Friday, February 14, 2020

Mr Trump's faults

The Left loathe and abhor Mr. Trump. The main reason for the torrent of verbal poison that they pour out at him is the way he has made America prosper.  Almost from the moment his election win was announced in 2016, American multinationals started bring  their money and their jobs back home.  The American Left was trying all sorts of coercive measures to achieve that but all Mr Trump had to do was ask.

But America does not deserve to prosper according to the American Left.  It is a deeply corrupt and racist country that lives off the sweat of the poor, according to the Left.  So to them Mr Trump is doing the Devil's work, not that they would put it that way.  To them, America deserves drastic reform, not prosperity.

They have to show some caution in expressing  such hatred of their own country, however.  America is still mostly a land of patriots and those deplorable patriots have a vote!

So the Left have to display their anger at Mr Trump in some other way.   And Mr Trump provides plenty of fodder for that.  His personal style is such that he has redefined what "presidential" means.  During his run for the presidency, the Left mainly mocked his hair, but they have now found many other faults in him. He boasts, he gets facts wrong and he fires back at those who attack him. He is frankly childish.

Mr Trump's personal style is so unattractive that many American writers -- including some psychiatrists who should know better -- have "psychologized" him.  They have purported to show that Mr Trump has symptoms of mental illness.  That he is a "narcissist" almost goes without saying.

But here's the thing:  Conservatives can see all those symptoms too. They can see that Mr Trump's personal style is a great departure from what used to be called presidential.  At a minimum he lacks dignity.

But that does not bother Republican voters. They look beneath the surface to his radical policies and very much like what they see there. His approval rating among them is 94% at the moment.  As an example of Trump supporters being alive to his faults, take this quote from something I put up yesterday;

Trump, to be sure, is a strange guy. I have never witnessed anyone more in love with himself. If there is a world's record for narcissism, he holds it. I am reminded of Oscar Wilde's comment upon looking at himself in a mirror:  "the beginning of a lifelong romance."

That does seem to me to be a reasonable statement but, being a psychologist, I want to put it into a larger context:  Mr Trump actually needs to be like that.  The torrent of attack and criticism that has been aimed at him would have crushed most people long ago.  And yet, as far as we can see, it is all like water off a duck's  back to him. To quote a popular metaphor, he "has got the hide of a rhinocerous'. 

So you need someone with an extremely high level of self-regard and self confidence to survive what Donald Trump has survived.  Narcissism can have a constructive place within the diversity of human society and Trump illustrates that. The great leap in prosperity that he has brought to America could not have been done by a more conventional man -- JR


Financially Troubled Amtrak Is Taking Taxpayers for a Ride

Last November, several news outlets reported that Amtrak, the nation’s heavily subsidized passenger rail service, was on track to break even for the first time in the company’s history. After nearly 50 continuous years of operating in the red, covering all its history, 2020 may become its first year in the black:

Amtrak said it is on track to break even for the first time in company history in fiscal 2020 as record ridership led to an improvement in its financial results.

The government-owned rail carrier said 32.5 million riders took trips on Amtrak trains during its fiscal year ending in Sept. 2019, with its northeast corridor and state-supported lines experiencing record growth. The total marked a company record and an increase of 800,000 riders compared to one year earlier.

“We are growing and modernizing Amtrak. We have an industry-leading safety program and have invested billions in improving the customer experience, resulting in more people choosing Amtrak as their preferred mode of transportation,” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia. “These changes have put us on track to breakeven in 2020, which would be a first in Amtrak’s history.”

Bloomberg‘s Justin Fox was quick to throw buckets of icy, cold water on that claim, finding Amtrak’s accountants were claiming subsidies from state governments as part of their operating revenues.

Earlier this month, Amtrak announced a smallest-ever “adjusted operating loss” of $29.8 million in the 2019 fiscal year, which ended in September, and said it is on a “path to achieve operational breakeven in fiscal year 2020.” Along with the news that Amtrak ridership had hit an all-time high of 32.5 million, this garnered some nice headlines.

There are some other, less-impressive numbers, though, that the government-owned passenger railroad disclosed this week with no fanfare. Amtrak’s net loss according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles was $874.8 million, up from $817.2 million in FY 2018. Amtrak also reported receiving $234 million in support from the governments of states through which some of its trains run; without that money, losses would have been well over $1 billion.

Since Amtrak is not a publicly traded corporation, it can skate by many of the financial reporting requirements that real businesses must comply with. In this case, that means being able to claim it’s on the verge of breaking even, although in a more truthful accounting, it is running through a deep, dark tunnel with almost no chance of ever breaking out into the sunlight.

Writing in the Washington Examiner, the Cato Institute’s Randal O’Toole takes on what he describes as Amtrak’s Big Lie:

Amtrak’s accounting system is so full of lies that even the pro-passenger train Rail Passengers Association calls it “fatally flawed, misleading, and wrong.”

The first lie is that Amtrak counts taxpayer subsidies from the states as “passenger revenues.” According to Amtrak’s unaudited report, 17 state legislatures gave Amtrak a total of $234 million in 2019. The taxpayers in those states were never allowed to vote on these subsidies, and the vast majority don’t ride Amtrak. These subsidies are no more “passenger revenues” than the subsidies given to Amtrak by Congress. Deducting these subsidies from revenues immediately increases Amtrak’s 2019 losses to $264 million.

An even bigger lie is Amtrak’s failure to report depreciation in its operating costs. Ignoring depreciation is an old railroad accounting trick aimed at misleading investors by boosting apparent profits.

It’s the kind of accounting that’s only approved by politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., for government-supported enterprises. For what it’s worth, Amtrak does report depreciation in its audited financial statements but does not state this in its press releases about its financial performance, so the problem draws little media coverage, which is another Washington, D.C., trick.

But wait, it gets worse:

Even with federal capital subsidies, Amtrak is deferring maintenance like crazy. Amtrak passenger cars have expected lifespans of 25 years, yet the average car in its fleet is well over 30 years old. The Boston-to-Washington corridor, which Amtrak has often claimed to be profitable, has a $38 billion maintenance backlog.

Fixing just these two line items in Amtrak’s accounting shows that Amtrak did not come close to earning a profit in 2019, it won’t earn a profit in 2020, and it never will earn a profit. This is because, after counting all subsidies, Amtrak spends four times as much to move a passenger one mile as the airlines. The difference between Amtrak and intercity buses is even greater, which means Amtrak can’t compete in any market without heavy subsidies.

Since Amtrak depends upon so many federal and state government subsidies to get anywhere close to breaking even, O’Toole does propose a remedy for better directing those subsidies in ways that might actually improve its business:

Rather than give Amtrak billions of dollars to restore or build infrastructure that it can’t afford to maintain, Congress should simply agree to pay Amtrak a given amount for every passenger mile it carries. This will give Amtrak an incentive to focus on passengers, not politics.

Over time, Congress should reduce that amount until Amtrak receives no more per passenger mile than airlines or highways. Any trains that can truly be profitable will survive, but if they do, it will be because Amtrak has found ways to efficiently transport people, not because of lies in its accounting system.

Federal and state politicians and bureaucrats have spent billions of taxpayer dollars over the past five decades to make Amtrak into the train wreck it is today, with no sign they intend to stop at any time in the next five decades.

If we’re going to flush so many billions down into Amtrak’s deep, dark accounting tunnel, shouldn’t we get its flawed accounting fixed and the government-owned train service focused on serving customers?



Can Trump Win 20% of the Black Vote in 2020?

If you want to get the black vote, all you have to do is give a small percentage of black people options. Options that are long lasting and meaningful like funding historically black colleges and universities. Options that promote the welfare of their families like opportunity zones. Options that are expensive in taste, but at a low price like school choice. Options that give a voice to the voiceless like the First Step Act.

