Friday, August 09, 2019

White Supremacists are LEFTISTS

That's true historically and it's true right now

Leftists and the media (but I repeat myself) always assume that white supremacists belong on the conservative side of the aisle --  because white supremacism seems a lot like patriotism and it is undoubted that conservatives are the patriots.  Leftists tend to despise the society they live in.

But there is in fact a great gulf between thinking well of your own country and despising other people and countries.  The despising is the key. Leftists are the despisers and the haters.  They despise everyone -- including people different from themselves.

History makes the matter crystal clear.  The two great aggressive nationalists of the 20th century were Hitler and Mussolini.  Both regarded themselves as entitled to invade and conquer "lesser" races and nations.  But Mussolini was a prominent Marxist and Hitler named his political party as: The National Socialist German Worker's party, the Nazi party for short.  There is absolutely no doubt that the two were well and truly on the Left of their day. Many Leftists in their era were antisemitic and believers in eugenics -- FDR for one.  Hitler just applied German thoroughness to such ideas.  It's just Soviet disinformation that Hitler and Mussolini were "Right wing"

And nothing much has changed.  Just about all the mass shooters over the last few decades were Leftists.  The moment news of such shooters came out, the media labelled them all as conservative or "right wing" and blamed the GOP for their ravages.  In recent times you would think it was Donald Trump who pulled the trigger. 

But, after people had time to look into it, it almost always emerged that the shooter had Leftist sympathies and ideas.  Not all shooters had supremacist ideas but most seemed to have ideas  not far from that.  They certainly had big egos.

Conservatives are not supremacists.  It is Leftists who want to rule everybody.  Conservatives just want to get on with their own lives in peace.  It is only to resist the authoritarianism of the Left that conservatives get into politics.  It's just necessary self-protection.

I studied this matter for many years during my academic research career and I always found the same thing:  There was no correlation between patriotism and negative views about racial and other outgroups.  Being patriotic didn't make you a racist or any other "ist". See here and here and here and here


Dayton shooter was armed counter-protester at KKK rally earlier this year: report

Dayton mass shooter Connor Betts was reportedly spotted carrying a gun and protesting at a Ku Klux Klan rally earlier this year.

The 24-year-old was among the 500 to 600 counter-protesters who attended the May 25 event in opposition of the KKK, according to the Dayton Daily News.

He spoke briefly with a reporter — wielding a semi-automatic, AR-style gun similar to the one he used in this past weekend’s shooting, the newspaper says.

Betts was wearing sunglasses and a bandanna at the time, which reportedly covered his face. There were only nine KKK members in attendance for the rally.

Betts, a registered Democrat who was said to have been pro-gun control, slaughtered nine people this past weekend and wounded dozens more outside a string of bars in Dayton. He was shot and killed by police.



Donald Trump's no racist, as past acts and presidential record prove

by Andrew Stein

Donald Trump is no racist. I have known him since 1973 and have never seen any indication or any form of racism. In fact, quite the contrary.

When I was Manhattan Borough president and president of the New York City Council, I asked him numerous times to help black or Hispanic groups, and he always came through, many times without publicity. When a hurricane ravished Puerto Rico in the mid 1980s, I asked many big companies to give various forms of assistance — but the problem was how to get all of this aid down to Puerto Rico. I called Donald Trump, and he provided us with a 727 jet to take all of the donated material down to the island, and he didn’t ask for any publicity for that generous act.

My friend, Rev. Floyd Flake, the minister of the largest black church in Queens, asked for some help for his senior center. Again, I called Donald Trump and he wrote a big check.

One day I met an African American woman on the street with her two adorable young kids. She was homeless, and I gave her some money — and then asked Donald to get her into some low-income housing in Queens. He came through, and did so without any fanfare.

When President Trump recently attacked Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), he was not doing so because Rep. Cummings is black but because the president is a counter-puncher. And he is right that Cummings has been a congressman for 22 years and that Baltimore, part of which is in his congressional district, is a mess. The city has gotten worse during his tenure: more poverty, more drugs and more crime.

The president is honest and doesn’t parse his words, like most politicians, and that drives the media crazy. But his honesty is refreshing, and he is usually right, if not always diplomatic.

African American and Hispanic unemployment under his presidency is the lowest it has been in 60 years. The president pushed through criminal justice reform and has created empowerment zones that help economically distressed communities — and their poorer residents — through tax incentives and grants. In short, he has done more for minorities in three years than President Obama did in eight, and he deserves credit instead of rebuke.

I truly do not believe that Barack Obama is a racist — but some of his actions during his presidency could make people wonder.

Obama listened to Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s vile sermons every Sunday for years; Rev. Wright frequently and viciously attacked whites, Jews and America itself.

Barack Obama had many meetings in Chicago with Rev. Louis Farrakhan and said many nice things about the Nation of Islam leader. He attended many of Farrakhan’s rallies, where Farrakhan set a new low for anti-Semitic attacks, calling Jews a “gutter religion” and white people “devils.”

In addition, President Obama had Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the country’s highest-profile race-baiters, as a guest in the White House dozens of times.

In order to protect President Obama, the media largely ignored these and many other questionable things — but these things happened, and they are far worse than anything President Trump has done.

The point is that President Obama was not a racist but he did things that could be construed as racially divisive — and yet, he was never widely criticized for it, nor was he publicly condemned as a racist. President Trump is not a racist, either — and yet, he is being condemned as one by his critics on the left, and by much of the mainstream media.

Race should not play a part in our politics. For too long, it has been a scar on our country. We should focus instead on the issues, and on what’s going to help make America strong for everyone.



Leftism is Destructive to Mental Health


I almost didn’t write a commentary at all this week out of respect for the dead and injured in two mass shootings within 13 hours in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

As a formerly practicing mental health professional, (MSW, Columbia University) I would never diagnose someone without a personal interview and at the very least, a thorough exploration of his or her family history.  We have come to expect rampant speculation regarding the mental status of mass murderers as well as the ugly politicization that comes almost immediately after such horrific events.

Plenty of books have been written about what these monsters have in common.  Much as we would like to lump them together, they are still individuals with their own history, motivation, and diagnosis. The tendency to make broad generalizations and collectivist conclusions is part of the problem. This makes it easier to place the blame on everyone else but the killer himself.

Collectivism is endemic to the poisonous ideology of Leftism (read: Socialism.) It robs people of their individual identity and therefore, personal accountability–particularly in those who are already psychologically vulnerable.

The tenets of socialism encourage:

Victimhood (Isn’t that the root of paranoia?)

Poor impulse control coupled with continuous rage and popular culture that is progressively more tolerant of criminality when perpetrated by members of certain protected groups.

Depersonalization as a result of viewing oneself solely in collectivist terms.

Subjugation and eventual eradication of individualism and free will, leading to a sense of fatalism, helplessness, hopelessness and clinical depression.

Emotional fragility and regression into a childlike state.

Eradication of boundaries, structure and accountability

Class envy, a sense of entitlement, resulting in increased government dependency.

An inability to tolerate conflict and even differences of opinion

Black and white thinking (as to race and much more) which lumps people into groups of “all-good,” or “all-bad.” This is typical of the older diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.

Which of these is not familiar as a basic tenet of socialism?

One more point before I take off my clinician hat: When an individual has had a grievous loss, he is often discouraged from making big decisions or drastic changes in his life. Yet, that is just when political opportunists want us to make drastic changes in our policies and laws.

Laws which disarm victims in an ever more dangerous environment, seem to be exactly what Democrats are after. Republicans have shown themselves willing to roll over to avoid the political heat of the moment.  Consequently, everyday citizens are once again blamed and punished for the criminal behavior of a few.  That collectivist ideology has been pushed by the Left for decades.

How I wish I could tell President Trump to put on the brakes in supporting policies in the heat of grief and emotion. It remains to be seen whether his recent speech will yield fundamental policy changes but I for one, hope not. Not only do sweeping, federal laws do little to address the complex issues of this problem but the only people who stand to lose are law-abiding citizens.



Baltimore Sun Attacks Trump Supporter Who Organized Massive City Clean Up

Last week, Townhall covered MAGA supporter Scott Presler's call to action in Baltimore by inviting "Americans to help Americans" and go clean up neighborhoods in Charm City. Presler at first kept secret when the event would occur for fear of retaliation from the far-left like Antifa. But, on Saturday, Presler and 100 other citizens from all over the country traveled to West Baltimore for the massive trash clean up. By all measures, it was hugely successful. However, on Monday, the Baltimore Sun's editorial board ran an op-ed, trashing Presler and his group saying they only did the event to embarrass Baltimore and its residents.

