Friday, July 19, 2019

The Race Card Has Gone Bust

America has never been fairer or more integrated, yet politicians obsess over wiping out discrimination

In William Julius Wilson’s 1978 book, “The Declining Significance of Race,” the sociologist argued that racial discrimination was no longer the biggest barrier to black economic advancement. His fellow liberals were outraged. Forty-one years later, Mr. Wilson is still right and the political left is still in denial.

Accusations of white racism are all the rage in Washington these days. If you oppose school busing, you’re a racist. If you want immigration laws enforced, you’re a racist. If you’re against slavery reparations or support adding a citizenship question to the census or criticize minority members of Congress, you’re a racist.

One problem is that Donald Trump has adopted the kind of identity politics we usually associate with Democrats. Another is that Democratic presidential contestants in search of black votes have taken racial pandering to new lows. Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., spoke for many of the candidates when he told National Public Radio last week that “white America” needs to come to grips with what he says explains today’s racial inequities. Namely, the “systemic racism all around us. It’s the air we breathe.”

Mr. Wilson’s observations about discrimination and black progress four decades ago weren’t novel—conservative scholars like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell already had been making similar points—but they were striking coming from a liberal academic. Mr. Wilson did not deny the roles that slavery and Jim Crow played in perpetuating disparities. Nevertheless, he wrote, “they do not provide a meaningful explanation of the life chances of black Americans today.” Mayor Pete has been wrong for longer than he’s been alive.

No reasonable person denies that racists still live among us or that racial discrimination can retard upward mobility. Still, evidence of racial bias in the past or the present is not proof that racism is responsible for current social disparities. After all, the pathologies we see in low-income black communities aren’t confined to those communities. As Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam wrote in 2017, “The white working-class family is today more fragile than the black family was at the time of the famous alarm-sounding 1965 ‘Report on the Negro Family’ by Daniel Patrick Moynihan.”

Liberals who insist that racial discrimination largely explains the black-white wealth gap are ignoring other plausible explanations. Black poverty and employment today, for example, seem to be more a function of family formation than of white racism. For more than 20 years, black married couples have had poverty rates in the single digits, and black married men have had a higher labor-force participation rate than white men who never married. According to The Wall Street Journal, last year the labor-force participation gap between blacks and whites virtually vanished, the first time that’s happened since 1972. Systemic racism may be “in the air we breathe,” but black unemployment rates are at generational lows.

“Family instability and fatherlessness collide with racial and economic disadvantage to create a negative feedback loop in black communities, hampering children’s potential and perpetuating racial inequality,” writes Kay Hymowitz in a recent City Journal essay. Citing new research by John Iceland, a demographer at Penn State University, she notes that “differences in family structure are the most significant variable in explaining the black-white affluence gap. In fact, its importance has grown over time relative to other explanations, including discrimination. Unable to pool earnings with a spouse, to take advantage of economies of scale, and to share child care, black single parents have a tougher time than their married counterparts building a nest egg.”

Government programs are no substitute for the development of human capital. If wealth-redistribution schemes lifted people out of poverty, we would have closed these gaps a long time ago. Liberal politicians and activists have little interest in addressing the ways in which black behavioral choices impact inequality. It’s easier to turn out voters and raise money by equating racial imbalances with racial bias and smearing political opponents who disagree.

Will it work in the end? It didn’t for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Telling people what you think they want to hear can be easier than telling the truth, but you also risk insulting them. And blaming bad outcomes among blacks on the malevolence of others is not only wrong but insulting to Americans of every race. This isn’t 1950. Attitudes have changed. Behaviors have changed. American neighborhoods and schools and marriages are more integrated. We elected a black president twice, and he won several of the nation’s whitest states both times. Racism has probably never been less significant in America, and blacks have never had more opportunities to seize. Liberals are pushing a narrative that many white voters don’t recognize and that many black voters know is false.



Democrats Say No One Is Above the Law — Except Illegal Immigrants
We have heard a lot about the importance of the rule of law from Democrats lately. During special counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of President Trump, Democrats in Congress delivered a clear and unified message.

“No one is above the law, especially the president of the United States,” declared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “Donald Trump is the most corrupt president in our lifetime. … No one is above the law. Not even the president,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. “Everyone should be held accountable. And the president is not above the law,” said Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. Republicans “are basically saying that in America one man is above the law and that’s not a fact,” said Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill. “No one is above the law [and] everybody ought to be held accountable,” said South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

No one, that is, except illegal immigrants.

Fast-forward to this past weekend, when the Trump administration announced that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers would soon begin enforcement actions to remove illegal immigrants who have been issued final deportation orders by a federal judge. Those same Democrats and the rest of their party delivered a clear and unified message.

“It’s so appalling, it’s outside the circle of civilized human behavior,” said Pelosi. “The Trump administration’s cruelty runs bone-deep. A Warren administration will not rip families apart to try and score political points,” said Warren. “The aim is to scare immigrant communities. … And so, he’s going to … do these raids which is a crime against humanity,” said Harris. “We are on your side, we stand with you together,” Durbin told activists protesting ICE enforcement. “It’s really designed to strike fear into people at a moment when fear is something we’ve got way too much of in this country,” said Buttigieg.

So, Democrats were for rule of law when it comes to the Mueller probe, which did not find that the president broke the law. But they are against rule of law when it comes to illegal immigrants who have been found by a federal judge to be in violation of U.S. immigration law.

Illegal immigrants subject to ICE enforcement have been given their constitutional right to due process, with the right to a hearing in a federal immigration court and the right to be represented by counsel. If they show up at their hearing and are not granted relief by an immigration judge, they have the right to appeal. If they lose that appeal, they are issued a final order of removal. Once such an order is issued, they must either voluntarily depart the country or turn themselves in to an ICE facility for deportation. If they fail to depart or turn themselves in, then their case is referred to the ICE fugitive unit, which is tasked with finding them.

It is a long process to get to the point where ICE is knocking on someone’s door to enforce a final order of removal. Those now subject to a final deportation order either failed to show up to immigration court; showed up and lost their case; waived their right to appeal; lost their appeal; did not show up for their appeal hearing; were granted voluntary departure but did not leave; or failed to turn themselves in to ICE for court-ordered removal. In each case, a federal judge has ruled that they do not have the right to be in the United States and must leave. But Democratic leaders are now saying they should be allowed to stay, in contravention of our immigration laws.

Then again, Democrats didn’t think this way when they held the White House. President Barack Obama deported far more illegal immigrants than Trump. Axios reports that “under the Obama administration, total ICE deportations were above 385,000 each year in fiscal years 2009-2011, and hit a high of 409,849 in fiscal 2012.” I don’t recall Democrats in Congress accusing Obama of a “crime against humanity” or actions “outside the circle of civilized human behavior.”

Back then, Democrats agreed, as Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., put it in a 2009 speech, that “illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple.” Since Trump took office, Democrats have become the party of illegal immigration. The want to decriminalize illegal border crossings, cut ICE detention beds to force the agency to release illegal immigrants and then refuse to enforce lawful deportation orders. So, it’s a little hard to take Democrats seriously when, in investigating Trump, they claim to be fighting for the principle that no one is above the law.



Crowd Chants “Send Her Back” At Trump Rally As President Targets Ilhan Omar

Supporters of President Trump chanted, “Send her back!” as Trump read a litany of soft on Islamist terror, anti-American comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) at a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina Wednesday night.

Omar came to the United States via a refugee camp in Kenya when she was a child, having escaped from her native Somalia with her family during a civil war. Omar became a U.S. citizen in 2000, was elected to the Minnesota House in 2016 and the U.S. House in 2018. Omar has made a name for herself as the first hijab wearing Congressman and by her anti-Semitic, soft on Islamist terror and anti-American comments.

Omar is one of four radical anti-American freshmen Democrats in the House of Representatives known as “the Squad”. The others being Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI). Trump is tying the mainstream of the Democratic Party with the extremist Squad members.

Trump did not comment or react as the crowd chanted, “Send her back!” for about fifteen seconds. He resumed his prepared remarks with more criticism of Omar’s statements.

A protester interrupted Trump as he first mentioned Omar, which fired up the crowd as he was removed by security.



