Friday, December 06, 2019

George Zimmerman SUES Trayvon Martin's family and Florida prosecutors for $100MILLION, claiming they engineered false evidence in his homicide trial for shooting dead the black teen in 2012

Zimmerman was certainly the target of a political prosecution.  There was nothing above-board about it

George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted in the 2012 fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, is suing Martin's family and Florida prosecutors, claiming that they engineered false evidence in the homicide trial. 

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Polk County Circuit Court seeks $100million in civil damages for defamation, abuse of civil process and conspiracy.

It alleges that the prosecution's key witness in Zimmerman's 2013 murder trial, Rachel Jeantel, was an imposter coached by the family and their lawyers.

The lead defendant in the suit is Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother. Fulton became a nationally-acclaimed advocate for social justice and reducing gun violence in the wake of her son's death, and is now running for a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

The second defendant is the family's attorney, Ben Crump. He is accused of defamation and attempting to 'deprive Zimmerman of his constitutional and other legal rights'.

The lawsuit also names Harper Collins, accusing the publisher of defaming Zimmerman by publishing Crump's book, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, 'with actual malice knowing the untruth or at a minimum a reckless disregard for the truth'.

Crump responded to the lawsuit on behalf of himself and Martin's parents in a statement Wednesday.

'This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions,' he said.

Soon after reports of the lawsuit emerged, the hashtag #IStandWithSybrina began trending on Twitter as users expressed support for Martin's mom.

Zimmerman, 36, is being represented by high-profile conservative legal crusader Larry Klayman.  Klayman released the full legal complaint to the media on Wednesday before it was officially filed. 

The complaint alleges that the Sanford Police Department thoroughly investigated the February 2012 shooting and closed the case as self-defense the following month. 

One week later, the suit claims, Crump produced a recording of 'Diamond Eugene', who he said was Martin's 16-year-old girlfriend who was on the phone with the victims minutes before the confrontation with Zimmerman. 

Two days after that, 18-year-old Jeantel, Eugene's half sister, appeared before the court and 'provided false statements to incriminate Zimmerman based on coaching from others'.

The suit alleges that Martin's cell phone records prove Jeantel was not on the phone with him before the altercation, and that she 'lied repeatedly to cause Zimmerman's arrest and to try to send him to prison for life'.

It charges that Eugene was Martin's real girlfriend and did speak with him prior to the shooting, but that Eugene asked Jeantel to pretend to be her so that she didn't have to testify. 

Klayman said several defendants in the suit 'have been proven to know about the switch to the imposter witness' - including Fulton, Crump and Florida prosecutors Bernie de la Rionda, John Guy, Angela Corey. 

The attorney said the allegations did not emerge at the trial and that 'the fraud was perpetuated on the court'. 'It was a complete travesty of justice which destroyed my client's life,' Klayman said. 'People are destroyed and smeared and they have to start fighting back.'

Klayman said the allegations in the new lawsuit are based on shocking evidence exposed in a book and documentary by film director Joel Gilbert, called The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America.

The attorney, a former US Department of Justice prosecutor, is the founder of watchdog groups Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch.



Don't price workers out of their jobs

“Black Friday” sounds dire but is actually a cause for celebration. For most of the year, retail stores are fortunate just to break even. But the beginning of the holiday shopping season finally brings profit margins wide enough to carry them out of the red and into the black.

The day after Thanksgiving, and the coming days before Christmas, thus remind us of the importance of seasonal spending on our economy. They also provide a constant warning that the success of the retail industry depends on operating as efficiently as possible to keep up employment and production.

Yet just as the holiday season spikes job creation from brick-and-mortar department stores to warehouses for online retailers, Christmas carols also sound the tune of socialist sad-sacks demanding that state and city governments pass ordinances raising the minimum wage to $15 — no, $20! — per hour.

Companies such as Costco and Amazon are probably even wise to pay their workers a minimum of $15 per hour voluntarily. That they do so, and that only 2.3% of all jobs in the United States pay the actual minimum wage, is evidence that employers generally wouldn't and couldn't pay people less if there were no minimum wage at all.

But not all businesses are created equal. Department stores such as Macy’s have seen their profit margins slump asymptotically, and others, such as Sears, have gone back into the red seemingly for good. Given the mounting cost of deliveries and online competition for shoppers, there exist many stores, especially small businesses, that could not keep their doors open if they had to pay workers significantly more than our current federal minimum wage of $7.25.

For struggling stores and small businesses, holiday sales are a godsend. Even more welcome are the hundreds of thousands of jobs created. Retailers created more than 700,000 jobs during the holiday season last year. That includes not just hundreds of thousands from profitable juggernauts such as Target, but also 80,000 from Macy’s and 90,000 from Kohl’s. The labor market has continued to tighten, meaning companies that can afford higher wages will be forced by the market to provide them, or else lose competent, honest, and reliable workers.

Holiday-season workers comprise a little less than one-fifth of total retail sales workers, whose median wage was $11.70 per hour last year. With companies such as Piaggio now selling retail robots, automation is threatening the livelihoods of many retail workers. This will get worse if the government artificially increases the cost of hiring them with a $15 or $20 minimum wage, plus the additional employer payroll tax that comes with it. This is especially true given today's low inflation. Put it all together, and a sudden doubling of the minimum wage would make the option of outsourcing such jobs to robots all the more attractive.

Businesses could instead simply close, or stop hiring workers (especially younger workers) who do not produce $15-20 of value each hour. The workers worst hit would be those trying to pay for school or at the start of their careers.

Contrary to fears about robots and immigrants taking jobs, automation will create millions of skilled and semi-skilled jobs in coming years. But lower-income and younger workers in retail and manufacturing have the most to lose in the process of creative economic destruction. Take away low-wage jobs and you throw them out of work.

If your aim is to help low-income workers, there are much better ways to do it than to crank up the minimum wage. Oren Cass has argued for an expansion of earned income tax credits. Andrew Yang argues for a need-blind universal basic income. Whatever the merits of these proposals, at least neither one will mess up opportunities for willing, low-skilled workers.

That’s what matters most. Although a minimum wage increase sounds compassionate, making workers too expensive for their jobs is anything but. It is cruelty masked as sympathy.



Congress bans short-term lending, the poor pay a high price

Washington do-goodism almost always fails to help the people it is supposed to because politicians ignore the Law of Unintended Consequences. Nowhere is that more evident than when it comes to a congressional plan to put payday lenders and other short-term lending institutions, such as the burgeoning online lenders, out of business.

These are lenders that provide the service of last-minute or emergency loans –- typically of between $100 and $600 — to mostly low-income Americans or those with poor credit scores cash. Liberal “consumer advocacy groups” and liberals in Congress demonize these companies as modern day Shylocks, the nefarious lender in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” who demands a pound of flesh if loans aren’t repaid on time. 

Rep. Jesus Garcia, Illinois Democrat, and Rep. Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin Republican, are the cosponsors of a bill called the Veterans and Consumer Fair Credit Act, (the VFCA bill has nothing to do with veterans and several veteran groups have written to complain of this ruse). It would cap interest rates on short-term and emergency loans at 36 percent. Critics of short-term lenders say they “target” low-income and minority Americans. The left says this new law would “save” low-income Americans between $5 billion and $10 billion a year. 

No one forces anyone to go to these stores or use online lenders. They do so because these folks feel it’s the best and most convenient option for them. There’s no shortage of customers on a Thursday or Friday afternoon as workers line up to get an advance on their paychecks so they have spending money for the weekend or can pay their grocery bills.

It’s the same reason that tens of millions of more affluent Americans are willing to pay a $3.50 fee to get a $100 cash withdrawal from an ATM machine –- a convenience that many in Congress also want to prohibit.

The VFCA would make it illegal for a lender to provide someone with a $250 cash advance and then pay back the “loan” a week later with a $10 fee. But why? Can’t consenting adults make up their own mind about whether they want to engage in this transaction? Or is it really true that the left is so contemptuous of the poor that they think their voters are incapable of making sound every day decisions on their own?

Perhaps it is the Washington politicians who are the ones who are financially clueless here. Well more than half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck today. Often times these workers have poor credit scores, so they can’t get a traditional loan or consumer credit from a bank. About one-in-five Americans can’t get a credit cards, or if they do have one, the alternative to a short-term payday or online loan when they are scrapped for cash, is to ring up debt on their Visa card, which is far more expensive than the charge on a payday loan.

