.

And it is black prisoners who have disproportionately benefited from the reforms. Of the 1,051 requests for reduced sentences approved in the first four months since the law was enacted, 91.3% of those were for black inmates, and 98% were men.

But even that does not tell the whole story. At the 2019 Prison Reform Summit, held at the White House in celebration of the FIRST STEP Act, President Trump announced further efforts to help rehabilitate convicts; an initiative to help them find employment and build careers, to reduce recidivism and truly give these former prisoners a shot at being respectable, productive members of society.

With unemployment rates as much as five times higher than the national average, many released prisoners struggle to find employment, which can be demoralizing, and an incentive to return to crime. This law gives them hope for a better future.

In the four months since President Trump signed the bill into law, more than 16,000 inmates have enrolled in drug-treatment programs, and another 500 convicts who received unfair sentences have been released from prison. It should be noted that criminal-justice reform is being enacted at the state level as well, with Republican-led Georgia and Texas leading the way, and Republican-led Florida following suit. Even hard-core progressive and former Obama adviser Van Jones admits conservative Republicans are “now the leaders” on criminal-justice reform.

And while Democrats fight tooth and nail against school choice, keeping poor minority children trapped in failing schools, President Trump fought for a $5 billion federal tax credit on donations that fund scholarships to private schools; this proposal is supported by 64% of black Americans.

President Trump also provided unprecedented levels of federal funding for, and created a Presidential Board of Advisors for, HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Johnny C. Taylor, President/CEO Of The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, called this “bittersweet,” explaining that the black college community assumed this would have been “easily accomplished” in the eight years under Obama, the first black president; but it never happened. Yet within 45-days of President Trump taking office, all of the HBCU presidents assembled in the Oval Office to watch as Trump signed the executive order making it happen.

So while Democrats continue to accuse President Trump of being a racist, and deny him credit for enacting policies that make the lives of black Americans immeasurably better, many black Americans are taking notice both of Trump’s efforts, and of the Democrat Party’s long history of taking the black vote for granted.

Nse Ufot, executive director of failed Georgia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’s New Georgia Project (which worked to register minority voters in Georgia), said, “Black voters, voters of color, are often treated as an afterthought [by the Democrat Party]. Persuasion that their vote matters … is not an October conversation.”

He’s absolutely right. So maybe it’s time for black voters to take a look at the Republican Party — the party that freed the slaves, passed civil-rights legislation, and is working hard to make black lives better in myriad ways, rather than the Democrat Party that takes 90%+ of their vote and keeps them downtrodden and dependent.



‘Socialist’ Nordic Countries Are Actually Moving Toward Private Health Care

Rising support for socialism in the United States comes at a time when politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., promise a great many “free” services, to be provided or guaranteed by the government.

Supporters often point to nations with large social programs, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Scandinavian states, particularly when it comes to health care.

Never mind that these are not true socialist countries, but highly taxed market economies with large welfare states. That aside, they do offer a government-guaranteed health service that many in America wish to emulate.

The problem for their argument is that, despite these extremely generous programs, some of these countries are seeing steady a growth of private health insurance.

“Medicare for All,” the prominent socialized medicine proposal in the United States, is most similar to the Canadian system in which providers bill the regional office administering the program.

In Medicare for All, there would be no cost-sharing schemes and all coverage would be comprehensive, including prescription drugs, dental, vision, and other services deemed necessary by the secretary of health and human services.

The Scandinavian systems are similar to Medicare for All in the respect that they use regional offices to administer reimbursements to providers.

Yet they differ in critical ways: They employ cost-sharing for certain services, they are less comprehensive in their coverage, and they allow for private health insurance plans to complement or supplement the government system to cover out-of-pocket expenses and to circumvent wait times or rationed access to specialists.

These are precisely the things Medicare for All would abolish. It’s intriguing that while socialists in America would rush to nationalize the health care system, Norwegians, Swedes, and Danes are all gradually increasing their use of private health insurance.

Between 2006 and 2016, the portion of the population covered by private insurance increased by 4% in Sweden, 7% in Norway, and 22% in Denmark.

The increases in Sweden and Norway are modest but noteworthy, considering that most out-of-pocket payments have a relatively low annual limit.

Private plans in Sweden and Norway are mainly designed to supplement the government-run plan.

In addition to covering out-of-pocket costs, these plans also guarantee prompt access to specialists or elective procedures, which the state plans often fail to provide.

Denmark also allows “complementary” insurance plans, which cover services that are partially or not at all covered by the national system, including dental and vision services.

This growing European interest in private health insurance typically stems from dissatisfaction with the state-run systems, which often provide poor or incomplete coverage and long wait times.

By contrast, private plans offer wider coverage, shorter wait times, access to private facilities, and more flexibility in patient choice.

For instance, in a 2009 survey, nearly half of Danes felt waiting times were unreasonable while only about a third disagreed. In 2007, the Danish government enacted a wait time guarantee of one month to receive treatment.

Most of the private health insurance in Denmark, as well as in Sweden and Norway, is employer-based. In Denmark, the increase in private insurance is likely due, in part, to employers seeking to recruit top-tier talent by including health coverage as part of a benefits package.

In turn, private insurers make a strong pitch to employers, informing them that having private coverage minimizes their employees’ time lost to illness and ensures they have prompt access to medical care.

In that 2009 survey, the largest portion of respondents believed the most important factor driving employer-based coverage was that it results in “less sickness absence due to quicker treatment.”

The second and third most popular responses were that it provides access to private hospitals and circumvents long wait times in the public system.

In this way, private options create value for average Danes getting premium health coverage as a perk of employment, for Danish employers who can compete for the high end of the labor market, and for the insurers who are selling this service.

Private insurance plans even create value for the government because it decreases public health expenditure. Roughly half of respondents in the survey had their last hospital visit paid by a private insurer.

Recall: This would all be illegal under Medicare for All. Private health insurance would be abolished for everyone.

Danes are right to deny that they are a socialist country, but their generous welfare programs, and those of the Swedes and Norwegians, are clearly objects of envy for American socialists.

While the Scandinavian health care systems are each different in their own ways, they all offer universal coverage for citizens, and any cost-sharing comes with low annual limits.

They provide nearly everything that a proponent of socialized health care could ask for—and yet each of these countries host a growing private health insurance sector.

It behooves us to ask why this is before we outlaw our own private care.



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)