Friday, September 13, 2019

Image hosting

I don't put a lot of pictures up on this blog but I do put up some. I usually host the images on, the number one image host at the moment. An encouraging feature of their service is that in early 2015 they announced that all images will be kept forever and only removed if deletion is requested.

Someone must have requested that some of my images be deleted and Imgur has obliged, putting up an ugly and offensive replacement image instead of the original.  I keep pretty good records, however so I have replaced the lost images with backup copies hosted on another server.  I have so far noticed only about half a dozen affected images, however, so I would be obliged if people would let me know if they come across any other offensive images that I have not so far noticed.

We conservative bloggers are definitely under attack.  There was nothing egregious in any of the deleted images.  One was just a table of statistics.  Facebook has also banned all posts that link to my Greenie Watch blog. Questioning global warming is the unforgiveable sin. All my graphs and tables of statistics were in vain. There are a lot of things that the Left don't want to know about.


Bruised Trudeau to call Canada election

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, admired abroad for his progressive policies but damaged by scandals at home, will kick off a six-week re-election campaign- on Thursday with opinion polls suggesting his hold on power will be weakened.

Mr Trudeau, who swept to office- in November 2015 promising "sunny ways" and stressing the importance of gender equal-ity, gay rights and the environment, faces an electorate more focused on the economy and -affordability when it votes on October 21.

The 47-year-old married father- of three, whose classic good looks are often splashed across the global media, may have history on his side. Not since 1935 has a Canadian prime minister who won a majority in his first term been booted from office in the next election.

But Mr Trudeau may not win enough seats to govern by himself, after a series of missteps that called into question his leadership while cutting into his once sky-high popularity. That would leave him and his Liberal Party weakened, relying on opposition MPs to push through legislation.

A Nanos Research poll released- on Tuesday showed the Liberals at 34.6 per cent and the main opposition Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, at 30.7 per cent. That margin would not be enough to guarantee a majority in the House of Commons.

Senior Liberals say they are quietly confident of victory and predict Mr Trudeau will campaign more effectively than Mr Scheer, 40, who is fighting his first election as Conservative leader. But Canadian campaigns can produce major surprises. The Liberals trailed in third place when the 2015 election was called but steadily improved to pull off an outright victory.

"This is not a `Throw the bums out' election. This is a `Punish the bums' election," said analys-t Nik Nanos.

Mr Trudeau's challenge is that he is running on his record rather than the uplifting message of hope and change that helped the Liberals attract record- numbers of green, youth and indigenous voters in 2015.

Since then, Mr Trudeau has broken campaign promises by scrapping plans to introduce voter reform and allowing budget- deficits to mushroom. He angered environmentalists by buying an oil pipeline to ensure crude exports could increase.

The worst moment of his tenure- came in February, when former justice minister Jody Wilson--Raybould accused the Prime Minister and top officials of inappropriately pressuring her to ensure that construction firm SNC-Lavalin Group avoid a trial on corruption charges. Last month, a top watchdog ruled Mr Trudeau and his team had -indeed breached ethics rules.

Mr Scheer's popularity had surged after the SNC-Lavalin affair-, but he appears to be struggling in Ontario, the most populous of Canada's 10 provinces, where a conservative premier is pushing through unpopular spending cuts.



Supreme Court allows Trump to deny asylum to almost all migrants at the Mexican border after he pledged to crackdown on immigration

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday granted a request by President Donald Trump's administration to fully enforce a new rule that would curtail asylum applications by immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, a key element of his hardline immigration policies.

The court said the rule, which requires most immigrants who want asylum to first seek safe haven in a third country through which they traveled on their way to the United States, could go into effect as litigation challenging its legality continues.

Among the nine judges on the court, liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.

The court's ruling handed a victory to Trump at a time when much of his immigration agenda had been struck down by lower courts. BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!' Trump said on Twitter.

The rule would bar almost all immigrants from applying for asylum at the southern border. It represents the latest effort by Trump's administration to crack down on immigration, a signature issue during his presidency and 2020 re-election bid.

The American Civil Liberties Union and others who challenged the administration's policy in federal court said it violates U.S. immigration law and accused the administration of failing to follow the correct legal process in issuing the rule, which was unveiled on July 15.

In her dissent, Sotomayor said that the government's rule may be in significant tension with the asylum statute.

'It is especially concerning, moreover, that the rule the government promulgated topples decades of settled asylum practices and affects some of the most vulnerable people in the Western Hemisphere - without affording the public a chance to weigh in.'

Eight days after the rule went into effect in July, California-based U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar issued a nationwide injunction blocking it.

Then began a back-and-forth between Tigar and the 9th Circuit, which scaled back the injunction so that the Trump rule was blocked in the border states of California and Arizona while in effect in Texas and New Mexico.

Tigar ruled to restore the nationwide ban on Monday, but the 9th Circuit scaled it back again on Tuesday night.

They were both trumped by Supreme Court, which will allow the asylum restriction to remain in place until the underlying legality of the rule is determined at trial.

'This is just a temporary step, and we're hopeful we'll prevail at the end of the day,' ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said. 'The lives of thousands of families are at stake.'

The Republican president's administration issued the rule in an attempt to reduce the surging number of asylum claims primarily by Central American migrants who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in large numbers during his presidency.

The rule would block nearly all families and individuals from countries like El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala from entering the United States as asylum seekers after crossing through Mexico. The rule would keep asylum protections for Mexican citizens.

The rule drew legal challenges including from a coalition of groups represented by the ACLU. They accused the administration of pursuing an 'asylum ban' and jeopardizing the safety and security of migrants fleeing persecution and seeking safety in the United States.

In the administration's request to fully enforce the rule, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the Supreme Court to issue a stay blocking the injunction while litigation over the issue proceeds because the judge's order interferes with the government's authority to establish immigration policy.

The administration said the rule screens out asylum claims that are unlikely to succeed and 'deters aliens without a genuine need for asylum from making the arduous and potentially dangerous journey from Central America to the United States.'

The Supreme Court in December rebuffed a bid by the administration to implement a separate policy prohibiting asylum for people crossing the U.S.-Mexican border outside of an official port of entry, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joining the four liberal justices in denying the request



Polite Persuasion is Wasted on the Shrieking Left

Comment from Australia

Like Jordan Peterson's reputation, Lionel Shriver's conservative credentials were burnished by leftist idiocy. In Peterson's case it was his interview on the UK's Channel 4 by Cathy Newman. In Shriver's case it was Yassmin Abdel-Magied walking out of the Brisbane Writers' Festival in 2016 in protest at Shriver's views on identity politics and cultural appropriation.

Neither Peterson nor Shriver are my kind of conservatives and, to be fair, I am sure they would not claim to be or would want to be. That's fine. What I would like to say is that conservative warriors are now needed more than ever. Much less useful are prominent notables on the conservative side who come over all reasonable in the face of those intent on our destruction.

Peterson lost his standing with me when he suggested that Brett Kavanagh should first win his confirmation to the Supreme Court but then immediately resign to clear his name. That was a ridiculous suggestion, to put it extremely mildly. Clearly Peterson has no idea about the enemy we face.

I caught Shriver on Q&A last week. True, I could only stand five minutes or so before turning it off. Any longer spent watching Q&A is injurious to my peace of mind. Nevertheless, I saw enough to sense that Shriver was trying hard to appear "reasonable" to other panellists and to the usual green-leftist ABC audience. Hint for Shriver: Prostration is pointless. They'll always despise you. Look to, say, Michelle Malkin for a role model.

Did I get a false impression of Shriver's demeanour? I think not. The following evening I attended the Bonython Lecture in Sydney, where she explained that her engagement, front and backstage, with other Q&A panellists was civil; and, furthermore, she made a point of extolling the need for civility generally in political debate.

I want to be clear. Come the witching hour I believe I will find myself on the same side of the barricades as Peterson and Shriver. After all, where else could we be? But I would like to think that we can avoid arriving at the witching hour. And we won't if our side is populated by those falling over themselves to be civil.

Civility is paramount among people of sound mind and goodwill. Those of the new progressive Left don't qualify. They need to be fought, not reasoned with. Reasoning with a poisonous serpent is useless. You have to chop its head off. And, being religiously minded, I choose the metaphor of a serpent advisedly.

Go to the US to see the progressive Left at its most transparent. It's here in Australia, in the UK and in Europe in full-enough measure, but only in America has it the chutzpah to stand in the spotlight. Anyone who caught any of CNN's seven-hour town-hall meeting on the "climate crisis" with the top ten Democrat presidential candidates would know what I mean. They have no shame.

They tell blatant lies, like Hurricane Dorian is a product of climate change, which are easily exposed. Yet they will simply go on repeating them. It is lying in the name of saving the planet. Taqiya for Gaia. The destruction of America's economy, and, with it, Western civilisation, is collateral damage apparently. Or is that all part of the plan? It surely must be.

Run down the list (in no particular order and without attempting to be exhaustive): the `green new deal', pulling down border security, providing free health insurance to illegal immigrants, publicly funding abortion up till the moment of birth, slashing military spending, funding more and more `free stuff' through greatly increased taxation (and, no doubt, through untrammelled money printing as per leftist modern monetary theory[i]), persecuting those with the temerity to practice Christian beliefs, marginalising the traditional family, insidiously siding with Palestinians over Israel, and hiking minimum wages to add to the rampant unemployment which will follow, as night follows day, from the other ruinous environmental and economic policies.

