Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A debate between extremists

There is an article here by an Erik Sherman about Trump's new division of The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services.  The new division has the mission of restoring freedom of conscience to religious people -- something of which all conservatives would surely approve.  But Mr Sherman does not approve.  To him there should be no liberty to withdraw ones services on religious grounds.

He argues that Christians are free enough already and that in an emergency, people might not be able to find an alternative service provider in a timely manner.

We all know of religious cake-bakers and others who have been harassed and prosecuted over their adherence to what the scriptures say about homosexuality so Mr Sherman's claim that they are already free enough is crass and stupid.  It is an argument that flies in the face of the facts

His second point about emergency services falls down when we look at the servicves at issue. Is there anything urgent about cakes, abortions or contraceptives?  Hardly.  People are not wheeled comatose on a trolley into emergency rooms for want of a cake!  The man is a fruitcake.

So it is no surprise that Sherman has attracted a reply from the Bolen report.  Sadly, the Bolen report is also off into the stratosphere. It goes on about vaccines made out of pork for Muslims, Vegans being injected with material from animal tissues and all sorts of improbabilities.  Extremism begets extremism, I guess. I do think Forbes showed a notable error of judgment in publishing the idiotic Sherman article.


US Government shutdown: Donald Trump urges change to Senate rule as stalemate enters second day

I guess it's not very original of me but I hope the shutdown goes on for a long time.  It would show Americans how little they need the government for.  It's all just play-acting anyway. Republicans have cancelled the requirement for a supermajority on  previous occasions so they could do that now too.  The Donks won't budge so they may have to.

If Harry Reid could ditch a supermajority rule, so can Mitch McConnell.  The Democrats set the precedent. McConnell is reluctant because he wants to preserve the power of Congress to block funding legislation from a future Democrat administration. But the Donks have already shown a willingness to ditch such rules so McConnell is wishing on a dream.  Supermajority rules are finished. Both parties have already ditched them for judicial appointments -- and judicial appointments are arguably much more important than a temporary budget impasse. As usual, Trump is right.

Top Republicans have been quick to dismiss Donald Trump's call to change Senate rules, which currently require a super-majority for legislation to advance, if the Government shutdown drags on.

Funding for federal agencies ran out on Saturday with Mr Trump and Republican politicians locked in a standoff with Democrats, who say any funding bill must include protections for "Dreamers".

As the shutdown entered its second day, there appeared to be no clear path for a quick end to the crisis.

"The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked," Mr Trump tweeted. "If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51 percent (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget."

The proposal was almost immediately rejected by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

Senate Republicans oppose changing the chamber's rules so that legislation to fund the Government and end the current shutdown could pass with a simple majority, a spokesman for Senator McConnell said.

Current Senate rules require a super-majority of three-fifths of the chamber, usually 60 out of 100, for legislation to clear procedural hurdles and pass.



One year later, President Trump restores limited government, the separation of powers and U.S. economic prosperity

On Jan. 17, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) took to the floor the U.S. Senate and disgracefully compared President Donald Trump to one-time Soviet dictator Josef Stalin because the President called the fake news publishing stories falsely alleging he is a Russian agent “an enemy of the American people.”

Perhaps not appreciating the irony, just a day later, Flake voted to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), legislation that authorizes the President to exercise intelligence gathering powers said to have been abused during the Bush and Obama administrations in the form of mass surveillance.

It is all political theater for the retiring Arizona senator as the elites in Washington, D.C. applaud his “courage” for idiotically comparing the President to one of the greatest mass murdering dictators in human history who killed millions of his own people and sent many more to gulags.

As a personal note, my wife’s aunt grew up in one of those gulags in Siberia before being liberated years later and eventually immigrating to the U.S. In 2016, she voted for Trump.

Flake’s was an outrageous, despicable comparison, and reflects how hysterical and disconnected from reality Trump’s opponents have become since his unlikely victory in 2016. If Flake truly believed Trump was a Stalinist — who spied on, imprisoned and mass-murdered his political enemies — he wouldn’t be granting more national security powers to the executive branch.

To be fair, perhaps Flake thought he was voting to spy on Trump and the First Family so that the intelligence agencies will finally help overturn the outcome of the 2016 election with their fake, trumped up charges of treason and foreign collusion. Who’s the real monster?

Since the Church Committee, which was convened in 1975 to get to the bottom of revelations by Seymour Hersh’s explosive report to the New York Times on Dec. 22, 1974 that the CIA had engaged in a mass, domestic surveillance program against anti-war protestors, members of Congress and other political figures, the de-weaponization of intelligence — a war power, mind you — against the American people was an article of faith in our democracy.

Now, sadly it is a forgotten epitaph memorializing the destruction of the Constitution by those now in a frenzy to utilize that very deep state to overturn the American people’s Nov. 2016 decision to elect Donald Trump. Have they stopped to consider the irreparable damage that has been inflicted on the republican form of government and the rule of law by their rash inquisition?

This feverish mob mentality, which Flake does nothing to alleviate, is utterly dangerous.

In the meantime, back in reality, President Trump is at work on behalf of the American people who elected him. He is internally taking on these deep state actors that unconstitutionally used the nation’s surveillance powers against the opposition party in the 2016 election campaign. On the day FISA Section 702 was reauthorized in the House, Trump tweeted, “I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office…”

Meaning, despite the broad grant of authority by Congress, Trump is circumscribing the exercise of those surveillance powers to prevent these types of partisan, political abuses of the surveillance authority from ever happening again. The nation’s intelligence agencies must never again be weaponized against political enemies.

It is Trump’s Justice Department that is now turning over the papers to the House Intelligence Committee that document these abuses and more.

Americans for Limited Government did not support the FISA reauthorization precisely because of those unconstitutional abuses, but we are pleased that the President is taking action to rein them in all the same. Thank goodness for small favors.

That is the true story of Trump’s first year in office. The President is restoring limited government through his actions, while his opponents are distracted by his unique, Trumpian rhetoric he uses to connect with his supporters. It’s okay, Jeff. We get it, even if you don’t.

Where he has the power, Trump is rescinding and limiting economy-killing regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and others.

But, the President is not relying solely on his executive authority to get things done. In other areas, he is helping to restore Congress’ Article I responsibilities. Even on former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which Trump campaigned against and has suspended becoming effective March 5, Trump put the issue where it belongs — in Congress. At the time, he said, “Hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.”

Agree or disagree with DACA, that is limited government in action. President Trump cannot just arbitrarily change the law. Making laws is Congress’ job. If members want to do DACA, then they should put it in a bill and put it on his desk.

But Trump is being no pushover. He wants a lot in return, supporting a bill by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) that ends chain migration, eliminates the visa lottery, fully funds the southern border wall and implements a national E-Verify system.

Here, Trump is clearly exercising the separation of powers and using the bully pulpit to get parts of the agenda he campaigned on into law. That’s exactly what he’s supposed to be doing.

Trump is also enforcing the nation’s immigration laws vigorously, prioritizing deportations of violent gang members, cracking down on sanctuary cities and extreme vetting to keep terrorists out of America.

Another constitutional responsibility of the federal government Trump has taken full command of is foreign relations, securing the release of American held hostages, strengthening old alliances and forging new ones.

Also, on foreign affairs, Trump is keeping his promise to be tough on trade and other economic relations. Under Trump, the U.S. has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He has left the Paris Climate Accord. He has ordered that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to be renegotiated. He has initiated discussions with China to begin narrowing the trade deficit.

Here, Trump is exercising the authority granted by statute and under the Constitution to put America first on trade and to take a tough stance with foreign nations that take advantage of the U.S. And for the tens of millions of Americans who voted for him — particularly in the rust belt states of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania who put him over the top in the Electoral College — it’s about time.

More broadly on the economy, Trump successfully navigated the pitfalls in Congress and got the most major tax cuts for individuals and corporations since Reagan, ensured the repatriation of trillions of dollars of foreign earnings to be reinvested into the U.S. economy, opened up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling and repealed the Obamacare individual mandate to purchase health insurance. Each of those individually would have been major legislative achievements. Trump got them all in the same bill.

Overall, Trump’s actions on taxes, trade, energy and deregulation are going to help the U.S. economy to grow more robustly and create new, good-paying jobs over the next decade. And yes, taking on the fake news enemy of the American people and telling the truth for a change.