The op-ed was snarkily titled, "We assume it was pure motives that led a Trump supporter to launch a cleanup in Cummings’ district, right?"

"The effort was organized by pro-Trump activist Scott Presler. He claimed the event was not political. Yes, he was inspired to come by tweets from President Donald Trump describing the area, represented by U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, as a 'rodent infested mess,'" the editors wrote. "But the visit wasn’t about showing support or animosity for either man, he said."

"Call us skeptical," the paper remarked before going off on a litany of excuses, complaints, and verbal attacks as to why it was so wrong for out of towners to clean up the city.

"Look, we appreciate anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves to help Baltimore. More than 170 people came from all over the country and cleaned up nearly 12 tons of trash, according to Mr. Presler’s Twitter feed." the paper claimed.

"But if this was all about 'Americans helping Americans,' why all the videos of Baltimore residents thanking Mr. Trump for bringing attention to the issue? We happen to know that not everybody in West Baltimore feels that way. And in the same posts as the videos, why the frequent reminders that this is in act Mr. Cummings’ district?," the editors pondered.

For the writers at the Baltimore Sun, Presler's visit simply "reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores. That the poor people in this dilapidated city can’t take care of their own neighborhoods and all the public officials around them have failed as well."

"The bureaucratic, all-talk Democrats strike again. If a crowd of volunteers could clean up 12 tons of trash in 12 hours, how incompetent and helpless must Baltimoreans be if they can’t manage it in decades, right?"

One would point out to the editorial board that this isn't just a "tired image" but a reality of the fact that Democratic policies and politicians have failed.

But as for why the trash hasn't been cleaned up before, the editorial board blamed it on death threats from criminals, saying,  "Does Mr. Presler know that drug dealers use trash to hide their product and have been known to threaten people who try to clean it up? The solutions are just not that simple."  The paper also blamed people from out of town who dump trash in the city illegally.

The writers did begrudgingly admit, "The silver lining in all of this is that the residents of West Baltimore did get a much needed cleaning up. That is something that they deserve." But they said that what they really need is leadership, money, and programs from the federal government.

They also hinted that they would do nothing to keep the neighborhood clean, saying, "In the meantime, we’ll see how clean the neighborhood still is when he returns in September."



Trump Goes After O'Rourke: Beto Is 'a Phony Name to Indicate Hispanic Heritage'

After the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Democratic presidential candidate -- and failed senatorial candidate -- Beto O'Rourke opened the attack on President Trump, basically blaming him for this terrible tragedy. The shooter in El Paso was a rightwing extremist. According to O'Rourke, President Trump encourages white supremacists and may even be one of them. And so, he is responsible for this mass murder.

Although the president seemed to be unwilling to return the favor shortly after the shooting, he has clearly changed his mind now that O'Rourke's attacks continue every day (if not every hour). Taking to Twitter, Trump answered O'Rourke's attacks by going after him for his "phony name" and his horrible polling results thus far:

 Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O’Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed by polling at 1% in the Democrat Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement - & be quiet!

The opportunism and sheer evil of Democrats is quite a sight to behold. Nobody in their right minds truly believes that Trump "inspired" this attack, just like nobody believes that Elizabeth Warren inspired the equally horrific mass murder in Dayton, Ohio, which was -- after all -- carried out by a radical leftist. But do we see and hear any conservative pointing a blaming finger at her, arguing that this act of domestic terrorism was caused by her political views?

Of course not. Why? Because we on the right have a sense of decency and honor. There are some things we would never use against our opponents.

Sadly, progressives have no such qualms. To them, politics is war. And, as we all know, in love and war all is fair. This includes trampling the dead bodies of innocent victims of mass shootings.



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, August 08, 2019

As taxation collection becomes more efficient, the little guy gets hit hardest

Modern “big data” systems are allowing tax authorities to gain full knowledge of sales transactions in their jurisdiction, thus pushing VAT tax collection rates close to 100% on small businessmen and the middle class in general. Meanwhile, Western income tax systems collect steadily less tax from large corporations and the very rich, who use loopholes and tax havens to minimize their tax liability. We have seen this type of tax system before – in the French ancien regime, where the nobility benefited from tax exemptions and the poor paid through the nose. That didn’t end well, and nor will this.

The true nature of the new surveillance and collection techniques is revealed when we realize, according to the Financial Times, that Russia is the global leader in this area. With the new partly-completed Russian system, if you confess you had a coffee at the hotel last night, the system can recognize it from the hotel’s records as one of three cappuccinos, a latte and an American.

The FT’s enthusiasm for this new technology, and its ability to increase tax yields both in Russia and worldwide, is somewhat chilling, it must be said – it’s a little like admiring the professionalism of the new torture techniques being developed by the KGB. It should be noted that the FT freely admits that Russia will never get the full whack of tax out of its oligarchs but hopes to make up the loss by squeezing every last pip out of the modest oranges of small traders and the middle class.

Technologically, I can understand how Big Data techniques enable the world’s tax authorities to improve compliance with VAT, which is already a difficult system to evade except for the very smallest traders. Employees in large companies will rejoice that their neighbor the dodgy plumber can no longer get away with tax evasion; he will be forced to charge VAT [sales tax] on all his sales. Of course, the big-company employee will be less happy when he discovers that the effective cost of plumbing services has risen by 20-25%, as they are no longer available “off the books.”

This increased efficiency of collection through Big Data is less completely shared by income tax systems. Whereas transactions involving large domestic companies are already fully covered, transactions involving foreign parties will only be covered when there is complete seamless cooperation between the tax authorities of the world and that, one hopes is a long way away and, with rising protectionism, becoming more distant. For the poor and the middle class, the income tax system can no doubt be made almost as leak-proof as the VAT system; for the very rich, who can afford to route transactions through dummy companies and tax havens, the coverage is inevitably far lower, and will continue so.

There is a huge injustice in a system where VAT is collected more efficiently than income tax. VAT is an inherently regressive tax; it collects the same percentage from all transactions and hence bears more heavily on the poor, for whom the necessities of life form a substantial part of their expenses. In some systems, such as the United Kingdom, food is exempted from VAT to prevent it falling so heavily on the poor. However, we are informed by the FT that this makes the “Big Data” analysis inefficient; it is hence preferable to include all items in VAT and then make larger welfare payments to the very poor. Naturally this will increase the state’s take, while employing an army of extra bureaucrats and making the economy still more sluggish through public-sector bloat.

Income tax, on the other hand, is generally not collected on the smallest incomes, and is then graduated to higher rates on higher incomes. (The Russian system, with a flat tax at 13%, draconian new methods of collecting VAT and huge unofficial exemptions for Mr. Putin’s most special friends, is truly spectacular in its level of regressiveness.) Hence even if the income tax system were fair and collected the same percentage of tax due from the very rich as from the poor, a tax system which was more effective in collecting VAT than income tax would still be inequitable. To Americans, used to sales taxes of 8% or so at most, this unfairness may not seem extreme, but it must be remembered that EU countries generally levy VAT at rates above 20%, and have discovered that VAT is the simplest tax to increase every time the finance ministry does its sums wrong.

There is an additional problem with a tax system that levies VAT more effectively than income tax, and that is the host of exemptions and dodges in the income tax system available to those with very high incomes. With good accountants, they can structure their earnings to be routed through tax havens. More disgracefully, there are exemptions in the domestic tax code that can be utilized by the very rich but not by those with ordinary incomes.

The most egregious of these is the wide range of exemptions available for charitable contributions. While ordinary people who perhaps tithe to their church incur a real cost to be offset against the tax benefit, the very rich can structure foundations and events in such a way as to benefit personally from the contribution made, as well as deducting it from tax. The Clinton Foundation, for example, appears to have provided a mechanism to route charitable contributions to the Clintons from people who could benefit in some other way from the Clintons’ political connections and offices. It is notable that the Clinton Foundation’s revenues fell to $38 million (against $53 million of expenses) in 2017, compared with $249 million in 2009, Ms. Clinton’s first year as Secretary of State.

We have seen before a system in which all the taxes were paid by the middle classes and the proletariat, while the aristocracy got off scot free – it was the pre-1789 French ancien regime. Under that system, the population was divided into three “estates” – clergy, nobles and commoners. The nobles were exempt from most taxes, the clergy were not only tax-exempt but got to levy tithes themselves, and the commoners bore the vast majority of the state’s tax burden. Add a crazy proto-Keynesian funny-money banking scheme that effectively bankrupted the emerging mercantile class in 1720, and you have an almost perfect recipe for economic and social collapse, which came in 1789.