Republican Support For Trump Rises 5 Points Following ‘Go Back’ Tweets

Republican support for President Trump has increased 5 points since he suggested a group of minority progressive lawmakers “go back” where they came from, a Reuters–Ipsos poll finds.

The president’s net approval among Republicans now stands at 72 percent after he tweeted Sunday that the four lawmakers — thought to be Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) — should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” the poll shows.

Trump’s support faltered among Democrats and independents, however. His net approval dropped 2 percentage points among Democrats, pollsters found, while about 3 in 10 independent voters now say they approve of Trump, down from 4 in 10 last week.

According to the poll, the president’s overall approval did not change over the past week, despite the attacks against the lawmakers — all of whom are U.S. citizens — which have spurred widespread bipartisan backlash.

Trump has continued to insist that the tweets were not racist and that “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”

GOP congressional leadership has denied that the tweets and the president are racist, and only four House Republicans voted in favor of the Democratic-led resolution.

The nationwide survey was conducted on Monday and Tuesday and surveyed 1,113 adults, including 478 Democrats and 406 Republicans. It has a credibility interval of 3 percentage points.



Google Exec Refuses to Commit to Independent Audit of Its Moderation Practices

Google and its subsidiary YouTube are constructed, operated and maintained through algorithms to be "politically neutral," a company executive told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday.

But some lawmakers scoffed. What about Google’s censorship in China? Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) asked Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of global government affairs and public policy.

“Why would anybody believe you now when you say we don't ever impose an ideological agenda?” Hawley asked the Google executive.

But Bhatia refused to commit to an independent, third-party audit of Google’s moderation practices, much to Hawley’s disgust. “So sad,” Hawley said.

At the start of his questioning, Hawley asked Bhatia, “You don't impose filters based on political viewpoints, that's your testimony, right?"

"It is both contrary to our mission, contrary to our business interests and it would be incompatible to the systems that we build to work political bias in there, which I think is why we've has third-party studies, including the ones that I've referenced, that demonstrate that we do not have political bias," Bhatia replied.

Bhatia agreed with Hawley that injecting political bias would be "inconsistent with our values."

"Except when you do it in China," Hawley shot back. "Right? You're happy to censor for the repressive authoritarian Chinese regime, like for instance with, happy to censor away any mention of Tiananmen Square, happy to help the Chinese government maintain control of all information within the country, happy to help them control the information flow to their own citizens. You're happy to do all of that. Would you call that censorship with an ideological agenda?" Hawley asked.

Bhatia did not give a direct answer. Instead, he noted that Google does not offer "almost any” products in China. He said Google exited China in 2010 because “we felt that the censorship requirements thata were being applied Google were not compatible with the products that we were able to offer.”

But did include censorship tools, Hawley noted. "Are you willing to commit today, here, that Google will not agree to participate in any form of censorship with the Chinese regime … against Chinese citizens? Will you commit to that?” Hawley asked. “You will not agree to…restrictions on data flow in China, the Chinese market?”

Bhatia dodged the question, saying he couldn't imagine what Hawley was referencing.

"So you won't block search terms for Uighurs or concentration camps or Tiananmen Square -- you won't do that in any venture going forward?” Hawley asked.

"We -- we don't,"-- Bhatia started to say.

"No, I'm not asking that," Hawley interrupted. "I'm asking if you won't -- because we know you have in the past. That's what was.

"You know, you've contemplated it with Project Dragonfly," Hawley continued. "I'm asking you now for a commitment. I'm glad to hear you say that Project Dragonfly's been canceled. I think that's news. So that's good to hear, because there have been news reports that it's still active."

Bhatia told Hawley, "We have no current plans to go into China in the search market."

"So that's great," Hawley said. "And you're committing to me here today that you will not in the future do so, and you will not engage in censorship in China?" Hawley asked for a yes or no answer, but he didn't get one:

"What we're willing to commit to, Senator, is that any decision to ever look at going back into the China search market is one that we would take only in consultation with key stakeholders," Bhatia said.

Hawley was not pleased with Bhatia's responses.

“Well, what I'm looking for is a little honesty, and what I'm also looking for is some accountability," Hawley said


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

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


Thursday, July 18, 2019

New Asylum Rule Is Meant to Save Lives

The new immigration rule relies on the fact that the only way the border crossers can be given legal residence is if they are refugees. The new rule says that claimants for refugee status must show that they really are refugees and not just economic migrants.  It should shut out all central American illegals -- as they have almost all come via Mexico -- which does offer refuge to them. That means that they have no need to come to the USA to find refuge. So they are motivated by economics, not danger.  They are not refugees

On Monday, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security announced a new rule regarding U.S. asylum laws. This comes in the wake of massive numbers of foreign migrants exploiting America's asylum system as a means of de facto immigration. It comes also as Democrats in Congress have been steadfast in opposing any legislative solution to the border crisis, as the party has essentially adopted an open-borders policy.

The new rule would bar foreign nationals from receiving asylum in the U.S. if they have not first applied for asylum in an intermediary country, which in many current cases would be Mexico or another Central American country.

In announcing the new rule, Attorney General William Barr noted that the administration's intention is to uphold the spirit of America's asylum system. "The United States is a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of aliens along the southern border," he said.

"This Rule will decrease forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States — while ensuring that no one is removed from the United States who is more likely than not to be tortured or persecuted on account of a protected ground."

Predictably, leftist groups were quick to decry the new rule as "most egregious" and "extreme," with Charanya Krishnaswami, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International, claiming that it would "fundamentally eviscerate the right to territorial asylum in the United States." Several groups vowed to take the Trump administration to court, the irony of which was seemingly lost on these migrant-advocate groups.

We relayed the heart-wrenching story last month of the drowning death of a migrant and his two-year-old child. Because of the father's impatience with America's asylum system, he chose to break the law and try to illegally cross into the U.S. — a decision that tragically ended up costing him and his child their lives. The new rule is aimed and decreasing deadly incidents like this by eliminating another pull factor.



Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a rising star — but her popularity is also fuelling Donald Trump/b>

She is young, bold and outspoken - and should be Donald Trump’s worst nightmare. But this vocal critic is only helping the President.

She's quickly rising as one of the brightest stars of the Democrat Party, but who is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a rising star in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party — bold, outspoken and hugely popular on social media.

But the millennial congresswoman is reportedly sparking concerns among some top Democrats, with fears her defining presence could lose the party crucial swinging voters at the 2020 election.

The issue has come to a head this week, with Ms Ocasio-Cortez at the centre of a Twitter spat with US President Donald Trump.

And while his comments were officially condemned as racist by the House of Representatives, the latest spat could be actually helping Mr Trump win the 2020 election.

It started when in a series of tweets, the US President suggested the new generation of Democrats who have been feuding with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should “go back” to their countries to fix their governments, saying “you can’t leave fast enough”.

When his tweets were labelled racist, Mr Trump insisted on Tuesday that his tweets suggesting the four Democratic congresswomen of colour return to their countries “were NOT Racist,” and he appealed to fellow Republicans to “not show weakness” and to resist a house resolution condemning his words.

“I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Mr Trump exclaimed on Twitter, a day after declaring that “many people agree” with his assessment of the four freshman politicians.

“Those tweets were NOT Racist,” Mr Trump wrote on Tuesday amid a continued backlash to his weekend tweets that progressive women “go back” to their “broken and crime-infested” countries.

The original tweets were aimed at Democrats Ms Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib. All are American citizens, and three of the four were born in the US.

Since being elected, Ms Ocasio-Cortez has been an outspoken critic of Mr Trump.

But an anonymous Democratic group leaked an internal poll to Axios revealing swinging voters strongly dislike prominent progressive politicians, such as Ms Ocasio-Cortez.

According to the poll, Ms Ocasio-Cortez had a 22 per cent approval rating, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota had a 9 per cent approval rating among 1003 “likely general-election voters who are white and have two years or less of college education”.

Seventy-four per cent of these voters had heard of Ms Ocasio-Cortez, while 53 per cent had heard of Ms Omar.

“If all voters hear about is AOC, it could put the (House) majority at risk,” a Democrat involved in the 2020 congressional races said. “She’s getting all the news and defining everyone else’s races.”