By every measure, President Trump deserves not only credit, but the heartfelt thanks of the American people he is fighting on behalf of, regardless of who they supported in 2016.

We need to set aside the hysterical rantings of Trump’s opponents, like retiring Sen. Jeff Flake whom history will soon forget, and focus on what Trump has actually done as president. These are the acts of a little “R” republican; of the dutiful watchman.

One year later, the American people are getting what they voted for in President Donald Trump: the restoration of limited government, the separation of powers and new-found prosperity for the U.S. economy. Agree or disagree with President Trump’s agenda, he is putting America first — and he is getting the job done.



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

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, January 22, 2018

Treat women with respect

It was once normal courtesy and gentlemanliness to treat women with respect and conservatives still have some tendency to do so. Feminists too demand respect for women but rarely do anything to inspire or earn it.

For those of us who follow the news closely, there has been the unpleasant experience of reading about a date between a monkey-like man named Ansari and a pseudonymous woman named Grace.

The initial reaction to the story about that encounter told by  Grace was condemnatory.  Mr Ansari pushed himself unforgiveably on her.  Subsequent comments however have been exculpatory of Mr Ansari.  He stopped when he was formally told to so that is OK.

I am the last one to sympathize with feminist complaints and I accept that any comment on the encounter is approaching the limits of the absurd if one does not know the participants concerned -- but I do strongly disapprove of the actions of Mr Ansari.  His actions may, I suspect, have been fairly mainstream but that is in my view no praise of them.

I am of the painfully old-fashioned view that women should always be treated with respect, even if they are not paragons of virtue.  And I have been married 4 times so maybe I am qualified to have a view of such matters. I even came of age in the licentious sixties so that may be an additional qualification.

So I have experienced many occasions on which a rapport seemed evident between myself and a woman.  And such a rapport is a very valuable thing that must be left to develop in its own way and at its own pace.  And if it does end up in bed that is the most natural thing with no need for pressure of any sort.  In that context the behavior of Mr Ansari was simply ugly.  That it may also be common is saddening. For balance, I append below a defence of Mr Ansari by a conservative female columnist:

A young woman approaches a famous comedian at the 2017 Emmy Awards after-party in Los Angeles. The young photographer is excited to meet him, they chat, talk photography, take a few pictures of each other, then she returns to the dance floor with her date. Later in the evening she gives the comedian her number.

That week they exchange a few flirty texts and then agree to meet. She runs various outfits by her girlfriends and settles on a tank top and jeans. The young woman and the comedian meet up, have a few drinks and later that evening they have bad sex on his kitchen counter. And then she outs him in the media, humiliates and destroys him because the sex wasn’t romantic and the man wasn’t Prince Charming. Good grief.

This isn’t female empowerment. This is girl power gone badly wrong. The sexual revolution has given women access to sex and men on demand; it doesn’t guarantee that sex will be great or that men will be romantic. Tinder is not called Tender for a reason. The sexual revolution delivered us the ability to avoid pregnancy when we don’t want to have a baby and, if we don’t want sex, the right to say no. Or to swipe left.

This angry 23-year-old woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous while naming the comedian as 34-year-old Aziz Ansari, had chance after chance that warm evening in September last year to say no to his advances.

Ansari wasn’t coy about his desire. They drank, they kissed. She performed oral sex on him; he performed oral sex on her. She didn’t like what he did with his fingers. But she stayed. He asked her how she wanted to have sex. She didn’t say, ‘Hey, I’m not into this, I’m leaving.’ She didn’t say, ‘Hey, this isn’t what I want after all.’

She stayed. And then she told the world she was uncomfortable with his behaviour, he wasn’t very good at sex and she felt violated.

She says he didn’t read her cues that she wanted something more from the night than his desire for hot, fast sex. This week the young woman spoke to Babe.net, a feminist website “for girls who don’t give a f..k”. She decided on a graphic expose of “the worst night of my life” after the comedian won best actor for his Netflix show Master of None at the Golden Globes last weekend. On the red carpet, Ansari wore a “Time’s Up” pin and said he supported the fight against sexual assault and harassment. For that, in her mind, he deserved to be outed as a lousy lay and an even worse mind-reader.

Babe.net gave Ansari’s anonymous accuser the fictional name Grace. So let’s do the same. Grace told Babe.net that Ansari texted her the next evening saying: “It was fun meeting you last night.” And she replied: “Last night might’ve been fun for you, but it wasn’t for me … You ignored clear non-verbal cues; you kept going with advances.”

“I’m so sad to hear this,” he responded. “Clearly, I misread things in the moment and I’m truly sorry.”

The problem for Grace is she didn’t leave his apartment when she worked out that the night wasn’t the start of a grand romance. She stayed. They watched an episode of Seinfeld on the couch. When he suggested she perform oral sex on him again, she did. No wonder Ansari continued with his advances.

Before she left, she said: “You guys are all the same, you guys are all the f..king same.” She could have left it at that. Or left it at her last text message to him.

If Grace’s other sexual encounters are the same, she needs to ask how is a man meant to know what she’s thinking when she doesn’t make it clear to him? When Ansari didn’t turn out to be Mr Darcy, Grace expected him to be capable of reading her mind. That’s a big enough ask and rather tricky when you’re not sure what’s in your own mind.

Grace could have spent more time getting to know Ansari before getting naked. The idea that sex on a first date would be some magical match of sexual desires between two people who don’t know each other is plain dumb on Grace’s part.

And her whining about bad sex is downright dangerous. Not just for Ansari, who has been humiliated, his reputation being destroyed. Grace’s public shaming of Ansari is dangerous for other men too as they try to discern the unspoken words of a woman’s mind. Didn’t the sexual revolution teach women to speak up, take control, rather than give non-verbal cues?

Claims that Grace relenting is not Grace consenting may sound terribly clever in a women’s studies class but it makes no sense in the real world of sex, or life. Consent is not a checklist done before two people strip naked and then at each stage of sex. All of us relent in so many ways, every day, sometimes about sex, or at work, or negotiating with headstrong children. Relenting can often mean consenting. It’s just a slower way of getting there. When is a bloke meant to know when it’s not consent if we don’t speak up?

Grace’s problem is she can’t accept that her evening of bad sex has no more meaning than just that. It’s like a dud meal in a good restaurant, or a new pair of shoes that look great at first sight but don’t fit as well when you wear them out. It’s like a visit to the hairdresser that doesn’t pan out as expected. That’s all.

In 2009 Lily Allen sang about a bloke who treats her with respect, loves her all the time, calls her 15 times a day, “but there’s just one thing that’s getting in the way, when we go up to bed you’re just no good”.

“It’s not fair,’ sang Allen, “you never make me scream, you never make me scream.”

Complaining about bad sex should have stopped at a funny song. Grace’s clawing need to make her rotten date part of the #MeToo movement is especially dangerous to real victims, women who have been sexually abused, women who have been raped. She disrespects and devalues them.

Sadly, Grace isn’t the first to cheapen the #MeToo cause. Last month a 3000-word piece of fiction in The New Yorker went viral. Cat Person by Kristen Roupenian tells the story of 20-year-old Margot, a college student who flirts with 34-year-old Robert as she serves him popcorn at a movie theatre. They swap numbers, then some flirty texts where both try to be something they’re not. Robert pretends to own a couple of cats because that’s what girls like. Margot tries to be a sweet young thing so as not to scare him off. They go on a date, Margot drinks three beers and takes a swig of whisky and still Robert doesn’t rush things. Much to her chagrin. When they finally have sex, she’s repulsed by his weight, and the sex is disappointing. She doesn’t pull away, because that would require “tact and gentleness that she felt was impossible to summon”. In the days that follow Robert tries to understand where he went wrong, and Margot blows him off in a text.

Cat Person comes with a sting with Robert’s last text to Margot: “whore”. The more potent sting came when a neat piece of fiction about two flawed characters was elevated into revolutionary feminist art by millions of women eager to wage war on Robert.

The reaction to Cat Person is a peek into Western feminism’s fatal flaw: its obsession with the most trivial travails of dating. Here’s a summary: Cat Person is “the story of the year”, it’s “the next step in the #MeToo movement”, a “major cultural touchstone” for women by tapping into our “inner monologue”. It speaks “truth to power”. It is “the most gut-wrenching relatable content I’ve ever read”. Some girls need to get out more.