There were many reasons for the French Revolution (the work of a noisy and destructive intellectual class for half a century – the “trahison des clerques” — was a major contributor) but the ancien regime’s irrational, unfair and hopelessly inefficient tax system was perhaps most to blame.

Needless to say, the combination of “funny money,” which will bankrupt the middle classes through making their savings and pensions worthless, and an irrational and unfair tax system brings us altogether too close for comfort to the pathology of the French ancien regime. The main difference is that while the court of Louis XV was a global all-time high point of art, music, architecture and decoration, the current era is nothing of the kind. “Louis Quinze without the furniture” is how our present era will be remembered by history.

The solution is twofold. First, we must fight against the power of computer systems to know every detail of our lives. Just as we are increasingly resenting Google, Microsoft and Facebook knowing our every movement, so we should resist the ubiquitous prying of the taxman. The fact that the new system is pioneered by Vladimir Putin’s Russia, not a bastion of civil liberties, is sufficient indication that it needs to be fought, not welcomed as the FT would apparently do.

Second, we must remove the current Bourbon-friendly financial system, which by elevating asset prices to the stratosphere while preventing the productivity growth that benefits the wages of ordinary people, is turning the world’s big cities into a noisier version of the Petit Trianon. The advent of Donald Trump and the 2016 Brexit vote ought to be sufficient indication to the global elite that we are onto their self-enriching ways. They may dislike populism, but as France demonstrated, thwarted populists will eventually reach for the guillotine.



Why Welfare Hasn’t Cured Poverty

When President Lyndon Johnson launched his War on Poverty in the 1960s, he pledged to eliminate poverty in America. More than five decades, several welfare programs, and $25 trillion later, the welfare system has utterly failed the poor. The poverty rate remains mostly unchanged, and tens of millions of Americans are dependent on government assistance.

Currently, the United States spends about a trillion dollars a year on 80 different federal, state, and local welfare programs.

About 40 million Americans are considered poor. If we divided that $1 trillion among those 40 million people, we could give each person approximately $25,000 a year, or $100,000 a year for a family of four. We’re clearly spending a lot of money, so why have we not ended poverty?

Our welfare system discourages work. It discourages families from staying together. And it encourages dependence on government. In other words, welfare keeps the poor poor. In many cases, welfare has harmed the very people it was supposed to help, especially children.

Why has this happened?

As welfare benefits grew over the years, they increasingly served as a substitute for a working parent. As the taxpayer became the family breadwinner, that encouraged many men to stop upholding their responsibilities, leaving more and more women as heads of single-parent households.

On the other side of the coin, single mothers were discouraged from marrying the fathers of their children because that reduced their benefits.

Sadly, the cycle continues today as many children who grow up on welfare eventually follow in their parents’ footsteps when they have families of their own. So, what do we do?

First, we have to understand that the problem with the current system is that it discourages work. Work is the fastest and most effective way to get out of poverty and become prosperous.

Welfare programs should be designed to offer temporary help while encouraging able-bodied recipients to find work and become self-reliant.

In states that have implemented time limits and welfare-to-work requirements, recipients have received job training, found jobs, and increased their incomes dramatically. They’ve also dropped off the welfare rolls.

Second, we must continue to create the jobs that help recipients transition to work. As we’ve seen in just the past few years, cutting taxes on individuals and businesses and cutting regulations that hinder business growth are the keys to massive new job creation, high levels of employment, and increased wages for workers.

Most Americans want a social safety net that helps those who can’t help themselves and they want to help the poor find meaningful work.

We’ve learned through decades of experience that throwing more money at poverty doesn’t end it. Temporary assistance, jobs training, growing the economy, and promoting self-sufficiency do.

As we wage the war against poverty for the next generation, let’s fight smarter.



World Bank Study Finds That Deregulation Reduces Extreme Poverty
Regardless of where you might live around the world, if you live on less than $2 a day, you would be considered to be living in extreme poverty.

According to the World Bank, in 2015 about 736 million people around the world, or just under 10 percent of the world’s population, had incomes that put them below this international poverty line. Believe it or not, that is extraordinarily good news because poverty rates around the world have fallen dramatically since 1981 when 42 percent of the world’s population lived on an inflation-adjusted $1.90 or less per day.

World Bank economists studying a portion of this decline in the nine years from 2005 through 2013, when the extreme poverty rate was cut nearly in half from 21 percent to 11 percent, have discovered that much of this reduction in global poverty came about because of deregulation, as governments around the world have been reducing the regulatory burdens they impose on their citizens.

Using panel data for 189 economies from 2005 to 2013, this paper shows that business-friendly regulations are correlated with the poverty headcount at the country level. This association is significant using the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators on getting credit and contract enforcement. The findings suggest that the conduit for poverty reduction is business creation, as a source of new jobs and a manifestation of thriving entrepreneurship.

Regulations can restrict the ability of individuals to find jobs or start businesses because politicians and bureaucrats often write them to benefit the interests of large, established interests, who would rather not have to compete for business in a free market.

This crony socialism benefits these special interests in two ways. First, by using the power of government to impose disproportionately large costs upon their smaller, less politically connected competition, they can keep their smaller competitors from being able to effectively challenge their interests.

Second, in the reduced competition environment that government regulation fosters, they can charge higher prices than they otherwise could, where they only need to provide the politicians and bureaucrats who write the rules a small cut of the action so they can fund their political campaigns to stay in power. Never mind the effect that has on the cost of living in the regimes where the regulations hold sway or the trust that people have in their political and economic institutions.

Historically in much of the world, the yoke of regulatory burden has contributed to the impoverishment of billions. Reducing that burden by lifting the heavy hand of government regulation has successfully diminished extreme poverty around the world in recent decades. It’s a lesson that everyone should learn.



Why Refusing To Fund Medicaid Expansion Is A Huge Win For Taxpayers And The Needy

With the recent announcement that it will not fund partial Medicaid expansions under Obamacare, the Trump administration delivered a big win for the truly needy, able-bodied adults, and taxpayers alike.

Predictably, some Democrats are attacking the move, saying it will destroy lives and the economy. But these are the same lies Democrats have voiced for years every time a lawmaker proposes a reform that will deliver the change the Medicaid program desperately needs. These lies aren’t just untrue — they ignore every piece of relevant research.

The reality is that Medicaid expansion, whether full or partial expansion, is a bad policy move. It threatens resources for the truly needy, pushes hundreds of thousands of able-bodied adults into welfare, and stretches state budgets to their breaking points.

States have consistently underestimated expansion costs and enrollment, enrolling more than twice as many able-bodied adults than predicted and costing taxpayers 76 percent more per enrollee than promised. Medicaid expansion siphons resources away from the people Medicaid was designed to serve — pregnant women, poor children, and those with disabilities, among others — and gives them to adults who are capable of working. It pushes people off private insurance and gives them taxpayer-funded government benefits instead.

And let’s be clear: Packaging it in a shiny new box and calling it “partial expansion” is nothing more than wishful thinking. Medicaid expansion in any form is a massive increase of the welfare state.

That’s why the Trump administration’s announcement that it will not offer Obamacare funding for partial expansions is so important. This will help deter states from wading into the waters of a bad policy that would have immediate negative effects.

States that have tried “creative” ways to expand Medicaid, including Arkansas, Iowa, and New Hampshire, have seen costs skyrocket. In many cases, these “private options” have resulted in cost overruns larger than traditional Medicaid expansion.

Nationally, Medicaid expansion has resulted in cost overruns of more than 157 percent. We’re not talking about a few extra hundred dollars. We’re talking about billions of dollars of debt that means less money for education, public safety, and roads.

Other states have wandered down the road of Medicaid expansion, expecting they could turn around at any moment, only to find out it’s a one-way street. With the real legal likelihood that reversing expansion isn’t possible, Medicaid expansion has become a real-life nightmare version of “Hotel California.”

Still, some continue to ignore these facts and advocate for expansion. Their claims that Medicaid expansion is necessary to help the truly needy couldn’t be a more blatant lie. Medicaid already covers the truly needy. In some states, Medicaid already covers some able-bodied adults, as well. But most able-bodied adults in Medicaid expansion do not work. To be clear, expanding Medicaid does not benefit the truly needy; it threatens the resources they depend on.

The Trump administration’s announcement is a clear signal to states that now is not the time to be expanding welfare. It follows the administration’s continued support for commonsense Medicaid work requirements, which would deliver positive change to the Medicaid program, and efforts to bolster the economy and lower the cost of health care.

Especially with record-low unemployment and the best economy in decades, it’s a good reminder that the best health care doesn’t come from Medicaid. It comes from a job.

