Friday, July 12, 2019

BET founder Robert Johnson praises Trump, says Democratic Party 'moved too far to the left'

Black Entertainment Television founder and longtime Democrat Robert Johnson said in an interview that aired Tuesday that the Democratic Party has become too liberal to defeat President Trump in 2020, unless major changes are made.

“The party in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far to the left,” Johnson told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.

Johnson – the country’s first African-American billionaire, according to Forbes – went on to say that because the party has become so liberal, he isn’t supporting a particular 2020 candidate at this time.

“I think at the end of the day, if a Democrat is going to beat Trump, then that person, he or she, will have to move to the center and you can’t wait too long to do that,” Johnson said. “The message of some of the programs that Democrats are pushing are not resonating with the majority of the American people.”

Johnson said the current far-left state of the Democratic Party will work well in the primaries but won’t help in a general election, especially since he feels Trump has his base locked up. The BET founder, who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, even praised some of Trump’s recent accomplishments.

“I think the economy is doing great, and it’s particularly reaching populations that heretofore had very bad problems in terms of jobs and employments and the opportunities that come with employment,” Johnson said. “African-American unemployment is at its lowest level…  I give the president a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large amount of Americans.”

Johnson also told CNBC that he thinks tax cuts clearly helped stimulate the economy, whereas partisan politics have gone too far.

“I think business people have more confidence in the way the economy is going,” Johnson said. “If business people are concerned about anything, it’s the clear, clear partisan politics that’s become very wicked and very mean.”

Johnson said he gives Trump an “A+” for the economy but added that divisive politics are “not helping America as a global nation.”

The 73-year-old entrepreneur founded BET in 1980 with a $150,000 loan and sold it for $3 billion in 2001, according to Forbes.



Democratic Socialism Newspeak

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled his vision of “democratic socialism“ during a recent speech at George Washington University. Unfortunately, he did more to confuse the meaning of democratic socialism than to clarify it.

The words capitalism and socialism have meanings, so let’s get things clear up front. Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of property coordinated through voluntary exchange in markets.

Socialism is an economic system that abolishes private property in the means of production—the land, capital, and labor used to make everything—and replaces it with some form of collective ownership. Whenever socialism has been implemented at a national level, collective ownership in practice has meant state ownership, and government plans have replaced markets as the primary mechanism to coordinate economic activity.

Capitalism and socialism can be thought of as two poles of a spectrum. Some countries are more capitalistic, and some are more socialistic, but all fall somewhere between these two poles. This is where Sanders starts mucking things up.

He claims that “unfettered capitalism” is causing economic problems in United States. The reality is that capitalism in the United States is far from “unfettered.” The Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report is the best measure of where on the socialism-capitalism spectrum a country lies. In the most recent rankings, the United States scored an 8.03 out of a possible 10 points, and even a 10-point score would fall short of “unfettered.”

However, this score does rank the United States the sixth most capitalist in the world. The five countries ahead of us—Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Ireland—are all pretty nice places. This fits with research that overwhelmingly finds that greater economic freedom (i.e., capitalism) produces good socioeconomic results.

Meanwhile, Sanders contrasts his democratic socialism with the “movement toward oligarchy,” which he conflates with unfettered capitalism. The problem is that none of the six authoritarian regimes he calls out—Russia (87th), China (107th), Saudi Arabia (102nd), the Philippines (49th), Brazil (144th), Hungary (59th)—is close to the capitalist end of the spectrum.

More disturbingly, he leaves socialist countries off his list of authoritarian regimes. Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela explicitly identify as socialist and come closest in the world today to practicing real socialism. The governments in these countries own and/or control much of the means of production and attempt to direct and plan their economies.

Sanders stated that he faces attacks “from those who attempt to use the word socialism as a slur.” But it is not “red-baiting” to recognize that socialism means a particular form of economic organization and that those authoritarian countries come closest to using that form of organization. I visited them while researching a new book, and they are all economic disasters as well as authoritarian nightmares. It’s incumbent on Sanders to recognize these countries as socialist and explain how his socialism would differ.

So does Sanders want real socialism? The closest he got to specifics was to argue that his democratic socialism would entail an “economic bill of rights,” which would include the right to a decent job that pays a living wage, quality health care, a complete education, affordable housing, a clean environment, and a secure retirement.

But listing aspirations tells us nothing about how he would achieve them. Based on his voting record and advocacy, his program would likely involve massive new interventions that would curtail our economic freedoms and place greater reliance on government planners.

Would those interventions be enough to label them socialist? They would likely make the United States less capitalistic than the Nordic countries that are often labeled democratic socialist. Yet those countries—Denmark (16th), Norway (25th), Sweden (43rd)—all rank high in economic freedom, so they likely don’t represent the right standard. Whatever the answer to my question, a national debate would be more productive if both Sanders and his critics were clearer on the definition of socialism and on whether his policies are, or aren’t, socialist.



Right-to-Try Legislation Helps Patient Battling Bone Cancer

Millennial Natalie Harp has battled stage two bone cancer for most of her life. To make matters worse, a medical error made in 2015 while receiving treatment left her wheelchair-bound and in constant pain. There was no known cure for her condition, and her quality of life was in quick decline.

Natalie was quickly running out of treatment options. Two rounds of chemotherapy failed to eradicate her cancer. Opioids, medical marijuana, and barbiturates were unable to relieve her pain. She was denied entry into numerous clinical trials. As her condition worsened, Natalie was also advised to consider voluntarily stopping all eating and drinking (a method commonly shorted to VSED).

Courageously, she refused, insisting, “No, I just want to get better.” Miraculously, she did.

After receiving access to experimental treatments through right-to-try legislation, Natalie’s condition improved substantially. In her own words, “I’m walking. I am healthy. I am living the quality of life that I always wanted.” She continued, “I’m not dying from cancer any more thanks to President Trump, I’m living with cancer.”

In May 2018, President Trump signed national right-to-try legislation in law. The law provides patients with terminal illnesses access to potentially lifesaving treatment options before the Food and Drug Administration fully approves them. By requiring permission from only the patient, their physician, and the drug provider to administer treatment, right-to-try laws cut the FDA out of the picture. As a consequence, patients are granted more options to prolong their lives with less regulatory barriers.

Natalie is grateful for the opportunities that right-to-try laws have provided. Before right-to-try became national law, she endured four years of being denied treatment options she hoped would help her condition. As she expressed, “it took President Trump going to Washington to be able to get that [more treatment options] for me.”

An unfortunate consequence of government involvement in healthcare is that medicine becomes more political. Despite the testimonies of patients electing to utilize right-to-try laws and being grateful for them, the laws continue to suffer from defamatory comments from political figures. Among the most common attacks are those calling the legislation “false hope” and declaring it hasn’t helped. Natalie’s inspiring conviction to keep fighting for her life, and her remarkable recovery, provide overwhelming evidence otherwise.

As long as the government remains involved in healthcare, the rights of terminally ill patients to try experimental medication to prolong their lives are at risk. Let’s hope stories like Natalie’s work to secure them. With 42 million US citizens suffering from a terminal illness or knowing someone with one, it’s a fight that affects us all.



Trump Compares Ocasio-Cortez To Argeninian Fascist.  She Takes It As A Compliment

For a fuller coverage of Peronism as Fascism, see here

President Donald Trump compared socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to former Argentine first lady Eva Perón — often called "Evita" — in a new book that is set to go on sale in mid-July.

Ocasio-Cortez took the comparison as a compliment, despite the fact that Evita was a Nazi sympathizer who helped her husband, Argentine President Juan Perón, destroy Argentina's economy by implementing socialism and eroded civil liberties in the nation.

Ocasio-Cortez responded to the comparison by tweeting out quotes from Eva Perón, writing: "'I know that, like every woman of the people, I have more strength than I appear to have.' - Evita Perón".

Ocasio-Cortez added: "'I had watched for many years and seen how a few rich families held much of Argentina's wealth and power in their hands. So the government brought in an eight hour working day, sickness pay and fair wages to give poor workers a fair go.' - Evita Perón".

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Latin America’ aims to highlight a series of little known controversies about leading leftist figures in the history of the continent...

...Mr Peron helped many Nazis fleeing Europe after the Second World War to find a safe haven in Argentina, including Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele.

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) noted that Eva Perón "demagogued her way to a cult following among those who depended on the favors she dispensed and stepped on anyone who stood in her way. A law which obstructed her ambitions was, in her view, a law to be bent or broken.

Any fair assessment of her must note that she delivered numerous vapid harangues and gave away lots of other people’s money, but she never invented, created or built anything."



It’s Not Robots That Hurt Workers

Education is the job-killer lurking beneath the economy’s surface. Consider an exemplary employer making major investments in training for each of his 100 workers, even covering tuition for those who might benefit from technical courses at a local college. Say the investments have incredible returns, too—by the end of the year, each worker is twice as productive and 50 can do the work that last year required 100. That means 50 jobs have been destroyed.

Does that sound nonsensical? It should. Yet change “education” to “automation” or “technology” and you have the conventional wisdom that countless economists and politicians are spouting. If the employer invests in equipment that allows 50 workers to produce what previously required 100, we are suddenly concerned and upset. No one anthropomorphizes a worker’s enhanced skills, but a robot—well, a robot can “take” and “steal” and “destroy.”

