Friday, March 13, 2020

Joe Biden Appears to Forget What Office He's Running for (Again) During Victory Speech

In a choice between senility or socialism, Democrat primary voters appear to be falling in line behind the former. I guess that's a good thing. But, questions about Joe Biden cognitive decline have been raised for a long time now, and it's hard to understand how the Democratic Party settled on Crazy Joe as their safe choice for runnig against Donald Trump.

In the past few weeks alone, we've seen Joe Biden forget where he is, what he's running for, who his wife and sister are, Barack Obama's name, and the words to the Declaration of Independence. The gaffes just keep piling up.

Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume believes that Biden is  "is losing his memory and is getting senile," and he is certainly not alone in that assessment.

On Tuesday night, Biden won big once again, but there was a moment during his victory speech that was concerning.

“These are all people been working like the devil to try to get us elected as the, uh…so I want to thank you,” he said. Did Biden forget what office he's running for... again? It sure looks that way.

Joe Biden: "These are all people been working like the devil to try to get us elected as the, uh, so I want to thank you" Did Biden again forget which office he is running for???

Last month he told a group of people that he was running for the U.S. Senate

How does one watch this and not be concerned? Especially when you consider the other recent gaffes that call into question Biden's cognitive health.

Worse yet, there was a another moment when Biden appeared to slur his speech while saying "education."

This is the guy Democrats are likely gonna have run against President Trump. Good luck with that.



'Moderate' Joe Biden has moved way to the left

by Jeff Jacoby

FOR MUCH of the past year, the broad storyline of the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign has been that Democrats are united in a fierce determination to oust President Trump, but divided over how best to do so. To the "progressive" camp, the Trump presidency represents a crisis that can be halted and reversed only with the boldest, most sweeping changes in US policy. The "moderate" camp, by contrast, believes that the only way to beat Trump is with a candidate who can appeal to more than just hardcore Democrats — who can reach independents and even some centrist Republicans with a program that eschews radical excess, appeals to the sober mainstream, and holds out the promise, in a famous phrase from American presidential history, of a return to normalcy.

The nomination battle has effectively come down to a two-man race: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders occupies the progressive lane, and former Vice President Joe Biden is running in the moderate lane. No one doubts Sanders's leftist credentials. But is Biden really a moderate?

To hear some leftists tell it, Biden is not only moderate, but intolerably so. When, at one progressive conference, he was described as seeking "middle ground" on climate policy, Democratic firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was contemptuous: "I will be damned if the same politicians who refused to act come back today and say we need a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives."

Biden may seem hopelessly accommodationist to those on the Democratic Party's leftmost fringe. But in reality, he is running on a platform far more progressive — i.e., far less moderate — than any Democratic presidential nominee in history.

One of Biden's foremost selling points is the eight years he spent as vice president in the last Democratic administration. In St. Louis over the weekend, he spooneristically proclaimed himself an "O'Biden-Bama Democrat." If Biden wins the nomination, he can count on robust support from Obama, perhaps the most beloved figure within the Democratic Party today.

Yet on issue after issue, Biden has veered sharply from Obama's path.

On health insurance, for example, Obama rejected a public option as part of the Affordable Care Act and repeatedly stressed the importance of maintaining private coverage. But Biden favors a public option open to everyone, including the majority of Americans with employer-sponsored health coverage.

Biden supports government-funded health care even for unauthoritzed immigrants, something Obama never came close to proposing. He supports a sharp increase in US refugee admissions, and a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants. When Obama ran for the White House in 2008, by contrast, it was as an enforcement-first hardliner. He cracked down so hard on those who crossed the border illegally, he was known for much of his presidency as the "deporter-in-chief."

No Democratic presidential nominee ever endorsed anything like the radical Green New Deal, with its price tag in the tens of trillions of dollars and its goal of eliminating the use of all fossil fuels. But Biden does. No Democratic nominee ever called for a national minimum wage of $15 an hour. But Biden does. The former vice president has moved emphatically leftward on abortion, on the death penalty, on free trade. By any understanding of "moderate" as that term was used when Obama or Bill Clinton was president, Biden is no moderate.

What Biden is today is what he has always been: a liberal Democrat. But as his party has shifted left in a hyperpolarized era, Biden has shifted with it. Many of the positions he takes that are described as centrist today, observed Axios in January, "would have been liberal dreams during the Bill Clinton years and still out of reach in the Obama era." On policy, Biden is a moderate primarily in the sense that he embraces positions that most Democrats no longer fight over.

All of which means that even if Biden wins the Democratic nomination, progressive Democrats will have reason to rejoice. Their party's standard-bearer will be someone whose platform skews further to the left than any major party platform in US history. Sanders may not end up on the November ballot, but it will unmistakably reflect his influence. For he and his band of progressives have pushed their party to the left with such success that even the "moderate" in the race would be the most liberal Democrat ever nominated for president.



Supreme Court Allows Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Program to Stay in Place

The nation’s highest court on Wednesday ruled that the White House’s "Remain in Mexico" program, also known as Migrant Protection Protocols, can remain effective for the entire southern border while a legal challenge continues on. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Supreme Court delivered a win for the Trump administration’s immigration agenda, blocking a federal court injunction that would have limited a program that requires asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico.

The nation’s highest court on Wednesday ruled that the White House’s “Remain in Mexico” program, also known as Migrant Protection Protocols, can remain effective for the entire southern border while a legal challenge continues on. The decision allows the administration to continue fully implementing an initiative that, it contends, has monumentally helped control the border crisis.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier in March declared that it would block the Migrant Protection Protocols in Arizona and California—two states within its jurisdiction—on March 12 unless the Supreme Court weighed in.

The Supreme Court justices did intervene with just one day left, granting the administration’s application for a stay.

The White House immediately celebrated the ruling.

“We are gratified that the Supreme Court granted a stay, which prevents a district court injunction from impairing the security of our borders and the integrity of our immigration system,” a Department of Justice spokesperson said Wednesday.

“The Migrant Protection Protocols, implemented pursuant to express authority granted by Congress decades ago, have been critical to restoring the government’s ability to manage the Southwest border and to work cooperatively with the Mexican government to address illegal immigration,” the spokesperson continued.

Remain in Mexico, which was launched in January 2019, has become President Donald Trump’s most effective tool at controlling the U.S immigration crisis. The program requires most non-Mexican nationals who claim asylum at the U.S. southern border to wait in Mexico for the entirety of their court proceedings.

Since its inception, Migrant Protection Protocols has sent around 60,000 asylum-seekers across the border to wait in Mexico, mostly eliminating the possibility for them to be released into the interior of the U.S.

The decision on Wednesday marks the latest back-and-forth between the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals—which has proven hostile to Trump’s immigration agenda—blocked the Remain in Mexico program for the entire southern border in February. However, the court immediately suspended that order after the Trump administration filed an emergency motion requesting a stay.

The appeals court then declared this month it would block it in Arizona and California, but the nation’s highest court—once again—put a stop to that order Wednesday.

However, the legality of the program itself has not been ruled on by the Supreme Court. The order on Wednesday simply allows it to remain in place as the legal challenge against it runs through the court system.



British Budget 2020 summary

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a range of policies to support business, bolster the NHS and prepare for Britain's long-term future

Addressing the coronavirus crisis, he said that this British parliament had a great tradition of rising above party in times of peril: he was sure that the House and the country were ready to act “in the national interest”. We would, he said, get through this together. The British people were worried but not daunted. This was well said and all the more effective for being obviously true.

Then he got to the substance of the Government’s plan for coping with the economic effects of the pestilence – even while making it clear that this was not going to be an excuse for putting all the Government’s election promises on indefinite hold. This was clever too. A plague Budget would have looked like an excuse for a cop-out on the difficult future and it would have added to the alarming sense of national emergency.