The same poll viewed the term “socialism” favourably by just 18 per cent of voters compared with 69 per cent who disliked it, while “capitalism” was viewed 56 per cent favourably and 32 per cent unfavourably.

Some progressives have dismissed the survey, saying it just marks the latest attack on the party’s left wing.

But the leak in itself adds to the widening rift in the Democratic Party, where disagreements between party leadership and progressive new politicians have dominated headlines recently.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez, Ms Omar and their fellow freshman congresswomen Ms Tlaib and Ms Pressley have repeatedly butted heads with Ms Pelosi this past week over impeachment, immigration and the consolidation of power in Congress.

Ms Pelosi sparked tensions after she appeared to dismiss the four women during an interview with The New York Times in which she said “they’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got”.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Ms Ocasio-Cortez accused Ms Pelosi of “singling out” women of colour, which prompted criticism from longtime Democrats.

But could it really be enough to cost the Democrats the next election?

Ms Ocasio-Cortez clearly ruffles feathers among both Republicans and Democrats. But whether she’s actually setting back progress for a 2020 Democratic win is not as clear-cut as the new polling implies.

The debate over whether their politics are counter-productive didn’t start with the recent feud with Ms Pelosi. It dates back to the midterm elections after which Ms Ocasio-Cortez was sworn into Congress.

Gorana Grgic, an expert at the United States Studies Centre, says on one hand, the popularity of the “squad” only goes so far.

Dr Grgic also said the ongoing tensions between Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Ms Pelosi had done little to help the Democratic Party’s image.

But at the same time, Ms Ocasio-Cortez is doing her job — she’s representing the concerns of her constituents. “AOC is representing parts of New York that are very progressive and want her to keep fighting the good fight,” Dr Grgic said. “While it doesn’t help for the broader perception of party unity, I don’t think that will have too many detrimental consequences.

“They’re holding Trump to account and really pointing out all the malpractices within the administration. But they’re also setting the agenda on some of the most important public policy issues — everything from healthcare to immigration.”

Mr Trump, who won the presidency in 2016 in part by energising disaffected voters with inflammatory racial rhetoric, made clear he has no intention of backing away from that strategy in 2020.

His words, which evoked the trope of telling black people to go back to Africa, may have been partly meant to widen the divides within the House Democratic caucus, which has been riven by internal debate over how best to oppose his policies.

And the President isn’t backing down either. “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” Mr Trump said on Monday at the White House. “A lot of people love it, by the way.”

And while Mr Trump’s attacks this week brought Democrats together in defence of their colleagues, the gamble is also paying off. His allies noted he was also having some success in making the progressive politicians the face of their party.

The Republican president questioned whether Democrats should “want to wrap” themselves around this group of four people as he recited a list of the quartet’s most controversial statements.

“Nancy Pelosi tried to push them away, but now they are forever wedded to the Democrat Party,” he wrote on Tuesday, adding: “See you in 2020!”

“The Dems were trying to distance themselves from the four ‘progressives,’ but now they are forced to embrace them,” he tweeted on Monday afternoon.

Conservative critics are clearly fascinated with Ms Ocasio-Cortez, having made her the subject of sustained attacks.

Some of the criticism has focused on her self-identifying as a “democratic socialist”, and the viability of her signature proposals like the Green New Deal and abolishing the entire Homeland Security department.

But at the end of the day, at 29 years old, Ms Ocasio-Cortez is ineligible to run for President next year. Why the sustained effort to tear her down instead of focusing on high-profile candidates like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris?

Dr Grgic suggested Mr Trump would be wary of any opponent with a similar skill set to him. And despite Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Mr Trump’s polar opposite political oppositions, their methods of interacting with the media and the wider public are surprisingly similar.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez has used social media to her advantage, with Time magazine naming her one of the most influential people on the internet.

“Donald Trump is wary of anyone who is able to steal the limelight and command so much media attention,” Dr Grgic said. “Her rise was a really unexpected story. Everything since then and the way she’s been able to use social media and really garner a great followership is something Donald Trump has clearly been watching because he himself is very active on these channels.”

Dr Grgic also said there may be a darker dimension at play, comparing the recent racial attacks on Ms Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow young congresswomen to the “birther” conspiracy theory he pushed against Barack Obama.

“In terms of the nativist white nationalist theme, it’s the same sort of attacks. But I think she is someone who is very skilful at playing the media, and she knows she can set the agenda pretty easily given the followership she has,” Dr Grgic said.



Journalist accusing Donald Trump of sexual assault says allegations have made him more powerful

A columnist accusing Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her said she’s noticed a strange phenomenon among the US President’s fans.

E. Jean Carroll, 75, told 7.30 the alleged assault in the mid-1990s was a “horrible, violent scene”, but the impact on her life was minimal. “It didn’t even destroy a portion of my life, it destroyed a day in my life. But I got out of it quickly and moved on,” she said.

“And then, the election happened, and we saw 15, 16, 17 women coming forward with their stories (about Mr Trump).”

However, she told host Leigh Sales that she noticed a bizarre trend among the American public as the accusations stacked up.

“The more that women came forward and told their stories, the more popular (Mr Trump) became,” she said. “In this country, voters were attracted by the fact that he could take whatever woman he wanted. So I stayed quiet.”

Mr Trump has strongly denied the claims he sexually assaulted the columnist in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s saying “she’s not my type”.

“I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened,” he told The Hill in an interview at the White House.



Another hate-filled Leftist -- with the usual distorted view of the truth

He can see no justice in being thrown out of a restaurant for making a nuisance of himself

An angry individual bragged on Twitter last night about how he stood up to a "Nazi" and his violent girlfriend at Hill Country DC, a popular BBQ restaurant in the nation's capital. He implored his social media followers not to patronize the place:

"Just got thrown out of Hill Country DC for standing up to a Nazi. Don’t go there ever again. They support Trump and Nazis. @HillCountryWDC @HillCountryBBQ — TJ Helmstetter (@TheTJHelm) July 5, 2019"

Just who was this "Nazi" Helmstetter so bravely confronted?

"Guy wears MAGA hat at my favorite restaurant. I say “hey are you from dc?” He says “no.” I say “we don’t tolerate racism in this city.” His girlfriend then physically jabs fingers into my chest and starts threatening me. Management tells me to leave, not woman who assaulted me. — TJ Helmstetter (@TheTJHelm) July 5, 2019"

Yep. The gentleman's only offense was his audacity to wear a red MAGA hat. On Fourth of July. When President Trump was planning to give a speech on the National Mall. Yes, how very out of place.

Still, how dare Trump supporters step foot in his favorite restaurant. Didn't they know it was his favorite??

"Spotted two separate tables of people wearing MAGA gear at @HillCountryWDC. Disgusting. Hill Country clean up your act. I have been patronizing you for 10*•+ years starting in NY. Don’t serve Nazis. — TJ Helmstetter (@TheTJHelm) July 5, 2019

"To be clear, it is the Nazi’s 1st amendment right to wear racist shit in public. And it is decent people’s 1A right to tell them they are racist pieces of shit. He exercised his 1A right, and I exercised mine. @HillCountryBBQ mgmt chose to protect the Nazi’s right but not mine. — TJ Helmstetter (@TheTJHelm) July 5, 2019

Dear TJ, you keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Unlike Helmstetter, Trump supporters and Trump associates have been actual victims of public harassment. Most memorably, former Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was refused service at Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia last year because co-owner Stephanie Wilkinson didn't like her. She asked Sanders to leave because, according to her, Sanders supports “inhumane and unethical” presidential policies.

Wilkinson doesn't regret it either. In a recent op-ed, she said Sanders and her "unsavory" ilk "should consider dining at home.”

When other Trump associates have tried to go out for quiet meals, they've run into hecklers who have tended to shout “fascist!” at them, or, in the case of former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, "shame!"

Last week, Eric Trump was literally spat on in a Chicago lounge.



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 17, 2019

Nearly 1 Million Californians Registered to Vote Are Ineligible, Says Non-Partisan Group
A non-partisan group has reported that there are still several counties in California where the number of registered voters is greater than the number of eligible citizens, with the total nearing one million people.

