Friday, March 20, 2020

Jeff Jacoby: When demand soars, prices should too

Price gougers are sellers who brazenly raise the price of goods in order to exploit desperate customers and profit from their misery.

Price gaugers — let's coin a phrase — are sellers who sensibly adjust the price of goods upward in response to a spike in demand, in order to minimize hoarding and accommodate as many customers as possible until fresh supplies become available.

Price gouging is immoral. Price gauging is indispensable. Yet in times of stress, officials routinely confuse them. Prudent price hikes are demonized as gouging, so merchants avoid trouble by leaving their prices unchanged. The results? Shortages, suffering, and even more stress.

If you've been to a supermarket lately, you've seen those results up close and ugly.

Last Friday I went to the store to pick up a few groceries, a weekly errand. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes weren't on my list, which was just as well, since the supermarket's entire supply was gone. Laundry bleach was on my list, and I managed to snag the last bottle on the shelf. When I went to the dairy case for the gallon of milk I get each week, I found the aisle mobbed by customers. But it wasn't only pantry staples and disinfecting products that were being hoarded. It was pretzels, sports drinks, and fresh meat, too.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, some of this consumer frenzy is understandable, especially the demand for hand sanitizer. Some of it is irrational panic buying: Nobody needs a year's supply of toilet paper. But whether or not customers have good reason for denuding the shelves at Stop & Shop, Wegman's, or CVS, sellers have an excellent reason to adjust their prices upward to account for the soaring demand: Failing to do so leaves shelves bare, and countless would-be customers are turned away empty-handed.

As soon as it became clear that the coronavirus emergency was driving consumers to load up on supplies, sellers should have been raising their prices. That would have deterred consumers from buying more than they really need, while increasing the incentive to bring more supplies to the marketplace.

But as soon as the crisis erupted, politicians immediately began signaling retailers not to raise their prices. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey urged the public to report "instances of price gouging" to her office. So did attorneys general in Texas, Kansas, New Jersey, and elsewhere. The US Justice Department warned it would go after "bad actors" who "fix prices" for health products such as face masks and respirators. Senator Ed Markey sent a letter pressing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to root out "coronavirus-based price gouging" by third-party sellers. House committee chairs, the Washington Post reports, have proposed including "anti-price-gouging measures" in the next coronavirus relief bill.

Yet what the market needs, especially in an emergency, is not more price controls, but none at all. Anti-gouging laws are misguided and "should be scrapped entirely," Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron tells me. For three reasons: First, they ensure that scarce resources are allocated "based on the arbitrary luck of who gets there first." Second, such laws "eliminate any incentive for reducing use or increasing production" — keeping prices well below what the market will bear invites shoppers to buy as much as they can while doing nothing to encourage manufacturers to ramp up production. Third, they lead to illegal black markets, with unscrupulous dealers operating under the table, taxes going unpaid, and consumers left unprotected.

None of this is to defend greed, or to minimize compassion. We can all agree that the Tennessee man who amassed a stockpile of more than 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer in order to sell them at a steep markup is no one's idea of a good citizen, a model businessman, or a kindly soul. But the vast majority of merchants are not trying to gouge anyone — least of all their customers, whose good will they crave. Having to face would-be buyers with empty shelves is a terrible way to do business. When governments pressure sellers to keep prices artificially low, the result is to push demand artificially high. That only adds to the misery of people already in dire straits.

Better by far to let businesses use their own judgment to gauge the right price for their products. That way, fewer buyers get left in the lurch — and more of us have what we need to get through this crisis.



With Coronavirus, Leftists Angry Trump Not 'Literally Hitler'

Those who are dependent on the nanny state are inclined to blame the nanny state.

The cognitive dissonance from the anti-Trump Left regarding the federal response to the coronavirus has been fascinating to watch. It’s a simultaneous display of rhetorical contradictions and civic ignorance.

On the one hand, “progressive” Democrats have screeched for three years that President Donald Trump is “literally Hitler,” a modern-day fascist tyrant consolidating complete federal power into his own hands.

Yet today, those same leftists excoriate President Trump for … not exerting dictatorial powers to deal decisively with the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are, of course, the same people who condemned President Trump in January for shutting down travel from China — a decision they called “racist” and “xenophobic.” Can you imagine the outrage from these critics had President Trump at that same time enforced a nationwide lockdown?

“It might seem hyperbolic to compare the U.S. government to a failed state that cannot project its authority or adequately ensure the safety of its population,” The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson opines. “But for much of the past month, the White House has shown an inability to do either.”

Thompson continues, “It is, above all, a test for the state. Only the national government can oversee the response to a national outbreak by coordinating research on the nature of the disease. Only the state can ensure the national regulation and accuracy of testing. … Throughout the world, the most effective responses to the historic threat of the coronavirus have come from state governments. … But in the United States, the pandemic has devolved into a kind of grotesque caricature of American federalism.”

Yet isn’t the cause of this global pandemic rooted in the fact that the Communist Chinese government, wielding the very kind of compulsive power Thompson advocates, completely bungled handling the virus upon its discovery, and then spent precious weeks downplaying and covering up the severity of the outbreak, while refusing to allow foreign experts to assist in controlling the spread of the virus?

And if what Mr. Trump’s critics claim is true — that his handling of the situation has been riddled with incompetence — then wouldn’t giving him dictatorial power to manage the situation only make the outcome far worse? Isn’t it a very good thing, if the criticisms of Trump are true, that individual governors, mayors, business owners, churches, and citizens have the capacity to act expeditiously in their own wisdom to minimize exposure to the virus and slow its spread?

It should be noted that the primary criticism of President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was the administration having declined to use testing kits that had been quickly approved for use in other countries. In retrospect, that may have saved American lives. More than a month ago BBC News published an article investigating major flaws in the test kits being used by other countries. The BBC reported that “people are having up to six negative results before finally being diagnosed.”

What is worse? Delaying the rollout of test kits by a few weeks in order to ensure accurate results? Or sending thousands of infected people back to congregate among their families, churches, schools, and businesses, infecting countless others, all while thinking they are virus-free?

New York Times reporter Erica Green complained that Trump has “become a bystander as school superintendents, sports commissioners, college presidents, governors and business owners across the country take it upon themselves to shut down much of American life…”

Ignorance of the finer points of pandemic virology can be forgiven in an American journalist. Ignorance of the most fundamental aspects of the American form of republican government cannot.

The Constitution was specifically crafted to deny the president such a level of omnipotence. Green’s rebuke exposes the contempt for federalism she and her leftist cohorts exude.

The fact is that no president possesses the constitutional power to do what these progressive critics are demanding. And thank heaven! Do we really want the same government that couldn’t even manage a working ObamaCare website to have complete control over the response to this virus?

With no sense of irony, Thompson simultaneously demands President Trump act with absolute power in this emergency, condemns him for alleged incompetence, praises the response of the private sector, and says that the private sector should not be depended on in such a crisis.

Over the last week, numerous governors and mayors have taken a range of steps to slow the spread of the virus, from requests for voluntary “social distancing” to mandated closure of schools and businesses. They have done so based on the specific risks and needs of their states and communities. These actions have come from the ground up, demanded by local constituencies.

This is the very essence of federalism. One-size-fits-all policy doesn’t work in a nation of 330 million people scattered across 50 states. Top-down edicts are often counterproductive.

