Friday, March 24, 2017

Learning from the past

If the past is indeed a capable teacher, it would seem there is much to be learned from America’s industrial lions of the early 20th century – people like Andrew Mellon, Henry Ford, and Andrew Carnegie.

Most men today do not argue that as the 49th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon knew more than his fair share about the philosophies and policies needed to stoke the engines of economic prosperity. It was Mellon, more than almost any other, who put the economic roar into the Roaring 20’s. And he did it by employing the business theories espoused by Adam Smith.

More than a century before, Smith – an economist, author, and philosopher – poured the concrete foundations for what would become classical free market economic theory.  In “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression,” author Amity Shlaes quotes a passage from Andrew Mellon’s book that harkens back to Smith and rings forth to us today:

“Does anyone question that Mr. Ford has made more money by reducing the price of car and increasing his sales than he would have made by maintaining a high price and a greater profit per car, but selling less cars? The government is just a business.”

Free market economic theories have just as much to teach us in the Twenty-first Century as they did in the Twentieth during Mellon’s day and the Eighteenth Century of Smith. You don’t have to be an economic genius to grasp Mellon’s principles: lower taxes allow business to expand. When a business expands, it hires, it produces things, it essentially puts money in the pockets of its people.

Intuitively, Americans know this. We love a bargain; lower prices equal more sales. And so, when we transfer these ideas to the behemoth now known as the American economy, we can and should expect positive results.

This week a new health care plan comes before Congress. It may not be perfect, but it’s obvious to all that the old one was crumbling before our very eyes – and in a very short time.

As well, a new budget is put before lawmakers. Yes, there are cuts involved. But anyone who is in debt up to their ears knows that at some point the belt must be tightened. And right now, the United States of America has unimaginable debt.  The gross U.S. federal government debt is estimated to be $20.1 trillion, at the end of the fiscal year 2017.

I’m not advocating on behalf of either of these pieces of legislation. But I am saying we should look at what has worked for us in the past. The American economy is the proverbial Titanic. It will take a long time to turn it around, but heaven forbid we don’t see the iceberg ahead and at the very least try and avoid it.

So, if all politics is personal, my family member and I may not agree how to turn the ship around, but we both instinctively know that we are not headed in the right direction. The only question then becomes: Do we turn right or left to avoid hitting that wall of ice?



The Misplaced Compassion of 'Sanctuary Cities'

Once again the Left’s engagement in fantasy instead of fact leaves rationale people shaking their heads in utter disbelief. A mere four days after two criminal aliens were arrested for brutally raping a 14-year-old girl in a Rockville, Maryland high school, the state legislature passed a bill declaring Maryland to be a “sanctuary state,” affording illegal aliens more protections from deportation. As Mark Alexander noted last week, the “sanctuary” charade certainly makes these places safer for criminal aliens. Maryland’s Republican governor Larry Hogan, who promised to veto the bill, angrily responded to the crime and called for Montgomery County to “immediately and fully cooperate with all federal authorities” as they investigate the “heinous crime.”

To add insult to injury, it has been learned that one of the illegals had been previously detained in Texas for illegally entering the country, but was subsequently released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Obviously he should never have been released.

This past Monday, the Department of Homeland Security released a list, which is by no means exhaustive, of “jurisdictions that have enacted polices which limit cooperation with ICE.” A majority of the jurisdictions were located in Texas, but not surprisingly Montgomery County, Maryland, was also included on the list. Donald Trump has been working to expose just how big the problem of lawless local governments aiding and abetting of illegal aliens has become.

Denying the growing illegal alien crime epidemic will only create more suffering for law-abiding citizens. Lawlessness unchecked leads only to greater and more severe criminal acts, as the Rockville rape case attests. The great fallacy preached by many on the Left is the insistence that to be the truly compassionate one must ignore “lower-level” lawlessness. The assumption being that a nation committed to the Rule of Law is inherently socially unjust.

Leftists continue to double down and ignore the genuine plight of the innocent victims who have been begging for protection and the enforcement of the law. Where is that great “compassion” from the Left for law-abiding American citizens?



The New Democratic Party

Where is the Democratic party? The party of political giants like FDR, LBJ and JFK is missing in action along with the letters that defined its heroes. This is now the party of Obama, Schumer, Pelosi - a facsimile of the past and a party without direction and policy guidelines.

America needs a two-party system. Differences are desirable within a Constitutional framework. Parties have served the nation well; albeit exceptions abound.

However, in my opinion, the nation has entered a new phase in party history. The Democratic party has become the party of NO. It stands against Trump, but it offers almost nothing of substance. A party that was the incubator of ideas is now bereft of them. More importantly, the Democratic party is intent on using any method in its quiver to hurt Republican counterparts. Politics may not be bean bag, but it wasn't a bloodsport until recently. Now Democrats view Republicans as the "enemy" and, of course, enemies must be defeated.

There was a time when Republicans were merely "foes" and "rivals." Those days have passed. Now lies, character assassination and personal vindictiveness are fair play. Anything goes in a world where winning is all that counts. What this means, of course, is that partisanship makes it far more difficult to govern.

During the 2012 campaign Senator Harry Reid said Mitt Romney did not pay his taxes. This claim was a bald faced lie. In fact, Mr. Reid admitted as much. Yet he also claimed this tactic was acceptable. For Reid, it shows something about political verve. What it shows is that lying is okay as long as it undermines the enemy.

