Friday, July 26, 2019

‘Disaster for the Democrats’: Why the Mueller testimony failed to deliver what Donald Trump’s opponents wanted

For many of Donald Trump’s opponents, Robert Mueller’s testimony was one final chance to impeach the President. In a best-case scenario, the former special counsel would shed damning new light on his 22-month investigation and reveal that Mr Trump was indeed impeachable.

At the very least, Mr Mueller would relay powerful excerpts from the 448-page document on national television, which would engage the 90 per cent majority of the American public who did not read the report, and in particular dissuade people in crucial swing states from voting for him at next year’s election.

Instead, the almost seven-hour testimony fell flat. Not only did it fail to yield any new information on the investigation, but Democrats failed to get that powerful made-for-TV sound byte they were hoping for.

For Mr Trump’s opponents, the testimony was like watching a really great trailer for a movie that … ultimately kind of sucked.

Mr Mueller repeatedly refused to answer questions from Democrats and Republicans alike.

The Democrats had hoped to hear him respond to a series of questions surrounding Mr Trump’s potential crimes and ongoing investigations relating to him and his associates.

Republicans sought to interrogate him on any potential political bias that may have compromised the investigation.

Both sides were waved off — along with any questions on impeachment. Instead, Mr Mueller focused almost entirely on the text of the report — which was already made public months ago.

None of this should have come as a surprise. In the lead-up to the testimony, this is exactly what Mr Mueller said he would do. In his opening statement, he reiterated: “The report is my testimony and I will stay within that text.”

Bear in mind, not all Democrats supported impeaching the President. Some, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, vocally opposed an impeachment motion but still supported the testimony as a way of discrediting Mr Trump in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

For this to work, Mr Mueller was to read out a selection of powerful excerpts from the report, which, in televised form would resonate with the viewer.

But instead, he largely stuck to “yes” and “no” answers, refused to comment on a range of questions, and basically refused to dramatise his findings.

Several media commentators across the US have since concluded the testimony was a bust, saying it’s now time for the Democrats to move beyond the impeachment issue.

“Impeachment’s over,” declared ABC’s Terry Moran. “I don’t think Nancy Pelosi is going to stand for her members bringing forth something that is going to obviously lose in the Senate, lose with the American public.”

“It’s time for Democratic leaders to stop obsessing over this closed case and to put the American people first,” wrote CNN’s Alice Stewart, who described the testimony as an overall “nightmare” for Congressional Democrats.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace deemed the testimony “disastrous”. “I think this has been a disaster for the Democrats and I think it’s been a disaster for the reputation of Robert Mueller,” he said.

Experts have warned the Democrats need to move on from the impeachment issue and focus on producing sound policies and unity ahead of the 2020 election.



Trump sues to block New York law allowing Congress to get his state tax records

State taxes require similar information to Federal taxes so the new NY law could be a way around Trump's refusal to publish his Federal tax records.  The new NY law was clearly written to accomplish exactly that.

Confidentiality of tax returns is however something of a bedrock principle of tax law so the new law is unlikely to survive a challenge in the courts.  Whether it does or does not, legal challenges to it could undoubtedly be prolonged well past the next election.

Even if someone does eventually gain the information through the courts he could still be vulnerable to legal action if he publishes it.  That should be sufficient to scare off politicians and major media

President Donald Trump on Tuesday filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the House Ways and Means Committee from obtaining his state tax returns through a newly passed New York law.

The president's lawyers said the state law was nothing more than an effort to get information about his personal finances to embarrass him politically.

The suit referred to an NBC News article on Monday that said Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., was under pressure from fellow Democrats to make use of the new law.

The suit asks the court to provide a declaratory judgment that the committee "lacks a legitimate legislative purpose for obtaining the President's state tax information."

The lawsuit asserts that the law, called the TRUST Act, violates Trump's First Amendment rights. It seeks to block the Ways and Means Committee from being able to request the taxes through the law, prevent New York Attorney General Letitia James from enforcing it, and stop New York Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Michael Schmidt from complying with any request for Trump's tax filings.

"The House Rules authorize the Committee to oversee 'Federal laws,' not state tax laws," says the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia. "And nothing in the House Rules allows the Committee to demand the private financial information of a sitting President."

The president's personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, said in a statement that the lawsuit was filed as part of "our ongoing efforts to end Presidential harassment."

"The targeting of the president by the House Ways and Means Committee, the New York Attorney General, and a New York tax official violates article 1 of the U.S. Constitution," he said. "The harassment tactics lack a legitimate legislative purpose."

The New York law allows the chairmen of three congressional tax-related committees — the House Ways and Means Committee, Senate Finance Committee and Joint Committee on Taxation — to request the state returns of public officials only after efforts to gain access to federal tax filings through the Treasury Department have failed. Neal is the only Democrat who can use the law.

The legislation states that any "legitimate task" of Congress is a valid reason to make the request, should efforts to obtain the returns at the federal level be stonewalled by the Treasury Department. New York state tax filings are not identical to the federal returns, but contain much of the same information.

"I have every confidence that the president’s legal challenge will fail and New York’s standing offer to support Congress in its oversight role on taxes will remain in effect," New York state Assemblyman David Buchwald, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation, said in a statement. "It's no surprise that the President has moved quickly in an attempt to strike down New York’s tax transparency law as he is fighting the release of his tax returns on every front."

The bill, signed into law this month, was written broadly and makes it easier for New York to turn over the state tax returns of certain public officials to Congress.

Neal said last month he wouldn't use the law to request the state returns because he feels it could harm his attempt at getting the federal filings. Neal sued the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department for those returns citing a section of tax law that states the Treasury Secretary "shall furnish" to congressional tax committees "any return or return information" request by its chairman. The stated purpose of Neal's request is to review the IRS process for auditing presidential returns.

Earlier this month, Neal said House counsel was "reviewing" the law and had "some legitimate concerns" regarding it.

But he is under pressure from Democrats to act. An aide to a Democratic member of Ways and Means told NBC News in a report on Monday that "there has been widespread frustration from members of the committee at how slowly this process has moved."

Trump broke with decades of tradition by refusing to release his returns while running for the presidency, claiming he was under audit. Such an audit would not preclude him from releasing the returns, however. A president's returns undergo IRS audits annually.



Democrats’ forced unionism bill threatens jobs and tramples workers’ rights

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019 (PRO Act) is a great illustration of just how radical and out-of-touch today’s Democrat Party is. The bill, which has 179 House Democrat cosponsors and 40 Senate Democrat cosponsors, would force millions of workers into unions they oppose and destroy jobs while lining the pockets of liberal fat cat donors. Just when some workers finally begin recovering from the Great Recession is no time to be killing jobs in the franchise industry and the gig economy. For these and other reasons, the bill must be rejected.

On May 2nd, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) introduced the PRO Act in the House; the same day, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced the companion bill in the Senate. The bill is essentially a grab bag of liberal Democrat labor policies designed to prop up failing unions at the expense of workers and the economy. Of course, the bill should not be considered charity but rather as a quid pro quo.

First of all, the bill would invalidate Right to Work laws in 27 states, not only overturning the will of the voters in many of these states, but also forcing many workers to join unions and pay union dues against their will. Of course, by paying union dues, union members would be subsidizing speech and political activity that they might oppose and this is exactly what the Democrats are trying to achieve in this naked grab for power.  Furthermore, by effectively repealing Right to Work laws, House Democrats would be negating the revitalization of the US manufacturing sector making our nation less competitive with the rest of the world.  Just when President Trump’s strong tax, regulatory, and trade policies are paying off with the creation of more than half million manufacturing jobs, Congressional Democrats would adopt policies guaranteed to send jobs overseas.

Secondly, the bill institutes card check which effectively ends secret-ballot union elections inviting a climate of workplace intimidation. In other words, instead of being required to win an election, unions could gain power by simply conning or pressuring workers into signing unionization cards. Making matters worse, businesses would be forced to hand over contact information for all employees to unions without the employees’ consent so that union organizers could harass the workers at their homes.

Thirdly, the bill mandates ambush unionization elections. These snap elections may prevent those opposed to unionization from having a sufficient opportunity to make their case to workers giving unions an unfair advantage. Apparently Democrats are worried that if both sides have a fair hearing, then more workers will be inclined to vote against unionization.

Fourthly, the bill would bring back the Obama era joint-employer standard making franchisors responsible for the actions of franchisees. Franchises are often the gateway to entrepreneurship for middle-class Americans, and House Democrats would deliberately pour cold water on this basic American dream.  By making the parent company responsible for labor law mistakes made by franchisees, House Democrats would likely kill the franchise goose that laid the golden egg.

Finally, the bill would make it tougher for workers to qualify as contractors. This could cripple the business models of FedEx Ground, Uber, Lyft and a number of other innovative companies that rely upon contractors to deliver their services to customers. The significant additional employment costs imposed by this bill are designed to create unionization opportunities for Democrats’ labor union benefactors, but it is doubtful whether currently independent drivers would survive the transition as they became little more than scheduled cab drivers.

The PRO Act is a threat to workers’ rights, to millions of American jobs, and to the U.S. economy as a whole; therefore, it must be defeated. Fortunately, not a single Republican has signed on to this disastrous legislation.



Bernie Sanders Runs Into Socialist Reality
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., proudly announced this year that his presidential campaign would be the first in history to have a unionized workforce. Well, he just became the first presidential candidate in history to face a labor revolt from his unionized workforce.

According to The Washington Post, the Sanders campaign workers union, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400, complained that field organizers are “making poverty wages” and that “many field staffers are barely managing to survive financially.” Because field organizers are working 60 hours a week, according to the union, their annual salary of $36,000 works out to $13 an hour — well below the $15-an-hour federal minimum wage Sanders has called for.