Thank heaven our Founding Fathers understood that, and thank heaven for a president today who respects it.



Alliances Emerging Out of This Crisis?

We don’t yet know the end of the coronavirus story, but we are seeing one bright spot emerge, just as we did in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

There is, once again, a sense of unity among the American people. Decent citizens are metaphorically linking arms, even as we keep our physical distance, in an effort to defeat the spread of what threatens us.

Remember the image of the entire Congress standing shoulder to shoulder on the Capitol steps as they prayed to God after the terrorist attacks? It was one of the most beautiful moments of political unity in modern history.

Democrats and Republicans are again praying together. On Sunday, the nation observed a National Day of Prayer, declared by President Trump. He said: “As we unite in prayer, we are reminded that there is no burden too heavy for God to lift or for this country to bear with His help. Luke 1:37 promises that ‘For with God nothing shall be impossible,’ and those words are just as true today as they have ever been.”

Allied in prayer as “one nation under God” is a beautiful and powerful thing to behold.

Other kinds of alliances are emerging out of this crisis too. I was as proud as I’ve ever been of our president when he addressed the nation from the Rose Garden on Friday. Flanked by medical experts, who serve the public through their governmental roles, and highly successful private business leaders, the president rolled out a plan to protect all Americans. In so doing, he showed how people benefit when industries are unleashed from the shackles of draconian government regulations and the good that can come when government works with the private sector instead of against it.

Who would have thought it possible that in a span of just a few weeks, hard-working public servants and private companies could assemble, create, and execute a plan to save our nation? Who thought it was possible to bring direct competitors like Walmart and Target into a room and persuade them to lay down their business swords for the good of the country?




"GAG AND VOTE FOR IT ANYWAY": Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Senate will pass House coronavirus bill without changes (The Hill)

"WE'RE GOING BIG": President Trump wants checks sent to Americans within next two weeks (The Daily Wire)

WORSE THAN 2008? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warns virus could yield 20% jobless rate without action (Bloomberg)

TAX PAYMENTS POSTPONED: Treasury and IRS to delay tax payment deadline by 90 days (CNBC)

CANNOT RISK AN OUTBREAK: U.S. to send back all asylum seekers at southern border (National Review)

RULE OF LAW: Border chief won't hand over criminal illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities (Washington Examiner)

AVERAGE OF DAILY ARRESTS DROPS BY 240: Los Angeles releases more than 600 inmates, slashes arrests to "combat coronavirus" (The Daily Wire)

FOLLOWING SUIT: Philadelphia police stop some arrests to manage jail crowding during coronavirus pandemic (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: How coronavirus could change healthcare for the better (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: Governance in crisis: A guide to what the states can and can't do about coronavirus (Washington Examiner)

FOUR TIPS  for Dealing With Life Under Social Isolation — Ben Shapiro's four tips for dealing with life under quarantine.


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 19, 2020

More Regulation Yields Worse Products

What happened to the gas can? In a recent interview with American Institute researcher Jeffrey Tucker, journalist Sharyl Attkisson explores the topic of how government regulation has made things that used to work well now fail to meet muster. After relaying his experience with changes to the gas can and how poorly it pours out its contents, Tucker noted that government regulations are to blame. But it's not only the gas can that has been regulated into a state worse than before; it's a litany of devices and appliances that have been made worse by the government.

"These are the sorts of things that affect the quality of our life on a daily basis," Tucker observes. "Does your ice maker actually make ice? Does your iron work? And this is all because of these regulations. Isn't it strange how much regulations sort of secretly control all the things we use in our life? We don't even know it. And they'll never roll it back, so they never face any real pressure. So there's no way to revert it. Whereas normally, in private enterprise, if you design something that doesn't quite work right, people stop buying it and that's the end, so there's a mechanism that corrects for errors. But when government's doing it, they don't seem to have any way to fix it."

Tucker's discovery is not limited to a few inconsequential items. In fact, it's the all-too-common experience of every American. While he grants that these bureaucrats' regulations may be well intentioned, he argues, "The problem is that the bureaucrats have inordinate power and if they make a mistake, there's really nothing that can be done about it. We ended up having to spend the rest of our lives working around them and I don't think that's a good way to live. We used to have gasoline cans that worked well. And then we created this innovation that just didn't work nearly as well."

In this light, we should be crying foul when politicians like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio call for the federal government to take over private enterprise, as he did recently over coronavirus fears. "People can get tested according to a priority structure, and it's not enough testing. It's just as simple as that," de Blasio argued after he called on the fed to take control of U.S. businesses in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. He continued, "Here's the reality. This is a war-like situation. We're in a war-time scenario with a 'Mar-a-Lago attitude' being used by the federal government, right? ... This is a case for a nationalization, literally a nationalization, of crucial factories and industries that could produce the medical supplies to prepare this country for what we need."

Calling for a fascist takeover of America's private industry is a textbook recipe for ushering in tyranny. And "helping people" is always how tyrants justify their demand for greater power. Somehow, it never works out the way they claim.



McConnell’s Pitch to Veteran Judges: Please Quit

Running out of federal court vacancies to fill, Senate Republicans have been quietly making overtures to sitting Republican-nominated judges who are eligible to retire to urge them to step aside so they can be replaced while the party still holds the Senate and the White House.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who has used his position as majority leader to build a judicial confirmation juggernaut for President Trump over the past three years, has been personally reaching out to judges to sound them out on their plans and assure them that they would have worthy successors if they gave up their seats soon, according to multiple people with knowledge of his actions.

It was not known how many judges had been contacted or which of them Mr. McConnell had spoken to directly. One of his Republican colleagues said others had also initiated outreach in an effort to heighten awareness among judges nominated by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush that making the change now would be advantageous.

The overt effort by Republicans to create vacancies reflects a realization that Mr. Trump could lose the presidency, or that Republicans could lose the Senate majority and deprive Mr. Trump of his partner on judicial confirmations even if he did gain a second term.

Mike Davis, a former nomination counsel for Senate Republicans who created the Article III Project, a conservative judicial advocacy group, said that he still expected Mr. Trump to win but that “we have to hope for the best and plan for the worst.” Republicans are reminding the judges that it could be another eight years — 2029 — before they could leave under a Republican president.

Mr. Davis estimated that judges would need to decide by late summer or early fall to provide sufficient time for a nomination and confirmation.

According to a tally by the Article III Project, more than 90 judges nominated by the three previous Republican presidents are either now eligible or will become eligible this year to take what is known as senior status, a form of semiretirement that enables their slots to be filled even though they can still hear cases, hire clerks and receive full pay.

Twenty-eight of them are judges on the influential appeals courts, which have been a particular focus of the alliance between the Trump White House and Senate Republicans. One of them, Judge Thomas B. Griffith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, announced this month that he planned to retire in September, giving Mr. Trump the opportunity to make a third appointment to the powerful court in what will most likely be a contentious confirmation fight.

Mr. Trump has already placed more than 50 appeals court judges on the bench during the past three years — more than a quarter of the overall appellate bench. The aggressive Republican push has been so efficient that only one appellate seat is currently open.

Conservatives are eager to see some of the longer-tenured judges make room for younger candidates who could continue deciding cases for decades.

David Popp, a spokesman for Mr. McConnell, said it should come as no surprise that the majority leader would be interested in the tenure plans of current judges.