This is the path to a political nightmare in which crushing the opposition is all that counts. But politics is not Vince Lombardi football; the opposition stays in the halls of Congress, continues to play a role and may be needed to get legislation passed even after electoral defeat. How can a modicum of cooperation be engendered in the present environment? Moreover, Democratic leadership has made up its mind that the present anti Trump strategy will be to resist. Tom Perez and Keith Ellison, the two newly named heads of the Democratic National Committee, have made it clear that they will resist this president even before a political offer is made. This is the politics of preemption. Reject even those offers that might benefit your party and could benefit the country.

It is instructive that two of the most radical voices in the Democratic party now represent its leadership. So far in the hard core left direction have Democrats gone that Mr. Ellison who once supported Reverend Farrakhan and who routinely made anti-Israel and - some would contend - anti-Semitic comments is supported by Senator Charles Schumer, a self-described moderate and a booster of Israeli-American relations. Schumer can read the handwriting on the wall. The party is in thrall to the hard left leaving in the dust an organization that was thoughtful and largely pragmatic.

This is the new Democratic party, one that shuns pragmatism and embraces ideology. In fact, the former head of the Democratic National Committee at the last party convention could not distinguish between socialism and Democratic positions. Alas, few Democrats can - the party is ensconced in the febrile left with little room for any other position.

What this means is that the Democratic party is working vigorously to be a marginal organization operating at the fringes of politics. Winston Churchill understood why this movement to the left is bound to fail by noting: "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."



"Racist" Trump to appoint Indian Appeals court judge

The White House announced Tuesday that Trump intended to nominate U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Thapar, son of Indian-American immigrants and a former federal prosecutor, now serves as a federal judge in the Eastern District of Kentucky. Bush appointed him in 2008.

The announcement for a nomination comes as Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, is going through his confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Appeals court judges can be nearly as important as Supreme Court judges since the high court is limited in the number of cases it accepts.

There are 19 appellate court vacancies across the United States that Trump could fill, and 96 on federal district courts, according to Elizabeth Slattery, a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

There are also two vacancies on the U.S. Court of International Trade and six on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. There are a total of 677 authorized district judgeships and 179 total court of appeals judgeships.

“This is a great sign that President Trump takes lower courts seriously,” Slattery told The Daily Signal. “The last administration did not make lower court judges a priority, and that ended up being good for conservatives because it has left Trump with a lot of opportunities. There was a lot of thought that the president would wait until the Gorsuch nomination reached its conclusion.”

Given his position on the Trump campaign’s Supreme Court list of 21 names, this could be grooming Thapar for the Supreme Court, said Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice, a conservative legal group, and a senior legal fellow for FreedomWorks.

“Everyone on that list was ranked somewhere from good to great as far as being a constitutionalist,” Levey told The Daily Signal. “Certainly if he is qualified to be on the Supreme Court, he is qualified to be on an appeals court. He would be the first Indian-American on the Supreme Court. There is no better way to give him credentials.”

Thapar began his legal career in private practice. He clerked for Judge S. Arthur Spiegel on the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and then with Judge Nathaniel R. Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, to which Trump has selected Thapar to serve on. Thapar received his bachelor’s degree from Boston College in 1991 and his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley.



Trump was ‘wire-tapped’ after all

Devin Nunes, the Republican Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, revealed overnight that some of the US President’s personal communications had been caught up in “incidental” surveillance involving a foreign power in the months after the election.

Nunes said the information, which he said was obtained from a source he did not identify, was collected legally in November, December and January — from the November 8 election to Trump’s January 20 inauguration — but the names of some Trump officials involved had been “unmasked” and the communications “widely disseminated” within spy agencies.


And the Donks are now in full hate-speech mode against Rep. Nunes


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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, March 23, 2017

The "majority of the popular vote" myth

And a proposal for Federal legislation

That Hillary won a majority of the individual votes cast in the last presidential election has been a huge talking point for the Donks.  They use it to justify their Fascist attacks on free speech and attacks on Trump generally.  But it is basically a fraudulent claim.  Donks use it to claim that Hillary had more support than Trump among the voters at large.  But it does not indicate that at all.

The key is that "votes cast" is only part of the story.  What about the non-voters?  Non-voters could be non-voters out of indifference but there is another large reason for non-voting. Take California. California gives ALL its electoral college votes to the candidate who won the majority of the popular vote in that State.  Other states send electors to the electoral college in proportion to the popular votes gained. So if a candidate got 55% of the popular vote, only 55% of the electoral college votes from that State would go to that candidate.

So what would a rational GOP supporter do in California on election day?  Stay home.  California is a solid Democrat state so there is no point in the GOP voter troubling himself on election day.  ALL the electoral college votes from CA will without fail go to the Donk candidate.

In most other states, however, there is a BIG reason for a GOP voter to go out and vote.  The number of GOP voters who turn out will influence the makeup of the electoral college.  Even if a majority of the State's voters support the Donks, GOP voters in that State can still send a lot of GOP votes to the electoral college.

So nobody in fact knows how many people supported Hillary versus Trump.

But the imbalance between the popular vote and the electoral college vote certainly looks anti-democratic and that is deplorable.  So can anything be done to fix that situation?  It can.  Pass over-riding Federal legislation to wipe out the California practice. Oblige the States to give their electoral college votes in proportion to the poplar vote.  Had that been done in the recent election, Trump might well have gained a majority in the national popular vote.  There could have been a LOT of "discouraged" GOP voters in CA.