Quite simply America as we know it would cease to exist. It would be crippled. America stands between Western civilisation and the Islamic and the Chinese-communist barbarians. We would fall as other civilisations have fallen. At some point the Islamists and Chinese would turn on each other. But, by that time, we would be vassal states watching the big boys duke it out. I will go back to my start.

I am generally polite and civil, even after a few drinks. But I ask this question. How civil is it proper to be to those who espouse policies which, if ever enacted, would put our grandchildren's lives at risk?



Obsession: Broadcast coverage of Trump 11 times greater than Democratic hopefuls
And there's mostly no such thing as bad publicity

Trump-bashing has become a tradition in broadcast news, with anchors, correspondents and pundits supplying near non-stop negative coverage of President Trump and his administration. The coverage has been, on average, 90% negative according to a series of studies by the Media Research Center.

These days, the Democratic presidential hopefuls are paying a price for this obsession. Networks' "fixation on Trump" is leaving comparatively little airtime for his would-be presidential challengers, the conservative press watch dog says in a new analysis released Monday.

"From June 1 through August 31, analysts found the networks devoted 838 minutes of airtime - nearly 14 hours - to coverage of President Trump personally, the vast majority of which was negative," writes Rich Noyes, who led the study.

"The airtime devoted to Trump was eleven times greater than that spent on the leading Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden (just under 74 minutes), and vastly more than the networks gave California Senator Kamala Harris (30 minutes), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (15 minutes) or Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (just under 14 minutes)," Mr. Noyes said.

"Overall, 21 Democratic candidates (including some who have since departed the race) shared 187 minutes of evening news airtime this summer, less than one-fourth of that of Trump alone," he continued.

"On the GOP side, former Congressman Joe Walsh received a scant 35 seconds of coverage after he announced his candidacy in late August, while the campaign of former Massachusetts Governor William Weld has yet to be acknowledged by any of the three evening newscasts."

The coverage, Mr. Noyes explains, is not meant to help Mr. Trump, with the content dwelling on "alleged scandals and racism" for the most part.

"The media mania over Trump is more intense than that of four summers ago, but the pattern is similar. After Trump joined the race in mid-June 2015, he immediately dominated network news coverage with 232 minutes of airtime, twice that of the leading Democrat, Hillary Clinton, and six times more than his nearest Republican challenger, Jeb Bush," Mr. Noyes said.



One America News Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Rachel Maddow, MSNBC And Other Entities

One America News Network, a right-leaning cable news outlet, on Monday filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against Rachel Maddow, Comcast Corporation, NBC Universal Media and MSNBC Cable in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

According to the lawsuit, Comcast refused to carry OANN as part of their cable programming package because the conservative network frequently rebuked MSNBC's liberal politics. The lawsuit also claims that MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said OANN is "really literally is paid Russian propaganda." Her comments came after OANN's President, Charles Herring, sent a letter to Comcast objecting to their refusal to carry the conservative network. Herring referred to their refusal to carry OANN as "anti-competitive censorship."

OANN argues the defendants knew their statements about the conservative network were false but were made as a means of damaging OANN's business and reputation. Specifically, OANN states the comments were made in retaliation for calling out Comcast's refusal to carry the conservative cable network in its programming packages.

"One America is wholly owned, operated and financed by the Herring family in San Diego," said Skip Miller, a partner at Miller Barondess, who is representing OANN. "They are as American as apple pie. They are not paid by Russia and have nothing to do with the Russian government. This is a false and malicious libel, and they're going to answer for it in a court of law."



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, September 12, 2019

The example of Zimbabwe refutes both Keynes and the monetarists

Where are the Zimbabweans? According to Financial Times reporter Joseph Cotterill, millions can be found in neighboring South Africa, along with other more economically vibrant locales. Cotterill notes that the Zimbabwean “diaspora” is the result of “decades of turmoil” within the formerly prosperous country.

That more and more Zimbabweans exit their country in order to work rates discussion in consideration of how all too many economists and politicians think of economic growth. According to those with a Keynesian orientation, it’s consumption that powers growth. Others, of the monetarist persuasion, believe that growth in so-called “money supply” is what keeps the economy moving. Neither religion acknowledges that both consumption and money aren’t instigators of growth as much as they’re a consequence of it.

If consumption and soaring money supply were certain growth ingredients, prosperity would be simple. Politicians could demand that the citizenry consume more, and to enable the buying, they would instruct a central monetary authority to boost money in circulation. Of course to anyone with a pulse, such a scenario would fail with blinding speed. Most of us intuitively know that our ability to consume is a function of our ability to produce. To pretend otherwise is the equivalent of assuming the only difference between Lake Forest and Cabrini Green is that government-engineered money supply increases in the former enable greater consumption than takes place in the latter. No, money supply is abundant in Lake Forest, and so is consumption, precisely because the residents of Lake Forest are rather productive. Zimbabwe instructs on the matter.

Zimbabweans are able to consume more and more thanks to production of Zimbabweans not working in Zimbabwe. This is an important distinction to make. Paul Krugman argues endlessly for increased government spending to boost economic growth, but does so without acknowledging that the growth already occurred. Governments can only spend insofar as economic growth showers them with revenues to spend. Production first, then the spending.

To Keynesians like Krugman, the answer is always more outlays from politicians. If there’s consumption, prosperity will ensue. Zimbabwe is a reminder of how unrealistic such a belief is. No doubt Zimbabweans are able to consume wealth to a greater degree than they produce wealth, but this ability to buy in greater amounts isn’t thanks to magic; rather it’s a consequence of the productivity of Zimbabweans toiling outside of the country. To be clear, there’s no such thing as consuming. Behind every act of consumption, whether it’s government enabled or enabled through remittances, is an act of production first.

Readers might consider the above the next time they witness some economist or politician on TV talking about boosting the economy through more government spending. They're confused, or they’re lying. They can do no such thing. The consumption they aim to generate through government largesse is only possible insofar as private actors produced the wealth first. Government spending can’t stimulate growth as much as government can arrogate to itself the right to allocate wealth already created; usually at the expense of entrepreneurs and businesses. Never forget that entrepreneurs compete with consumers (private individuals, along with governments that confiscate wealth in order to shift consumption to others) for always limited resources.

Considering money, it too has no use absent production. Money can’t be eaten, or slept with; instead money is just an agreement about value among producers, along with those empowered to consume as producers do thanks to shifts of money. In Zimbabwe’s case, money has use there to a high degree because of production that doesn’t take place there. As Florence Ncube explained it to Cotterill, there “is no food that side," as in little food produced in Zimbabwe. Groceries are purchased in South Africa, and then sent to Zimbabwe. Money supply can be found in Zimbabwe not because some central bank decreed it, but once again because of production that didn't place in Zimbabwe. Money earned outside of Zimbabwe, and goods and services produced outside of the country, give money a purpose in Zimbabwe.  Production first, then money supply. Monetarists, like Keynesians, get the drivers of economic growth backwards.

Readers might remember this the next time some wise pundit or economist in a developed country laments impossibilities like “money shortages” or “insufficient money supply” in countries they don’t live in. The reality is that money, like consumption, is a consequence of production. Where there’s production there will always be abundant money to facilitate exchange of it, and where there’s little production is where money will always be scarce. Politicians and central bankers can’t alter economic reality through magic despite what we’re told.

Bringing it back to Zimbabwe, it has neither a problem of insufficient demand nor insufficient money supply as the twin ideologies that are Keynesianism and Monetarism would contend. What really ails Zimbabwe is a lack of production; the latter increasingly being made up for by enterprising Zimbabweans living and working outside their home country.



The Equation That Explains Evil

Our age loves scientific equations. Here's one you weren't taught at college but which affects you as much as the law of gravity:

GI - W = E
Good Intentions (GI) minus Wisdom (W) leads to Evil (E).

You weren't taught this rule at college because the modern university believes only science has rules. "Rules of life" is another term for wisdom, and there is no wisdom -- or even pursuit of wisdom -- at our universities.

Life has rules just like the natural sciences do. Examples include:

Ingratitude makes happiness impossible.

Corrupt people think everyone else is as corrupt as they are.

Human nature is not basically good.

Feelings are far less important than actions.

Most men need a woman to mature.

Most women need a man to mature.

The list is long. And the more life rules people know and live by the better people they'll be -- the better the world will be.

There is a reason Jordan Peterson's book "12 Rules for Life" has sold millions of copies, mostly to young people. It is the same reason PragerU has a billion views a year, mostly among people under 35. Many young people are sensing they have been cheated by the adults that have taught them, for example, to pursue self-esteem rather than self-control -- a "rule" guaranteed to lead to moral and professional failure.

But one rule almost no one was taught, that explains most organized evil and the left in particular, from the Bolsheviks to Mao to Castro to Chavez to your everyday leftist in New York or Iowa: Good intentions without wisdom leads to evil.

Communism, the greatest mass murder ideology in history, was for almost all its rank-and-file supporters rooted in their desire to do good. (This was rarely true for its leaders, whose greatest desire was power.)

The many millions of people all over the world who supported communism did not think they were supporting unprecedented levels of mass murder and torture or an equally unprecedented deprivation of the most fundamental human rights of a substantial percentage of humanity. They thought they were moral, building a beautiful future for humanity -- eliminating inequality, enabling people to work as hard or as little as they wanted, providing their fellow citizens "free" education and "free" health care. They were convinced that the moral arc of history was bending in their direction and that they were good because their motives were good.