The administration deserves praise from taxpayers on both sides of the aisle, who can breathe a sigh of relief that they’ll avoid the boondoggle that is Medicaid expansion. This is a big win for the truly needy, whom Democrats claim they want to help.



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, August 07, 2019



With their usual kneejerk reactions, the media were quick to blame the largely mythical white supremacists, people who don't even exist as any sort of identifiable group, as being the shooters.  But as usual, both shooters were in fact Leftists.  And a little digging soon revealed that truth.  But you had to get in quickly as Leftists rapidly changed the original sources to conceal the truth. Leftists lie as easily as they breathe

Connor Betts, the Dayton, Ohio mass shooter, was a self-described “leftist,” who wrote that he would happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren, praised Satan, was upset about the 2016 presidential election results, and added, “I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.”

Betts’ Twitter profile read, “he/him / anime fan / metalhead / leftist / i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back.” One tweet on his page read, “Off to Midnight Mass. At least the songs are good. #athiestsonchristmas.” The page handle? I am the spookster. On one selfie, he included the hashtags, “#selfie4satan #HailSatan @SatanTweeting.” On the date of Republican Sen. John McCain’s death, he wrote, “F*ck John McCain.” He also liked tweets referencing the El Paso mass shooting in the hours before Dayton. The Twitter page contains multiple selfies of Betts.

On Nov. 2, 2018, he wrote: “Vote blue for gods sake.”

Twitter has now suspended the Twitter page, removing it. It was up for several hours after the mass shooting.

SOURCEBreitbart has more


MyLife is an American information brokerage founded in 2002 as MyLife gathers personal information through public records and other sources to automatically generate a “MyLife Public Page” for each person, described by MyLife as a “complete Wikipedia-like biography on every American.”

At 2:50 PM leftists changed his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican. Screenshot of the original:

President Trump allowed himself to be bullied by the media into condemning white supremcists but he shouldn't have bothered. He should have attributed the shootings to the seething anger that underlies Leftism. History has shown us that murder does not trouble Leftists at all -- as we see from the mass murders they carry out when they get untrammeled power -- in Russia, China etc


How Justin Trudeau lost his rock star shine

Justin Trudeau did little wrong in his supporters eyes during his first three years as Canada’s prime minister. In the fourth, his popularity has dropped so far his party may lose its majority in October elections.

A secretly taped call is one reason why. Just before Christmas, Canadian Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould turned on her iPhone voice recorder for a call with the country’s top bureaucrat, Michael Wernick. Mr. Trudeau and senior officials had already pressed her and her chief aide 20 times in calls, messages and in person to let a major Canadian firm avoid a criminal trial on bribery and fraud charges. She had resisted.

On the phone, Mr. Wernick said the company, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., was considering selling itself or moving abroad, and Mr. Trudeau believed it should be given the chance to negotiate an out-of-court settlement.

Mr. Wernick, unaware of the recording, said: “I think he is going to find a way to get it done.” Ms. Wilson-Raybould didn’t relent: “This is going to look like nothing but political interference by the prime minister, by you, by everybody else that has been involved in this.”

That’s exactly how it looked to many Canadian voters when the recording surfaced after parliamentary hearings in February and March exposed details of the Trudeau government’s moves to advocate for the engineering-and-construction firm. Testimony in the hearings captivated the public and turned Ms. Wilson-Raybould into one of the most recognizable Canadian politicians outside Mr. Trudeau.

Now, several polls show Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals trailing the rival Conservative Party or in a statistical tie, after beginning 2019 with a comfortable lead. Nearly two-thirds of Canadians disapprove of the job he is doing, according to polls released in mid-July by Ipsos Public Affairs and Angus Reid Institute. They cite the SNC-Lavalin matter as a primary reason.

The Canadian leader, who had a rock-star following among progressives for championing clean governance -- and a promise to let women and ministers have more governing say -- had sided with a scandal-plagued company and overruled his attorney general, eventually moving her to a lower-profile position.

Based on current data, some pollsters say, the best Mr. Trudeau can expect from the election is a minority government needing another party’s support to govern. “If the election becomes a referendum on Justin Trudeau,” says Nik Nanos, head of Ottawa-based Nanos Research, “the Liberals may lose.”

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister’s Office referred to Mr. Trudeau’s remarks in a March press conference that he regretted the erosion of trust between his office and Ms. Wilson-Raybould and has “learned a lot about how we can do better.” SNC-Lavalin, which has commented on some specifics of the case in past months, declined to answer queries last month.

Mr. Trudeau, his senior advisers and other government representatives have publicly said their discussions with Ms. Wilson-Raybould were to ensure she considered all legal options, with livelihoods of 9,000 SNC-Lavalin employees in Canada at stake.

“It is our job as parliamentarians to defend the interests of the communities we were elected to represent,” Mr. Trudeau said in the March press conference. “I stressed the importance of protecting Canadian jobs and reiterated that this issue was one of significant national importance.”

Ms. Wilson-Raybould says she remains puzzled by the pressure Mr. Trudeau’s office placed on her. “I know that there was a huge lobbying effort by that company,” she says. “But the motivations for the prime minister or all of those people that engaged with me in the way that they did? You’d have to ask them.”

Mr. Wernick declined to comment. In the parliamentary hearings, he said his phone call and other communications with Ms. Wilson-Raybould “were entirely appropriate, lawful, legal.”

SNC-Lavalin is based in Montreal, a portion of which Mr. Trudeau represents in the legislature. Aides in his office met 23 times with its representatives during a roughly three-year period between the Liberal government’s election in late 2015 and late 2018, lobbying records show.

That was nearly five times as many meetings SNC-Lavalin secured over the prior three years with aides to Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Compared with the Liberals, the company got little traction from the Harper administration, say people familiar with the firm and former members of the Harper government.

Members of Mr. Trudeau’s administration had personal ties with the company, a reminder of the tight circles that can make up the top levels of business and politics in Canada. SNC-Lavalin Chairman Kevin Lynch was Mr. Wernick’s boss between 2006 and 2009, when Mr. Lynch was Canada’s chief bureaucrat and Mr. Wernick was a top public servant. SNC-Lavalin said Mr. Lynch declined to be interviewed.

Fraud allegations: With about 10 billion Canadian dollars ($7.5 billion) in 2018 sales, SNC-Lavalin employs 50,000 world-wide. It is working on a nuclear-power plant in Britain, Nevada freeways and Riyadh’s subway.

In February 2015, Canadian police charged that SNC-Lavalin bribed Libyan officials and defrauded Libyan organizations between 2001 and 2011. SNC-Lavalin denied wrongdoing and said the acts in question were carried out by two employees without the company’s knowledge. A former SNC-Lavalin vice president pleaded guilty in Swiss court in 2014 to corruption-related charges linked to his activity in Libya.

Mr. Trudeau’s dust-up was over whether the company should face trial on the Libya charges. A criminal conviction could trigger a ban on SNC-Lavalin’s bidding on government contracts at home and abroad.

About a week after Mr. Trudeau was sworn in as prime minister, in November 2015, SNC-Lavalin’s CEO, Mr. Bruce, argued at a Montreal luncheon for a system letting companies reach out-of-court settlements without guilty pleas. Such mechanisms in the U.S. and U.K. let prosecutors suspend criminal charges in exchange for financial penalties, pledges to strengthen compliance and other measures.

Over the following years, the company lobbied Mr. Trudeau’s office, cabinet ministers and their aides, senior bureaucrats and opposition lawmakers, lobbying records show.

‘Politically interfering?’ About two weeks after prosecutors told SNC-Lavalin the trial would proceed, Ms. Wilson-Raybould met with Messrs. Trudeau and Wernick, according to parliamentary hearings. The meeting’s agenda was aboriginal policy, but the conversation swiftly turned to SNC-Lavalin.

Mr. Trudeau asked whether a solution could be found, given the jobs at stake, Ms. Wilson-Raybould testified, saying Mr. Wernick warned SNC-Lavalin would likely move its headquarters to London if an out-of-court settlement wasn’t an option.

An SNC-Lavalin spokesman in March said the company provided documents to prosecutors indicating a headquarters move was a worst-case scenario.

Mr. Trudeau reminded Ms. Wilson-Raybould he was an elected official from SNC-Lavalin’s home base, she testified, saying she responded: “Are you politically interfering with my role, my decision?” Mr. Trudeau backed off, she said. He has publicly confirmed the thrust of her account.

Through the fall, officials in Mr. Trudeau’s office pressed Ms. Wilson-Raybould and her chief aide to change course, according to Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s testimony. On Dec. 19, she and Mr. Wernick spoke in the recorded call. She told him she realized her refusal would have consequences.