Footnote:  There is a distinction between the number of votes counted and the number of votes cast. States don’t count their absentee ballots unless the number of outstanding absentee ballots is larger than the state margin of difference. If there is a margin of 1,000 votes counted and there are 1,300 absentee ballots outstanding, then the state tabulates those. If the number of outstanding absentee ballots wouldn’t influence the election results, then the absentee ballots aren’t counted -- JR.


Trump Budget Drains the Swamp

Everyone in Washington hates Donald Trump’s new budget. So it must have something going for it. This is a budget plan that will surgically remove trillions of dollars of wasteful spending from the obese $3.9 trillion federal budget. Many agencies will have to live with cuts of 5, 10 and 30 percent, while other outdated, duplicative or unproductive programs will go to the graveyard.

It’s a gutsy document that takes on the hoards of special-interest groups that populate Washington, DC. The Washington metropolitan workforce will shrink, and so the town is in cardiac arrest. The Washington Post quoted an unnamed “official” who said that his fellow workers at the Department of Housing and Urban Development were feeling “demoralized.” Boohoo. Then the anonymous bureaucrat added: “This is just a tough, tough time. HUD is no different than any other domestic agency in just feeling as though these cuts are all very arbitrary and unnecessary.”

Well, maybe the workers at HUD now know how “demoralized” Americans feel about the way their agency misspends tax dollars.

No surprise here that Trump, who promised to drain the swamp, is getting resistance from the people who live in the swamp. The rest of America, outside the Washington Beltway, couldn’t be more pleased.

The deep cutbacks in the State Department, foreign service and foreign aid have been met with particular scorn by liberals. But why? Americans have been saying for decades that they believe foreign aid is a waste of money. They’re right. Some $50 billion of aid money has gone to sub-Saharan Africa and surrounding regions over the last 40 years and it has bought nothing.

The welfare industry is complaining about cuts to housing, energy, and community-development programs. They claim that the safety net for the working poor is being slashed. But the working poor don’t want more community-development block grants, job training programs, legal aid and so on. They don’t want handouts; they want jobs that bring real economic development. The Trump tax cuts and the regulatory relief that will bring back industries such as coal will have a much more positive impact on their lives than billions of dollars of federal assistance.

Welfare programs will be forced to become more efficient and less wasteful. The government’s auditors at the Government Accountability Office recently found more than $110 billion annually in fraudulent and erroneous payments to claimants. No one has ever taken a serious stab at reducing fraud and cheating in Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, earned income tax credits and so on. Trump will.

Trump’s budget, in short, is holding liberalism accountable for the trillions of dollars spent that have delivered pitiful results. The region of Appalachia has been showered with tens of billions of dollars in federal aid over the last 50 years, and inner cities have received hundreds of billions. Where are the jobs? Where is the development? Where are the good schools, the safe streets? Where is the community renewal? Why haven’t minorities — blacks and Hispanics, whose incomes still lag so far behind those of whites — been lifted up?

When the welfare state was created, Lyndon Johnson said that the “days of the dole in this country are numbered.” Fifteen thousand days and $10 trillion in welfare later, Americans don’t like what all this has bought.

Trump wants to move our fiscal policies in a new direction that ends waste, demands accountability and more personal responsibility, funding only what has a proven track record of working. He wants to unplug government programs from their perpetual life machine. Government must become lean and efficient and customer friendly. It must begin to pay its bills.

Liberals believe this is radical and cruel. The rest of us think it is common sense.



Justices on 9th Circuit feuding over travel ban ruling

A feud is reportedly playing out among judges on the federal appeals court that upheld a block on President Trump's original travel ban.

Politico reported Saturday that five judges on the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week publicly recorded their disagreement with last month's ruling made by three of their colleagues.

Days later, on Friday, another filing from the court's conservative justices argued that most people affected by the original travel ban are not entitled to Constitutional protections, because they have not yet entered the U.S.

"The vast majority of foreigners covered by the executive order have no Due Process rights," Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in the filing, joined by four other conservative justices.

"Nevertheless, the district court enjoined the order’s travel provisions in their entirety, even as applied to the millions of aliens who have no constitutional rights whatsoever because they have never set foot on American soil."

The court's liberal justices fired back, saying that the conservative judges were trying to influence ongoing legal dispute over Trump's revised travel ban issued last week. That case, two of the justices argued, was not current before their court, and the conservatives' filing was an unwarranted expression of their personal views.

"Judges are empowered to decide issues properly before them, not to express their personal views on legal questions no one has asked them," Judge Marsha Berzon wrote, according to Politico. "There is no appeal currently before us, and so no stay motion pending that appeal currently before us either."

"We will have this discussion, or one like it," she added. "But not now."

Trump issued his first travel ban executive order on Jan. 27 barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia – from entering the U.S. That measure was blocked by a federal judge in Seattle, whose ruling was later upheld by the three-judge Ninth Circuit panel.

That prompted Trump to issue a revised ban on March 6, which exempts Iraqis from its list of banned foreign nationals and carves out exceptions for visa and green card holders. Still, the measure has drawn backlash and federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland have blocked it.

Trump reacted furiously to the Hawaii judge's injunction at a rally in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, vowing to appeal the ruling up to the Supreme Court if necessary.

"This ruling makes us look weak, which, by the way, we no longer are," he said. "Believe me."