Well, how about that! The Trump administration has met all of the basic wants and needs of the black community. Generational wealth. Check. Better education in higher performing schools. Check. Reuniting with a loved one who got involved in nonviolent offenses. Check. Providing higher learning for first-generation college students. Check. All the boxes are being checked, and leftists' feet are to the fire.

Democrats have far too long had the black vote in their back pocket. It's like snow falling in the winter in Antarctica. You know what you're going to get.

Even Van Jones exclaims, "What [Trump] was saying to African Americans can be effective. You may not like it, but he mentioned [historically black colleges and universities]. Our black colleges have been struggling for a long time. A bunch of them have gone under. He threw a lifeline to them in real life in his budget. He talked about criminal-justice reforms. He talked about 'opportunity zones.' He talked about school choice."

Jones continued, "We've got to wake up, folks. There's a whole bubble thing that goes on, saying, 'Well, he said s—hole nations. Therefore, all black people are going to hate him forever.' That ain't necessarily so. And I think what you're going to see him do is say, 'You may not like my rhetoric, but look at my results — look at my record,' to black people. If he narrowcasts that, it's going to be effective. Trump will never win a majority of the black vote. But he doesn't have to. If he follows through on his current strategy, he has a massive opportunity to win a greater share of it in 2020 than the 5% to 10% that Republicans have received since 2008. If Trump gets even 20% of the black vote in swing states such as Michigan, Florida, and Pennsylvania, then Democrats will simply have no path to victory."

The Trump administration has already prepared the way to receive even more support from the black community. The State of Union address laid everything out perfectly. Trump supports the Philadelphia fourth-grader, Janiyah Davis, and her mother, Stephanie Davis, for school choice. The president surprised Janiyah and her mother with a scholarship so she could attend a better school. She had been formerly on a long waiting list. The president also honored a 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman, Charles McGee. During the Super Bowl a commercial aired that show the commuted sentence of Alice Marie Johnson by President Trump. The 63-year-old was released after serving 21 years of a life sentence for a first-time nonviolent drug offense and money laundering.

Trump is ahead of the black vote curve and if he can win 20% of the black vote in swing states, it's a wrap for 2020. The black vote is actually simple. You must preach "pocketbook politics" in a way that is economically measurable. You must preach "social justice" in a way that benefits those who cannot defend themselves. Finally, you must preach "educational opportunities" in a way that black voters can see the benefits for their children. I am excited for this election!




AND THE WINNER IS... Bernie Sanders edges Pete Buttigieg in New Hampshire, giving Democrats two front-runners; Michael Bennet, Andrew Yang, and Deval Patrick drop out (AP)

MEANWHILE: Tuesday's primary gives Amy Klobuchar major boost, puts Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren on 2020 life support (Fox News)

NOT TO BE OVERLOOKED: Donald Trump's New Hampshire vote total more than doubles Barack Obama's in the 2012 primary (Washington Examiner)

HISSY FIT: Trial team quits Roger Stone case in dispute over DOJ's step to reduce sentence recommendation (AP)

DRILL, BABY, DRILL: Oil from federal lands tops one billion barrels as Trump eases rules (AP)

LOADED SWAMP: $100,001-plus salaries the norm in Washington, DC, for first time (Washington Examiner)

GOOD TREND CONTINUES: Illegal border crossings plummet for the eighth month in a row (Townhall)

LESSONS NOT LEARNED: Virginia House of Delegates passes sweeping gun-control bill (National Review)

SHENANIGANS GO BEYOND GUNS: Virginia House passes bill that would award electoral votes to popular vote winner (WHSV)

JUSTICE AFTER ALL? Jussie Smollett indicted by special prosecutor in Chicago (The Daily Wire)

AND NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON: Sudan to hand over Omar al-Bashir for genocide trial (AP)

POLICY: How to take on the deadly drug cartels that run the U.S.-Mexico border (The Federalist)

POLICY: Yes, David Brooks, the nuclear family is the worst family form — except for all others (Institute for Family Studies)


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 hereHome page supplement


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Hatred will re-elect Trump

As I watch opponents pound and pound, then pound again, on President Trump, I say to myself, "You're reelecting him; do keep pounding." I welcome the pummeling.

Trump, to be sure, is a strange guy. I have never witnessed anyone more in love with himself. If there is a world's record for narcissism, he holds it. I am reminded of Oscar Wilde's comment upon looking at himself in a mirror:  "the beginning of a lifelong romance."

Caitlin Flanagan, writing in the May 2017 issue of "The Atlantic," put us onto the ironic paradox of victory through the vehicle of hatred. The title of her piece said it all: "How Late-Night Comedy Fueled the Rise of Trump. Sneering hosts have alienated conservatives and made liberals smug." She observed what the public sees in the comic mocking of the "deplorables" — "HBO, Comedy Central, TBS, ABC, CBS, and NBC. In other words, they see exactly what Donald Trump has taught them: that the entire media landscape loathes them, their values, their family, and their religion."

In January 2019, Flanagan issued this same paradoxical point to The New York Times: "You were partly responsible for the election of Trump because you are the most influential newspaper in the country, and you are not fair or impartial. Millions of Americans believe you hate them and that you will casually harm them. Two years ago, they fought back against you, and they won."

Then Flanagan added: "If Trump wins again, you will once again have played a small but important role in that victory."

The House impeachment hearings have enabled the same rise in public support of Trump. His poll ratings of late have reached the highest level of support in his tenure as president. Polls vary, but his favorable ratings now run anywhere between 46 percent to 50 percent. This owes to the intense hatred of him by the media and House Democrats.

Look at his presidential rallies since the poundings against him in the House: tens of thousands of supporters are showing up, many coming the night before and sleeping on the ground. The hatred has awakened the giant.

I don't much care for Donald Trump's character because his ego is larger than the Empire State Building. But I will vote for him because I very much like his many achievements as president. Haters don't want to acknowledge these achievements. They want to focus on what's wrong with a dream rather than what's right about it. If you show them a sheet of paper with dots on it, they will focus on the dots rather than on the otherwise full sheet of paper.

As I wrote this article, the Senate had just voted 51 to 49 not to have more witnesses testify. Democrats still want to draw out the final resolution of this trial. Ironically their slings and arrows will aid the president's reelection.



By The Numbers: Trump’s New Budget Cuts EPA By 26%, Foreign Aid By 21%

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2021 includes sweeping cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Commerce, and foreign aid, the White House announced Sunday.

White House officials confirmed to reporters that the budget will total $4.8 trillion, and assuming the economy grows at 3% each year, will reduce government spending by $4.4 trillion over the next 10 years.

The budget cuts funding to the EPA by 26%, foreign aid by 21%, and the DOC by 37%, though the majority of that could be attributed to the completion of the 2020 census. (RELATED: Is Donald Trump To Blame For Our Ballooning Deficit?)

Still, the budget requests funding raises for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, and NASA by 13, 3, and 12%, respectively.

For the first time, the fiscal year 2021 budget will feature a chapter devoted entirely to eliminating “wasteful” government spending, as previously reported by Daily Caller. (RELATED: New Trump Budget Includes First Ever Chapter Defining Government Waste, Targets Programs To Eliminate Entirely)

The proposal targets agencies with overlapping and similar goals, agencies that provide similar or identical services to the same group of recipients, programs without a clearly defined federal role, federal programs that mirror state-level initiatives and erroneous payments.

Additionally, the budget calls for the elimination of the following programs:

* National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Education and Research Centers

* Department of the Interior’s Highlands Conservation Act Grants
National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures Grants

* National Endowment for the Arts Endowment for the Humanities

* Corporation for National and Community Service (including AmeriCorps)

Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought is expected to testify on the full White House proposal during a Congressional hearing on Wednesday.



'Socialist and 'Atheist' Still Poison in American Politics—Unless You're a Democrat

A Gallup poll out today shows that a majority of Americans wouldn't vote for a socialist for president and only 60 percent would vote for an atheist.

This is in line with other polls that have shown a bare majority rejecting socialism.