So first there were the measures to mitigate the damage of the virus and the Government’s own advice to stay at home. These were serious. The first priority had to be the protection of small businesses which were most likely to go under. The immediate problems for them were the new Government edict that they must pay statutory sick pay from the first day of  any enforced absence by staff. The cost of that, he announced, would be directly met by the Government: the Treasury would refund employers 14 days of sick pay for their self-isolating staff. For the self-employed and those in the gig economy whose livelihoods would simply vanish if they were forced to stay at home, there was help too.

The minimum income base for Universal Credit would be suspended and payment of the benefit would be accelerated. There was an even more stupendous development for the owners of small high street businesses whose business rates would be suspended for the duration of the present emergency. There would also be loans – a new Business Interruption Loan Scheme – for those damaged by loss of customer demand. Between them, these measures could save a good many small enterprises and family firms.

Of course there was to be more money for the NHS and for research into the virus itself. But perhaps of more immediate effect for the availability of treatment to patients was the reform of the pensions tax taper. By increasing the threshold, the Chancellor said, he would be taking 98 per cent of consultants and GPs out of the taper altogether. This should have a quite miraculous effect on the imminent retirement plans of so many senior doctors and thus provide a significant improvement in the staffing levels of primary care services.




FOR THE RECORD: Here's why coronavirus stats are fake news (

VULNERABLE OLD MEN: Next Democrat debate to be held without an audience (CBS News)

ACRIMONY: Saudi Arabia throws down gauntlet to Russia, raises crude oil supply to record high (The Daily Wire)

SEEMS LEGIT: Hunter Biden to skip deposition in paternity case, citing coronavirus and pregnant wife (Washington Examiner)

"A REAL LEADER": President Trump endorses Tommy Tuberville over Jeff Sessions in Alabama Senate runoff (National Review)

POLICY: ObamaCare at 10: A massive failure (Issues & Insights)

POLICY: Why social-justice investing is a load of politicized hypocrisy (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 hereHome page supplement


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Paul Krugman Is Selling Snake Oil

Arguing with Zombies is the title of a new book by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Although the “book” is actually a collection of his newspaper columns, the title gives us real insight into the thinking behind those columns.

Who are the Zombies? And why argue with them?

Zombies are economists who believe that every tax cut pays for itself with increased revenue. They believe that social insurance has created an army of welfare addicts who would rather live off the dole than support themselves. They hate the poor. They are closet racists. They do the bidding of billionaire puppet masters who pay their salaries and fund their research. Their goal in life is to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

Where do you find these zombies? You can’t. They don’t exist. Like the creatures of fiction, they are the product of a vivid imagination. Krugman delights in creating straw men. He verbally beats them about the head and shoulders and then walks away thinking he has won the Golden Gloves.

But wait a minute. Aren’t there serious public policy issues over which economists disagree? Isn’t Krugman outside the mainstream on many of them? And on some issues, hasn’t Krugman’s been embarrassingly wrong?

The answers are: yes, yes and yes. But you won’t learn about any of that by reading Krugman’s columns. Or by reading his book.

What you will learn is that Krugman hates Republicans and hates economists who advise them. His specialty in trade is the argument ad hominem. He doesn’t just disagree with people; he psychoanalyses them. He attacks their character, their motives, their honesty and their morality.

But why attack Republicans? If we accept Krugman at his word, he cares about income inequality, racism and the lack of progress for people at the bottom of the income ladder. Republican politicians have very little control over any of that.

In virtually every large city in the country, minority families are all too often forced to send their children to the worst schools. They live in the worst housing. They endure the worst environmental hazards. And in virtually every case, these cities are being run by Democrats!

Of the two parties, Democrats are far more hostile to the science of economics than Republicans. The fact that so many Democrats are socialists shows how little regard they have for anything economists think.

The typical delegate to the Democratic National Convention thinks that if a price is too low, government should raise it and nothing bad will happen. If a price is too high, government should lower it and nothing bad will happen. With the right minimum wage, everyone would be upper-middle class. With the right rent control, everyone would be living in luxury housing.

As the saying goes, if you want to save souls, you need to go where the sinners are. But Krugman isn’t into saving souls. Like a fire and brimstone preacher, he’s into consigning the righteous to eternal damnation for minor peccadillos.

Although the Times bills Krugman as a Nobel Prize winner, what you get from a typical Krugman column is not economics. It’s propaganda. All too often, he highlights some facts and suppresses others – arriving at an analysis that no real economist would consider fair-minded. For example:

Reading Krugman on the Republican tax reform, you would never know that the Obama administration also favored a large cut in the corporate income tax; or that the purpose was to encourage capital to stay in this country rather than go abroad; or that since the tax bill was passed $1 trillion has been repatriated back to this country by U.S. firms.

Reading Krugman on corporate taxation, you would never know that both theory and evidence suggest that workers, rather than rich people, bear the burden of the income tax and that corporate taxes actually suppress worker wages both in this country and abroad.

Reading Krugman on Social Security and Medicare reform, you would never know that the U.S. government has an unfunded liability of $239 trillion – a figure that is more than ten times the size of our economy – or that 19 Nobel Prize winners have signed a petition asking the federal government to accurately account for this debt.

 Reading Krugman on income inequality, you would never know that OECD statistics show that the United States has the most progressive tax system in the world or that tax reform made the tax code even more progressive than it was.

 Reading Krugman on the minimum wage you would never know that the original purpose of this Progressive Era reform was to keep white Aryan males from having to compete with blacks, women and immigrants in the labor market.

Withholding material facts that readers have every right to know about is intellectual dishonesty. lf we were in a court of law it would be called fraud.

Here are a few more things you won’t learn from Krugman’s new book.

Paul Krugman is an unreconstructed Keynesian. He believes that federal government deficits have a strong impact on the economy but that monetary policy is weak and ineffective. In 2013, Krugman announced that Keynesianism and monetarism were being put to the test. If Keynesianism was correct, an increase in the payroll tax and restrained federal spending should have slowed the economy down that year. But if monetarism was correct, monetary expansion should have kept the economy right on humming.

The monetarists (especially the market monetarists) won that contest in spades.

Also, in 2013, we had another disastrous test of Krugman’s view of the world. That’s when North Carolina reduced benefits for the unemployed. Although Krugman’s  textbook says that unemployment (UI) benefits reduce employment by giving people incentives not to work, in the New York Times he advanced a weird Keynesian argument that UI benefits actually increase employment. When the unemployed spend their benefits they stimulate the economy, he wrote. Based on that analysis, he claimed that North Carolina was conducting a “war on the unemployed.”

It didn’t take long for these predictions to be completely discredited. Following the cut in UI benefits, more North Carolinians went back to work.

Although there are so many examples to choose from, I nominate the following candidate for Krugman economics at its worst.

Krugman has said over and over again, in column after column, that the Republican tax reform is a failure because companies are using their tax cut gains to buy back stock rather than to create jobs.

This error in reasoning would get an “F” in a freshman economics class and would probably get you kicked out of graduate school if you made it that far.

When companies buy back their own stock, the money doesn’t disappear. It goes out of one pocket and into another. In the new pocket it’s just as available to create jobs as it was before. When new funds enter the capital market they tend to find their way to the companies that have the best prospects for investment and job creation.

That’s the way it should be.

Finally, if you are thinking that Krugman has never met a Republican, you might be inclined to cut him some slack.

But it turns out Krugman actually worked in the White House during the Reagan administration. That means he knows the tax cuts weren’t devised by economists whose motivation was to make the rich richer. He knows his fellow economic advisors to the president weren’t puppets, doing the bidding of billionaires. He knows they weren’t closet racists. He knows they didn’t hate the poor. He knows . . . . well . . . he knows it all.



Three Reasons Joe Biden Will Never Be President

Joe Biden was sworn into the United States Senate on Jan. 3, 1973. He remained in the Senate until Jan. 15, 2009 -- a span of 36 years. If history is any guide, that alone is a disqualifier in Biden's quest for the White House.