It gets worse. When the Sanders campaign offered to raise salaries to that level, the union rejected the offer. Why? Because, The Post reports, “the raise would have elevated field staff to a pay level responsible for paying more of their own health-care costs.” It turns out that Sanders pays only 85% of health-care premiums for campaign staff making more than $36,000 — despite campaigning on a promise of free health care for all with “no premiums, no deductibles, no co-payments, no out-of-pocket expenses.”

So, what was Sanders’s solution? First, he cut the hours of his field staffers from 60 to about 43 a week — which meant the campaign could say it was paying $15 an hour without actually increasing field organizers’ pay. Then on Monday, his campaign finally gave in and agreed to raise salaries to $42,000, preserve full health premium coverage and limit workers’ hours to 50 per week.

During the dispute, Sanders’s campaign defended its policies, declaring, “We know our campaign offers wages and benefits competitive with other campaigns.” Well, McDonald’s offers wages competitive with other fast-food chains, but that has not been good enough for Sanders. He has marched with McDonald’s workers, and attended Walmart shareholder meetings, to demand they be more generous with their workforces. How could he demand those companies provide pay and benefits that he was resisting giving his own employees?

Now the union has forced Sanders to capitulate on wages and health care. But why stop there? The Sanders union seems to be suffering from a lack of imagination. If union organizers really want to hold Sanders to his own standards, then a $15 minimum wage and premium-free health care should be only the beginning.

Sanders has promised to cover the cost of prescription drugs and make sure “no one in America pays over $200 a year for the medicine they need.” He has promised to pay for “universal childcare and pre-kindergarten.” He has promised free college, because “you are not truly free when the vast majority of good-paying jobs require a degree that requires taking out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt to obtain.” He has promised to “free generations of Americans from the outrageous burden of student loans by canceling all existing student debt.” Is he setting an example by providing all these benefits to workers on his campaign?

Of course not. Because if he did, his campaign would quickly run out of cash. Ah, but there’s the rub. As former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher famously put it, “the trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

A political campaign literally runs on other people’s money. It is bare-bones operation, in which staffers choose to work ridiculous hours for low pay, and rely on donations from supporters to get the candidate’s message out. In Sanders’s case, the majority of his donations come from small donors — ordinary Americans who are sacrificing their hard-earned money to help get him elected, not to fund social welfare for political operatives.

Every dollar his campaign spends on higher pay and free stuff for campaign workers is a dollar not spent on campaign ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. And if his campaign can’t get those ads on the air, then Sanders will lose — and his entire team will lose their jobs, their benefits and their chances of a cushy White House job. Then they won’t ever get access to the United States treasury and the chance to really spend other people’s money. So, we should all be grateful to the UFCW Local 400 for pulling more Sanders campaign money off the airwaves and into the pockets of Sanders’s field workers, while limiting the hours they can work to spread his socialist message. They’ve done the country a great service.



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 25, 2019

Inheritance is mostly overrated as a reason for wealth

Inherited money seldom lasts long

Perhaps more than ever before, people claim that almost the only way to join the ranks of the rich is through inheritance. Apparently, in the good old days, it was still possible build a fortune from the ground up—but not anymore. Such claims discourage people who have set themselves the goal of becoming wealthy as entrepreneurs or investors. The message, whether explicit or unspoken, is as clear as it is sad: “Don’t even bother trying—those days are long gone.” There are even so-called classism researchers who criticise the media for reporting on people who have ascended from humble beginnings to become rich. Such articles, the researchers claim, only perpetuate a false illusion that capitalism, in reality, can never live up to.

67% of The Forbes 400 Are Self-Made

Forbes has proved that this is simply not the case. In fact, the opposite is true: In 1984, less than half the people on The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans were self-made. By 2018, in stark contrast, this same figure had risen to 67%! Forbes’ analysis is based on a scoring system in which each member of The Forbes 400 is given a score on a scale from 1 to 10. A 1 is awarded to people who have inherited their entire fortune and have done nothing to increase their wealth. A 10 means that someone has pulled themselves up by their bootstraps to build their incredible wealth in the face of substantial obstacles. Anyone on The Forbes 400 who merits a score of between 6 and 10 is rated as having truly made it on their own.

The Buddenbrooks: An Exemplary Tale

The importance of inheritance is overestimated because, in reality, most heirs are unable to preserve let alone expand their assets. In 1901, the German writer Thomas Mann published one of his most celebrated novels, Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family, which tells the story of how a rich merchant family, the Buddenbrooks, slowly but surely squandered its fortune over the course of four generations. As is so often the case, fact mirrors fiction, as demonstrated by the scientists Robert Arnott, William Bernstein and Lillian Wu in their research paper “The Myth of Dynastic Wealth: The Rich Get Poorer.” Their key findings include the following: “The average wealth erosion for the 10 wealthiest families of 1930, 1957, and 1968… was 6.6 percent, 5.3 percent, and 8.7 percent, respectively. These figures correspond to a half-life of wealth—the length of time it takes for half of the family fortune to be redistributed within society through taxation, spending, and charitable giving—of 10 years, 13 years, and (remarkably) 8 years, respectively.”

Great Ideas And Personality Traits Are Not Necessarily Passed On To The Next Generation

One glance at the list of the richest people in the world is enough to see that the vast majority—insofar as they have not inherited their wealth—have earned their fortunes as entrepreneurs. And according to the findings of entrepreneurship research, successful entrepreneurs become rich because they have a very specific combination of personality traits. However, these personality traits cannot simply be passed on to the next generation. The super-rich became rich because they had incredibly good ideas. Why is it that Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergej Brin and Larry Page are among the richest people in the world? Because they had great ideas, founded Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Google and knew how to turn them into extremely profitable companies. It’s very unlikely that their children will have the same personality traits or such brilliant ideas.

The Secret Weapons Of The Super-rich?

Left-wing economists, such as the Frenchman Thomas Piketty, believe that the rich have access to particularly profitable investments—some would even call them a license to print money—which allow them to automatically increase their wealth even without their own entrepreneurial ideas. Just like left-wing anti-capitalists, family offices that earn their money by promising to increase the wealth of rich families have a vested interest in maintaining the myth that there are secret, extremely lucrative investment opportunities that are reserved only for the super-rich. This is, after all, the basis of their entire business model. But there are very good reasons to doubt that this is the case. It is more likely that most of these exclusive asset managers deliver even worse results for their super-rich clients than an average investor would achieve by investing in an index fund. For example, hedge funds have enjoyed an almost legendary reputation as the super-secret weapons of the rich for many years. And yes, some hedge funds have achieved extremely high returns, for which they have received a great deal of celebratory media attention. On average, however, they have performed worse than an index fund that absolutely anyone can buy on the internet.

In 2007, Warren Buffett entered a million-dollar bet with fund manager Protége Partners that the S&P 500 Index would outperform a portfolio of hedge funds over the next ten years. Buffett was right and donated his winnings to Girls Incorporated of Omaha. The S&P 500 Index fund in which he invested delivered a compound annual return of 7.1%, outperforming the return on the funds selected by Protégé Partners (2.2%). The extent of the difference is really put into perspective when you compare the actual monetary returns: Anyone who invested a million dollars in hedge funds before 2008 would have made a profit of $220,000 by 2017. S&P 500 investors, on the other hand, would have collected $854,000. So much for the supposed license to print money and “secret weapons” of the super-rich.

How People Inherit Money And Lose It Again

Many rich heirs could actually live very well off their inheritances if only they followed the advice Warren Buffett has already given his wife for when she inherits (a minor part) of his fortune: Simply invest the money in an index tracker fund. But most people think they are smarter and believe they can make particularly canny investments—which all too often turn out to be flops. Or they inherit a company but do not have the entrepreneurial talent of their predecessors. Others overestimate themselves, start new companies and lose money. Still others go through expensive divorces or simply spend far more each year than their inheritances would sensibly allow. There are countless examples that show just how difficult it is to manage an inheritance. Many heirs have more in common with lottery winners who, by a stroke of luck, win massive fortunes, but lose them again because they lack the requisite skills to handle money.

Welcome To The Self-Made Billionaires’ Club, Jay Z

In reality, the chances of getting rich, even at a young age or as someone who comes from a humble background, have never been so good. Recent headlines have trumpeted the fact that Jay Z, who was raised by a single working mother, has become the world’s first hip-hop billionaire and the latest member of the Self-Made Billionaires’ Club. Of course, very few people will ever make it quite so far. But what helps more? Telling someone “You have no chance anyway. If you don’t inherit money, you’ll never get rich,” or, “Forget it! Capitalism only makes the rich even richer.” Or saying, “You probably won't become a billionaire, but look at the people who started out at the very bottom and made it to the top. Seize your opportunities!”



The Left vs. Law Enforcement
While the border crisis continues, the American left is becoming more violent, and its enablers in Congress and the courts resist efforts to stem the crisis. Here are the latest developments from the weekend.

In Tacoma, Washington, police shot and killed an Antifa anarchist who attacked a detention facility in an apparent effort to kill the guards there. The attacker, Willem Van Spronsen, had been arrested during a protest at the same facility last year.

Several friends indicated he sent a manifesto promising something big. The governor of Washington blames the incident on the atmosphere President Trump has created.

At an ICE facility in Aurora, Colorado, demonstrators took down the U.S. flag and replaced it with the Mexican flag. They also took down and defaced a Blue Lives Matter flag with the words “Abolish ICE” and raised another flag that said “F—k Cops."

Late in the evening, a squad of armed guards was finally able to remove the Mexican flag and restore the American flag to its rightful place.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is running for the Democrat presidential nomination as a supposed moderate, defended the flag desecration as "free speech.” Wrong!