According to a 2019 Federal Reserve Board study, almost 4-of-10 Americans today “lack the savings to cover an emergency expense of $400.”

For Americans tangled in these kinds of financial tight spots, payday lenders are saviors, not devils. The $5 to $20 fee for an emergency cash loan is a small price to pay. Except that many in Congress don’t think so. They complain that a $10 or $15 fee for a $200 loan paid back in two weeks can have an annual percentage rate interest or up to 400 percent. But an APR is a totally irrelevant statistic on a 10- or 14-day cash advance. The Wall Street Journal has calculated that the APR for a bounced check or a late credit card payment can sometimes exceed 1,300 percent. Are we going to eliminate credit cards too?

One vital on-the-street reality that the consumer advocates and politicians fail to take into account is that payday and online lenders have actually helped low-income areas in an important way: They have largely replaced loan sharks. The interest rate on an unpaid loan to the loan shark isn’t a $10 or $20 fee, but a broken arm.

It also speaks volumes of the motivation of the Fair Credit Act and its supporters that the law would exempt credit unions. These are tax-exempt institutions that are direct competitors to the payday and online short-term lenders –- and they’d like nothing better than to run the competition out of town –- just like McDonald’s would love to shutter Burger King. Credit unions are also major funders of many of the consumer interest groups hammering payday lenders. So it might be too charitable to even say that VFCA supporters are primarily driven here by a misguided concern for the financial well-being of lower-class Americans.

But the motives really don’t matter here — the results do. Run short-term lenders out of business, as some states have already done, and the victims are the people who can no longer use the convenience of these services that were once down the street. There is evidence that many Americans living near a state border, drive out of the state without payday lenders into the states that have them. If Reps. Garcia and Grothman have their way, Americans won’t even have the option of doing that anymore. It’s a law that only the loan shark could love.




NOTHING TO SEE HERE: Husband of Democrat in impeachment hearings took $700K from firms tied to Ukrainian oligarch "accused of ordering contract killings" (The Daily Wire)

GOOD COP, BAD COP: Georgia governor appoints Kelly Loeffler to Senate in defiance of Trump (National Review)

INTOLERANCE: Army says faith-based group can no longer put Bible verses on dog tags after complaint (Fox News)

HISTORIC CONTRACT: "Generational leap": Navy to pay $22 billion for nine nuclear-powered submarines (The Washington Times)

PUSHBACK: Hospital groups sue to block price-transparency rule (The Wall Street Journal)

POLICY: Hong Kong shows Taiwan what unifying with China really means (Hudson Institute)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


Thursday, December 05, 2019

Here are Four Pieces of Great News for America and President Trump

Thanks to the noise of the Democrats’ divisive and destructive impeachment drive, hardly anyone is noticing just how good we have it right now. We’re in a Golden Age. Here are four pieces of great news that benefit all Americans.


Unemployment stands at a historic low – just 3.6%. To a degree not seen in previous strong economies, all boats are truly being lifted by the rising tide. Black and Hispanic unemployment are shattering records. You don’t have to listen to me or to President Trump. This is CNN:

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.

Minority unemployment has been tracked by the Labor Department since the early 1970's. Both black and Hispanic or Latino unemployment numbers have traditionally been higher than white unemployment, and it remains so today. White unemployment was 3.4% in August, up from 3.3% previously. But this is the smallest gap on record between the respective unemployment rates for blacks and whites.

This "is the smallest gap on record...” Wow. But you’d never know it from the blaring headlines. They’re all about impeachment and the myth that the world will end in 12 years if we don’t radically overhaul our economy and turn hardcore socialist. Of course, the main reason we’re not hearing about the triumph of the Trump economy is that it’s an existential threat to the Democrats. Minorities benefiting from a Republican president’s policies, and especially this Republican president’s policies, could pull enough minority voters away from the Democrats to render them a coastal, elitist and irrelevant party.

Affordable Energy

What’s driving the low unemployment? Two things come readily to mind: attitude and policy. President Donald Trump is not openly hostile to economic development and job creation. He cut taxes. He encourages growth and doesn’t scold creators by saying “You didn’t build that.” Trump has also encouraged U.S. energy development and that’s paying off. The United States is now the world’s top energy producer and a net petroleum exporter for the first time in about 70 years.

Again, wow.

Drive around any American town or city at night and behold the impact. The lights are on. Stores are open and they’re hiring. Gas prices don’t require you to take out a second mortgage to fill up your tank.

America's First Black Billionaire Gives Trump an 'A+,' Says Dems Are Moving 'Too Far Left'

Violent Crime Is Down

Here’s something else good that we’re not hearing about. Violent crime rates are down. In fact, American streets have rarely been safer than right now. And again, you don’t have to listen to me, here’s Pew Research on the subject:

Using the FBI numbers, the violent crime rate fell 51% between 1993 and 2018. Using the BJS data, the rate fell 71% during that span. The long-term decline in violent crime hasn’t been uninterrupted, though. The FBI, for instance, reported increases in the violent crime rate between 2004 and 2006 and again between 2014 and 2016. Violent crime includes offenses such as rape, robbery and assault.
To listen to the Democrats, “gun violence” is spiking and will soon claim us all in a bloodbath. Millennials have been misled to believe there are 35,000 or so gun-related deaths in American each year. Total actual murder, most of which isn’t committed using so-called “assault weapons,” is less than half that number. The fact is, mass shootings remain rare and aberrant while overall gun-related and other violent crime is down, along with property crime too. This is good news! Why aren’t we celebrating?

Pew has an answer for that:

Opinion surveys regularly find that Americans believe crime is up nationally, even when the data shows it is down. In 18 of 22 Gallup surveys conducted between 1993 and 2018, at least six-in-ten Americans said there was more crime in the U.S. compared with the year before, despite the generally downward trend in national violent and property crime rates during most of that period.
That’s the power of media to shape opinion at work. Americans hear the bleeding lead stories if they bother to watch local news, we see incessant coverage of every awful criminal tragedy if it serves an anti-gun or other anti-liberty agenda, and Americans believe crime is spiking when it’s actually falling.

We’re Defeating Terrorism

Also falling is transnational terrorism. The Islamist radical who recently attacked London was a recycled terrorist. He had been caught and imprisoned on terrorism charges, released by a foolish criminal justice system without being reformed in any way, and launched an attack on innocent civilians as soon as he could. The fact that he was a recycled terrorist and the fact that civilians were able to take him down with a big, sharp narwhal tusk demonstrates another piece of good news: We have largely won the war on terrorism. The enemy are reduced to the dregs of recruitment. President Trump has led the way in crushing ISIS and killing their leadership. Terrorism isn’t fully defeated and probably never will be, but it’s certainly not showing signs of the sophistication it had prior to or in the years immediately after 9-11.

What do the media do with this good news? The New York Times tries its hand at destroying America from its foundations with its insidious and dishonest 1619 Project. The alleged paper of record didn’t bother consulting actual historians on the matter. The national media trumpet every twist in the impeachment saga. They rail at Trump’s tweets. And they ignore the fact that we’re awash in good news: the economy is strong, energy prices are low, crime is down and we’re defeating terrorism.



New FDA Commissioner, Same FDA Problem

President Trump has nominated (and fired) numerous individuals to governmental positions while in office. Arguably, his most popular nominee was Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. As a Modern Healthcare article notes, “Dr. Scott Gottlieb accomplished a rare feat during his two-year tenure as head of the Food and Drug Administration—he earned praise from Republicans and Democrats alike.”

Although popular, Gottlieb considerably expanded the power and regulatory oversight of the FDA. For example, he took unprecedented steps in regulating tobacco markets and began a “historic crackdown” of the vaping industry. He also established the agency’s first board to regulate homeopathic drugs, an expanding component of the healthcare field.

To the surprise of many, Gottlieb abruptly resigned last March, leaving many of these expansions of power unfinished. In his absence, President Trump named Ned Sharpless as interim Commissioner. Sharpless’ time at the FDA was brief (210 days). Consequently, his impact on health policy was minimal.

Most recently, President Trump nominated Dr. Steven Hahn to be the next FDA Commissioner. Many believe this leaves the agency in capable hands. Hahn’s credentials and background in oncology provide him a wealth of experience to oversee new drug approvals for cancer. Since the United States frequently lags behind other countries in approving cancer treatments, an oncologist as commissioner could be just what the doctor ordered.