“I’d point you back to his longrunning mantra of ‘leave no vacancy behind,’” Mr. Popp said of Mr. McConnell, who has for months made it clear that he intended to fill as many judicial slots as possible before the end of this year.

Mr. McConnell has long been intently focused on the federal courts and considers his record on installing conservative judges the hallmark of his career, along with his decision to block the 2016 Supreme Court nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland. The Courier-Journal, based in Louisville, Ky., reported that Mr. McConnell had flown there Thursday with Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh for the investiture of a new U.S. District Court judge, Justin Walker, a 38-year-old former Kavanaugh clerk whom the Senate confirmed despite questions about his experience level.

Democrats have already made it clear that they intend to try to counter the successful Republican effort to place conservatives on the courts if they get the chance.



GOP congressmen introduce simple plan to save taxpayers $15B

Given their propensity for subsidizing Serbian cheese and propping up the Pakistani film industry, government bureaucrats aren’t exactly known for putting taxpayer money to good use. But even with its wasteful reputation, the federal government's mismanagement of public properties is far more shocking.

Thankfully, two Republican congressmen have a plan that could address this issue once and for all — and pass the savings on to taxpayers.

On Monday, Reps. Greg Murphy and Ted Budd introduced the “Eliminate Agency Excess Space Act.” The two North Carolina Republicans’ bill would ease restrictions and eliminate red tape, making it much easier for federal agencies to sell off unused buildings and properties. Right now, there’s an extremely cumbersome process that makes it almost impossible to do so.

This is a real problem. Right now, 3,120 federal government buildings sit vacant, while almost 8,000 are partially empty or underutilized. According to Citizens Against Government Waste, selling off these unused properties would save $15 billion over five years. Under the bill, this money is deposited in the U.S. Treasury and used to pay down the federal debt.

That’s $106 in debt relief for every U.S. taxpayer. It’s just a start, sure, but reining in government waste and paying down the more than $23 trillion national debt will require thousands of small reforms such as this.

It’s unclear whether Democrats, and notably, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, will block this bill or join forces with its Republican sponsors. But eliminating obvious waste really shouldn’t be partisan or controversial.

“Nothing should be more frustrating to a taxpayer than to see their hard-earned dollars pay to lease vacant buildings that the federal government has no intention of ever using,” Budd said in a statement. “This is a prime example of what happens when federal agencies are not held accountable for failing to use basic best practices from the private sector.”

The congressman makes a good point: It’s hard to imagine a private business letting valuable property rot away unused without selling it off. Yet this sort of thing regularly happens in our government because, sadly, bureaucrats just don’t have the same kind of profit incentives forcing them to work efficiently. This is why more congressional oversight and the passage of commonsense waste-reduction legislation are both urgently needed.




"15 DAYS TO SLOW THE SPREAD": Trump rolls out tougher guidelines for Americans to follow over the next few weeks (The Daily Wire)

NOT A SPENDING STIMULUS: Trump administration to propose $850 billion tax-relief-focused stimulus (The Hill)

DISINFORMATION: Chinese bots flood Twitter to spread anti-Trump conspiracy theories (The National Pulse)

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: NBC News spreads Chinese Communist propaganda amid coronavirus outbreak (Washington Examiner)

REDEMPTION: Tennessee brothers who stockpiled nearly 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer donate stash (Fox News)

LEGAL CHALLENGE DENIED: Ohio Supreme Court allows delay to primary election (The Columbus Dispatch)

EXTRAORDINARY HEALTH-RELATED DELAY: Supreme Court postpones March oral arguments (Fox News)

"DELIVERY PROMISES ARE LONGER THAN USUAL": Amazon to hire 100,000 more workers and give raises to current staff to deal with coronavirus demands (CNBC)

POLITICS BY OTHER MEANS: International Criminal Court prepares legal war on the U.S. (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: Mitt Romney's foolish stimulus proposal (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: Coronavirus shows why America must get resources from our own backyard, not China (Issues & Insights)

POLICY: COVID-19 response shows that federalism is working (National Review)


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 18, 2020

Rogue Federal Agency Makes Up Own Rules to Harass Tech Companies

In the past, when federal contractors complained about the treatment they received from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, agency officials would dare them to take it to the judge because “he works for us.”

But Google took the dare – it took a complaint about harassment by the agency over alleged employee discrimination to an administrative law judge who works for the agency. And the judge agreed Google was right.

Google said it turned over 740,000 pages of documents, at a cost of 2,300 man hours and $500,000, to address an inquiry by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs into Google’s compensation practices. When the office came back and added to its demands the names of all Google employees, the company said enough.

Google sued, and an administrative judge from the Department of Labor ruled the agency had been “overbroad, intrusive on employee privacy, unduly burdensome, and insufficiently focused on obtaining the requested information.”

Of course, it took a company with the clout and wherewithal of Google to press the case. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has the power to debar federal contractors, which prevents them from doing future business with the federal government. This can be a death sentence to many businesses, which means those of lesser means than Google – which is well north of 99 percent of every company on the planet – have no choice but to accept mistreatment and move on.

And there has been plenty of such mistreatment – an agency focus on high-dollar settlements with top companies to secure splashy headlines, frequent and systemic antagonistic behavior toward the firms it regulates, given to making extraordinary and overly broad demands for information then insisting near-impossible deadlines be met to produce it.

That the Department of Labor ruled in favor of Google is a sign the agency finally may be getting the message that its conduct is not proper or productive. Its mission is to ensure federal contractors follow federal employment law – that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity, nor differentiate in pay by gender or in any other discriminatory manner.

But in the final years of the Obama administration, the agency had focused on high-dollar verdicts and headlines. It fined Goldman Sachs and Dell Technologies $10 million and $7 million respectively and fined Bank of America $4.2 million. These verdicts struck such fear into American businesses that many were reluctant to talk even anonymously to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for a white paper it produced on the agency’s problems.

In the deregulatory age of President Trump, American companies ought not fear their regulators.

Perhaps sensing the climate would change when President Trump took office, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs decided to go big-time with its harassment efforts in the waning days of the Obama administration. The agency filed suits against Google, Oracle and Palantir, which provides software and data analysis to the federal government.

The suit against Oracle seeks not $1 million or $10 million but $400 million that the agency alleges the firm owes to female, Asian and African-American employees. It alleges the company systemically paid Caucasian male workers more than their counterparts in the same job title and favored Asian-Americans in hiring for some technical positions.

In none of those had employees at these firms complained of discrimination. The agency is attempting to prove these firms have discriminated through statistical analysis only.



The Leftist Media Thrives on Emotions – Not Facts

If you have not noticed, Democrats and the left-wing media have seized on an opportunity – the COVID19 virus. The last three to four weeks have been filled with panic, confusion, fear, and dread with breathless reporting from mainstream media outlets. Leftist media and social media have played on citizens’ emotions solely for political profit – it is time to calm down.

Anchors and reporters have worked the public into a lather, making them believe that the government will instill a mandatory quarantine. Their reporting has led to a hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper shortage across the country– with fights breaking out at retailers. American citizens have bought into the idea that Trump is some authoritarian that is going to enforce martial law to keep citizens inside their homes.

Fear is a driver. It causes humans to do things they never thought possible such as taking the life of another through any means necessary in the protection of their own life, family member, or a friend. Being scared can make us physically more durable than ever thought possible. It can also make us mentally tougher than one could ever imagine.