It is not free speech to trespass onto federal property to destroy federal property. It is free speech to burn your own flag. You cannot tear down or burn someone else’s flag.

I’m glad we have Gov. Hickenlooper on the record on this incident. Every Democrat presidential candidate should be asked about their views of what happened this weekend and whether they support raising the flag of a foreign nation in the place of the American flag.

All over America this weekend, elected Democrats ran to microphones to profess their loyalty to illegal immigrants. Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, posted a video with the police chief standing next to him and declared, “Your city is on your side, and rest assured, here in Los Angeles we are not coordinating with ICE.” Garcetti may come to regret that decision. (See next item.)

Who’s on the side of law-abiding U.S. citizens? And why isn’t the LAPD cooperating with federal law enforcement?

It was the same thing in Chicago, where authorities showed more interest in protecting illegal immigrants than protecting Chicago residents from the mass violence that results in dozens of people being shot every weekend.

Leftists were on bicycles in Hispanic neighborhoods warning illegal immigrants of any law enforcement efforts by ICE. Why aren’t they going through those neighborhoods warning kids of gangs and drug dealers?

A few weeks ago, various left-wing spokesmen called for the public harassment and “doxing,” exposing personal information online, of those who guard our borders. Go to their homes, go to their kids’ schools. Shame them publicly, the left insisted.

This weekend, Sen. Elizabeth Warren upped the ante by threatening to prosecute Border Patrol guards. She told the radical Netroots conference, “On my first day, I will empower a commission in the Department of Justice to investigate crimes committed by the United States against immigrants.”

While she pursues policies that make it impossible to detain illegal immigrants, now she’s threatening to target those guarding the border. This is how extreme the left has become.

In stark contrast, President Trump issued an executive order giving “voice” to the victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens, crimes that never should have happened but did because liberal politicians refuse to secure the border.

By the way, only 33% of voters think the government is “too aggressive” when it comes to deporting illegal immigrants.



A good rationale


Sen. Cruz Introduces Measure to Designate Left-Wing Antifa a 'Domestic Terrorist Organization'

Given the radical, left-wing Antifa group's well-documented history of violence, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) introduced a resolution on July 18 that condemns Antifa's "violent acts" and calls for the designation of the group as a "domestic terrorist organization."

"Antifa is a group of hateful, intolerant radicals who pursue their unhinged agenda through aggressive violence," said Sen. Cruz in a statement. "Time and time again their actions have demonstrated that their only purpose is to inflict harm on those who oppose their views."

"The hate and violence they spread must be stopped, and I am proud to introduce this resolution with Senator Cassidy to properly identify what Antifa are: domestic terrorists," he said.

Sen. Cassidy, a medical doctor, said, "Antifa are terrorists, violent masked bullies who ‘fight fascism' with actual fascism, protected by Liberal privilege."

"With bullies, they get their way until someone says no," he added. "There must be courage, not cowardice, from the elected officials who allow violence against the innocent."

The two senators noted the recent attack by Antifa members on photojournalist Andrew Ngo in Portland. Ngo was taking pictures at a June 29 demonstration when he was beaten by Antifa members. He suffered a brain hemorrhage and a torn ear lobe.

Antifa, which is an abbreviation of the word "anti-fascist," is a radical, left-wing group with members across the country. Antifa group members engage in direct action -- intimidation, brutality, and violence -- targeted often at conservatives and supporters of President Trump, as well as against private property.

Antifa's actions are face-to face but also online, and through other digital or technical means to harass and intimidate people. Antifa also sometimes engages in action against the police.

The resolution from Sens. Cruz and Cassidy reads:

Title: Calling for the designation of Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization.

Whereas members of Antifa, because they believe that free speech is equivalent to violence, have used threats of violence in the pursuit of suppressing opposing political ideologies;

Whereas Antifa represents opposition to the democratic ideals of peaceful assembly and free speech for all;

Whereas members of Antifa have physically assaulted journalists and other individuals during protests and riots in Berkeley, California;

Whereas in February of 2018, journalist Andy Ngo was intimidated and threatened with violence by protestors affiliated with Antifa;

Whereas on June 29, 2019, while covering demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, journalist Andy Ngo was physically attacked by protestors affiliated with Antifa;

Whereas employees of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (referred to in this preamble as "ICE") were subjected to doxxing and violent threats after their social media profiles, phone numbers, and home addresses were posted on the Internet by left wing activists;

Whereas according to the Wall Street Journal, an ICE officer was followed by left wing activists and "confronted when he went to pick up his daughter from summer camp", and another "had his name and photo plastered on flyers outside his home accusing him of being part of the ‘Gestapo'";

Whereas the ICE office in southwest Portland, Oregon, was shut down for days due to threats and occupation by Antifa members;

Whereas Rose City Antifa, an Antifa group founded in 2007 in Portland, Oregon, explicitly rejects the authority of law enforcement officers in the United States, and Federal, State, and local governments, to protect free speech and stop acts of violence;

Whereas Rose City Antifa rejects the civil treatment of individuals the group labels as fascists, stating: "We can't just argue against them; we have to prevent them from organizing by any means necessary."; and

Whereas there is no place for violence in the discourse between people in the United States, or in any civil society, because the United States is a place where there is a diversity of ideas and opinions: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate-

(1) calls for the groups and organizations across the country who act under the banner of Antifa to be designated as domestic terrorist organizations;
(2) unequivocally condemns the violent actions of Antifa groups as unacceptable acts for anyone in the United States;
(3) expresses the need for the peaceful communication of varied ideas in the United States;
(4) urges any group or organizations in the United States to voice its opinions without using violence or threatening the health, safety, or well-being of any other persons, groups, or law enforcement officers in the United States; and
(5) calls upon the Federal Government to redouble its efforts, using all available and appropriate tools, to combat the spread of all forms of domestic terrorism, including White supremacist terrorism.



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 24, 2019

The Totally, Utterly Irrefutable Case Against Socialism

When a dozen of conservatism’s best minds take on Socialism and expose it for the utopian fraud it is, attention must be paid.

In a brief foreword to a special issue of National Review, Editor-in-Chief Richard Lowry admitted that many conservatives thought socialism in America had been “vanquished” after the collapse of Soviet Communism 30 years ago. But as T. S. Eliot insisted, “There is no such thing as a Lost Cause because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause.”

The experts examine socialism in its many guises, beginning with Charles Cooke’s blunt assessment that socialism is not and never can be “democratic.”

Cooke, the editor of, writes that voters should not be fooled by the left’s attempt at rebranding.

“There is no sense in which socialism can be made compatible with democracy as it is understood in the West.” At worst, says Cooke, “socialism eats democracy, and is swiftly transmuted into tyranny.” At best, socialism “stamps out individual agency, places civil society into a straitjacket of uniform size, and turns representative government into a chimera.”

Cooke’s description of socialism as tyrannical was confirmed by Ugo Okere, a socialist candidate for the Chicago City Council, who explained that “democratic socialism, to me, is about democratic control of every single facet of our life.”

That would mean, presumably, rewriting the first words of the Constitution to something like, “We the people of the United States in order to form a more democratically controlled Union … ”

What has Okere’s “democratic control” produced in the socialist “paradise” of Venezuela?

Ricardo Hausmann, the former chief economist of the Inter-American Development Bank, has written that “Venezuela’s economic catastrophe dwarfs any in the history of the U.S., Western Europe or the rest of Latin America.”

How catastrophic? Under Chavez-Maduro socialism, the child mortality rate has increased 140%. Ninety percent of Venezuelans now live in poverty. This year inflation will hit an unbelievable 10 million percent. (That is not a typographical error.) All this in a country with the world’s largest proven oil reserves—far greater than those of the United States.

Cooke concludes his essay with lessons learned from 6,000 years of civilization, including “never relinquish the right to free speech, the right to free conscience, the right to freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, or the right to a jury trial.”

Whatever you do, he warns, don’t be seduced by socialists bearing promises. But if you are seduced, “get out before it’s too late. You have nothing to lose but your chains.”

The distinguished author Joshua Muravchik, a fellow at the World Affairs Institute, takes a historical approach to the myths of socialism.

He writes that the initiator of Soviet terror, tyranny, and violence was its founding father, Vladimir Lenin, who exhorted his followers to exert “merciless mass terror against kulaks, priests, and White Guards; persons of doubtful standing should be locked up in concentration camps” (i.e., the Gulag).

To what end? Not just to accumulate political power, but in pursuit of a sacred mission—a socialist world.

When the farmers resisted collectivization, Lenin’s successor, Josef Stalin, engineered a famine in which at least 5 million and perhaps as many 10 million starved to death—the Holodomor.

If Stalin was “a tyrant of stupefying brutality,” writes Muravchik, he was outdone by Communist rulers Mao Zedong, whose Cultural Revolution resulted in at least one million deaths, and Pol Pot, who wiped out one-fourth of Cambodia’s population in his attempt to emulate Mao.

Why did they kill so many? Muravchik provides the answer: “It was their devotion to an ideal [socialism] that prompted them to slaughter millions of unresisting innocents.”

Economist Jeffrey Tucker begins with the damning comment: “Among the most conspicuous of socialism’s failings is its capacity to generate vast shortages of things essential for life.”

In Maoist China, he points out, there was no meat and no fat in which to cook anything. In Bolshevik Russia, there was never enough housing or food, not even loaves of bread.

What happened when Nikita Khrushchev took over as Soviet leader following Stalin’s death in 1953? He and his colleagues tried desperately to “cobble together” a system of planning that made sense without relying on “bourgeois” market forces.