But President Trump and other political figures expect more. Recently, Hahn was asked whether he would ban several vaping products to halt teenage vaping. Although Hahn pledged “aggressive action,” he also expressed the need to better understand available information before deciding on definitive policy actions.

His caution earned him considerable backlash. One senator accused Hahn of being “more swayed by the tobacco industry and politics than by children’s health.” Others accused him of side-stepping questions. It seems the new commissioner is off to a rough start in what many consider a “critical time” for the agency.

But Hahn was right to exercise caution. His detractors seem to forget that restrictions on vaping were addressed at the state level well before the FDA became involved in 2016. Once the FDA introduced national vaping regulations, vaping rates among minors increased. Correlation is not causation, however; the agency’s previous attempts to mitigate teen vaping have clearly fallen short.

We should also note that states and cities continue to initiate their vaping regulations. San Francisco and nearby Livermore, California, banned the sale of electronic cigarettes. Oregon recently banned the sale of flavored e-cigarette juices. Although I believe such policies will be unsuccessful, these efforts demonstrate there are alternative ways to battle public health problems.

Political calls for more FDA oversight go well beyond regulating vaping products. A recent STAT article provides twelve “hard-hitting questions” for the new commissioner. These questions concern how the FDA will lower drug prices, make gene therapies more affordable, combat the rise in Alzheimer’s disease, and better regulate stem cell labs. Addressing these healthcare woes will only expand the agency’s evolving regulatory powers further. And that could be more dangerous than any issue the agency attempts to resolve.

Hahn certainly faces considerable challenges in his new position. But the greatest challenge he faces now is to exercise caution amidst the temptation to satisfy politically popular, but harmful, requests. The most beneficial regulations he can implement, by far, will be restrictions on the FDA itself.




MISSION NOT ACCOMPLISHED: DHS still can't identify all separated families from zero-tolerance border fiasco (The Washington Times)

JUSTICE SERVED? Mexican authorities make arrests in killings of American Mormons (The Washington Post)

RETAIL NUMBERS: Black Friday shopping at brick-and-mortar stores dropped by 6% as consumers spent record online (CNBC)

RAINBOW MAFIA: Hallmark Channel holiday movies under fire from the diversity police (Hot Air)

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT?: New scandal hits Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador involved in impeachment hearings (The Daily Wire)

BRUTAL CRACKDOWN: Iran kills hundreds of unarmed protesters as Quran expert warns it may kill thousands (The Daily Wire)

KNOWN ASSAILANT: London Bridge attacker had been jailed for terror crimes; two fatally stabbed (The Washington Times)

POLICY: The middle class always pays: Europe shows how the Warren-Sanders agenda really works (The Wall Street Journal)

POLICY: How UK free-riding on U.S. drug innovation is affecting Brexit (The Federalist)

AG LEERY: William Barr reportedly doubts inspector general's finding on Russia inquiry (The New York Times) But Sen. Lindsey Graham says to "be wary" of Leftmedia rumors.

DIGITAL-TAX FALLOUT: Trump administration proposes tariffs on $2.4 billion in French goods (The Hill)

PASSING THE BATON: Senate confirms Dan Brouillette as Trump's pick to replace Energy Secretary Rick Perry (Fox News)

PAYBACK: Trump campaign bans Bloomberg News from events over "troubling and wrong" decision to investigate Trump but not his political opponents (Fox News)

"ETHICAL LAPSES": Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson fired by Mayor Lori Lightfoot a few weeks before his planned retirement (Fox News)

GUILTY: California GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter says he will plead guilty to corruption charges (The Mercury News)

DRAINING THE SWAMP: Betsy DeVos has cut 600 staff positions at the Department of Education (Washington Examiner)

NO DENYING IT: Iran admits to murdering protesters in cities across the country (Townhall)

POLICY: The London terrorist attack shows rehabilitative justice doesn't work (The Federalist)

POLICY: An agenda for the intangible economy (City Journal)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


Wednesday, December 04, 2019

The Supreme Court finally takes up another gun case.

Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. This will be the first Second Amendment case the High Court has heard in nearly 10 years following its landmark rulings in Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010). The case involves New York City's passage of a gun-control law banning gun-owning residents from transporting their firearms outside their homes and outside city limits, except to select gun ranges within the city and only then provided their handguns are unloaded, locked up, and separate from ammunition. In other words, paper weights that are useless for self-defense.

The draconian and obviously unconstitutional law was immediately challenged by Second Amendment advocates. In a move clearly demonstrating that New York officials knew their law violates the Second Amendment, they sought to prevent the issue from being taken up by the Supreme Court by changing the law to allow gun-owning residents to transport their firearms outside city limits provided it was "directly to and from" a second home or shooting range.

However, this "voluntary cessation" didn't stop the justices from deciding to hear the case, as they rightly note that the issue at stake is the Second Amendment's protection of individuals' right to bear and not merely possess arms. Furthermore, New York officials are clearly seeking to undermine the Heller decision, which protects the right to bear firearms for the "core lawful purpose of self-defense," as well as "learning to handle and use [arms]" and "hunting." By limiting a gun owner's right to bear firearms only in his place of residence, New York was effectively attempting to gut Heller, which is likely why the justices are keen to take up this case to reassert the Court's judicial authority. Clarence Thomas, for one, has been particularly vocal about the erosion of the Second Amendment by municipalities and lower courts.

Predictably, the anti-gun crowd isn't happy. Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) warned the Court that if it did not drop the case, he and his fellow Democrats would work to "restructure" the Court. "The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it," Whitehouse ridiculously asserted. He added, "Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be 'restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.' Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal." Oh, the irony. Who exactly is seeking to inject "the influence of politics" into the Court in order to eliminate Americans' Second Amendment rights? It certainly isn't the NRA or Republicans.

If the Court follows the precedent it set with Heller, it's likely that the ruling will come down to a 5-4 decision. No wonder anti-Second Amendment activists are so upset over the Court's decision to hear the case.



Where Have All the Alphas Gone?

For some time now I have watched the immensely popular HGTV as a window on the culture—a large picture window letting in “lots of natural light,” as the rather silly and predictable house hunters are fond of saying—providing a cameo on the conventions of middle-class society. One notices, with few exceptions, that the wives tend to be voluble and bossy; they speak first, far more often, more insistently and more authoritatively. Their needs and desires are clearly predominant. The husbands, for their part, are mostly bland and subservient, almost leguminous in comparison, generally deferring to their wives with only the occasional mewl of protest.

One notes, too, the lack of genuine taste, the utter preoccupation with trivialities, and the cloying banality of conversation among the often obese participants. They are obviously hewing to script, but the ideas, habits, physical attributes, speech patterns, attitudes and expectations on display are close enough to the cultural norm to seem authentic. People recognize themselves and their aspirations in these TV episodes. Although the self-indulgence and broadly decorticate behavior one observes is certainly off-putting, the absence of gender parity, in favor of the wives, is perhaps the most conspicuous quality that affirms itself.

One might dismiss these observations as making too much of a mere reality TV show, but HGTV does let in a lot of natural light on a culture grown flaccid and critically disoriented. The ascendancy of the now-dominant, rule-giving female and the attendant decline of the proud and assertive male is the order of the day. The male essence is not a privilege but a fact of nature—that is, when nature is allowed to take its course. Yet, everywhere we look men are surrendering their right to be men—to be strong, confident, honest, unashamed and productive. I do not blame the vindictive and self-righteous feminists for the debacle. I blame the men who have allowed a social disaster to come to pass. We now see the gradual disappearance, or at least the alarming paucity, of alpha males in the social mix accompanied by the rising tide of beta males—apologists for their “toxic” nature, Michael Kimmel types— who are complicit with the feminist agenda.

In an important talk delivered at the ICMI conference held in Chicago in October 2019, the video of which is soon to be released, former vice-chair of the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health Tom Golden pointed out that testosterone levels are markedly declining among Western males. As is well known, testosterone is a male sex hormone that stimulates the production of sperm and the growth of muscle mass. But it is less well known that testosterone is also genetically engineered for status-seeking. University of Zurich neuroscientist Christoph Eisenegger in a major research paper, “The role of testosterone in social interaction,” suggests that testosterone “might be best conceptualized as bringing motives for social status to the fore.” Eisenegger showed that those who maintain that high level of testosterone lead only to corruption, aggression and emotional sterility have not adequately considered the evidence; such studies have been “clearly refuted.” Testosterone is the chemical engine for risk-taking, reciprocity, generosity and competitiveness.