“I knew that this situation was coming to a head,” says Ms. Wilson-Raybould, explaining her recording. “This was an extraordinary situation that required me to ensure that I protected myself.”

Three weeks later, while Ms. Wilson-Raybould was vacationing in Bali, Mr. Trudeau told her she would be demoted to heading veteran’s affairs, she said in testimony.

On Feb. 7, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported allegations Ms. Wilson-Raybould had faced pressure to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case before her demotion, sparking a media flurry and criticism from opposition lawmakers. Mr. Trudeau initially said the allegations were false. Ms. Wilson-Raybould quit her post heading veterans affairs five days later.

At the urging of the opposition parties, members of Canada’s parliamentary justice committee agreed Feb. 13 to hear testimony from certain witnesses about the allegations. Those hearings officially ended March 19 after the Liberal majority on the committee voted to cease calling witnesses and hear additional testimony, arguing Canadians possessed the information required. Ms. Wilson-Raybould submitted the recording as additional evidence.

In April, Mr. Trudeau expelled Ms. Wilson-Raybould from his party’s caucus, saying trust had been broken by the recorded phone call. Mr. Wernick in March announced his retirement from the civil service, citing fallout from the uproar.

A judge ruled on May 29 the case against SNC-Lavalin could head to trial. On June 11, the company said Mr. Bruce would retire immediately. In a LinkedIn note, he said his family had moved “and I was keen to join them.”

Ms. Wilson-Raybould is running for re-election, as an independent lawmaker.



Finally, a reasonable Democrat

Tulsi Gabbard is almost a female Donald Trump --which means that the Democrats won't nominate her -- luckily for Donald Trump

The liberal establishment is so scared of Tulsi Gabbard that they’ve convinced themselves she’s an unwitting stooge of Russia, being pushed by Putin’s evil online robots to destroy America from within.

It’s ceaseless. ‘Russia’s propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard’, declares NBC News. What all this nonsense reveals is that Russophobic conspiracy theories play a really important role for dazed Hillary-era centrists. They are now the main means through which these people try to make sense of a political world that no longer conforms to their tastes or their ideology. So just as they used the Russian-bots rubbish to explain why Trump beat Hillary, now they use it to explain why a candidate who, horror of horrors, is opposed to US military intervention overseas is proving popular with viewers and voters. Given that Gabbard’s worldview runs so counter to theirs – on war, on free speech, even on identity politics – the only way they can explain her presence in politics is as a result of foreign, fascistic meddling. That tells us far more about their own political arrogance than it does about Gabbard’s Russian fanbase.

In a sense, they’re right to be scared of Gabbard. She feels like a genuinely fresh force in Democratic politics. A former soldier who served in Iraq, and now the Democratic member of the House of Representatives for the 2nd congressional district of Hawaii, she represents a challenge both to the old militaristic US establishment and to the newer, more woke wing of the establishment.

She is best known for her principled opposition to American militarism in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. ‘We were all lied to’, she said of the Iraq War in the Detroit debate. She described the spun stories about Saddam Hussein’s WMD and connections with al-Qaeda as a ‘betrayal of the American people’. Even more stingingly, she argues that far from defeating al-Qaeda in the post-9/11 period, the US has ended up backing al-Qaeda-derived forces, especially through its support for so-called ‘rebels’ in Syria who, as Gabbard rightly says, are in fact dangerous Islamist groups.

She gets a huge amount of flak for her anti-war stance. Establishment figures denounce her as an ‘Assad apologist’. She met with Bashar al-Assad during a fact-finding mission to Syria in 2017, and ever since she’s been called a friend of dictators by pro-militarist elements in the US. Kamala Harris, reeling from Gabbard’s attack on her authoritarian record as attorney general of California during this week’s debate, raised the Assad thing when the debate was over. And yet, as Gabbard has explained numerous times, she met Assad only because she wants to gather as much information as possible, from as many sources as possible, on how destructive the West’s ‘regime-change wars’ can be. Establishment stiffs simply fear the prospect of a president who would refuse to wage war overseas. ‘Tulsi Gabbard’s Syria record shows why she can’t be president’, sniffs the Washington Post.

If Gabbard horrifies the old warmongering elites, she worries, at least, the new woke elites. It is notable that unlike other young female political representatives, most notably the so-called ‘squad’, Gabbard is rarely cheered for her background. She was the first-ever Hindu and Samoan America to enter Congress. She’s the first Hindu to run for president. But you’ll be waiting a long time for the kind of people who never stop going on about the fact Ilhan Omar was one of the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress to congratulate Gabbard on her identity achievements.

Not that Gabbard would want praise on that basis. Indeed, she’s a critic of both identity politics and political correctness, which is precisely why the woke are so iffy about her. She lists political correctness alongside overreaching government and Big Tech as one of the great threats to freedom of speech in 21st-century America. And she says of identity politics that it is ‘being used to kind of tear people apart’ when we should be ‘remembering and recognising what unites us’.

Her commitment to challenging PC and its strangling of open debate extends to criticising then president Barack Obama for his refusal to use the phrase ‘radical Islamic terrorism’. We should never cower from using the word Islamic in relation to Islamic terrorism because ‘it is important that you identify your enemy, you know who they are, you call them by their name, and you understand the ideology that’s driving them’, she said. Such moral clarity is rare in a time when politicians lamely insist that Islamist terrorism ‘has nothing to do with Islam’, as if such clipped, self-censoring utterances are ever going to solve anything.

Gabbard also dislikes Big Tech’s enforcement of PC speech codes online. Social-media giants have become a ‘threat to our freedom of speech’, she says. Their drowning-out, or outright banning, of both radical right and radical left voices is a threat to open debate, she says, and even ‘controversial’ and ‘distasteful’ views should enjoy freedom of expression.

Her anti-authoritarianism was on full display in her showdown with Kamala Harris this week. She dragged Harris for her record as Californian attorney general from 2011 to 2017. During that time, thousands of people were incarcerated for marijuana possession (and yet Harris effectively admitted that she herself has smoked dope), numerous people were kept in prison for unnecessarily long periods of time, and Harris withheld evidence that would have freed someone from death row. Gabbard’s confrontation with Harris won her many new fans and also helped to puncture the shallow identitarian cheering of Harris that has been happening on Twitter and elsewhere for the past few weeks.

Gabbard is a candidate worth supporting. She wants the US to reject identitarian division and ‘reclaim patriotism’, she wants an end to American wars, she likes freedom of speech, and she’s not afraid to call Islamist terrorism by its name.



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, August 06, 2019

The problem with Jordan Peterson

Andrea Seaman says he’s not nearly as pro-freedom and pro-reason as he thinks he is. But her criticisms are amazingly poorly informed.  Libel has never been protected free speech so when Peterson sues for libel, that tells you NOTHING about his attitude to free speech.

And his tracing of morality to evolution is a perfectly respectable idea in moral philosophy, indeed the increasingly dominant one.

And the fact that he has certain religious and spiritual ideas is again common among people with  scientific interests. That religion is incompatible with science is an old canard that religious people routinely reject.

So Andrea is using some very cheap shots indeed

Jordan Peterson, formerly an obscure professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, has become famous throughout the West. His popularity began with his opposition to oppressive legislation in Canada, which he argues can force people to use certain gender pronouns, and it peaked with the now famous Channel 4 News interview and the release of his book 12 Rules for Life. Peterson presents himself as a defender of science and reason against so-called social-justice warriors and the postmodern left, people who refuse to accept biological realities and the principle of free speech.

His rhetoric is certainly very powerful. His refusal to bow down before a torrent of criticism, from those attempting unjustly to paint him as a right-wing extremist, is inspiring. Combine this with his passionate entreaties towards men to ‘grow the hell up’, take on responsibility for their own lives, and stand straight with their shoulders back, and you can sense why he receives massive support from many young white men who feel besieged by a left that routinely labels them racist, homophobic and pillars of ‘the patriarchy’. This is Peterson’s positive side. Who can disagree with telling men – steeped in our modern culture of snowflakery, low ambitions and self-pity – to man up?

But there are two major problems with Peterson. First, his commitment to free speech is not nearly as strong as he thinks it is. Although he fiercely opposes hate-speech legislation and campus censorship, he has also launched a $1.5million defamation suit against Wilfrid Laurier University because some of its staff compared him to Hitler. Lindsay Shepherd, then a graduate student and teaching assistant at the university, recorded the comments, which were made in a private meeting, and then released them online. Peterson says his lawsuit is intended to ‘convince careless university professors and administrators… to be much more circumspect in their actions and their words’. So watch what you say, professors and administrators of Canada, or Peterson will set the law upon you!