They failed miserably. In Tucker’s words, Khrushchev “spent his last years as a discredited, dejected, and sad old man on a park bench.”

If you love deprivation, constriction, and general limits on material aspirations, says Tucker, plus a “tyrannical ruling class that oppresses everyone else, you will love what socialism can and does achieve.” Indeed, he concludes, “misery seems to be its only contribution to economic history.”

Socialists, says National Review correspondent Kevin Williamson, are guilty of a fatal conceit: They think they can develop a system so powerful that it can consider every variable in society and propose scientific answers “about how many acres of potatoes to plant, and when and where to plant them.”

But free-market economists Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek (a Nobel Laureate) showed that “complete knowledge was not attainable on social, economic, or political questions.”

Therefore, says Williamson, the more intelligent and non-ideological governments have largely given up on central planning.

Even the Nordic social democracies, so dear to the self-styled socialists of the United States, “mostly have been divesting themselves of state enterprises.”

Reasonably successful state-run enterprises, such as the Swiss railroads, “have been converted into stock corporations or reformed in other market-oriented ways.”

The subtitle of Hayek’s last work “The Fatal Conceit” is “The Errors of Socialism.” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., have failed to learn from those errors, says Williamson, asserting that “you cannot call yourself the party of science and the party of socialism too. You have to choose one or the other.”

Socialists flaunt their compassion, argues former National Review Editor-in-Chief John O’Sullivan, because it gives them an excuse to impose their will on others “unlawfully and even murderously.”

Modern socialists tend to disapprove of placing conditions on aid to the poor—“workfare”—viewing the receipt of aid as “an unqualified right.”

That sounds generous, says O’Sullivan, but it traps the poor “in long term dependency” and undermines what the scholar Shirley Letwin calls the “vigorous virtues” among their neighbors.

Before a single socialist regime had established itself, says O’Sullivan, 19th-century writers like Fyodor Dostoevsky, W. H. Matlock, and Rudyard Kipling saw “the horrors that lay concealed within socialism’s humanitarian promise.” Their examination of country after country refutes the fraying excuse that socialism has never been tried.

In the later stages of Soviet Communism, for example, a woman would sell herself for a pair of jeans; in Venezuela today, “people exchange family heirlooms for a little food.”

Although the French welfare state is often offered as a shining example of progressivism, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, declares you must look at “actual France, not the fantasy France of progressive propaganda.”

He challenges the French elite who believe they have the right “to order society for the benefit of everyone.”

Given the results of their leadership—low growth, mass unemployment, social strife, and a general mood of pessimism—Gobry suggests that “they might want to rethink their idea of progress.”

BT (Before Thatcher), the Great Britain of the 1970s was generally described as “the sick man of Europe,” due to its prolonged experiments with statism and the pervasive stagnation they produced.

In 1960, according to historian Andrew Stuttaford, the U.K. boasted Europe’s most productive economy, but that was before the Labour Party came to power and nationalized almost every industry in sight.

The mid-1970s were hard on most Western economies, but the U.K. “appeared to be in a hell of its own,” says Stuttaford. Inflation shot up 300%. Gross domestic product fell, unemployment rose, the pound crumbled, industry buckled, “and some of Britain’s best and brightest headed for the exit.”

The winter of 1978 was characterized by grotesque images—the dead unburied, the sick untreated, the trash piling up in the streets.

Just months later, promising radical change, Margaret Thatcher walked into 10 Downing Street and proceeded to denationalize coal, steel, and utilities; bring down inflation; spur economic growth; and refuse to give into organized labor’s draconian demands.

Her message: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

Markets, not bureaucrats, are better for the environment, asserts Shawn Regan, a fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center, pointing out that Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union “were the most polluted and degraded places on earth.”

He quotes the economist Murray Feshbach and journalist Alfred Friendly Jr. as writing that when historians conduct an autopsy of Soviet Communism, “they may reach the verdict of death by ecocide.”

Closer to home, says Regan, the attempts of Cuban socialists to maximize production at all costs “has caused extensive air, soil, and water pollution.”

In Venezuela, socialist policies have contaminated drinking water supplies, fueled rampant deforestation, and caused frequent oil spills. The principal guilty party is the state-owned energy company.

Rarely, if ever, will Ocasio-Cortez and other sponsors of the Green New Deal concede the painful truth about socialism’s dismal environmental legacy.

Imagine a shoe store with just one brand of sneakers—now apply that to medical care. So begins journalist and health care expert Avik Roy, who explains the pluses and minuses of the British National Health Service, so beloved by Sanders and other American “democratic” socialists.

Because the British health system is funded entirely by taxes and is “free” to patients, there are no premiums, no co-pays, no deductibles.

How then does the system prevent excess consumption and control costs?

Roy says there are two principal ways: first, by controlling the fees that doctors, hospitals, drug companies, etc. receive; and second, by “aggressively restricting the … costly services that would otherwise blow up” the health care budget.

Notwithstanding Sanders’ contrary opinion, says Roy, “the NHS is no paradise.”

NHS doctors “routinely” conceal from patients information about new therapies the service does not pay for, so as not to “distress, upset or confuse them.”

Terminally ill patients are “incorrectly classified” as close to death to allow the withdrawal of expensive life support. Most NHS patients expect to wait five months for a hip operation or knee surgery, says Roy, but the actual waiting times are worse: 11 months for hips and 12 months for knees, compared with a wait of three to four weeks for such procedures in the United States.

NHS problems like limitations on access to care and dishonest statistics “will be familiar to those enrolled in America’s homegrown version of socialized medicine: the Veterans Health Administration.”

Understandably, writes Roy, American socialists are not calling for “VA care for all” but for “Medicare for All.”

Medicare features like subsidized premiums and unlimited access, says Roy, make the program popular with seniors who receive about $3 in benefits for every dollar they pay into Medicare. But the lack of controls has turned the program into an “oppressive fiscal burden.”

According to the trustees, the Medicare hospital trust fund will run out of money in 2026, less than a decade away. The ultimate price tag of Medicare for All is an incomprehensible $30 trillion.

The solution may be debatable (The Heritage Foundation, for example, favors block grants to the states and health savings accounts), but the answer is not “the Anglo-Canadian version of socialized medicine that tramples on individuals’ rights to seek the care and coverage that they want.”

The real reason why American socialists are 24/7 news, says Washington Examiner editor Timothy Carney, is the widespread “social and cultural poverty” in America.

The root cause of both Occupy Wall Street and Bernie 2016 was a “prevailing sense of alienation.” Young people, Carney says, “felt that they lost the ability to make a difference in the world.” They were a vacuum waiting to be filled.

Modern American society “in which community is weaker and people are more alienated,” says Carney, has proven a fertile ground for socialism. The political reaction from socialists and their fellow travelers is “a demand for a bigger federal safety net.”

Carney reports, for example, that the People’s Policy Project, a socialist think tank, calls for a raft of federal programs, including 36 weeks of federally funded paid parental leave, federally funded child care, a federal benefit for stay-at-home mothers, and federally funded pre-K.

The conservative response, Carney argues, should be “community.” That is, an extended family, neighbors, parishes, shuls, civic associations, dinner clubs, swim clubs, and all the other communal variations.

Such institutions—Edmund Burke’s “little platoons”—help families stay together, mothers and fathers “stay sane,” and new parents “navigate the daunting path of parenthood.”

Carney warns that the less we’re connected to one another via community institutions, and the more isolated we are, the more we grasp for something big to protect us. “For young Americans that’s often the state.”

Socialism is not only or even principally an economic doctrine, concludes the British author Theodore Dalrymple, “it is a revolt against human nature.” It refuses to believe that man is a fallen creature and seeks to improve him “by making all equal one to another.”

The development of the New Man was and is the goal of all Communist tyrannies, beginning with the Soviet Union.

Notwithstanding the disastrous results when such futile dreams are taken seriously by ruthless men in power, Dalrymple says, there are those who will continue to dream of “a life so perfectly organized that everyone will be happy.”

National Review’s analysts believe that such dreams will inevitably become nightmares as they have in the 40 some nations that suffered under socialism.

The record of failure without exception is clear. It remains for conservatives to expose the impossible promises of the socialists, drawing on the conclusions of National Review’s experts:

Socialism is not compatible with the Constitution.

Socialism, the idea that millions killed for, is a mirage.

Socialism is very good at generating vast shortages of the essential things in life.

Socialism can never know enough to plan all our lives every day.

Socialism tries to make all of us equal to one another.

Socialism is very good at promising all the benefits we’ll never see.

Socialism in Great Britain had one outstanding success—Margaret Thatcher.

Socialism was responsible for making Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union the most polluted and degraded places on earth.

Socialized medicine as practiced in Great Britain and Canada is bad for people’s health.

American socialism is on the rise because of widespread social and cultural poverty in America.

What is to be done? It rests with you and me. We must get to work exposing socialism for the fraud and failure it is and taking back our culture and our country.



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 23, 2019

Jordan Peterson’s year of trauma

Health problems.  A great mind in a frail body

Interviews with the Canadian academic, clinical psychologist and culture war belligerent Jordan B. Peterson can go badly wrong, sometimes for the interviewer, sometimes for Peterson. Sometimes for both.

His most infamous encounter was with Cathy Newman on Britain’s Channel 4 News last year, an interview that has been watched more than 16 million times. Although Newman’s approach seemed designed to confirm Peterson’s reputation among the liberal left as a misogynist, most think she was worsted by him.

After that, however, she received such violent abuse online that Peterson intervened on Twitter to ask his supporters to stop threatening her.

Eighteen months on, he is not exactly extending the hand of friendship. “I thought it was very underhanded of her to come out and play the victim. It wasn’t like I was attacking her,” he says from his home in Toronto.