But this poll shows some cause for concern. Seventy-six percent of Democrats say they would support a socialist for president while only 77 percent say they would support an evangelical Christian.

These findings are based on a Gallup question asking, "Between now and the 2020 political conventions, there will be discussion about the qualifications of presidential candidates -- their education, age, religion, race and so on. If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be [characteristic], would you vote for that person?"

Gallup first tested Americans' willingness to vote for candidates who don't fit the traditional Protestant white male mold in 1937, asking that year whether they would support a well-qualified Catholic, Jew or woman for president. Support for a woman as president was only 33% at that time but has since grown, as has support for other diverse candidates added to the list over the decades.

Since 1958, the sharpest increase in voting tolerance has been for blacks, followed by atheists, women, Jewish candidates and Catholics. More recently, the biggest shift has been for gay or lesbian candidates.

The differences between the parties are striking.

Democrats express at least somewhat more willingness than Republicans to support most of the candidate types tested, with the widest gaps seen for Muslims, atheists and socialists. While at least two in three Democrats say they would vote for presidential candidates with these profiles, support among Republicans drops to just over 40% for Muslims and atheists, and to only 17% for socialists.

Republicans are more accepting than Democrats of evangelical Christians and candidates over 70. While President Donald Trump falls into the latter category, so do four of the leading Democratic candidates: Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg.

Republicans and Democrats are about equally likely to support Catholic and Jewish candidates.

We already know that younger voters are more willing to accept socialism. But Democrats over the age of 50 either don't remember the cost of socialism, or are simply going with the flow generated by their younger party members.

I think there are a lot of Democrats who probably don't support socialist policies but want to win elections. Then there are Democrats who don't want to be seen as "out of step" with others in the party.

The sad fact is, older voters -- most of whom oppose socialism -- are disappearing and the pendulum is swinging toward the radicals. I just hope I'm not around to witness the destruction socialism will cause.



Illegal Immigration Has Outsized Negative Impact on Smaller U.S. States

A newly released report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has revealed that the cost of illegal immigration on taxpayers is felt in states far from the U.S. southern border, and specifically in some of the country's least populated states. In fact, FAIR found that it costs 10 states with the fewest immigrants $454 million annually — or $4,000 to $6,500 per illegal alien.

As FAIR President Dan Stein explains, "In many ways, the influx of immigrants into less populous areas of the country has an even greater impact on long-time residents than it does in larger and more urban areas. These areas have neither the tax base, nor the economic and social infrastructure to accommodate the needs of the growing numbers of immigrants taking up residence."

Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming are the 10 states in which FAIR determined that of the 415,000 foreign-born residents living in them, 88,000 were illegal aliens. On top of that, 35,000 were children born to illegal aliens.

"Many local officials tout immigration, including illegal immigration, as a remedy to economic stagnation," Stein observed. "However, as this report reveals, the reality is precisely the opposite. Illegal immigration, in particular, drives down wages and inhibits job opportunities for legal residents, while bringing more low-skilled, low-wage workers to these states. In turn, this increases costs to state and local governments, and discourages investment by businesses seeking a skilled labor force and lower overhead."

Immigration constitutes a massive financial burden to taxpayers. CNSNews reports, "Nationwide, the immigration nonprofit calculated that taxpayers spend $59.8 billion educating LEP (limited English proficiency) students in 2016, up from $51.2 billion in 2010." Some schools in small communities have suddenly faced a dramatic uptick in the percentage of LEP students. For example, Lewiston, Maine, with a population of 40,000, has had its percent of LEP students rise from 5% to 30% in just five years.

As Stein concludes, "Americans, in every part of the nation, are being affected by antiquated and unenforced immigration policies, which is why it is at the top of the list of voter concerns heading into the 2020 elections."




PRIMARY BEGINS: New Hampshire primary voting kicks off, with Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg locked in fierce battle (Fox News)

"SYSTEMATICALLY VIOLATING THE RULE OF LAW": Attorney General William Barr announces sweeping new sanctions, "significant escalation" against left-wing sanctuary cities (Fox News)

"GREAT NEWS TO REPORT": Funding secured for 1,000 miles of border barrier, White House officials say (The Daily Caller)

CYBERWARFARE: DOJ charges four Chinese military officials in connection with infamous Equifax data breach (The Daily Wire)

CLEANING HOUSE: Bigger than Vindman: President Trump scrubs 70 Obama holdovers from National Security Council (Washington Examiner)

BACKFIRE: Virginia Democrats are very good for Virginia gun sales (Hot Air)

OUT OF TOUCH: While Nancy Pelosi asserts "January jobs report shows the rot at the heart of the Trump economy," Americans say they feel the current economy is the best since the late 1990s (The Washington Post)

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: China still mostly closed down as virus deaths pass 1,000 (AP)

POLICY: Trump budget cuts size of federal government, but bolder reforms needed (The Heritage Foundation)

POLICY: Obama promised a "middle class" economy; Trump delivered it (Issues & Insights)


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 hereHome page supplement


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

MSNBC Host Warns Against Socialist Executions, Bernie Bros Want Him Sacked

After the New Hampshire Democratic debate on Friday night, MSNBC host Chris Matthews uttered high heresy against the Bernie Sanders movement by remembering the Cold War and the threat of socialist and communist executions. He warned that if Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War, "there would have been executions in Central Park, and I might have been one of the ones getting executed." As if to demonstrate the truth of this statement, Bernie Bros got #FireChrisMatthews trending on Twitter.

"The Democratic Party has to figure out its ideology," Matthews warned. He said he was part of the Liberal Party in Britain, but that party was "overtaken by the socialist party [Labour]" and Winston "Churchill went back to the [conservative] Tories." Indeed, Churchill rejected the Liberal Party in 1924, warning that Liberals should support the Conservatives to stop Labour and ensure "the successful defeat of Socialism."

"A lot of this will be sorting this out if the Democratic Party runs a socialist candidate. That’s a change to the Democratic Party," Matthews continued. He did not condemn the expansion of social programs, which he firmly distinguished from socialism. "The Democratic Party’s been to the left of the Republican Party on the issue of mixed capitalism, more social programs. They push Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, enormously popular programs. I think ACA/Obamacare, I wish they’d follow through with it, make it work. I think most Americans would be happy with ... a public option" in health care.

Yet the MSNBC host also remembered the Cold War.

"I have my own views of the word socialist, and I’ll be glad to share them with you in private. They go back to the early 1950s, I have an attitude about them. I remember the Cold War," he said. "I have an attitude towards Castro. I believe if Castro and the reds had won the Cold War, there would have been executions in Central Park, and I might have been one of the ones getting executed, and certain other people would have been there cheering."

"So I have a problem with people who took the other side," he continued. Matthews feared Sanders would be in this category. "I don’t know who Bernie supports over these years. I don’t know what he means by socialism. One week, it’s Denmark. 'We’re going to be like Denmark.' Okay, that’s harmless. That’s basically a capitalist country with a lot of good social programs." (Ironically, Denmark has been hard at work reforming its social programs in a more free-market direction.)

Matthews later brought up the question, "What does he think of Castro?" He noted that many Americans were originally excited to see Castro rise to power in Cuba, "and then he became a communist and started shooting all of his enemies."

Bernie Bros were not happy to see a liberal host speak the truth about the Cold War — and Sanders' dalliances with the oppressive Soviet communist side. After a few prominent liberals expressed disgust and blamed Matthews of anti-Semitism, #FireChrisMatthews started trending on Twitter.

Liberal writer and activist Shaun King suggested that any mention of Castro's murderous thugs in discussing Bernie Sanders would constitute anti-Semitism because Sanders is Jewish. He called Matthews' history lesson "one of the single most ignorant moments I've ever seen on [MSNBC]."

There is an immense difference between Matthews raising concerns about socialism by citing the Cold War and the character accusations of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. When McCarthy accused people of being closet Soviets, he was accusing them of treason (and ironically adopting a feature of communist governments).