In either case, with training or technology, the effect is to improve productivity—the amount of output per unit of work. Such productivity gains, whatever the mechanism, are the key to rising wages for workers and rising material living standards for society as a whole. We react differently to the two stories because our intuition fills in differently what both stories omit. In each case, worker productivity doubled. But what does the firm do next?

When it comes to training, we probably assume the firm takes advantage of these gains to produce more output. Those 100 workers produce twice as much, sales can rise, profits and wages can rise. When it comes to technology, though, we might assume the firm lays off workers who suddenly seem superfluous. It continues to produce the same level of output, with a workforce half as large.

This question of what happens next is thus central to the economy’s trajectory. Without the productivity gain, nothing happens. Workers able to produce more than before, for whatever reason, is the sine qua non of economic progress. But only if accompanied by rising output are the effects for workers undeniably positive.

Historically, that has been the dynamic. From 1947 to 1972, for instance, economy-wide productivity roughly doubled. But output surged as well and, at the end of the period, the same share of the population was working and men’s wages were up 86 percent. In the manufacturing sector, productivity rose by 3.4 percent annually, but real value added rose by 4.2 percent annually; employment during the period rose by more than three million.

Compare that period to the 21st century, when America has lost nearly five million manufacturing jobs. Was any of this because of extraordinary technological breakthroughs that caused productivity to surge, allowing firms to do much more with many fewer workers? No. In fact, the average rate of productivity growth in manufacturing this century has been 3.1 percent—lower than 1947–72 and no different than 1972–2000. But output growth has been only 1.3 percent, less than a third the rate of the earlier period. We’ve gone from the world where firms use a doubling of productivity to double output, to one where they use it to lay off half their workers. Had output growth this century equaled that of 1950–2000, manufacturing employment today would be near an all-time high.

So when policymakers blame automation for job losses, they are looking in the wrong place. Productivity gains have always been with us—in fact, they used to come faster. If anything, the American economy is suffering from insufficient automation—as reflected in declining productivity growth, stagnant wages, and remarkably little use of robots. American manufacturers use only 200 industrial robots per 10,000 workers, the standard measure of adoption. In both Germany and Japan, that level exceeds 300. In South Korea, it exceeds 700. With greater automation and higher productivity, American firms would likely be more competitive in the international economy.

If firms no longer invest to expand output as they used to, the explanation is not some irresistible technological force but an economic malady—the sort of thing policymakers bear responsibility to address. This means acknowledging the many things they have gotten wrong: imposition of environmental restrictions that make industrial development slow and costly, obsession with college enrollment to the exclusion of the many non-college pathways that might better prepare people for relevant fields, nonchalant tolerance of a massive and widening trade deficit, entrenchment of an outdated system of organized labor that workers and employers both dislike, and so on.

No wonder our politicians prefer throwing robots under the self-driving bus.



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, July 11, 2019

Trump’s bromance with authoritarians

Michael A. Cohen of the neo-Marxist "New School" in NYC writes below.  We have met his hate and unrealism about Trump before.

Given the Leftist trust in force, it is most unlikely that Mr Cohen has not heard of
Realpolitik but in his article below he pretends not to.  What Mr Trump has said and done out of diplomatic necessity, Mr Cohen calls a "bromance".  One also wonders if he knows the meaning of that term.

Perhaps we should feel sorry for Mr Cohen.  He sounds a most unhappy soul. He is 52 at the moment so you would think he would have found some peace by now

President Trump has a thing for dictatorial, sociopathic strongmen. But last week during his trip to the Far East for the G-20 summit, he took things to a whole new level — bro-ing out with some of the worst leaders, and worst people, in the world and in the process, further degrading America’s already weakened global image.

At the summit, Trump commended Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “I want to just thank you on behalf of a lot of people, and I want to congratulate you,” he said. “You’ve done a really spectacular job.”

The crown prince has not only presided over a vicious crackdown on dissent in Saudi Arabia but is also widely believed to have ordered the assassination and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. According to Trump, however, “nobody has directly pointed a finger” at the crown prince for Khashoggi’s death, a rebuttal to the conclusions of the CIA, which determined that he was responsible.

When Trump wasn’t praising the crown prince, he was bonding with President Vladimir Putin of Russia over their antipathy for the news media. Pointing to the journalists covering their meeting, Trump said, “Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.”



Thanks to Trump, the healthcare choice is yours

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and many various versions of “Medicare for All” have something in common: they all want to limit your options: From which doctors you can see to the type of treatment you receive, and the kind of coverage you can get, both our current system and the socialized medicine proposed by the Left all depend on taking choices away from patients.

Fortunately, the Trump Administration has a different idea: expanding consumer options to get the insurance, and ultimately the care, that works best for each person or family. Individual empowerment not only makes care more accessible and costs more affordable, but brings the peace of mind Americans want regarding their health.

In 2017, the Trump administration issued an Executive Order to promote healthcare choice and competition across the United States, focusing on three areas for improvement in the near term: Association Health Plans, Short-term Limited Duration Insurance Plans, and Health Reimbursement Arrangements. Final rules have now been issued on all of these options.

Association Health Plans make it easier for small employers and independent contractors to band together and offer the same benefits larger companies have but at a lower cost. According to a study conducted in 2018, “The breadth of benefits had been one of the biggest concerns among detractors of association-based insurance. Yet according to the analysis, no evidence of narrow benefit designs was observed in the new AHP benefit descriptions.” These plans are already working and saving people money.

Short-term insurance plans existed under the ACA and were accepted as good options to offer relief for those in transition. For those that are in-between jobs, just getting out of school, have missed open enrollment periods, or losing coverage following a divorce, short term insurance plans play a necessary role in filling the gaps and not leaving people exposed. But not all gaps last just 12 months. So the Trump Administration’s final rule expands coverage up to 36 months to give people greater flexibility, more time, and better choices to figure out their health insurance needs.

Nonetheless, politicians from both sides of the aisle minimize the benefits and negate the wishes of Americans who choose to purchase short-term insurance plans that work for them, regularly calling them “junk” plans. But they are not “junk” to the people who are paying less and getting better service as they transition from one phase to the next.

The final rule for Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), which is set to become effective on January 1, 2020, proves to be the most meaningful way of improving affordability and access for many Americans. This innovation allows employers to give their employees a set amount of money to buy insurance on the individual market.

Growing the consumer pool purchasing individual plans is projected to bring products back into the marketplace and drive down costs. According to the administration, “the rule will significantly expand worker options since 80 percent of firms that provide insurance currently offer only one type of plan.” This change would greatly reduce the impact of problems associated with pre-existing conditions, as plans would become portable and not necessarily dependent on an employer providing specific coverage.

More popular choices are being reviewed by the administration that will improve affordability while helping others with pre-existing conditions. Sharing Ministries, Medical Cost Sharing models and the fast-growing Direct Primary Care phenomenon have proven to offer more options, decrease costs, and improve satisfaction among their members.

Consumers can also use a combination of these services, depending on their individual needs and preferences. Whether through the solutions outlined in the Choice and Competition report or added as qualified medical expense under the IRS rules, these options are crucial for making healthcare less complicated, less confusing, and more easily accessible for all Americans. Peace of mind and individual empowerment are consistent with putting choice back into the hands of the people.



‘This Is the Liberal Establishment’: As Homelessness Rises in Major Cities, Trump Speaks Out

President Donald Trump says he is working on a plan to address a spike in homelessness in the United States, particularly in several California cities.

During a Fox News Channel interview that aired Monday night, host Tucker Carlson asked the president about homelessness in major urban centers.         

“It’s disgraceful. I’m going to [propose something], maybe, and I’m looking at it very seriously,” Trump told Carlson on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “We’re doing some other things that you probably noticed.”

The president added: “This is the liberal establishment. This is what I’m fighting. They—I don’t know if they’re afraid of votes. I don’t know if they really believe that this should be taking place.”

The homeless population in Los Angeles is about 60,000, according to numbers released in June by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority—a 12% increase from last year.

That’s more than one-tenth of the nation’s homeless in a single city.

Nationally, about 553,000 are homeless, according to a December 2018 review by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In other California cities, from 2017 to 2019 homelessness increased by 17% in San Francisco and 43% in Alameda County, which includes Oakland, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Four of the top 10 largest homeless populations are in California, according to a Forbes analysis of the HUD report.

The entire state of California had about 130,000 homeless in 2018.     

“Some of them have mental problems where they don’t even know they’re living that way,” Trump also said during the Fox News interview.

The president commented directly on the nearly 7,000 homeless in Washington, D.C.

“When we have leaders of the world coming in to see the president of the United States and they’re riding down a highway, they can’t be looking at that,” Trump said. “I really believe that it hurts our country.”

“They can’t be looking at scenes like you see in Los Angeles and San Francisco … so we’re looking at it very seriously,” the president said. “We may intercede. We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up. It’s inappropriate.”

Policy Options Under Review

Homelessness overall has been on the decline by 95,000 since 2007, according to HUD, and the number of homeless military veterans has dropped by 50% since 2010.

“Like many Americans, the president has taken notice of the homelessness crisis, particularly in cities and states where the liberal policies of overregulation, excessive taxation, and poor public service delivery are combining to dramatically increase poverty and public health risks,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told The Daily Signal.

“Last week, the president took action and signed an executive order to confront the regulatory barriers to affordable housing development, a leading cause of homelessness,” Deere said. “President Trump has directed his team to go further and develop a range of policy options for consideration to deal with this tragedy.”

From 2017 to 2018, the homeless population among veterans fell by 5.4%. The number declined by 10% among female veterans.