The problem, I think, is that Peterson and his interviewers assume the lobster position when they meet. Those who have read the first rule of his bestselling 12 Rules for Life will know what I mean. “Stand up straight with your shoulders back,” it orders, citing in support the claw-waving, boxer champ-dancing, chemical-spraying crustacean and its visceral fights for hierarchical advantage. “Look for your inspiration to the victorious lobster, with its 350 million years of practical wisdom,” his first chapter concludes.

Family turmoil

When I ring him at 3pm his time, I deal him a real zinger. “How are you?” I ask.

“That’s a complicated question. I’ve some very bad health in my family,” he says in a weak, scratchy voice that is far distant from that of the irritable layer-down of laws with whom I have familiarised ­myself.

“We’re all rather devastated at the moment. My wife is very ill. She’s had two surgeries in the last two months and is suffering from severe complications from the last one, and the prognosis overall is uncertain.”

Peterson and Tammy Roberts knew each other as children growing up on the same street in Fairview, northern Alberta, and have been married for 30 years. This spring she had a rare kidney cancer diagnosed. Surgery determined that the cancer had not spread, but her recovery did not go as planned.

“We got hit by lightning twice, let’s say. It’s not the ideal circumstances to have a positive interview, I’m afraid,” Peterson says.

Although 12 Rules is subtitled An Antidote to Chaos (chaos somewhat unhelpfully being symbolically identified by him as feminine), it is really about human suffering and what to do when, as he puts it in his grimly vivid way, “your leg is clamped firmly in a crocodile’s jaw”.

If anybody knows how to approach suffering, it’s him, I say. “Well, you’d hope so, but this has still thrown us through a massive loop.” At the beginning and at the end of our 90-minute discussion, Peterson’s voice breaks and he sounds close to tears.

Fans and enemies

In the year after its publication in January 2018, 12 Rules sold about three million copies, but Peterson is known by millions more for his podcasts and online lectures. Introduction to the Idea of God has been viewed 4.1 million times on YouTube.

On book tours he attracts audiences of a size more usually enjoyed by stand-up comedians, although his act is short on laughs. He wins ecstatic reviews, many friendly comment pieces and the gratitude of thousands of mainly young men who felt lost.

It is his critics who tend to get noticed, however, invading his lectures, taking him down in print by pointing out his more bizarre utterances and turning interviews into gladiator fights.

The hostility started not with 12 Rules, let alone his previous opus, Maps of Meaning, but with his opposition in 2016 to an amendment to Canadian law that, he claimed, would compel him to refer to transgender students and colleagues by the pronouns of their choice. Academe and other realms in which the latest received wisdom prevail spotted a traitor.

His greatest heresy was to insist on gender being a biological fact, not a social construct. (And I do mean insist. In 12 Rules he writes: “This isn’t a debate. The data are in.”)

What he does not claim is that the average woman is any less intelligent than the average man, and when I ask him to confirm that he believes in the equality of opportunity between the sexes he replies: “You’d have to be a fool not to believe in the equality of opportunity. I mean, it’s not like we have an excess of talent.”

Has he ever called himself a feminist? “I wouldn’t say so, only because of the connotations, let’s say, of the term, but I have a wife and a daughter, and I have a sister and a mother. It’s not like I’m not hyper-concerned about their progress through life and doing everything I possibly can to ensure that they have all the opportunities they possibly can.”

Strange company

He is a suspect public figure for another reason: the company he not so much keeps as is photographed beside. The latest example was a snap of him with an arm around a man wearing an “I’m a proud Islamaphobe (sic)” T-shirt. When this became public in March, Cambridge University rescinded a visiting fellowship for Peterson to study theology there, a decision he calls “extremely unfortunate and shortsighted”.

A number of things are going on here. One is that some pretty weird alt-righters project their prejudices on to him and that Peterson has a mischievous side to him that objects far too little to this. Another is his naivety. He is a clinician and an academic used to rooms of two or lecture halls of 70. Encountering in his 50s (he is 57) the wider world of what passes for thought, he is a little awed by it and a bit unsure how to treat it.

Staring into abyss

I ask if I may make an observation about 12 Rules. Lobsters aside, I mostly agree with the rules, but the picture he paints is of life as a struggle, a battle, even a 70-year war. His prose style is matchingly combative. Even his humour can be violent.

Now “Being”, as he grandly capitalises it, has its sorrows, but I don’t regard it as a constant fight. Have I lived a particularly fortunate life? Or has his been so difficult that it has delivered him to this vision of life red in tooth and claw?

“I think that’s a good question,” he says. “I’ve studied totalitarianism for many decades and I would say that isn’t a study that predisposes you to a particularly rosy view of the world. What did Nietzsche say? If you look too long into an abyss, the abyss looks into you. It’s certainly possible that that’s happened to me to a degree.

“It might also have something to do with my temperament. I have suffered fairly chronically from depression, and you never know how that colours your worldview. It’s certainly made things have a greater impact on me emotionally than they might have.”

I say that from the book I was also struck by how tough his Canadian childhood was, just the weather for one thing. “Well, there’s some truth in that,” he says. “It’s not like I failed to see the beauty also, but, especially in the winters, the absolute harshness of the environment was right at hand, every morning for months.”

In adulthood, ill health encroached early on his young family. His daughter, Mikhaila, suffered severe juvenile arthritis from infancy and had hip and ankle replacements at 17. In January the ankle replacement was redone in Zurich.

“So it has been one hospital trip after another for the last six months.” Like her father, she suffers from depression, apparently ameliorated by eating a beef-only diet, a regimen that her father has adopted to some effect and mockery.

“Do I feel I’ve had a hard life? There’s been some of it that’s been hard,” he says. “It’s by no means been hard compared to many people’s lives, but there’s a strong familial streak of depression that runs through my family.

“That’s been hard. My daughter’s illness was hard, very hard at times. It was very difficult to see her in pain for so long.

“On the other hand, I’ve had great good fortune. I have wonderful children (a son too). I love my wife. I have a great extended family. I’ve had a wonderful career. I’ve had this strange streak of unparalleled success, but I’m distraught currently because of this unexpected occurrence in my family, which is quite devastating to everyone concerned.

“I’m having a difficult time reconciling myself to it, my own good advice notwithstanding. That was a shock and it’s conceivable that I wasn’t in the best psychological state to have received that news because the last three years have been, let’s say, exhausting.”

Behind the armour

The public demands on his time have meant him abandoning his teaching at the University of Toronto and his psychologist’s practice. Nevertheless, over the past three years he has been “terrified” of being “one slip of the tongue away from genuine and permanent trouble” (Rule 10: Be precise in your speech).

What has been “entirely surreal” is not being able to walk down a street unrecognised.

“My mother was here a couple of weeks ago, helping take care of things while my wife was in hospital,” he says. “I was sleeping in the hospital and I would come home and my mother would walk back to the hospital with me, which is only about five blocks away.

“Generally speaking, along the way, five or six people would stop me, sometimes more. This was usually in the morning and they’d tell me some heartfelt story about how they’d married their girlfriend or made peace with their father or quit drinking. They’re very emotional stories and it brought her to tears several times.

“And then the scandals: that adds an additional level of strangeness to it. So much of the scandal has been political, and yet virtually everything I do, certainly in my public lectures, is psychological and philosophical, and very little of it political.

“It’s not like I’m opposed to the left. I understand that people are dispossessed and they need a voice. I’m not a winner-takes-all guy. I know that life has an arbitrary element and that it’s best to set up a society so that people can’t fall too far and not get back up.

“I see a role for the right and the left because the right stands for what’s good about what is and the left gives a voice to those who aren’t served by it.

“The reason I’m a free-speech advocate is because a dialogue has to take place between those two positions in order for us to maintain an even keel.”

He sounds as if he is swallowing back tears. “You caught me at a rather emotional time, I’m afraid. That’s not particularly rare, but, yeah, it’s been rather brutal here.”

It is not the first time he has described himself as an emotional person, but it has been hard to accept the claim because of his adamantine Old Testament public face.

Now I see that facade as an armour that protects him from himself as much as from his enemies. Life’s a battle, but his emotions count among the hostile insurgents. Peterson’s fans will not want to hear this any more than his ­enemies.

Nor can I imagine him accepting what I mean as a compliment. Right now, however, Dr Peterson is nothing like a lobster.



If You Can't Beat 'Em, Call 'Em Racist

Trump's tweets about the America-haters did NOT MENTION race

Veteran journalist Brit Hume weighed in on the uproar over President Donald Trump's latest bomb-throwing: "Trump's 'go back' comments simply do not meet the standard definition of racist, a word so recklessly flung around these days that its actual meaning is being lost."

Hume even cited the Merriam-Webster's definition of racism to show that Trump's comments had nothing to do with race. Hilariously — and pathetically, in a sign of the times — Merriam-Webster replied with a lengthy explanation about how "the lexicographer's role" isn't to define "how some may feel [words] should be used," while warning that "it is prudent to recognize that quoting from a dictionary is unlikely to either mollify or persuade the person with whom one is arguing."

In other words, words have no meaning if facts conflict with your triggered feelings.

Trump said what he said poorly, leaving himself wide open for the very assault he's facing. He said what we think he meant far better in defending himself later. "These are people that hate our country," he said. "If you're not happy in the U.S., if you're complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave."

Oddly enough, leaving wasn't his idea. Are we the only ones who remember the scads of leftists pledging to flee America altogether if Trump were elected president? Instead, they're all still here, still hating our country, still undermining the "democracy" they claim to be defending, and still trying to impeach its president.

That brings us to the press conference Monday involving the four radical leftist congresswomen who are members of what has been dubbed "The Squad" — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley.