Writing in Forbes, Neil Howe alludes to several analytic reports showing that “men’s testosterone levels have been declining for decades.” Among the many complex factors involved in the downward trend, a crucial element seems to hinge on “dismantling age-old ideas about masculinity and triggering real anxiety over changing gender roles.” There is no doubt that the economy is shifting away “from jobs that favor men [and] toward sectors dominated by women.” Howe is plainly a man of leftist sympathies—Donald Trump is “old-fashioned, overtly macho,” plenty of testosterone there. Nonetheless, while admitting that he might prefer “a less testosterone-laden world [which] might be less aggressive and more emotionally expressive”—as Eisenegger indicates, a thoroughly mistaken notion—Howe remains concerned that America, a once “‘pro-testosterone’ nation: restless, striving, and rowdy…is losing the dynamism, mobility, and enterprise that made it special.”

In other words, testosterone is an alpha hormone. When men strive not to excel and triumph but to conform and acquiesce, to blend in safely with majority sentiment, to not rock the boat (even if it is leaking), to go along in order to get along, and to accept the deformed image of masculinity with which they are daily bombarded, it is a sign that the testosterone pool is drying up, as Tom Golden fears and research has borne out. What is cause and what is effect is an open question. “Has testosterone declined in response to a changed world,” asks Howe, “or has the world changed to accommodate less virile men? Or is it both?” Whatever the answer, the result is the emergence of the beta man.

Of course, I am using the Greek alphabet somewhat loosely. Status is to a large degree context-dependent and social prestige may not arise exclusively from the alpha hierarchy. But the distinction between alpha and beta, despite the many shades of gray between them, is a useful one and one that is commonly understood. As psychologist Scott Kaufman informs us, “The most attractive male is really a blend of characteristics, including assertiveness, kindness, cultivated skills and a genuine sense of value in this world. The true alpha is fuller, deeper, and richer.” It follows that the true beta is emptier, shallower, and poorer.

I’ve had occasion to write in a previous article about the posturing feminist firebrand, Mona Eltahawy, who urges the weekly killing—she calls it “culling”—of men. Eltahawy cites a local instance of her determination to resist the patriarchy and her fierce courage in fighting it, referring to an episode in a Montreal club in which she physically beat up a man who groped her. I am willing to bet the story is apocryphal. Yet her fable limns a social truth, if only metaphorically, for the straw man in Eltahawy’s fevered imagination is the fictive representative of the actual beta male who has permitted, and even abetted and cultivated, the travesty of his unmanning. Though exacerbated and more than ever extensive, this development is by no means a novel phenomenon. It has its history.

As far back as 1913, E. Belfort Bax in The Fraud of Feminism framed the issue with his characteristic insight and precision. He is worth quoting at length. “In any conflict of interest between a man and a woman,” he writes, “male public opinion…sides with the woman, and glories in doing so.” Bax finds himself baffled by “the intense hatred which the large section of men seem to entertain toward their fellow-males…and their eagerness to champion the female in the sex war.” It is undeniable, he continues, that the Woman’s Movement, unassisted by “a solid phalanx of the manhood of any country, could not possibly make any headway.” The members of the phalanx—legislators, judges, parsons, magistrates—“all vie with one another in denouncing the villainy and baseness of the male person…To these are joined a host of literary men and journalists…who contribute their quota to the stream of antimanism…the design of which is to paint man as a base, contemptible creature.” Thus “the anti-man cultus has been made to flourish [with] the whole of the judiciary and magistracy acting as its priests and ministrants.” Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Bax could have been writing at this very moment.

These men may have acted from motives of chivalry or principles of moral virtue. They were not necessarily weaklings or beta males, but the consequences of their actions led to a dilution of the male spirit and temper and to the formation of a class of sexual herbivores who took the path of least resistance. They are our contemporaries, men who may believe they act from high ethical considerations but in reality are feminized creatures who have sold their masculine birthright for a mess of saccharine pottage. In short, they are beta-men. “Men seem to be so cowed that they can't fight back,” said former feminist Doris Lessing at the 2001 Edinburgh Book Festival. And she was right.

As poet Robert Bly writes in his 1990 bestseller Iron John, begging forgiveness for being a man, in violation of natural male vigor and energy, is a form of psychological suicide. It is a function, says Bly, of male naïveté, increasingly prominent in the modern era. “We see more and more passivity in men,” he writes, “but also more and more naïveté. The naïve man feels a pride in being attacked. If his wife or girlfriend, furious, shouts that he is a ‘chauvinist,” a ‘sexist,’ a ‘man,’ he doesn’t fight back, but just takes it.” In fact, he will offer to carry a woman’s pain before he checks with his own heart to see if this labor is proper in the situation…He rarely fights for what is his; he gives away his eggs, and other people raise the chicks.” (Italics mine.)

In Bly’s analysis of the Western tragedy pitting the sexes against one another, “Powerful sociological and religious forces have acted in the West to favor the trimmed, the sleek, the cerebral, the noninstinctive, and the bald”—Bax’s  “judges and magistrates”—who are the progenitors of the beta men we see all about us today. The beta man is the source of the cultural decrepitude and social dysfunction brought about by the feminist assault on the psychic and biological boundaries that differentiate the sexes. Beta men are committed to resisting what they regard as their raw and turbulent masculinity. They believe that masculinity as historically conceived and as feminists insist is demonic.

For Bly, the antidote to this febrile declension is the Wild Man of myth and folklore—pagan, classic, Celtic—who has been injured in his sexuality and who must return in all his strength, “in touch with God and sexuality, with spirit and earth,” that is to say, with himself. A man must rediscover his “Zeus energy.” And this not only for his own sake but for the sake of woman as well, whose fecund and magnanimous nature “has suffered tremendously,” as a consequence not only of her own resentments and illusions but also of the favonian influence of compliant men. “The goddess Aphrodite,” as he puts it, “alive inside the female body, is insulted day after day.” Regrettably, the Wild Man, or his contemporary avatar the alpha male, whom the mateless woman and the disaffected feminist secretly crave, is very much a minority species. (Interestingly, Neil Howe recognizes that “Millennial women yearn for guys who can ‘man up’ and take care of business,” but there are not enough of them around.)

Bly has been mocked by critics who find his thesis one-sided, expressing a return to the primitive, and risibly “phallocentric,” a reproof that many would apply to cult hero and magister Jordan Peterson. There is much misunderstanding in this position, for Bly accentuates the virtues of male sobriety and duty and Peterson those of competence and responsibility. In his recently published 12 Rules for Life, Peterson, with his considerable authority as a renowned clinical psychologist and an erudite thinker, elaborates the argument for the retrieval of healthy masculinity in a feminist age.

Following psychoanalytical pioneers C.G. Jung and Erich Neumann, Peterson points out that consciousness, “always symbolically masculine, even in women…is constantly tempted to sink back down in dependency…and to shed its existential burden. It is aided in that pathological desire by anything that opposes enlightenment, articulation, rationality, self-determination, strength and competence”—in effect, the beta capitulation to the triumphant female, the renunciation “of order and of the Logos” by men who have become feminized and submissive.

For such convictions Peterson has been denounced as a muddled thinker, a chauvinist, a huckster, a phallocrat, a misogynist, a fascist—you name it. But Peterson’s strength and manliness is evident in his ability to soldier on, to rise above such mean-spirited attacks, to lift his voice against the meretricious orthodoxy of the day, and to turn the tables on his detractors, furnishing an example of the alpha sensibility at work.

In economist Tyler Cowen’s terms, America is suffering from a “low-hanging fruit” mentality. We need high-reachers, innovators, motivators and stubborn achievers to renew a lost momentum; in other words, alpha men. Cowen writes from a leftist perspective, with a hefty dose of social justice theory, and focuses mainly on economic parameters over the last two-to-three centuries. But the concept of making do with low-hanging fruit fits the beta man with a strange perfection. These low-hanging fruit are the ideas, attitudes, compulsions, platitudes and opportunities associated with the feminist movement, which serve the appetite for conformity and approval—until, that is, the tree is bare. For a great reckoning is approaching unless we can learn once again to struggle upward where the best fruit can be found.