What does 36 years in the Senate say about a politician? It says he is a senator -- not a president.

So the first reason Biden will not become president is that no one who served 36 years in the Senate has ever become president. No one who served 30 years in the Senate has ever become president. No one who served 25 years in the Senate has ever become president. No one who served 20 years in the Senate has ever become president. No one who served 15 years in the Senate has ever become president.

It's not for lack of trying. Bob Dole, who was sworn into the Senate on Jan. 3, 1969, ran for president 27 years later, in 1996. He quit the Senate during the campaign to show his determination to become president. But his long years in the chamber, plus his age -- he was 73 at the time and the subject of endless suggestions that he was too old to be president -- were a deal-killer for voters.

Others tried, too. In 2008, John McCain ran for president after 21 years in the Senate. It didn't work. In 2004, John Kerry ran for president after 19 years in the Senate. That didn't work, either.

A long career in the Senate is simply not a foundation for a successful run for the White House. The most recent political figure to realize that was Barack Obama, who was sworn into the Senate in 2005 and two years later was running for the presidency -- and to get out of the Senate.

OK, put aside the Senate, Biden's supporters would say. What about his eight years as vice president? Certainly that could be the basis for a successful presidential run. But the second reason Biden will not become president is that the record of vice presidents on that score is not encouraging.

Fourteen vice presidents have become president. Of those, eight became president upon the death of the president. Of that group, some were later elected to the White House, but they were running for the office as the sitting president.

Others, like George H.W. Bush, became president by succeeding the president they served. They won the presidency as the sitting vice president. When Bush did that, in 1988, it had not been done since 1836. It has not been done since.

In any event, that is not Biden's situation. He served eight years as vice president, but did not run to succeed President Obama. Now, he is running as a private citizen.

Only one president has gone from the vice presidency to private life and then to the presidency. Richard Nixon served as vice president in the 1950s, narrowly lost the 1960 presidential election, and then came back to win the presidency in 1968. That is Biden's hope -- that a vice president can leave office and then, after a period outside government, return to win the White House.

Perhaps. But Nixon, who spent less than three years in the Senate, became vice president a few days after turning 40, and was sworn in as president at 56 -- more than two decades younger than Biden, who will be 78 on Inauguration Day 2021.

Finally, the third reason Biden will not be president is the "14-Year Rule." The idea of former George W. Bush speechwriter John McConnell, and popularized by writer Jonathan Rauch, it basically says that politicians have a strict sell-by date. "No one gets elected president who needs longer than 14 years to get from his or her first gubernatorial or Senate victory to either the presidency or the vice presidency," Rauch wrote. That has been true for a century.

Biden didn't even get close. It took him 36 years to get from his first Senate victory to the vice presidency. If he wins the presidency now, it would be 47 years from that first Senate swearing-in until Inauguration Day.

Of course, it's possible the 14-Year Rule, the Too Long in the Senate Rule, and the How Vice Presidents Become President Rule might all be wrong in Biden's case. If so, he can frame this headline and hang it somewhere in the White House. But don't bet on it.



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, March 11, 2020

Dems' dilemma: What to do with Joe?


A conservative political pundit believes many in the Democratic Party are deeply concerned about Joe Biden's fitness to be president and may take an extraordinary step if he's nominated.

A resurgent Biden scored victories from Texas to Massachusetts on Super Tuesday, revitalizing a presidential bid that was teetering on the edge of disaster just days earlier. The Associated Press reports that his victories were powered by Democratic voters who broke his way just days before casting their ballots, resulting in "a wave of late momentum that scrambled the race in a matter of hours."

'Just sad' to listen to Biden

It's no secret that the former vice president has been described as a "gaff machine" over the years. But in recent weeks on the campaign trail, Biden has perhaps brought it to new level – referring to "Super Thursday" instead of "Super Tuesday," stating that 150 million Americans have been killed by "gun violence" since 2007, describing himself as "a candidate for the United States Senate," and bungling an opportunity to recite the preamble to the Declaration of Independence by referring to the "Creator" as "the thing."

Sandy Rios is director of governmental affairs at American Family Association. During a recent appearance on American Family Radio, she presented a possible scenario for a Biden candidacy moving forward.

Sandy Rios"Many people believe – and I'm one of them – that if they can just manipulate things so that Joe wins the nomination … and if they prevent Bernie Sanders from getting it, they will appoint someone like Hillary Clinton as his vice president," she offered. "And then Joe will be sort of pulled aside and he won't really be running things."

She's convinced Biden doesn't have the capacity to meet the rigors of the office. "I think it's pretty obvious that he is not capable anymore – there are just too many mistakes. It's hard to listen to … it's not even funny anymore, it's just sad."

Rios adds: "Honestly, I am not sure what the [Democratic] establishment is going to do about Joe Biden, given his inability to articulate [and] to remember. His stumbling and bumbling are going to become even more apparent on the campaign trail."



Fighting Regulatory Dark Matter

If you’ve spent enough time in a public school or listening to cable news, you are probably convinced to some extent that regulations exist to protect the American citizenry, whether physically or financially. However, if you’ve been paying attention to reality, you will recognize that it is quite the opposite. The regulatory state has been weaponized against everyday Americans.

Thankfully, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), under the leadership of Acting Administrator Russ Vought, is seeking to curb the bureaucratic bullying that happens all too often across the country.

They are seeking to codify two executive orders by the Trump administration that promote transparency. It would limit the use of so-called “guidance documents” in bringing enforcement actions against American citizens. It would also ensure that victims of bureaucratic bullying are given the opportunity to see said documents, be warned beforehand, and have greater standing to challenge any action brought against them.

This is not a result of paranoia about the vast power of the state. This is happening to working men, women, and families across the country to this day.

Andy Johnson owns a small farm in Wyoming with his family. He wanted to build a pond for his four daughters’ horses to drink and graze on their land. Andy and his wife Katie worked with Wyoming engineers to dig out this pond, fill it with filtered water, and create a habitat for various wildlife.

This all seems like a rather idyllic picture of the quintessential American dream. That was, until two years later, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came knocking on their door. They notified the Johnsons that they were in violation of the Clean Water Act - despite clear documentation from the state of Wyoming indicating that they weren’t. The EPA, with its arsenal and all, assured the Johnsons they would be fined $16 million if they did not comply and destroy the pond.

Sadly, the Johnsons do not find themselves alone in this predicament. As documented by Conservative Partnership Institute’s Rachel Bovard, there are a number of similar cases all over America:

In 2007, Mike and Chantell Sackett were threatened by the EPA with $75,000 a day in fines for trying to build a house on their own property, across the road and 500 feet away from Priest Lake in Idaho.

Charles Johnson, a Massachusetts cranberry farmer, spent millions of dollars fighting the agency for 22 years for the right to farm his own land. He finally settled in 2012, at the age of 80.

Kevin Lunny lost his family’s oyster company in California when the Department of the Interior granted itself limitless discretion to reissue the required permit and argued that Lunny didn’t have the right to sue.

In Alaska, the Army Corps of Engineers denied Richard Schok the ability to expand his pipe fabrication business when they claimed that permafrost — the subsurface layer of soil that remains frozen throughout the year — was actually a wetland.

There are real victims and real consequences to this bureaucratic bullying. Lifelong unelected bureaucrats are setting traps for the American people and not even giving them the chance to comply or fight back. This is not about protecting anyone or anything.

For too long the federal regulatory state has been giving too much leeway to operate as it pleases anyway. The Trump administration is fighting back and giving the public an opportunity to talk about how this issue can be resolved. OMB has a public comment period open until March 22nd for the public to make their voices heard.

It is time to significantly roll back the regulatory state and put more power and freedom in the hands of everyday Americans. Families trying to find a better way to water their horses are not criminals. It’s time to give folks like them the upper hand.