Fear can also turn a human into an animal.

It is normal to get worried when talks of a flu epidemic begin in your community, and there should be a concern when we start to learn about pandemics such as the Swine Flu, or the Corona Virus. However, when the establishment media has caused many in America to act like caged beasts at Costco or Sam’s or any store that sells toilet paper, they have become irresponsible reporters. Some could argue that today’s legacy news outlets are dangerous at times. 

However, in a time where certain news outlets have such a vitriolic hatred for the president, what can you expect? American’s trust the news to bring the facts. Though, when a news media outlet hates President Trump as much as they do, they manipulate the emotions of those who trust them. The leftist news does not need many people to believe them. They only need a small percentage so they can run a loop of the panic to whip up more distress. It is a disingenuous and immoral game plan.

Facts are the enemy of emotions. The mainstream media relies more on reporting emotion than factual evidence. If a Democratic politician is speaking on a left-wing news outlet, emotions are a focal point. However, a republican with facts are dismissed on the same network many times. When Joe Biden said, at a campaign rally, “truth over facts,” he meant “emotions over facts.”

The Democratic Party is more concerned with whipping up emotions using a virus, societal class, skin color, or ethnicity than they are with improving the lives of those who support them.

The left cannot win with facts, and they know it. In the world of politics, reality matters. Voters want the entire truth. Democrats have become masters of cloaking emotional topics with untruths. They present their causes as factual, but when they are broken down with critical thinking and logic, the argument often falls apart. Unfortunately, their voters are sheep and believe them.

We must be able to mitigate emotions in certain situations. When a person becomes emotional around the wrong people with bad intentions, they are much easier to manipulate. We see this now with the COVID-19 panic. 24-hour news network anchors speak with “experts” and “pundits” talking about the dangers, which are real, but they ignore the recovery rate.

Establishment news outlets are using emotions in an attempt to damage Trump and make this his “Katrina.” They do not care about the violence that has ensued over toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Left-wing news only cares that Trump does not get reelected in November. They are refusing facts and asserting fear.

Yes, the COVID19 virus is a threat. So far, we have seen it is most dangerous to the elderly or those with underlying respiratory problems. However, the news has hit a new low in terms of immoral reporting of fearmongering, helping their friends, the democrats.  Facts matter more than emotions, and that rule applies here. We see violence, food/supply shortages, and stocks plummet. The left does not care about America, only their political aspirations.

Emotions do not change facts, only an individual’s actions.



Please, Not 'Shovel-Ready' Projects Again!

It was just a little over 10 years ago, at the height of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said one of the dumbest things in modern times. The best way to stimulate the economy, she declared, was with "unemployment insurance and food stamps." Right. Paying people not to work will get more people to work.

Now here we go again. In the throes of the COVID-19 financial crisis, Pelosi is still spreading her economic pixie dust. Maybe it is just an inviolable rule of politics that politicians never seem to learn from their past mistakes.

The economy is now partially paralyzed from fear of the virus, so Republicans and Democrats want to do something to juice the economy. President Donald Trump's big idea is to cut taxes.

This may not do much to suspend the fear and gridlock that has gripped the economy, but it can incentivize more work (by allowing every worker to keep more of their own money) and can accelerate spending at a time when demand has fallen off the cliff.

Economists can debate back and forth about how well a tax cut will work to avert an economic calamity, but it can't hurt. What is for sure is that this plan is far more likely to succeed than what Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues want. They favor paid leave for workers who don't come to work (which incentivizes nonwork), unemployment insurance, Medicaid expansion, bailouts for hard-hit industries and so on.

History teaches us that these kinds of so-called stimulus plans always fail. The mother of all government spending plans was the failed $830 billion fiscal stimulus during Barack Obama's first months in office. Obama's first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, explained the rationale in early 2009 by stating: "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste."

Time magazine put Obama on its cover with a cigar and a top hat, looking like a dapper Franklin Roosevelt circa 1932. It was fitting because Obama had in mind a supersized New Deal. The promises were alluring. Obama told us that the money would be spent quickly on vital "shovel-ready projects." Soon after it passed, Vice President Joe Biden famously predicted that 2009 would bring "the summer of recovery" -- which never happened because the unemployment rate continued to rise.

The giveaway was always less about resuscitating the economy and more about spreading hundreds of billions of dollars to left-wing interest groups. There would be money for the National Endowment for the Arts (how does that stimulate the economy?), Head Start, unemployment insurance and food stamps for illegal immigrants, renewable energy subsidies, high-speed rail, Cash for Clunkers and Medicaid expansion. The whiz kid economists in the Obama administration predicted a 2009 growth rate north of 4.5%. It barely got to 2%.

By the Obama administration's numbers, every year from 2009 to 2011, unemployment came in much higher than Obama's team predicted it would have if we had done nothing. Many of the shovel-ready projects, such as the $535 million that went to the now-bankrupt solar company Solyndra, turned out to be lemons or scams.

The stimulus didn't work because it ignored the very nature of government activity, which is the feds can only give money to Peter by taking money from Paul. With a tax cut, instead of making money from Peter, it lets Peter keep it.

Harvard economist Robert Barro explained during the Great Recession why the spending spigot didn't grow flowers: "Every time heightened fiscal deficits fail, the policy advice is to choose still larger deficits," he concluded. "The results from following this policy advice are persistently lower growth and an exploding ratio of public debt to GDP."

Obama and his aides are now trying to rewrite history to persuade the public that the Recovery Act of 2009 was a grand success. Obama recently tweeted that his policies set the table for the Trump boom of the last three years. In reality, in the Obama years, the bar on growth and wages was so low that it was easy for Trump to hurdle over it.

The most famous "stimulus" failure was FDR's New Deal of the 1930s. It more than doubled government spending as a share of GDP but never got the unemployment rate down below 10% in the entire decade of the 1930s, as Amity Shlaes documented in her book about the Great Depression, "The Forgotten Man."

Trump understandably wants to act, and quickly. But he would be wise to avoid cutting a deal with Pelosi that forces him to waste taxpayer money or puts additional mandates on employers already getting crunched by the effects of the coronavirus. In this case, the palliatives could delay or impede a big economic snapback. In 2009, at the end of the day, all we got from the Obama stimulus was nearly $1 trillion of added debt and millions more people enrolled in welfare programs. Washington, aka "the swamp," got rich from the largesse, but not so much the rest of the country.

Picking winners and losers among industries such as airlines and energy companies (an idea that both parties appear to like) is inequitable because just about every sector is getting hammered. Who chooses who gets a new lease on life and who doesn't? The best solution to averting bankruptcies in an uncontrollable event like this is for the Federal Reserve to open its discount window for low-interest loans to distressed companies with collateral but little revenue stream thanks to the virus.

There are so many uncertainties about where the coronavirus is taking our economy and for how long, but the one thing we do know for sure is that the government can't spend and regulate our economy or our country back to health.



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 17, 2020

Triggered Leftists Shout 'Separation of Church and State!' as Trump Calls for Prayer

The only thing worse than the WuFlu to people suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome is Trump himself and literally anything he does. On Friday, Trump announced that Sunday would be a National Day of Prayer

"It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer. We are a Country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these."

It did not take long for the unhinged responses to come flowing in, mocking him for asking Americans to pray even though a majority of Americans say they do pray and that they believe it helps them feel more peaceful. I don't know about you but I think the army of Karens buying all the toilet paper could really use some peace right about now. Encouraging people to be peaceful and introspective and grateful is something that really pisses off the internet for some reason.