The Election Integrity Project California (EIPCa) stated in a release on July 8 (pdf) that if voter problems are not promptly addressed by state officials, fraudulent election activities may continue to haunt the state.

Using the state’s own data on active and inactive status registrants, the organization found that eight counties have not cleaned up their inactive registrant lists, despite a 2018 legal settlement that requires California counties to properly maintain their voter rolls and remove inactive voters according to federal law.

According to EIPCa, there are currently 991,411 people registered who are ineligible to vote. This is an increase of 63,376 from the group’s 2017 report, which found 928,035 ineligibles registered to vote.

As the number of names with inactive status continues to grow, the organization noted that these excess registrants open up the doors to fraud.

Voter registration rates that exceed the eligible population range from 103% in Ventura, San Benito, and Plumas counties to 115% in San Diego. Other counties include San Mateo at 104%, Solano and Santa Cruz at 107%, and Los Angeles at 109%.

Just months ago, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) acknowledged making 105,000 registration errors, with at least one noncitizen claiming the DMV improperly added him to the voter rolls.

In an interview with The Epoch Times, EIPCa Chief Analyst Ellen Swensen confirmed that the DMV’s practices still need improvement, although the EIPCa doesn’t have a way of finding out who is or isn’t a citizen by just looking at their voter registrations.

In addition to the errors made by the DMV, she said, people who are ineligible to vote might also be getting registration forms from people who are paid to register voters and who might be unaware of the law.

“This can harm [immigrants’] future chances of gaining citizenship, so it’s important that non-citizens become educated about this,” she said. Furthermore, there are “thousands of duplicated [and ineligible] registrations” that can be used during elections “with or without the person’s knowledge.”

Recently, nine people were accused of offering cash or cigarettes in exchange for forged signatures on voter registration forms and petitions in Los Angeles. Prosecutors claim the group was active during the 2016 and 2018 election cycles, targeting the homeless to help them register fictitious persons.

EIPCa says this type of abuse may have been enabled by the state’s voting laws.

“Because California does not require an ID for a person to vote, and because some counties include the names of inactive registrants on their publicly-displayed Election Day rosters, anyone can claim to be the inactive registrant and receive a ballot,” Swensen said.

“All that is required is an oath (verbal or signed) that they are who they say they are.”

Swensen said officials need to do more to fix this problem.

“EIPCa would like to see counties become more proactive with list maintenance by mailing a card to every registrant on the list, not just those with inactive status,” she explained.

“This would allow all registrants to update their information and would, for those who have moved, died, etc., begin the lawful [process of inactivation and cancellation]. This would go a long way to reduce the almost 1 million ineligibles currently on CA’s list.”

In early 2019, the Sacramento Bee reported that Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office was investigating whether noncitizens had voted in the June 2018 primary. At the time, Padilla admitted that voters were losing their trust in the system due to registration errors, echoing others such as State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), who said that despite his “high level of confidence in California’s election systems,” he knew that the state should “do more to assure the voters that the system doesn’t have holes in it and that the boat isn’t leaking.”

Meanwhile, in November 2018, San Francisco became the largest city in the United State to give noncitizens the chance to vote in a local election. While the city’s move did not impact any election in the state or federal levels, some believe that the trend could spread to the rest of the state, and errors could continue to occur.

“Noncitizen voting is a very contentious issue,” said Robin Hvidston, executive director of We the People Rising, a Claremont organization that lobbies for stricter immigration enforcement, at the time, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The move to extend voting rights to those illegally residing in San Francisco has the potential to backfire among citizens with a moderate stance on illegal immigration.”



Atonement as Activism


Today’s consciousness-raising on race is less about helping black people than it is about white people seeking grace.

By the age of 50, you have lived long enough to remember being a mature adult in what is now a distant era. I recently recalled a conversation I had as a graduate student in 1991 that demonstrates a key change in America’s “conversation” on race over the past 30 years.

A white humanities graduate student was a member of a campus organization that had brought black activist and filmmaker Marlon Riggs to campus to give a talk. The student recounted that in his critique of racism, Riggs had leveled some potshots at the students themselves. This surprised and hurt her, as she had supposed that Riggs would consider her and her friends on his side in having invited him to speak.

Today, that same graduate student would be much less likely to take remarks like Riggs’s that way. Rather, today’s “woke,” educated white people would quite often lap up being apprised of the racism inside of them by a black speaker they paid, lodged, and fed. That speaker as often as not today is Ta-Nehisi Coates, who charismatically limns America as a cesspool of bigotry in his writing and in talks nationwide, and is joyously celebrated for it by the very people he is insulting.

Coates is a symptom of a larger mood. Over the past several years, for instance, whites across the country have been taught that it isn’t enough to understand that racism exists. Rather, the good white person views themselves as the bearer of an unearned “privilege” because of their color. Not long ago, I attended an event where a black man spoke of him and his black colleagues dressing in suits at work even on Casual Fridays, out of a sense that whites would look down on black men dressed down. The mostly white audience laughed and applauded warmly—at a story accusing people precisely like them of being racists.

This brand of self-flagellation has become the new form of enlightenment on race issues.This brand of self-flagellation has become the new form of enlightenment on race issues. It qualifies as a kind of worship; the parallels with Christianity are almost uncannily rich. White privilege is the secular white person’s Original Sin, present at birth and ultimately ineradicable. One does one’s penance by endlessly attesting to this privilege in hope of some kind of forgiveness. After the black man I mentioned above spoke, the next speaker was a middle-aged white man who spoke of having a coach come to his office each week to talk to him about his white privilege. The audience, of course, applauded warmly at this man’s description of having what an anthropologist observer would recognize not as a “coach” but as a pastor.

I have seen whites owning up to their white privilege using the hand-in-the-air-palm-out gesture typically associated with testifying in church. After the event I have been describing, all concerned deemed it “wonderful” even though nothing new had been learned. The purpose of the event was to remind the parishioners of the prevalence of the racist sin and its reflection in themselves, and to offer a kind of forgiveness, this latter being essentially the function of the black people on the panel and in the audience. Amen.

Some might see all of this as a healthy sign of moral advance. And I suppose if I had to choose between this performativity and the utter contempt most whites had for any discussion of discrimination 50 years ago and before, I’d choose our current moment. But goodness, it piles high and deep, this—well, I’ll call it fakeness. The degree of fantasy and exaggeration that smart people currently let pass in the name of higher-order thought on race parallels, again, Biblical tales.

Coates, for example, argues in one article after another that America’s progress on race has been minimal, despite pretty window dressing here and there, and that there is no reason to hope things will get any better. Yet one can be quite aware of the prevalence and nature of racism in America while also understanding that the recreational pessimism of views like Coates’s is melodramatic and even unempirical. To insist that Starbucks or even Dylan Roof define America’s progress on race is as flimsy as treating certain young black men’s misbehavior as embodying the black essence. Perfection is ever a dream; we are, as always, in transition. Everybody knows that.

The very fact that the modern equivalent of the graduate student I knew reveres Coates’s writing is a sterling indication that America has grown up quite a bit on race even in the past quarter of a century. The fact that this brand of enlightenment has not made it to every barstool and kitchen table in the country hardly disqualifies it as influential. Anyone who really thinks that on race America has merely rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic isn’t old enough to realize that most smart white people as late as 1978 would have found The Wire about as interesting as Chinese opera.

Also, views like Coates’s qualify more as performance art than thought in their disconnection from activism and pragmatism. If the government is not doing enough to help black people, precisely what would a Coates offer as counsel? Coates argues for reparations, ignoring decades of careful argumentation that has shown the impracticality of the idea. Who would the money go to? And for exactly what? And whence the sense many have that to ask such questions is to miss some larger point? Is the larger point to provide fodder for personal atonement? It would seem that for some, bemoaning that reparations aren’t happening is as active, vital, and self-affirming as making them happen, or, better, moving on and considering realistic strategies for forging change.

The self-affirming part is the rub. This new cult of atonement is less about black people than white people. Fifty years ago, a white person learning about the race problem came away asking “How can I help?” Today the same person too often comes away asking, “How can I show that I’m a moral person?” That isn’t what the Civil Rights revolution was about; it is the product of decades of mission creep aided by the emergence of social media.