That's why leftists have such moral contempt for those who differ with them. Because those on the left are so good, only bad human beings could possibly oppose them. That is the position of virtually every editor and columnist at The New York Times.

The problem with communists and with leftists who don't consider themselves communists is not that none of them mean well. It's that they lack wisdom. There are wise and foolish liberals, wise and foolish conservatives; but all leftists are fools. Every one of the Democrats running for president is a fool.

This is not, however, a description of their totality as a human being. Fools may be personally kind and generous, may be loyal friends and devoted spouses, and of course, they may be well-intentioned. But in terms of making the world worse, there is little difference between a well-meaning fool and an evil human being. Tens of millions of well-intentioned Westerners supported Stalin. The Westerners who supplied Stalin the secrets to the atom bomb were not motivated by evil. They were simply fools. But few evil people did as much to hurt the world as they did.

They are fools partly because they believe good intentions are all that matter. Therefore, they never ask perhaps the most important moral question one can ask: What will happen if my policy is enacted? Leftist supporters of communism never asked.

Democrats who push the country-bankrupting Green New Deal provide a contemporary example. They not only deny the economy and society-crushing consequences of the Green New Deal, they deny any price will be paid. Every home, office, hospital, school and business will be forced to stop using fossil fuels, yet only good will come from that. Giving that amount of coercive power to the state is of no consequence to leftists. In their make-believe world, no one will suffer. On the contrary, America will become richer, and millions of jobs will be created while we destroy our economy. Poor Africans trying to electrify their countries will be told not to -- yet they, too, will somehow become rich using only wind and sun.

If the Green New Deal is enacted, the American economy will tank -- and with it, much of the rest of the world. Tyrannies like China and Iran will be emboldened, as will dictatorships like Russia.

On every issue in which the left differs from conservatives (and often from liberals), they are fools. They push for a Palestinian state although even Israelis on the left know this would mean a Hamas-Hezbollah state on the Israeli border. But they know they mean well.

They routinely label the beacon of freedom on Earth racist, misogynistic, homophobic, imperialistic, genocidal; cheapen the label "Nazi"; promote all-black dorms and graduations; promote preteen boys' performing drag shows; tell young women career is more important to happiness than marriage; believe a country can remain a distinct nation with open borders; condemn parents who try to reassure their 3-year-old son that he is a boy; and ruin the university, the arts, late-night comedy, pro football and religion.

But they mean well.



Border Apprehensions Plummet Thanks to Trump Deal with Mexico

Back in June, many on the left pooh-poohed Trump's deal with Mexico to avoid tariffs in exchange for stronger efforts by Mexico to curb the flow of immigrants through their country into the United States. While the positive impact of that deal became apparent almost immediately, we now have a much clearer picture of the impact of the deal Trump struck with Mexico, as border apprehensions have plummeted the past three months.

Immigration officials apprehended just over 64,000 migrants at the southern border in August – a dramatic drop that the Trump administration is presenting as a sign its diplomatic engagement with Mexico and other countries is having positive effects on the ground.

The 64,006 migrants apprehended or deemed inadmissible represents a 22 percent drop from July, when 82,055 were apprehended, and a 56 percent drop from the peak of the crisis in May, when more than 144,000 migrants were caught or deemed inadmissible. While the numbers typically drop in the summer, the plummet is steeper than typical seasonal declines.

Meanwhile, the number of caravans has also dropped. In May, 48 caravans of migrants were recorded coming to the U.S. In August, the tally was six. Border Patrol now has fewer than 5,000 migrants in custody, down from 19,000 at the peak in the spring.

The numbers are still technically at crisis levels, but nevertheless, the trend is clear and proves that Trump's policies are working. “That international effort is making an impact. Mexican operational interdiction is certainly [the] highlight of that effort, but the shared responsibility we’re seeing in the region, governments stepping up and saying we also own this,” said Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Monday while on Fox News. Another senior administration official said that "the tariff threat with Mexico changed the dynamic significantly with our partners."

Trump announced in May that he intended to impose tariffs on Mexico if it did not help the U.S. combat the migration crisis. Trump ultimately suspended the tariffs days before after a deal was reached that included Mexico taking “unprecedented steps” to boost enforcement, including deploying its National Guard, while the MPP, known informally as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, was expanded.

Mexico has now been giving those migrants a permit to remain, work authorizations and social security and providing free transportation to anyone who wants to return to their home countries.

A senior administration official pointed to engagement with countries in Central America and agreements made with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador on issues such as human smuggling – the main countries sending migrants to the U.S. The official said that Honduras has so far more than doubled its border force after the U.S. requested they triple it.

A long-term solution to the problem of illegal immigration must still come from Congress, which seems unlikely as long as Democrats control the House. Thankfully Trump is doing something to solve the problem.



Who's benefiting from Trump's economy? Minorities and the poor 

The Washington Post reports, “For the first time, most new hires of prime working age (25 to 54) are people of color, according to a Washington Post analysis of data the Labor Department began collecting in the 1970s. Minority hires overtook white hires last year.” If, as the Leftmedia loudly insists, President Donald Trump is a racist only interested in promoting white nationalism, he’s evidently doing a terrible job of it. In fact, under Trump’s leadership, black unemployment has hit record lows. And it’s not just blacks; minorities in general are enjoying record employment levels, as are white Americans.

Meanwhile, as the economy under Trump has surged, the number of Americans on food stamps has dropped by over six million since January 2017. The Daily Caller notes, “In February 2017, the first month after Trump took office, 42,297,791 persons were participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. As of June 2019, 36,029,506 persons were participating in the program.”

Yet during Barack Obama’s long “recovery,” the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps doubled, from 1.9 million to 3.9 million. One of the main factors for this increase can be tied to Obama’s waiving of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act’s work requirements. While Obama increased the number of Americans who depended on the federal government (and, by extension, the Democrat Party), Trump’s actions have reversed this trend and now fewer Americans find themselves on the government dole.



Roughly 6.2 million people have dropped off food stamps since President Donald Trump’s first month in office

Data from the USDA shows 6,268,285 individuals have left the food stamp program since Trump took office.

In February 2017, the first month after Trump took office, 42,297,791 persons were participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. As of June 2019, 36,029,506 persons were participating in the program.

Similarly, 20,937,903 households were participating in the program in February of 2017 – a number which slimmed down to 18,230,968 by June 2019 revealing that 2,706,935 households dropped out of the food stamps program since Trump took office.

Under the Obama administration as part of a 2009 stimulus package, states were allowed to waive work requirements for food stamps and the number of childless adults on food stamps doubled.

The number of able-bodied adults on food stamps doubled from 1.9 million in 2008 to 3.9 million in 2010 when Obama signed his stimulus bill and suspended a rule under the 1996 Welfare Reform Law that regulated how long able-bodied adults without dependents could collect food stamps.




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, September 11, 2019

New York to commemorate 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks by disciples of Satan

It's been 18 years since the September 11 attacks left nearly 3,000 people dead in the worst act of terrorism the nation has ever experienced. On Wednesday, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum will commemorate the lives lost with a ceremony honoring those killed at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and aboard Flight 93 — as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

CBSN New York will live stream the ceremony starting at around 8:25 a.m. ET from the 9/11 Memorial plaza in lower Manhattan

As has happened in years past, the names of those killed will be read during Wednesday's ceremony



"The Trump “dynasty” will “last for decades”"

I think the Donald is a rare original with no member of his family a patch on him.  Even his Veep is not up to his standard.  It's early days but I like Ted Cruz as his successor -- JR

Paul Mirengoff

AP reports that Brad Parscale, President Trump’s reelection campaign manager, said yesterday that the president and his family are “a dynasty that will last for decades, propelling the Republican Party into a new party.” It never hurts for the campaign manager to flatter the candidate and his family, especially when the candidate’s two sons are key members of the campaign team.

Is Parscale’s prediction sound? Arguably, Trump by himself is propelling the GOP “into a new party.” Whether this effect will endure and whether it will be carried forward by members of his family may depend on how the Trump presidency ends.

Or it may not. George H.W. Bush’s presidency didn’t end well. Yet, one of his sons became president and another became a popular governor of a large state.

Bill Clinton’s presidency ended better. He served two terms and was popular at the end of the second. Yet, Hillary Clinton never became president and, in fairly short order, the Democratic party moved well to the left of where it was during the Clinton presidency.

But the Trump presidency represents a sharper break with his party’s past than the Bush 41 and Clinton presidencies did. So I do think the extent to which the Trump transformation endures and is carried further by members of his family depends on how successful his presidency is deemed.

In thinking about a Trump dynasty, we probably should distinguish among potential dynasts and, especially, between his two adult sons on the one hand and Ivanka/Jared on the other. Ivanka strikes me as clearly to the left of Don Jr. and Eric. Reportedly, she likes to tell people that she’s not a conservative.

Thus, the desirability of a Trump dynasty probably depends on which family members would ascend.

The Trump dynasty Parscale envisages is “one that will adapt to changing cultures.” “One must continue to adapt while keeping the conservative values that we believe in,” he explained.

That’s true. But a dynasty can’t maintain conservative values if it adapts too much to “changing cultures.”

Ivanka seems already to be adapting to changing sub-cultures. So if there is to be a Trump dynasty, I hope the dynasts won’t include her.