The Politics of a 'Fear Pandemic'

Democrats are hoping that the COVID-19 threat will be Trump's "Hurricane Katrina." 

Democrat Party leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi are in a quandary. They have to decide which of the headline tragedies today make for better political fodder — do they keep feeding the coronavirus fears, or do they put that on pause and politicize the Milwaukee murders in order to advance their gun-confiscation agenda?

Yes, their political modus operandi is just that causticly crass.

It follows the model perfected by Barack Obama and his then-chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who openly declared, “You don’t ever want a good crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” And that is exactly what they did in 2008, when Obama used a pandemic of financial fear as his ticket to the presidency. At the time, even Bill Clinton admitted that the Democrats were responsible for that crisis because they resisted “efforts by Republicans in the Congress … to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” Clinton himself had loosened up those standards 10 years earlier, with disastrous financial consequences but fortuitous political consequences.

My point is not to relitigate how the Democrats used that “fear pandemic” to ensure Obama’s election but to say they are experts at converting tragedy into political triumph. Their current “Hate Trump” platform is constructed on their perennial political foundation of fear, anger, and division.

At this point in the 2020 election cycle, Democrats are scrambling for any “opportunity to do things you think you could not do before” to enable them defeat Donald Trump, especially if they can’t dispense with Bernie Sanders frontrunner status. COVID-19, the scientific term for coronavirus, is providing them an election-year crisis that they won’t let go to waste, especially if it becomes a significant domestic health threat. They see the potential to convert coronavirus into Trump’s “Hurricane Katrina.”

In January, I wrote a comprehensive analysis, “The Flu and You,” putting the potential for a COVID-19 flu pandemic into perspective and offering helpful links on preparedness and response. At that time, the Trump administration was taking significant steps to prevent a viral spread in the U.S.

Monday of this week, reflecting concern about the economic impact of coronavirus, there was a 3.5% equities-market selloff — a bellwether indicator of economic concerns. For the record, there are other factors – equities are likely due a 10-15% correction, and the possibility that Bernie Sanders could somehow win the 2020 presidential election is cause for a lot of concern among businesses and consumers. Responding to the selloff, Nate Jackson provided an update on COVID-19, noting how Schumer and Pelosi had their coronavirus crisis/fear machine at full throttle. Pelosi claims the Trump administration’s request for $2.5 billion in funding was “long overdue and completely inadequate.” Schumer declared that Trump is “asleep at the wheel.”

On Tuesday, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, an official at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), promoted a panic narrative that ran contrary to the Trump administration’s measured concern and effort to encourage calm. Messonnier, who is the sister of former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (one of the coup co-conspirators), told Leftmedia reporters that the pandemic potential is “bad” and the “disruption to everyday life may be severe.” She declared, “It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen.”

Let me be clear: Messonnier could be right. COVID-19 is estimated to be much more lethal than the .1% fatality rate of typical flu bugs, which have killed more than 60,000 Americans in a single year.

But her comments were irresponsible and played right into the Demos’ panic narrative — and another market selloff of 3.2%. The selloff continued into Wednesday and is not over. By undermining consumer and business confidence, and thus the equities markets, Democrats are playing politics with the wealth and job stability of all working Americans and their families. Democrats are quietly high-fiving each other in Capitol Hill cloakrooms, knowing that what is bad for America workers is bad for Trump’s reelection prospects.

Messonnier’s dire warnings necessitated an executive press conference Wednesday evening with President Trump and his key administration officials.

Trump announced the appointment of Vice President Mike Pence and HHS Secretary Alex Azar to head the White House coronavirus-containment task force. Trump assured the public, “Whatever happens, we’re totally prepared,” adding the infection rates in the U.S. “may get a little bigger, [or] it may not get bigger at all. … Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low.” Of note regarding the “reliability” of reports from China’s communist regime that they are containing the epidemic, Trump said: “If you can count on the reports coming out of China, the spread has gone down.”

Asked if he thought threat had been politically “weaponized” by the CDC and Messonnier, he responded: “No, I don’t think the CDC is at all. … They’re professional. I think they’re beyond that. They want this to go away, they want to do it with as little disruption, and they don’t want to lose life.”

Secretary Azar reiterated Trump’s confidence, but was clear that the threat could shift quickly: “The immediate risk to the American public has been and continues to be low. At the same time, what every one of our experts and leaders have been saying for more than a month now remains true. The degree of risk has the potential to change quickly and we can expect to see more cases in the United States.”

The CDC’s Deputy Director, Dr. Anne Schuchat, added, “We do expect more cases [and] now is the time for businesses, health care systems, universities, and schools to look at their pandemic preparedness plans, dust them off, and make sure that they’re ready.”

For his part, Mike Pence outlined the administration’s response thus far and plans moving forward: “[President Trump] declared a public health emergency. He suspended travel to the United States from China. He initiated quarantine efforts for American citizens returning, and he established the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which has literally met every single day. President Trump has directed me to lead a whole of government approach to address the coronavirus in this country. And I promise you: We will continue to bring the full resources of the federal government to bear to protect the American people… We’re all in this together. This is not the time for partisanship. This president will always put the health and safety of America first.”

As I noted in my COVID-19 analysis last month, for the most current information on the viral threat in the U.S., visit the CDC’s page, “What You Should Know,” which provides updates, preventive measures, travel advice, etc. You can review the CDC’s national pandemic-response plan and basic citizen flu-prevention measures.

And finally, as I noted in “The REAL Pandemic Threat” back in 2006, “Clearly, there are significant pandemic threats posed by viral infections that mutate into much more contagious forms and can spread regionally, nationally, and internationally, causing significant loss of life. The primary defense against such contagions is the capacity to shelter in place. What originates in China or Africa one week can be in your suburb the next.”

For that reason, we developed a comprehensive resource page on Disaster Preparedness Planning, including a Two-Step Individual Readiness Plan and a section on how to shelter in place. We encourage you to visit each of these pages, because national preparedness begins with individual preparedness, and individual preparedness is the firewall against a “fear pandemic.”

Update Elizabeth Warren, a master at politicizing everything, is demanding that funding for the border wall be diverted to combat COVID-19 nationally. But the fact is, our porous southern border is a signifiant entry point for the virus, particularly if there is an outbreak in Central America, sending caravans of “pandemic refugees” north. But more to the point, recently there has been a significant increase of Chinese nationals crossing our the southern border.




VIGILANCE: Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar self-quarantine after exposure to coronavirus patient at CPAC (National Review)

DEPOSE NO MORE: Kamala Harris's ironic endorsement of Joe Biden (Washington Examiner)

"THE RELATIONSHIP IS A VERY GOOD ONE": Trump announces Mark Meadows to replace Mick Mulvaney as White House chief of staff (Fox News)

2020 VISION: Record GOP voting enthusiasm breaks pattern, topping Democrats (Washington Examiner)

"DONE OUR DUTY"? Christopher Steele refuses to cooperate with John Durham review (Washington Examiner)

NINTH CIRCUS: "Remain in Mexico" program blocked by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California and Arizona (The Daily Caller)

WHO'D A THUNK IT? Major crimes in New York City unexpectedly surge after bail-reform law (Hot Air)


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, March 10, 2020

Museum Director on Super Tuesday: 'I Hope Every Single One ... That Votes Republican Dies Today'

That Leftist hatred is both deep and wide

As Texans headed to the polls on Super Tuesday, a museum director posted a message on Facebook expressing the hope that every person voting Republican would die that day. This threat comes amid a spate of politically-motivated violence, including a truck driver attempting to run down Republicans registering voters, a man sucker-punching a boy at a voting booth, and a man threatening Trump supporters with a cane sword.

"I hope every single one of you pieces of sh*t that votes republican, dies today," Melonnie Hicks, director of the Pioneer City Museum in Sweetwater, Texas, posted on Facebook.