What gets lost is that all of this awareness was supposed to be about helping black people, especially poor ones. We are too often distracted from this by a race awareness that has come to be largely about white people seeking grace. For example, one reads often of studies showing that black boys are punished and suspended in school more often than other kids. But then one reads equally often that poverty makes boys, in particular, more likely to be aggressive and have a harder time concentrating. We are taught to assume that the punishments and suspensions are due to racism, and to somehow ignore the data showing that the conditions too many black boys grow up in unfortunately makes them indeed more likely to act up in school. Might the poverty be the key problem to address? But, try this purely logical reasoning in polite company only at the risk of being treated as a moral reprobate. Our conversation is to be solely about racism, not solutions—other than looking to a vaguely defined future time when racism somehow disappears, America having “come to terms” with it: i.e. Judgment Day. As to what exactly this coming to terms would consist of, I suppose only our Pastor of White Privilege knows.

Another problem is that I am not sure that today’s educated whites quite understand how unattainable the absolution they are seeking is. There is an idleness in this cult of atonement, in that it cannot get whites what they want.There is an idleness in this cult of atonement, in that it cannot get whites what they want. I wonder if today’s atoners quite understand that “getting it” will not, for example, make Ta-Nehisi Coates like them any more than Marlon Riggs liked the graduate student and her friends despite their leftist politics. There is an Old Testament quality to the Coates preachings, for example. He is unmoved by the deaths of white firefighters during 9/11, uncomfortable seeing his son as a tot playing comfortably with white kids, and sees young white parents with their big strollers as white people taking up too much space as always. The degree of self-hatred—if sincere—is staggering in whites proclaiming how much they “love” this kind of scripture.

And all of this, ultimately, is often as condescending as nakedly dismissive views of blacks were in the bad old days. I doubt most whites truly think racism is so acridly pervasive and persistent in this country that a middle-class black man ought to fear his children playing with theirs, or look upon firefighters barbecued on 9/11 as mere racists getting their just desserts. Pretending to believe this sort of thing is insincere and insulting. It’s a pat on the head.

Mendacious, even. I recently attended a read-through of a play written by a black man about himself travelling back in time and viewing plantation slavery. The leader of the discussion afterwards was a white woman of a certain age who attested to how taken unawares she had been to learn that slave families were often separated and that slaves were sometimes whipped to death. However, this woman’s age, occupation, and demographic were such that the chances are infinitesimal that she did not see Roots and 12 Years a Slave, has not read Beloved, and has not read the New York Times daily and The New Yorker weekly for at least 30 years. In other words, she was, in all of her good intentions, lying.

It is not 1960, and a person like her is quite aware of the horrors of slavery. This was testifying again—she felt it her job to declare herself hip to the horrors of racism. The problem was that the point of the play concerned the protagonist’s psychology. Having taken in her time’s directive to internalize and parrot the proper “woke” message, she missed the essence of the play and reduced it to a school auditorium civics lesson. This isn’t woke, it’s weak.

We have gone from most whites being unaware that racism was a problem for black people at all to whites being chilled to their bones at the possibility of harboring racism in their souls, terrified at the prospect of being singled out as a heretic, and forgetting that the indulgences they purchase and the praying they do for their souls has more to do with them than with anyone black and their problems. This is a white America in which the message has become garbled. Among too many, the activist impulse has stuttered, faded, and jelled into a therapeutic one somewhere between “I Have a Dream” and Between the World and Me.

Whites today are in a hard place on this, I know. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You’re taught that on race issues you are morally obliged to suspend your usual standards of logic. Faced with a choice between some benign mendacity and being mauled, few human beings choose the latter.

But it all makes me miss 1991 in some ways. I think that graduate student had it about right in being insulted by Riggs that night. She needed to understand that the hurt of racism can make its victims act out at times, but not to pretend to think she actually deserved the potshots. Yet I wouldn’t be surprised if she today has learned to enjoy being told what a moral reprobate she is on race no matter what she does or thinks, and considers herself the wiser for it.

Let us pray?



House Democrats Overcome Internal Fissures to Approve Defense-Spending Bill

In a 220–197 vote, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act on Friday, giving a win to Democratic leaders who’d spent months coaxing progressives to vote for the defense-funding package.

Progressive lawmakers had expressed distaste for the high price tag of the $733 billion measure and argued unsuccessfully for imposing stricter guidelines regarding the treatment of migrants at the southern border. Despite those progressive objections, House Armed Services Committee chairman Adam Smith and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn convinced all but eight Democrats not to vote against the House measure, after the inclusion of a number of progressive amendments.

Before the bill’s passage on Friday, the House approved an amendment requiring congressional approval for military strikes on Iran amid rising tensions with the country. It also approved amendments repealing the 2001 authorization for the use of military force, removing the Trump administration’s ban on transgender service-members, stopping emergency arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and ending U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

The measure’s passage sets up a conflict between House Democrats and the Republican Senate, which passed a $750 billion dollar defense budget backed by the White House last month.


Most of the progressive bits will presumably be stripped out in the reconciliation process


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 16, 2019

Democrats always talk about change but they are ignoring it now that it has happened
We are all, to some extent, prisoners of the past. Things that have already happened — or that we remember as having happened — constitute the world that we know. Anything else is a product of imagination.

But it can also be a pitfall for politicians, particularly for those seeking national visibility when they’re running for president. It’s jarring to see candidates ignore recent changes and describe a world that no longer exists, as when they were asked leadoff questions about the economy in the first two Democratic debates.

Night one: “It’s doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top”; “The economy has got to work for everyone, and right now we know it isn’t”; “We know that not everyone is sharing in this prosperity”; “This economy is not working for average Americans”; “There’s plenty of money in this country. It’s just in the wrong hands.” So spoke Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker and Bill de Blasio, respectively.

Night two: “(T)he bottom 60 percent have seen a raise since 1980”; “We have three people in this country owning more wealth than the bottom half of America”; “We do have enormous income inequality”; “This economy is not working for working people”; “Forty years of no economic growth for 90 percent of the American people.” Those were Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Michael Bennet, respectively.

These are reasonably accurate descriptions of the macroeconomy in the years after the financial crash and recession of 2008, during the Obama presidency, and plausible descriptions of the eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency.

Even in the buoyantly prosperous years of the 1980s and 1990s, incomes rose faster among the affluent and well-educated, while blue-collar wages tended to flatline. Economic inequality tended to increase according to various measures. Those trends continued in the 2000s and 2010s and were decried by Democratic politicians and Donald Trump.

Now there are signs that those trends are reversed. In percentage terms, wage gains seem to be increasing most for those at the bottom of the wage scale. Blue-collar incomes are apparently rising more rapidly than white-collar. Unemployment has dropped to levels not seen for 50 years, and unemployment among blacks and Hispanics seems to have dropped to the lowest levels since measurement began.

Candidate Trump promised an economy whose gains would go more to those less well off than they have in the recent past, to blue-collar workers in particular, and to blacks and Hispanics. And that’s how the economy has performed in the 30 months he has been in office. Looks like he delivered.

Of course, Democrats don’t want to admit that, and so, they fall back on congenial rhetorical tropes even after the tropes have gone stale. And maybe their outdated analyses didn’t strike their debate audiences as dissonant with reality.

We Americans are fractured into political tribes these days, and it was mostly the Democratic tribe that tuned into MSNBC for the Democrats’ debate. Polling shows that voters’ assessment of economic trends is more highly correlated with partisan loyalty than economic performance.

But it won’t be only Democrats watching once the party has a nominee and once general election campaigning starts. And that nominee may want to avoid the unpopular stands that most of today’s two dozen candidates have endorsed — ninth-month abortions, free college, open borders through decriminalization of illegal border crossing, free medical care for illegal immigrants, abolition of private health insurance.

Democrats remember the 1992 Bill Clinton mantra “It’s the economy, stupid,” and how Clinton won despite a macroeconomic upswing. So why not describe the economy as it used to be and as they’d like voters to see it, rather than as it actually is?