"We're going to fight this terrible ruling. We're going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court."



Leftmedia Attempts Hit Piece on Gorsuch

The New York Times decided to help out its Democrat buddies by running a story clearly designed to be used as a hit piece against Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. The Times article, entitled "Neil Gorsuch Has Web of Ties to Secretive Billionaire," attempted to paint Gorsuch as a puppet of the wealthy conservative business man Philip Anschutz, due to the fact that Gorsuch had previously worked for the man years ago when he was a lawyer. The story submits no compelling evidence supporting its insinuation of corruption and offers little anecdotal evidence besides. It'd be laughable if it weren't so outrageous. The best they could come up with is that Gorsuch and some executives at Anschutz's companies decided to go in together on buying a vacation house. Shocking, no?

This story contains about as much news as Rachel Maddow's silly reveal of Trump's 2005 tax return. There's no there, there. Gorsuch had already disclosed all his prior business ties, including his having worked for Anschutz. He has also recused himself from hearing any cases involving his former clients. The fact that Gorsuch is friends with former clients is only natural. Besides, it's not as if Anschutz is some nefarious fellow. His business assets are well known and are all above board.

The problem for the Leftmedia and Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is their belief that a judge should base his rulings primarily upon social activists' concerns, not upon the Constitution and the letter of the law. Gorsuch has a sound and proven track record of ruling appropriately, even if he thinks that a given statute may need changes. In his rulings, he has repeatedly recognized and emphasized that a judge is bound and limited by the law, and that it's the role of legislators, not judges, to create laws. That's why Gorsuch presents such a threat to leftists and their disregard for the Rule of Law.

With activist justices such as Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg already on the bench, it's indeed refreshing to hear a judge speak so clearly about the limits set upon the judicial branch by the Constitution. The more Democrats and the Leftmedia attempt to smear Gorsuch, the more he's proving to be an excellent choice for the Supreme Court.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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, March 22, 2017

Why the high intelligence of Indian Americans?

I reproduce below a well-informed answer to the above question.  I disagree with his conclusion that it is all due to nutrition however.  Other work finds only 5 IQ points attributable to nutrition.  The suggestion of 15 IQ points is therefore startling.  So I think we need to look at other possibilities.  I think that the Indian advantage is probably a compound of several factors.

The treatment of Indians as a single group is of course absurd.  Almost any Indian will regale you with stories about the great gaps between the castes.  And the castes do seem to have a racial and historic origin.  A Brahman and a Dalit are worlds apart in all sorts of ways, including skin color. And it is usually held that the differences arose from the Northern  Brahmins being in fact late "Aryan" invaders on top of an original Dravidian population.  So we would expect Brahmins to have higher IQs.  And Brahmins seem well-represented in Indian immigrants to America.

Everything in the above paragraph is however subject to controversy so how much caste accounts for higher IQs in Indian Americans remains "under study".  Something that would reveal the effect (or not) of caste would be a study of Indian diaspora populations in places such as Fiji, where the Indians there are the descendants of coolies imported to act as agricultural labourers.  If they have high IQs, there is no caste effect.  But I can find no data on such populations.  It is however true that Indians run just about everything in Fiji these days.

The next possibility is related to the one above:  A general selective effect of immigration.  Diaspora populations are not always brighter than the home population but when we are looking at poor countries they probably are.  To get yourself out of a poor country to a rich one surely requires brains.  So regardless of caste, diaspora Indians should be brighter.

The third possibility is one shown up by the Flynn effect:  Education.  Education does have an effect on at least some measures of intelligence.  How that works is speculative but the most plausible explanation is that doing tests and exams in the course of a long education develops test-taking skills (e.g. guessing when uncertain) that generalize to IQ tests. And the Indian education system is woeful so a transition to the less woeful U.S. system should confer an advantage.

A fourth factor that is rarely mentioned in these discussions is regional differences within India.  The Indian South seems to be much brighter, particularly where mathematical ability is concerned. The great concentration of Indian IT knowledge is in Bengaluru (Bangalore), which is in the South.  And it was almost entirely Southern engineers who were behind the quite remarkable Indian Mars shot.

I am not going to say much about why the Southerners are smarter but I note that they hate one-another.  Keralans despise Tamils, for instance.  And that is related to the long history of warfare between them.  And dummies are the least likely to survive wars.  So warfare has dragged up the average IQ of most of the South.

But getting back to Indians in America:  I have seen no figures on it but I gather that a huge proportion of Indians came to America to work in IT.  If that is so, they would mostly have come from the South -- because that is where the IT ability is.  So the Indian immigrants to the USA came from a (Southern) population that was ALREADY pretty high on IQ.  So from that starting point, the various advantages (already mentioned) of life in the USA could easily have added one third of a standard deviation -- which could explain what we see.  It could in fact explain the whole of what we see.

And regardless of where they come from in India, being employed to work in IT is a HUGE selective pressure.  To code easily in languages like C and its derivatives requires an IQ within about the top 2%. If that doesn't bring up the average, nothing would.

So I would summarize that the high IQs of Indians in the USA is the combined effect of nutrition, education, caste, an immigrant effect, an effect of regional origin and an effect of occupation.

Given the extraordinary difference in average IQ between Indians in India and Indians in America (well over one standard deviation) I think a multifactorial explanation has to be strongly indicated.  But all answers at this point are speculative.

One of the great mysteries in IQ research is why Indian Americans are such super achievers despite the fact that India reportedly has an IQ of only 82 according to the book IQ and Wealth of Nations.