It’s true that Cat Person captures a lived experience for some. One rainy day last June, a young woman I know bumped umbrellas on a busy city street with a young man she didn’t know. He asked for her number and she gave it to him, more out of awkwardness than interest. He texted her a few days later suggesting a drink. She didn’t respond. He texted again, “will I be seeing you again?” When she didn’t respond again, he texted: “I guess not cause you are a bitch.”

That drew a response from the young woman: “woah, mate, you have no idea what’s going on in my life, I’m simply not in a position to do the whole going out on a date thing. Always act with kindness. x”

The young man started texting again: “When I stopped you on the street it’s not only cause you’re pretty, I’d like to get to know you.” When she didn’t respond, he wrote, “seeing as I can’t have you, can I ask you a question.” Eight minutes later, like the fictional Robert in Cat Person, the young man asked: “What am I doing wrong?”

These two might have followed Margot and Robert — gone on a date, had crummy sex. And so what? Alas, it was inevitable that a fine piece of fiction from The New Yorker last December would become real life, if not this week, then next week. Not just because this stuff happens between men and women, wires get crossed, expectations are often dashed for one or the other. But because the #MeToo movement was always destined to go off the rails of credibility by including silly claims that sully the serious ones.

If complaining about bad sex is the next step in the #MeToo movement, god help us all. It’s not, as some claim, overdue justice to shame a bloke for being bad in bed. It’s not, as others claim, a correction of power when millions of women coalesce on Facebook to support a fictional Margot or a real-life Grace by humiliating a young man for not being a mind-reader. It’s not a worthy form of feminism when guilt is determined by those who shout the loudest on social media platforms. If feminism has settled on this as the new battleground to bring men to heel, then the women’s lib movement is officially out of ideas.

Earlier this month, as millions of young Western women were inhaling the injustice of Margot’s treatment in Cat Person, just as they are rallying behind Grace this week, another young woman stood on a real-life platform in a Tehran street and removed her hijab, protesting against Iran’s treatment of women.

Her target is real injustice, her act one of real girl power.



Russia is a Christian country -- and as a good Russian, Vladimir Vladimirovich honors that

In his latest publicity stunt, Vladimir Putin braved icy waters to take a dip in Lake Seliger, north of Moscow, during the celebration of Epiphany.

He was seen taking the plunge to commemorate the Baptism of Jesus which is celebrated with a feast by members of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The President wandered to the water in a thick fur coat and matching boots before removing his clothing and taking a dip.

The plunge crowned a busy day for Putin who earlier laid flowers during a ceremony at the Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery to mark the 75th anniversary of the breakthrough the Nazi Siege of Leningrad in the World War II.

This is the not the first time Putin has taken his shirt off in front of the cameras. The famous 2007 picture of him hunting topless appears in the 2018 Putin Calendar which also sees him cuddle a kitten and show off his judo skills.

In others he appear more statesman-like; being saluted by a Kremlin guard or  inspecting a Russian Navy warship.



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

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Senators shut down most American government functions: Trump on sidelines

A refusal to compromise on both sides.  The Donks think they can use it to force through legalization of DACA. A few Republicans sympathize

The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday - halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunction.

Senate republicans fell far short of passing a procedural motion that would have kept the federal government funded, causing the fourth government shutdown in a quarter century. 

Five Democrats who represent Trump-country red states crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans, but the GOP lost four of its own, erasing any doubts about the state of partisan bickering in the US Capitol.

The recalcitrant Democrats included four who are up for re-election this year – Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Claire McCaskill of Missouri – along with Alabamian Doug Jones, who took his Senate seat just days ago in a bright red state. 

Despite hours of attempted negotiations, talks failed and the shutdown was finalized, and quickly the blame game began.

Just after midnight on Saturday morning the White House released a statement, calling Democrats 'obstructionist losers' who 'put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country's ability to serve all Americans'.

'We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators,' the statement reads, before promising that during the shutdown Trump will continue to work for the American people. 

McConnell and Schumer each took the floor after the shutdown was finalized Friday night - with each lawmaker attempting to paint the opposition party as guilty.

'The decision by Senate Democrats to shove aside millions of Americans for the sake of irresponsible political gain was 100 percent avoidable,' McConnell said. He claimed that the Democrats held the opposition party 'hostage' 'over the completely unrelated issue of illegal immigration.' 

But despite Trump's attempts to paint democrats as the guilty party - recent polls show Republicans and President Trump will bear most of the blame.

A national ABC News/Washington Post poll released Friday found 48 percent of people surveyed say they will blame Trump and the GOP for a shutdown, while only 28 percent will blame Democrats.

Even before the vote, President Donald Trump was pessimistic - seeming resigned to presiding over the first shutdown since 2013. 'Not looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the dangerous Southern Border,' Trump tweeted, referring to the hit the Homeland Security Department would take in the event the government's wheels grind to a halt.   

'Dems want a Shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy,' the president claimed.

With the Friday's late-night voting failure, Congress will have failed to keep the lights on in Washington for just the fourth time in a quarter-century. 

But ultimately a broad range of federal operations would be curtailed, although food inspections, law enforcement, airport security and other vital services would continue, along with Social Security and military operations. 

Republicans are calling the current standoff the 'Schumer Shutdown,' arguing that there's nothing in the bill that Democrats oppose, while a short-term extension would give lawmakers time to work out differences on issues like protecting young immigrants and disaster assistance.

The U.S. military will continue to fight wars and conduct missions around the world, including in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. And members of the military will report to work, though they won't get paid until Congress approves funding.



Trump’s exam shows serious heart concerns, doctors outside the White House say
In order to find something wrong with him they have had to resort to a discredited theory.  It is now clear that cholesterol is NOT a problem.  We need it, in fact. Trump should be taking NO statins.  The whole issue is covered in detail below:

Cardiologists not associated with the White House said Wednesday that President Trump’s physical exam revealed serious heart concerns, including very high levels of so-called bad cholesterol, which raises the risk he could suffer a heart attack while in office.

Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, a rear admiral and the White House physician, said Tuesday in his report on the president’s medical condition that Trump was in “excellent” cardiac health, despite having an LDL cholesterol level of 143, well above the desired level of 100 or less.

Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Scripps Research Institute, disputed that rosy assessment. On Wednesday, he said the most alarming fact is that the president’s LDL levels remain above 140 even though he is taking 10 milligrams of Crestor, a powerful drug that is used to lower cholesterol levels to well below 100.

“That’s a really high LDL,” Topol said, echoing the concerns of other heart experts who reviewed Jackson’s report. “We’re talking about a 70-plus-year-old man who is obese and doesn’t exercise. Just looking at the lab value, you would raise a big red flag.” He added: “I would never use the word excellent health. How you could take these indices and say excellent health? That is completely contradicted.”

On Tuesday, Jackson said he would be prescribing a higher dose of Crestor, the brand name for rosuvastatin, to help lower the LDL levels. He said he is pressing Trump — who at 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds is just below the official label of obese — to eat better and abandon his largely sedentary life for one that includes exercise.

But on the positive side, Jackson said Trump has no history of smoking or drinking and does not have diabetes. An exercise stress test using a treadmill showed “above average” capacity for his age. An ultrasound of the heart was normal, he said.

“His cardiac health is excellent,” Jackson said. “He doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t have diabetes — a lot of the traditional risk factors he doesn’t have. And so I think those things, in combination with the excellent cardiac results that we got from the exercise stress test, I think, are very reassuring.”

Asked if Trump has heart disease, Jackson said he did not. “Technically, he has nonclinical coronary atherosclerosis,” Jackson told reporters.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary, stood by Jackson’s assessment, noting on Wednesday that he has been a White House physician 12 years, treating George W. Bush and Barack Obama in addition to Trump.

“He is the only doctor that has weighed in on this matter that has actually examined the president,” Sanders said. She called Jackson “the only credible source when it comes to diagnosing any health concerns. We support what he said yesterday 100 percent — that he is in excellent health.”

David Axelrod, one of Obama’s top advisers, said on Twitter Tuesday: “I knew Dr. Ronny Jackson in the White House. In my experience, he was very good guy and straight shooter.”



Jobless claims drop to lowest level in nearly 45 years

New applications for unemployment insurance benefits plunged by 41,000 to 220,000 in the second week of 2018, the Labor Department reported Thursday, the lowest level in nearly 45 years.

The report easily beat forecasters expectations for new jobless claims to drift down to around 250,000.