This has another benefit for Democratic partisans, who are increasingly upscale white college graduates who care most about cultural issues but who’d like to think their policies help the less fortunate.

Their party has already lost the blue-collar whites who were once its base, and erosion of its supermajorities from blue-collar blacks and majorities from blue-collar Hispanics could destroy its dreams of long-term majorities. So tell them they’re suffering, even if they’re not anymore. Hope they’re prisoners of the past.



“Abolish ICE” Leftists Replace US Flag With Mexican Flag: Vandalize “Blue Lives Matter” Flag

Leftist anti-ICE protesters are so anti-American and unpatriotic that a group of them removed a U.S. flag and replaced it with a Mexican flag outside an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) facility in Aurora, Colorado.

Hundreds of protesters also removed a “Blue Lives Matter” flag and vandalized it by spray-painting the words “Abolish ICE” across it before raising the flag upside-down on a pole next to the flag of Mexico.

Ironically, most of the protesters are self-flagellating white apologists who prioritize illegal aliens above taxpaying U.S. citizens and lawful residents.

While they gleefully raise the flag of Mexico to undermine US immigration laws, they forget that if any of them snuck across the Mexican border illegally, they’d immediately be deported back to the United States — no questions asked.

There would be no Mexicans protesting for their right to stay illegally in Mexico. Let that sink in.

Protests around the United States erupted yesterday in sanctuary cities around the country, including Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. They’re heating up in anticipation of ICE raids scheduled in 10 cities tomorrow (July 14).

Despite the disinformation campaign being pushed by the left-wing media, the ICE raids are not targeting random illegal aliens, but those who have been ordered to be deported by federal immigration judges.

The protesters are open-borders leftists who are demanding that ICE detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border be closed. They also want amnesty for the millions of illegal aliens currently in the country.

In Philadelphia, anti-ICE protesters took to the streets yesterday. Philadelphia is a sanctuary city that harbors illegal aliens.

As BizPac Review reported, Democrats have repeatedly denied that the border crisis is real, and have accused President Trump of “manufacturing” a crisis. In recent weeks — when they could no longer deny the facts — Democrats and the media finally conceded that there is indeed an emergency at the border.

Race-baiting leftist politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar claim that enforcing longstanding federal immigration laws (that were passed decades ago by both Democrats and Republicans) are racist.

However, even Jeh Johnson — the secretary of Homeland Security under “Deporter-in-Chief” Barack Obama — said there’s nothing unusual or illegal about the upcoming ICE raids that are targeting illegal immigrants who have orders for deportation.

“Deportations occur all the time,” Johnson told MSNBC. “Of those who have been ordered deported by an immigration judge, we simply have to enforce the law, particularly if someone has been ordered deported. They’ve exhausted all their appeal rights. Enforcement actions themselves are not extraordinary.”

Jeh Johnson, a Trump-hating Democrat, also clapped back at the left-wing media and members of his own party, saying this sensationalized leftist talking point of “children in cages” did not start the day President Donald Trump took office.

“Chain link barriers, partitions, fences, cages — whatever you want to call them — were not invented on Jan. 20, 2017, OK?” Johnson said. Johnson also slammed Democrats’ proposals to decriminalize illegal border crossings, saying that “is tantamount to declaring publicly that we have open borders.”



Billionaire Dem Donor Blasts Bernie Sanders: He's a 'Communist Under the Cover of Being a Socialist'

You may have never heard of Haim Saban before, but his money has affected you, nonetheless. As one of the single biggest donors to the Democrat Party, Saban is helping shape the politics of this country. This is why his opinions on the Democrats hoping to earn their party's 2020 presidential nomination matter. His money gives his words clout. This is bad news for Bernie bros (and, by extension, fans of AOC). In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Saban went out of his way to diss Bernie Sanders.

Because Saban is unknown to many, a little background information may be useful. With an estimated worth of $3.2 billion, Haim and his wife Cheryl are the media moguls behind the Power Rangers phenomenon. According to The Hollywood Reporter:

Eight years after Saban Entertainment's inception, he merged the L.A.-based company with Fox Children's Productions to form Fox Family Worldwide. That joint venture with News Corp. — which included Fox Family Channel, Fox Kids international channels in Europe and Latin America, and Saban Entertainment's library of 6,500 episodes of animated and other family programs — was sold in 2001 to The Walt Disney Co. for $5.3 billion.

Selling the company to Disney is what launched the couple's philanthropic organization. As generous supporters of the nation of Israel, the Sabans also donate money to many children's charities and feminist organizations. As already stated, they're also counted as one of the biggest donors to the Democrat Party. This fact, THR explains, is, "why all eyes are on who they will back in the 2020 presidential election. After the first debates, they remained undecided."

They may be undecided about who they're going to support, but based on Haim Saban's words, they will never back Bernie Sanders.

"We love all 23 candidates," Haim says, then pauses. "No, minus one. I profoundly dislike Bernie Sanders, and you can write it. I don't give a hoot. He's a communist under the cover of being a socialist. He thinks that every billionaire is a crook. He calls us 'the billionaire class.' And he attacks us indiscriminately. 'It's the billionaire class, the bad guys.' This is how communists think. So, 22 are great. One is a disaster zone."
During the 2016 presidential election, a high-level Hill staffer told me that Bernie's fellow Democrats on the Senate's Budget Committee can't stand Sanders.  According to my friend, he obstructs their goals because "he doesn't understand math."

Add, Bernie Sanders doesn't understand history nor economics to that. Billionaire Haim Saban understands this and isn't afraid to publicly say it. For that, even among all our other disagreements with him, conservatives owe Saban a thank you.

The backlash against Bernie Sanders and his socialist version of populism by Saban is bad news for the new socialist flavors of the month like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The power brokers understand that Sanders and AOC's version of socialism is detrimental to their bank accounts. It's a small comfort knowing that powerful people like the Sabans are acting to protect the Democrat Party from their worst instincts.



Christine Blasey Ford: Just another crooked Leftist

Is there such a thing as an honest Leftist?

When Christine Blasey Ford came forward to accuse then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of decades-old sexual assault, little was known about her; in fact, she had no social media footprint at all — an extreme oddity for modern times.

But according to a new book set for release on Tuesday, penned by two prominent conservative politicos, Blasey Ford “completely scrubbed” her digital footprint weeks before sending the sexual assault allegation to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in the form of a letter.

Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway and her co-author, Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network, suggest in “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court” that this social media history scrubbing had been done to cover up Blasey Ford's far-left politics and her expressed "antipathy" toward President Donald Trump, who tapped Kavanaugh for the position on the highest court.

As reported by the Washington Examiner, the book outlines how Blasey Ford was portrayed by the media as “politically moderate,” even though “her acquaintances reported Ford’s profile on social media ‘had been notable for its extreme antipathy to President Trump.’”

“Additionally, her political views 'ran decidedly to the left and were at variance with most of her family’s,' and Ford's friends on Facebook said she 'regularly expressed hostility' toward the Trump administration, they said,” the Examiner noted, adding that Blasey Ford’s social media “was ‘completely scrubbed’ about the time Kavanaugh was tapped for the Supreme Court in early July 2018.”

Blasey Ford told Sen. Feinstein in a letter last year that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party, which was not specified, sometime in the early 1980s. The dubious claim was completely uncorroborated and the Senate Judiciary Committee ultimately found that there was "no evidence to substantiate any of the claims."

"In neither the committee's investigation nor in the supplemental background investigation conducted by the FBI was there ANY evidence to substantiate or corroborate any of the allegations," the Committee said.



Trump Administration Substantially Boosts Healthcare Freedom for Employees

The Department of Health and Human Services has published a new rule that will promote the portability of health insurance. The rule may be the most significant the Trump administration has published related to healthcare freedom since it could put more people in charge of their health insurance, rather than their employer.

According to the most recent data available, in 2017 more than 159 million Americans received health insurance coverage from their employer, while 20.5 million had purchased health plans on the individual market. More than 112 million were on some form of government-run health plans, such as Medicare or Medicaid.

American reliance on employer-sponsored health insurance coverage has existed since 1943, when the Internal Revenue Service exempted certain employer-provided benefits from taxation. Employers used benefits to attract workers to get around wage and price controls mandated by President Franklin Roosevelt. Congress made the exemption permanent in 1954.