Jobs Report Blows Away Recession Fears as Trump Economy Continues to Soar

Rick Manning

There were fewer people unemployed in America in August 2019 than there were in August 1975 when we were just shy of 69 million fewer people in the economy.

I graduated from Norco High School in 1975. I am now eligible to collect Social Security. And there are fewer Americans unemployed today than the summer I graduated high school.

If this doesn’t shock you, then nothing will.

Economies can be measured by many things, the number of people who want a job but can’t find one is perhaps the most important political and human measure.

To provide a shorter time frame, there are 4.2 million more Americans in the civilian labor force since January 2017, when Donald Trump became President, and there are 1.5 million fewer Americans who are unemployed today than then. Even as the labor participation rate (percentage of people 16 and older who are in the workforce) has risen from 62.9 percent to 63.2 percent.

A total 5.7 million more jobs have been created.

What we are witnessing is almost an economic miracle. More people are working today at 157.8 million than at any time in history. Fewer people are unemployed this August than in any August since 1974. The last time fewer Americans were unemployed during this month, the pet rock was a popular gift, the Godfather Part II and Blazing Saddles were the two most popular movies and the Vietnam War was still raging.

For all the economic doom and gloom Eeyores, try to find your inner Tigger, because America is working, wages continue to climb, and inflation remains low. And the economy is defying the gravitational expectations of the regular business cycle, largely because Americans are coming back into the workforce; and in spite of the constant negative Nancy news, they are positive about the future.

One final nail in the partisan pessimists down talking the economy coffin is the simple fact that the unemployment rate of 3.7 percent marks the fifteenth time in 18 months that the unemployment rate has been below 4 percent. The last time prior to this run that the unemployment rate was below 4 percent was in January of 1970, almost 50 years ago.

As proof, the much disliked Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with their intrusive blue gloves, reported that the nine busiest days in their history occurred this summer. Note to CNBC: People don’t decide to travel by plane when they believe that their incomes are in jeopardy. Instead they do the staycation which became so popular during the Obama era.

The simple fact is that Americans are not only working but they are making more money today than they have in the past. The household median income rose to a record $61,372 in 2017, as more Americans are benefitting from wage gains earned. The 2018 number will be reported in October, and given the on-going 3.2 percent year over year increases reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is obvious that 2018 and 2019 will have been even better years for American’s pocketbooks.

With all of the down talking of the economy by political and economic pundits, it is important for people to understand that what they are experiencing in the personal lives is what others are — this economy rocks. If you want a job, you can get a job, and you are getting paid more for the same work today than you were last year without inflation eating away all or more of your wage gains.

Yet, problems still remain. Opioid and other addictions continue to have a hollowing out effect on our workforce. As large as the labor force is, and it’s never been larger, there would be about 6.9 million more people aged 16-64 in the workforce today if the labor participation rate for that age group was the same today as it was in 1997. This addiction crisis is also fueling a homeless problem which HUD Secretary Ben Carson is striving to address.

Here’s the good news, that number used to be 9.7 million, meaning 2.8 million working age adults have reentered the labor force and have jobs, with 16-64-year-old labor participation rising from 72.7 percent in 2015 to 73.8 percent in 2018. The restored hope that this represents is the untold story of renewal that is hidden by a media animus toward Donald Trump that refuses to deliver good news.

But even in a time of unprecedented low unemployment rates, work still remains to be done to bring people who have been left behind, like those with disabilities, out of the shadows and into the workforce. The fact that almost 36 million Americans remain on food assistance programs shows that the economy has not yet lifted enough boats to self-sufficiency. The fact that 8.1 million fewer people are on food assistance than when President Trump took office shows that our nation is heading in the right direction.

America should be celebrating the Trump economic success story, and judging by the summer vacation travel reports, it appears that the people get it, even if the media doesn’t.



Black Unemployment Rate Hits Record Low

Let's keep the MAGA train rolling, folks. After the great news that the Fed is not predicting a recession anytime soon, the latest jobs numbers also indicate that black unemployment is the lowest its ever been in the United States since the government began tracking this figure.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that black unemployment fell to 5.5% in August.

As Richard Walters of the GOP said, "New jobs report shows higher wages, higher labor participation rate, and lowest black unemployment ever on record. @realDonaldTrump  continues to deliver for all Americans on the economy!"

Even CNN admitted this was good news. Here's part of the breakdown they gave:

The previous record low of 5.9% was set in May 2018.

The unemployment rate for black women fell to a record 4.4% from 5.2% in July. The unemployment rate for black men crept up to 5.9% from 5.8%. But the previous month's rate was a record, so the rate is still near its historic low.

Unemployment among workers who identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino also fell in August to 4.2%, which matched a record low set earlier this year.

Responding to this news, the president on Twitter said, "The Economy is great. The only thing adding to 'uncertainty' is the Fake News!"



U.S. Announces Its Withdrawal From U.N. Human Rights Council

Happy days!

After more than a year of complaints and warnings — some subtle and others a little less so — the Trump administration has announced that the United States is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley announced the decision in a joint statement Tuesday.

"I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from human rights commitments," Haley told the media. "On the contrary, we take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights."

The move comes as little surprise from an administration that frequently has lambasted the 47-member body for a gamut of perceived failures — particularly the dubious rights records of many of its member countries, as well as what Haley has repeatedly called the council's "chronic bias against Israel."

Haley harked back to a speech she delivered to the council one year ago this month, in which she laid down something of an ultimatum. At that point, she told members that they must stop singling out Israel for condemnation and must clean up their roster — which includes Venezuela, China and Saudi Arabia, among others — or the council could bid the U.S. farewell.

In remarks to the Graduate Institute of Geneva, given the same day as her council speech, Haley made the matter plain.

"If the Human Rights Council is going to be an organization we entrust to protect and promote human rights, it must change," she said. "If it fails to change, then we must pursue the advancement of human rights outside of the council."

In the year that has elapsed since those speeches, such reforms never happened. Instead, she said, the council stayed silent on violent repression in Venezuela, a member state, and welcomed another country with a problematic record of its own, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"The council ceases to be worthy of its name," Haley said, explaining the U.S. withdrawal. "Such a council in fact damages the cause of human rights."



Who is Elizabeth Warren? her fundraising tactics provide a clue

Paul Mirengoff

It’s not easy to distinguish the policy positions of Elizabeth Warren from those of avowed socialist Bernie Sanders. Yet, the establishment fears Sanders and seems comfortable enough with Warren.

Why? I think it’s because they suspect that Warren’s radicalism isn’t nearly as sincere as Sanders’s.

This New York Times article about Warren’s fundraising confirms both the establishment’s comfort with Warren and her lack of sincerity. The Times documents that Warren raised large amounts of money from establishment donors during her campaign for reelection to the Senate in 2018:

"On the highest floor of the tallest building in Boston, Senator Elizabeth Warren was busy collecting big checks from some of the city’s politically connected insiders. It was April 2018 and Ms. Warren, up for re-election, was at a breakfast fund-raiser hosted for her by John M. Connors Jr., one of the old-guard power brokers of Massachusetts.

Soon after, Ms. Warren was in Manhattan doing the same. There would be trips to Hollywood and Silicon Valley, Martha’s Vineyard and Philadelphia — all with fund-raisers on the agenda. She collected campaign funds at the private home of at least one California megadonor, and was hosted by another in Florida. She held finance events until two weeks before her all-but-assured re-election last November"

Bernie Sanders has never raised that kind of money from this donor class. He hasn’t wanted to, and couldn’t if he did.

Soon after securing reelection, Warren announced her bid for the presidency. She funded her campaign, in the first instance, with the money she had raised from big donors when running for the Senate. At the same time, Warren made a splash with the Democratic left by announcing that her presidential campaign would not raise money from big donors:

"The open secret of Ms. Warren’s campaign is that her big-money fund-raising through 2018 helped lay the foundation for her anti-big-money run for the presidency. Last winter and spring, she transferred $10.4 million in leftover funds from her 2018 Senate campaign to underwrite her 2020 run, a portion of which was raised from the same donor class she is now running against"

The early money Warren transferred to her presidential campaign has made a big difference. According to the Times, Warren was able to invest early in a massive political organization — spending 87 cents of every dollar she raised in early 2019 — without fear of bankrupting her bid. The money also gave her a financial backstop to lessen the risk of forgoing traditional fundraisers.

Ed Rendell, the epitome of an establishment insider, says of Warren: “Can you spell hypocrite?” Rendell recruited donors to attend an intimate fund-raising dinner for Warren last year at a Philadelphia steakhouse where the famed cheese steak goes for $120. He said he received a “glowing thank-you letter” from Warren afterward.

But when Rendell co-hosted a fundraiser for Joe Biden this spring, the Warren campaign derided the affair as “a swanky private fund-raiser for wealthy donors.” Says Rendell:

"She didn’t have any trouble taking our money the year before. All of a sudden, we were bad guys and power brokers and influence-peddlers. In 2018, we were wonderful"

Warren’s hypocrisy bothers Rendell and, I assume, certain other donors who are supporting Biden. But there’s little evidence that they fear what she would do in the White House.

Sure, they would prefer Biden, whom they see as safer and more likely to defeat Trump. But Warren doesn’t alarm them the way Sanders does. Otherwise, presumably, they would not have been so generous to her in 2018.

Who is the real Elizabeth Warren, the friend of the Democratic establishment or its scourge? To me, she’s just an ambitious pol who, if elected president, will try to straddle the line. Just as she has with her fundraising.