And yet Indians in North America are known for their high intelligence and scholastic achievement, and despite being new to America, are already slightly over-represented on Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans. In some parts of Canada (particularly the maritime provinces like Newfoundland) if you’re Indian, all the white will people will assume you’re a doctor.

So how can Indians in North America be so smart when India’s average IQ is not great? Many people in the HBD-blogosphere invoke the theory that India is nation of many micro-races (castes) and that largely the smartest castes migrate to America, but the truth is usually much simpler.

Of the 2.8 million Indians in America, probably no more than 25% (700,000) are the ones who initially gained immigration (and the remaining 75% are the spouces, siblings, parents, and children, who came alone for the ride). But these 700,000 who actually gained immigration for themselves and their families are probably roughly the most occupationally successful 700,000 Indians out of a population of nearly 1.3 billion. In other words, they are above the +3.3 standard deviation mark in occupational status, and are on on average +3.5 SD. Since occupational status (mostly a function of education and income) correlates 0.7 with IQ, we should expect their IQ’s to be 3.5(0.7) = 2.45 SD higher than the average Indian (assuming Indians have a mean IQ of 82 and an SD 15, those who initially gain immigration to America should have an IQ of 119).

But because the IQ correlation between a parent and his adult offspring is about 0.45, the children of these high achieving immigrants from India should regress precipitously to the Indian mean:

0.45(119 – 82) + 82 = 99

Thus we should expect second-generation Indians born in America to have IQ’s around the U.S. average which is inconsistent with their incredible achievements. Can their achievements thus be explained by Tiger Moms? According to excellent Jamaican American blogger JayMan, parenting has zero impact.

So how do we explain the high achievements of second generation Indian immigrants? Nutrition. Blogger Steve Sailer was perhaps the first to notice that even un-mixed black Americans who have lived in the United States for centuries are several inches taller and about 13 IQ points smarter than black Africans. This suggests that first world nutrition adds about 13 IQ points (and several inches of height) to people of third world ancestry.



Ditch Obamacare, and don't stop there

by Jeff Jacoby

TO HEAR the liberal denunciations of the proposed American Health Care Act — House Speaker Paul Ryan's plan to replace Obamacare — you would think the GOP had set out to wreck a brilliant and much-loved social reform that Americans couldn't imagine living without.

Democratic leaders in Congress have slammed the Republican legislation as a plan to "Make America Sick Again," and to wreak, in Nancy Pelosi's words, "massive damage to millions of families across the nation." The AARP, an influential pressure group that claims to represent older Americans, has launched a high-profile campaign against the bill on social media, by video, and in an open letter to lawmakers. AARP warns that the Republicans' health care overhaul "raises premiums and weakens Medicare" and would "dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64."

Well, yes and no. The Ryan plan is indeed deeply flawed. Not because it obliterates Obamacare — but because it doesn't.

This is only the latest turn in a long saga of health care "reforms" that have constricted choice, disempowered consumers, banished price awareness, eliminated competition, and discouraged innovation. The results are all around us: skyrocketing medical costs, mounting economic pressures on employers, employees, doctors, and patients — and a political obsession with providing insurance, rather than with producing good health.

It would take a miracle for Congress to find the courage to pull up the whole misbegotten system by its roots. But the payoff would be even more miraculous.

From Day 1, Obamacare was relentlessly unpopular. Republicans surged to one political triumph after another by vowing to get rid of it. Some libertarians and free-market conservatives, to their credit, have spurned the leadership bill as nothing more than Obamacare Lite. But many weak-kneed GOP moderates have been spooked by the assault from liberals, especially after the Congressional Budget Office prediction that ending Obamacare would mean 24 million more people without health insurance. There is good reason to doubt the CBO's conclusions — its previous coverage estimates have routinely turned out wrong — but Democrats and their allies are flogging them with enthusiasm, raising alarums about the catastrophe to come if Obamacare is dismantled.

Yet many in the GOP are now waffling because they fear the political costs of doing anything else. They would like to get rid of the mandates, taxes, and regulations that the public has never liked, but can't bring themselves to scrap the law's popular benefits and entitlements. They don't want to be held accountable for not allowing young adults to stay on their parents' insurance plans until age 26. They don't want to face the outrage that will follow when insurers charge higher premiums to customers with pre-existing conditions.

"Republicans want medicine to be inexpensive and effective," commentator Mark Humphrey writes, "but they do not want to repeal the morass of regulations that make it expensive and ineffective.

Just so. But they can't have one without the other — and without braving the political storms that have made such chaos of America's health care and health insurance landscape.

If Republicans were serious, and willing to endure some political pain to reach a better outcome, they'd eliminate the tax deduction for employers who provide health insurance as part of employee compensation. They'd repeal laws that force insurers to cover a legislated array of medical benefits and treatments. They'd remove the barriers that restrict consumers in one state from purchasing health insurance across state lines.

And they'd break the destructive habit of treating health insurance as the logical and preferable way to pay for routine health care.

Were members of Congress to enact all that, they would be replacing a dysfunctional, expensive, and coercive environment with something vastly better: a robust, competitive market focused on the interests of consumers — not on the demands of the insurance cartel and the political class. They would be restoring the price transparency that has long been missing from health care. They would be encouraging medical providers and insurers to compete in earnest — which would inevitably lower prices and improve quality. They would be de-linking medical coverage from employment, and endowing tens of millions of Americans with the economic leverage that comes with choosing for themselves what policies they will buy and from whom. And they would be ending the crazy distortions caused by using health insurance to pay for regular, ordinary expenses — something we would never think of doing with automobile or homeowner's insurance.