Matthews was merely warning about the dangers of this kind of big government ideology, and noting Sanders' very public support for the Soviets and their allies during the Cold War — he honeymooned in the USSR in the 1980s and worked with various Marxist political parties during his time as mayor of Burlington, Vermont.

He endorsed Socialist Workers Party candidates for president in the 1980s when that party was pointing to Soviet-aligned countries like Nicaragua and Cuba as inspirations for policies in the U.S. So yes, it is entirely fair to ask Sanders what he thinks of Fidel Castro.



Carville Blasts Leftist Dems; Candidates Hold 8th Debate

While Carville wonders if Dems are losing their minds, candidates appear to prove his point.

Following the Democrats’ Iowa caucuses debacle last week, former Bill Clinton campaign adviser and Democrat strategist James Carville publicly blasted his party’s candidates in interviews for their hard-left platforms. On MSNBC, Carville went on a rant over the Democrats’ poor performance, concluding that he was “scared to death” about the 2020 election. In a followup interview with Vox writer Sean Illing, Carville further elaborated on his concerns, bemoaning, “We’re losing our [darn] minds.”

Pointing to the lower-than-expected voter enthusiasm in Iowa, Carville observed, “Look, the turnout in the Iowa caucus was below what we expected [and] what we wanted. Trump’s approval rating is probably as high as it’s been. This is very bad. And now it appears the party can’t even count votes. What the hell am I supposed to think? … And now it’s like we’re losing our [darn] minds. Someone’s got to step their game up here.”

Democrats have gone to the extreme left, Carville charges, and by doing so they are turning off vast swaths of the country. “We have candidates on the debate stage talking about open borders and decriminalizing illegal immigration. They’re talking about doing away with nuclear energy and fracking. You’ve got Bernie Sanders talking about letting criminals and terrorists vote from jail cells. It doesn’t matter what you think about any of that, or if there are good arguments — talking about that is not how you win a national election. It’s not how you become a majoritarian party. … They’ve tacked off the [darn] radar screen.”

Carville also blasted Democrats over their “free college” platform, arguing, “Here’s another stupid thing: Democrats talking about free college tuition or debt forgiveness. I’m not here to debate the idea. What I can tell you is that people all over this country worked their way through school, sent their kids to school, paid off student loans. They don’t want to hear this s—. And you saw [Elizabeth] Warren confronted by an angry voter over this. It’s just not a winning message.”

The Democrats’ elitist and self-righteous attitude is not a formula for winning, Carville notes, as he laments that this “smugness” and “patronizing” would only lead to further Democrat losses. “We can’t win the Senate by looking down at people. The Democrat Party has to drive a narrative that doesn’t give off vapors that we’re smarter than everyone or culturally arrogant.”

Carville’s interview was published last Friday, hours before the Democrat presidential candidates took the stage for their eighth debate. That debate made abundantly clear that Carville’s assessment was spot on. The Democrat candidates are simply uninterested or unable to concern themselves with any views outside of their narrow leftist ideology. As PowerLine’s Steven Hayward insightfully observed, “I watched the Democratic field show once again that it is running to be president of Twitter more than President of the United States.”

For example, not one of the candidates on the stage Friday night would have given the go-ahead, like Trump did, to take out Iran’s leading terrorist, Qasem Soleimani. Bernie Sanders strangely argued, “You cannot go around saying, ‘You’re a bad guy. We’re gonna assassinate you.’ And then you’re gonna have, if that happens, you’re opening the door to international anarchy.” Pete Buttigieg ridiculously asserted that “taking out a bad guy is a bad idea if you do not know what you’re doing.” Joe Biden suggested (without evidence) that “there’s no evidence yet of an imminent threat that was going to come from [Soleimani].” Never mind the fact that he had the blood of thousands of Americans already on his hands.

Regarding socialism, only one candidate on stage — Amy Klobuchar — raised her hand in rejection of the failed ideology. On the question of racism, every candidate brandished their “woke” talking points, deriding America as a racist country founded on racism. Sanders took the cake: “We have a racist society from top to bottom, impacting healthcare, housing, criminal justice, education — you name it. And clearly this is an issue that must be dealt with.”

Finally, one of the moments that most highlights the current divide between Democrats and Republicans was Biden’s chastising Trump for awarding Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “By the way, Colonel Vindman got thrown out of the White House today,” Biden lamented. “[The president] should have been pinning a medal on Vindman, and not on Rush Limbaugh. I think we should all stand and get Colonel Vindman a show of how much we support him. Stand up and clap for Vindman!” Biden demanded.

These Democrats are so out of touch with much of America that they don’t seem to realize the majority of their attacks against Trump are in fact attacks against Americans. These Democrats do indeed appear to be losing their minds.



Mitch McConnell wins through

Americans have just watched the impeachment drama meet its end in the Senate following orderly speeches, which was in stark contrast to the scripted-for-cable-news performances in the House demanding to remove President Donald Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been vilified by the Left with terms like “ruthless” and “egregious” because he denied additional drama to the same folks who still can’t get over losing the 2016 presidential election. In the eyes of Republicans, the Senate has, again, done its job — as has McConnell.

But, as recently as December 2017, McConnell was under significant fire from within the Republican Party grassroots for, at the time, his role in fueling the fiery and failed special Alabama Senate primary race. Many grassroots conservatives blamed McConnell for the fact that a key Senate seat is now held by Doug Jones, a lone Democrat senator from the South. Many also called the Senate majority leader an albatross around the necks of the conservative cause — as Nancy Pelosi is to Democrats. The list of grievances included failure to deal with illegal immigration, failure to halt Planned Parenthood funding, and failure to repeal or replace ObamaCare.

Put simply, Mitch McConnell was not exactly hailed by grassroots Republicans.

That was until the unexpected death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

A month after Scalia’s passing, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland. McConnell cited his former colleague Joe Biden’s own words in shelving the Democrat nomination by declaring no vacancy on the Supreme Court would be filled in the year of a presidential election. The “Biden Rule” originated in June 1992, when the then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman argued that, should a vacancy occur when President George H.W. Bush was running against Democrat Bill Clinton, the deliberating body would “seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.”

McConnell’s move was a huge gamble, because nobody seriously thought Donald Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton. But, as it turns out, McConnell ensured that Garland’s nomination never received a Senate hearing, and he provided voters with a big reason to vote Trump. Once Trump took office, he and McConnell delivered, nominating and confirming Neil Gorsuch.

DC theatrics were in full swing when Trump made his nomination to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy with Brett Kavanaugh. Unlike the Gorsuch nomination, Kavanaugh’s nomination came ahead of a midterm election and shifted the ideological balance of the Court. But McConnell’s steady leadership came into focus as America watched over 48 hours of questioning and hysteria that ultimately solidified the Supreme Court with an originalist interpretation of the Rule of Law. While most will remember the Democrats’ shameful display that displaced anything resembling civility during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, don’t overlook the importance of an earlier stance McConnell took that made this appointment as valuable.

These two Supreme Court justices are the shiny trophies promised by presidential candidate Trump. But, since his first day in office, President Trump has filled over 20% of the circuit-court seats in the country. His 34th circuit judge is being confirmed with three more in the queue for floor action. Compare this record to his predecessor, who appointed 55 circuit judges in eight years. Trump currently still has 128 District Court vacancies to fill.

Needless to say, the impact on the judiciary is already immense, with the guarantee of this campaign promise returning to the presidential trail in 2020. Yet this would not be possible without the Senate and the leadership of Majority Leader McConnell.

McConnell has embraced his role, recently declaring, “You’ll be pleased to know that my motto for the remainder of this Congress is leave no vacancy behind.” He’s doing the work to confirm women and men who are relatively young and intellectually skilled, many with experience as Supreme Court clerks. And their approach to the bench is “to follow the law and the Constitution.”