Omar, the anti-American, anti-Semitic refugee from Somalia — and thus the only one of the four women resembling Trump's original description — was the worst, calling Trump "blatantly racist" and decrying his "agenda of white nationalists." She rehearsed a slew of false charges against Trump. Among them:

Trump was "credibly accused of ... colluding with a foreign government to interfere with our election." (A team of Democrat lawyers spent two years and $35 million to determine that it was NOT a credible accusation.)

He has "pursued an agenda to allow millions of Americans to die from a lack of health care while he transfers millions of dollars in tax cuts to corporations." (Both charges are BIG Lies and/or tinfoil-hat conspiracies. Millions have not died for lack of health care. And no money was "transferred" to corporations because it wasn't taken via taxes in the first place. Democrats are the ones bent on transferring wealth and basing their platform on envy.)

"This is a president who has called black athletes 'sons of b—es.' This is a president that called people who come from black and brown countries 's—tholes.' This is a president who has equated neo-Nazis with those who protest them." (No, he didn't. No, he didn't. And no, he didn't.)

She falsely blamed Trump "for the deaths of children on our border," and she accused him of "committing human-rights abuses" like "keeping children in cages and having human beings drinking out of toilets." (Children and the traffickers who bring them might not be trying to illegally cross the border without Democrats' open invitation. And while no one is drinking from toilets, Border Patrol detention facilities wouldn't be overwhelmed without, again, Democrats' open invitation.)

Omar accused Trump of making a "mockery out of our Constitution," something Democrats do all day every day, while concluding, "It's time for us to impeach this president."

There was plenty more, but that should suffice.

The Democrats' clear agenda with the "racist" charge is a craven political calculation to send Republicans scrambling for cover. It's working, too, as elected Republicans distance themselves from the president while much of the conservative commentariat piles on Trump. But they're succumbing to the relentless drumbeat of the Democrats' Leftmedia super PAC. For example, a Washington Post story today is titled, "White identity politics drives Trump, and the Republican Party under him."

How to put this politely...? That's horse pucky. Buried under Trump's garbled prose is a legitimate point, and it has nothing to do with race. It has to do with loving or hating America and the political party guilty of the latter.

Finally, as we observed yesterday, Trump's strategy is to unite Democrats behind these four radical socialist faces. "Trump doesn't play tic-tac-toe. He plays chess," said Newt Gingrich. "He wants the Democratic Party to identify with" these four women. "Pelosi in a sense was trying to draw a line and say, 'We are not them.' After Trump's tweet, she said, 'Oh, we really are them.'" Pelosi is indeed standing with the four to push a new resolution to condemn Trump.

Likewise, Rush Limbaugh said, "Trump obviously is attempting to have these people become the face of the Democrat Party. It's a brilliant political move." No less than DNC Chief Tom Perez said that of Ocasio-Cortez last year. And a new poll says swing voters do indeed consider AOC to be the "definitional face" of Democrats.

So, we'll see if Trump's strategy really is brilliant.



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 22, 2019

The psychology of Trump hate

The Left routinely pour out anger, hated and contempt towards Republican Presidents. The only near-exception was Ronald Reagan.  He was very hard to hate so they mostly settled on contempt for him.  He actually got all his transformative policies through a Democrat Congress!

And a sentimental Christian gentleman -- George Bush II -- was excoriated as a new Hitler!

But Trump has caused the hate to rise to a new level.  The Left have exploded with hate during his Presidency. Even the tiniest thing Trump says or does is fodder for derogatory mention. The thing that symbolizes the Leftist attitude towards Trump for me is the icecream "affair".  At a small White House dinner for some journalists, Trump asked for an extra scoop of icecream with his dessert.  The media went wild!  How contemptible to ask for an extra scoop of icecream!  Who does he think he is?  Oliver Twist or something?  The triviality of it is mind-blowing.

Much wisdom has been written about Trump hatred but I want to take an analysis of it down to the psychological level. I want to relate it to the basics of the Left-Right polarity. And at its psychological fons et origo the Left Right polarity is very simple.  Conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. Conservatives don't think the world is perfect but they can happily live with it. For Leftists, on the other hand, departures from the ideal burn them up.  So how has Trump affected that?

When you are discontented with something you tend to be angry about it and want to change it. So we have the unending stream of mostly addled Leftist proposals for "reform". What the proposals are varies almost from day to day but there is always that simmering discontent motivating them. The problems at the Southern border, for instance, went from non-existent to a humanitarian disaster almost overnight.

The sad thing is that the Left are mostly up against what philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz pointed out a couple of hundred years ago:  Maybe we live in the best of all possible worlds.  Leibnitz didn't mean that seriously.  He set it as a question that should be asked before we change something. The point being that some bad things are necessary to some good things and vice versa.

Current politics have a rather clear example of that.  It would be good and nice and kind if we could abolish America's borders -- as the Left propose -- and thus give all the poor of Latin America access to a better lifestyle.  How good, kind and noble the Left are to propose such a beneficial change!  The bad thing is that we cannot do that and must have defended borders if America is not to be flooded by people with the attitudes, values  and customs that have made their own countries cesspits of violence and corruption.  America already has plenty of troublesome people within its borders.  The last thing it needs is more of them. Opening the borders (good) would lead to a widespread collapse in civility (bad)

So the Left are usually up against it.  The arrangements that have stood the test of time are pretty much the best we can do.  They are an existing balance that maximizes the good without falling too far into the bad.  So any change will usually disrupt that and cause "unforeseen" bad side effects.

The bad effects are not however really "unforeseen.  Conservatives foresee them regularly and warn Leftists about them.  But the Left are so obsessed with the bad things that they see that they close their ears to any information that might distract them from the "good" that they want to do.  So we have things like the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that made health insurance UNaffordable for many.  Conservatives certainly warned vigorously against it before its enactment and it got not one vote from the Right side of the house.

So the Left are constantly in a state of frustration. The "good" that they try to do almost always rebounds against them and causes them to become unpopular instead of popular -- and loses them votes. Obamacare undoubtedly helped put Trump in office.  Would anybody suddenly hit with $10,000 deductibles vote Democrat?

But the Left have gradually got some of their way over the years,  despite the generally impoverishing effect of their policies. They have, for instance, got America to bow down before the false God of global warming despite the huge and futile cost of windmills, solar panels etc.  Had all that money been spent on repairing and upgrading America's roads, bridges and highways, everybody would have been much better off.

And the Obama/Clinton regime gave them hope of a lot of progress towards their imagined ideal world.  Americans were regulated within an inch of their lives.  The stage was set for the emergence of a new "sustainable" Eden.  Obama had generated much ecstasy and Clinton was clearly committed to continue the march towards that new but elusive Eden where we would all be ants in a great Leftist anthill.  From Hegel on that has been the Leftist vision.

But what they were up against was the wish of many Americans not to be antlike robots obeying every addled command from on high.  The ever-changing enthusiasms of the Left were far from universally shared.  And when Leftists see "racism" under every bed they certainly depart from how most Americans see things.

One thing that has changed little over the years is the Leftist  obsession with race.  Before WWII, they were for the white race, now they are against the white race but they remain racists.  With "affirmative action" and "diversity" it is all about race for them.  Almost comically, however, they deny being racists and constantly accuse everybody else of being racists. They explain their race consciousness as an attempt to do good so, in their simplistic way, any other thinking about racial differences is bad.

And they extend their intolerance of any groupthink other than their own to all sorts of groupthink by others.  In particular they are very wary of patriotism and the idea that America is particularly admirable or exceptional.

Obama put it politely when he said during an April 2009 press conference: “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism”.  Coming from an American President that is remarkable. Most Americans love their country or are at least proud of it and expect to hear that echoed in the words of their President.  Obama could on occasions bring himself to praise American ideals but praise for America as such was in short supply.

The above picture was from a 2007 political rally where the national anthem was being played. An ABC News video showed that Senator Obama did not salute at any time during the anthem and that everybody else on the platform did.  His ignoring of the anthem was widely criticized so he learned from that and was  more careful when he became President.  But it is clear that his heart was just not in it.

Obama was noted for his politeness but most Leftists are not polite at all about any praise for America.  They call it "racism".  Leftist Howard Zinn's widely used textbook A People's History of the United States is a catalog of America's failings, real, exaggerated and imagined. As America is a famously patriotic country, Leftists do at election times make some pretence of patriotism but the frequency with which they prescribe Zinn's textbook for the schools they control shows what they really think.

It is clear enough why anybody would be careful about racism.  It is "good" to avoid excesses such as Hitler's  -- but extending "racism" to include all forms of group consciousness is egregious.

So by the time of the election that brought Trump to power, many Americans had grown very tired of being lectured to and restricted by the Left.  What to the Left were the first steps towards a new Eden were to many Americans an attempt to make them into something other than what they naturally were -- and they were in a mood to rebel against it.  And in particular they disliked the constant parade of accusations and condemnations about how "deplorable" America and Americans were.

So the election of Trump was to his followers a return to normal -- a return to how they naturally felt and thought.  They simply threw off the ever-tightening Leftist straitjacket that was trying to force them to be something that they were not.  And because of their natural patriotic feelings they LOVED the man who liberated them to express that loudly and proudly again.

So now we can see why the Left hate Trump beyond all bounds. All their attempts to right the wrongs of the world as they see them have always failed. The Soviet attempt took a painfully long time to fail but it too in the end failed.  But through their "long march" through American institutions it had begun to look as if  they might now be building a lasting approach to a new Eden.  And the Obama presidency seemed to be a culmination of that --bringing a clear victory to them at last.  After lifetimes of failures they finally seemed to be getting there. Their dreams were on the brink of being realized.