Homelessness among families with children has fallen by 29% since 2010, and by 2.7% (or 4,000 families) from 2017 to 2018, according to HUD.

A Zillow study found that homelessness rates begin to increase once a city’s average rent reaches 22% of median income; homelessness grows even faster once the average rent surpasses 32% of median income.

In Los Angeles, the average rent paid is 49% of median income. For every 2 percentage points that number increases, an additional 4,227 persons are likely to become homeless.

Government’s Role

There shouldn’t be a real federal government role for addressing homelessness, contends Kerry Jackson, a fellow with the Pacific Research Institute’s Center for California Reform.

“I don’t see a federal role at all regarding the homelessness issue, any more than I see a federal role for education and many other places where Washington has become involved,” Jackson told The Daily Signal. “It is a state and local issue, and they already have incentives to do the right thing.”

“If they don’t do the right things, they will lose businesses and they will lose residents, and they will have public health problems that fester,” he said in an email. “Those should … motivate them enough to come up with effective policies.”

Mental illness is assuredly part of the problem, said Joel Griffith, a research fellow in financial regulation at The Heritage Foundation.

“A lot of homelessness comes from cities refusing to involuntarily commit people who are mentally ill,” Griffith told The Daily Signal. “A lot are not seeking proper health care or shelters that are available.”

Homelessness largely stems from problems spurred by local regulations, he added.

“Rent control and density zoning artificially constrains housing supply,” Griffith said. “Well-intentioned laws have unintended consequences. In many ways, governments have caused the affordable housing problem.”

Biggest Homeless Populations

Nationally, almost one-quarter of all homelessness is found in Los Angeles or New York City, according to the HUD report in December, about six months before the increased numbers in Los Angeles released in June.

In more updated numbers, spanning 2017 to 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported a 17% increase in homeless residents of San Francisco.

The city faces problems of “aggressive panhandling and human waste,” the Pacific Research Institute’s Jackson said.

An institute issue brief on San Francisco homelessness called for the city to better engage law enforcement, reform city housing policy to expedite housing permits and reform zoning laws, and require more accountability over how taxpayer dollars are spent on homelessness.



Leftist Fact Checking Site Snopes Has To Admit Obama Built Cages For Immigrant Children

The left-wing bias of popular “fact-checking” sites like Snopes or Politfact has been well documented for years.

So when Snopes took on the task of fact-checking the claim “The Obama administration, not the Trump administration, built the cages that hold many immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border,” I expected them to, at the very least, rate it as “Half-True” or “False” and come up with some longwinded explanation with some absurd standard for why the Obama administration was in the clear.

Last year, couldn’t bring itself to admit that family separations happened under Obama, even though their research proved it did.  But alas, Snopes couldn’t find a way to clear the Obama administration on this one, and had no choice but to rate the claim as true.

"But then Trump stated, “Obama built the cages. I didn’t build them. Obama built them.”

That portion of Trump’s commentary is true. Images of children behind chain-link fencing were widely seen at a site in McAllen, Texas, that had been converted from a warehouse to an immigrant-detention facility in 2014. Social media users who defended Trump’s immigration policies also shared a 2014 image of Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson touring a facility in Nogales, Arizona, in 2014, in which the fencing could be seen surrounding migrants there, too. That image was taken during a spike in the number of unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central American countries."

Of course when you have two former Obama administration officials (Obama’s DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, and executive associate director of ICE  Thomas Homan) both on the record on the issue, in addition to media reporting at the timeit’s really hard to claim anything to the contrary.

Last year, Snopes also had to admit that the Obama administration placed immigrant children with human traffickers. I’m sure that wasn’t an easy admission for them either, especially since concerns about human trafficking are why children are separated from adults in the first place.



It looks like Boris Johnson as British PM will get the same hate Trump gets

Once reserved for heinous regimes, embargoes are now deployed on firms with the 'wrong' opinions

Earlier this week, a group of hardline Left-wingers and Remainers chose to channel the fury they usually reserve for metaphorical “gammon” – middle-aged white men – towards something closer to the real thing; Heck, a family firm that manufactures gluten-free sausages. Its crime? Hosting Boris Johnson at its factory.

Just hours after pictures surfaced of the leadership hopeful posing with a string of sausages around his neck, Heck’s Google review rankings had plummeted after being bombarded with one-star ratings from “customers” who had stayed strangely silent before the furore.



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, July 10, 2019

The recent rise of nationalism among conservatives

There is here a long article in "the Economist" which offers a passable summary of the history of conservatism and goes on to note that a new mood of nationalism has recently emerged among conservatives in both America and Europe.  And it sees that as a notable and alarming break from conservatism as it was. 

And in the USA, Hungary, Italy  and Poland the new nationalistic conservatism now rules.  Donald Trump of course is the most notable exemplar of the new movement.  With an approval rating among Republicans of around 90%, Trump IS the new conservatism.  Conservative parties are often rather fractured internally but American conservatives are solidly behind Mr Trump. The small remnant of "never Trumpers" are just talking to themselves

The piece however offers no clear explanation for this sudden departure from the "good ol' days" of the past. It treats the new movement as something of a mystery.  But it is no mystery.  You just have to be following world events to see that the new assertion of national pride has one very clear and obvious source -- the invasion of Western countries by large numbers of problem people from the Third World.

For the USA it was an accumulation of an ongoing problem with Hispanics and in Hungary and Poland they saw the influx of Muslim parasites into neighboring Germany and Italy and closed their borders in time to escape most of it. In all cases however, it involved a reassertion of the value of the national culture as better than what the invaders brought with them

Conservatives have always been proud of their country, its culture and their past but they are patient and tolerant people so have been little bothered by constant Leftist nibbling at their culture and demeaning the past achievements of their country.

But it got all too much when a flood of illegal new arrivals came in and were pandered to rather than expelled.  It would not have been so bad if the illegals had been expected to assimilate to the host country but the reverse was the case. The host nation was expected to make various adaptations to fit in with the illegals.  A process of undermining the American culture that had served Americans so well got underway. "Dial one for English" was just a token of what was resented.

The most important elements of culture are not its singing and dancing but the attitudes and customs embodied in its people.  And the very radical policies being promoted by the current rash of Democrat Presidential contenders makes it very clear that the attitudes and customs that made America great are far from secure.  It is now conceivable that America could degenerate into a socialist hellhole. And most Hispanics would vote for such a hellhole. They already do South of the border.

And conservative Americans do not at all like that prospect. Because conservatives tend to be interested in the past, they could see it clearly when the inherited culture was being diluted.  And the culture that the illegal arrivals brought with them was far from admirable. Everybody knows what a mess Mexico and most of Latin America is. Who would want to live amid the crime, corruption and poverty if they had some other option.  Mexicans themselves certainly don't want to.  That's why they come to the peaceful, orderly and prosperous USA.  So there is no reasonable way one can deny that the inherited culture of the USA is superior in its results from the cultures of Latin America.

With their crazy belief that all men are equal, Leftists erupt at any claim that one culture can be superior to another and by constant cries of racism and the like they have stood in the way of American cultural assertiveness.  They have suppressed talk  among Americans to the effect that America's traditional ways of doing things are better than what happens in places like Mexico.

But the Left could keep the lid on the pressure cooker for only so long and in America the lid blew off with the election of Trump -- someone who WAS prepared to call America great and defend its values. The shackles of political correctness were largely and joyously thrown off.

So what has happened is that conservative Americans have reasserted their traditional values over the moronic Leftist insistence that all cultures are equal.  American conservatives have always had pride in the unique phenomenon that is America and they now see that they need to speak up for reality.

And they want more than words. They want action to stop the deterioration of what they hold dear.  And a wall is the action that they most want, a wall to keep the bearers of problem cultures out -- JR


A proven idea for reforming the crazy U.S. farm laws

Martin Hutchinson

British farmers are concerned about a “no-deal” Brexit, under which they would lose access to bounteous EU farm subsidies. U.S. farmers have had their subsidies increased by President Trump as a result of the China trade dispute. Agriculture subsidies burden national budgets and almost exclusively benefit large corporations and the very rich. There is a better model for supporting agriculture: the 1815-46 Corn Laws, reviled by Whig historians, but much cheaper and infinitely less corrupt.

Robert Banks Jenkinson, second Earl of Liverpool, had three objectives when introducing the Corn Laws in March 1815. One was to help Ireland to develop its corn agriculture, diversifying from potatoes – an objective partly achieved, mitigating the 1840s potato famine, but alas lost after the Corn Laws were repealed in 1846. The second was to ensure that Britain was close to food self-sufficiency in any future war – the Corn Laws would have been useful before the World Wars, in both of which Britain came close to starvation through German attacks on merchant shipping. The third objective, much pilloried by Whig historians, was to preserve the economic viability of British agriculture against “dumped” foreign competition.

The Corn Laws, for those who were not subjected to them in the British school system, were a system whereby (in the 1815 version) corn imports were prohibited when corn prices were below a base level of 80 shillings per quarter (28 pounds weight), then free above it. Each quarter’s (3 months) average corn price was used to set the allowability of imports for the following quarter; this granularity made the system transparent for importers and allowed them to plan shipments. Since Britain was almost but not quite self-sufficient in corn, this system allowed domestic producers protection against cheap dumped imports but tended to cap the price for consumers in years of dearth by opening the ports freely. In this classic version of the Corn Laws, no tariffs were imposed.