SIGNALING PRIORITIES: Trump budget would cut $4.4 trillion in spending, boosting defense while slashing safety nets and foreign aid (Fox News)

BUTTIGIEG PREVAILS: Iowa Democrat Party awards Pete Buttigieg 14 delegates, Bernie Sanders 12 after caucus meltdown (Fox News)

IF NOT FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS... Buttigieg argues for end of Electoral College after Iowa "victory" without popular vote (Breitbart)

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Buttigieg high-school essay praised "Profile in Courage" Bernie Sanders (The Daily Caller)

BRAVO: Actor Gary Sinise recognized with Congressional Medal of Honor Society's Patriot Award for supporting veterans (Washington Examiner)

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE... Obama-produced film wins Oscar; producer quotes Communist Manifesto in acceptance speech (The Daily Wire)

COPS ATTACKED: Two New York officers shot in assassination attempts; Trump rips Mayor Bill de Blasio (USA Today)

POLICY: China's stranglehold on pharmaceuticals threatens Americans' health and national security (Issues & Insights)


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 hereHome page supplement


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The New McCarthyism Has No Sense of Decency

During CNN’s last presidential debate in Des Moines, Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Sen. Joseph McCarthy had “blacklisted people” and that Joseph Welch said to him, “Have you no sense of decency?” If anyone in 2020 found this reference puzzling, it would be hard to blame them.

Sen. Klobuchar repeats the common belief that Joe McCarthy headed the House Committee on Un-American Activities that investigated Communist influence in the movies. Actually, senators do not serve on House committees, and McCarthy never had anything to do with Hollywood. The Hollywood liberals who fought the screen Stalinists, sometimes in bloody street battles, considered McCarthy a hindrance to the anti-Communist cause.

McCarthy’s focus was government, and the “decency” comment came from U.S. Army Counsel Joseph Welch in the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings, seven years after the HCUA Hollywood hearings and three years before the senator’s death. McCarthy was an unsavory, accusatory type who damaged the anti-Communist cause, but as M. Stanton Evans noted in Blacklisted by History, the Wisconsin Republican didn’t know the half of it.

“The curiosity is not that there were undoubtedly many Reds that made government their vocation, but that the entire Communist Party was not on the federal payroll.” That quote is from actor Robert Vaughn (The Young Philadelphians, Bullit) in his Ph.D. thesis published in 1972 as Only Victims: A Study of Show Business Blacklisting. Vaughn’s findings have since been substantiated by revelations from the Comintern and Soviet archives. For the case of Alger Hiss, a Stalinist agent in the State Department, see Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case, by Allen Weinstein.

Politicians like Amy Klobuchar decry Joe McCarthy but have no trouble with the vicious guilt-by-accusation tactics on display in the hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. For the full story on that travesty, see Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino in Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court. In those hearings, Sen. Klobuchar accepted the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford as infallible, pressed Kavanaugh about his drinking habits, and voted against him, claiming the vote was not political.

That’s the new McCarthyism, and those who deploy it show little sense of decency.



Iran and the hypocrisy of the pacifist left

Leftists in the West routinely accuse the US of threatening world peace. And yet they readily and hypocritically turn a blind eye to the imperialist aspirations of other countries.

Take the case of Iran. At the beginning of this year, President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Qasem Soleimani, a leading general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and the principal architect of Iran’s regional expansion. The Western ‘pacifist’ left did not hesitate to cry foul. The more ignorant among them expressed their sorrow over his death, seemingly oblivious to the blood on his hands. The more literate said the killing was a threat to Middle Eastern peace, despite the fact such peace is non-existent.

Their response ignores the fact that, for many in the Middle East, the death of Soleimani came as a relief. Sunni Muslims, from Iraq to Lebanon, who had long suffered at the hands of Soleimani-led, Shia militias, were only too happy to see his demise. Yet Iran’s regional interventions and imperial ambition, led up until now by Soleimani, do not trigger massive left-wing demonstrations in the West. And no Iranian flag is set alight by leftists outraged at Iranian imperialism.

Why is the Western left unaffected by the suffering of the victims of Eastern imperialism? And why is it, once again, standing up for a dictatorship?

It’s partly because some really are ignorant enough to believe that all wars are attributable to the bloodlust of Western powers. If they just laid down their weapons, so the magical thinking goes, their rivals in Moscow, Tehran and Beijing would lay down theirs. Yet even the Romans knew that whoever wanted peace had to be ready for war.

Very often, Western leftist ‘pacifism’ is rooted in a myopic loathing for America. When, under President Reagan during the 1980s, the US toughened its stance on the Soviet Union, helping to bring about its fall, Western leftists started calling out American imperialism. In doing so, they showed they had absolutely no regard for the Eastern Europeans living under the yoke of Russian imperialism.

Or take the case of Serbian aggression in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. When President Clinton led the NATO attacks on the forces of the then Serbian president, Slobodan Milošević, in 1999, the Western left started calling out American imperialism once again. They had no regard for the tens of thousands of Serbs, Croats, Bosnians and Albanians who were living in fear of Milošević.

Even when the US is reluctant to intervene militarily against Russian imperialism, as is the case now in Ukraine, a large part of the Western left is still concerned about American imperialism. And again, they show absolutely no concern for the Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, South Ossetians, Georgians or Chechens who still live in the shadow of Russia.

The same thing is happening in the case of Iran. Even though it has been pushing an imperialist agenda in the Middle East, and has intervened in numerous sovereign territories, from Iraq to Egypt, the Western ‘pacifist’ left has remained silent. Leftists are happy to wave the Palestinian banner, while burning American and Israeli flags, but they show no interest in Iran’s bolstering of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, or its bloody work in Iraq.

Instead, they see Islamist Iran as mounting a legitimate rebellion on behalf of the Third World. Indeed, in much the same Third Worldist terms, leftists, from Paris to West Berlin, welcomed the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 as a victory against the Great Satan of America.

For the Western left, it is as if being a part of the Third World excuses everything. As far as the left is concerned, Third World countries are free to act as they please, without being called out for committing the same acts as the West. The well-known leftist narrative is that the Third World is underdeveloped because it was colonised, oppressed and exploited by the dastardly West. Therefore its liberation can only come about dialectically. According to this interpretation, Third World countries are also compelled to colonise, oppress and exploit.

So, if Iran, China, Russia or Venezuela intervene anywhere in the world, it must be hailed as an act of international liberation. If the US, France or Israel does the same, then it is evil imperialism.

This is why the Western left regards Trump, and not the murdered Soleimani, as the main wrongdoer in the Middle East. After all, Soleimani was anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian, so he must have been a good man, right? Also, he hailed from a poor family, which is a prerequisite for being virtuous.

Not only is the Western ‘pacifist’ left hypocritical, calling out imperialism in some cases and accepting it as liberation at other times – it also goes against its own hallowed principle of international solidarity. So, just as Western leftists once supported the Kremlin, and betrayed the tens of millions suffering under Soviet imperialism, so today their pacifist heirs support Iran, unconcerned by the fate of the oppressed Persian people, the Iraqi Sunnis or the Sunnis and Christians of Lebanon.

There’s nothing wrong with choosing sides. However, the left should be honest with itself, stop claiming that it is acting in the name of ‘peace’ or ‘international law’ and admit what it is doing – namely, allying itself with Tehran.



Man Deliberately Crashes Van Into GOP Voter Registration Tent

Law enforcement officials in Jacksonville, Fla., say a driver intentionally crashed a van into a tent where Trump campaign volunteers were registering voters Saturday afternoon.

Thankfully, no one was injured.

“We are investigating this as an aggravated assault,” Lt. Larry Gayle of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said. “Several people were in the area and could have been seriously hurt.”

According to Gayle, after plowing through the tent, the driver stopped, got out of the van, then took a video of the scene before flipping off the victims and fleeing the scene. Despite this, Gayle says they don't know the motivation of the suspect, "but, we are just starting the investigation."

Obviously they don't want to speculate, but the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office should be treating this incident as a potential hate crime—just as they most certainly would be if the victims were minorities and the suspect was caucasian.