Low jobless claims are a good sign because they suggest that layoffs are relatively scarce. Federal Reserve officials and investors watch the numbers because they come out weekly, providing an early warning sign of any trouble.

New claims, which are adjusted for seasonal variations, are well below the mark that would suggest that unemployment is going to rise.

Thursday's number was likely artificially low because of the difficulties involved in adjusting for the seasonal affects of holiday hiring and winter weather. The extreme low level of claims "is probably an outlier," noted Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics.

Nevertheless, new claims have scraped multi-decade lows several times in recent years as the jobs recovery steadily reduced the number of unemployed workers throughout the end of President Obama's term and the beginning of President Trump's.

The total number of people receiving unemployment benefits, which are available for up to 26 weeks in most states, stayed below 2 million, also near the lowest levels since the 1970s.

And at 4.1 percent in December, unemployment is as low as it has been since the dot-com bubble.

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have stated that they want to maintain a high level of job creation not only decrease unemployment, but also boost the labor force participation rate by encouraging people who have retired or quit the workforce to seek out jobs.



Trump: Working Is Good for Your Health

States will now be allowed to implement work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients.

Working is a good thing and good for your health too. President Donald Trump is now making this argument as his administration announced that it would allow states to enact work requirements for Medicaid. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stated that it would “support state efforts to test incentives that make participation in work or other community engagement a requirement for continued Medicaid eligibility or coverage for certain adult Medicaid beneficiaries. … CMS supports state efforts to enable individuals to gain and maintain employment.”

Citing research on the overall health benefits of working, the CMS said, “A growing body of evidence suggests that targeting certain health determinants, including productive work and community engagement, may improve health outcomes.” The Foundation for Government Accountability noted that since 2000 the number of individuals receiving Medicaid benefits has more than doubled to 75 million enrolled — including 28 million able-bodied adults. Over 50% of Medicaid beneficiaries who are able-bodied adults do not work.

Since the passage of ObamaCare the number of individuals enrolled in Medicaid has increased significantly, greatly adding cost to the program. Unfortunately, there are those who reject the notion that able-bodied adults benefiting from the Medicaid program should be required to perform at least 80 hours of work a month via a job, community engagement activity, education, job skills training or volunteering. Fundamentally, working is a good and rewarding aspect of life. It produces less dependency, greater personal accountability, and purpose in life. It is the primary means by which an individual positively contributes to their community and society at large. Work is empowering, and should never be vilified for political gain.



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

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Friday, January 19, 2018

A Theoretical Deconstruction of Liberalism

The basis of liberalism needs to be inspected and a complete autopsy performed on this disease. We ought to begin the dissection of liberalism by examining one of their most celebrated (and intellectually dishonest), tenets: egalitarianism.

Among the numerous, many incoherent, fluid versions of the term egalitarianism we learn that “everyone ought to be equal in economic and social opportunity.” One might think this an obvious and noble goal until the political and economic mechanisms of the implementation of this concept are inspected closely. Here, as is most usual, we find the inevitable link to communism where such an egalitarian doctrine specifies that everyone is supposed to enjoy material equality. That did work in Cambodia and North Korea according to certain notions of equality. Dead people are equal-- at least in a political sense. Noting that 100,000,000 people died as a direct result of this energetic far-leftist political notion, we can only show contempt for such a preposterous idea. People are not equal and probably shouldn’t be in any case. There is no way for the far-left and Marxists to gain equality without mass murder and/or confiscatory taxes or both and this theory is built into egalitarianism.

The snake oil theoretical basis of egalitarianism is touted by the understandable observation that material inequality is pervasive in the current economic systems globally. How novel! This corresponds with every worldwide observation dating back least 4000 years BCE with no contrary examples. The spurious details of egalitarianism start to brighten to the observer when it is made very clear that some method of forced material redistribution is necessary and mandatory for realization of this concept. Here is where the problems begin. The eternal quest for a governing body to exercise absolute coercive powers of material redistribution upon the masses have been tested, in limited numbers, by certain dictatorial political operatives thus producing the very inequalities of political power and inhuman coercion of the polis in exactly the manner that they complain about in their phony manifesto.

As in the French Revolution, “…the second most important event in history according to Lenin (or was that Stalin?),” there was no limit to the abuses of the Bolsheviki and their lackeys could use in grabbing material wealth and wholesale murder and genocide and wasting it in failed social projects doomed to disappointment due to the intrinsic faults in the general theory. 20,000,000 Kulaks were murdered, several million Ukrainians were starved and some 30 million Russians died to support this concept of egalitarianism. The wealth in those cases were merely transferred to the Marxist elites and shared within their ‘Communist Party.’ They promptly exhausted these resources and hid away money in Swiss bank accounts. The USSR collapsed in 1989. But, there is no apology from the left for these actions and no call for something like a Russian War Crimes Tribunal to investigate how 60,000,000 people were murdered in the USSR and more in the People’s Republic of China and elsewhere. When 100,000,000 people die and certain political groups voice no serious objections we know there is a major problem yet to be solved.

The followers of Lenin, Castro, Sung, Ho and others did ‘redistribute’ shares of material resources in a vastly unequal manner to their political cronies, thus ignoring the tenets of egalitarianism in their selfish, ruthless and misguided cases. Party members suddenly became the material elites that they had previously ranted against and the masses remained hungry or dead. The promises of ‘land reform’ and ‘rule by the masses’ were short-lived. But, they had the loot!

The United States Declaration of Independence declares “all men are created equal", and, as such, each person should receive equal treatment under the law. The political assertion that "all men are created equal" fails in the face of world history everywhere. It is a goal. People are unfortunately not equal and espousing the classless system designed by the left is merely an excuse for murder and confiscation of power and wealth. Just check out the SAT and public school test scores and wonder why people are not equal, or even close to being so. Check the high school graduation statistics.

All US citizens ought to be equal under the law, but not politically mandated to be equal in intellectual gifts, attitude, achievements or economic abilities. We might as well dump school tests and give away jobs at random. That would be a fine method for the left to select our brain surgeons. It turns out that favored leftist legislation actually forces inequality in the law by discriminating against many because of their color or other political an economic attributes. Examples of this include set-asides, reverse discrimination, quotas and certain court rulings that frequently are the reverse what the voters wanted. We have to manage ‘equality’ so that every person gets fair treatment and they are not just sorted politically where certain groups are sequestered in the gulags or mass graves, as is the celebrated leftist egalitarian solution to this problem. The left is actually against equality and equal treatment because if ordinary people are allowed to exercise their entrepreneurial skills they will defeat the egalitarian precepts and obtain unequal wealth. Such is the history of the bourgeoisie, the enemy of socialism and Marxism. Those who are unskilled or besotted with drugs and crime will sink to the bottom of society. All men were created equal but some choose to become unequal by their actions. The left needs those who cannot cope to fill their ranks with howls and votes. Their vote is a cheap purchase.

Modern liberalism depends, desperately, upon the concept of egalitarianism for their power base. Their bourgeois opponents have the wealth so they are the only source of this substance. Nobody ever accused the left of getting rich in honest business. Liberals must grunt and grab as much of this wealth base as possible. No liberal in good standing would ever suggest a tax cut. Or, if they did as a cheap artifice, recalling Clinton’s Middle Class Tax Cut would quickly drop the notion after the power was obtained to do so, as he quickly did after the election. No tax relief!

We find from the literature of political fiction (George Orwell’s Animal Farm) that "All Animals Are Equal, but the pigs seemed to be more equal than others”. The pigs in this reference are the liberals or their more violent Marxist congeners. This is the actual basis of egalitarianism: use any phony doctrine or persuasive slogan promising some unearned wealth to the masses, preferable festooned with gooey precepts, and then proceed to grunt and then grab the wealth and spend it on yourselves.

Egalitarianism is just a slick political system designed to confiscate your wealth and is merely a political construct that only benefits the ‘more equal pigs.’



UK: Illiberal liberals are closing minds, not opening them

Which came first: the alt-right or the social-justice movement?

Will Donald Trump eventually be toppled by leftist activism, or will such activism guarantee his second term in office?

Is Katie Hopkins right to describe herself as the creation of her enemies, as the ‘monster’ to the liberal-left’s Dr Frankenstein?

Do attempts to shut down free speech on university campuses prevent the dissemination of extremist views, or make such views more likely to gain traction?