The one problem the Corn Laws did not solve occurred in their second year of operation; the “Year Without a Summer” in 1816, caused by the Mt. Tambora volcanic eruption the previous year, produced a corn dearth in early 1817 across the whole northern hemisphere, so no extra supplies were available when prices rose. However, other than that the system worked well. It was modified twice in the 1820s, after the deflation caused by Britain’s return to the Gold Standard made 60 shillings a more sensible equilibrium price than 80 shillings.

Agricultural protection today focuses primarily on the last of Liverpool’s objectives, preserving the economic viability of agriculture, which involves large capital investments and suffers badly financially when crops fail or a world market glut makes crops grown in rich countries (with high labor costs) uncompetitive. In Britain, there is a wish to avoid the dismal fate of agriculture in 1870-1939, when Corn Laws repeal and global free trade left British agriculture uncompetitive, de-capitalized the sector, ruined the traditional landed classes and impoverished the agricultural workforce. (David Lloyd George’s policies of land tax, before and after World War I, demonstrated an irrational class hostility to the landed gentry — not to the rich in general, with whom Lloyd George loved to hobnob – at that time, the landed gentry were engaged in a desperate, generally unsuccessful, attempt to stave off bankruptcy.)

In the United States, sentimentality about the “family farm” shows the same wish, though most U.S. farming is undertaken by agri-conglomerates. In Europe and Japan the cultural signals may be different but the result is the same: a wish to protect agriculture, which appears common to all rich countries. Oddly enough, poor countries, where labor-intensive agriculture is often more competitive, often subject it to increased burdens or outright harassment.

Take it as a given, then, that rich countries want to protect their agriculture. Their rationale for doing so is not all that different from Liverpool’s wish to protect the traditional agricultural interest, but their methods are very different, and much more expensive. The United States, for example, provides a wide range of subsidies to producers of various agricultural and similar products. These stretch so far as a subsidy to cotton, a commodity of which the U.S. is a major international exporter, causing huge economic damage to African cotton producers, which would otherwise be highly competitive because of their low labor costs. These subsidies have a huge direct budgetary cost.

The U.S. also regulates the use of agricultural products in ways which benefit producers but impose costs on consumers and the economy as a whole. For example, the U.S. requires a minimum percentage of ethanol in gasoline and uses various means to ensure that the ethanol so used is U.S. corn-based ethanol (environmentally very inefficient) rather than the much more environment-friendly sugar-based ethanol used in Brazil.

A further area of agricultural subsidy is the food stamps program. This is primarily a welfare program but is dealt with in the agricultural budget and at the margin provides additional support for U.S. agriculture. While highly subject to fraud, food stamps provide a function that would probably be provided somehow in any modern welfare-state economy.

A much more pernicious subsidy to agriculture is the temporary visa program, which allows U.S. agriculturalists to import workers and pay them far less than the normal U.S. wage rate. These programs impose crime and welfare costs on the society as a whole and subsidize the production of farm products that would not be viable at market wage rates. They thus impede mechanization in many crop areas where machinery could be used instead of cheap labor. If a particular crop cannot be produced in the United States using U.S. labor at market rates, then U.S. economic welfare will be increased by allowing foreign producers to produce it instead.

Both commodity-rich countries like the United States and commodity-poor countries like Britain, should replace the current subsidies to agriculture with a system of Corn Laws covering the major commodities produced by domestic producers. This would relieve the immense budget cost of current farm subsidies and greatly lower the even larger and more dangerous economic costs inherent in the current system. There would be no food stamps or special visas for low-cost labor; any poverty problems would be relieved by cash payments through the welfare system.

For Britain, Corn Laws would work much as they did in 1815-46. They would prevent imports of commodities when prices were low, thus keeping the domestic price close to the base price and ensuring a reasonable return for farmers. Farmers would adjust their crop production to reflect domestic needs, to avoid producing surpluses dumped on the international market at lower prices. Food prices would average somewhat higher than currently, although crop failures would result in imports (which would be more readily available than in 1815-46, in a world with Southern Hemisphere producers and fast transportation). The 1846 objection to the Corn Laws, that they raised food costs for the working classes, would be less salient now that only 13% of consumer expenditures are on food products; in any case the welfare system could be adjusted accordingly, much more cheaply than providing indirect handouts to the poor through agriculture subsidies.

For the United States, a no subsidy/Corn Laws system would, as in Britain, provide producers with an adequate and more stable income, but only to the extent they produced for domestic consumption. Producers of, for example soybeans with heavy international sales would be reliant on the vagaries of the international market, and accordingly might lose out compared with the current system. However, subsidizing production for export of items that can only be sold at below their production cost is economically suicidal and should be avoided however loud the squawking from the producer lobbies.

When base prices for Corn Laws were calculated, it might very well be that some agricultural products were viable only at impossibly high prices, having been heavily subsidized currently, both directly and indirectly through imports of cheap labor. Labor-intensive crops, in particular, are very often unsuited to high-wage economies except in specialty varieties, and hence should be imported rather than grown domestically. Wine is such a crop, for example. It makes no sense to produce cheap wine in France or California; those high-costs growing areas should be reserved only for high-quality, high-priced production, while the cheap wine is imported – even to France.

For Britain’s 19th Century economy, repeal of the Corn Laws and the move to unilateral free trade were a disaster; they destroyed the traditional agricultural basis of society and, in the long run, hollowed out the industry that had led the world in 1825. In an era when budgets all over the world are in huge deficit, agricultural subsidies make no sense today. As in many economic areas, Liverpool was far ahead of today’s thinkers; we should recognize this fact and return to his well-thought-out Corn Laws.



Newt Gingrich Eviscerates ‘profoundly vicious, cruel’ Liar Ocasio Cortez: Limbaugh, Crenshaw Agree

Socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taken offense to being labeled a liar over her confirmed lies.

On Friday former House Speaker Newt Gingrich published a scathing op-ed excoriating her for lying about virtually everything.

“It took Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s visit to the border — and her dishonest comments afterward — to help me understand how profoundly vicious, cruel and dishonest she is,” he wrote.

“When you look at the larger picture, it is clear that Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is eager and determined to undermine and destroy America as we have known it. When your goals are that radical, lying is simply part of the game. When you despise American values and find the American people ‘deplorable’ and contemptible, lying is perfectly natural.”

The op-ed was published days after AOC and her freshmen peers stormed through several U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facilitates along the border like they owned the place and proceeded to propagate a hash of easily debunked lies about what they’d allegedly seen.

In response to Gingrich’s piece, MSNBC talking head Joe Scarborough suggested that the piece was an indictment of President Donald Trump, not the young congresswoman.

“While trying to attack ⁦@AOC⁩, Newt unwittingly writes a scathing indictment of Donald J. Trump,” he wrote in a tweet shortly after the publication of the former House speaker’s piece.

The tweet was disingenuous, given that unlike Ocasio-Cortez’s goals — which include abolishing U.S. Customs and Border Protection and basically dismantling American society — the president’s agenda is fairly moderate. Even the far-left blog HuffPost has admitted that Trump’s been “governing like a traditional Republican,” not some insane radical.

AOC picked up on and retweeted Scarborough’s tweet shortly thereafter. She made sure to include a sarcastic, disingenuous reply of her own.

“Ah yes, now Newt & the GOP are resorting to calling me a liar,” she wrote.”Who else do they call liars? – 96% of scientists who agree on climate change – Millions of Americans they locked up in the War on Drugs – #MeToo survivors.” “So I’ll take it as a compliment. Thanks.”

This was a clear-cut attempt to conflate wildly separate issues — and a poor attempt, at that.

Regarding scientists, nobody on the right has accused them of being liars. What they have done is push back on the claim by left-wing activists that 97 percent (not 96 percent) of scientists believe climate change is a man-made phenomenon.

Regarding the war on drugs, Republican President Donald Trump is responsible for signing into law the First Step Act, a bill “aimed at righting racial disparities in drug sentencing,” according to The New York Times.

And regarding #MeToo survivors, a plethora of alleged survivors have in fact been proven to be liars or hucksters, including Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

As for the president’s latest accuser, E. Jean Carroll, she destroyed her own credibility by making increasingly wild statements, including the claim that Americans think rape is sexy and the unapologetic admission that she used to sexually harass deceased former Fox News boss Roger Ailes.

What AOC has done is taken three separate issues completely out of context and used them to try and discredit the right’s accusation that she’s a liar. Much like every other lie she’s told, it seems so disingenuous.

-“96% of scientists” is a misleading statistics from a SMALL sample size

-Dem favorite Kamala Harris kept inmates locked up over petty drug crimes for cheap labor

And YOUR party made a joke out of sexual assault by using false accusations to take down people you disagree with

This, of course, is her whole shtick, as noted last week by conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh.

“After a while, your gig gets old, your schtick no longer shocks, and so you have to keep crossing new lines,” he explained on his program this Wednesday. “And that’s all she’s doing. She’s addicted to getting noticed.”

“Now she runs down there and starts trashing and lying about conditions at the border,” Limbaugh continued. “And the people who administer the people who come into this country illegally. Flat-out lies that the detainees are being forced to drink out of toilets.”

As demonstrated by CBP Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent Roy Villareal in a video uploaded to Twitter on Thursday, detained illegal aliens are not being forced to drink water from toilets. Nor is there anything wrong with the sink water they have access to while in detention:

Limbaugh’s point about Ocasio-Cortez’s “gig” getting old was that she’s been lying from the very beginning. It’s a point that was echoed by former Navy SEAL Rep. Dan Crenshaw during a Fox News interview last Tuesday.