The Duval County GOP posted images of the scene and detailed the incident on Twitter.

“We are outraged by this senseless act of violence toward our great volunteers,” said Duval GOP Chairman Dean Black. “The Republican Party of Duval County will not be intimidated by these cowards and we will not be silenced.”

Black added, “I call on every Republican in our great city to stand up, get involved, and show these radicals that we will not be intimidated from exercising our Constitutional rights.”

The Duval County GOP now plans to "redouble its efforts to register voters" and will continue with "renewed intensity to re-elect President Donald Trump."

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel responded to the incident on Twitter. “These unprovoked, senseless attacks on @realDonaldTrump’s supporters need to end. I want to echo the @DuvalGOP in saying: We will not be silenced by cowards, and these disgusting acts will only make us work harder to win November.”

President Trump also responded to the incident. “Law Enforcement has been notified. Be careful tough guys who you play with!” he wrote on Twitter.

Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio both responded to the incident as well.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is now looking into whether the driver of the vehicle has posted the video he took on social media.

Given the obvious political nature of this incident that targeted supporters of President Trump's campaign, every single Democratic candidate's campaign should condemn the actions of the suspect. I'd be willing to bet that none will.


The Perp has been arrested. Gregory Timm, 27, was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, criminal mischief and driving with a suspended license


Life is good in Trump's America, and Democrats want to break it

Trump delivered a triumphant State of the Union address to Congress despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s distracting facial expressions and her melodramatic, almost ceremonial, ripping up of a copy of the speech. If I didn’t know any better, I’d suspect she didn’t like Trump all that much.

Pelosi’s attitude problem is a symptom of a much larger problem among Democrats, who are on the verge of falling into the same trap they fell into in 2016. They underestimated Trump as a candidate, and they have underestimated him as a president ever since. They assumed their personal opinions were the only correct way to view the world, took many of their own voters for granted, and, ultimately, lost big as a result.

The Trump administration has achieved significant policy victories that have improved life for everyday people. Democrats talk a big game about raising living standards for the “little man,” but the Trump administration is getting it done: from school choice, criminal justice reform, opportunity zones, record-low minority unemployment, and more. Democrats have promised reform on these issues for generations — but Trump is actually getting it done for disenfranchised urban communities.

Even CNN contributor and ardent liberal Van Jones admitted, to the shock of his colleagues, that Trump is helping black Americans in real life.

He warned the CNN panel that Trump’s achievements could appeal to groups outside the GOP’s typical coalition, including minority communities. “Wake up, folks,” Jones said. “What you’re going see him do is say, ‘you may not like my rhetoric, but look at my results.’ And if he narrowcasts that, it’s going to be effective.”

For once, Van Jones is absolutely right: This election is going to be about results, not rhetoric.

Which political party will earn the trust of struggling communities: the party that is creating jobs and getting criminal justice reform done or the party that is laser-focused on banning plastic straws and retrofitting every building in America?

Democrats so desperately want to paint a doomsday scenario where America is falling apart at the hands of Trump, and within the confines of their echo chambers on Facebook and MSNBC, they might be able to paint that picture. But it’s just not in line with reality. Consumer confidence is at a 20-year high. According to a recent Gallup poll, 90% of the public is satisfied with their personal lives, the highest number reported since 2003.

It’s a pretty great time to be alive, and Democrats are going to need a compelling argument for why voters should get off this train and opt for “big, structural change” — as it says on the back of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign RV.



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 hereHome page supplement


Monday, February 10, 2020

If not for President Trump’s courage and fortitude, the deep state coup might have succeeded

President Donald Trump has been locked in an unprecedented struggle with intelligence agencies and a rogue Justice Department that sought to destroy him, his campaign and eventually his presidency, since before he was elected—an effort not only to disenfranchise then certainly but also demoralize the 63 million Americans who voted for him in 2016.

In many ways it was the greatest attempt at voter suppression in American history. It began as a campaign talking point. Republicans are committed Cold Warriors, and in 2016, Donald Trump said he thought the U.S. and Russia could get along better, and so, his political opponents and the national security apparatus in Washington, D.C. sought to portray him as being “cozy” with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This would theoretically drive a wedge between Trump and his supporters, and cause Republicans to back a more establishment candidate.

That’s how it started. But in the primary it was inconsequential beyond a few debate moments. Trump and his surrogates could easily point to the examples of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush as presidents who had successfully negotiated nuclear arms control treaties with then the Soviet Union: the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty in 1972, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 1972, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987 and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991.

Trump came across as a statesman in foreign policy who might be able to broker new agreements that could help to keep America safe and out of war.

In the general election, the narrative was weaponized by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, who in 2016 hired via law firm Perkins Coie, the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, who hired former British spy Christopher Steele, to concoct allegations against Trump and his campaign, that they were Russian agents and that they had conspired with Russia to hack the Democratic National Committee and put the emails on Wikileaks. None of the allegations were made public at the time even as they circulated power circles in Washington, D.C.

Taking on a life of their own, the allegations were then passed on to the FBI and the Justice Department, who initiated top secret surveillance of the Trump campaign beginning in Oct. 2016 and not ending until after Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed in May 2017.

Still, the “cozy” with Putin meme would be played again and again on the campaign trail by Clinton publicly. But it backfired. Trump successfully painted Clinton as a warmonger who might get us into World War III.

Turns out that was not too far off the mark. The false allegations against Trump being a Russian agent have nearly incapacitated the ability of not only President Trump, but future presidents as well, to deal effectively and flexibly with Russia, especially when a deal might keep us out of Armageddon. Summits, once a highly effective foreign policy tool for American presidents, are now subject to over-the-top allegations of treason.

And it was all completely avoidable, we now know from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. After Trump won the election, in Jan. 2017 before the President was sworn into office, the FBI finally got around to interviewing one of the primary sources used in the Steele dossier, who ended up contradicting Steele and creating a void of evidence for the most serious charges leveled by Steele. Their key witness had folded and so they had a choice to make to end the investigation right then and there and hope nobody found out, or to proceed into the breach and carry on a rogue investigation of Trump into the new administration they knew was seriously flawed.

We all know what happened. They carried on the investigation and hid the exculpatory evidence not only from the President but the entire country. They sat on it. They wrongly targeted Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions and others. Former FBI Director James Comey lied to the President’s face about the extent of the investigation and thank goodness President Trump fired him for it, or else we might not have ever found out what really happened.

Really, if it was not for the fortitude of one man, President Trump, to stand up for the Constitution, his office and the American people, and grave, irreparable damage might have been inflicted on the republic — a dark alternate reality where the national security apparatus selects the President and political opponents are destroyed with malicious fantasies fabricated by secret political ops.

Instead, it all backfired. Comey was fired and although it led to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment, it also led to Mueller finding there was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mueller punted obstruction of justice to Attorney General William Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who found no crime.

The impeachment that followed — over the President’s freezing of military assistance to Ukraine while he considered both the national security implications and corruption in Ukraine —was a dagger at the heart of not just this President, but every president to keep us out of World War III.

A brief history lesson: In 2014, the Obama administration including Vice President Joe Biden pushed then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych out of power because Yanukovych opposed a trade deal with the European Union. The government was overthrown and the trade deal was adopted, but not before it led directly to the secession of Crimea and eastern provinces in Ukraine, which were taken over by pro-Russian forces. Suddenly there was a civil war.

When Trump ran for office, Steele or his sources concocted the allegation that the Republican Party Platform had been altered at Vladimir Putin’s behest to soften language on arms to Ukraine. So thoroughly convinced that Trump was a potential Russian agent, once elected, Congress forced U.S. arms to Ukraine — an amendment by the late Sen. John McCain who was fed the dossier by Steele via a surrogate — into the budget and made it a litmus test. If Trump questioned the arms or paused the assistance to Ukraine, even if it was meant to prevent an unintentional, catastrophic war, it proved he was a Russian agent.