It’s a circular pattern that appears to be accelerating, largely thanks to the nuance-free arena of social media. As politics becomes more polarised, each side is resorting to increasingly distorted caricatures of the other. It’s like a pair of duellists retreating indefinitely until they are no more than blurs on the horizon. This explains why so many online spats feel as though people are lashing out at imaginary opponents.

This leaves us in a quandary. More than ever, we are in need of frank discussion about the issues that matter most. But with figures on all sides of the political spectrum so determined to double down on their alienating and ad hominem strategies, the possibility of debate is seriously curtailed. The rapper Joyner Lucas has addressed this problem in his recent viral hit ‘I’m Not Racist’, which presents two men – one white, one black – candidly airing their grievances. One commentator found the conceit ‘exhausting’, claiming that ‘the notion that social divisions [can] be reconciled through “honest” conversation’ is ‘hopelessly outdated’. God help us if he’s right.

It’s an attitude that is entirely self-defeating. The ongoing demonisation of those who voted to leave the European Union has all but ensured the impossibility of a second referendum. Smearing one’s opponents as ‘racist’ or ‘stupid’ may be satisfying in the short term, but it’s unlikely to change any minds. Nor is it supported by the facts. A recent study by the think-tank Open Europe has revealed that although immigration was a major factor in the referendum, the vast majority of voters have a ‘far more nuanced and sophisticated’ attitude on the subject than is generally acknowledged. Likewise, the inaccurate and promiscuous use of terms such as ‘Nazi’ and ‘fascist’ has been a boon to the far right, particularly in the US. It has enabled vile fringe groups to claim a level of support they simply do not have.

Uncritical fealty to any given ideology is always a bad idea, because ideologies are only ever sustained through over-simplification. In their current forms, the far right and the liberal-left are equally reactionary movements. Both are mired in identity politics – a xenophobic form of nationalism on the one hand, and intersectional victimhood on the other – and consequently neither is capable of rational debate.  Each ideology feeds on the other, existing only to counter its antithesis.

Part of the problem is that many who identify as ‘left-wing’ are nothing of the sort. There is nothing leftist about campus radicalism that promotes No Platforming and censorship. There is nothing leftist about the kind of slippery wordplay that sees the Daily Mail redefined as ‘far right’. There is nothing leftist about identity politics in its prevailing form, because it fails to recognise the centrality of class when it comes to social and economic opportunity. There’s a simple test: if you think the Guardian is left-wing, then you’re probably not left-wing.

Whether or not the hijacking of the left was the principal contributory factor to Trump’s success is one of those chicken-and-egg questions that is difficult to answer. What we can say for certain is that the tactics of these illiberal self-styled ‘leftists’ is generating the very conditions through which the likes of Trump are able to thrive. Resentment is a powerful emotion. We have already seen what happens when a presidential candidate writes off half of the electorate as ‘deplorables’. This hasn’t stopped supposed progressives from insisting that if you are white ‘your DNA is an abomination’, or that heterosexual men ‘hate women’ if they do not acknowledge their ‘toxic masculinity’. Such commentators haven’t so much shot themselves in the foot, as opted directly for the full amputation.

We are dealing with forms of zealotry that are more religious than political. There is a very good reason why Joseph Schumpeter devoted an entire chapter to ‘Marx the Prophet’ in his seminal work Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942). He understood that once a series of tenets are accepted as articles of faith, debate is no longer feasible. In such instances, says Schumpeter, ‘the opponent is not merely in error but in sin. Dissent is disapproved of not only intellectually but also morally. There cannot be any excuse for it once the Message has been revealed.’

This is why the new illiberal leftists are unlikely to deviate from the self-destructive path they have chosen. In these precarious times, we should be aspiring to a form of political discourse that is at once nuanced and open-minded. Instead, we are likely to see greater degrees of polarisation. Herbert Spencer opens his First Principles (1862) by reminding us that ‘when passing judgment on the opinions of others’, we should be willing to concede that even an erroneous proposition contains ‘a nucleus of reality’. For those of us who wish to remedy our degraded culture of political debate, this might be a good place to start.



So Much for Using the 25th Amendment Against Trump


For some time now, Democrats and their media allies have obsessed about the president’s health — particularly his mental fitness — largely as 25th Amendment groundwork for their pathetic impeachment campaign. So the report given Tuesday by the White House’s lead physician, Navy Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, deflated their hopes:

In summary, the president’s overall health is excellent. His cardiac performance during his physical exam was very good. … We discussed diet, exercise and weight loss. He would benefit from a diet that is lower in fat and carbohydrates and from a routine exercise regimen. … All clinical data indicates that the president is currently very healthy and that he will remain so for the duration of his presidency.

Jackson has spent a lot of time with Trump, and his report certainly calls into question all the baloney from author Michael Wolff and his book, Fire and Fury. “The guy can’t go put one coherent sentence after another,” Wolff insists. “He’s off. He can’t stay on subject. He can’t stay on point.” News outlets likewise have featured psychiatrists “diagnosing” Trump despite never having even met him. That got so bad the American Psychiatric Association told shrinks to knock it off with violating the “Goldwater Rule” — questioning from afar the mental state of a public figure.

In fact, due to the Left’s incessant questions, Trump insisted that he also take some sort of cognitive test, so Jackson complied, though he noted it was the first time a sitting president had undergone such a test. Trump scored a perfect 30 out of 30 on the very extensive Montreal Cognitive Assessment. Jackson noted, “If he had some type of mental, cognitive issue … this test is sensitive enough. It would pick up on it. He would not have gotten 30 out of 30 on the test. So I’m very confident at this particular stage that he has nothing like that going on.”

Oh, and by the way, Jackson was also Barack Obama’s personal physician, and, as you recall, Obama refused to release some of his medical records…



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

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Real 'Dreamers'

DACA illegals may be sympathetic figures, but they're not who Democrats and the MSM paint them to be

As Donald Trump and congressional leaders are ostensibly working toward a legislative solution to the DACA problem created by Barack Obama, it’s important to note exactly who these “Dreamers” really are. They are about 800,000 young adults brought here illegally by their parents, and are called “Dreamers” because of the acronym of the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which has never passed Congress. Thus, it’s not surprising that myths abound in the mainstream media’s reporting on Dreamers.

Using language designed to blur the distinctions between legal or illegal and child or adult, the MSM paint Dreamers en masse as poor children abused by an “unjust” U.S. immigration system. On top of this all-too-sympathetic and simplistic description is the regularly repeated claim that the presence of these illegal Dreamers equates to an economic benefit outweighing any welfare burden the American taxpayer has been forced to provide. So, what is the reality?

The Congressional Budget Office recently released its findings on the cost of granting amnesty to Dreamers, concluding that it would add $26 billion to the deficit over the next decade. So much for the economic benefit regularly parroted by the MSM. Steven Camarota, research director for the Center for Immigration Studies, also noted that the CBO “estimated that about one-third of the [DACA] adults … have not even graduated high school, and only about 15 percent have at least two years of college.” Camarota pointed out that “54.1 percent of households headed by native-born Hispanics access one or more of the welfare programs, and they tend to have poverty rates twice as high as the general population.”

While it is certainly understandable to have sympathy for those who were young children when their parents illegally smuggled them into the U.S., the fault for their current predicament lies not with American citizens, nor U.S. border laws, but with their parents. Where is the condemnation from Democrats and the MSM on those who blatantly broke U.S. law? It’s nowhere to be found; rather it is reserved solely for those Americans who dare to call for the upholding of our laws and national sovereignty. These American citizens are the ones Democrats and the MSM continually decry as heartless, bigoted and racist. Once again, it’s a case of feelings trumping facts.

Finally, as our Arnold Ahlert writes, “It’s time to cut through the progressive hype with a couple of simple questions: Who doesn’t have dreams, and in what universe should the dreams of those who have no business being here supersede those of American citizens?”



Don’t Believe the Hype behind the immigration numbers

Every day the mainstream media is hysterical about the DACA, the Dreamers (because American kids aren’t allowed to have dreams), and Amnesty. They will spit out numbers and shady poll results trying to paint a rosy picture of illegal immigration. But a small amount of research will show they are spitting out lies to achieve the desired outcome, the importation of millions of progressive voters. To quote a famous rap group, “Don’t Believe the Hype.”