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, September 10, 2019

Can Americans discuss race?

There is a Newsweek article here under the title 'FEEL HOW THAT FEELS' A young woman of color’s take on why the fight against racism has to start with owning it written by a black woman called Nadira Hira.  It starts from the view that we are all racists to some degree, a view long held by most psychologists.  She includes herself and other blacks in that. And she thinks we should talk about it.

The article is long and rambling so I won't reproduce any of it here but I think I can see a large problem in it. A large part of what she writes hinges on definitions.  There are many ways you can define racism and it matters. She strongly argues that whites normally define racism too narrowly -- as bad things done by bad people -- and that blacks tend to disown their racial biases also.  So she wants all of us to discuss openly the many ways we are racist -- in the view that we will make it less harmful by doing so.

But there is a big obstacle to that.  Leftists ALREADY define racism very broadly and, the way they do it, no dialogue will ever come out of it. Leftists call just about EVERYTHING they disagree with racist and condemn it sweepingly.  If she wants to get any dialog about race going, she has somehow to shut up the race-baiting Left. And that will be hard -- as the Left are so bereft of ideas that they would often be left with nothing to say if you took that robotic insult away from them.

So it's an essay that I mostly agree with but it is pissing into the wind.  The Left have effectively shut down almost all intelligent dialog about race in America. Just mentioning the word "race" will normally expose you to a tirade of abuse. And the claim that blacks are racist too will cause many of them them to go completely off their brains


Did Trump Rallies Really Increase Hate Crimes by 226%?

The short answer is "of course not." And you don't even have to work very hard to debunk it.

After the tragedy in El Paso, the media went absolutely berserk.


"The president cannot be absolved of responsibility for inciting the hatreds that led to El Paso," read a  New York Times piece. Democratic presidential contenders echoed this sentiment, with Beto O'Rourke  saying Trump's rhetoric "has a lot to do with" the shooting and Kamala Harris  alleging that Trump was "tweeting out the ammunition" used by the El Paso shooter.

Blaming the words of controversial politicians for the acts of terrorists and lunatics without hard evidence is not new. However, a recent academic paper, reported on by numerous outlets before it went through the peer-review process, suggests that Trump actually is to blame.

What the...? Read on, Macduff:

Studying the effects of Trump's many campaign rallies on reported hate incidents, three professors at the University of North Texas and Texas A&M—Ayal Feinberg, Regina Branton, and Valerie Martinez-Ebers— claim that Trump rallies are associated with a 226 percent  increase in such incidents.

Naturally, their study went viral. Vox, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and CNN all published articles reporting that Trump's words are so bad that exposure to them leads to a wave of hate crimes.

What in the wide, wide, world of sports are those numbskulls saying?

Using the same data and statistical procedures as Feinberg et al.,  we replicated their study's headline result. Since we did not have access to the original paper's data and code, this involved collecting each of the variables mentioned in the original paper, and then independently performing the same analysis. Wherever possible, we copied the decisions that are mentioned in the original paper. Our headline results were very close to those reported in the original paper.

So Trump rallies really do increase "hate crimes"? In the immortal words of Defense Secretary Albert Nimziki from Independence Day, "that's not entirely accurate":

Using additional data we collected, we also  analyzed the effect of Hillary Clinton's campaign rallies using the identical statistical framework. The ostensible finding: Clinton rallies contribute to an  even greater increase in hate incidents than Trump rallies.

This should be enough to give any reader pause. The implied reasoning of those who cited the initial study was that Trump's caustic and seemingly racist rhetoric contributed to a crueler, more discriminatory climate, ripe for hate crimes.

If this interpretation is correct, why did Clinton inspire as many, if not more, hate incidents as Trump did? Did calling millions of Americans "deplorables" promote violence?


As you can see, the left brings Mark Twain's words to life: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." In this case, you have to ask are the professors that stupid? Or do they think that we are?

Trump makes use of the phrase "fake news" all too often. But this is definitely one instance that Trump would be correct in calling out the media for reporting "fake news." It's not only "fake," it's an outright lie.



Josh Hawley and Rick Scott’s bizarre support for socialist price controls

Democrats are reaching as far to the Left as possible to appease their radical liberal base heading into the 2020 presidential primaries, whether it’s through "Medicare for all," the Green New Deal, or Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plans for “big, structural change” in America. Unsurprisingly, Republicans are attempting to frame the 2020 election cycle as a fight to defeat socialism. But are they really committed to that effort?

Not all of them. Senate Republicans such as Josh Hawley of Missouri and Rick Scott of Florida are pushing for socialist price controls on prescription drugs that would cause shortages and make it financially impossible for drug innovators to invent new life-saving medications. Both of these senators were strongly opposed to a government healthcare takeover at the beginning of this year, but have since changed their positions.

Welcome to the swamp.

Hawley and Scott want the Department of Health and Human Services to control drug prices under Medicare Part B using an International Pricing Index. The index would set drug prices based on their costs in other countries, many of which have socialized healthcare systems. This includes the cost of lifesaving medications such as vaccines and cancer treatments.

In other words, they’re basically saying, “Believe in the principles of small government and free markets, but only sometimes.” This is not a message that will inspire the Republican base to show up at the ballot box in 2020. When Republicans abandon their small government principles, they take a beating at the polls

This is more GOP hypocrisy: Price controls are the antithesis of a free market.

Hawley and Scott are trying to have it both ways, but they cannot support individual freedom in one breath and call for a government takeover of the healthcare market in the next. Republicans understood this when they unified in strong opposition to Obamacare. Why the sudden change in position? Why are state-mandated price controls suddenly fine now?

The Republican Party needs to get its policy agenda in order, or they risk heading into the 2020 elections missing one key component that will make or break their success on election night: credibility.

When Republican lawmakers seeking reelection stand for nothing, their words mean nothing on the campaign trail. This is the root of frustration among our entire FreedomWorks community of grassroots activists — it’s the reason why citizens are putting their support behind dedicated free market conservatives who will take the fight to big government policies put forward by either party.

Many of these principled conservatives, and future leaders of the Republican Party, are members of the House Freedom Caucus. They understand the swamp has a way of making lawmakers forget what ideas got them sent to Washington in the first place. They are committed to holding each other accountable to the promises they made to constituents back home.

If the Republican Party wants to restore its credibility with fiscal conservatives in 2020, it needs to stop echoing the ideas of socialist Democrats and strengthen its commitment to free markets by going back to its small government roots. When it comes to healthcare, Hawley and Scott offer a perfect example of what not to do.



With Their 'Wealth Tax' Plan, Democrats Put A Bull's Eye On Those Without It

Taxing the rich is to tax investment and there is no economic progress without investment.  And investment means job creation

Who knows who coined the phrase, but “W-2 wealth” and “you don’t get rich off of W-2 income” is increasingly a thing. Or it seems that way. Executives (W-2) are often extraordinarily well-to-do, but if you want to be truly, filthy rich you must have an equity stake in something. Professional baseball players are W-2 rich and can sometimes claim tens of millions worth of annual income, but their employers are generally billionaires.

There’s rich, and then there’s superrich.

All of this rates discussion in consideration of how prominent Democrats increasingly view taxation. A recent Wall Street Journal report explained their vision for taxing the rich, and it's apparent that income will no longer be enough. Democrats recognize that size amounts of wealth can’t really be found in W-2 income, but in ownership wealth. Ownership of a business, equity in a certain business, or highly appreciated shares in a company. About the rich, the Journal reports that the “Democrats want to shift toward taxing their wealth, instead of just their salaries and the income their assets generate." Translated, the Democrats want to go after the wealth of billionaire MLB owners. The millionaire players aren't rich enough.

Voters should be worried. Or skeptical. Or something. There’s no escaping taxation, and that’s true even if the vast majority of us won’t be taxed. If the Democrats ever succeed in imposing a “wealth tax” that actually succeeds in confiscating the wealth of the richest, watch out. No one will be spared.

Many moons ago Joseph Schumpeter observed that the “means required in order to start enterprise are typically provided by borrowing other people’s savings.” This shouldn't require explanation, but companies and the jobs they must create in order to grow are a consequence of abstinence. That's why everyone is victimized when politicians go after the rich. Think about it.

The above runs counter to what’s taught in economics class, or what’s read in the newspaper. What we read and what we're taught is that tax cuts only work if they're directed toward middle earners and the poor since each demographic will spend a lot of the untaxed income. But consumption doesn’t power economic growth. Investment is the source of growth. Tax the rich who have enormous unspent wealth, and you're taxing investment.

Readers should remember this the next time some dopey economist or economist-worshipping pundit claims that consumption powers economic growth. To believe what is absurd is the equivalent of believing that Haiti’s poverty is a function of the people not getting the consumption memo from economists. No, Haitians consume very little precisely because they produce very little.

Importantly, another economic truth that cannot be refuted is Schumpeter’s about savings being a requirement for starting a business. For there to be entrepreneurs there must be abstinence on the part of someone or many someones so that an idea can morph into reality. And if anyone disagrees with any of this, please produce the list of prominent businesses that got that way sans copious investment.

So the Democrats want to tax wealth? That’s what they say. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and others say they want to go after the wealth of the superrich. It’s only fair, or something like that. They’re only going after the big fortunes. Ok, but if they do they’re saying they want to tax opportunity for everyone else. Sorry, but it’s true. Those with immense wealth have the means to invest immense amounts of wealth. Behind every great business is a story of a visionary founder or CEO finding the investment necessary to stave off bankruptcy. If wealth is taxed as the Democrats claim they’d like to do, there will necessarily be fewer dollars finding their way to innovative businesses with expansive visions for growth.