But the only reason for the aid to Ukraine was to counter Putin’s master plan of the Manchurian Candidate Trump as a Russian agent. It was a countermeasure for a fictitious big lie.

In our right minds, we probably would have never sent military assistance to Ukraine but for the Steele dossier lies. The Obama administration never did.

And it is unclear how “vital”—quoting the now-failed articles of impeachment—the aid even is to Ukraine, when the Javelin missiles have not been used once on the eastern front of the Ukraine civil war. Instead, the anti-tank missiles are sitting in a warehouse in western Ukraine, far away from any fighting, as revealed by Foreign Policy Magazine’s Amy MacKinnon and Lara Seligman in October.

That’s what we are turning the country inside out over: Unused missiles in a civil war we never would have gotten involved with but for a conspiracy theory originally cooked up as a campaign talking point for Hillary Clinton.

No other president could have withstood this assault on our constitutional form of government and the basic ability to conduct foreign relations. President Trump is standing up for the Constitution, his office and the American people to secure liberty for everyone and to keep us out of war.

But the damage has been palpable. For years to come, this will create a real obstacle for this President and future presidents to deal with Russia diplomatically. Future presidents might cower from Russia hawks in future administrations who might use similar blackmail to strong arm policy, leading us potentially into a unnecessary conflict.

Under similar circumstances, with such allegations of treason pervasive against an administration, incidents like the Cuban Missile Crisis might not be able to be resolved peacefully, making this madness, this national or at least partisan hysteria about Russia a bona fide threat to national security. In the nuclear age, presidents must have the ability to deal diplomatically with other nuclear powers.

Believe it or not, President Trump might be the only person who can fix this. That is why he deserves the support of every American, regardless of party and who they end up voting for this year, that his administration and Attorney General William Barr get to the bottom of this failed deep state coup and what really happened, and if possible to repair relations overseas even with our adversaries — so that this never happens to any president ever again. There is simply too much at stake.



BACKFIRE: 'I Will Never Vote Democrat Again,' Say Angry Dems on C-SPAN After Pelosi's Tantrum

This is the most satisfying video series you'll see all day. After Pelosi and her White Witches threw their little fits of rage last night at the SOTU, they felt very smug about themselves. Their voters, on the other hand, felt differently. It turns out that most Americans think you should stand up and clap for the good things that happen in America instead of sulk and pout on your butt like a spoiled child.

C-SPAN asked people to call in and give their opinions on the SOTU. What happened after that was brilliant. "I'm a Democrat, but I no longer will vote Democrat," said one caller. "I think it's outrageous that they sat there when all these good things are happening to our country and how much we love our country. And they looked like they hated our country...It's outrageous and I will never vote Democrat again." She went on to say that all her family voted for Hillary last time but this time they will never vote for a Democrat again.

But she wasn't the only one. A man called in and said, "Let me put it this way, I've been a Democrat for 70-some years and what I saw tonight was appalling to was very disrespectful to this president and I didn't vote for him...but that man is the president and we should respect him." He continued, "What I've seen tonight of the Democrat party, I am changing my mind...I'll probably stay home. I'm embarrassed being a God-danged Democrat for what they did in the House today." Then he had me rolling on the floor with this. "They looked like a bunch of dadgum idiots sitting there." Hear, hear!

A woman from Mississippi called in to give the Democrats a piece of her mind. "I watched my president give a speech on everything great that's happening in our country but yet, Nancy Pelosi and the others who were dressed in white, I might add, just sitting over there, never standing, never clapping for anything that might be good for the country—I don't understand it. I used to be a Democrat, and I am no longer a Democrat." And there's more than that. It's a slaughter. Listen.

According to people who watched it live, there were many more calls saying the same thing. All the Democrats had to do was look normal, and they couldn't even do that. It's almost as if they have a death wish. I'm not complaining, but dang! That was some seriously bad optics, folks! Considering that the Trump rally in New Jersey drew a crowd of 25% Democrats (who were all cheering and screaming for the president) I think they are in big, YUGE trouble.



CNN Portrays Trump Supporters as Illiterate Hillbilly Rubes
CNN’s Don Lemon giggled like a schoolgirl as panelists Rick Wilson and Wajahat Ali mocked President Trump’s supporters as a bunch of illiterate hillbillies.

Lemon, who is the defendant in a scandalous sexual-assault case, was dishing about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s dustup with a NPR reporter who reportedly could not find Ukraine on a map.

“[Pompeo] also knows deep within his heart that Donald Trump couldn’t find Ukraine on a map if you had the letter U and a picture of an actual physical crane next to it,” Wilson said. “He knows that this is, you know, an administration defined by ignorance of the world. And so that’s partly him playing to the base and playing to their audience. You know, the credulous boomer rube demo that backs Donald Trump.”

That “credulous boomer rube demo” would be the gun-toting, Bible-clinging deplorables who sent Donald J. Trump to Washington, DC, to irrigate the Deep State Swamp.

If Donald Trump wins re-election this year, I’ll remember this brief CNN segment late one Saturday night in January as the perfect encapsulation for why it happened.

“‘Donald Trump’s the smart one — any y'all elitists are dumb!’” Wilson said with a fake southern accent.

“‘You elitists, with your geography and your maps and your spelling!’” Ali added.

“‘Your math and your reading!’” Wilson said. “‘All those lines on the map!’”

Lemon doubled over on the anchor desk with tears in his eyes, laughing like Anderson Cooper on New Year’s Eve. He had the look of someone who had just peed himself on national television.

President Trump, clearly disgusted by the blistering attack, responded on Twitter. “Don Lemon, the dumbest man on television (with terrible ratings!),” the president wrote.

The president speaks the truth — not even Brian Stelter or Oliver Darcy watch Lemon’s show.

Lemon and Ali are textbook examples of socially acceptable racists. The bosses turn a blind eye to the hate spewing nightly from Lemon’s mouth.

Imagine what would have happened had a white news anchor giggled uncontrollably as his guests mocked black people. They would’ve been run out of the country.



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

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is hereHome page supplement


Sunday, February 09, 2020

Trump’s State of the Union Address Affirms Americanism as Nation’s Guiding Ethos

Patriotism was one of the most important themes of President Donald Trump’s third State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

It was a night of high emotion and more than a few theatrics that began with Trump refusing to shake House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand and ending with Pelosi tearing up a copy of the speech. All this took place in the shadow of a highly charged impeachment trial that finally came to a close with an acquittal a day later.

Beyond Trump’s specific descriptions about the state of the economy, American health care, and a variety of other issues relating directly to his policies, he connected modern America to shared and celebrated triumphs from our nation’s past. 

Using that patriotic theme—which Trump has interspersed in all of his major speeches, from his inaugural address to his latest State of the Union address—has been one of the undeniable strengths of his presidency.

It’s a quality that was once shared by presidents across the political spectrum, but in the age of social justice warriors, statue-smashing, anthem-kneeling, and cancel culture—aided and abetted by an array of institutions from the legacy media and Hollywood to academia—Trump’s brand of unapologetic patriotism stands out.

It was particularly pronounced at the end of Trump’s speech, in which he said that Americans have a “glorious and magnificent inheritance,” after naming and praising a long list of American heroes from throughout the country’s history.

He then hearkened Americans to embrace their pioneer, frontier heritage as we as a nation again push boundaries and reach for greater accomplishments, as we always have.

“Our grandest journeys are not yet made. The American Age, the American epic, the American adventure has only just begun,” Trump said. “Our spirit is still young, the sun is still rising, God’s grace is still shining, and, my fellow Americans, the best is yet to come.”

It’s hard to understate the importance of that message.

As I wrote in my book “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past,” there has been a concerted effort to uproot and diminish America’s past as a means to replace traditional American ideals and principles with radical ones.

This effort is on full display with the 1619 Project of The New York Times Magazine, which creates a distorted and often inaccurate picture of American history, a history that at its core the magazine says is rooted in slavery and racism, not liberty.