Instead of solving the system's problems, Obamacare only entrenched them. While Democrats portray repeal of the Affordable Care Act as an assault on baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet, Republicans ought to be reminding voters how Obamacare played out in real life: reminding them, for instance, that it hurt more families than it helped. That it saddled insurers with losses so massive they were forced to pull out of many state exchanges. That it forced millions of Americans off their existing health plans. That it fueled double-digit annual increases in premiums. That it added billions to the national debt.

Since 2010, Republicans have been swearing up and down that they would scrap Obamacare. The way to do that is to scrap Obamacare.

Scrap the subsidies, the community-rating rules, and the guaranteed-issue requirements. Scrap the employer mandates and the individual tax penalties. Scrap the "slacker mandate" for those 26 and under. Scrap the guarantee of coverage for pre-existing conditions.

And then keep going.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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, March 21, 2017

In their rage at being dispossessed, the elite out themselves as being anti-democratic

They just cannot understand that there are many who disagree with them.  They just cannot conceive that there are many of us who chortle with delight at Trump's daily attacks on the Leftist thought police.  My son and I are both highly educated but in conversations with one-another we are something of a Trump admiration society -- JR

Brendan O'Neill

Has there ever been a tantrum as tinny and irritating as the one thrown by the chattering classes in response to Brexit and Donald Trump? It’s the mother of all meltdowns. The huff heard round the world. A hissy fit of historic proportions.

Children who don’t get their way normally foot-stomp and wail “I hate you” for three or four minutes before collapsing into a knackered heap. The liberal elite has been at it for nine months, ever since Brexit last June pricked the sealed, self-satisfied bubble they live in and reminded them that — brace yourself — there are people out there who think differently.

Brexit and Trump signal the demise of Western liberal civilisation, they sob. Fascism is staggering back to life, they cry. “Boy does this age remind me of the 1930s,” said British politician and historical illiterate Paddy Ashdown about Brexit.

Russia planted Trump in the White House, they yelp, like neo-McCarthyists convinced the Kremlin has commandeered Washington with an evil eye for steering it towards destruction.

Their arguments grow more unhinged every day. Their contempt for ordinary voters intensifies. Their toddler-like search for some evil thing to blame their political troubles on gathers pace.

What we’re witnessing is the rage of the entitled, the fury of a technocratic elite that had come to see itself as the rightful, most expert overseer of politics. They really cannot believe that everyday people, millions of the idiots, have had the brass neck to say: “We don’t like how you do politics. We’re going to try a different approach.”

As with all tantrum throwers, their first instinct is to deflect blame from themselves. “I didn’t do it!” is the cry of the child who did do it, and so it is with the melting old oligarchy.

Seemingly incapable of reasoned self-reflection, unwilling to accept that lots of people are simply rejecting their politics, the chattering class goes on the hunt for some naughty force on which to pin the blame.

It was Russian meddling that swung the election for Trump, they say. Trump is “Putin’s puppet”, apparently. A YouGov survey of Democratic voters in the US found that 50 per cent of them believe Russia “tampered” with vote counts. There’s no proof whatsoever for this. It’s an “election-day conspiracy theory”, in YouGov’s words.

Some even claim that we 17.4 million Brits who voted for Brexit were somehow got at by Putinite masterminds, though they never explain how. British Labour MP Ben Bradshaw says it’s “highly probable” Russia interfered in the EU referendum last June. He’s offered not one shred of evidence for this. But then, we’re no longer in the realm of reason — we’re in a world of tantrums.

As Masha Gessen argues in The New York Review of Books, the “unrelenting focus” on Russia of Western liberals has become a way of avoiding self-analysis. It’s become “a crutch for the American imagination”, a catch-all explanation for “how Trump could have happened to us”. So the problem isn’t that Hillary Clinton and her myriad media cheerleaders failed. It’s that powerful foreign forces meddled with American minds and warped the American political fabric.

The chattering-class tantrum is fuelled by an urge to dodge self-reckoning; by an absolute terror of asking what the old politics was getting wrong.

Some in the meltdown lobby are blaming “bots” — computer programs that pump out pro-Trump or pro-Brexit messages on social media. These sinister machines “changed the conversation”, says Britain’s The Observer newspaper. EU aficionado and one-time rationalist Richard Dawkins goes further, saying “sinister social media bots read minds and manipulate votes”, and apparently this “explains the mystery of Trump and Brexit”. They really are losing it. Another ingredient of temper tantrums is the use of heated language that’s way over the top to the situation at hand. The chattering class meltdown has plenty of this.

Witness the growing reliance on Nazi talk. Protesters against Trump wave placards of him wearing a Hitler moustache next to the words “we know how this ends”. The Archbishop of Canterbury says Brexit and Trump are part of the “fascist tradition of politics”. Prince Charles says the Brexit era brings to mind “the dark days of the 1930s”. Calm down, Charlie.

This casual marshalling of Nazi horrors to demonise Brexit and those Americans who voted for Trump is pretty outrageous. It drains the word Nazi of its historic meaning and turns it into an all-purpose insult, to be hurled at anyone we don’t like. Again, it’s tantrum-like when these people shout “Hitler!” — what they’re really saying is “I’m so angry I could cry”. They’ve turned the Holocaust into an exclamation mark to their fury — an unforgivable abuse of history.