Notable here is that some Dems are allegedly more moderate, claim their vision is one of boosting the middle class, but their message is really no different from those more up front about their redistributive visions. Joe Biden comes to mind here. Though it’s unlikely he touches a fraction of the common hands he claims to, Biden fancies himself a man of the people. Apparently the truly naïve believe him. Eager to curry favor with the regular people, Biden argues that the “middle class” built America, not Wall Street. Actually, that’s not true. Wall Street’s core function is directing the savings of others to today’s and tomorrow’s companies. What investment bankers do is kind of heroic with the latter in mind, and very pro-middle class. Businesses are endlessly in search of unspent wealth, and Wall Street’s crucial role is one of skillfully helping large, small, and in-between corporations to attain capital in ways that maximize their ability to grow.

Biden is making the same argument as Sanders and Warren, but in stealth fashion. Yet anyone with a pulse should be able to see through the argument. They’re all saying they love jobs and opportunity, but with forked tongues. Out of the mouth’s other side, they’re saying opportunity will somehow be abundant in concert with the confiscation of wealth held by the proverbial MLB owner. Except that what they promise cannot be.

It’s the unspent wealth that is the source of all company formation, expansion, innovation. Abstinence once again fuels economic growth and the Democrats want to tax abstinence. Unknown is if any of the Democrats promising to tax savings will be asked about this obvious contradiction during the debates. The question is rhetorical.

Still, readers shouldn’t be fooled by the Dems' rhetoric. Opportunity springs not from the W-2 rich, but from the owner/investor/inherited wealth rich. Keep this in mind the next time some politician promises to spread the wealth around through force. We all suffer taxes levied on those with the most.



Socialism Runs Wild: NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Mulls Requiring Licenses For Bicyclists

From the same man who brought “Meatless Monday” to New York City schoolchildren, Mayor Bill de Blasio seeks to expand the choking death grip of socialism to Big Apple residents with another authoritarian idea.

Hizzoner’s 2020 presidential run has imploded like the farce that it always was and now that he has inhaled the gaseous emissions from other socialist candidates, he has plenty of time to focus on additional ways to inflict misery on his own constituents.

Now de Blasio is mulling mandating bicycle riders to be licensed by his crooked big city government and to face serious consequences if they fail to comply with his coming decree.

“We have to think about what’s going to be safe for people first, but also what’s going to work,” the mayor said of the helmet requirement. “Is it something we could actually enforce effectively? Would it discourage people from riding bikes? I care first and foremost about safety




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, September 09, 2019

The one thing everybody missed in Brexit chaos

Although I have always followed British politics closely, I have usually found the Brexit discussions far too boring to comment on.  There is however what I see as a particularly insightful comment below by Australian commentator Joe Hildebrand

The British Prime Minister has lost three key Brexit votes in parliament in just two days — and they potentially just scored him an election win.

George W. Bush once profoundly observed: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me … er, you can’t get fooled again.”

What the eloquent former president meant to say was: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” In other words, if you get tricked by someone once it means they’re an a**ehole. But if you get tricked twice it means you’re a sucker.

This handy saying came back to me amid the rolling wall-to-wall coverage of Boris Johnson’s “humiliating defeat” this week.

Indeed, the phrase “humiliating defeat” was used so universally you’d think a memo had gone out. Not even the Chinese media has such remarkable editorial consistency.

Needless to say, it is not the first time the media and political commentariat has reached such a consensus. It pretty much universally declared that Donald Trump could not be elected US President and Scott Morrison could not be elected Australian Prime Minister.

I should know — I was one of those commentators.

And of course, it was only three years ago that virtually the entire UK political establishment was convinced that the Brexit referendum would not succeed — indeed, so convinced that they were the ones who put it to a referendum in the first place.

Now those same voices are saying that Mr Johnson’s Brexit plans are in tatters and his prime ministership has been dealt a crushing blow. As George W. Bush said: “Fool me once …”

In a world where all the smart people keep getting it wrong, sometimes it takes an idiot to get it right. And this is where I come in.

I am far from an expert in the ancient art of British politics, but for the life of me I cannot see a scenario in which Johnson’s position isn’t manifestly stronger after his supposed “humiliating defeat”.

Indeed, it is hard not to suspect that Boris planned the whole thing himself.

Before the predictable accusations of bias come out, let me state yet again that I am anti-Brexit, I have always been anti-Brexit and even if I was pro-Brexit, I would be anti-Hard Brexit. The only difference between me and the current rump of Remainers is that I am also pro-democracy.

And it seems to me that a bunch of politicians trying to stop the result of a referendum being enacted, trying to stop an election being called to resolve the matter and, failing that, trying to make one of its two potential outcomes illegal is not exactly democratic. But we’ll get to that later.

There are three very good reasons Boris Johnson would dearly love an election.

The first is the natural human instinct of a newly installed party leader wishing to give his prime ministership legitimacy, an instinct that is obviously amplified in both narcissists and populists (and Boris is at least one of those two things).

The second is that by almost every measure, the Conservative Party is enormously likely to win majority government under Mr Johnson — something it spectacularly failed to do under Theresa May in yet another poll shock that defied all expectations.

And, thanks to the expulsion of all the Tory MPs who crossed the floor, all newly preselected Conservative candidates would be, by definition, Johnson loyalists, thus tightening his grip on the party.

The third, and most critical, is that an election campaign under Mr Johnson would serve as a defacto second referendum on Brexit and give him an undeniable mandate to press ahead with Britain’s departure from the EU under any circumstances — not to mention the numbers to do so — without having to resort to an absurd “do-over” referendum that would be harder for the Leave camp to win.

And so an election for Mr Johnson is the ultimate magic bullet. It would strengthen his leadership, his party and his cause. It would be his political Holy Trinity.

The only thing standing in his way is that the UK has fixed five-year terms and so Mr Johnson would need an extraordinary trigger for being able to justify calling one. Something like, for example, a “constitutional crisis”.

This is almost certainly what Mr Johnson intended to manufacture when he announced his shock parliamentary shutdown and, sure enough, the hysteria of his opponents gave him precisely the crisis he wanted. They even christened it for him.

Now, instead of looking like he’s making a cynical power play to prop up his parliamentary numbers, Boris can play the reluctant hero, appearing befuddled and besieged and attempting to resolve this historical impasse by humbly submitting to the judgment of the people — a judgment that virtually every poll shows will deliver him a thumping win.

But Boris’ bonanza doesn’t end there. The technical process for forcing the election requires a two-thirds majority of parliament, a safeguard designed to ensure it is a bipartisan decision and prevent precisely the sort of political opportunism Mr Johnson is trying to engineer.

Any half-smart political leader would of course deny an ascendant opponent the chance to go to the polls, which was the genesis of Paul Keating’s magnificently sensual pledge to John Hewson: “I want to do you slowly.”

Hand-in-hand with this concept goes the other universal rule of Westminster politics: that is, you want to avoid an ascendant opponent in the first place. You want to keep your opponent weak enough to get beaten on polling day but not so weak that their own party replaces them with someone who could beat you.

This is precisely why the Coalition never went for the jugular on Bill Shorten.

But of course both these concepts are far too complex for Jeremy Corbyn, a man whose density is rivalled only by the bottom half of the periodic table.

The UK Labour leader’s refusal to co-operate with Theresa May on a soft Brexit both dramatically increased the likelihood of a hard one and rendered her position so untenable that it effectively ensured her replacement by the far more popular Boris Johnson.

Not only that, Mr Corbyn’s own position on Brexit was so hopelessly compromised and confused that his only tactic of the past two years was to loudly and constantly demand the Conservatives go to the polls, apparently blissfully unaware of the possibility that when they finally granted his wish, it might be under a different leader.

Now of course his bluff has been called and sooner or later, he will have no choice but to send himself to his doom. Honestly, anyone who ever gets the chance to play cards with this guy should immediately take him up on it and chuck their car keys in the pot. A five-year-old could beat him with pair of deuces.

As a result, Corbyn has already been forced to declare that he will support the election bill once another bill has passed — banning the UK from “crashing out” of the EU — which is a rather strange caveat given that that’s precisely what a huge number of people voting in the election will be voting for.

Yet even this oddly anti-democratic act — waved through in a bizarre tableau of sleeping bags and toothbrushes by the House of Lords — is utterly meaningless.

Notwithstanding the UK’s somewhat unusual understanding of democracy, a re-elected Conservative government with a majority in the House of Commons could simply reverse the legislation — and it would take a very suicidal or very sleepy Lord to stand in the way of that.

In short, it appears right now that Mr Johnson will get the election he wants, will win that election with party unquestionably loyal to him, will have a mandate to do what he wants and will have the numbers to do it.

If that’s a humiliating defeat then I’ll have a double.

The only thing it looks like Mr Johnson might not get at this stage is his preferred exit date of October 31. Hopefully he will be able to come to terms with this with therapy and time.

The far more disturbing thing to emerge from this whole sorry sh*tshow is the outrageously elitist attitude that the masses were not educated enough to know what they were voting for in the 2016 referendum and their error must be corrected by their intellectual betters.

Even Orwell himself would marvel that in 21st century Britain, supposedly enlightened politicians are arguing that people should be able to vote any way they want as long as it’s the right one. Some pigs are indeed more equal than others.