The museum's board of directors will hold an emergency meeting after the horrifying statement, KTAB-TV/Big Country Homepage reported. Hicks reportedly apologized but has since deleted both the original post and the apology follow-up post.

Even so, screenshots of the Facebook post have gone viral on social media.

It remains unknown if Hicks is still the director of the museum. The museum has refused to respond to multiple requests for comment from KTAB-TV. The Pioneer City County Museum even took down its Facebook page, and its latest Tweet came last month.

The museum's board of directors will hold an emergency meeting at the Sweetwater Police Department at 5:30 p.m. on Friday to discuss the issue.

Sweetwater City Manager David Vela told KTAB-TV he believes Hicks' Facebook message is reprehensible, especially for a city leader. The city funds a portion of the museum's building.



Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, wall construction credited with halting illegal immigration

During the 2016 campaign, President Trump ran on cracking down on illegal immigration. After years of border security being largely ignored, Trump made it a central issue. After three years in office, it is clear that he is getting results.

So far, over 120 miles of border wall have been built, and hundreds of more miles of wall are expected to be built this year.  Just last week, Mark Morgan, who leads US Customs and Border Protection, told Congress that one section of border wall had reduced the number of illegal border crossings there by more than 80 percent.

In addition, the administration’s Remain in Mexico policy that keeps asylum claimants in Mexico pending hearings is credited with slowing down migration as illegal border crossings continue to drop. This policy requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their immigration court dates; previously, asylum seekers were allowed to wait in the U.S., but many simply disappeared and never reappeared for their court dates.

Thanks to the new policy, in January, the most recent month for which we have official numbers, the number of people apprehended or found to be inadmissible on the Southern border fell to 36,679. In May of last year, that number peaked at 144,116, but it has been declining ever since.

Americans for Limited Government’s Frank McCaffrey has reported from respite centers, bus stops and businesses along migrant routes on both the U.S. and Mexican sides of the border attesting that migrant traffic has slowed as the Remain in Mexico policy took effect.

The two policies, the wall and Remain in Mexico, are the heart of the administration’s success in combating illegal immigration but remain in constant legal wrangling thanks to lawsuits by left-wing organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and others who are suing to stop the wall and the successful Remain in Mexico policy.

Late last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put a hold on the Remain in Mexico policy before staying the injunction allowing enforcement to continue. But should the Ninth Circuit overturn the policy, the Supreme Court will likely end up ruling on this case, too. Previously, it has reversed rulings preventing the wall from being constructed using reprogrammed military construction funds, another case sure to come up again.

In the meantime, the Trump administration not only is Trump working to discourage illegal immigration, he is also hiring more immigration judges to deal with the backlog of immigration cases. Immigration judges matter because they decide issues such as whether immigrants should be deported and whether asylum seekers are granted asylum. At last report, there were 466 immigration judges, which is the most since at least 2010. By comparison, there were 289 immigration judges in FY 2016.

Nor do Trump’s efforts to fight illegal immigration stop at our borders. He has also struck deals with El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico to reduce the number of people arriving at our border. Mexico has been particularly helpful deploying troops to its border to halt the massive caravans of migrants that have strained our immigration system in recent years.

As the old saying goes, charity begins at home. No doubt many of the people seeking asylum do have rough lives in their home countries, but asylum should be limited to those fleeing repressive regimes, not extended to those just looking for a better job or a better neighborhood. As it is, in many parts of our country, we do not have an adequate supply of housing for American citizens; our public schools, too often, struggle to turn out graduates who are functionally literate; and our national debt continues to grow. So we cannot afford to just roll out the welcome mat for anyone who shows up at the border. Every year, we give billions of dollars in foreign aid, but we must not forget that the primary job of the American government is to look out for the interests of the American people. And finally we have a President who is doing just that. It’s about time.



Ted Cruz Slams Dems: ‘Party of the Rich’ Who ‘Sip Their Lattes, Look Down on Working Class Americans’

Senator Ted Cruz slammed the Democratic Party during his appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday, accusing them of being the party of everything they claim they don’t represent.

"Today the Democrats are the party of the rich. Today, the Democrats are the party of Hollywood celebrities and Silicon Valley billionaires and Wall Street titans. They sip their lattes and they look down on working-class Americans.

“And, on the other hand, working men and women, the working men and women here, union members – blue-collar union members used to form the heart of the Democratic Party. FDR Democrats, who became Reagan Democrats. And, right now today, they’re Trump Democrats.”

The Democratic Party has two billionaires running for president, and the rest, save for Pete Buttigieg, are millionaires.



White House Talks Up Economic, Environmental Renewal to Replace Urban Blight

Entrepreneurs have been unleashed inside blighted communities to bring economic opportunity where it is needed most, thanks to President Donald Trump’s deregulation and revitalization initiatives, administration officials said Friday.

Scott Turner, executive director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, discussed such progress with Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, during a conference of conservative activists near Washington.

Turner, a former pro football player, told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference that opportunity zones created during the Trump administration are bringing “stakeholders” back into “stressed communities” for the first time in decades.

“Poverty has no color, poverty has no party,” Turner said. “Poverty affects all of us and when you’re in poverty, you don’t care about party.”

A total of 8,764 opportunity zones have been identified in economically depressed areas throughout the country, according to government figures. Opportunity zones, created as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that Trump signed into law in December 2017, give investors tax benefits in exchange for providing capital in such neighborhoods.

The zones have both an economic and social impact, Turner said, in places where 35 million Americans live.

“Opportunity zones are bringing long-term sustainability,” he said. “Our vision is for generational impact on our country. Conversations are changing around the table with families, and when conversations change, this brings generational change.”

Laurence Jones, a Fox News Channel contributor and talk radio host, moderated the exchange on the CPAC stage.

Jones asked Wheeler, the EPA administrator, to comment on the Trump administration’s progress in providing regulatory relief to economically stagnant areas.

“We had a lot of regulations stopping opportunity throughout the country,” Wheeler said. “President Trump cares about the forgotten Americans. We have invested in cleanup efforts at brownfield sites, and when we clean up these then the private sector comes in. We have also taken out 51 regulations, saving the American people $6.5 billion.”

The EPA’s Brownfields Program offers grants and other assistance to communities that want to clean up and restore contaminated areas.

“We don’t want blighted blocks and blighted city buildings,” Wheeler said. “We want to make sure environmental standards are met and these [sites] are being redeveloped and repurposed.”

Wheeler also discussed a new program under the Clean Air Act that works to the benefit of communities that have had difficulty coming into compliance with EPA standards.

“We moved 38 communities from nonobtainment [of environmental standards] to obtainment,” he said. “We are lifting regulations so they can attract new business.”

The environment “is cleaner today than it has ever been,” the EPA chief said.

Air pollution, for instance, is 74% lower than in 1970, he said.

Turner credited Wheeler and Trump for progress on both environmental and economic fronts.

“People need to understand this is a business-minded administration and business-minded EPA leader,” Turner said. “He’s clearing the way for businesses to come into areas where they haven’t been.”

Jones said he has crisscrossed the country to inform minority communities that “the calvary is coming” under the Trump administration, offering new opportunities so local residents can achieve their potential.

Wheeler also took the opportunity to highlight the Trump administration’s efforts to bring greater transparency and accountability to the EPA’s regulatory practices, saying:

EPA guidance documents will be available to the public for the first time. We are also bringing transparency to science, which is something the media beats me up for. But if we use a scientific study to justify a regulation, that has to be made available to the public. The American public needs to see what their tax dollars are buying.

CPAC, the largest annual national gathering of conservative activists, runs Thursday through Saturday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington.



Snopes Amateurs Take on The Patriot Post

The self-proclaimed “fact checker” website Snopes has long been known among conservatives as a biased leftist rag. Yet the site still enjoys some measure of authoritativeness that greatly exceeds its professionalism.