He has since filed a second defamation suit for $1.75million against Wilfrid Laurier University. He argues that the university’s statement about his first lawsuit was libellous: the university claims that his original suit was unjustified because the publicity achieved by the exposés of the unfounded allegations against Peterson boosted his reputation. It also points out that his motivation in pursuing the suit is authoritarian, as demonstrated by his warning that professors and administrators should be more ‘circumspect’ in their words, and that, if anything, Peterson should be suing Shepherd, given she is the one who released the recording.

Peterson also allegedly threatened to sue Kate Manne, an associate professor at Cornell University in the US, the online news platform Vox and Cornell University, all for an interview Manne gave to Vox. In it, she described Peterson’s ideas as misogynistic, among other unflattering epithets. Given Peterson earns millions through his YouTube channel and his book deals, it seems unlikely he is pursuing these cases for the money. Maybe he, who likes to lament the thin-skinned nature of our society, just can’t handle criticism?

The second problem with Peterson is the weakness of his commitment to science and reason. He may continuously talk of ‘the scientific literature’ and the realities of our biological condition, but his understanding of (if not commitment to) science is fundamentally flawed.

Take his discussion of rats. He can’t stop referring to something apparently discovered by the neuroscientist and psychobiologist Jaak Panksepp – that in rats’ brains there is a ‘play circuit’. So, if one little rat play-wrestles with a bigger rat, relays Peterson, then the little rat will stop playing with the big one if the latter does not allow the former to win a certain number of times. This, he claims, is evidence of how ethics emerges out of nature. Ethics, he proposes, is something natural in our brains, as in those of rats. Morality, he suggests, is a product of our neural activity, which tells us how to act.

Peterson here is blurring the line between science and morality. It may well be that the small rat stops playing if the big rat beats it every time. But that is simply how it is, not how it should be. The former is the domain of science, the latter is the domain of ethics. To see ethics in the mechanical workings of nature and unfree beasts is as unscientific as discovering the hand of God in His supposed creation. Morality is simply not an object of scientific investigation. Its existence and properties cannot be proven or disproven by empirical methods.

In this, Peterson reveals that he is mired in scientism, rather than science – and a particularly strange form of scientism at that. He mixes investigation of the material world with investigation of the non-material world, to the detriment of both. He has suggested that ancient depictions of entwined snakes foreshadowed the discovery of the DNA double helix. Here spiritual experiences apparently offer insight into the real nature of fundamental parts of our biological being, and vice versa. It’s almost Deepak Chopra.

For a man so fixated on being academically rigorous, fact-based and reasoned, Peterson talks a lot about spirits, gods, dreams and mysticism. He has suggested that psychedelics can bring on ‘transcendent’ and ‘metaphysical’ experiences. This type of superstition was the very thing the Age of Reason tried to extinguish. Peterson fatally combines science with mysticism. Often when he talks about science he becomes mystical, and then tries to back it up with deep evolutionary or scientific ‘truths’.

It is invigorating to see Peterson fill up stadiums with many people of my generation, capturing their positive spirit of rebellion against PC orthodoxy. But we should be sceptical next time he presents himself as a warrior for free speech, or cites ‘the scientific literature’, or some primeval spirit or other. He’s not nearly as pro-freedom and pro-reason as he thinks he is.



Nationalism, Rightly Understood, Is a Necessary Ingredient of Political Success
Nationalism has a bad name. For many Americans, mention of the word summons up visions of Hitler and Nazism. Some condemn nationalism as thoughtless bragging that your nation is better than others, which should be discouraged just as second graders are told not to brag, lest they hurt classmates’ feelings.

Historical and international perspective is supplied by one of the conveners of the well-attended National Conservatism conference in Washington last month, Israeli think tank head Yoram Hazony, in his 2018 book, “The Virtue of Nationalism.” Hazony argues that nationalism first emerged in the northwest corner of Europe, in Tudor England and in the Dutch republic rebelling against the overlordship of the king of Spain. These were small maritime nations, growing rich through international trade even while threatened by massive monarchies. In the years of religious wars, they were the most religiously diverse and tolerant polities in Christendom.

Hazony contrasts nationalist states with what he calls imperialist polities, which include international organizations such as the United Nations and political entities such as the Holy Roman Empire, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, which was not just trying to govern Germany but to conquer “untermensch” peoples. As an Israeli, he is very much aware that his successful nationalist state is under constant attack from such imperialist bodies.

Nationalist states, he argues, can provide peaceful havens for those of differing cultural views and economic interests who share a common citizenship. They will, he argues, protect their individual liberties and (here some readers will disagree) abjure external conquests. “The best political order that is known to us,” he writes, “is an order of independent national states.”

This is congruent with the words of two of President Trump’s thoughtful speeches, delivered in Warsaw, Poland, in July 2017 and in Normandy on D-Day this year. In them he pays generous tribute to other nations’ nationalism and how they have advanced human liberty. It is also congruent with the rhetoric of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he tries to give effect to British voters’ decision to leave what, in Hazony’s terminology, is an increasingly imperialistic European Union.

Hazony seems to me on solid ground in arguing that nationalism, rightly understood, can be a force for good. Trump’s words on D-Day, and those of presidents before him on earlier anniversaries, should remind us that the Allies who cooperated in that enterprise were all led by nationalists — America’s Franklin Roosevelt; Britain’s Winston Churchill; France’s Charles de Gaulle; and the leaders of Canada, Poland, Norway and Australia.

One might add that an ally left unmentioned, the Soviet Union dictator Josef Stalin, temporarily portrayed himself as a nationalist rather than a communist to rally his people to fight on the Eastern Front even as democratic nationalists worked together to open the front on the West.

The nationalist sensibility is an important part of domestic partisan politics. In an article I wrote for The Public Interest in 1993, I argued that the political parties and political leaders of Western democracies partake, in varying proportions, in four different dispositions — religious, socialist, liberal and nationalist.

Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Religious parties come to grief when people abandon religion (like the Christian Democrats in largely secular Western Europe), and they struggle to amass majorities in religiously diverse nations like the United States.

Socialist parties’ weakness is that socialism just doesn’t work. When that became apparent in Britain, Margaret Thatcher controversially rolled back postwar Labour Party policies in the 1980s. More quietly, Scandinavian nations rolled back their welfare states in the 1990s. Now venerable social democratic parties have all but disappeared in Germany, France and Italy.

Liberal parties — liberal in the 19th-century sense: secular and free market — have sometimes governed effectively but proved incapable of defending themselves against destruction. Britain’s Liberals, dominant in 1916, were ground to bits between the Conservatives and Labour in 1924. The dominant secular party in Italy was swept from power by Mussolini’s brownshirts in 1922, and the one in France by Hitler’s troops in 1940.

Only parties with a strong nationalist strain have proved to be lasting — including, over most of their histories, America’s Democratic and Republican parties. Today we’re told that Donald Trump’s Republicans are dangerously and self-destructively nationalist. Headline speakers at Hazony’s conference — tech mogul Peter Thiel, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, national security adviser John Bolton, Sen. Josh Hawley — seemed to disagree. And many observers are wondering whether Democratic presidential candidates’ enthusiasm for open borders is a politically hazardous trashing of a sensible nationalism long essential for political success.



Don't worry, the South is still booming

The North loses residents and economic activity to the low-tax South

Anyone who understands real estate knows it’s all about three things: location, location, location. In recent decades, many of the hottest locations in the country have been in Dixie. Much of this growth has come at the expense of the Northern states. In the last several decades, the North has lost more than 5 million residents and hundreds of billions of dollars of economic activity to the low-tax and business-friendly Southern states.

Miami, Dallas, Charlotte and Nashville are the happening cities, replacing struggling places like Chicago, Hartford, New York, Baltimore and Providence.  We would urge people to go to our friend Travis Brown’s wonderful book “How Money Walks,” which shows the places Americans are moving to and from.

But now we are told by liberal think tanks and the media that the South’s ascent has stalled out. The Wall Street Journal recently announced in a front page headline: “The South Is Falling Behind.” After several decades of speedy development, things have supposedly changed. Over the last decade, the WSJ says, the southeast “recorded the country’s slowest growth in output and wages … and the highest unemployment rate.” The implication is that low tax rates don’t work anymore as a magnet.

Not so fast. These kinds of stories don’t take into account that the South isn’t monolithic. Some Southern states have low tax rates and others don’t. The four states with the best economic climate — Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — are all high-flyers, thank you. Three of these four, have no personal income tax and the 4th, North Carolina, has cut its income tax sharply.