The good news is that if these people really want a government that decides what’s good for them without the pesky nuisance of democracy, then there’s a very big and powerful country they can move to.

The only catch is it’s not in Europe.



Protesters at Chick-fil-A greatly outnumbered by a throng of customers

Chick-fil-A opened its first franchised location in Canada on Friday and was met by both a line of eager customers and a crowd of protesters.

The popular fast-food chain, famous for its Christian values, is no stranger to protests. For years, the company has been met with opposition from LGBT activists and others on the left.

Despite extensive criticism, however, Chick-fil-A has continued to prove wildly popular, besting In-N-Out this year as America’s favorite fast-food restaurant, according to one major survey.

When the company’s new Toronto location opened at 10:30 a.m. local time, customers “streamed in,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Meanwhile, protesters chanted “shame” at the waiting customers and waved signs that read “Cluck-off” in the restaurant’s signature font. Local LGBT activists denounced Chick-fil-A’s arrival in the Canadian city.

“The fact that Chick-fil-A is opening on the streets of Toronto is something that is quite alarming,” Justin Khan, who works at Toronto LGBT organization The 519, told the CBC.

Protester Tommy King said that the company has “fought against equal rights in the states, and if they’re here, they’re probably going to do the same.”

Protesters also chanted “we will not be silenced,” though it was not clear who, if anyone, was attempting to silence them.



Farmers are facing persecution in South Africa

A delegation of 30 South African farming families has arrived in Russia’s farmbelt Stavropol region, Rossiya 1 TV channel reports. The group says it is facing violent attacks and death threats at home.

Up to 15,000 Boers, descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa, are planning to move to Russia amid rising violence stemming from government plans to expropriate their land, according to the delegation.

“It’s a matter of life and death — there are attacks on us. It’s got to the point where the politicians are stirring up a wave of violence,” Adi Slebus told the media. “The climate here [in the Stavropol region] is temperate, and this land is created by God for farming. All this is very attractive.”

The new South African government lead by President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to return the lands owned by white farmers since the 1600s to the black citizens of the country. The government said it is planning to put an end to what it calls the legacy of apartheid, where most of South Africa’s land is still in the hands of its minority white population.

Rights groups have said the initiative incites violence. There were 74 farm murders and 638 attacks, primarily against white farmers, in 2016-17 in South Africa, according to data by minority rights group AfriForum.

The farmers are ready to make a contribution to Russia’s booming agricultural sector, according to Rossiya 1. Each family is ready to bring up to $100,000 for leasing the land.

Russia has 43 million hectares of unused farmland. The country has recently begun giving out free land to Russian citizens to cultivate farming. The land giveaway program, which began in 2014, has been a huge success



Students who never go on dates are happier and more sociable than their peers in relationships

Score 1 for Christians

Teenagers who avoid dating aren't necessarily socially awkward, experts have found.

In fact, they sometimes have better mental health than their romantically-linked peers and are equally well-adjusted.

That's the conclusion reached by researchers at the University of Georgia, who studied nearly six-hundred tenth grade students. 

As a result, experts say schools should promote being single as a viable option of healthy development among adolescents.   

Researchers at the University of Georgia studied nearly six-hundred tenth grade students.

They first identified four distinct dating trajectories from 6th to 12th grade: low, increasing, high middle school and frequent.

Investigators then compared the four dating groups using teacher ratings and student questionnaires. 

The researchers identified four distinct dating trajectories from 6th to 12th grade: low, increasing, high middle school and frequent.

Investigators compared the four dating groups using teacher ratings and student questionnaires. 

The data found that adolescents who were not in a romantic relationship had good social skills and low depression, and fared better or equal to peers who dated.

'In the end, school health educators, mental health professionals, and teachers should affirm social norms that support adolescents' individual freedom to decide whether to date or not, indicating that both are acceptable and healthy options,' said lead author Brooke Douglas, of the University of Georgia.

The study was published in the Journal of School Health.

Meanwhile, a separate study from February 2019 found that a woman's willingness to engage in casual sex at college depends on how romantically active they were at school.

Dr Laurie Hawkins from the University of Essex conducted 45 interviews with undergraduate women at a large public Western United States.

They were asked to give their views on sexuality in adolescence as well as their sexual and romantic relationships in college.

Classified into five categories - religious, relationship seekers, high school partiers, late bloomers and career women - the late bloomers were the most frivolous with sexual partners, suggesting they were making up for lost time.

Meanwhile, women who were sexually experienced in high school were less concerned about casual encounters. 

Dr Hawkins told MailOnline: 'The late bloomers were an interesting group. They pretty much ignored sex but once they did engage in sex/hookup culture at university, they jumped into it more than others and were among the most sexually active of all the groups.

'However, since they had fairly negative feelings about the appropriateness of sex, they needed a way to justify their own behaviour so they engaged in slut shaming of other women in order to make themselves feel better about their own behaviour – they might be having sex, but others were doing it more and therefore their sexual behaviour was better.

'I think they talked about it more as it was a way to engage in social comparison so they could bolster their feelings about their own participation in casual sex culture.'



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, September 08, 2019

Sharpie President? Alabama National Guard Mobilized for Hurricane Dorian

On Thursday, Twitter lit up with the hashtag #SharpiePresident, as people mocked President Donald Trump for drawing a circle around the path for Hurricane Dorian, showing the hurricane threatening the Great State of Alabama. The memes are hilarious, but the hurricane really did threaten Alabama, as Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown said in a letter defending the president. In fact, the Alabama National Guard mobilized for the hurricane days before Trump's infamous Sharpie snafu.

On Wednesday, Trump shared the original projections, to which someone added a circle in Sharpie to emphasize the threat to Alabama. Note: in the video, Trump does not claim that Dorian was still headed toward Alabama, only that the original projections suggested it would be.

The president told The New York Times he did not know who added the Sharpie circle to the map. Liberals rushed to mock the president on Twitter, however, sharing memes about "President Sharpie."

Liberal commentators had a field day, with Stephen Colbert joking that Trump would be going to "weather jail." Democratic members of Congress also attacked the president over the image, claiming he had committed an illegal act by doctoring the map.

Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown, Trump's homeland security and counterterrorism advisor, released a statement explaining the president's position.

"As the Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, I briefed President Donald J. Trump multiple times concerning the position, forecast, risks, and Federal Government preparations for and response to Hurricane Dorian," Brown wrote. He noted that Trump's comments on September 1 "were based on that morning's Hurricane Dorian briefing, which included the possibility of tropical storm force winds in southeastern Alabama. In fact, from the evening of Tuesday, August 27 until the morning of September 2, forecasts from the National Hurricane Center showed the possibility of tropical storm force winds hitting parts of Alabama."

Yet perhaps the most important piece of evidence came from the Alabama National Guard itself. The state's National Guard started mobilizing for Hurricane Dorian because the storm was projected to hit their state.

"[Hurricane Dorian] is projected to reach southern Alabama by the early part of the week. We are watching closely and [ready] to act. Are you?" the Alabama National Guard tweeted.



DNC Resolution Takes Aim at Christians, Warning Against 'Religious Liberty'

Last month, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) passed a resolution praising the religiously unaffiliated, saying their values align with those of the Democratic Party and recognizing them as the largest religious group in that party. Yet the resolution also took up arms against "misplaced claims" of "religious liberty," warning that religious freedom threatens the "civil rights and liberties" of many liberal interest groups.

"[T]hose most loudly claiming that morals, values, and patriotism must be defined by their particular religious views have used those religious views, with misplaced claims of 'religious liberty,' to justify public policy that has threatened the civil rights and liberties of many Americans, including but not limited to the LGBT community, women, and ethnic and religious/nonreligious minorities," the DNC resolution states.

The DNC likely intended this clause to appeal to the religiously unaffiliated — better known as "nones" — but it also represents the cementing orthodoxy of the Democratic Party. Democrats have united around H.R. 5, the so-called "Equality Act," which would enshrine in American law a vision of gender identity as more important than biological sex. A broad coalition of feminists, pro-lifers, and religious freedom advocates have united to oppose this bill, including outspoken Democrats like feminist lawyer Kara Dansky.

Senate Democrats have launched attacks on the religious faith of Trump nominees, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) infamously saying, "the dogma lives loudly within you." Former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) compared a conservative Christian law firm to the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot, and many Democrats have repeated the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) "hate group" accusation against conservative Christian groups, something that's  been outed as a cynical fundraising scheme.

The type of religious liberty the DNC attacked as "misplaced" likely refers to the very public court battles over whether or not religious artistic professionals can opt out of endorsing same-sex weddings.

Christian baker Jack Phillips, for example, refused to bake a custom cake for a same-sex wedding, although he gladly sells all sorts of pre-made cakes to LGBT people in his shop. Yet the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that he had discriminated against people on the basis of sexual orientation. He appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court and won — because members of the commission displayed animus against his religious faith, comparing his views to those of the Nazis.

Even after this Supreme Court victory, Phillips again faced the commission. A transgender lawyer asked him to bake an obscene custom cake celebrating the lawyer's gender transition. Phillips refused, citing his free speech right not to be forced to endorse a view with which he disagrees. The commission again found him guilty of discrimination, but it dropped the complaint in March 2019. The lawyer promptly sued Phillips.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represented Phillips and many similar cases. The SPLC has accused this group of being a "hate group," leading Franken to demonize it on the scale of Pol Pot. Yet ADF's ideological opponents — former ACLU president Nadine Strossen and Mikey Weinstein, current head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (a secularist group) — have insisted that ADF is not a "hate group." The demonization rapidly gaining steam in the Democratic Party goes too far for some outspoken secular lawyers.