“It is surely time,” writes Duncan Smith in The Vast and the Spurious, to redefine “the state of gender relations.” It is time “for some major gaslighting, some alternate ways of viewing social life,” to explode the “feminist racket” and educate its male collaborators. This will be a monumentally difficult task. The beta male (aka the “soyboy”) is now the Western model of masculinity to be emulated by all right-thinking men. Unfortunately, Nancy Sinatra’s boots are walking all over him. After all, “you keep samin’ when you oughta be a’changin’”—though, indeed, he is a’changin,’ and at breakneck speed, under the stiletto heels of the Gorgonocracy. The feminist shrew is not the shrew of Shakespeare’s play; she will not be tamed, for there are precious few Petruchios around to right the balance and equally few Katherines who are “meet and amiable.”* As Kate says in her concluding speech: “I am ashamed that women are so simple/To offer war where they should kneel for peace.”

Of course, The Taming of the Shrew is only a play, just as HGTV is a piece of fiction. But the former articulates a longstanding domestic ideal whereas the latter inadvertently discloses a bitter social truth. The house may feature an open concept, three bathrooms, a kitchen island, marble countertops, a tiled backsplash, stainless steel appliances, a butler’s pantry and plenty of space to “entertain.” A profusion of wows, amazings, awesomes, and omigods lard the premises. The man whose great passion in life is outdoor grilling has to settle for indoor sizzling. “Happy wife, happy life,” goes the adage. But there is no rhyme for husband. In Reality Culture, the wife will keep the house, the kids and the assets if or when she tires of her husband. What to do as the house of Western civilization collapses and the culture self-immolates? “Men have to toughen up,” says Peterson. “And if you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of.” And that is something we are seeing with every passing day.

The Western world of discoveries, technologies, amenities and unprecedented wealth, which feminism abuses and exploits to its advantage, is the achievement of an alpha civilization. It is time for the so-called “patriarchy” to man up and celebrate its creation.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here


Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Trump’s evangelical support mystifies his critics, but in Wisconsin, it looks stronger than ever

He may not be one of them but it is clear that he is on their side and the Donks are not.  At a Donk convention a few years ago, the audience booed God!

After it was clear that neither of her preferred candidates, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, was going to be elected president in 2016, Linda Behm prayed. Behm is an evangelical Christian and keeps a calendar filled with volunteer shifts at a thrift store and a food pantry in this small community an hour away from Green Bay. She wasn’t sure about supporting Donald J. Trump, the New York business magnate with a penchant for insults and crude behavior. But after asking God whether she should back him or Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election, she decided Trump was the lesser of two evils.

These days, Behm, 69, finds the president to be coarse and exasperating, especially his tweets — and she took issue with his summertime missive urging four Democratic congresswoman of color to “go back” to other countries. “We should be treating them like Christ should treat them,” Behm said. “Trump has to figure that out.”

But still, she feels better than ever about her decision to vote for the president, because she thinks he has delivered on the two issues she cares most about: curtailing abortion rights and protecting Israel. Behm expects to vote for Trump again in 2020. “He’s our only choice,” she said.

In 2016, Trump’s alliance with white evangelical voters was obvious — 80 percent of white, self-identified born-again or evangelical Christians supported him, according to exit polls — but, for some of those voters, it was also uneasy. The president’s personal behavior and some of his core political beliefs, including his hostility toward refugees, seem at odds with the major moral tenets of Christianity. What’s more, many of his evangelical supporters weren’t exactly sure what they were getting from a nominee who was neither deeply religious nor a lifelong Republican and who described himself some years ago as “very pro-choice.”

Three years, later, Trump’s bond with evangelicals has proven to be remarkably resilient. After a Democratic presidency that left some evangelical voters feeling besieged, many have come to see Trump as a defender of religious liberty, a champion of conservative judges, and a brake on the advances of abortion and transgender rights.

White evangelicals back Trump more fiercely than other religious or unaffiliated groups, and, in one poll, 99 percent of white evangelical Republicans oppose his impeachment and removal. White evangelicals make up about 17 percent of Wisconsin’s voters; in a state Trump won in 2016 only by 23,000 votes, their steadfast support could be the difference between winning and losing next year.

There are other factors that could buoy Trump in Wisconsin. A contentious state Supreme Court race this year fired up evangelicals in support of a Christian judge. Julaine Appling, the president of the Wisconsin Family Action, which advocates for conservative Christian policy, said her group will support Trump in 2020 after not explicitly endorsing him in the 2016 general election.

Trump’s appeal among evangelicals mystifies his critics, yet Behm’s community and church offer a window into how he has consolidated their support. New London, a city of 7,000 straddling two counties that backed Cruz in the 2016 primary, did not immediately warm to Trump. And Behm’s church here is not particularly political. But voters here said they have come to view the president as an unlikely savior for a country they felt was morally broken and hostile to Christians like them — even though some admit their personal reservations about him have only grown.

“We’re hiring a president, we’re not hiring the pastor of a church,” said Chris Martinson, 68, a hardwood lumber wholesaler who is a strong Trump supporter. “We’re hiring someone to lead our country in a tough battle. It’s not always going to be pretty.”

There are times when Ellen Martinson wishes her husband would leave his bright red “Trump 2020” hat at home, even though she supports the president, too. “Some people will see it, and they already judge you before they know you,” she said with a sigh.

But to Chris Martinson, the hat, along with the cross around his neck, is a way of sparking conversation with fellow Trump supporters. He often keeps more in the car to sell for $10 each as a fund-raiser for the local Tea Party, of which he has been an active member since helping found its local chapter in 2012. If you want a Trump yard sign, Martinson is also your guy; in late September, he had 50 “Trump 2020” signs at home, waiting to be staked in the ground.

He did not always feel so devoted to Trump. Martinson’s initial favorite in the 2016 primary field was Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist who is open about his deep Christian faith. After that campaign sputtered, he drove all over town putting up signs for Cruz, hopeful that the evangelical senator from Texas would protect his values.

Martinson, like many other evangelical Christians, was ready to turn the page on the Obama administration, a period when gay rights and transgender rights expanded. He worried Christians who did not agree with those expansions would be marginalized, citing a famous case of Colorado bakers who were sued when they refused to make a cake for a gay wedding.

“It seems like right now, there’s a movement to try to purge people who have traditional Christian values, that don’t accept more modern definitions of marriage . . . that don’t accept things like that there should be a special set of rights for transgender [people],” Martinson said.

Martinson has considered himself evangelical since about 1991. He supported Democrat Dick Gephardt for president in 1988 “because he was for tough borders” and Martinson held local office as a Democrat in the 1990s, but has since transformed into a committed conservative activist for whom politics and faith are irrevocably entwined. He has a “choose life” license plate on his car (and got one for his wife for her birthday recently).

In 2016, he ran for — and won — a spot on the local school board so that he could “stand up for Judeo-Christian values in the public square.” During his three years on the board, he successfully sued the state’s education department and advocated for bringing back the teaching of cursive writing. He lost his reelection bid by 17 votes.



Hatred gets a reward

I don't greatly blame the woman concerned.  She was just airing the attitudes that prevail in the Newsweak newsroom

A story by political reporter Jessica Kwong was published on Thursday morning with the initial headline: 'How is Trump spending Thanksgiving? Tweeting, golfing and more.'

But the president made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan to greet US troops and meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss reopening talks with the Taliban.

The president's son Don Jr. slammed her coverage as 'fake news'.

But Kwong claimed it has been an 'honest mistake', and said she had submitted the story in advance before the trip was announced.

But Don Jr. replied: 'It wasn't an "honest mistake" you tried to dunk on Trump and ended up dunking on yourself because you couldn't resist.

'Notice how there's never been a story that broke in Trump's favor & had to be corrected the other way? These aren't mistakes, they are a very consistent pattern.'

Trump himself had earlier retweeted his son's post calling the story 'fake news', writing: 'I thought Newsweek was out of business?'

A Newsweek spokesman told The Washington Examiner: 'Newsweek investigated the failures that led to the publication of the inaccurate report that President Trump spent Thanksgiving tweeting and golfing rather than visiting troops in Afghanistan.

'The story has been corrected, and the journalist responsible has been terminated

Trump made the unannounced visit Thursday, telling soldiers at Bagram Air Field: 'There is nowhere that I'd rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest best and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth' +11
Trump made the unannounced visit Thursday, telling soldiers at Bagram Air Field: 'There is nowhere that I'd rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest best and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth'

Trump made the unannounced visit Thursday, telling soldiers at Bagram Air Field: 'There is nowhere that I'd rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest, best and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth.'

'We flew 8,331 miles to be here tonight for one simple reason, to tell you in person that this Thanksgiving is a special Thanksgiving,' Trump said in his remarks. 'We're doing so well. Our country is the strongest economically it has ever been.' 