One of the biggest lies being told about immigration is how many illegal immigrants are in the country. The media often touts the 11-12 million number put out by the Census Bureau. The Census Bureau reaches the number through a flawed method. It counts on a survey done by the federal government. If we are to believe the liberal logic that illegal immigrants are “in the shadows,” then the number cannot be right because people “in the shadows” do not voluntarily speak to people working for the government. Remember, they’re “in the shadows.”

The actual number is between 20-30 million illegal immigrants. The figure comes from a report titled The Underground Labor Force Is Rising To The Surface. The report was put together in 2005 by two Bear Sterns analysists using remittances, housing permits and school enrollment in illegal immigrant communities, and cross-border flows. Because the report is over ten years old, you can bet the number is closer to 30 million.

Another lie often told is immigrants legal and illegal do not commit crimes, and the data shows Americans commit crimes at a higher rate. This myth comes from a few studies with incredibly biased base models. Ann Coulter pointed out the Bianca Bersani study uses poor minority neighborhoods in crime-ridden cities like Detroit to compare it to all of America. The Alex Piquero study uses teenagers with juvenile records as the base for Americans. These are dishonest studies and should not be taken seriously.

The best way to look at these numbers is to look at the prison population. If you take the census data, immigrants make up 13.9 percent of the population, including illegal immigrants. If you use the numbers from the Bear Sterns study and increase the number of illegal immigrants by 10 million, the percentage increases to 16.8.

Thanks to an Executive Order by President Trump, we now know how many legal and illegal immigrants are in federal prisons. Previous administrations have been reluctant to give up this information. According to the latest report, 21 percent of federal prisoners are foreign-born. State and local prison populations are harder to come by because they don’t want people to know how bad the numbers are. The most accurate number of state and local prisons comes from a 2011 GAO report reporting legal and illegal immigrants make up at least 16.4 percent of that population.

This number is likely much higher because according to amnesty groups, illegals immigrant criminals prey on illegal immigrant communities. Therefore, thousands of crimes being committed by illegal immigrants go unreported because the victims do not report them.

The next lie is the economic benefit of the Dreamers and immigrants in general legal and illegal. The news media and amnesty proponents always bring up the notion that the Dreamers are contributing to the system and are a net benefit for the country. A quick glance at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report for H.R. 3440, Dream Act of 2017, destroys that narrative, which is probably why the media hasn’t reported on it.

The CBO report states, “In total, CBO and JCT estimate that changes in direct spending and revenues from enacting H.R. 3440 would increase budget deficits by $25.9 billion over the 2018-2027 period.” This is at the federal level, who knows the damage the bill will do at the state and local level.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) demolishes the notion that illegal immigration is net positive for the country. FAIR released the report in late 2017, and it showed illegal immigration cost federal, state, and local taxpayers $134.8 billion per year. The report also showed illegal immigration only contributes $18.9 billion in federal, state, and local taxes bringing the total impact too -$115.9 billion. Is it right for a country over $20 trillion in debt to over $100 billion per year on non-citizens?

The debate is bound to get nastier. Democrats want mass immigration, legal and illegal because they want votes. Many businesses want mass immigration, legal and illegal, because they want cheap labor, not realizing once the progressives take over they will confiscate their businesses. The numbers above are just a sampling of the lengths the pro-amnesty crowd will go to get their desired outcome. Amnesty is a bad deal for America, it was a bad deal in 1986, and it is still a bad deal.



Time's Up for 'Temporary' Alien Protection

Michelle Malkin

DREAMers and immigrant demonstrators protest President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. One holds a sign that reads, "GOP You killed our Dreams. 2018 starts Now! (Screenshot)
Se acabo el tiempo.

Seventeen years after granting "temporary protected status" to nearly 200,000 Salvadoran citizens who had fled earthquakes in 2001 or who were already here illegally and claimed they were unable to return to their homeland because of civil strife, America is setting a deadline:

Get right with the law or go home.

As if we haven't shown enough generosity to these provisional guests in our home, the Department of Homeland Security gave the Salvadorans until September 2019 to get their affairs in order. But the usual suspects in the permanent Gang of Amnesty — identity-politics Democrats, Big Business Republicans, anti-rule of law activists and sovereignty-sabotaging pundits — condemned the Trump administration's announcement this week with a heaping dose of hyperbole.

Maria Rodriguez, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, called the move a "racial cleansing."

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin called the revocation "monstrous" and called on Democrats to hold government funding hostage until the nearly two-decade-old "temporary" protections were restored indefinitely.

NBC analyst Anand Giridharadas likened the decision to "the German occupation of, and use of forced labor from, Belgium in World War I; and the Armenian genocide."

That's insanity. Here's a proposal. How about I force my way into Mr. Giridharadas' residence uninvited and demand to stay for at least 17 years under the guise of seeking "temporary" shelter. Would he consider a rational and responsible decision to evict me and reclaim his home for himself and his family tantamount to a war crime?

Enforcing a limit on humanitarian gestures is the responsible thing for any self-sustaining nation to do. Previous Democrat and Republican presidents, however, have shirked their duty — opting instead to renew illegal alien protections ad nauseam. So beneficiaries of our supposedly time-limited generosity established families and footholds here. They gained permanent residency, work permits and other taxpayer-subsidized benefits, along with ever-expanding lobbying power as a political constituency.

The Temporary Protected Status program was supposed to provide short-term relief and shelter to people from foreign countries hit by natural disasters, environmental catastrophes, civil war, epidemic diseases or other "extraordinary and temporary conditions." But they were always expected to go back home when those conditions improved.

The federal statute that created TPS clearly mandates terminating the protections once the conditions that led to TPS designation no longer exist. The law "prohibits judicial review of any determination with respect to the designation, termination, or extension of TPS" and "prohibits the Senate from considering legislation that would adjust the status of TPS aliens to that of a lawful temporary or permanent resident" once the status is removed, according to former House Judiciary Committee immigration counsel Nolan Rappaport.

Back in 1999, however, the Federation for American Immigration Reform warned Congress:

"Each special program that provides short-term relief has been followed by persistent demands for similar treatment by other groups and nationalities, not necessarily made up of persons in the same circumstances. It has now been politicized beyond recognition, and certainly no longer deserves the support of the general public."

Indeed, TPS turned into TINO: Temporary in Name Only. Illegal aliens from Honduras and Nicaragua were added to the list, followed by citizens of Haiti, Nepal, Syria, Angola, Sudan, Yemen, Montserrat and more. To date, we've granted sacrosanct TPS status to more than 400,000 people from a total of 22 countries who have grown increasingly entitled to automatic renewal of their protections every 18 months over the past two decades.

There's no polite way to tell houseguests who've overstayed their welcome that it's time to go, but perpetual amnesty for illegal aliens — whether it's called TPS, DACA or DREAM — will only beget more illegal immigration.

Time's up.



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

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

That wonderful government healthcare again

Thank goodness for the private sector

U.S. Navy veteran Eric Walker was told to go home and take care of his cocaine addiction when he went to the emergency room at the Dorn Veterans Hospital in South Carolina over serious stomach pains.

It turns out 47-year-old Walker, who served in the Navy during the first Iraq War, had gall stones and gall bladder and pancreas disease. He’s now suing the Veterans Administration, The State reports.

When Walker first entered the emergency room in May 2015, medical staff at the Dorn VA apparently asked for a urine sample in response to complaints about stomach pain.

After an hour, staff told him he tested positive for cocaine and stated that “his stomach pains were a direct result of ingesting multiple illegal drugs, in particular, excessive cocaine,” notes a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Columbia.

Moreover, Walker says staff told him to head home and get rid of his cocaine addiction.

Walker’s condition got worse and after a few days, his neighbor had to drive him to [private] Lexington Medical Center, where his attorney Todd Lyle said Walker was “promptly diagnosed and rushed to emergency surgery for gall stones and disease of the gall bladder and pancreas.”

Walker recovered from the surgery, and now he’s seeking damages from the VA to recover costs from his treatment at Lexington and for pain and suffering. His lawsuit claims his urine was switched with someone else’s at the hospital, and was the reason for the cocaine abuse misdiagnosis.



Right to Work Laws Protect Workers from Union Corruption

A recent report from the Detroit Free Press entitled “Embezzlement plagues union offices around U.S., records show” provides another reason why states should enact right-to-work laws, which free workers from paying forced union dues.