Of people like Phillips and those who defend them, like ADF, LGBT mega donor Tim Gill said, "We're going to punish the wicked."

The DNC also mentioned attacks on women, likely a reference to the religious liberty of doctors, nurses, and Catholic medical facilities to opt out of performing or assisting in abortions in violation of their consciences. Yet pro-abortion activists have dressed up as handmaids from The Handmaid's Tale in protest of such liberties, suggesting that any restriction on abortion is tantamount to a misogynistic dystopia where women are ritualistically raped in order to bear children at the dictates of a conservative Christian government.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, compared the Trump administration's refusal to pay for an illegal immigrant woman's abortion to — you guessed it — The Handmaid's Tale.

According to research by sociologists George Yancey and David Williamson, animus against conservative Christians is just as strong as animus against other religious groups besides atheists. This "Christianophobia" is mostly directed against "fundamentalism," and those with such animus "are more likely to be white, well educated, and wealthy." The factor most connected to Christianophobia in their study was politics: "Nearly half of the anti-fundamentalists in our sample were political progressives."

Jack Phillips Opens Up About Being Compared to a Nazi, Though His Dad Liberated a Concentration Camp
In fact, one of Yancey's studies showed that some people who did not have a high view of LGBT people nonetheless supported LGBT activism while reporting high levels of animus against conservative Christians. Yancey suggested that "hatred of Christians" can lead to "support for sexual minorities."

Many liberals do genuinely fear that religious liberty protections will make it impossible for LGBT people to find and keep a job, to find a place to live, and to flourish in society. Current activism goes far beyond these legitimate concerns, however.

Cases like that of Jack Phillips represent an overreach far beyond a "live and let live" compromise. These cases are less about making sure that LGBT people can thrive and more about forcing Christians to violate their consciences.

Liberals often claim that religious liberty is a tool to protect religious minorities, and it seems that argument is on full display in the pro-nones resolution. Indeed, it is fundamentally important to protect the religious liberty of all.

But the logic of opposing religious liberty for Christians — who are nominally a majority in the U.S. despite the stigma against conservative Christians — would also result in a loss of religious liberty for religious minorities like Muslims, Jews, and even nones.

Last year, lawyers for the State of Minnesota argued that the state should be able to force a Christian media company to make videos celebrating same-sex weddings in violation of its Christian beliefs. In arguments before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, those lawyers admitted that if the state could force Christian filmmakers to violate their religious beliefs, it could force a Muslim tattoo artist to write a message that tattoo artist disagrees with, like inking "Jesus Christ is the Son of God" on a Christian customer.

Religious liberty must be for everyone or no one. Democrats want to excoriate Christians when they want to live according to their consciences, but they want to champion religious minorities in the same struggle. This is rank hypocrisy.

The DNC could have welcomed religious nones into the party without a gratuitous attack on the religious liberty claims of conservative Christians. Instead, it arguably appealed to a Christianophobia that has gone too far, even for prominent secular lawyers like Mikey Weinstein.

And some people wonder why evangelicals are flocking in droves to Donald Trump.



The Left Has a $500 Million Dark Money ‘ATM Machine’ Called Arabella

A largely unknown, massively funded strategy company pushing the interests of wealthy leftist donors has been quietly behind a hydra-like dark money network of pop-up groups designed to look like grassroots activist organizations. These front groups push everything from opposition to President Trump’s proposed border wall to support for Obamacare to gun control to government control of the Internet to pro-abortion activism and other leftwing causes.

The secretive Arabella Advisors may be one of the most impactful and sophisticated leftist funding outfits that you never heard of, a centralized hub that runs nonprofit arms that in turn have spawned a nexus of hundreds of front organizations outwardly designed to appear grassroots but that evidence the common theme of more government control in the lives of Americans.

Arabella’s vast network was unmasked in an extensive exposé by conservative watchdog Capital Research Center, which documents the shadowy system developed by, housed in, and staffed by the for-profit, privately held Arabella Advisors.

The Arabella firm in turn manages four nonprofits: the New Venture Fund, Sixteen Thirty Fund, Windward Fund, and Hopewell Fund. It is these nonprofit entities that play host to hundreds of groups and projects that promote interests and political movements strategically deployed in an ongoing campaign to nudge the country to the left.

Arabella’s nonprofits spent a combined $1.16 billion from 2013-2017 alone with the aim of advancing “the political policies desired by wealthy left-wing interests through hundreds of ‘front’ groups,” according to the report. “And those interests pay well: the network’s revenues grew by an incredible 392 percent over that same period.”

“Together, these groups form an interlocking network of ‘dark money’ pop-up groups and other fiscally sponsored projects, all afloat in a half-billion-dollar ocean of cash,” states the report. “The real puppeteer, though, is Arabella Advisors, which has managed to largely conceal its role in coordinating so much of the professional Left’s infrastructure under a mask of ‘philanthropy.’”

A specialty of the Arabella network seems to be the quick turnover of hundreds of “front” groups, especially websites timed to impact current events and designed to look like “grassroots” Astroturf organizations but that actually function as part of an orchestrated movement to advance the political interests of hidden leftist donors.

“At a glance, these groups — such as Save My Care and Protect Our Care — appeared to be impassioned examples of citizen activists defending ObamaCare,” according to the report. “In reality, neither ‘not-for-profit’ advocacy group appears to have paid staff, held board meetings, or even owned so much as a pen.”

In one case, an organization calling itself Demand Justice, founded by former members of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, quickly thrust itself into the center of opposition to Trump’s Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh.

Even before Trump announced Kavanaugh as his nominee, Demand Justice committed to spending about $5 million to oppose the eventual pick. As soon as Kavanaugh’s name was selected, the organization immediately deployed an anti-Kavanaugh website and helped lead news making national activism during the confirmation hearings.

Yet what the news media missed is that Demand Justice is fiscally sponsored by the Sixteen Thirty Fund, one of Arabella’s nonprofits, as the Capital Research Center report reveals.

The report shows similar setups have spawned organizations that serve as the backbone of the Obamacare support network, promote gun control, support pro-abortion activism, champion open border policies, and even advocate for a centralized government role on the Internet.

Arabella nonprofits also evidence close financial workings with initiatives for the Democracy Alliance, another network of highly influential donors, including billionaire George Soros. Democracy Alliance itself coordinates funding to even more leftist outfits.

Arabella Advisors was founded by Eric Kessler, whose bio on the firm’s website identifies him as “a serial entrepreneur who has started, led, and advised organizations pursuing social change across the country and around the globe.”

Curiously missing from his official bio, but documented in the Capital Research Center report, is the detail that Kessler served as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, an arm of the controversial Clinton Foundation.

The report concludes by asking, “Given that many of the groups managed by Arabella frequently call for transparency in the funding of campaigns and policy advocacy, they may first consider voluntarily disclosing their own funding sources. Why shouldn’t transparency begin at home?”



$3 Billion State Stem Cell “Flop” Now Wants $5.5 Billion More

This month, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), California’s state stem-cell agency, hands out its final grants. By the count of Anna Ibarra of California Health Line, that marks $3 billion CIRM has spent—“6 billion with interest”—with scant returns for California taxpayers. In 2004 Proposition 71, which authorized CIRM, promised a host of life-saving cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases, but the FDA has yet to approve “any treatments funded by CIRM.”

In similar style, founder Robert Klein, a wealth real-estate developer, promised a stream of fees and royalties that would make CIRM self-supporting. The stem-cell agency reported no royalties until 2018, and only in the amount of $190,345.87. That is less than the salary of former state senator Art Torres, whom CIRM hired when it had a biotech professional willing to work for no salary. With royalties amounting to chump change, and none of the promised cures in the offing, CIRM bosses have a plan.

“Supporters already plan to go back to voters in November 2020 to ask for even more money than last time,” Ibarra explains, “$5.5 billion, plus interest.” As Marcy Darnovsky of the Berkeley Center for Genetics and Society told Ibarra, “it’s a lot of money, even for the state of California.” The original $3 billion was redistributed to cronies.

In 2012, it emerged that CIRM was handing out more than 90 percent of its grants to institutions with representatives on its governing board. That was the sort of thing that got state education superintendent Bill Honig busted on felony conflict-of-interest charges in 1993. In 2012, state Attorney General Kamala Harris looked the other way at CIRM, and so did legislators. Klein wrote Proposition 71 to install himself as chairman, and he kept CIRM from legislative oversight by requiring a 70 percent supermajority of both houses to make any structural or policy changes.

As it happens, Robert Klein was also the prime mover of the California Housing Finance Agency, the state’s “affordable housing lender.” CalHFA claims to be “a completely self-supporting state agency, and its bonds are repaid by revenues generated through mortgage loans, not taxpayer dollars.” CalHFC’s 15-member board of directors includes former assemblywoman and current state treasurer Fiona Ma, who is also on the “audit committee.” CalHFA does not indicate whether it ever directed public funds to projects in which board members have a financial interest, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has not tasked state auditor Elaine Howle to investigate.

Meanwhile, $5.5 billion is a lot of money, even for California, and especially for a state agency that Marcy Darnovsky describes as “a flop.”



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)