“She’s getting bolder with her lies. … Remember, first there was no crisis at all,” he said to host Martha MacCallum. “Then it was a manufactured crisis, then it was a crisis completely created by Trump, then there were concentration camps, then people are Nazis. Now she’s saying border patrol agents harassed her and forced migrants to drink out of toilets.” “This is insanity!” he added.



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, July 09, 2019

What does Russia want?

I have just read a VERY long-winded article in the NYT which tries to answer the question above.  When people write at such length it generally means that they don't have any clear answers but hope that by covering a lot of ground the answer will be in there somewhere.  And such is certainly true of that article.

The answer has to be at the psychological level and some of the senior Russian officials the reporter interviewed did after a fashion tell the reporter what the answer was -- but she hardly seemed to notice it. 

What Russians generally and also their leadership  want is respect and acceptance that Russia is a great and important country. They are the world's largest country, stretching all the way across the Eurasian continent from the Baltic to the Pacific. And they have over the years made colossal contributions to the arts and sciences.   So when Russia lost control over half of the territory that they had controlled in Soviet times they saw that as a humiliation.

So the Russian leadership tries to restore a sense of pride in their own people and gain the international attention and influence it had in the Soviet era.  They do NOT see themselves as a failed state notable only for attempts at influencing  American Federal elections. 

It should not be forgotten that Russia had worldwide influence in the Soviet era.  It even had great influence and respect in the USA. The Democratic party at that time were shills for the Soviets.  The Donks did all they could to support Russia in any political controversy.  They were among Russia's best friends. 

Mr Putin would like some of that back. But instead he finds his country demonized -- criticized and marginalized on many fronts.  Recovering ethnically Russian territory in the Crimea seems a heroic and historic achievement to Russians but America has renewed the cold war on Russia over it.

Mr Putin has been very restrained over events happening in his own backyard (e.g. the independence struggle in Eastern Ukraine) so it is clear that countries further West have nothing to fear from him. He will however take opportunities that present themselves to get Russia noticed. A more cordial atmosphere between Russia and the USA would make such adventures less likely.  If America can remain friendly to the ghastly Saudis, friendship with Christian Russia should be no strain


Introducing Daisy Cousens

I put up yesterday a video of the very glammed up Blonde in the Belly of the Beast -- a great anti-feminist lady.  There is a rather similar youtuber in Australia called Daisy Cousens.  She doesn't usually glam up as much but her approach is otherwise similar.  She appears on Australian media a fair bit but I imagine she is not well known in America.  She lives in my town -- Brisbane -- but, as I do, she follows events in America as well as Australian events.  I give two links below -- to her introductory page and to her latest commentary -- on the Antifa outrage in Portland.

I wrote more extensively about her last year, commenting on a video by her which was extremely "incorrect".


Win for conservatives in Greece

Radical left-wing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has conceded defeat after a partial vote count showed the conservative opposition had comfortably won a snap parliamentary election. 

The centre-right New Democracy party of Kyriakos Mitsotakis had 39.7 per cent of the vote compared to Mr Tsipras' Syriza party's 31.5 per cent after nearly 60 per cent of ballots were tallied. Turn out in today's snap election was around 57 per cent.

Mr Tsipras's Syriza party has held power in the country for nearly five years, making him Greece's longest- serving crisis premier and youngest in almost half a century at 44.

The result is a stinging blow to the outgoing Prime Minister, who had insisted he could overturn a sizeable gap in opinion polls running up to the election, which he asked to hold several months before his term expires in the fall.

'A painful cycle has closed,' prime minister-elect Mr Mitsotakis said in a televised address, adding that Greece would 'proudly raise its head again' on his watch. 'I will not fail to honour your hopes,' he added as early congratulation calls came from outgoing European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr Mitsotakis is from one of Greece's top political families. He is the son of former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, one of the country's longest-serving parliamentarians.

'The citizens have made their choice. We fully respect the popular vote,' Mr Tsipras said in his concession speech from central Athens, adding that he had called Mr Mitsotakis to congratulate him.

Official projections based on early partial results also showed the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party teetering on the lower side of the 3 per cent threshold needed to be in parliament.



Neo-Marxism falls out of favour in Britain

Corbyn is a soulmate to Bernie

Labour have fallen so far in the polls that, despite being marginally ahead, they would still fall 100 seats short of a majority in a fractured new Parliament if a general election were called today.

The latest polling average has Jeremy Corbyn's party on 22.8 per cent, slightly higher than a new individual YouGov poll which had Labour on a historic low of 18 per cent.

Labour's 10-poll average is nearly a record low for the party, beaten only by the level seen in June 2009, when the party slumped to 21.8 per cent while dealing with the financial crisis and the fallout from the MPs' expenses scandal.



Trump Lifting Obama’s Nonsense Restrictions On Truck Drivers

You can be five minutes from home and you still have to stop driving for 10 hours under the current rules. Even a one minute violation would be costly. Going over time results in being declared “out of service” for at least a day and if truckers aren’t driving, they aren’t making money.

The Transportation Department under President Donald Trump is trying to ease ridiculous rules burdening those who drive for a living. Rigid rules don’t allow for problems on the road. That’s not dealing with reality. Between weather and other drivers, anything can go wrong.

“You don’t want even a one-minute violation,” warns Lucson Francois, explaining an incident that a truck stop break five minutes from his home caused. After maxing out the day’s allotted number of duty hours and unable to leave the truck unattended, he was forced to sleep in the berth behind the cab, when he could have been in his own bed.

Highway safety advocates assume the drivers won’t exercise common sense, to not drive beyond their comfort zones. What’s not being taken into consideration is the need for flexibility.

The trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2017 is a 10% increase from the previous year according to a report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. A small percentage, or 60 out of 4,657, were described as fatigued or asleep.

The NTSB has declared fatigue to be a “large problem” and is trying to emphasize it on their “most wanted” safety improvements.

The trucking industry has an advocate in President Trump who is successfully rolling back stifling regulations. The Trump administration trusts truckers to do the right thing more than the prior administration.

Mostly Republicans had pressed for relaxing the rules a little to allow for more flexibility.

The independent truckers bristle at a bureaucrat sitting behind a desk telling him what to do, especially when that person doesn’t see what happens on the road. The “desk jockey” can’t know what the trucker deals with. “How can you judge me and what I do by sitting in a cubicle in an office?” asks Terry Button.

The burly upstate New York hay farmer owns his truck and estimates he’s logged about 4 million miles. He said “he’s never caused an accident, although he’s been hit twice by passenger vehicles.”

Current regulations insist on 11 hours of drive time within a 14 hour time frame. Ten consecutive hours need to pass before the 14 hour clock starts again.

More than eight hours of drive time requires a 30 minute break before that eight hour mark. Time is recorded automatically by electronic devices. The Barack Obama administration set this up in December 2017, the Trump administration has yet to overturn it.

The electronic device cannot be altered, it’s wired to the truck’s engine and there’s a display on the dash.

The inflexibility comes in when your time is up and there’s no place to pull over. That clock ticks loudly when faced with delays including cargo taking a long time to be loaded or unloaded.

The mandatory break is equally a problem, forcing them to pull over in unsafe places when they don’t feel they need a break.

An alternate to this that’s been presented, is that truckers be allowed to stop the 14 hour clock for up to three consecutive hours. Drivers could rest or wait out heavy traffic during this time.

It’s common sense. Drive when you’re up to driving, rest when you’re tired. Critics don’t think the truckers will use common sense.



Kamala Harris is NOT an American black but IS descended from a slave-owner

Kamala Harris has some family roots that are a lot more tangled than anyone ever imagined.

Harris was recently attacked by an African-American on twitter, which only started controversy because Donald Trump, Jr. re-posted the message asking if it was true.

"Kamala Harris is *not* an American Black. She is half Indian and half Jamaican. I'm so sick of people robbing American Blacks (like myself) of our history. It's disgusting. Now using it for debate time at #DemDebate2? These are my people not her people. Freaking disgusting."

It started a whole firestorm around the question of whether she was “black enough.” Jamaicans are apparently not considered “black” by some African-Americans.

When that hit the airwaves, people immediately started googling and it wasn’t long before someone stumbled over a genealogy that her father had posted online.

One of her hot button issues is slavery “reparations.” The idea has been on the table for a while and there is some serious discussion in Congress about actually writing checks.

According to her father, Harris won’t have to look too hard to find out who to start sending money to.

“My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown, descendant of Hamilton Brown who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town)”

By studying his family history, he got well acquainted with the politics of the sugar industry. “I came then to understand its origin as a system of global production and commerce, based on slave labour, with Jamaica as a key component of that system from its very start.”

Born in Ireland, Hamilton Brown soon owned a Jamaican sugar plantation and is credited with founding “Brown’s Town.”

Brown was quoted as declaring that there was no way he or the other sugar planters would allow “the interference of the Home Government with their slaves in any shape.”



AOC just another lying Leftist. Hispanic Pastors Toured Same Facility As Ocasio Cortez And Came Out With Very Different Impression

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and the Democratic Party have been peddling some serious allegations about the detention facilities housing illegal aliens at the southern border.