And, of course, all tantrums involve lashing out, as this one does. The levels of antipathy aimed at voters, and at democracy itself, has been extraordinary.

We have failed to “keep the mob from the gates”, says Brexit-fearing columnist Matthew Parris. American writer Jason Brennan has become a favourite of liberal publications in the tantrum era because he wrote a book called Against Democracy and says “low-information white people” should not be trusted to make big political decisions.

American-British conservative Andrew Sullivan frets that the “passions of the mob” have been unleashed. A writer for The Observer says it’s time to smash the “taboo” against saying that ordinary people are often very stupid, and “there are times when their stupidity combines to produce gross, self-harming acts of national stupidity”.

Don’t worry, mate: that taboo has been well and truly demolished, if it ever existed. Post-Brexit and post-Trump, the chattering classes have not been shy in wondering if the masses are too daft for politics.

This is the frenzy of entitlement. The “third way”, pro-EU, Clinton-style technocratic classes that have dominated public life for a couple of decades came to think of themselves as the only people properly cut out for politics.

They insulated the business of politics from popular opinion. They made it all about expertise, not public engagement. Through bureaucratic institutions like the EU, and by giving greater decision-making powers to quangos and the judiciary, they sought to elevate politics far above us, the plebs.

They really convinced themselves that politics was for people like them, for the cool-headed and clever, not for us; not for the poor; not for the ill-educated or those driven by conviction rather than science.

And that’s why Brexit, Trump and other quakes have devastated them so, propelling them into a permanent state of tantrum: because they’d become so aloof and so arrogant, that they started believing no one except their set, their friends, their institutions, could be trusted with deciding the fate of nations.

And guess what? That’s why so many are voting against them. We’re witnessing a revolt of the demos against a political class that thought it could get away with governing from on high and treating people as problems to be fixed rather than as political citizens to be taken seriously. In a beautiful irony, the fact that their response to this revolt has been “Waaaah! How dare you?!” proves the revolt was long overdue.



Trump the conservative

The article below is from a Left-leaning source so I have cut out some expressions of opinion

The Republican agenda in Trump’s Washington is driven by hard-line conservative doctrine about starving the beast of government, slashing programs for the needy, and — upcoming on the agenda — tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations that supposedly will help those farther down the food chain.

The hardest evidence so far of this shift from Trump’s campaign rhetoric to his governing reality is the two specific, sweeping proposals released in the last two weeks: the plan to replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and Trump’s budget outline for 2018.

Facing trouble winning hard-line conservative support to fulfill his promise campaign promises to replace the Affordable Care Act, the president leaned even harder to the right last week, offering to add to the GOP’s health care plan a requirement that able-bodied Medicaid recipients must work to qualify for coverage.

The plan already would dramatically cut subsidies for working-poor beneficiaries of the Obama program, with the heaviest burdens — thousands of dollars a year in additional expenses — falling on people from 50 to 64 years old.

It also would break a campaign promise that Trump made not to cut Medicaid: Instead, it slashes deeply into the program. In all, official estimates say 24 million people would lose insurance by 2026.

House Speaker Paul Ryan explicitly credited Trump for helping push long-held conservative policy objectives like the health care bill.  “Did you see him yesterday in Detroit, in Tennessee?” Ryan asked reporters at his weekly press conference, detailing how the president is helping Republicans move the controversial health bill forward.

“The president has a connection with individuals in this country. He goes — no offense — but he goes around the media and connects with people specifically and individually,” Ryan said. “That helps us bridge gaps in Congress and get Republicans unified so we can deliver on our promises. And that is extremely constructive.”

Trump’s first months in office have been a relief to people like Matt Mackowiak, a GOP strategist and president of Potomac Strategy Group, who had been skeptical of Trump during the campaign. Now, Mackowiak said, conservatives feel they have “a lot to be excited about.”

“You can credibly say this is the most conservative Cabinet at least since Reagan and perhaps even going further back than that,” he said. “I really have been encouraged in a lot of ways.”

“My sense is Trump wants to be successful,” Mackowiak said. “He’s less concerned about specifically what success means. He’s more concerned with the perception that he is successful and the best way for him to be successful this calendar year is to remain united with Republicans and to advance a conservative agenda.”

The conservative circle around Trump includes his budget director, Mulvaney — who was such a committed deficit hawk in Congress he even advocated for cuts to military spending, which is outside typical Republican thought — and Tom Price, the president’s new health secretary, a former Representative from Georgia who was one of the most vehement opponents of the Obama health law in Congress.

Nevertheless Trump’s team still finds itself defending the president to conservatives. On Friday morning, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway sold Trump’s right-leaning bona fides to a Washington audience. “I do think Donald Trump is a conservative,” she said, listing his budget and health care plan. “I think the National Review crowd should be very happy.”

The embrace of the party’s conservative flank has many Washington baffled. “It’s bizarre in a lot of ways,” Norman Ornstein, a political analyst with the conservative American Enterprise Institute and no fan of Trump’s, said of the president’s conservative agenda focus.

He highlighted what he sees as the most “bizarre element” to date of Trump’s shift in focus and priorities: the lack of an infrastructure plan.

Again and again, Trump has promised to invest in rebuilding the nation’s crumbling bridges and roads; Bannon embraced a trillion-dollar infrastructure program as key to his plans to build a new political coalition.