Then Donald Trump took it all away.  He destroyed their last great hope of permanent "reform". He liberated people to be what they wanted to be rather than what the Left wanted them to be.  And from the moment he became the Republican candidate his vigorous patriotism signalled that.  He was clearly from the world that Leftists deplored. And almost as soon as he came to power he did the unthinkable by removing America's obeisance to global warming -- by withdrawing from the Paris "treaty".  The "treaty" was mostly just an empty gesture but Trump took even that away.

Thanks to the traitorous John McCain, Trump did not manage to get  Obamacare abolished but he broke its backbone by getting the mandatory levy abolished. Obamacare ended up as no triumph anyway, as we see from the way that most of the current crop of Democrat presidential candidates are pushing "Medicare for all".  So there is nothing left for the Left.  What should have been their great triumph lies as a shattered ruin at their feet.

So if someone had destroyed all your dreams just when your dreams seemed likely to be realized, would you not hate with a passion the man who snatched those dreams away?  The Left are great haters so after what he took away from them, they hate Trump with all their  being. Nothing that he does is forgiveable -- JR.


Senator: ‘I Stand with’ Trump; ‘Montanans Are Sick and Tired of Listening to…Radical Democrats Trash Our Country’

The citizens of his state are “sick and tired” of hearing Democrats attack America and its founding principles, Republican Montana Senator Steve Daines declared Monday.

On Monday, Sen. Daines took to Twitter to voice his support of President Donald Trump:

“Montanans are sick and tired of listening to anti-American, anti-Semite, radical Democrats trash our country and our ideals. This is America. We’re the greatest country in the world.

“I stand with @realdonaldtrump”

On Sunday, Trump sparked controversy when he attacked “’Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” for espousing policies “from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.”



Jesse Watters: Dems Call Trump ‘A Nazi Rapist,’ But Cry Their Eyes Out When He Says, ‘Go Home’

Democrats complaining about President Donald Trump’s tweets can dish it out, but they can’t take it, Fox News’ “The Five” Co-host Jesse Watters said Monday.

“When did ‘Love it or leave it’ become racist?” Watters asked, dismissing Trump’s Sunday tweet that progressive Democrat congresswomen who hate America should move to the socialist countries they so admire. Trump even invited them to return to the U.S. once they’ve proven their policies work, Watters noted:

“These were not racist [comments]. This about patriotism. When did ‘Love it or leave it’ become racist?

“Not only leave it, but ‘Hey, come back and help us fix our problems.’ This country is so sensitive now. We are not talking about death, famine, drought, or anything. We are talking about a word, a tweet. We’re not even talking about an action and people are crying their eyes out about this.”

Watters went on to say that Democrats have said many worse things about Trump than he has said about them – and, yet, freak out over his words in order to avoid having a debate on real issues:

“They have said so many worse things about this president: ‘He is a Nazi rapist who deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life.’

“He says, ‘Go home’ and they say, ‘Oh, my God, this is the biggest scandal since Watergate.’”

“These people are so bereft of actual ideas they create this thing because they’ve deceived the rest of the country as to actually what he said. He says this to everybody - of all stripes and of all genders, of all parties: Romney, Rosie, Don Lemon, Maxine, McCabe.

“Everyone gets it a little bit below the belt and every time he does it everyone acts shocked like we haven’t been watching this for three years, and instead of fighting back on the substance, they cry and they pout and they look soft and they look weak.”



Trump moves to lessen the pain of a tax beloved by the Left: capital gains taxes

Australia abolished its capital gains tax long ago

It’s official. President Trump wants to index capital gains taxes for inflation. This would be a big stimulus boost for the U.S. economy immediately and over time and could get us back to 3 percent to 4 percent growth by liberating potentially hundreds of billions of dollars for new capital investment. My sources tell me that the president has told his White House team that if he can get his legal counsel to give him a ruling that he has the right to make this change administratively, he will do exactly that.

I’m not a lawyer, so I won’t weigh in on whether the White House has the authority to define what constitutes a capital “gain” on a stock or a property. Traditionally, a gain has been defined as the difference between the price that an asset has been bought at and the price it is sold at. The issue is whether these gains should be adjusted for the inflation rate over the time period the asset was owned. In other words, should the gain be defined as the change in the cost of living over the period.

If you bought a stock 10 years ago for $1,000 and over that time the inflation rate was, say 20 percent, if you sold it for $1,200 is that $200 a genuine gain to the shareholder?

In an ideal world, Congress would define a gain over for an asset held over a long period of time as taking into account inflation. This would reward risk taking and capital investment by reducing the “real” capital gains tax. It would also induce more shareholders to sell stocks in old assets and companies like Macy’s and buy into shares of new-age companies that will be the wealth and job creators of the future. I suspect most Americans would think that would be a fair treatment.

By the way, Congress wants to give itself a cost-of-living raise each year, a measure supported by such leading liberals as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Why not a similar deal for those 100 million Americans or so who own stocks?

Even Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York has in the past spoken out in favor of killing this inflation penalty. He once said on the House floor “If we really want to increase growth, there are proposals that we can do. I would be for indexing all capital gains and savings and borrowing.” As leader of the new left-wing Democratic Party, he is now against this after he was for it.

Stock ownership has been treated roughly in the tax code over the past decade. Under President George W. Bush, the tax was lowered to 15 percent. But under President Obama, the rate rose almost 60 percent, to 23.8 percent — thanks in part to an Obamacare tax increase. This rate is higher than even at the end of Clinton era.

It is also one of the few tax rates Mr. Trump has failed to cut to promote a stronger economy. A run at reducing the Obamacare capital gains penalty was killed in the Senate because of class warfare arguments.

The left says that investors are not very sensitive to the capital gains tax rate. Len Burman, an economist at the Brookings Institution, says that the rate of tax has not had much impact on the buying and selling of stocks. But the evidence of the last 40 years tends to refute that.

After the capital gains tax increase in 1986 from 20 percent to 28 percent, capital gains revenues actually fell from $44 billion a year to $27 billion a year by 1991 because fewer people sold stock at the higher tax rate. After Bill Clinton cut the capital gains tax back down to 20 percent again, capital gains revenues surged from $54 billion in 1996 to $99 billion in 1999. The rich actually paid more tax with the lower rates.

No one knows for sure how much unrealized capital gains that would be sold if indexing were adopted as federal tax policy. In the short term, this could mean hundreds of billions of dollars of sales of stock and then tens of billions of dollars of tax revenues collected by the government.

Without indexing, some of this revenue would never be collected because shareholders often hold onto stock until death and pass it on to their heirs tax free. Some of the stocks would be put in charitable foundations where tax on the gains is never paid. So the liberal charge that this policy would be a tax give-away to the rich is highly exaggerated.

History also shows that the capital gains tax — all other things equal — is inversely related to venture capital funding for start-up firms. A low capital gains tax attracts dollars to higher-risk investments. What’s wrong with a nice boost for the women and men who start new companies in America?

The lawyers at the Treasury Department and the Office of Legal Counsel will determine whether indexing can and should be done with a stroke of the pen by President Trump. But as an economic matter, this tax change would be a home run crashing off the centerfield score board.



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 21, 2019

Trump: 'You Can't Say You Love Our Country If You Want to Destroy It Through Open Borders'

President Donald Trump, speaking at a rally in Greenville, N.C. on Wednesday night, defended legal immigrants and questioned whether those who push for open borders can really love the United States of America.

"All American citizens, including millions and millions of legal immigrants who work hard to come into our country, who study, who wait on line, sometimes for ten years, and who respect our laws and followed the rules, they deserve a government that is loyal to them. They work hard," Trump said.

"You can't say you love our country if you want to destroy it through open borders. Open borders are a disaster," he said.

"Democrats have put the needs of foreign citizens far ahead of our own citizens," President Donald Trump told a rally in Greenville, N.C. Wednesday night.

“Nowhere in this world is there anything like what's happening with immigration, how bad it is. The Democrats' open-border policies deplete our public services, overcrowd our schools and hospitals, and bring crime, drugs and deadly gangs into our community.

“The Democrats want to spend more money on health care for an illegal immigrant, more than they do for a citizen of the United States,” he said.

Trump decried the violence of gangs such as MS-13, and he criticized Democrats for doing nothing about the worsening problem of human trafficking at the border.

He noted that five years ago, Democrats supported the idea of a border wall, but now they don't. "You know why?" he asked. "For political reasons," he said.

Trump mentioned that Nancy Pelosi's "sanctuary" state of California recently approved $100 million to take care of illegal immigrants. "And then you look on the sidewalks of Los Angeles, the sidewalks of San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi's district, nobody's ever seen anything like it in the history of our country, what's happening there."

Trump noted that the recent arrest of 22 MS-13 gang members took place in sanctuary city of Los Angeles. Nineteen of the 22 were in the country illegally, he said.

"Every nation has the right to establish and enforce immigration laws in its own interest. It's common sense. It's so simple. And the voters understand it. We expect that that those who seek to join our society will obey our laws, revere our Constitution, cherish our history, support themselves financially, and embrace our American values and love our American flag. (The crowd cheered.)

"We believe in an immigration system based on merit -- merit where they come in. We have so many companies coming in --- automobile companies, companies of all types, and we need workers. We actually need workers. We have the lowest unemployment rate that we've had in 51 years -- soon it'll be the lowest ever.

“”But they have to come in where they can help our country. They have to come in based on merit. And we're putting in bills, and let's see what happens,” Trump said. “Otherwise we'll just wait ‘til we win back the House, win the Senate, win the presidency, and we'll vote.”