It wasn’t long ago that Snopes was embroiled in a kerfuffle over its multiple “fact checks” of the satirical Babylon Bee. That was utterly laughable, and yet Snopes doubled down.

Well, we recently discovered that Snopes has done equally credible (which is to say not at all credible) “fact checks” on your humble Patriot Post team. Sort of.

“Patriot Post” has been tagged four times by the site, and not one of the four is even remotely accurate. One story debunks an article from another website that Snopes says was also published by “the equally unreliable” Snopes flags three other stories it claims “originated solely with the Patriot Post, which is part of a network of fake news sites that deal in political clickbait trolling and falsely label themselves as ‘satire.’”

If you read further, however, Snopes sort of clarifies that the actual offending site is “,” a seemingly now-defunct satirical website aimed and making fun of conservative sites like ours. Its header said “Patriot Post,” but the amateurs at Snopes made no effort to distinguish this cut-rate satire site from our legitimate enterprise by the same name.

The one story we found that actually did have to do with our content fared no better.

In August last year, we published a meme riffing on the popular and mostly in-jest conspiracy theories about Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide. It was clearly labeled “PatriotParody.US,” and we have never seriously written anything claiming the Clintons had something to do with Epstein’s demise. Yet in order to “fact check” our humor meme, Snopes (or its source) deliberately cropped the part of the image that made this clear, and then the site used an incorrect link to our site to locate the original meme.

Snopes does conclude, “Although the meme may have circulated online without this context, it originated on a page labeled ‘humor’ and thus should not be viewed as a statement of fact.” It’s rating: “Labeled Satire.” Well that’s a relief.

We don’t point this out to complain that Snopes was unfair to us. We do, however, expect a purportedly reputable fact checker to go through the rigors of actually getting it right when debunking fake news. Instead, Snopes published falsehoods about our website because its primary mission is advancing leftist propaganda.



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, March 09, 2020

'Berning' Down America

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” —Ronald Reagan

“In many US states, a single high-school history class is the only civics instruction that future voters ever receive. Eight states don’t even make the study of American history a graduation requirement.” —from a column, “Public schools are teaching our children to hate America,” by Mary Kay Linge

Bernie Sanders is what you get when orchestrated ignorance, a cultivated contempt for America, and “an everyone gets a trophy just for showing up” sense of self-entitlement reaches critical mass. On Monday night, the leading Democrat candidate for president released a plan calling for a cornucopia of big-government “solutions” to the nation’s problems that demonstrates exactly that. It is a paean to the idea that there are sufficient numbers of intellectually challenged Americans who believe that massive giveaways are “free” or can be paid for by extracting large sums of money from “greedy” fellow Americans who have “more than their fair share.”

Why did Sanders release the plan? Perhaps it’s because he is as ignorant as many of his followers. Asked how he’d pay for his program, Sanders insists he “can’t rattle off to you every nickel and every dime.” Tuesday’s chaotic debate proved no better, as Sanders had difficulty answering a number of other questions as well.

Yet who’s kidding whom? For legions of “Bernie Bros,” who see the 78-year-old socialist/Marxist as more of a televangelist than a presidential candidate, details are largely irrelevant.

Even more irrelevant? These same followers — who support a plan that envisions raising money by precipitating lawsuits against the fossil-fuel industry, eviscerating the military, massively expanding the power of the IRS, and simply seizing wealth for the sake of “social justice” — somehow presume that behavior is static. In short, they think no matter how much money one extracts from the private sector, people will continue to work, take risks, create new businesses, and live their lives as if nothing has changed.

It doesn’t get more ignorant than that, yet that ignorance is hardly surprising. “Feel the Bern” is a triumph of emotionalism over intellectual curiosity.

And no one champions that useful-idiot dynamic more than Sanders himself. Sanders remains an apologist for one of the most repressive regimes on the planet. “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but, you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad,” Sanders told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who had played a 1985 clip of Sanders extolling Castro’s virtues. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did?” Sanders continued. “He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”

For older Americans, idiotic tradeoffs have a familiar ring, akin to the apologist assertions that murderous dictators like Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler were not all bad, because Mussolini made the trains run on time and Hitler restored the pride of a German populace devastated by WWI. In that vein, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had the perfect response to Sanders’s assertion: “It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read & write.”

Sanders’s affection for totalitarian societies isn’t limited to Cuba. The man who honeymooned in the Soviet Union also praised it for providing a “whole variety of programs for the young people, and cultural programs which go far beyond what we do in this country.” He added, “We went to a theater in Yaroslavl which was absolutely beautiful — had three separate stages.”

Columnist Katya Sedgwick, who grew up in the then-Soviet Socialist State of Ukraine, gave the proper context to such an assertion. “My generation of Soviets came of age knowing that the USSR was built on tyranny and lies,” she writes. “We are the most cynical generation in Russian history. Once the country crumbled, our lives spun out of control. As a result, Russian speakers my age suffered through high rates of substance abuse, low life expectancies, and through-the-floor birth rates. On the plus side, we grew up with gaudy chandeliers in public places.”

The same kind of cynicism is the life blood of Sanders’s campaign. Columnist Jake Novak illuminates a number of factors that drive it, all of which involve the alienation of younger Americans, besieged by student debt, even as they underwrite Social Security and Medicare skewed toward older Americans, and remain largely ignored by the establishment members of both parties.

Novak also explains that Democrats have brought Sanders’s popularity down upon themselves, courtesy of their assertions that President Trump is a white supremacist and an agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Think about it: if you really believe the president is a traitor and supporting violent plots against non-white Americans, is this really the time to support mainstream Democrat or Republican candidates?” he writes. “Sanders may be a career politician, but he’s never been a mainstream politician. His persona and political brand fits much better into the current Democratic narrative that we’re living in desperate times.”

Desperation is an emotion, and there is little doubt that emotionalism has transcended intellectual rigor in modern-day America. We are a nation where absurd concepts such as “triggering,” “microaggressions,” “intersectionalism,"and "my truth” have supplanted logic and reason as the common currency of younger generations so cynical, many believe the entire planet has only a dozen years left until climate apocalypse ends humanity itself.

Thus an entire reordering of society, a.k.a. “fundamental transformation” — with retribution as a possible part of the “social justice” mix — is the only way forward.

The searing irony is impossible to ignore. “Democrats have for decades (since JFK) admired godless socialism,” columnist Kevin McCullough explains, even as he further notes that the party “lied about what it all means — especially during election cycles — knowing that middle of the road Americans wouldn’t quite be able to stomach it.”

Enter Sanders, who has unmasked the subterfuge to the utter horror of establishment Democrats and their mainstream-media allies, who are appalled by Sanders’s honesty.

Why? By any reasonable standard, every Democrat still in the presidential race is a radical leftist in a party that has reached “peak progressivism,” as Victor Davis Hanson puts it. Thus it’s hardly surprising that a genuine socialist/Marxist would resonate more than his less honest competitors.

Yet Sanders represents something else as well. For decades, this nation has done a terrible job passing American exceptionalism down to the next generation, and at some point that failure reaches critical mass.

Can Sanders win the nomination? If Sanders maintains his front-runner status, Democrats will likely engender chaos — maybe even a brokered convention — in trying to prevent it. If Sanders still prevails? The 2020 election will be all about revolution or repudiation.

Here’s hoping for repudiation — on a massive scale. A constitutional republic is a terrible thing to waste.



What Bernie Sanders Isn’t Telling You About Canadian Health Care

All Americans, regardless of political party, want access to timely, high-quality health care. The question is how to get there. Do we harness the power and innovation of the private sector, or do we hand it to the government and hope for the best?

Canada has chosen the latter route, and at one of the most recent debates among Democratic presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders once again touted its government-run health care system as a model for America.

Alas, Sanders’ sanitized version of Canadian health care doesn’t remotely fit the facts.