This one is my favorite. "This goes against EVERYTHING the founding fathers stood for," exclaimed an angry woman on Twitter.

I wonder if she's ever heard of John Adams who said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Then there was that other founder named George Washington who in his Circular to the States in 1783 boldly prayed a prayer we should repeat this weekend,

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.

But knowing our nation was built by deeply religious men would require reading books instead of watching the Kardashians religiously. Let us go forward this weekend with the prayers of George Washington on our lips that we will love one another and rediscover a brotherly affection for these morons we have to live with and that we will suffer them with patience and shower them with kindness even though they've hoarded all the toilet paper.



A twisted view of victimhood

The decision by the International Criminal Court to pursue the US for war crimes has been welcomed by terrorists, lawyers and human rights groups. It is a victory for victims, we are told. And indeed, the Bush-era war on terror had some victims.

During its hunt for the terrorists who killed 2977 women, children and men in the September 11 attacks in 2001, there were some wrongful arrests and cases of cruelty, as well the use of brutal interrogation techniques. The ICC probe seeks justice for those allegedly mistreated by US forces. Its victims include terrorist suspects.

The ICC was created to bring justice to victims of genocide and war crimes by holding perpetrators to account. Its pursuit of the US is not for genocide, ethnic cleansing or a planned program of terrorism. It acknowledges: “With respect to the US armed forces, the alleged crimes appear to have been inflicted on a relatively small percentage of all persons detained [and] during a limited time period.” One might venture to say a very small percentage: 54 of about 10,000 people detained claim mistreatment by US forces and 24 claim mistreatment by the CIA.

Al-Qa’ida accused the US of war crimes long before the ICC toyed with the idea. In a 2002 letter, it wrote: “You (US) are after those who are named as war criminals, but you overlook your friends, the real war criminals. History will never forget the war crimes you committed against the Muslims … your recent crimes in Afghanistan … you killed and tortured through your agents all over the world. Your fighter planes are still flying the Afghani skies … Guantanamo Bay is a ­historical scandal for America.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the investigation mounted by ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda as “a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution, masquerading as a legal body”.

In a 2011 interview with Al Arabiya, Bensouda described the US killing of terrorist thugs Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki as “crimes against humanity”. She said the ICC was noble because it brings justice to victims. In response to a question about whether her religion played a role in her job, Bensouda replied: “Absolutely, definitely. Islam … is a ­religion of peace.”

Lawyers representing men held in US detention welcomed news that Bensouda was to proceed with the ICC investigation. A lawyer with the Centre for Constitutional Rights, Kate Gallagher, wrote: “TOTAL WIN!!! The ICC … investigation into war crimes & crimes against humanity in Afghanistan including into CIA/US torture … Bush-era global torture program FINALLY under criminal investigation!”

The ICC is also investigating the Taliban and Afghanistan security forces. The Taliban and affiliates are considered responsible for 17,700 civilian deaths from 2009 to 2016.

The focus of the probe is the early 2000s when the US was engaged in the war on Islamist terror. The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after the governing Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden or expel al-Qa’ida. It arrested and interrogated suspected militants believed to possess actionable intelligence about terrorist networks and planned attacks. It sought to capture key figures of jihadi networks to prevent future strikes against the US and its allies.

The US military and government investigated some of the worst reported cases of abuse. The images of mistreatment at Abu Ghraib shocked the world. The military took action against offending personnel, but some believe it was not enough.

The subsequent 2014 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence study of the CIA detention and interrogation program described the use of extraordinary techniques in some detention facilities. It was chaired by Democrat Dianne Feinstein and depicted the CIA as a law unto itself. The report was cited extensively in the ICC prosecutor’s argument to investigate the US for mistreatment, torture and war crimes.

The Senate committee found a relatively small number of detainees was subjected to extreme interrogation techniques. For example, al-Qa’ida suspect Abu Zabaydah was subjected to sensory deprivation after the CIA failed to extract actionable intelligence about future planned attacks on the US through the use of conventional methods. It was later concluded that the prisoner did not possess such information.

The Senate committee also found that among thousands of detainees, there were about 26 wrongfully detained. In some cases, mistaken identity was the problem. While the CIA has been portrayed as reckless for such cases, it should be noted that terrorists use multiple aliases to evade detection and capture. It conceded that in a small number of cases the agency moved too slowly to release the wrongfully detained. It also conceded its error in the wrongful detention of Khalid al-Masri in 2003. In more recent years, al-Masri has served time for violent offences.

The CIA said half of its intelligence reports on al-Qa’ida came from detainee reports. Interrogation prevented major loss of life by providing intelligence that enabled the US to thwart planned attacks in a number of countries.

The use of waterboarding has been especially controversial. The technique is euphemistically described as enhanced interrogation, but is simulated drowning. The late Christopher Hitchens — no friend of jihad — decided to explore the question of whether waterboarding was torture. He had heard that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the reputed mastermind of the World Trade Centre horror, lasted a full two minutes before waterboarding broke him. Hitchens lasted the time between exhaling and inhaling once.

Waterboarding is torture as sure as terrorists are liars. Why we are expected to believe terrorists who plotted to bomb the US out of existence and drive Jews into the sea are victims is something of a mystery. The men who masterminded the slaughter of 2977 innocent people are not victims. Their victims are the victims.



What We Lose by the Closing of Community Department Stores

Five years ago, the sad goodbye to an icon began when Macy’s decided to close its flagship location in downtown Pittsburgh. The void, alas, still remains.

For most of that building’s storied 110-plus-year-old life, until Macy’s took it 15 years ago, it was Kaufmann’s department store: a place where parents, whether they were working-class or well-to-do, took their babies to get fitted for their first pair of shoes; or purchased their communion dress, prom dress, wedding gown, back-to-school clothes; or bought them the sheets, furniture, toasters, pots, and pans they needed to start their adult lives.

It was also where young and old, rich or poor, went to the Adoria Beauty Salon to have their hair styled for the very first time. Or where they went to have their first special lunch with their parents or grandparents at Tic Toc restaurant. And maybe even where they have their first job.

It was 1.2 million square feet of community, where people came together no matter their age or where they were from to experience dozens of rites of passage.

Pittsburgh wasn’t the only place to have this experience; there was Higbee’s in Cleveland and Hudson’s on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, the latter of which was very similar to Kaufmann’s, where any working-class child could walk along its marble floors; gaze up at the sparkling chandeliers; absorb the smells and sounds of the flower shops or candy shops; and drink from the ornate water fountains.

Despite the affluent adornments, Kaufmann’s was everyone’s department store, a place to inspire and aspire.

Your mother may have bought your clothes in the bargain basement, but as your family browsed the multiple floors and ascended on the escalators, you could imagine shopping one day for one of those sharply tailored suits to wear to work in one of the surrounding downtown office towers.

The absence of these stores from the core of our cities isn’t just about the loss of retail square footage. That is what mayors and politicians always get wrong when people bristle at the loss.

What hurts most is the loss of community and touchstones that brought people from a variety of backgrounds, races, religions, education levels, and income levels. We mourn the fact that we have not replaced them with a new attachment to community.

A 2018 Pew survey showed that roughly 4 in 10 adults “say they are not too or not at all attached to their local community.”