Of course, they’re trying to paint the Trump administration or any administration that supports enforcing federal immigration laws as fascistic in nature. The overcrowding, the lack of basic supplies, no soap, no toothbrushes, etc. the outrage is deafening from the Left and their media allies. It’s very entertaining. Yes, it is—because these same clowns said that the border crisis and the horde of illegals swarming the border was a manufactured crisis peddled by the Trump White House. Nope. You’re wrong—as always.

Ocasio-Cortez recently threw a tantrum at Border Patrol agents, refusing a tour, but threw in the toilet water allegations that got the liberal media going. Allegedly, those detained were told to drink from toilets. That’s somewhat true in the sense that the sinks at these facilities are located on top of the toilets; they’re connected. Yet, AOC reportedly didn’t even go into the facility.

Sorry, I don’t believe it. These are the most partisan left-wingers on the Hill hell-bent on getting Trump. It’s an election year. And the fact that AOC wouldn’t say if she saw people drinking from the toilets is a red flag. We’re not Venezuela, folks or at least not yet. Hispanic pastors recently toured the border detention facilities and found that there were quite a bit of lies being pushed by the Left (via Fox News):

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez was “full of indignation” when he saw the reports and heard from politicians about the deplorable and inhumane conditions for illegal immigrants at an El Paso County, Texas migrant detention center. But what he saw at the same facility toured by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. with a group of pastors was “drastically different.”

The president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization, and senior pastor of New Seasons Christian Worship Center in Sacramento shared his firsthand experience touring a migrant detention center during a press briefing Monday.

“I read the reports, saw the news clips. I just wanted to see what was actually happening in order to better enable our efforts to find a fair and a just solution to our broken immigration system,” Rodriguez, who has advised President Trump and both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush on immigration reform, noted. “To my surprise, I saw something drastically different from the stories I’ve been hearing in our national discourse. Even as a veteran of immigration advocacy in the U.S., I was shocked at the misinformation of the crisis at the border.”

“We found no soiled diapers, no deplorable conditions and no lack of basic necessities,” Rodriguez remarked, adding he specifically asked border agents if they staged the facility in response to the negative press. “They unequivocally denied it — we were witnessing the identical conditions the attorneys saw when they toured the facility days earlier.”

In fact, some told him the sources from whom the negative coverage originated “never toured the areas of the facility that we toured” and speculated they might have had political motivations.

Shocker, these clowns lied.



The boiling Leftist hatred never stops

The U.S. Women’s National Team won it’s second consecutive World Cup on Sunday. They defeated Netherlands 2-0 in France.

After the victory, some protesters found a Fox News camera so they could berate the most powerful man in the world.

News just went live from a bar in France after the #USWNT win and people started shouting "Fuck Trump" on air



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, July 08, 2019

Watch the Blonde in the Belly of the Beast rip AOC

Her name is Rebecca Hargraves and she describes herself as a conservative millennial dame living in the communist hellscape of Seattle.


Holocaust survivor says Ocasio-Cortez should be 'removed' from Congress for spreading 'anti-Semitism, hatred and stupidity'

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be removed from Congress for spreading “anti-Semitism, hatred and stupidity,” said a Holocaust survivor whose group invited her to tour Auschwitz.

Edward Mosberg, the 93-year-old president of The Depths, a group commemorating the Holocaust, slammed the New York Democrat over her controversial comparison of migrant detention facilities to “concentration camps,” prompting him to call for her removal.

“She should be removed from Congress. She’s spreading anti-Semitism, hatred and stupidity,” Mosberg said in an interview with The New York Post. “The people on the border aren’t forced to be there — they go there on their own will. If someone doesn’t know the difference, either they’re playing stupid or they just don’t care.”



AOC satirist Doxxed And Threatened, Family Shuts Down All Her Social Accounts

The family of a young girl who went viral for mocking Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shut down all of her social accounts Wednesday, after receiving death threats and harassing phone calls.

A tweet from the account purporting to belong to the little girl’s stepfather said she will not be doing any more content because the harassment and death threats “have gone too far” and threaten her and the family’s safety.

“Ava will not be doing any more MINI AOC content,” the tweet said. “The Left’s Harassment and death threats have gone too far for our family. We have been getting calls on our personal phone numbers. For our safety and our child’s safety, we deleted all Mini AOC accounts.”

The 8-year-old girl, known as “Mini AOC,” got attention for her impersonations of Ocasio-Cortez, such as a tweet in which she mocked the New York Democrat’s theatrics over the migrant crisis. “Every time I plan a visit to the park it’s closed!” she tweeted, along with several photos of her dressed up to look like Ocasio-Cortez when she visited a migrant detention center this week

She appeared on Fox Business in May to discuss her impersonations, saying her dad and her uncle encouraged her to start making videos because they thought she bore a striking resemblance to Ocasio-Cortez. She said she likes Ocasio-Cortez, but “not that much” and impersonated her saying “did you know that?” when prompted by the Fox News host.

Her Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts are shut down. Her Twitter handle was taken over by another user, who tweeted from the account saying they want to prevent a “leftist takeover” of the handle.


The Leftist hate never stops


How the Anti-Defamation League conspired to have a critic investigated for a fake hate crime

I think this is a rather remarkable story about the quite poisonous Jewish Left so I am reproducing it in full.  Despite the strong and extensive commandments to morality in the Torah -- see for instance Leviticus -- Jewish Leftists have as much morality as the rest of the Left:  Nil  -- JR

By Ilya Feoktistov

On the morning of February 25, 2019, two prominent leaders of the New England Jewish community walked into a Boston police station to report that I had committed an anti-Jewish hate crime against both of them by threatening them with bodily harm. Robert Trestan, the New England regional executive director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and Jeremy Burton, the executive director of Boston’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), told the police that I was motivated by anti-Jewish bias, and that they were in fear for their physical safety as a result.

But, when Boston Police Department (BPD) detectives spoke to my attorney, Jewish civil rights advocate Karen Hurvitz, they were surprised to learn that I myself am Jewish and that, like Trestan and Burton, I am the executive director of a Jewish 501(c)(3) non-profit, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), which confronts anti-Jewish bias as part of its primary mission.

In these troubled times, law enforcement cannot take reports of violent threats against Jewish leaders lightly. The level of urgency was upped several notches in this case because Messrs. Trestan and Burton, as prominent civic leaders in New England, have close personal relationships with Boston’s chief of police and mayor, the Suffolk County district attorney, the local U.S. Attorney’s office, and the governor of Massachusetts, among others. Mr. Trestan is a civil rights attorney, had advised the Obama White House on countering violent extremism, was honored by the Boston Police Foundation, and currently sits on the governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes. Galvanized by the threat of prominent Jewish leaders being targeted by a dangerous criminal, scarce police resources were immediately mobilized to investigate the alleged threats.

Once the BPD detectives learned that I was a Jewish community leader, they were, understandably, confused as to why two Jewish executive directors would call the cops on another one and falsely accuse him of an anti-Jewish hate crime. My attorney explained the likely motive: my recent article in The Federalist, in which I was highly critical of Trestan and Burton’s leadership. The article criticized Trestan and Burton for politicizing the Boston Jewish community’s vigil for the victims of the 2018 Pittsburg synagogue massacre by turning it into an anti-Trump resistance rally.

Worse, the article noted that they had invited a real anti-Semite – Hamas-linked Boston imam Yasir Fahmy, to promote his agenda at this vigil. The article came with video of Imam Fahmy preaching to Boston’s Muslims that the Jews of Israel are desecrating the Al Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount – a widespread anti-Semitic slander that has led to murderous violence against Jews. Trestan’s ADL usually censures Arab and Muslim leaders who resort to this sort of antisemitic incitement over the Temple Mount, instead of inviting them to speak at a vigil for antisemitism’s victims.

The article also revealed that Imam Fahmy preaches to Boston’s Muslims the same religious fundamentalist views about homosexuality that Mr. Burton loudly denounces when they are preached by Jewish rabbis. Burton, who has written heartbreaking accounts of being driven close to suicide by the intolerance he faced growing up gay in the Orthodox Jewish community, appears to be relatively less anxious about the emotional health of gay Muslim youths at Imam Fahmy’s mosque. Instead of loudly denouncing Fahmy, a few weeks after the article came out, Burton came to Fahmy’s mosque to praise the hate preacher, calling him “my teacher, Shaykh Yasir.”

The detectives saw what was really going on. “Tell me if I’m getting this correctly,” one of them asked my attorney. “All of them are Jews, but Feoktistov is more on the Right, and Trestan and Burton are more on the Left when it comes to politics?”

I do not doubt that Messrs. Trestan and Burton were quite upset by the article and emails that I sent them about it. Most people do not enjoy criticism. Then again, most people do not try to get their critics arrested for it. According to the police incident report, Trestan and Burton complained that “they receive emails regularly from the suspect (Ilya Feoktistov) that are offensive/ harsh in nature in regards to their work.” The email that they claimed threatened them with bodily harm ended with this line:

“I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’”

To two non-Jewish Boston cops, this ‘disaster’ stuff, combined with Trestan and Burton’s misrepresentations to the police, might well sound like a potential threat. Instead, as the detectives learned, it was Jeremiah 18:11, a Bible passage included in the email under the apparently-mistaken assumption that Boston’s Jewish leaders know Jewish scripture. [LOL] In the passage, the prophet Jeremiah criticizes the failures of the Jewish leaders of his time, predicting disaster for the entire people if their rulers continued to ignore threats to Israel’s safety. Ironically, Burton and Trestan now seem to mimic those corrupt ancient Jewish leaders, who responded to Jeremiah’s warning by having him arrested, saying:

“Come, let us denounce him and pay no heed to any of his words.” (Jeremiah 18:18.)