Trump Gets apt Revenge After Obama Let ISIS Slaughter Unspeakable Number Of Christians In Middle East

During Barack Obama’s time in the Oval Office, he made his disdain for Christians very clear. A perfect example of this is the provision in Obamacare where organizations such as Little Sisters of the Poor were forced to have insurance coverage which provided drugs which cause abortions. Being a Catholic organization, The Little Sisters of the Poor are vehemently against abortion and the drugs which can induce them. The Little Sisters of the Poor had to take the Obama Administration all the way to the Supreme Court, where the court ruled in the Nuns’ favor.

While Obama was President, his immigration policy toward Christians was equally discriminatory. As reported by Jim Hoft, from The Gateway Pundit, “Obama’s immigration policies showed a distinct bias against Christians. Although 10% of Syrians were Christians and were being murdered by ISIS daily, only 2.4% of immigrants into the US were Christians. At one point in his Presidency, he deported persecuted Chaldean Christians fleeing ISIS”. These Iraqi Christians, a group of 27, crossed into the United States from Mexico. For six months they were detained at Otay Mesa Detention Facility, and an immigration judge ruled that 12 of the 27 Iraqi Christians fleeing ISIS were to be deported. You can read about it here in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Getting into the statistics, a Pew Research Center Analysis examining the U.S. State Department’s refugee data found the following;

“From Donald Trump’s first full day in office on Jan. 21 through June 30, 9,598 Christian refugees arrived in the U.S., compared with 7,250 Muslim refugees. Christians made up 50% of all refugee arrivals in this period, compared with 38% who are Muslim. Some 11% of these arrivals belong to other religions, while about 1% claim no religious affiliation”.

 The Pew Research Analysis goes on to reveal that in the fiscal year 2016, Muslims made up a significant majority of refugees coming into the United States of America. During his time in office in 2014, Obama stated via the White House website, “This also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.” This is an interesting statement given that most Muslim refugees believe in Sharia Law, which is the exact opposite of what American democracy and freedom stand for.

Connecting the dots, the Obamacare provisions violating the rights of Christians, deporting Christian refugees fleeing ISIS, and Obama himself declaring that Muslim Americans are responsible for the very fabric and strength of our nation, the agenda was and still is clear. Conversely, looking at the statistics from the time President Trump has been in office, he has made good on his promise to provide first priority to Christian refugees. President Trump made this declaration back in January when speaking with David Brody from CBN News,

 “They’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.”

 According to last count there were 0 Christian refugees from the Middle East who have committed an act of terror against the United States of America. The same can not be said for Muslim refugees. Perhaps this was Obama’s plan all along to use something called Taqiyya, where lying is permitted in an effort to advance the cause of Islam. You can read about Taqiyya here. An example of Taqiyya is the mantra coming from the left and terrorist organizations like CAIR, saying Islam is a religion of peace. It is very likey homosexuals and Christians being thrown off rooftops and stoned to death would disagree.

Obama once stated that he was intending to “fundamentally transform America.” His disdain for Christians was part of this transformation which he envisioned. Thankfully, voters and President Trump have reversed course on this, and the Christian refugees who were once discriminated against by the Obama Administration can now breathe a bit easier knowing there is an American President who understands the dangers Christian refugees face.



My recipe blog

Most readers here have probably forgotten (if they ever knew) that I have a recipe blog.  I add to it only a couple of times a year these days so it does not belong on anyone's list of regular reads.  I have however recently put up an unusual but easy curry recipe that turned out very tasty so it may be worth a look.  It is even low-fat!


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


Monday, December 02, 2019

Democrats lurching leftward exemplified with new labor bill

In many ways the Democratic Party has become increasingly radical. A majority of the party now supports socialist policies on everything from health care to the environment. This radicalism unfortunately extends to labor issues as well.

The House will soon be voting on the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. This legislation is a liberal wish list that represents a draconian overhaul of our nation’s labor laws at the expense of employers, workers and economic growth while strengthening the authoritarian power of big labor.

Despite the fact that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the U.S. Supreme Court have recognized that there should be ample time for “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open debate in labor disputes”, the PRO Act deliberately speeds up union election processes so employees don’t have time to learn about the potential downsides of joining a union. Specifically, the bill codifies provisions of an NLRB regulation called the “ambush election rule” which significantly shortens the time span in election processes. Democrats purposely inserted this provision because they know union bosses are more likely to win elections when employees are uninformed about the downsides of union membership.

Second, the PRO Act increases liability for businesses by dramatically expanding the definition of “joint employer” to also include indirect control and unexercised potential control over employees. These terms are incredibly broad and ambiguous, meaning businesses could find themselves held liable for labor violations committed by another business when they might not have even been aware they were considered a joint employer in the first place. Even worse, the risk of increased liability incentivizes large businesses to stop contracting out jobs to small businesses. This would force large businesses to keep more jobs in house, which ultimately raises prices for both businesses and consumers.

The expanded definition of joint employer is also detrimental for franchise businesses. A study conducted by the International Franchise Association showed that the definition change has led to a 93 percent increase in lawsuits against franchise businesses, costing them over $33 billion annually, and leading to a loss of 376,000 jobs. The study also showed that the majority of franchise businesses have been offering less services in order to avoid lawsuits. This chilling effect hurts both consumers and workers alike.

The PRO Act also compels private sector employees to either join a union or risk being fired. Specifically, the bill abolishes state Right to Work laws which allow workers the freedom to choose whether or not they want to pay fees to a union.

If Right to Work laws are repealed, not only will unions gain unprecedented new power, but economic growth and employment will suffer. A 2018 study by the National Economic Research Associates found that between 2001 and 2016, states with Right to Work laws saw private sector employment grow by 27 percent, while states without Right to Work only saw a 15 percent increase.

To top it off, the PRO Act strips workers of their right to cast anonymous ballots in union elections. Under current law, workers are able to anonymously oppose joining a union by casting “secret,” unpublicized ballots. However, the PRO Act abolishes this practice and forces employees to make their choice public about unionizing, which makes it easier for unions to intimidate and threaten workers who do not wish to sign up.

As former George W. Bush staffer Vincent Vernuccio said: “The secret ballot is a bedrock principle of democracy. It allows people to vote the way they feel without fear of reprisal. Without it, those who hold the elections would hold all the power.”

Bills like the PRO Act represent another unfortunate symptom of the Democratic Party’s leftward lurch. This bill should be opposed by anyone who is concerned with worker freedom and continuing our country’s economic boom. The PRO Act needs to be permanently benched.



Warren tells another lie about her personal biography

File another story under the Tall Tales of Elizabeth Warren’s Phony Biography. This time, she says her son went to public school when in fact he attended private school.

“The 2020 Democratic candidate last week appeared to deny that she sent either of her two children to a private school,” writes the Washington Examiner’s Becket Adams. “The problem is that Warren did indeed send her son, Alex, to a private school in Texas starting at about 5th grade.”

Warren, like most Democrats, opposes school choice because she’s backed by teachers’ unions. But Warren also wants blacks to vote for her, and school choice is popular among the black community because it is their kids who suffer most in failing urban schools. A black school-choice proponent confronted Warren, saying, “We are going to have the same choice that you had for your kids, because I read that your children went to private schools.” Warren replied simply, “My children went to public schools.”

The lie was one of omission. Her son did attend public school … until he didn’t. Yet, like her handmaid’s tale of being let go from a teaching job because she was pregnant, this lie was meant to bolster her “street cred” with the desired constituency group.

Warren’s lies about her supposed Cherokee ancestry advanced her academic career. She’s now fibbing about her biography in other ways for political gain. But we’re supposed to trust her to manage our healthcare and our taxes and our schools and our entitlements and every other thing under the sun for which she has “a plan”? Hard pass.



Warren Relies on Rationing in Medicare for All Plan

Cost-cutting measures would likely lead to long wait-times, limited care
Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D., Mass.) Medicare for All plan has been widely criticized for taking what many consider an unrealistic approach to raising revenue, but one expert told the Washington Free Beacon the bigger problem is that it pushes health care rationing to keep costs low.

Warren, a Democratic presidential frontrunner, relies on aggressive cost-cutting measures, including tightly restricted reimbursements and global budgeting. Health care policy expert Christopher Pope said her approach would effectively amount to a rationing scheme. This, in turn, would likely curtail Americans' access to care, replacing a "fee for service" system with long wait times and mandatory caps on spending.