No more out-of-pocket expenses? In reality, Canadians’ out-of-pocket health costs are nearly identical to what Americans pay—a difference of roughly $15 per month. In return, Canadians pay up to 50% more in taxes than Americans, with government health costs alone accounting for $9,000 in additional taxes per year. This comes to roughly $50 in additional taxes per dollar saved in out-of-pocket costs.

Keep in mind these are only the beginning of the financial hits from “Medicare for All.” Canada’s public system does not cover many large health costs, from pharmaceuticals to nursing homes to dental and vision.

As a result, public health spending in Canada accounts for only 70% of total health spending. In contrast, Medicare for All proposals promise 100% coverage. This suggests the financial burdens on Americans, and distortions to care, would be far greater than what Canadians already suffer.

Canada’s limited coverage may surprise Americans, but the key is understanding what “universal” means in “universal care.”

Universal systems mean everybody is forced to join the public system. It emphatically does not mean everything is free. Indeed, out-of-pocket costs are actually significantly higher in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway than they are in America.

More serious than the financial burdens is what happens to quality of care in a government-run system.

Canada’s total health costs are about one-third cheaper than the U.S. as a percent of gross domestic product, but this is achieved by undesirable cost-control practices. For example, care is ruthlessly rationed, with waiting lists running into months or years.

The system also cuts corners by using older and cheaper drugs and skimping on modern equipment. Canada today has fewer MRI units per capita than Turkey or Latvia. Moreover, underinvestment in facilities and staff has reached the point where Canadians are being treated in hospital hallways.

Predictably, Canada’s emergency rooms are packed. In the province of Quebec, wait times average over four hours, leading many patients to just give up, go home, and hope for the best.

Seeing a specialist can take a shockingly long time. One doctor in Ontario called in a referral for a neurologist and was told there was a four-and-a-half year waiting list.

A 16-year-old boy in British Columbia waited three years for an urgent surgery, during which his condition worsened and he was left paraplegic. One Montreal man finally got the call for his long-delayed urgent surgery—but it came two months after he had died.

Canadians have found a way to escape the rationing, the long waits, and substandard equipment. They go to the U.S.

Every year, more than 50,000 Canadians fly to get their surgeries here because they can get high-quality care and fast treatment at a reasonable price. They willingly pay cash for care that, for the vast majority of Americans, is covered by insurance, private or public.

Far from being a model of government-run health care, Canada serves as a warning of the unintended consequences of socialized medicine: high taxes, long waits, staff shortages, and substandard drugs and equipment. Those suffering the most are the poor, who cannot afford to fly abroad for timely treatment.

Far from the feel-good rhetoric, socialized medicine in Canada has proved a bait-and-switch that has never lived up to the promise.

In Washington today, there are very sound proposals on the table to reduce U.S. health care costs. They include reforms to assure price transparency, increase competition, and repeal price-hiking mandates. That is the best way forward.

Canada’s system of socialized medicine has created high taxes and suffering patients. That’s not what Americans want or deserve.



The Endless Stalemate Ends  -- or does it?

The news that a peace agreement has been reached with the Taliban after 18 years of war has drawn some criticism of President Donald Trump from Patriots concerned about national security. We in our humble shop agree with Rep. Liz Cheney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton that this deal comes with risks.

That said, we also have long thought that Afghanistan had reached a point where there were no good options. As we also have noted, there was no clear idea of what victory looked like and how it would be achieved. Thus, the war effort became a mess that was largely passed off to Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

Even under George W. Bush, who was serious about winning, America pulled punches that should have been allowed to go full-force. Dalton Fury revealed in 2008 that requests to use modern GATOR mines were rejected during the Battle of Tora Bora. These mines would have self-destructed or gone inert within 40 days. But micromanaging from Washington allowed Osama bin Laden to make it into Pakistan, where he hid out for nearly a decade.

The betrayal of Patriots who served — like James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who played crucial roles in getting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to spill his guts — also raised questions about how serious those in Washington were about winning.

Yet we were supposed to let SOCOM send its highly trained operatives on numerous deployments to that region with no clue about how to win or what winning looked like? How numerous were those deployments? Here is one indicator: The first military casualty during President Trump's administration had been sent on 12 deployments.

We should not dismiss what was achieved: Afghanistan has a freely elected government. We have killed or captured a lot of the senior leadership of al-Qaida. We have not seen anything like another 9/11. We have trained an Afghan military that is capable of defending that country. We should be proud of what our troops, including those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, accomplished.

But we should also keep some things in mind. We have lessons to learn from this war. We should, as a country, resolve that when we do ask our troops to fight and risk being maimed or killed, they be allowed to win.

Whether this peace agreement will hold is an open question. Could the Taliban merely be using this as a chance to re-arm and gain strength to go after the Afghan government? We can't rule that out. If that should happen, then the Taliban must pay a fearsome price for breaking the deal.



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, March 08, 2020

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

(The more things change the more they are the same thing)

For my recent stay in hospital, I took along a famous book to read -- "Dr Zhivago" by Boris Pasternak. I had read in when it first come out in 1957 but had forgotten the story totally so it should have been new to me. It was but I somehow could not get interested in it for long.  It was a good yarn but I just could not concentrate on it for long.

The book is about pre-revolutionary Russia (c. 1905) so the political scenes were of interest to me.  I did gather that they were realistic. One passage which told me that revolutionary politics  had not changed much was a description of the conversation of two Leftists of the day. Their remarks were described (on p. 49 of the first edition) as: "So imbued with contempt for everything in the world that they could quite safely have been replaced by a growling noise".  The politics of hate were alive and well back there too: "contempt for everything in the world".  Quite reminiscent of current Leftist remarks about Mr Trump.  CNN on Trump is mostly a just a growling noise


‘Flood the streets’: ICE targets sanctuary cities with increased surveillance

Intensifying its enforcement in sanctuary cities across the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has begun 24-hour surveillance operations around the homes and workplaces of immigrants living in the country illegally. The agency plans to deploy hundreds of additional officers in unmarked cars in the coming weeks to increase arrests in cities where local law enforcement agencies do not cooperate with federal enforcement.

ICE leadership has requested at least 500 special agents who normally conduct long-term investigations into dangerous criminals and traffickers to join the enhanced arrest campaign rolling out in sanctuary cities, according to an internal e-mail reviewed by The New York Times.

The request follows an earlier decision, made public last month, to deploy elite tactical BORTAC agents — immigration SWAT teams that are normally assigned to risky border smuggling, rescue, and intelligence operations — to help arrest and deport immigrants in sanctuary cities.

The expanded surveillance operations and added manpower are the latest intensification in a conflict between the Trump administration and cities that refuse to help with deportations, including Boston, New York, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Newark. The effort began last month and will run through Dec. 31, according to the internal e-mail, which called the initiative Operation Palladium.

The latest directive is simple: Arrest as many immigrants living in the country illegally as possible, and “flood the streets,” as one official involved said his bosses had put it.

Local leaders in those communities often argue that doing so could make their cities less safe by discouraging people from cooperating with the police.

Because immigration law violations are civil infractions rather than criminal ones, the officers deployed in the expanded ICE operations cannot, in most cases, obtain warrants to forcibly enter places where their subjects are hiding.

Instead, ICE officers are embarking on the aggressive surveillance campaign, which involves closely watching some individuals for more than 12 hours a day in the hopes of arresting them outside their homes or workplaces.

To achieve their goal, officers assigned to the latest operations are working longer hours, and for longer stretches of time, often 10 days in a row rather than the usual five.

“It should be really no surprise; it’s exactly what we said we would do,” said Henry Lucero, the top government official overseeing the division of ICE that conducts street arrests. He added: “If there’s no cooperation, that’s not going to stop ICE from doing its job. We are still going to try to protect the public as much as we can by arresting and removing criminal aliens from the communities before they can get another crime or make another victim.”