It is possible that Trestan and Burton are simply illiterate when it comes to their religion’s holy texts and had failed to distinguish Jewish scripture from an anti-Jewish threat; that they were then genuinely panic-stricken by the email and were compelled to report the Bible lesson as a hate crime. But I doubt it. Jeremiah is so well-known for preaching disaster that his name is synonymous with the angry harangue against the powerful. The part of Jeremiah (18:1-12) containing the verse is one of the most-quoted allegories in the Hebrew Bible – the piece of clay in the potter’s hand – and is part of the traditional evening prayers on the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur. Burton, who identifies as an Orthodox Jew, is himself fond of quoting Jeremiah. Perhaps he and Trestan nevertheless didn’t get the reference. Or perhaps they knew what they were doing when they came up with their plot.

Thankfully, once the detectives figured out that I had gotten “jussied” – that Burton and Trestan had filed a fake hate crime report against me for political reasons – I was off the hook. Unfortunately, there is little chance that these well-connected grandees are now going be held accountable, like ordinary folks who file a false police report, by their own friends in law enforcement.

Trestan and Burton’s misappropriation of the criminal process as a personal tool to quash public criticism is Kafkaesque by American standards, but lame compared to what people like them can do when the state allows them to denounce their fellow citizens for crimes of speech and thought. In the Soviet Union, it was common knowledge then that there were people in that society who, for venal, malicious, or ideological reasons, would reach out to those with the legal authority to use violent force and secretly provide false denunciations against their foes or rivals. These people exist in every society. In the United States, however, the destructive influence of such people on the social and moral fabric is mitigated by due process, democratic norms, and, among those familiar with scripture, the commandment against bearing false witness.

Like their 20th Century comrades in my former homeland [Russia], contemporary leftists are not bound by such restraints. Censoring speech and opinion that they do not like, to the point of resorting to false denunciations, has often become standard practice for the progressive movement within the spheres where it is dominant. Even as they steadily lose legitimacy in the Jewish community due to the growth of anti-Semitism on the Left, progressive Jewish leaders like Trestan and Burton demand ever greater authority to dictate proper opinions to American Jews.

Recently, while defending Democrat Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from charges of anti-Semitism, Burton insisted, emphatically and without irony, that the nation’s media and government must grant leftist Jewish leaders like him and Trestan, “leaders who represent the sensibility of our community,” the exclusive privilege “to determine what is, or is not, anti-Semitic.” Even without this privilege, leftist Jewish leaders like Trestan and Burton presume to appropriate anti-Semitism as an exclusive label for their political enemies; resulting in the absurdity of Burton telling Boston’s police that I am an anti-Semite, and telling Boston’s Jews that Rashida Tlaib is not.

Crying “anti-Semites!” at their political opponents as the proverbial wolves will, at some point, stop working for progressive Jewish leaders if they continue to devalue the term for their own political advantage to the point of meaninglessness. Ultimately, the real wolf shows up, and all of us – except perhaps Trestan and Burton – have read how the story ends.



Trump’s Stand Down Order on Iran – A Just Decision

President Trump provided an insight into his thought processes when he reversed an order to attack an Iranian military installation in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. reconnaissance drone. Apparently, we were “cocked and loaded,” our planes in the air, or about to be, when he asked for an assessment of the damage expected from the attack.

Being advised that as many as 150 deaths were likely, he rescinded the strike order. Those deaths, he felt, would not have been “proportionate” to the loss we suffered, and so not justified by what Iran had done.

Trump isn’t Catholic. In fact, his religious identity is rather unclear. But his use of the term, “proportionate” suggests that his thinking is at least somewhat informed by Catholic social teaching.

Perhaps among those advising him there’s someone who has a Catholic perspective. My hunch is that it may be Vice President Mike Pence, who while an Evangelical now, was raised in the Catholic Church.

Trump took criticism for this reversal, which was seen by some as a sign of indecisiveness on his part. Others applauded his restraint, observing that it strengthened his hand, clearing the way for us to strike even harder, should the Iranians commit another provocative act.

I take the latter view, though I suspect there was more to this last-minute change of direction. It’s possible that Trump was attempting to exploit division within the Iranian leadership, or maybe he had received some back-channel indications of a receptiveness to further negotiations.

Diplomacy is always complex and multi-layered.

Nevertheless, what we heard from the president was an echo of Catholic Just War Theory.

The Church teaches that for a war to be just it must meet certain qualifications. For instance, it must be declared by a competent authority (individual citizens or lower-level officials cannot make war on other nations or groups). Also, there must be a reasonable chance of winning (calling people to risk their lives in a cause that is likely impossible is not just).

There are other criteria as well. But perhaps the most important is that action taken must be proportionate to the action provoking it. And that is the point which the President seems to have grasped (or at least emphasized).

He saw that the destruction of human life would be greatly disproportionate to the destruction of a drone — sophisticated and expensive as that piece of equipment was. And in that he acted from a position of Christian principle.

These are precisely the kinds of concerns on which the Church is obliged to speak — and our elected leaders are bound to consider. In fact, I see in this incident an example of the proper relationship between moral teaching and civic responsibility.

Too often priests, bishops and theologians are tempted to make high-sounding pronouncements on specific questions of government policy. And just as often our officials ignore them — which seems to set public authority against Church authority.

But as sincere and fervent as these pastoral entreaties might be, the fact is churchmen have neither the competence nor the responsibility to make such judgments. Our role is to be moral teachers.

We should avoid the temptation to lecture public officials on how they ought to be meeting our expectations. Rather, we must constantly bring those who possess the relevant authority back to the eternal truths of right and wrong on which difficult decisions must be based in order to be morally valid.

That’s the church-state balance on which our country was originally founded.

We celebrate the Fourth of July this week. In our ideologically distorted age, don’t let anyone try to convince you of the trendy notion that America rests on secular, “Enlightenment” principles. Instead, be clear on the fact that the very idea of America is profoundly moral and profoundly religious.

As John Adams put it, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Deep in his heart, President Trump seems to understand this. God bless him for it. And God bless America.



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, July 07, 2019

The real reason why the left was against Donald Trump's July 4 speech

Gary Varvel

Now we know why the Democrats were so upset about President Trump speaking on the Fourth of July.

It was not because it was political or partisan. It was patriotic and that is what annoys the left the most.

Several days before the speech, we heard that Trump was hijacking Independence Day and turning it into a campaign rally. But Trump never mentioned the 2020 campaign in his speech.

We heard that Trump’s desire to have tanks on the National Mall was an out-and-out authoritarian performance art. But that wasn’t really the issue. Neither was the fake outrage over the cost.

There was no mention of political opponents and no mention of the fake news media. And this wasn’t Trump co-opting the nation’s birthday to celebrate himself. In fact, for a man who loves to talk about his accomplishments, he never mentioned himself.

No, Trump did something far more dangerous to the left. He gave America a strong dose of patriotism. He gave Americans a history lesson on the great people, heroes and their great accomplishments over the last 243 years.

Earlier in the week, The New York Times ran a video arguing America isn't the greatest nation on Earth, "the U.S. is really just O.K."

Without mentioning The Times or the video, Trump proceeded to tell us about America’s greatness for nearly an hour interrupted only by applause, flyovers and military songs. At one point, I thought “who is this guy and what have they done with President Trump?”

“Today, we come together as One Nation with this very special Salute To America,” said Trump. “We celebrate our history, our people and the heroes who proudly defend our flag — the brave men and women of the United States Military!”

And boy, did he. Starting with the story of America’s war for independence, Trump quoted the words and deeds of Americans that have long been forgotten but need to be remembered.

Trump told the story of Gen. George Washington as he readied his troops to fight the British invasion. Trump said, “Washington’s message to his troops laid bare the stakes, He wrote, ‘The fate of unborn millions will now depend under God on the courage and conduct of this army, we have therefore to resolve to conquer or die.’”

We are the millions who benefited from their sacrifice.

In reminding America of the great acts of past generation, Trump brought it to the present by honoring our first responders and all of the men and women of law enforcement. Trump also honored the Gold Star families who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Legends and icons

He introduced NASA legend Gene Kranz and told him, we’re going back to the moon and we’re going to plant our flag on Mars.

He also introduced and thanked civil rights icon, Clarence Henderson who was 18-years-old in 1960 when he took part in a sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“Almost six decades later, he sits tonight in a seat of honor,” Trump said. “Clarence thanks for making this a much better place for all Americans.”

I found it very unifying but there were some triggers for the Left.

Trump said “This country the most exceptional nation in the history of the world and it’s at its strongest now.” American exceptionalism annoys the left.

“We are one people, chasing one dream and one magnificent destiny,” Trump said. “We all share the same heroes, the same home and the same heart and we are all made by the same almighty God.” Mentioning God annoys the left.

I think this should become a tradition for every president from now on. With all of the partisan political fights, it was nice to be reminded of American’s amazing heritage. It was inspiring and that’s what we need.

For one day, Trump put partisan politics aside and focused the eyes of America on our past, present and to our future.

Thanks, Mr. President.



Trump seizes the political momentum

Donald Trump’s takeover of Washington seemed all but complete yesterday as he stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial watching fighter jets fly over him with army tanks on the sidelines.