"The more radical part of [Warren's plan] is the very, very bold rationing scheme for health care," Pope, a scholar at the right-leaning Manhattan Institute, told the Free Beacon. "A big part of how she tries to make the numbers work is really very tightly restricting access to care and funding of health care services."

Warren's campaign, which did not respond to request for comment, has avoided using the word "rationing," likely because it believes the idea would be unpopular. But, as the Massachusetts senator pushes towards the presidency, other Democratic contenders and the public at large may force her to answer hard questions about what single-payer health care requires.

As experts have noted, Warren's plan relies on optimistic assumptions about the cost of implementing Medicare for All. Her campaign predicts the proposal will add about $20.5 trillion in federal spending over 10 years, which is about $14 trillion short of the liberal-leaning Urban Institute's estimate.

To shave that $14 trillion off, the plan must drastically curtail spending. Warren's stated goal is to bring national health care spending growth in line with GDP growth, cutting it down from about 18 percent to about 4 percent over the next decade.

The two economists Warren asked to evaluate her plan—former Obama official Donald Berwick and MIT professor Simon Johnson—concluded that the "new payment models including global budgets for health care systems and full-risk population-based payment models," suggested in the Warren plan "can achieve better care for patients and much lower costs of care." They also said "Urban did not attribute savings to those effects of Medicare for All" to account for the disparity between their estimate and the Urban Institute's.

The first of these "new payment models" is what the Warren campaign calls "comprehensive payment reform": a government-run system that will "reimburse hospitals at an average of 110% of current Medicare rates." Current rates pay hospitals 87 to 89 cents for each dollar of medical spending, meaning that a 10 percent bump in spending would still fall short of full reimbursement. Hospitals are able to sustain those losses with an average reimbursement of $1.45 per dollar of spending from private insurers—the same entities that Warren seeks to eliminate.

The Warren campaign expects to offset low revenue by reducing administrative bloat and compensation of "overpaid specialties." But it is equally likely that some hospitals will close, while others will be forced to curtail the services they provide, forcing patients to pay for care with time rather than money.

"If hospitals are expected to make do with much less money than they would currently, but expected to care for more people, they're going to have to really tightly restrict the access to services that people are able to get," Pope said.

Comprehensive payment reform is just the start, however. Warren has promised that "if growth rates exceed [GDP growth], I will use available policy tools, which include global budgets, population-based budgets, and automatic rate reductions, to bring it back into line." Although it only receives a line or two from the campaign, global budgeting may be the most radical feature of the Warren proposal.

"Global budget" may be an unfamiliar term, but the idea behind it is not complicated. Currently, the U.S. health care system is "fee for service": Doctors provide a service and get paid a fee. A global budget switches from that model to a "budget" approach, giving hospitals a fixed amount of funding to spend over a fixed amount of time, usually a year.

There are benefits to a global budget approach, most obviously that it can radically constrain costs. But global budgets limit hospitals' ability to account for health care costs that exceed their allotment. In practice, this means that patients end up paying for services with time rather than money, as the Urban Institute notes.

"She's basically proposing to cap the amount of health care spending as a total of what she will commit to, but especially the amount of money that hospitals will get," Pope said. "In practice, it's going to mean waiting lists.… it's going to mean that people aren't going to be able to access care, especially high-quality care to the extent that they have been able to."

Global budgets are in use in countries such as Canada, where the median wait time for specialists is nearly five months. This is why France, the Netherlands, and Norway have all moved away from a global budgeting approach, according to a recent op-ed from Pope.

Of course, Americans may decide that they prefer a rationing approach to current, high health care costs. But history suggests rationing may be a hard pill for the general electorate to swallow. During the fight over passage of the Affordable Care Act, conservatives targeted the bill with charges that it would also implement a de facto rationing scheme, an angle of attack which galvanized many—in particular the elderly—against the bill.



Trump Flips Another Federal Court to Majority GOP Appointees

As House Democrats continued their impeachment push, President Donald Trump scored yet another victory toward reshaping the federal judiciary—flipping a third appeals court to a majority of Republican-president nominees.

Moreover, as the House engaged in partisan bickering, the Senate voted to confirm Barbara Lagoa to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta on a bipartisan vote of 80-to-15 on Wednesday. The circuit—which handles cases out of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia—now has a 7-to-5 majority of Republican appointees.

Trump nominated Lagoa, then a Florida Supreme Court justice, in September.

Since taking office in January 2017, Trump also has been able to change the makeup of the Manhattan, New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit to a 7-to-6 Republican-appointee majority and the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit to an 8-to-6 majority of appointees of Republican presidents.

“With the confirmation of Judge Barbara Lagoa to the [11th] Circuit, President Trump has now transformed three of the nation’s federal appellate courts from Democrat-appointed majorities to Republican-appointed majorities. This is a major achievement for his presidency,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, tweeted after the confirmation.

With the confirmation of Judge Barbara Lagoa to the Eleventh Circuit, President Trump has now transformed three of the nation's federal appellate courts from Democrat-appointed majorities to Republican-appointed majorities. This is a major achievement for his presidency.

Trump has won 46 appeals court confirmations by the Senate, according to The Heritage Foundation Judicial Tracker, in just under three years in office. That’s double that of his predecessor, President Barack Obama, who had 23 appeals court judges confirmed during his eight years in office. 

Since appeals courts decide the overwhelming majority of court cases, because the Supreme Court can only handle a limited number of cases each year, these confirmations are highly important.

That’s no guarantee of outcomes in cases, but Democratic presidents’ judicial appointees tend to make more liberal decisions, while Republican presidents’ court picks tend to make more conservative legal rulings.

Though Trump has been prolific in securing judicial nominees, federal appeals courts are still lopsided in favor of Democratic appointees. When Trump took office, only four of the 13 appeals courts had a majority of Republican appointees. Now seven have majority-Republican appointees.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


Sunday, December 01, 2019

Medicare for all?  Britain already has it

Here's what you get

A mother whose baby died after he was born breech and she was allegedly denied a timely C-section is taking legal action against a hospital trust described as being responsible for the "worst" ever NHS maternity scandal.

A damning report found more than 90 babies and mothers either died or suffered severe harm due to disastrous failings at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH).

Kamaljit Uppal says she was told her child was lying bottom first when she was five months pregnant and health professionals told her she would need a Caesarean. But when she went into labour, she claims medics told her she wasn't allowed one as instructions to have the operation wasn't in her medical notes.

More than seven hours after her baby's foot had begun to show, the mother-of-three was eventually rushed for a C-section, but the infant, called Manpreet, died just a few hours after he was born. A post mortem confirmed he died as a result of a trapped vaginal breech delivery, according to Kamaljit's solicitors.

She told i: "I begged the midwife for a C-section and told her I was promised one at my antenatal appointments, but she said no. I feel my baby would be alive if I'd have had one quicker."

An internal report leaked to The Independent revealed clinical malpractice was allowed to continue across four decades, with repeated failings by midwives, doctors and hospital chiefs.

There were more than 600 cases being examined, and there were at least 42 babies and three mothers who died between 1979 and 2017. Another 51 infants were left with brain damage or disability after being deprived of oxygen at birth.

The review, led by maternity expert Donna Ockenden, found failures to recognise serious incidents and to learn from mistakes. There has been a lack of respect shown for families suffering bereavement with one mother who had just lost her child told to "keep the noise down" or leave the hospital. In another case, parents were not told their baby’s body had returned from a post-mortem examination and it decomposed so badly that they never got to say a final goodbye.

The report also reveals regulators were aware of problems as far back as 2007. The confidence of the Healthcare Commission, a forerunner to the Care Quality Commission, that improvements would be carried out was “misplaced”, it concluded.

The situation bears all the hallmarks of the Morecambe Bay maternity scandal, which led to the deaths of 16 babies and three mothers between 2004 and 2013.

Kamaljit, from Telford, now 50, went into labour on 16 April 2003 at around 8.30pm at The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. She says a midwife said she could see the baby's foot at around 1am, but she wasn't taken for an emergency Caesarean until 8.30am.

"I was 35 and fit and healthy," she said. "Nobody even attempted to manually turn the baby around at all. I kept begging for a C-section and they kept saying no.

"There was only one doctor on duty. My baby had begun to show and he suddenly disappeared, I think for around 15 minutes to go help with another birth. It was only when the baby went into distress that they finally rushed me for a C-section but by then I believe the damage was done."