The story reports over 300 instances of embezzlement at union offices in the past two years. It discusses instances of massive amounts of stolen union funds. Theft at union offices is occurring in big cities and small towns all over the country. No group of workers were spared, with union offices representing nurses, teachers, electricians, plumbers, and others experiencing scandals involving misappropriation of funds.

A common theme in the article is that embezzlement doesn’t just happen at union locations. Businesses, nonprofits, and churches all suffer from cases of fraud and stolen funds. As Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor, told the Free Press, “Unions are not unique… Another group hit hard by embezzlement are churches. You can’t train people to be ethical. It’s just access to money.”

However, there is one major difference between how labor unions operate and other entities.

Across the country, millions of workers are compelled to financially support a union that they do not support or want to represent them in the workplace. In states that allow forced union dues, workers who refuse to pay dues can be terminated. In other words, many workers have no choice but to pay for a union they don’t want, which increases their exposure to embezzlement at the risk of being fired.

While embezzlement at unions may not be more prevalent than at any other kind of organization, workers should not be forced to hand over their hard earned money to entities that experience so many instances of theft.

It may not be reasonable to expect unions to safeguard every single dollar they receive, but it is also unreasonable to force workers to fund unions they disagree with and don’t want representing them.

Widespread union corruption is just another reason why states should adopt right-to-work laws and free workers from forced union dues requirements.



California gov. looks into the future and sees disaster

Supreme Court is set to consider if benefit cuts permissible
Ruling could provide relief to cash-strapped localities

California Governor Jerry Brown said legal rulings may clear the way for making cuts to public pension benefits, which would go against long-standing assumptions and potentially provide financial relief to the state and its local governments.

Brown said he has a "hunch" the courts would "modify" the so-called California rule, which holds that benefits promised to public employees can’t be rolled back. The state’s Supreme Court is set to hear a case in which lower courts ruled that reductions to pensions are permissible if the payments remain “reasonable” for workers.

"There is more flexibility than there is currently assumed by those who discuss the California rule,” Brown said during a briefing on the budget in Sacramento. He said that in the next recession, the governor “will have the option of considering pension cutbacks for the first time.”

That would be a major shift in California, where municipal officials have long believed they couldn’t adjust the benefits even as they struggle to cover the cost. They have raised taxes and dipped into reserves to meet rising contributions. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s largest public pension, has about 68 percent of assets needed to cover its liabilities. For the fiscal year beginning in July, the state’s contribution to Calpers is double what it was in fiscal 2009.

Across the country, states and local governments have about $1.7 trillion less than what they need to cover retirement benefits -- the result of investment losses, the failure by governments to make adequate contributions and perks granted in boom times.

"In the next downturn, when things look pretty dire, that would be one of the items on the chopping block," Brown said.



In Oregon, Progressivism Spills Over at the Pump

A dumb new state law prohibits urban Oregonians from filling their own gas tanks. Frank Lloyd Wright purportedly said, “Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” Today, however, Oregon is the state with the strangest state of mind, which has something to do with its being impeccably progressive: In the series Portlandia, the mention of artisanal lightbulbs might be satirical, but given today’s gas-pumping controversy, perhaps not.

On Jan. 1, by the grace of God — or of the government, which is pretty much the same thing to progressives — a sliver of a right was granted to Oregonians: Henceforth they can pump gas into their cars and trucks, all by themselves. But only in counties with populations of less than 40,000, evidently because this walk on the wild side is deemed to be prudent only in the hinterlands, where there is a scarcity of qualified technicians trained in the science of pumping.

Still, 2018 will be the year of living dangerously in the state that was settled by people who trekked there on the Oregon Trail, through the territory of Native Americans hostile to Manifest Destiny. Oregon is one of two states that ban self-service filling stations. The other is almost-as-deep-blue New Jersey. There the ban is straightforward, no-damned-nonsense-about-anything-else protectionism: The point is to spare full-service gas stations from competing with self-service stations that, having lower labor costs, have lower prices.

Oregon’s Legislature offers 17 reasons “it is in the public interest to maintain a prohibition on the self-service dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids” — aka, gasoline, which you put in your car’s “Class 1 flammable liquids tank.”

The first reason is: The dispensing of such liquids “by dispensers properly trained in appropriate safety procedures reduces fire hazards.” This presumably refers to the many conflagrations regularly occurring at filling stations throughout the 48 states where 96 percent of Americans live lives jeopardized by state legislators who are negligent regarding their nanny-state duty to assume that their constituents are imbeciles.

Among Oregon’s 16 other reasons are: Service-station cashiers are often unable to “give undivided attention” to the rank amateurs dispensing flammable liquids. When purchasers of such liquids leave their vehicles they risk “crime,” and “personal injury” from slick surfaces. (“Oregon’s weather is uniquely adverse”; i.e., it rains there.) “Exposure to toxic fumes.” Senior citizens or persons with disabilities might have to pay a higher cost at a full-service pump, which would be discriminatory.

When people pump gas without the help of “trained and certified” specialists, no specialists peer under the hood to administer prophylactic maintenance, thereby “endangering both the customer and other motorists and resulting in unnecessary and costly repairs.” Self-service “has contributed to diminishing the availability of automotive repair facilities at gasoline stations” without providing — note the adjective — “sustained” reduction in gas prices. Self-service causes unemployment. And “small children left unattended” by novice gas pumpers “creates a dangerous situation.”

So there. Oregon’s Solomonic decision — freedom to pump in rural counties; everywhere else, unthinkable — terrified some Oregonians: “No! Disabled, seniors, people with young children in the car need help. Not to mention getting out of your car with transients around and not feeling safe too. This is a very bad idea.” “Not a good idea, there are lots of reason to have an attendant helping, one is they need a job too. Many people are not capable of knowing how to pump gas and the hazards of not doing it correctly. Besides I don’t want to go to work smelling of gas.”

The complainers drew complaints: “You put the gas in your car not shower in it princess.” “If your only marketable job skill is being able to pump gas, by god, move to Oregon and you will have reached the promised land.” “Pumped my own gas my whole life and now my hands have literally melted down to my wrists. I’m typing this with my tongue.” These days, civic discourse is not for shrinking violets.

To be fair, when Oregonians flinch from a rendezvous with an unattended gas pump, progressive government has done its duty, as it understands this. It wants the governed to become used to having things done for them, as by “trained and certified” gas pumpers.

Progressives are proud believers in providing experts — usually themselves — to help the rest of us cope with life. The only downside is that, as Alexis de Tocqueville anticipated, such government, by being the “shepherd” of the governed, can “take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking” and keep them “fixed irrevocably in childhood.”



Because it reduces the supply of rental accommodation, rent control actually INCREASES the rents that the poor have to pay

The Effects of Rent Control Expansion on Tenants, Landlords, and Inequality: Evidence from San Francisco

Rebecca Diamond et al.


We exploit quasi-experimental variation in assignment of rent control to study its impacts on tenants, landlords, and the overall rental market. Leveraging new data tracking individuals’ migration, we find rent control increased renters’ probabilities of staying at their addresses by nearly 20%. Landlords treated by rent control reduced rental housing supply by 15%, causing a 5.1% city-wide rent increase. Using a dynamic, neighborhood choice model, we find rent control offered large benefits to covered tenants. Welfare losses from decreased housing supply could be mitigated if insurance against rent increases were provided as government social insurance, instead of a regulated landlord mandate.



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

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Fiction as commentary

The social justice warriors can often be violent but in Western societies they are greatly restrained by the forces of law and order.  I have just been reading a series of short stories in which they have more power than they do at the moment. It is a look at the dystopian future they have in mind for us all.  But because it is so close to what we see of them right now, the stories are quite riveting.  They stand alone as good fiction, even while having a thought-provoking purpose.  The title of the book is "Appalling Stories. 13 Tales of Social Injustice" By David Dubrow, Paul Hair, and Ray Zacek. It is available on Amazon


The Left are unresponsive to facts so get them where they do respond -- by attacking their social status.  Hence Trump's attacks on the purveyors of status -- the media

A good friend of mine wrote me recently. He complained about smug leftist neighbors who are “making decisions to ‘feel good’ with virtually no regard for true factual input or testing.” I get this a lot.

If you want to understand Donald Trump, you need understand why this complaint is myopic. Once you do understand, you’ll never see politics the same way again. You’ll also begin to grasp that leftism does work, and that you’ve just failed to understand how.  Which is why you lose so often.