These big four in the South have attracted 3.04 million net new residents from other states over just the past decade. That’s a 4.6 percent rise in population due to net migration from other states. Does that sound like a decline?

Contrast that performance with the four states of the apocalypse — Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. This group is in the worst fiscal condition in the nation, they are losing residents every day and they have among the highest taxes and the most anti-business policies.

These states lost 2.8 million people (6 percent of the population) over the past decade to other states and if you go to Texas or Florida you will meet lots of rich and middle class residents who came from one of these four states. Naples, Florida, for example, is now nicknamed Chicago South, because so many former windy city families now live there more than six months of the year. 

The big four in the South saw a 10.5 percent gains in jobs from 2007-17. The four northern states gained a meager 2.5 percent. For every job in these high tax state, the low tax states attracted four.

Over the last decade home values in the high-flying Southern states were up an average or 10 percent. In the loser states of the North home values fell. The loss of jobs and population and is now being reflected in declining home values in these Northern states. Nowhere is this collapse in home prices more evident than in Connecticut, where a cascade of tax increases have led to an exodus of millionaires. So much for the benefits of progressivism.

All these rumors of a southern slump are highly misleading. Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are following a winning economic formula of low tax rates; right to work laws; business-friendly regulatory climate; and low costs. Anyone who thinks the boom in Dixie has ended needs to travel to places like Raleigh and Tampa and Houston and Chattanooga and see what’s happening with their own two eyes.



TX. Austin's Mad Homeless Camping Policy

On June 20 the Austin City Council repealed ordinances prohibiting homeless camping around town. They had to move on or the police could cite them. Police oppose this policy and went into a low-level revolt. The people oppose this policy and have also gone into a low-level revolt.

The policy went into effect in a political blink on July 1. That very day, tent cities began popping up all over town. Those tent cities grew. A Twitter hashtag — #austinhomeless — grew up to chronicle the issues the city's residents now face.

Since my last article on this subject, a theory to explain the policy change has swept across Austin and a petition to stop the policy has appeared. I'll get to the theory later.

The petition is the work of Travis County Republican Party chairman Matt Mackowiak. Austin and Travis County are both deep blue. But this issue has some questioning their allegiance to a Democratic Party that is running the city over a cliff.

"I created the petition 15 days ago and we now have more than 20,000 signatures," Mackowiak told me. "The goal was to create an easy way for people to express their opposition to the Homeless Camping ordinance. We haven’t spent one cent on advertising. This thing has gone viral."

It has, and it's still accepting signatures.

"The Mayor and the City Council have needlessly threatened public safety, public health, tourism, and our economy," Mackowiak adds.

The hot Austin summer has seen tents and associated Baltimore-style filth sweep across town — and a grand unified theory to explain the indefensible is sweeping across town too.

The Austin City Council could amend or rescind the policy at its August meeting. Or, it could leave it in place. It's a safe bet the mayor will seek more money, paid for by taxpayers, which will make Austin that much more unaffordable. Cutting taxes and reducing spending to lighten the burden on taxpayers will not be on the agenda.

Mo money. Mo money. Mo money. Agenda items one, two and three.

"Our hope is they will end this disastrous policy on August 8. If they don’t, we will ratchet up the pressure considerably," Mackowiak says. We'll see.



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, August 05, 2019

The Asian Century Is Over

Beset by conflicts, stagnating economies, and political troubles, the region no longer looks set to rule the world -- says Michael Auslin.  It is a most iconoclastic article and  clearly makes some important points.

I am inclined to take a middle road on the matter.  Auslin is clearly right that cultural rigidities could hold China back and the failure of Japan to make much progress in the 21st century is a clear warning sign that Asian economies are far from miracle economies once they pass a certain point.  They approach an economic asymptote

The arrival of President Xi in China could well strangle China.  He represents the end of the Dengist era and a return to traditional Chinese authoritarian government.  He is getting close to becoming Emperor Xi.  My Sinophilic friends despair of him.  He is a definite roadblock to China's progress towards becoming a modern developed nation. And, sadly for China, there seems to be an iron law that an authoritarian nation will never be a rich one.  Even the DDR only ever approached midddle-income status, with its GDP per capita being only half the West German figure

ON THE OTHER HAND:  If Maoism ended, might not the same be true of Xi-ism?  How fragile is Xi's position?  He strives mightily to strengthen it but who knows how well he will last?  Could it be that the experience of prosperity and the taste of freedom might make enough forces in China bold enough to overthrow him in favour of a return to Dengism?

Though even Dengism had its limits.  Large State-owned businesses continued and were never very efficient.  And the party never looked even close to relinquishing control.  It could be that even Dengism cannot break the asymptote; it perhaps cannot support the final stages of modernization.

My take on China has been influenced by a positive "law" that is at least as strong as the negative law that authoritarian nations do not prosper economically.  I am referring to the stark correlation between national wealth and national average IQ.  And China has a VERY high national average IQ.  We always thought that once China threw off the dead weight of socialism it would prosper.  And exactly that happened up until recently. But is a high national IQ sufficient to rein in authoritarian rule?  The auguries are not good -- UNLESS China undergoes a significant FALL in living standards.  That would undoubtedly be energizing  -- JR.

The air forces of four of Asia’s leading powers nearly came to blows in the skies over the Sea of Japan, or East Sea, last week. As Russia and China conducted their first joint aerial patrol, South Korean fighters fired more than 300 warning shots at a Russian command and control aircraft that crossed into South Korea’s air defense identification zone. Meanwhile, Japanese fighters scrambled in case Japanese territory came under fire.

The unprecedented encounter was just one more reminder of the risks that threaten peace in the Indo-Pacific—and that the “Asian Century,” once heralded by writers such as Kishore Mahbubani and Martin Jacques, is ending far faster than anyone could have predicted. From a dramatically slowing Chinese economy to showdowns over democracy in Hong Kong and a new cold war between Japan and South Korea, the dynamism that was supposed to propel the region into a glorious future seems to be falling apart.

Asia’s geopolitical turbulence has been long in the making. In fact, the region’s weaknesses were for decades ignored by those certain that China would dominate the world, that the region would begin to manifest a shared sense of “Asian values,” that the United States’ influence was on the wane, and that the global future would be determined more in Beijing and New Delhi than in Washington. But underneath the region’s glittering new cities, the foundations of its rise were already beginning to crack.

Enter an earthquake. U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing, including 25 percent tariffs on nearly half of China’s exports to the United States, accelerated China’s economic decline. The country’s growth rate last quarter was the slowest in nearly three decades, since its economy took off in the early 1990s. Even if the 6.2 percent growth figure can be trusted, it reveals not only the effect of Trump’s trade actions but the general weakness of an economy in which meaningful reform has stalled and inefficiencies are as prevalent as ever.

Chinese exports to America have collapsed. Its exports to the rest of the world have shrunk, too. Meanwhile, dozens of major companies, from Google to Dell, are reducing or eliminating their production in China, exacerbating the slowdown and reshaping global supply chains. Worse for China’s economic future, perhaps, is a recent report that the country’s total debt, from corporations, households, and the government, now tops 300 percent of GDP—and much of it is caught up in opaque and complicated transactions that could become a ticking time bomb.

It isn’t only China that faces economic travails.It isn’t only China that faces economic travails. In developed nations, such as South Korea and Japan, sluggishness continues despite years of reform, while India’s once red-hot growth has halved in recent years, raising questions about how much further it can develop a middle class. Such fears are prevalent throughout Southeast Asia, as well.
Economics are just part of the problem. China’s ongoing attempts to squeeze Hong Kong and Taiwan’s democracies reveal just how tenuous political stability in the region really is. In Hong Kong, seven weeks of anti-China, pro-democracy protests are coming dangerously close to forcing Beijing to decide whether or not to intervene. If it deploys troops to restore order, it could lead to the bloodiest clashes since Tiananmen Square 30 years ago.

Even democracies in Asia are sailing in dangerous waters. Japan and South Korea are perilously close to a complete rupture in relations, thanks to Seoul’s continued pressing of World War II claims through its courts. Tokyo has responded by cutting the supply of chemicals critical for Korea’s electronics industry. In late 2018, Japan claimed that a South Korean naval vessel turned its fire-control radar on a Japanese patrol aircraft, nearly precipitating a military crisis. Meanwhile, Vietnam is facing off against China over oil exploration in the South China Sea, with maritime vessels shadowing and intimidating each other.