There are problems with this system, however. Ultimately, the employer-based health insurance system isn’t responsive to employees because employees don’t own their health plans. This system also reduces choice. Insurers don’t look at employees as their customers, rather health insurance companies treat the employer or third-party administrators as the customer. The system also locks employees into their jobs out of a fear that if they leave, they may lose access to health insurance.

When he served in Congress, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) acknowledged this problem. He introduced the Empowering Patients First Act to address the issue. The legislation allowed employees to opt out of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage in exchange for a monthly tax credit to purchase a plan on the individual market.

“When you own [your health insurance], then they know you’re the customer,” then-Rep. Price said in a January 2015 interview. “That means that [health insurance companies] want to be responsive to you and what it sets up is a system that’s much more patient-centered than government-employer-centered.”

The new rule published by the Department of Health and Human Services isn’t the same as what then-Rep. Price proposed, but it certainly shares the spirit. The rule has the potential to put employees in control of their health insurance coverage by making their health insurance portable. If an employee leaves his or her job, the employee won’t lose access to their health insurance plan.

The rule expands Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) to make them available to more Americans. HRAs already exist, but only businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees can use them to buy health coverage for their workers. The rule expands HRAs to make the accounts available to all employers, regardless of size, for employees to purchase health insurance coverage.

Employers would provide employees with a monetary contribution, either monthly or annually, to purchase health insurance coverage. Employees would use the monetary contribution to purchase any off-exchange plan on the individual market. Like the monthly contribution from employers, employees may pay the difference between the employer contribution and the health insurance premium on a pre-tax basis as long as the plan is not purchased on the Obamacare exchange.

Employees are empowered under HRAs because they get to choose which health plans they want and which provider networks, such as doctors and hospitals, they want. The decision is theirs and not left to an employer or a third-party administrator. As more people come into the individual market, competition between insurance companies will increase and premiums will stabilize.

Democrats want to either eliminate private health insurance, employer-sponsored and the individual market, and would replace it with a government-run, single-payer system. Alternatively, they aim to create a public option that would undercut insurance companies and eventually collapse private health insurance. Putting the government in charge of your healthcare is one of the worst ideas in the long, sad history of bad ideas. The HRA rule is a tremendous opportunity to begin to change the direction of the American healthcare system in a patient-centered direction by empowering employees to make decisions about their health insurance and their healthcare that are the best for them and their families.



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 15, 2019

America, as seen from Beijing

A fly-on-the-wall account of what China tells visiting American bigwigs

A bit late, China’s leaders are starting to accept that their trade war with President Donald Trump is only one element of a larger crisis in relations with America—and not the most dangerous one. The leaders understand that their critics within America’s foreign-policy and national-security machine—meaning aides to Mr Trump, members of both parties in Congress and officers in the State Department, Pentagon, spy agencies and beyond—want China to change its ways. They also believe (or hope) that Mr Trump wants something different, and perhaps less painful for them: to show voters the spectacle of China losing a trade fight with him.

China’s rulers now accept that they face more than a Trump problem. They concede that bipartisan suspicion of China in America will intensify in the run-up to the elections of November 2020, and will continue afterwards, whoever wins. They absorbed that message during visits by high-ranking Americans, including Mr Trump’s officials, business bosses and veterans of Republican and Democratic governments. Dismayingly, they show no sign of accepting that China’s own actions are in any way to blame.

Chinese leaders believe that America’s policy machine wants them to change principles that have guided China’s rise for 20 years. They protest that these demands cut to the heart of China’s model of development. They are not entirely wrong. Such figures as the United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, have drawn up a charge sheet of Chinese norms and practices deemed intolerable now that China is so large, and so competitive in so many fields. Mr Lighthizer has allies in Congress, from both parties. They want China to abandon its model of state capitalism, with its subsidies for local champions, arm-twisting transfers of technology, curbs on market access and politicised regulation. Mr Lighthizer has proposed enforcement and verification mechanisms that Chinese figures indignantly compare to the inspections that underpinned cold-war arms-control agreements. No Chinese leader, it is said, could accept such a humiliation—any more than they will tolerate American moves to strangle Huawei, a telecommunications giant that is central to China’s plans to become a standard-setting tech superpower.

There is much Chinese grumbling about security hawks working for Mr Trump, from his national security adviser, John Bolton, to military commanders. The hawks are accused of breaking understandings about support for Taiwan, the democratic island that China claims as its own. The Chinese side thinks that Mr Trump was bullied by hawks into walking out on North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, at their summit in Hanoi in February. It is no accident that China’s president, Xi Jinping, decided to pay a state visit to North Korea, shortly before attending a G20 summit in Japan which Mr Trump will also join. Chinese officials gasped when Mr Trump threatened to slap extra tariffs on China if Mr Xi did not agree to meet him on the G20’s sidelines. Japan’s prime minister might swallow an American insult like that, growl Chinese sources, but not us. By visiting Pyongyang first (he arrived on June 20th), Mr Xi reminded Mr Trump that China’s leader is an indispensable diplomatic actor, not a junior partner in a trade dispute.

Chinese policy types obsess over the idea that Team Trump is not engaged in a sincere negotiation, but is seeking to contain a rising China. They complain about shifting American demands. At first China was told that the problem was the trade balance, and offered to buy American goods. Then economic rules and norms were called the crux of the dispute. So China prepared to negotiate, drawing up a 150-page draft agreement. Then, as the Chinese side tells it, Mr Xi realised that America’s plan amounted to an assault on Chinese sovereignty, rejected it and has since been cheered within his own system for his stand. There is muttering, in contrast, about Mr Xi’s chief economic aide and trade envoy, Liu He. Mr Liu, a deputy prime minister, is accused of lacking political sense.

Mr Trump is not a leader in thrall to principles. That is why the Chinese side hopes, in essence, that he could accept a trade deal which breaks Mr Lighthizer’s heart, and a North Korean pact that leaves Mr Bolton miserable, as long as those deals bring him applause from voters. Mr Xi, it is said, believes that Mr Trump does not want to decouple America’s economy from China’s—except in the production of some sensitive technology. But Mr Xi does worry that America’s president could be hijacked by hardline advisers. If no reasonable deal can be struck, Chinese hosts tell Americans, Mr Xi will wait for the election in November 2020 to produce a different president. They express confidence that relief will come sooner, because Mr Trump needs votes from farm states hurt by the tariff wars, and is desperate to keep the stockmarket roaring.

Imperialists never change

Doubts lurk amid the bluster. In public Chinese officials say that Mr Trump needs a deal to win in 2020. In private they ask whether, perhaps, American voters might prefer to see him fight on. They admit to bafflement over some of Mr Trump’s sallies, such as when he told Fox News that he could not accept a “50-50 deal” with China, but had to come out ahead. To Chinese ears, that was fantastically unhelpful. It recalled the “unequal treaties” imposed by 19th-century powers which every Chinese schoolchild is taught to hate. Mr Trump has said that he will not let China become the world’s largest economy in his lifetime. Does he mean these things, Chinese hosts ask, or is this all domestic politics?

Doubts have consequences. To prepare Chinese public opinion for a long trade stand-off, propaganda chiefs have abandoned months of restraint and told state media to start thundering about American bullying. Stoking nationalism is a familiar Chinese ploy. But it has real-world effects, too. As China reduces its own room for manoeuvre, it risks forcing Mr Trump to concede ground to China to secure a deal. Meanwhile his chaotic style is straining China’s system to its limits. The mood in Beijing is anxious, with reason.



Democrats Double Down On Hating America

Kurt Schlichter

You gotta hand it to them – it’s an innovative strategy to run for President by taking the position that your country is garbage and that its are people deplorable monsters. It’ll be interesting to see how the Democrats fare on their “America sucks!” platform. The last week has seen Team Donkey take brave stands against the flag and celebrating our military, and you would half expect them to next advocate something insanely suicidal, like taking your health insurance or forcing you to pay for illegal aliens’ doctors.

Oh wait, that happened too.