This is a sharp veer away from that thing about us that awed French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1800s, who observed with respect our robust habit of forever joining and forming communities, and how we have benefited from them.

As social media becomes a replacement for connection, online communities have proved to be a very weak link to the physical communities that made America stand out for its willingness to shed social barriers and congregate.

That is what places such as Kaufmann’s and Higbee’s and Hudson’s did, explained Ron Fournier, a native Detroiter, former newsman, and current communications expert who returned to help bring his community back together several years ago.

“When Detroit was a lively, thriving brewing city 50 years ago, Hudson’s was the very center of that excitement,” he said.

For my mother’s generation as well as myself, you could go downtown and do your shopping, usually on a bus, and you would walk into this gorgeous ornate building, unlike anything you would see in your neighborhood, and you would be surrounded by luxury and nice things you couldn’t afford, but you could aspire to.

It is in our very core to want to be around other human beings, said Fournier: “Technology is pushing us apart, it is allowing us to be disconnected from one another. But there is a pull in our DNA to gather and be around each other.”

We Americans have always balanced this equilibrium of where we work, where we live, and where we congregate. Community centers, churches, and fraternal organizations have always filled that last pillar, yet that last pillar has weakened substantially as we have changed how we shop (our phones) and socialize (our phones) and pray (we don’t, at least not as much as we used to).

The need for affiliation cannot be fully satisfied by work; human contrast and contact are needed to bring us together.

When Kaufmann’s/Macy’s closed in 2015, it allowed people to come into its once-glamorous 13 floors and purchase the sewing machines the seamstresses used to tailor the clothes, the mannequins that boasted the newest fashions, the paintings that hung on the walls, and the fixtures in the restaurant.

People came from all around to buy a part of their life they could never get back, and the outpouring of grief and loss was everywhere as people tried to buy a piece of something they lost.

They knew more than any politician or developer that whatever came next would never fill the void of community.



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 16, 2020

The 'Big Lie' About Fox News

Bruce Hendry

You have probably heard that we all listen to the news that we want to hear and that because of that our respective opinions get hardened because we never hear an opposing view. There is some truth to that but it applies a lot more to leftwing media outlets than it does to the conservative ones. It’s an asymmetrical argument, and here is the reason why: Conservatives are bombarded every day with the liberal point of view if they go to the movies, if they watch network television or listen to Public Radio or Public Television, even Sesame Street. If they view any of the major news channels or read almost any newspaper, such as the Minneapolis StarTribune, the New York Times, the Washington Post, or even magazines like Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Time and National Geographic, they are getting the Left’s view of the world.

The Fox News channel, a major source of news for conservatives, also features liberal points of view. It does so by featuring liberal anchors like Juan Williams and Chris Wallace, liberal and leftwing guests, liberal regulars like Democrat strategists Jessica Tarlov, Donna Brazile, Leslie Marshall and Mary Ann Marsh. It also gives respectful platforms to radicals and Democrats like Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and it replays clips from what has been broadcast on liberal channels.

In addition to being bombarded by liberal television, newspapers, magazines and movies, conservatives get a big dose of liberal thinking on Fox News. For example, The Tucker Carlson Show is on for an hour, five days a week, and Tucker has mostly liberal guests. Nothing, to my knowledge, occurs like that on any of the liberal channels.

I started watching Fox News two years ago when a liberal friend told me that Fox News is the channel for fake news. I’m a curious guy and so I wanted to find out what fake news is all about and so I started watching Fox. In three years, I haven’t seen a single fake news article on Fox. All I have found is the actual news, something that I wasn’t getting, although I didn’t know it at the time, on NBC. Real news reported on Fox that the liberals don’t like is labeled “fake news.”

I now have learned firsthand about how MSNBC, CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS shape the news in favor of the Left and present the absolute worst view of anything conservative. Omission bias is the number one tool of the leftwing press; it leaves out anything that looks good for President Trump or conservatives, and leaves out anything that looks bad for the Left. It’s actually disgusting and unless you take the effort to watch both liberal and conservative channels, you won’t see it.

The reason that the comparison of news inputs is asymmetrical is because liberals have no opportunity to consistently hear a conservative view unless they make an effort to do so, and very few make that effort.

Even on Facebook, Twitter and Google, anything that smacks of a conservative point of view is scrubbed from their sites and labeled “hate speech.” To give just one small personal example: Candace Owens, a young black conservative, was giving a talk to 450 conservatives at a luncheon I attended. Her talk was being broadcast by one of the attendees to his Twitter group and was taken off the air by Twitter, mid-speech.

Dennis Prager’s Facebook and Twitter accounts have been shut down, along with their platforms, because the Left accuses him of spreading “hate speech.” I listen to Prager on occasion and find that he is a mainline, effective, conservative, religiously-focused speaker. His sin is that he is effective in explaining the conservative view, not that he uses “hate speech.” Liberals can’t tolerate an effective conservative and feel compelled to silence him, as they obstruct and shut down conservative speakers who try to speak on college campuses today.

Democrats say that “hate speech” should be prohibited and is exempted from the First Amendment, which allows free speech to everyone. Sounds good except that Democrats get to decide what “hate speech” is. It turns out that hate speech is almost anything that conservatives say or believe. Saying that “hate speech” is exempt from the protection of the First Amendment is another way to stifle free speech.

David Horowitz, a well known former liberal and now conservative writer, was denied the use of Visa and Master Card for donations to his conservative think tank because of his “hate speech”. Horowitz is a particularly hated conservative writer because he was once a very vocal leftist who raised money for the Black Panthers. He reasoned his way out of his Marxist philosophy and realized that, if successful, progressives would take our country in a bad direction. He changed his emotional progressive views to a reasoned conservative perspective. Liberals consider him a traitor for switching sides and he has personally suffered enormously for that defection. His book Radical Son details his painful journey from the Left to the Right. This is an amazing book that everybody would enjoy reading. I have read it twice.

It turns out that my liberal friends who think that Fox News is fake news don’t actually watch Fox News on a regular basis. One liberal friend claimed to watch Fox News, but upon further discussion I found out that he counted watching Fox Sports as watching Fox News. My liberal friends may have watched Fox once or twice just to say that they did it, but they get most of their opinions on Fox News from other liberals, who don’t watch Fox either.

The Liberal view on Fox News is a perfect example of many things that is disturbing about the liberal Left, like trying to silence those whose views don’t conform to the liberal agenda. The liberal uniform opinion about Fox News is a perfect example of liberal Group Think. Another example is the “Big Lie” about Fox News being fake news. If you tell a lie over and over again, it becomes the truth. In addition to all of that, conservatives everywhere, on campus, or in the school board meetings, or in the neighborhood, are shouted down and not heard by liberals or even other conservatives. By contrast, conservatives are bombarded throughout the day with liberal thought through the media and there aren’t any conservatives shouting them down or trying to stop them from expressing themselves.

If you only read Time magazine, and other East Coast magazines and read the New York Times and the Minneapolis Tribune, and if you only listen to CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and MSNBC, you would have a completely distorted view of what’s going on in America. This is the unfortunate truth for many, maybe even most Americans who call themselves liberal or progressive. Not only is this truth sad, but it is dangerous for the long term outlook of our Republic.