Donald Trump says federal government will start 'withholding funds' from sanctuary cities after winning court case on stopping extra funding

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would withhold money from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions after a U.S. court ruled that his administration could block federal law enforcement funds to states and cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The Republican president, who is seeking re-election in the Nov. 3 election, has taken a hardline stance toward legal and illegal immigration. His battle against Democratic-led 'sanctuary' jurisdictions focuses on laws and policies that limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

Cities and states that oppose such cooperation say it can discourage immigrants from coming forward to report crimes to law enforcement because of fears about their immigration status.

Since the beginning of his administration Trump has tried to slash specific law enforcement grants to places that don't comply with ICE requests for information, but his efforts have been challenged in court.

On Feb. 26, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled in favor of the administration and said the funding cuts were valid. But three other federal appeals courts have ruled against blocking such funds, setting up a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump in a tweet said it would move forward with the cuts.

'As per recent Federal Court ruling, the Federal Government will be withholding funds from Sanctuary Cities. They should change their status and go non-Sanctuary. Do not protect criminals!' Trump tweeted on Thursday, although he gave no other details.

One such 'sanctuary' policy opposed by the administration is a refusal by local jails to hold immigrants in the country illegally in detention beyond their scheduled release times so ICE officials can pick them up and process them for deportation.

Some officials in non-cooperative jurisdictions argue the requests are voluntary and honoring such 'detainer' requests means holding people without a constitutionally valid reason.

The 2nd Circuit overturned a lower court ruling directing the release of federal funds to New York City and the states of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.

Three federal appeals courts in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco have upheld injunctions barring enforcement of at least some of the administration's conditions on the funds.

In addition to the funding threats, the administration is now opening up new fronts in the battle against the cities, filing lawsuits and issuing subpoenas in what Attorney General William Barr called part of a 'significant escalation' in the fight against uncooperative jurisdictions.



Uh Oh, Trump Says What We're All Thinking: There's Something Wrong With Joe Biden

At a Fox News Town Hall on Thursday evening, President Trump openly suggested that there's something fishy going on with Joe Biden. According to Trump, Biden's many gaffes could be a sign that he's simply not mentally competent.

Super Tuesday, Trump said, came as a surprise to him. He was sure that Bernie was going to win, not only because the polls showed him in the least, but also because Biden is clearly having some mental issues. "We have this crazy thing that happened on Tuesday," Trump explained, "which [Biden] felt was Thursday. But he also said 150 million people were killed with guns, and that he was running for the U.S. Senate."

"There's something going on there," the president concluded.

The leftwing media are constantly giving Confused Joe a pass -- even when he confused his wife with his sister -- but Trump isn't going to do the same. Oh no, if Biden becomes the Democrats' nominee, he will be hammered time and again on his mental fitness. And rightly so, of course. It's obvious to anyone paying attention to this race that Biden has some very serious mental issues. This isn't about "gaffes anymore." It's about Joe not being "all there."

Trump has to go after Biden on this. This isn't about scoring some cheap, easy points, but about warning Americans that they may end up with a president who simply isn't competent.

With all the things going on in America and the rest of the world, that's too big of a risk to take. We're battling this new coronavirus COVID-19 while Iran is stockpiling nuclear material. The most powerful country on earth needs a competent leader, not some old guy who should be spending time with his grandkids while his own children keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn't cause any accidents.



Betraying the Alamo

RINO George P. Bush wants to whitewash a bloody battle and make it politically correct

"Remember the Alamo!" might become a divisive political slogan as Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has accused his fellow Republican, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, of leading the Alamo restoration project "badly off track." His remarks came one day before the 184th anniversary of the fall of the Alamo, a military defeat that energized the Texas revolution against Mexico and helped America's second-most populous state enter the Union.

"Nothing defines the independent and the courageous spirit of Texas more than our iconic Alamo and, like most Texans, I treasure it. The history of the Alamo is a personal passion of mine. I do not intend to sit quietly and see this project fail," Patrick said in a statement slamming Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and grandson of President George H. W. Bush. "The job of oversight for this project is the responsibility of the General Land Office headed by Commissioner George P. Bush. It is evident to me that both the design, planning, and execution of the project is badly off track."

Bush has long received criticism over the General Land Office and the City of San Antonio's plan to "reimagine" the site of the Alamo. Texans are incensed over the plan to relocate the Alamo Cenotaph, a monument commissioned on the centennial anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo that serves as a tombstone for the men who gave their lives in the fight for Texas independence in the historic siege (February 23-March 6, 1836).

On Tuesday, Republican voters overwhelmingly approved a proposition on the GOP primary ballot stating, "Texans should protect and preserve all historical monuments, artifacts, and buildings, such as the Alamo Cenotaph and our beloved Alamo, and should oppose any reimagining of the Alamo site." Nearly 98 percent of Republican voters supported it.

Patrick slammed Bush over the Cenotaph relocation and the look and design of new buildings on the site.

"The latest [design] looks like a massive urban park with hundreds of trees—more like Central Park in New York City than Alamo Plaza," the lieutenant governor said. "We have wasted significant public dollars on designs which most Texans would immediately reject." He called on Bush to release all proposed architectural designs and threatened to move the project to another entity in the absence of significant change.

"If the General Land Office cannot handle this important job, and to date it does not appear it can, I will recommend we identify another entity to provide oversight," Patrick warned.

Late Thursday, Bush spokeswoman Karina Erickson said the land commissioner welcomes Patrick's suggestions, the Dallas Morning News reported.

"Lt. Governor Patrick brings up many great ideas -- ideas that are already incorporated in the Alamo Plan, including the intent to restore the Alamo Church and Battleground to the 1836 time period," Erickson said.

Patrick demanded that the restoration effort should include a "world-class visitor center" focused on the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, "not the 200-year history of early Spanish settlement in Texas," which is covered by San Antonio's Mission Trail. Erickson insisted that a focus on the battle will be the focal point of the restoration.

The Texas legislature approved funds for preserving the Alamo and rebuilding the plaza in 2015. Lawmakers intended for Texans and others to be able to "see the battlefield as it was" in 1836, Patrick insisted.

A recent records request exposed another controversy. Members of the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association condemned digging in a graveyard.

Yet the political battle may trace back to Bush's decision to spread rumors that he may challenge Patrick in the 2022 lieutenant governor race. Lieutenant governor is the most powerful position in the Texas government when the legislature is in session because it controls the state Senate's agenda. While the legislature is not scheduled to meet again until January 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) may call the legislature into a special session to deal with this issue, which would humiliate Bush.

In October, Bush's senior advisor, J. R. Hernandez, insisted that the land commissioner remains focused on his job, attempting to dispel rumors of a planned run against Patrick. "Over the last few months, several activists and donors have asked Commissioner Bush to consider higher office in Texas," Hernandez admitted. "At this time he is 100% focused on doing his job as land commissioner. While he wouldn’t challenge current Governor Abbott or Lieutenant Governor Patrick, if an opening presents itself he would absolutely consider serving Texans in a higher role. When that moment arises, he’s ready."

Political fireworks may be coming to Texas, and "Remember the Alamo!" may be a political rallying cry against Bush.




RELENTLESS: Economy defied early coronavirus fears in February with 273,000 new jobs, unemployment at 3.5% (Washington Examiner)

"THE APPEARANCE IS NOT GOOD": Romney could block Republican subpoena attempt aimed at the Bidens (Fox News)

POLICY VIOLATION: Facebook removes Trump campaign ads over census confusion (Politico)

FOR THE RECORD: More than 300 illegal aliens from China have been caught at the U.S. border since coronavirus outbreak (MRCTV)

LIKELY ISLAMIST TERRORISM: Explosion near U.S. embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, prompts emergency response (Fox News)

EMBEZZLING AND RACKETEERING: Ex-UAW president Gary Jones charged in corruption probe (Detroit Free Press)


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