Meet the Candidate Who Will Challenge AOC

Looks like she is half Asian and half African.  That should be worth a few votes in itself

Scherie Murray, a New York Republican, has just announced her intention to run for the congressional seat now occupied by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In her first television interview, Murray told Fox News's Sean Hannity she believes that AOC, caught up in the "limelight," has neglected issues of importance to New York's 14th congressional district:

I think the narrative on the national level needs to be dialed back. And that is why I am in the race. I'd like to represent the constituents in Queens and the Bronx. And we see AOC as from the time she's been elected, she put out a policy like the job killing green new deal.

She then went on to kill the Amazon deal in New York, which would have put some 25,000 jobs in queens. And so these are some of the reasons, along with kitchen table issues, that I do believe that AOC has neglected, in her limelight bid, to focus on in the congressional district.

Murray said she wants to start talking about "issues that are important to the constituents of the 14th congressional district."

She mentioned infrastructure -- the crumbling subway system and roads in need of repair. "We need to really tackle our education system -- the diversity in New York, the education system. We really need to start talking about policy that's going to connect with the everyday American.”

Asked how she feels about President Donald Trump, Murray said:

“Well, I migrated here from Jamaica. I know firsthand what it is not just to be an immigrant, but to go through the process, right, and what do I think about what the president is doing? I think that the president is delivering on his promises when he got elected.”

Murray also took her campaign to Twitter on Wednesday, writing:

There’s a crisis in Queens and it’s called AOC. She isn’t worried about us - she’s worried about being famous. That’s why I’m running for Congress.

Murray also tweeted:

I‘m a Jamaican immigrant. And I love America. Not the America radical socialists want to see, but the America that is a land of opportunity for all. That’s what I’m fighting for.



The cold war against America by the Left

Could it become a hot war?  The hatred is strong enough

The summer season has ripped off the thin scab that covered an American wound, revealing a festering disagreement about the nature and origins of the United States.

The San Francisco Board of Education recently voted to paint over, and thus destroy, a 1,600-square-foot mural of George Washington’s life in San Francisco’s George Washington High School.

Victor Arnautoff, a communist Russian-American artist and Stanford University art professor, had painted “Life of Washington” in 1936, commissioned by the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration. A community task force appointed by the school district had recommended that the board address student and parent objections to the 83-year-old mural, which some viewed as racist for its depiction of black slaves and Native Americans.

Nike pitchman and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently objected to the company’s release of a special Fourth of July sneaker emblazoned with a 13-star Betsy Ross flag. The terrified Nike immediately pulled the shoe off the market.

The New York Times opinion team issued a Fourth of July video about “the myth of America as the greatest nation on earth.” The Times’ journalists conceded that the United States is “just OK.”

During a recent speech to students at a Minnesota high school, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) offered a scathing appraisal of her adopted country, which she depicted as a disappointment whose racism and inequality did not meet her expectations as an idealistic refugee. Omar’s family had fled worn-torn Somalia and spent four-years in a Kenyan refugee camp before reaching Minnesota, where Omar received a subsidized education and ended up a congresswoman.

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won the World Cup earlier this month. Team stalwart Megan Rapinoe refused to put her hand over heart during the playing of the national anthem, boasted that she would never visit the “f—ing White House” and, with others, nonchalantly let the American flag fall to the ground during the victory celebration.

The city council in St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, voted to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before its meeting on the rationale that it wished not to offend a “diverse community.”

The list of these public pushbacks at traditional American patriotic customs and rituals could be multiplied. They follow the recent frequent toppling of statues of 19th-century American figures, many of them from the South, and the renaming of streets and buildings to blot out mention of famous men and women from the past now deemed illiberal enemies of the people.

Such theater is the street version of what candidates in the Democratic presidential primary have been saying for months. They want to disband border enforcement, issue blanket amnesties, demand reparations for descendants of slaves, issue formal apologies to groups perceived to be the subjects of discrimination, and rail against American unfairness, inequality, and a racist and sexist past.

In their radical progressive view — shared by billionaires from Silicon Valley, recent immigrants and the new Democratic Party — America was flawed, perhaps fatally, at its origins. Things have not gotten much better in the country’s subsequent 243 years, nor will they get any better — at least not until America as we know it is dismantled and replaced by a new nation predicated on race, class and gender identity-politics agendas.

In this view, an “OK” America is no better than other countries. As Barack Obama once bluntly put it, America is only exceptional in relative terms, given that citizens of Greece and the United Kingdom believe their own countries are just as exceptional. In other words, there is no absolute standard to judge a nation’s excellence.

About half the country disagrees. It insists that America’s sins, past and present, are those of mankind. But only in America were human failings constantly critiqued and addressed.

America does not have be perfect to be good. As the world’s wealthiest democracy, it certainly has given people from all over the world greater security and affluence than any other nation in history — with the largest economy, largest military, greatest energy production and most top-ranked universities in the world.

America alone kept the postwar peace and still preserves free and safe global communications, travel and commerce.

The traditionalists see American history as a unique effort to overcome human weakness, bias and sin. That effort is unmatched by other cultures and nations, and explains why millions of foreign nationals swarm into the United States, both legally and illegally.

These arguments over our past are really over the present — and especially the future.

If progressives and socialists can at last convince the American public that their country was always hopelessly flawed, they can gain power to remake it based on their own interests. These elites see Americans not as unique individuals but as race, class and gender collectives, with shared grievances from the past that must be paid out in the present and the future.

We’ve seen something like this fight before, in 1861 — and it didn’t end well.



PROF: Big Tech moved ‘rock bottom minimum’ of 2.6 million votes to Hillary in 2016

A liberal professor and “very strong public supporter of Hillary Clinton” is raising the alarms about Google manipulation of millions of unwitting voters in recent elections, as well as the potential impact for 2020.

Dr. Robert Epstein, former editor of Psychology Today and acclaimed psychologist who founded the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, discussed his research before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, and his testimony was mind-boggling.

“You testified before this committee that Google’s manipulation of votes gave at least 2.6 million additional votes to Hillary Clinton in the year 2016. Is that correct?” Sen. Ted Cruz questioned in a video of the hearing published by Breitbart.

“That’s correct,” Epstein said.

“I want to make sure I understand. You personally supported and voted for Hillary Clinton?” Cruz pressed.

“I was a very strong public supporter of Hillary Clinton, yes,” Epstein said.

“So you’re not dismayed that people voted for her, your testimony is that Google is through bias in search results manipulating voters in a way that they’re not aware of,” Cruz questioned.

“On a massive scale,” Epstein said, “and what I’m saying is that I believe in Democracy, I believe in the free and fair election, more than I have any kind of allegiance to a candidate or a party.”

Epstein testified that the influence of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Big Tech’s manipulation could sway as many as 15 million votes in 2020, if the companies are all pulling for the same candidate.

“In 2020, if all these companies are supporting the same candidate there’s 15 million votes on the line that can be shifted without people’s knowledge and without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace,” he said.

Epstein gave some examples of how Google, Facebook and other companies herded certain voters to the polls through voting reminders and total control over search results, quick-answer results, and other features essentially amounts to mind control.

“In 2016, if Mark Zuckerberg for example had chosen to send out a go vote reminder, say just to Democrats, and no one would have known if he had done this, that would have given that day at least an additional 450,000 votes to Democrats and we know this without doubt because of Facebook’s own published data cause they did an experiment that they didn’t tell anyone about during the 2010 election,” he said.

“They published it in 2012. It had 60 million Facebook users involved. They sent out a go vote reminder and they got something like 360,000 more people to get off their sofas and go vote who otherwise would have stayed home,” Epstein said. “Without monitoring systems in place we’ll never know …”

“Twenty-eighteen, I’m sure they were more aggressive. We’ve got lots of data to suggest that, and in 2020, you can bet that all of these companies are going to go all out. And the methods that they’re using are invisible, they’re subliminal, they’re more powerful than most any effects I’ve ever seen in the behavioral sciences and I’ve been in the behavioral sciences for almost 40 years,” he said.

Cruz repeatedly attempted to summarize the situation and put the voter manipulation into plain terms, and Epstein repeatedly corrected Cruz to explain that the issue is likely far worse than the senator from Texas was describing.

“What you are testifying to is that a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires and giant corporations are able to spend millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars collectively, massively influencing the results of elections, and there’s no accountability,” Cruz said. “You said we don’t know, we have no way of knowing if Google or Facebook or Twitter sends to Democrats or Republicans or how they bias it because it’s a black box with no transparency or accountability whatsoever.

“Am I understanding you correctly?” Cruz questioned.

“Senator, with respect, I must correct you,” Epstein replied. “If Mark Zuckerberg chooses to send out a go vote reminder just to Democrats on Election Day, that doesn’t cost him a dime.”

“Fair enough,” Cruz said. “Do you happen to know who the Hillary Clinton campaign’s number one financial supporter was in the year 2016?”

“I think I do, but please remind me,” Epstein said.

“The number one financial supporter of the Hillary Clinton campaign in the 2016 election was the parent company of Google, Alphabet, … and your testimony is through their deceptive search methods they moved 2.6 million votes in her direction,” Cruz said.

“I would think anybody, whether or not you favor one candidate or another, should be deeply dismayed about a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires having that much power over our elections to silently and deceptively shift vote outcomes,” he said.

“Again, with respect, I must correct you,” Epstein said. “The 2.6 million is a rock bottom minimum. The range is between 2.6 and 10.4 million, depending on how aggressively they’ve used the techniques that I’ve been studying now for six and a half years … such as the search engine manipulation effect, the search suggestion effect, the answer bot effect and a number of others.

“They control these and no one can counteract them. These are not competitive. These are tools that they have at their disposal exclusively,” he 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)