Who are these lunatics? Do they really think this is going to play in America as well as it does in Chicago, Manhattan and Scat Francisco?

They do. But it’s not.

Not that they would know it, since they don’t know any real Americans. The current Democrat Party consists of hipster geebos, race hustlers, pierced campus mutants, bitter middle-aged divorcĂ©es who teach high school, tech twerps and uninvited foreigners who shouldn’t even be here. The libs will be shocked to learn that real Americans love America.

Their platform, carried out by the carnival freakshow that is the Democrat Party and its allies in the media and in the woke corporations, is part of a greater strategy. It’s to denigrate and then destroy what makes America America, to steal our story from us and replace it with a bogus legacy of oppression and misery. They want to impose upon us a new narrative of a morally stained America unworthy of respect or gratitude, and guess who will be the heroes of that new narrative…

Not the armed Americans who shot the British king’s thugs.

Not the heroic pioneers who civilized the West.

Not the captains of industry who took a primitive backwater and made it the most prosperous and freest nation in human history.

Not the warriors who won at Gettysburg and Normandy.

Not you.

Them. Yes, the very same Social Justice Weasels who try to rip down everything that is great about America will be the new heroes of this new story. They are the ones with the courage to nag, pester, whine and complain about this country. That’s it. That’s their contribution. Our proposed new heroes are people who never made anything but fools of themselves.

Where is their parade, damnit?

Oh, and you’ll be the story’s villain.

That is, if you let them write you out of your own history. And the indications are that you’re not going to.

We saw the pushback when that cop killer-loving, commie thug-slurping, stupid hair-having bad quarterback got fussy over an old flag, and his ridiculous corporate employer went along with it. We were supposed to accept this latest ratchet left of the Overton Window of America-hating as an old version of the flag was declared “offensive” in anticipation of the predictable next move, when our 50-star Old Glory will get the same treatment. But it didn’t work this time. We laughed at them, and other companies came out with flag-themed footwear.

I went to get new gym shoes and walked right by the Nike display. The hell with them. Let them become niche kicks for jerks. And I’m not the only one. We’re not playing anymore. We’re tired of this.

On the Fourth, we were fed the lie that recognizing our military on a holiday made possible by Americans with rifles hunting oppressors for sport was some sort of prelude to dictatorship, though in fairness the Trumpian dictatorship has allegedly been descending upon America for the last two-and-a-half years, though it never seems to actually arrive. Dummy journalists journalisted about tanks in the streets of our nation’s capital, compounding their dumb by calling everything with armor and tracks a “tank.” “That’s a Bradley, not a tank” became the new “It’s a republic, not a democracy” as we merrily schooled these pompous goofs. One idiot who is a professor at Harvard, but I repeat myself, noted the eerie parallels to Tiananmen Square, which was quite a trick since there were none. We laughed at him too, and watched the President speak and the B-2/F-22 flyover and embraced the awesomeness that is America.

I think we’ve decided that we’ve had enough of this crap, but I don’t think the liberals understand how annoyed we are. Shhhh. Don’t tell them.

Instead, they are continuing to battle over the relatively tiny America-hating slice of the electorate while Trump is gathering up the patriots. Here’s a quick quiz: Name the Democrat running for president who would be willing to unequivocally say aloud what is the indisputable truth – that the United States of America is the greatest nation on earth.

None of them will.

Not one.

Not the furry.

Not Chief Spitting Bull.

Not Groovy Hippie Lady.

Not Spartacus.

Not crusty Curb Your Socialism guy.

Not the political gold-digger who wants to bring back busing because of course she does.

Not even Gropey Floppy Sleepy Joe.

And none of them will ever take America’s side in a fight.

Euroweenies won’t foot the bill for their own NATO defense? The real problem is Trump telling them to pay up.

Chinese pillaging our intellectual property and imposing its “Heads China Wins, Tails America Loses” trade policies? The real problem is Trump fighting back with tariffs.

Iran getting uppity? The real problem is Trump wasn’t sucking up to the mullahs enough.

And Russia? The most amusing part of the last week had to be Totally Not Senile Joe explaining how the Russians had hacked our last election and how that would never have happened if he had been Veep. Oh, to be able to listen in on the voices echoing around in his head…

Poor Joe, trying to compete in the Democrat Party’s primary woke-stakes but not understanding that he can never be woke enough. There’s always someone who will go woker. “Detention camps are bad? Oh yeah, well I’ll raise you – now they’re concentration camps! And you’re racist!”

Just think if Joe had been smart, brave, and tough enough to look over at the other weirdos, losers and mutations on that stage and say, “Are you people crazy? A Biden administration will not take your health insurance. It’s not going to open the borders and it’s not going to ask Americans to pay for illegal aliens’ – yeah, illegal aliens – health care. We’re not doing reparations or free college for gender studies majors or climate panicking. Oh, and America is the greatest nation on earth.” He would immediately win over the people who have doubts about Trump but a certainty about the America-hating nimrods that AOC’s party is pushing – the certainty that these idiots can never be trusted with power.

Luckily for Trump, it won’t happen. Good-Guy-To-Have-A-Beer-With Joe is long gone, like the wrinkles he had Botoxed away in preparation for this last disastrous White House run. Joe was the Democrat’s final chance to run a major candidate who likes America and likes Americans. Now one of the two major American political parties is all-in on hating the USA and hating you.

“America is terrible!” That’s a great slogan for winning in Santa Monica and Brooklyn, but not so great for winning in America.



Anti-Trump Shoppers Call For Boycott Of Home Depot Over Founder’s Support For Trump

Political boycotts rarely achieve anything.  If they look like having an effect, members of the opposite party will rally to support of the targeted businesses.  Chick Fil A did well out of boycotts

The #BoycottHomeDepot hashtag trended on Twitter as a virtual battle erupted over the news that the company’s co-founder Bernie Marcus plans to support President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.

In an interview that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published at the weekend, the 90-year-old billionaire praised Trump for having “a businessman’s common sense approach to most things.”

“Now, do I agree with every move that he makes? No, I don’t,” said Marcus, who retired from his role as chairman at the home improvement supplies store in 2002. “But the truth is he has produced more than anybody else. He has,” Marcus added. “If we look at this country, I would say that we are better off today than we were eight years ago or six years ago.”

Marcus reportedly donated $7 million to Trump’s 2016 campaign, when he also penned an essay for RealClearPolitics explaining why he stood “ready to help” the then-reality television personality “at every turn.”

That also sparked calls for a boycott.

Marcus has donated $2 billion to philanthropic causes during his lifetime, reported the AJC, and on his death some 80% to 90% of his estimated $5.9 billion fortune will be used for similar ends.

His backing of Trump has divided people on Twitter over the last week, where some people have demanded a boycott of the store and others have sprung to its defense.

A Home Depot representative told MarketWatch on Monday that Marcus “isn’t speaking on behalf of the company.”



Conservatism Healthier Than Beltway Pundits Believe

The majority of the most popular governors just happen to be Republican governors.
National Review’s Jim Geraghty recently wrote an interesting piece wherein he notes that, contrary to much of the mainstream media’s political assumptions, “conservative ideas and policies are doing just fine beyond the nation’s capital.” As evidence, Geraghty points to the increasing number of states whose Republican governors enjoy positive favorable polling numbers. Even more impressive is that three of the four Republicans with the highest approval rating are governors of blue states — Charlie Baker (MA), Larry Hogan (MD), and Chris Sununu (NH).

The reason Republican governors have been doing so well in blue states, Geraghty theorizes, is due to the nature of conservatism. Rather than seeking to push for massive government-led changes, these Republican governors tend to act more as a check against Democrat excess. Geraghty notes that some Republican governors “support and try to enact policies that are explicitly conservative,” but that “guys like Baker and Hogan act as a conservative check on more liberal state legislators.”

As far as policy goes, conservative tax policies have gained in favorability among the states, as 16 states passed large tax cuts in 2018 alone. These cuts amount to an estimated $1.7 billion in combined savings for Americans in those states.

A final interesting note is that since much of the mainstream media is so focused on the political drama in Washington, state-level policy news is often ignored. And this is where conservatism, outside the hyper-partisan spotlight, most thrives at doing the work of good governing.


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