The Bidens’ Long History of Aid and Comfort to Our Communist Enemies with Actions—Not Just Words

"What I said is what Barack Obama said, in terms of Cuba, that Cuba made progress on education." -Bernie Sanders to Joe Biden at South Carolina's Democratic debate, Feb. 25, 2020.

"He (Obama) did not in any way suggest that there was anything positive about the Cuban government!…” -Joe Biden angrily responded to Sanders.

How’s that again, Joe? Because: "Cuba has an extraordinary resource -- a system of education which values every boy and every girl.” -Barack Obama, Havana, March 22, 2016.

More idiotically (or alarmingly) during the same speech Obama also hailed Cuba’s famous “doctor diplomacy” (i.e. Human Trafficking using slave doctors) “No one should deny the service that thousands of Cuban doctors have delivered for the poor and suffering."

But didn’t Bernie--during that 60 Minutes interview-- double-down on his Cuba praise, comes the response?

Sure, but again he was only aping Obama, who at a town hall meeting in Argentina two days after this Cuba visit himself “doubled-down” on his Cuba praise: “You (the Castro-regime) have made great progress in educating young people.  Every child in Cuba gets a basic education -- that's a huge improvement from where it was.  Medical care -- the life expectancy of Cubans is equivalent to the United States, despite it being a very poor country, because they have access to health care. That's a huge achievement.  They should be congratulated.”

As your humble servant has often pointed out here at Townhall, hailing Castroite Cuba’s healthcare and education is not exactly newsworthy for a prominent Democrat, and certainly didn’t start with Bernie Sanders—or Barack Obama. In fact, it’s more of a rote recitation that rolls off some Democrat tongues more effortlessly –and probably more gratifyingly – than the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance.

Interestingly, Bernie started using that very defense only after it was pointed out here at Townhall, in an article quoting Obama, among many other Democrats. 

In case Bernie plans to stay in the race, and his staffers need more debate ammo, next time you might mention that Joe’s wife, Jill Biden herself, (while in Cuba making a tourism commercial to boost the income of the terror-sponsoring Castro regime) dutifully recited the Democrat Cuban healthcare and education mantra. Or so she was quoted by the KGB-trained communist apparatchiks she was partnering with in Stalinist Cuba. To wit:

“Jill Biden in Cuba to study Cuba’s achievements in health and education," read a headline in Stalinist Cuba’s media, Oct. 6, 2016.

More interestingly, during Jill Biden’s co-production with communist apparatchiks of her Potemkin tourism commercial to boost the income of Castro’s military and secret police who majority own Cuba’s tourism industry —during this apparently gratifying endeavor, Biden’s frequent escort was a Cuban lady named Josefina Vidal.

The KGB-trained Vidal was expelled from the U.S. in Oct. 2003 for her suspected operational links to Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes, responsible for the deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Department of Defense in recent history. Montes was known as “Castro’s Queen Jewell” by the intelligence community and was convicted of the same crimes as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Today Montes serves a 25-year sentence in federal prison. Only a plea bargain saved her from frying like the Rosenbergs. If Jill Biden suspected Vidal’s background, she gave no indication.

While Joe Biden served as U.S. vice president, President Obama, employing executive order after executive order, whittled down the (so-called) Cuba embargo and opened a U.S. economic lifeline to the terror-sponsoring Castro regime to a point where the cash-flow from the U.S. to Cuba (mostly in remittances and the tourism spending Jill Biden so graciously boosted) exceeded what the Soviets used to send Cuba at the height of their Castro-sponsorship. No small “achievement.”

As a result—and in a thundering refutation of the liberal/libertarian/Castroite propaganda line that an avalanche of U.S. tourists and their dollars would magically convert Cuba’s Stalinist rulers into Rotarians and their fiefdom into a Caribbean Switzerland—during this Obama/Biden-engineered deluge of U.S. dollars, Castroite repression increased both in Cuba and in their Venezuelan colony.     

And speaking of Cuba’s colonies. When President Reagan was fighting tooth and nail to arm the anti-communist Nicaraguan Contras in their desperate fight against the Soviet/Cuban colonization of their homeland, Senator Joe Biden was just as desperately fighting against the anti-communist freedom-fighters. 

Three different times (in 1984, 1986, 1987) Senator Joe Biden voted and lobbied AGAINST Reagan’s attempts to help the anti-communist Nicaraguan Contras, who were being helped by many Bay-of-Pigs affiliated Cuban American heroes including (Che Guevara captor) Felix Rodriguez as volunteers. Years earlier Biden had distinguished himself by voting and lobbying AGAINST helping the anti-communist South Vietnamese against their Soviet-lavished mass-murdering enemies.



Joe Biden Lands Endorsement Of The Nation’s Largest Teachers Union

America's reliably Leftist teachers again

The National Education Association threw its weight behind former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday night, handing him another big endorsement from organized labor.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the president of the powerful teachers union, called Biden a “tireless advocate for public education” and “the partner that students and educators need now in the White House” in a statement announcing the union’s support.

“With so much at stake in this election, educators are determined to use their voice to propel Joe Biden to the White House,” Eskelsen Garcia said.

The NEA’s board of directors backed Biden in a Saturday evening vote, the union said, choosing him over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Biden’s chief rival for the Democratic nomination.

With more than 3 million members nationwide, the NEA is the country’s largest labor union, and its endorsement comes just days before another crucial round of primaries on Tuesday.

The union cited Biden’s engagement on education issues, including the “comprehensive plans” he released for K-12 and higher education, as the main reasons he won its endorsement.

The NEA, which endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary, has been among the most vocal critics of President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whom the union has called “the least qualified secretary of education in history.”



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 15, 2020

Screw It America, I'm Beer Blogging

I Hate You, Coronavirus.  The coronavirus finally broke me a little bit on Thursday. I am forever grateful that I have you, my dear readers, to talk me off of the ledge from all of this madness.

A few days ago I wrote that I might just turn this into a beer blog if the news kept being about nothing but THE PLAGUE. I was mostly, but not entirely, joking.

I woke up Thursday to a series of texts that ended up canceling the trip I had scheduled to see my daughter and our family in Michigan.

An hour or so later, the NCAA issued a statement that canceled all Division I winter and spring championships, thus ending my child’s collegiate athletic career.

She is heartbroken, which makes me hate the panic-mongers even more.

As you are all aware, I have been writing about being personally responsible while dealing with this coronavirus scare. I’m still in a self-induced quarantine because I may have been exposed to someone who had the virus two weeks ago. I’m all for being cautious.

Canceling everything on Earth isn’t being cautious, it’s insane.

There is no end game to any of the cancelation madness. If there were, it would all make more sense. Put some metrics in place that would trigger the end of the postponements and cancellations. What we’ve seen in the last two days is all-out panic, which is never useful.

By the time Monday’s briefing rolls around there is a real possibility that most the public school districts in America will have canceled classes for an indefinite period of time. This is madness.

Give us some parameters. Give us an end game. Let us know when the STAY AWAY FROM EVERYONE is supposed to stop.

That’s all we want.

Have a great weekend, my friends.



Unhappy Birthday: ObamaCare Turns 10

Back in 2010, Barack Obama boasted about his new healthcare plan, “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.”

It all sounded too good to be true … because it was a BIG lie. And yet Obama and his fellow Democrats kept repeating that lie, along with the fiction that a massive government takeover of healthcare would somehow reduce the federal deficit.