At the heart of that way of thinking, which is now embedded deeply in American cultural institutions, is that Americans should feel shame, rather than pride, in their country’s accomplishments and that the bad things about our past negate the good.

That in part is why so many of those institutions are now being looked upon with skepticism, why Americans are in a populist mood, and why Trump’s message resonates with so many people.

Trump wisely chose to highlight both the heroes of our history—like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and the Wright brothers—as well as the ones still with us, such as 100-year-old Charles McGee, one of the few surviving Tuskegee Airmen, who he promoted to brigadier general.

The message was not simply that we must celebrate our past. Instead, it was about keeping Americans rooted in the best aspects of their past, while focusing their eyes squarely on the horizon.

That is a quintessentially American outlook. Often, it’s the very belief that our nation has a special mission in this world—that we are the unique pathfinders, trailblazing as no one else has—that has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Though Americans, like any other people, are flawed and fallen, the United States was not created to be a nation like any other. We may not be perfect, but we are committed to a great cause, and it took many heroes—both remembered and forgotten—to ensure that that legacy would endure.

We look to that brighter future not because we are ashamed of our past, but because we are proud of what our country stands for and would like nothing more than to see it have a greater and even more triumphant future.

Today, as new and potent threats to our way of life emerge in the world, it is essential that Americans come to understand and deepen their appreciation of our history, reject the noxious identity politics that threaten to shatter the concept of e pluribus unum, and embrace an inclusive Americanism that can unite the country in the face of its challenges.

Trump’s State of the Union address affirmed that ethos.



Romney’s Trump envy disappoints Utah

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement blasting Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) for announcing he would vote to convict President Donald Trump:

“Mitt Romney has proven that his venal nature and envy over President Trump’s election has overcome any rational judgment when it comes to impeachment. Romney’s vote to convict reveals much more about his lack of character than it does about President Trump. While this is not surprising, it is disappointing in that prior to the 17th Amendment, the legislature of the state of Utah would have been able to immediately remove him from representing their state.”



How experts plan to treat the new coronavirus

As the coronavirus outbreak in China continues to spread, having infected over 24,000 people so far, scientists around the world are racing to find a treatment. Most of the people infected with the new coronavirus, dubbed 2019-nCov, have not received a treatment specific to that virus — because there isn't one.

In fact, none of the handful of coronaviruses known to infect humans has an approved treatment, and people who are infected typically receive care mainly to help relieve symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, a handful of repurposed drugs, from drugs targeting Ebola to HIV, have already shown promise, according to new findings.

Until recently, there were very few effective antivirals, said Stephen Morse, a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. That was especially true for RNA viruses — like 2019-nCov and HIV — which use RNA, rather than DNA, as their genetic material, Morse said.

That's changing.

"In recent years, perhaps encouraged by the successful development of HIV anti-virals, which proved it might be feasible to do more, our armamentarium has greatly expanded," Morse said. Even so, developing brand-new drugs requires a huge investment of both time and resources, he added. So "while you're waiting for the new miracle drug, it's worthwhile looking for existing drugs that could be repurposed" to treat new viruses, Morse told Live Science.

That's exactly the route doctors took to treat a 35-year-old man in Washington state, the first U.S. patient to have been infected with the new coronavirus. When his symptoms worsened, the man was given an unapproved antiviral drug called remdesivir that was originally developed to treat Ebola, according to a case report published Jan. 31 in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Doctors gave this drug to the patient by making a "compassionate use" request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),  which allows experimental drugs to be given to people outside of clinical trials, usually in emergency situations. The patient, who was recently released from the hospital, didn't seem to experience any side effects of the drug.

In animal models, scientists have found that remdesivir can knock down similar coronaviruses, such as the ones that cause Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Despite its use in an emergency situation, the drug "has not been demonstrated to be safe or effective for any use," Gilead Sciences, the biopharmaceutical company that is developing the drug, said in a statement.

Recently, a group of researchers tested a number of antivirals in the lab for their effectiveness against the new coronavirus. They found that remdesivir stopped the virus from replicating in a lab dish. Similarly, the group found that chloroquine — an approved and widely used anti-malarial and autoimmune disease drug — was also effective in stopping the virus from spreading in human cells in the lab, the researchers reported in a short letter published Feb. 4 in the journal Cell Research. What's more, both drugs were effective at low concentrations, and neither drug was highly toxic to human cells.

"These findings were encouraging but not entirely surprising" because of the previous testing in Ebola patients, cell cultures and animal models, said Fanxiu Zhu, a professor in the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University who was not part of the study. Both drugs "maybe are worthy of trial in this unprecedented and devastating situation," Zhu told Live Science.

Though researchers expected the drugs to work, this group effectively proved they did, at least in the lab, in a short time frame, Morse said. Chloroquine "seems to need a higher concentration than remdesivir, but it's within the feasible range, and if it really works as well as the published in vitro results, it would be quite promising," he said.

Despite those results, testing antivirals in lab dishes "is the beginning, not the end of the process," Morse said. If it works in the lab, or even in animal models, "that's no guarantee it will work in a human patient." Gilead Sciences is now working with health officials in China to establish clinical trials to test the effect of remdesivir on patients infected with the new coronavirus, according to their statement.

"I think that there's a lot of hope with remdesivir having some effect, and I think we'll only find that out from clinical trials," said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious-disease specialist and a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.




GRANDSTANDING WAS REHEARSED: Pelosi pre-ripped SOTU speech during Trump address (Fox News)

JUST SAYING: "I wasn't sure if [Nancy Pelosi] was ripping up the speech or ripping up the Constitution." —Mike Pence

DECORUM FOR THEE BUT NOT FOR ME: Democrat House minions rejects GOP resolution condemning Pelosi for ripping up Trump's speech (The Hill)

"HE SHREDDED THE TRUTH": Pelosi unloaded on Trump in private meeting after SOTU standoff (Politico)

AWESOME: McConnell, immediately after impeachment acquittal, files cloture on more judges to remake judiciary (The Daily Wire)

REMINDER: Top Romney adviser worked with Hunter Biden on board of Ukrainian energy company (The Federalist)

CLEARER PICTURE: Buttigieg, Sanders nearly tied as Iowa caucus results narrow (AP)

TRADE TRUCE: China cuts tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. imports (AP)

FOR THE RECORD: ObamaCare made things worse for patients with preexisting conditions (The Daily Signal)

RAINBOW MAFIA: "Sesame Street" to feature cross-dressing gay entertainer for impressionable preschoolers (The Federalist)

WHEN RITUAL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN REUSE: Baltimore County admits it hasn't been recycling glass for seven years; it still encourages residents to recycle glass (Reason)

POLICY: The deregulatory achievements of the Trump Labor Department (National Review)

POLICY: As Trump said in State of the Union, demand for school choice is huge (Washington Examiner)

NO KIDDING: "I wish Romney fought as hard for voters in 2012 as he does against the Trump administration." —Dana Loesch

HOT AIR: "In the year 2020, how can a president of the United States give a State of the Union speech and not mention climate change?" —Sen. Bernie Sanders

AND LAST... "Democrats think President Donald Trump committed a high crime or misdemeanor the moment he defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. That is the original sin of this presidency." —Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

AL-QAIDA IN THE CROSSHAIRS: U.S. kills another top terrorist, days after his group claimed responsibility for Pensacola attack (CNSNews)

INTOLERANCE: Pelosi omits Christians as she lists religious persecutions around the world (The Daily Signal)

BURISMA UPDATE: Senate gets "highly sensitive" Hunter Biden records after letter to money-laundering unit in Treasury Department (The Daily Wire)

AMAZING THE DIFFERENCE A HANDS-OFF REGIME MAKES: New high of 90% of Americans satisfied with personal life; Republicans, married adults are among the most satisfied (Gallup)

POLICY: What year did healthcare become a "right"? (Hint: never) (Mises Institute)


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