It was all symbolic, of course, but this was the Independence Day party Trump had wanted and ordered against the howls of his opponents. As the President grinned on stage, cloaking himself in patriotism ahead of the July 4 fireworks display, it was clear Trump had once again rewritten the rule book to suit his presidency.

As usual, he did so in the face of a long list of opponents, including Democrats, most of the US media and some former Pentagon officials who accused him of politicising a bipartisan patriotic celebration. But Trump didn’t care. Instead, he only increased his demands during the week, extending the fireworks show and ordering that Abrams tanks be brought up from Georgia to add more grunt to the occasion.

This came just days after Trump’s made-for-television moment with Kim Jong-un when the President met the North Korean leader in the demilitarised zone on the border of the two Koreas after inviting him via Twitter.

Kim responded to his tweeted invitation and Trump became the first sitting US president to step into North Korea. At every turn, Trump is living out his 2016 promise to voters that he would be an unconventional president, not to mention compelling, controversial and unique.

As Trump approaches 2½ years in the Oval Office, his dominance of the daily news cycle in the US has never been greater, denying much needed oxygen to the gaggle of Democrats competing to challenge him for the White House. After a successful G20 meeting in Japan, for which he received positive reviews, even from long-time critics such as The Washington Post editorial board, Trump now surveys a political landscape that is as favourable to him as at any time in his presidency.

As the advantages of incumbency and a purring economy, growing jobs and pay packets, low unemployment, no major wars and even recent border security problems play into his hands, Trump finds himself politically in a rare sweet spot.

It is a far cry from the dark days of early last year, at the height of the Mueller investigation, when Trump was reeling from the fallout from his sacking of FBI chief James Comey and his dysfunctional White House was being stripped bare by the lurid revelations in Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury.

Even so, it is difficult for Republicans to claim with any confidence that Trump is now the favourite to win next year’s presidential election.

Trump’s approval rating — at 43.8 per cent according to the RealClearPolitics’ poll average — is near the highest of his term, but it is still far lower than any president would want at this stage of the re-election cycle. His disapproval rating is still above 50 per cent at 52.5.

However, Trump’s low poll ratings previously have been misleading. He trailed his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, all the way in the 2016 campaign, including on polling day, until he won.

Internal Republican polling also shows the President performing poorly in the three key swing states he stole in 2016 to win the election — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Trump won these three states by a combined 79,646 votes. If he loses these three states next year, he loses office.

The polling shows him trailing Joe Biden and other leading Democratic candidates by sizeable margins in these three key states, largely because of a drop in support from moderate voters, especially women, in the suburbs of regional towns and cities. These were moderate Democratic voters who switched to Trump in 2016 but have since been alienated by his style of leadership. It was this group that primarily drove the Democrats to win back the House of Representatives in last November’s midterm elections. They remain the most powerful obstacle to his re-election.

“My feeling is the election is real­ly a 50-50 prospect right now,” says Mike Green, senior vice-president for Asia at Washington’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies and a former member of the National Security Council under George W. Bush.

“I say that because something unprecedented will have to happen for him to either win or lose re-election. No president in the postwar era has lost re-election when the unemployment rate is as low as it is now.

“On the other hand, no president has won re-election with negative numbers as high as Trump’s, so one of those two records or precedents will have to be broken.”

But for now the momentum is with Trump, helped by the implosion among Democratic contenders after their first debate, in which two clear frontrunners, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, faltered.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale says: “I think the President could beat anybody. The momentum behind this President right now is like nothing that history has ever seen.”

Of course Parscale would say that, but on the key issues that will have an impact on voters next year the trends right now are favouring the President.

This week marked the 121st straight month — or 10 straight years — in which the US economy expanded, the longest expansion on record. The US economy is growing at a healthy 3 per cent, although slower rates are forecast next year.

Unemployment is at a 49-year low of 3.6 per cent.

Trump has been in power for only a quarter of this time and has been lucky to inherit a good economic cycle, but voters tend to credit presidents for strong economies and punish them for bad ones.

The trickle-down effects of the economy also are benefiting African-Americans and Hispanics, two important groups that Trump is trying to woo after they largely voted against him in 2016. The growing problem of undocumented migrants at the Mexican border is also playing into Trump’s hands politically in a way that seemed unlikely six months ago.

Early this year, when Trump claimed there was a “crisis” at the southern border, he was criticised by Democrats because the numbers of detained migrants crossing into the US were still far fewer than a decade earlier.

They accused Trump of manufacturing a crisis to secure funding for his promised border wall. But since then a sharp spike in the number of unauthorised migrants entering the US, especially family groups with children, has changed the perception of many Americans. The number of migrants apprehended at the border surged in May to 132,887, including 11,507 unaccompanied children.

This was the highest monthly level since 2006 and the first time that detentions exceeded 100,000 since April 2007. The conditions at overcrowded border detention centres now are making daily headlines in the US.

A CNN poll this week found 74 per cent of Americans now say the situation on the border is a “crisis” compared with only 45 per cent who felt that way in January. This increase was steepest among Democratic voters, who previously had ridiculed Trump’s claims: 70 per cent of Democrats now call it a crisis compared with 23 per cent in January.

Trump has seized this as opportunity to intensify his attack on Democrats as weak on border security, an issue that resonated loudly with his base in 2016 and will likely do so again next year.

When Democratic presidential contenders in last week’s debate advocated decriminalising illegal border crossings and providing undocumented migrants access to healthcare, it must have seemed like a gift to Trump, who immediately jumped on to Twitter.

“All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare,” he tweeted. “How about taking care of American Citizens first! That’s the end of that race.”

Opponents also criticised Trump’s highly unorthodox threat to levy tariffs on Mexico unless it did more to help secure its borders with Central America. But it did have the intended effect of forcing Mexico to deploy thousands of extra troops to reduce the number of undocumented migrants entering Mexico from Central America en route to the US.

Each of these issues gives Trump the same ammunition he used in 2016 to secure his base and win the election.

Yet to the puzzlement of some, Trump has so far directed all of his campaign efforts into keeping, rather than expanding his base. His campaign launch rally in Orlando, Florida, this month was a re-run of his 2016 rallies as he mixed dark claims of persecution by the FBI, by Mueller and by the media with boasts about his achievements.

So far, Trump’s base has proved to be intensely loyal to him. About 90 per cent of Republicans approve of his performance. When asked by Time magazine last week whether he should reach out to swinging voters, Trump said: “I think my base is so strong, I’m not sure that I have to do that.”

Trump has come out of the Mueller inquiry without serious injury in the polls and Democrats in the house are divided on whether to try to impeach him. The President’s biggest selling point for next year’s campaign will be that he has ticked off a long list of those promises he made in 2016, from tax cuts, to job growth, the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate change accord and the Iran nuclear deal, the reworking of North American Free Trade Agreement, the challenges to China and NATO, and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, among ­others.

Trump’s divisive and confrontational style remains his biggest weakness and it explains his persistently high disapproval ratings. Biden believes this is his ticket to the White House.

The former vice-president is campaigning almost entirely on being the anti-Trump, promising to restore more civility and decency to the office of the president.

The key question is whether Trump’s controversial style will ­attract more people to vote Democrat than they did in 2016. The argument against this theory is that Trump’s maverick style is hardly breaking news and he won the 2016 election when voters were ­already fully aware of who he was.

The biggest risk to Trump’s base right now, and perhaps his re-election, is whether he can strike a deal to end his trade war with China before US farmers turn against him in key swing states.

At the G20 meeting, Trump agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping to reopen negotiations on a trade deal and to pause his threat to impose a further $US300 billion in tariffs on Beijing.

CSIS’s Green says Trump’s decision to resume talks with Xi was driven by political concerns about imposing more financial pain on American farmers.

“The tariffs on China, because of China’s retaliation with (tariffs on US) soybeans and agriculture, are really unpopular with the farmers, who are probably more important to Republicans than the blue-collar base,” he says.

Green says he has been meeting the heads of the US farm lobbies, who tell him their members hate the tariff war but they’re not blaming Trump yet.

“They still support Trump but what the leaders of these agricultural associations say is that by August and September when farms start foreclosing, the pain will be enough that they think farmers will start to turn on the President.

“So for me, it was very predictable at the G20 that he would just agree to keep talking to the Chinese because he can’t raise tariffs again without taking a major political hit yet he can’t lower tariffs right now without taking a hit.

“He has very little manoeuvring room on policy.”

Many observers, including Green, say Trump’s political strategy over the year ahead will focus not so much on growing his own base but on goading Democrats into adopting policies that are to the left of mainstream Americans.

Green says Trump is already seeking to push the Democrats to the left of the mainstream on ­issues such as immigration and healthcare.

“Trump can’t break his negative 50 per cent plus ratings but he can try to drive up the negative rating of the Democrats by baiting them to take on policies that are unpopular with the majority of Americans,” he says.

Trump would be encouraged by what he saw in the first debate between 20 of the 25 Democrat contenders. After sub-par performances from the two frontrunners, Biden and Sanders, they both have tumbled in the polls.

The debates also shone light on the extent to which most of the field, from poster-girl Kamala Harris to Elizabeth Warren, embrace policies on immigration, health and taxes that were too left-wing even for Democratic presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. There is a long way to go until polling day in November next year — a lifetime in the fast-moving Trump presidency — and much can still go wrong for him.

But as he approaches the 2½-year mark in the White House, the prospects of a second Trump term are improving.



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)