Want a clue?  “Feel good” about what?

Not about being right, which is best described as “useful, to a point.” Aristotle noticed over 2,000 years ago that many people aren’t persuadable by logical arguments. So what’s the “feeling good” all about?

Try this on for size: People often take public positions in an attempt to increase their social status.

If you’ve been in a corporate setting, or settings with certain friends, I don’t need to offer further examples of this idea. You’ve seen it happen, and you also know that you need to be “reading the room” at all times before you speak and act. Failure costs status. People notice this dynamic, and act accordingly.

I didn’t say it was an ideal state of affairs. But a truly rational person must notice reality. My friend and his wife are picking up on a “we’re higher status than you” signal, and it’s part of the reason they’re so upset.

Macro examples also abound: Do you really think it’s a coincidence that leftism and its “Diversity Pokemon Points” amount to a full caste system?

Do you have any doubt about The left’s hatred for those who will not stay in their assigned status? Have you noticed their quickness to turn on their own allies? Fail to follow the latest fad, and your status is demoted.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that endlessly callous virtue signaling is the identifying badge of our modern try-hard Striver Class.

Maybe that’s because American public education is now a 20-year Milgram Experiment. Where the meta-message inside political correctness is to override your own judgement, in favor of deliberately-shifting judgements from people with higher status.

These aren’t accidents. They’re clues. Leftism isn’t a policy machine or an economic machine. Its economic results would tell you that much in a hurry. But the machine keeps running. Which means it must work for something. The correct question is: in what way does it work?

Analysis: Leftism is a status machine. A very, very successful status machine. Conservatives have lost status battle after status battle, often because they fought it as a policy battle. It rarely is. That’s conservatism’s most consistent and most damaging mistake.

From theory to practice: Trumping the media

President Trump’s systematic thrashing of the leftist media is the example that illustrates the theory.

Conservatives complained about the media for a long time. Aristotle’s dialectic approach, against people uninterested in truth. Net effect? Very low. Sad!

So let’s apply what we’ve learned.

Why do the media have power? Because they have social status with ordinary people. Are we still hearing about Watergate — decades later? The Pentagon Papers? How many movies seem to exist just to show journalists as heroes? Or let’s take a different tack: What’s the attraction of such a low-paying profession? Status given by the profession, and status from rubbing shoulders with high-status people. Status by acting as a vector for status signals, which is what every women’s magazine is. Ditto publications like WIRED, which is just Cosmo for geeks.

The media offers people clues about what things are high status within the areas they cover. People notice, and act accordingly. Yet most conservatives still don’t understand Trump’s response:

If I lower the media’s status, I will wreck their power.

So The Donald says that the media has “some of the most dishonest people” he has ever seen. Not an arm’s length complaint. A direct and personal status attack, rooted in truth.

Trump also acts in ways that cause journalists to fulfill his pre-suasion labeling. He makes “outrageous” statements, which many people outside the Beltway Bubble agree with. Those statements receive over-the-top media attacks, which make his enemies look ridiculous. Then events swiftly show that Trump had a point. Trump rubs it in, using the media’s own “Fake News” term against them and pouncing on every sloppy and dishonest mistake. As a final topper, Trump makes the dishonest media a focus during every massive rally. Which strengthens his out-grouping effect among participants and viewers.

He uses ridicule and lèse majesté, not bended knee and appeals — note that subordinating word — to logical argument.

The result? American belief in the credibility of their news media is now at about 32 percent. That’s the lowest ever polled, and an 8 percent drop from the lowest point of the 2008-2015 period. The media has lost audience, and a lot of power. When Vogue tried to damage Melania by ripping her wardrobe, activists promptly made memes from a photo of the weird-looking critic. The attack instantly lost its power.

Facebook has tried to fight these trend lines by flagging items as “fake news.” Recently, the social media giant decided to stop. Too many people sought out flagged articles. Or, put another way: In many circles, the mainstream media’s status has become negative. What an amazing amount of damage to a hostile institution.

Rational people notice and acknowledge real-world results. Even the left has noticed.

So, why hadn’t anyone ever done this before? In fairness, Newt Gingrich had some success in the 2012 primaries, and Ted Cruz has also tried. But they lacked the full array of tools. Worse, they didn’t understand how to make the media their enemy.

Once you understand conservatives’ biggest and most consistent mistake, it all becomes clear. Facts don't matter to the Left.  Status does. Make them feel bad.



Trump blows away another Leftist attack on himself
Never in the field of human politics has so much abuse been borne by one person

As the Russia collusion delusion melts away, the Left has adopted a new attack against President Trump. We have heard whispers for months, but the publication of Michael Wolff’s new book turned the rumors into a full-fledged media conspiracy.

According to the Left, the president is crazy. As Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) noted recently, this tactic is not new for the Left — it has questioned the sanity of virtually every Republican president.

The theme of Wolff’s book is that the president can’t focus, is impulsive, can’t read, is obsessed with himself, etc. Well, little did Democrat congressional leaders know, as they were headed to the White House Tuesday, that they would end up demolishing the narrative the Left has been constructing in recent weeks.

They walked into the Cabinet Room and sat down at the table. The White House press pool was brought in to take a few pictures and record a few moments of video, which is shared with other media outlets and used for brief clips on the evening news. At that point the press is normally ushered out of the room.

Instead, President Trump kept the cameras rolling so that the American people could watch the negotiations play out on national TV. For the next hour, every cable channel broadcast the meeting live. It showed President Trump in command and fully in charge of the facts.

At one point, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) complained that what the president was proposing is very complex and would be hard to get done. Trump urged him to be serious about negotiating and to get it done.

The entire performance was a brilliant strategic move. Even CNN’s Wolf Blitzer acknowledged that President Trump deserved “a lot of credit” for hosting a “really remarkable meeting.”

But What’s the Policy?

The way the president conducted Tuesday’s meeting was remarkable. He looked very much like a stable genius. But there are concerns by many on the Right over where this may be headed.

For example, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) pushed for a “clean DACA bill,” meaning no border security measures, followed by “comprehensive immigration reform,” which really means a massive amnesty.

DACA, Barack Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants, is a bitter pill to swallow. If that pill is part of any deal, then it is imperative that the president gets authorization and funding for a border wall. For many conservatives, a big new immigration law prior to the wall would likely be a bridge too far.

The White House must be very careful that these negotiations do not result in a situation where all the president gets is a pledge to fund the wall at some future point. We have been burned by past promises for future border security. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past.

If that happens, we will have another wave of illegal immigrants bringing their children across the border. In fact, it may be happening already.

In my view, the president can survive, regardless of what the polling says, if DACA is terminated. What I don’t think he can survive is getting through his first term without serious progress on the wall.

A Good Day

There are many ways to define a good day. For me, a good day is whenever I can cause the Left to set its hair on fire. And when I tweeted support for the president’s performance at Tuesday’s meeting, I got an avalanche of attacks from hateful progressives, which I find reaffirming. A far-left attack group called “Right Wing Watch” generated the wave of invective.

As you can imagine, the remarks ran the gamut from suggestions that I needed a mental evaluation to accusing me of being anti-American. Much of it can’t be repeated here.

When I did a little checking, I quickly discovered that many of my critics where proud atheists. Not surprisingly, the anti-faith movement has become one of the most intolerant and vicious battering rams of the Left.

I hope President Trump is teaching every Republican leader that if they wake up in the morning and are not being attacked by the Left, they aren’t doing their job!



A new level of abuse from the Left in the DACA debate

If you support Trump, you are an "inhumane beast raised by wolves”

Judging by appearances, Rubin (on Left) was the one raised by wolves

Stephanie Hamill, advisor to the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, defended Trump to the panel, saying “I respect our laws and I understand we can’t allow everybody to come in,” also saying that the United States is “the most generous country in the world,” statements she could barely get out over the loud protests of the other panelists.

Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin responded, “Okay, number one, we do not have open borders. If she’d actually talk to any real people who actually work for the Immigration and Customs Agency, she would find out that in fact we have fewer border crossings than we have. Our borders are more secure than ever"

“Thanks to Trump,” Hamill said.

Rubin shot back, “Excuse me, it’s my turn! You be quiet while I speak!.. . She added, “And third of all, what kind of person would send back people who have been working here, who have contributed to this country, who have children here, who would be separated from their children, from their communities, what kind of inhumane beast–are you raised by wolves?”



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

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)