In fact, ObamaCare’s bureaucracy is now eating up a higher percentage of national spending on health, premiums have skyrocketed (including those for employer-provided coverage), deductibles have increased, and patients have little say over which doctors they can see.

As Chris Talgo writes in The Hill, “Sadly, since Obamacare’s inception one decade ago, the vast majority of Americans are not better off in terms of their health insurance costs and health care access. Obamacare has failed miserably because it lacks free-market principles and is a one-size-fits all, centrally planned boondoggle.” Talgo adds, “In the next decade, and for decades to come, the American health care system would function much more optimally if patients, not bureaucrats, were allowed to take control of their health care decisions.”

It’s no wonder that more Americans than ever before are without health insurance.

Even the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services assert that despite ObamaCare’s promises to provide affordable health insurance, the law failed to control costs. As a result, “These data show how Obamacare created an entirely new class of uninsured individuals, among those with middle to higher incomes who don’t qualify for government subsidies and can’t afford coverage because of skyrocketing premiums.”

And what about those tired complaints from Democrats that ObamaCare would’ve been just fine had it not been for Republican interference, and that it’s President Donald Trump’s fault for tinkering with an engine that was running smoothly?

Actually, the ObamaCare engine wouldn’t start from day one — because it was nothing more than a bunch of bad parts thrown together under the hood of a shiny car.

The editors at Issues & Insight write, “None of Obamacare’s failings can be blamed on Republican attempts to sabotage the law. Double-digit premiums were the norm long before President Donald Trump entered the White House. Most of the heavily subsidized non-profit ‘co-op’ plans — which were supposed to keep premiums in check — had already failed. The Republicans’ repeal of the individual mandate had no impact on enrollment. Nor did expanding ‘short-term’ insurance plans that bypass Obamacare’s massive and costly regulatory regime.”

After such an epic failure, we might rightly expect Democrats to hang their collective heads in shame. After all, every single aspect of ObamaCare turned out to be the opposite of what they promised. But Democrats have no shame.

And let’s be honest: ObamaCare was never really supposed to do anything other than begin the fundamental transformation of the world’s best healthcare system into a fully socialized one.

That’s why presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden is today spouting the same old lies. On the campaign trail this year, the former vice president promised, “If you like your health care plan, your employer-based plan, you can keep it. If in fact you have private insurance, you can keep it.”

What’s the old saying? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Indeed, shame on all of us if we buy into the Democrats’ BIG lie once again.



Blinded by Hate

Everyone on the Left seems so angry about everything all the time

It has been interesting watching the primaries and caucuses of the Democrat Party. It’s come down to two old angry white men.

Bernie Sanders seems to be mad all the time, waving his hands and yelling about how evil the country is. So, to save it, he’s going to tear it all down and start over.

Joe Biden is pretty angry too, which is surprising because just two weeks ago they were preparing his campaign’s obituary. None the less, he seems to go ballistic whenever someone asks a question he doesn’t want to hear. Whether it’s a young woman, senior citizen, or construction worker, Joe flies off the handle and resorts to name-calling. I’m not a politician (thank you Jesus!) but that doesn’t seem like the best way to win over voters.

Everyone seems angry! Nancy Pelosi is angry because Donald Trump is president and, she says, civilization as we know it is in great peril! And here I thought global warming would destroy us. Adam Schiff never stopped being angry since the entire impeachment scam began. That’s probably why he told us in the Senate chamber we couldn’t trust voters to vote the way he wants, so Trump needed to be impeached.

Chuck Schumer stood outside the Supreme Court threatening two Supreme Court justices with violence if they vote the wrong way. You can slice and dice his words to try and defend him, but it was a threat. Fortunately, he’s a Democrat and there will be no consequences, just as Pelosi faced none after tearing up the State of the Union speech. Both are violations of written laws.

During the same rally outside the Supreme Court, activists ranted like lunatics about women having the right to choose what they do to their bodies. No mention was made of the really innocent victims — the preborn children.

What’s interesting is the case before the justices had nothing to do with eliminating abortion. It’s about doctors having access to a hospital in the event the abortion procedure goes badly. (I mean, worse than usual.) Aren’t progressives all about saving the woman’s life? Yet, they were all unhinged, screaming and yelling and waving signs saying abortion is a Catholic value. Who thought up that one?

The coronavirus is giving the Left more ammunition to attack the president. Trump is racist and xenophobic for stopping flights from China. However, in retrospect, it turns out to have been the right decision. A young Hispanic woman on the Denver City Council encouraged people with the virus to go to Trump rallies. No comment from the media.

These are just a few of the outrageous things happening in our country, fueled by the Left’s rage and anger at losing the 2016 election. The network talkingheads have spewed hate, fake news and garbage day after day after day for over three years now.

What are leftists offering Americans as a vision of the future if they are elected? There are no plans to make this country a place where we can live and thrive together. Hate, greed, and envy are not a winning message for normal voters in this country. You’ve overplayed your hand, Democrats. We know who you really are!



Watch Why People Are 'Fleeing California' – It Ain't Pretty

Yes, those lumps of clothes really are people sleeping on the streets. Cable car rides are often ruined by the unmistakable whiff of sun-soaked urine. Small business owners – which employ 40% of the workforce – are held down by masochistic regulators. And people are getting the hell out of California.

They're fleeing. A new Prager University video called "Fleeing California"  – which will probably be censored by one of the tech giants in 3...2...1 –  highlights the lowlights of California and explains why so many are heading for Texas.

Besides pointing out that California's Leftist 'progressive' politics have created this current quality-of-life calamity, the educational nonprofit, headed by radio host and public intellectual Dennis Prager, points out a litany of reasons why middle-class Americans, fledgling business owners, and others simply can't make a go of it in the Golden State.

Roughly 30% of all people on public assistance are in the state of California.

About 20% are below the poverty line.

To get a median priced apartment a person/s would have to make $48 an hour.

The state is home to now up to 49% of the nation's homeless.

Regulator compliance costs $135,000 per business at the cost of 3.8 million jobs.

Those are the low-lights. The good news is that people are seeking freedom, according to Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who is interviewed in the 14-minute video.

The problem for the people currently living in Texas and Tennessee, another hot spot for fleeing Californians, is that they'll bring their Golden State sensibilities with them. Then where will people flee?




NOT A CHECK: Federal Reserve to inject $1.5 trillion into markets to offset economic impact of coronavirus (National Review)

COMMUNIST DISINFORMATION: China government spokesman says U.S. military may have brought virus to China (Reuters)

A RELUCTANT DECISION: NRA cancels annual meeting (The Washington Free Beacon)

PRIME MINISTER IN ISOLATION FOR TWO WEEKS: Justin Trudeau's wife tests positive for new coronavirus (AP)

RETALIATION: U.S. launches strikes in Iraq against Iranian-backed militias after attack that killed coalition troops (The Washington Post)

OH, BY THE WAY: Buried from Trump Tower meeting: translator telling FBI "no collusion" (RealClearInvestigations)

SEVEN MONTHS TOO LATE: 1619 Project leader admits she got it wrong (Washington Examiner)

BORROWING DENIED: Had enough? Taxed-enough-already Californians turn down higher taxes, debt (AP)

PRECAUTIONS: President Trump announces 30-day ban on travel from Europe over coronavirus threat (National Review)

FOR THE RECORD: Ilhan Omar reveals she married the man she denied having affair with (The Daily Wire)


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.

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