Conflicts in the region are also threatening security around the world. Despite three rounds of presidential summits, North Korea remains a nuclear-capable state that is also engaged in online offensives around the world. The global battle over civil liberties is also tilting toward greater state control, in part through China’s perfection of high-tech surveillance systems that it is keen to export, even to Western democracies. Many believe that Huawei, among other Chinese companies, is a security risk for any nation adopting its technology. And the FBI has warned that China is the greatest espionage threat to the United States, on campuses, in Washington, and in major corporations.

U.S. policymakers bet that China’s economic modernization and peaceful rise would lead to an era of global prosperity and cooperation. That was wrong.

U.S. policymakers bet that China’s economic modernization and peaceful rise would lead to an era of global prosperity and cooperation, linking advanced economies in Asia with consumers in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. That was wrong. Similarly, years of attempts to bring U.S. allies Japan and South Korea closer together have foundered. It is time for a reconsideration of Asia’s future.



Sorry If You’re Offended, but Socialism Leads to Misery and Destitution

On the same day that Venezuela’s “democratically” elected socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, whose once-wealthy nation now has citizens foraging for food, announced he was lopping five zeros off the country’s currency to create a “stable financial and monetary system,” Meghan McCain of “The View” was the target of internet-wide condemnation for having stated some obvious truths about collectivism.

During the same week we learned that the democratic socialist president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, is accused of massacring hundreds of protesters whose economic futures have been decimated by his economic policies, Soledad O’Brien and writers at outlets ranging from GQ, to BuzzFeed, to the Daily Beast were telling McCain to cool her jets.

In truth, McCain was being far too calm. After all, socialism is the leading man-made cause of death and misery in human existence. Whether implemented by a mob or a single strongman, collectivism is a poverty generator, an attack on human dignity, and a destroyer of individual rights.

It’s true that not all socialism ends in the tyranny of Leninism or Stalinism or Maoism or Castroism or Ba’athism or Chavezism or the Khmer Rouge—only most of it does. And no, New York primary winner Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t intend to set up gulags in Alaska. Most so-called democratic socialists—the qualifier affixed to denote that they live in a democratic system and have no choice but to ask for votes—aren’t consciously or explicitly endorsing violence or tyranny.

But when they adopt the term “socialism” and the ideas associated with it, they deserve to be treated with the kind of contempt and derision that all those adopting authoritarian philosophies deserve.

But look: Norway!

Socialism is perhaps the only ideology that Americans are asked to judge solely based on its piddling “successes.” Don’t you dare mention Albania or Algeria or Angola or Burma or Congo or Cuba or Ethiopia or Laos or Somalia or Vietnam or Yemen or, well, any other of the dozens of other inconvenient places socialism has been tried. Not when there are a handful of Scandinavian countries operating generous welfare state programs propped up by underlying vibrant capitalism and natural resources.

Of course, socialism exists on a spectrum, and even if we accept that the Nordic social program experiments are the most benign iteration of collectivism, they are certainly not the only version. Pretending otherwise would be like saying, “The police state of Singapore is more successful than Denmark. Let’s give it a spin.”

It turns out, though, that the “Denmark is awesome!” talking point is only the second-most preposterous one used by socialists. It goes something like this: If you’re a fan of “roads, schools, libraries, and such,” although you may not even be aware of it, you are also a supporter of socialism.

This might come as a surprise to some, but every penny of the $21,206 spent in Ocasio-Cortez’s district each year on each student, rich or poor, is provided with the profits derived from capitalism. There is no welfare system, no library that subsists on your good intentions. Having the state take over the entire health care system could rightly be called a socialistic endeavor, but pooling local tax dollars to put books in a building is called local government.

It should also be noted that today’s socialists get their yucks by pretending collectivist policies only lead to innocuous outcomes like local libraries. But for many years they were also praising the dictators of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the nation’s most successful socialist, isn’t merely impressed with the goings-on in Denmark. Not very long ago, he lauded Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela as an embodiment of the “American dream,” even more so than the United States.

Socialists like to blame every inequity, the actions of every greedy criminal, every downturn, and every social ill on the injustice of capitalism. But none of them admit that capitalism has been the most effective way to eliminate poverty in history.

Today, in former socialist states like India, there have been big reductions in poverty thanks to increased capitalism. In China, where communism sadly still deprives more than a billion people of their basic rights, hundreds of millions benefit from a system that is slowly shedding socialism. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the extreme poverty rate in the world has been cut in half. And it didn’t happen because Southeast Asians were raising the minimum wage.

In the United States, only 5 percent of people are even aware that poverty has fallen in the world, according to the Gapminder Foundation, which is almost certainly in part due to the left’s obsession with “inequality” and normalization of “socialism.”

Nearly half of American millennials would rather live in a socialist society than in a capitalist one, according to a YouGov poll. That said, only 71 percent of those asked were able to properly identify either. We can now see the manifestation of this ignorance in our elections and “The View” co-host Joy Behar.

But if all you really champion are some higher taxes and more generous social welfare, stop associating yourself with a philosophy that usually brings destitution and death. Call it something else. If not, McCain has every right to associate you with the ideology you embrace.



Sanders: Medicare for All Will Require Higher Taxes on the Middle Class

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) sided with former Vice President Joe Biden, arguing that Medicare for all would require increased taxes on the middle class during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday.

Host Jake Tapper showed Sanders a clip of Biden commenting on Sen. Kamala Harris's (D., Calif.) claim that she would not raise taxes on the middle class to fund Medicare for all.

"Well I find the people who say they're for Medicare for all, but they're not going to tax the middle class because you don't need to do that, come on. Is this a fantasy world here?" Biden asked.

"Do you agree with Vice President Biden that Senator Harris is in a fantasy world?" Tapper asked Sanders.

Sanders pointed out that in a Medicare for all system people would not pay premiums or deductibles, but argued "that in a progressive way people will have to pay taxes."

"The wealthy will obviously pay the lion's share of those taxes but at the end of the day, the vast majority of the American people will pay substantially less for the health care than they now receive because we're going to do away with hundreds of billion dollars of administrative waste. We're going to do away with the incredible profiteering of the insurance companies and the drug companies. So people will be paying in some cases more in taxes but overall because they're not gonna pay premiums, deductible or co-payments, they'll be paying less for their health care," Sanders continued.

"So is Vice President Biden correct that anybody who says Medicare for all is going to happen, but we're not gonna raise taxing on anybody or on the middle class is in a fantasy world?" Tapper pressed.

"Well obviously health care is not free. We pay for it through premiums and out-of-pocket expenses and in Canada it is paid through taxes. We'll have to do that," Sanders said.

Earlier this month, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) estimated his Medicare for all proposal would cost up to $40 trillion over 10 years. Sanders has also said he would raise taxes, including for the middle class, to pay for Medicare for all, and that "there will be pain" in a transition to a single-payer system.

Former Vice President Joe Biden's healthcare plan, released on Monday, does not go as far as Medicare for All. His proposal includes a public option to buy into a Medicare-like plan and wouldn't eliminate private health insurance.

The Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans' view of the single-payer plan "can shift significantly after hearing information." 56 percent of those surveyed support "Medicare for All," while 42 percent oppose it.

58 percent oppose the plan, however, if told it would eliminate private health insurance plans, and 60 percent oppose it if it requires higher taxes.



Trump's Economic Policies Raise Wages for 99% of workers

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released annual revisions to its personal-income report on Tuesday, and the data should encourage everyone: Americans’ wages have been increasing at a healthy rate since President Donald Trump took office. The Wall Street Journal reports, “The revisions show that employee compensation rose 4.5% in 2017 and 5% in 2018 — some $4.4 billion and $87.1 billion more than previously reported. The trend has continued into 2019, with compensation increasing $378 billion or 3.4% in the first six months alone. Wages and salaries were revised upward to 5.3% from 3.6% in May year over year. And in June wages and salaries grew at an annual rate of 5.5%, which is a rocking 4.1% after adjusting for inflation.”

Counter to the Leftmedia’s erroneous narrative that credits Barack Obama and not Trump for America’s current economic growth, the Journal notes, “Employee compensation has increased by $150 billion more in the first six months of 2019 than all of 2016. Compensation increased 42% more during the first two years of the Trump Presidency than in 2015 and 2016. This refutes the claim by liberals that the economy has merely continued on the same trajectory since 2017 as it was before.”

The fact of the matter is that today “Americans are earning more and relying less on government.” So, how does this reality comport with the leading Democrat presidential candidates’ socialist message of ever more government-provided “free” stuff — stuff that can only be “given” by taking more of the wages of hard-working Americans? For all the overwhelmingly negative press Trump receives, at the very least his policies are proving effective in putting/leaving more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans, giving them more freedom to spend and invest as they see fit. Once again, it’s capitalism, not socialism, that is lifting everyone’s boats.



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