Breech is very common in early pregnancy, but by near the end, only three to four in every 100 babies are still in the position, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

According to the RCOG, if a woman's baby remains breech towards the end of pregnancy, she should be given the option of a Caesarean. Its guidelines state: "Research has shown that planned Caesarean section is safer for your baby than a vaginal breech birth. Caesarean section carries slightly more risk for you than a vaginal birth."

Traumatic experience

Manpreet was born floppy and medics spent 20 minutes resuscitating him. They got him breathing but he died a few hours later. Kamaljit says she still suffers depression 16 years later and has never received a penny in compensation for what happened to her son.

"The whole experience was so traumatic. After he died I had to spend the night on a ward full of screaming babies. A nurse came up to me asking what milk my baby had. I'm not surprised at all about the recent report. My life was never the same after that day. I lost my precious boy."

She says she experienced extreme anxiety when she fell pregnant four months later, and was helped through it by a kind midwife.

Kashmir Uppal, a partner at Shoosmiths who is representing Kamaljit's claim and is no relation to her, said "this is clearly the worst maternity scandal yet exposed".

"In addition to the appalling treatment, tragic loss of life and injuries needlessly suffered by mothers and babies, one of the concerns relates to the duration of these avoidable deaths – over some 42 years. There have clearly been systemic failings at SaTH.  The push for natural births failed to take into account the risks for mother and child.

"Not only do lessons have to be learned to prevent any future tragedies of this nature, but there needs to be some individual accountability on the part of the doctors and midwives involved, and also the senior management under whose watch this pattern of woefully poor care was allowed to continue.  There has to be better patient protection and a willingness to speak out when things go wrong, as they simply won’t go away."

SaTH said it could not comment on individual cases. But Paula Clark, interim chief executive at the trust, issued a general statement that read: “We have been working, and continue to work, with the independent review into our maternity services.

"On behalf of the trust, I apologise unreservedly to the families who have been affected. I would like to reassure all families using our maternity services that a lot has already been done to address the issues raised by previous cases.

“Our focus is to make our maternity service the safest it can be. We still have further to go but are seeing some positive outcomes from the work we have done to date.”



Administrative state bares its teeth and shows that it is the real threat to the Republic

What do you do when the federal employees hired to implement the policies of the duly elected President of the United States not only refuse to do so, but participate in a partisan witch hunt designed to unseat him?

Under current law, not much.  Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovich is resting comfortably somewhere in a State Department office.  Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman is still prowling around the White House complex taking selfies in front of what could be presumed to be his office door, and George Kent is skulking around the bowels of the Foggy Bottom State Department headquarters.

How can this be, you ask?

They are all civil servants, and as a result the process for firing a civil servant is long, arduous and frankly so time consuming as to make it barely worthwhile.

In 2017, Americans for Limited Government began calling for the MERIT Act which allows for an expedited process to fire recalcitrant, incompetent or lazy federal employees.  Unfortunately, it has not yet passed, but after the public display of arrogance and outright contempt for the policies of the elected President of the United States, the passage of the bill has never been more important and the funding bill that is under consideration provides the perfect vehicle for enacting it.

The MERIT Act language mirrors the Veteran’s Administration reform bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in 2017. As readers will likely remember, the VA was literally leaving veterans to die waiting in line to see a doctor, and the national outrage forced the Democrats to allow passage of a reform that allowed rapid personnel changes. And the VA has seen some real change.  In 2017 alone, the firing of VA employees jumped by 27 percent, and overall, the VA has relieved 8,000 people of their duties.

It is time to apply the VA expedited personnel firing law to the rest of the federal government, and the best way to get it done is to add the language to the federal government appropriations bill which is under on-going discussion.

The greatest threat to our Republic is not a foreign invader, but instead is an out of control administrative state which believes that their thoughts supersede those of the elected officials. Given that it is extraordinarily difficult to fire this permanent governing class, they have the ability to delay and out weight Cabinet Secretary’s and even Presidents.

Over the past six years, we have witnessed the permanent FBI sub-leadership engage in illegal activity designed to take down President Trump. We have seen Lois Lerner and others within the IRS run a political targeting operation against those perceived to be opponents of President Obama. And in the Ukraine-inspired impeachment sham, we have heard first-hand the voices of contempt for the vote of the people.

It is time to rebalance the system by allowing these recalcitrant, incompetent or lazy employees to be fired in a timely manner if, and only if, there is cause.  Perhaps this impeachment fail will lead to some good, and the MERIT Act, S1898, sponsored by Senator David Perdue of Georgia, will gain steam, as legislative anger swells over the administrative state attempted coup which America has witnessed.

While the MERIT Act is not the full answer to the challenges posed by an administrative state which demands fealty by those who are elected to govern, the simple truth is that you cannot drain the swamp unless you can fire the swamp.



Democrats are Doomed: Two Polls Show Support for Trump Among African Americans at 34%

In what one can only describe as "disastrous news" for Democrats, two different opinion polls find that, among African Americans, support for President Trump is in the thirties. This number has been rising more or less constantly from a year ago, when it was in the mid-20s.

Rasmussen Reports explains on Twitter that one of the biggest differences between them and most other polling organizations is that they look at likely voters instead of at voters in general.

"All American Adults don't vote. A portion of Registered Voters also don't frequent national elections. That's why we invest the extra $$ to ask political questions to only Likely Voters," Rasmussen explains. "And we do this using techniques to assure privacy - just like in the voting booth."

In other words, their polling mimics actual voting as much as possible. And yes, the result is that Rasmussen concludes that support for President Trump among African Americans is at 34 percent:

As The Epoch Times reports, that's incredibly important because only 8 percent of African Americans voted for Trump in 2016.

Support for Trump among African Americans poses a major threat to the Democratic Party. Democrats have done horrendous among white voters for ages. The only way for them to actually win a presidential election is to destroy Republicans in the view of minorities -- especially among blacks and Hispanics -- and to get close among whites.

If these polls are correct, Democrats are already doomed. As RealClearPolitics explained last year, "[E]ven 20 percent African-American support for Trump would all but dismantle Democratic Party presidential hopes for 2020. Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election with 88 percent of the black vote. That was about a six-point falloff from Barack Obama’s share of the black vote in 2012."

Yes, "even a small drop in African-American turnout or anything less than the usual 85 percent to 90 percent supermajority for a Democratic presidential candidate on Election Day can prove fatal."

In fact, as RedState rightfully puts it, it will be fatal. Especially since support for Trump among Hispanics -- another key Democrat minority group -- is rising too. According to Emerson, 38.2 percent of Hispanics now approve of the president's performance. Note, in 2016, 28% of Hispanics reportedly voted for him.

A ten-point increase among Hispanics in itself would be a game-changer. Add to that the 16 percentage-point increase among African Americans, and President Trump's reelection seems increasingly likely.

And who do we have to thank for that? That's right: Democrats and their impeachment hoax.




MUST COMPLY: Former White House counsel Donald McGahn must testify to Congress, judge rules; administration will appeal (The New York Times)

TRUMP FINANCIALS SHIELDED: Supreme Court blocks House committee from immediately reviewing Trump's financial records (The Washington Post)

SILENCE SPEAKS VOLUMES: Ex-Pentagon aide Guy Snodgrass evades answering if he's anonymous author of anti-Trump book A Warning (Fox News)

OBSTRUCTIONISTS AT THE HELM: Three years into Trump administration, a quarter of embassy slots are vacant, leaving State Department bureaucrats in charge (The Daily Caller)

ON CROSS-EXAMINATION: Four big questions about the inspector general report on FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign (The Daily Signal)

MOVING ON: Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher to retire from active duty, will not take part in a review board (Fox News)

REVENUE BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY: California Department of Motor Vehicles makes $50 million a year selling drivers' info to private companies (National Review)

EXPLANATION: Trump: Here's the real reason I held back money from Ukraine and blocked impeachment testimony (The Daily Wire)

I'LL SUE YA: House Democrats sue Attorney General Bill Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross over "brazen obstruction" of census subpoenas (National Review)

MIGRANT REQUIREMENT STALLED: Federal judge blocks Trump health insurance rule for immigrants (Fox News)

ANTI-TRUMP HIT JOB: New Fusion GPS info confirms the special-counsel probe was a hit job (The Federalist)

HARDBALL: U.S. to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorists (Reuters)

PERPETUALLY GREAT: Dow scores 100th record close under Trump (Fox Business)

POLICY: Native American health scandal shows why government-run care can be deadly (The Federalist)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here