But the budget Trump unveiled makes deep infrastructure cuts, with the exception of putting aside money to build a wall on the Southern border. (Trump’s team says a building program is coming later in the year.)

But like many observers, both supporters and critics of Trump, Ornstein doesn’t think the conservative budget tilt is a conscious choice of the president’s. “My guess is that the budget is basically [White House budget director] Mick Mulvaney’s, and Bannon is happy because he wants to blow up the state and engage in disruption,” Ornstein said.

Trump has put conservatives in key positions, and their work product is showing.

“Trump is a New York Republican who has surrounded himself with conservatives,” said one Republican strategist with ties to the Trump White House.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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, March 20, 2017


I think Kellyanne is a great gal so I was pleased to see the backgrounder on her below.  It does take various potshots at her but brings out a lot of facts too.  And the fascinating thing about the article is that it completely misses out something essential to her:  She is a happy person.  She is having a ball. That is a large part of her being conservative.  Conservatives don't have the fires of anger burning inside them that Leftists do so they can go through life in good cheer.  But to expect a mainstream journalist to even notice that is a big ask, of course

If you do a Google image search on her name you will find heaps of photos of her in a happy mood but the two photos I like best are below. The first one below is from a post election debate with Hillary's campaign manager and the second is at the time of the inauguration.

And even the famous sofa picture shows her as completely relaxed and smiling despite the grand occasion

The career pollster and Donald Trump’s self-described right-hand “man” is front and centre on the biggest stage in professional politics. It’s good and it’s bad. It presents a dilemma.

On the one hand she is an example for young girls; a champion for woman proving it is indeed possible to succeed in a world dominated by men.

On the other hand she is a mouthpiece for a man whose track record on women — “grab her by the p***y”, anyone — speaks for itself.

She has been upfront and outspoken, but not always honest. She pushed the notion of “alternative facts”, claimed microwaves were spying on people and created the Bowling Green Massacre — an event that did not take place — to prove a point about how the media treated Barack Obama one way and Donald Trump another.

It’s a style that’s got her to where she is today. But it’s a style political experts say could be her undoing.

For now, the child of divorced parents, raised by her mother in Atco, New Jersey, appears immune from any real consequences of her slip-ups, intended or otherwise. Part of that is because people are “rooting for her” to succeed.

“She seems to have come up from the bottom and she’s a woman who’s made it ... we want to root for her,” Dr Rolfe said.

“She doesn’t count herself as a feminist, she despises femininity but can still admire a woman who makes it in a man’s world. And she can mix it. She’ll have admirers of her as a scrapper.”

He said she is a help to Mr Trump “for the moment”, but her loyalty to the President could be her downfall.

“She’s always on the defensive for Trump and he’ll love that. It suits his style and his intense focus on loyalty. We’re seeing that with his practices at present and Conway fits in that style as well. But in his way of not backing down, (Conway) may deplete her public credibility for him.”

CNN made strong moves to deny her airtime, citing issues with credibility in February. On Twitter, the network wrote: “CNN is clear, on the record, about our concerns about Kellyanne Conway’s credibility ... We have not ‘retracted’ nor ‘walked back’ those comments. Those are the facts.”

Then, just like that, she was back on CNN for a heated one-on-one interview with chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper. For all her questionable traits, there’s no disputing she is resilient.

Ms Conway’s path to the White House is one she made on her own. She never asked for handouts or favours. She has always been talented and always come first.

For eight summers growing up, Kellyanne Elizabeth Fitzpatrick packed blueberries at a farm not far from the family home. The Atlantic reports that she drew onlookers “with her remarkable, automaton-esque speed and ability to work for long stretches without a break”.

In 1983, aged 16, she won the New Jersey Blueberry Princess pageant. Four years later, she won the World Champion Blueberry Packing competition, reported.

“Everything I learned about life and business started on that farm,” she said.

She was first in her class at the Catholic school she attended, too. Her mother told The Atlantic reporter Molly Ball that “I always told her ‘you have to do your best’ ... but she had to be the best.”

She studied at Trinity College in Washington DC and at George Washington University. She served as a clerk in the DC Superior Court and founded her own firm, The Polling Company, in 1995. She married a lawyer and stayed in New Jersey, where she lives in a $6 million home in Alpine.

She worked with Congressmen and Senators and in 2016 endorsed Ted Cruz. When Mr Cruz was dropped out of the race for President, Donald Trump pounced. On August 17, 2016, she was named the campaign’s third manager.

Dr Rolfe says Ms Conway and Mr Trump are now inseparable.

“Going back to the 1990s, the spinning that she does is well practised. In that respect she’s been very valuable to Trump, she now seems so essential to him. She is a masterful reader of Trump’s personality and style that you’d think she’d been around him forever.”

She’s been around men like him long enough to know how it works. And she considers herself one of them.

To The New Yorker in October last year, she had this to say: “I’ve been living in a male-dominated business for decades. I found, particularly early on, that there’s plenty of room for passion, but there’s very little room for emotion. I tell people all the time, ‘Don’t be fooled, because I am a man by day’.”

She belongs as much as anyone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She should be admired and looked up to for how far she has come. She would be easier to root for without the spin, but the truth is a fluid concept when you’re speaking for Donald Trump.



No court challenge?


Political Labels Aren't Always What They Seem

We all know people who describe themselves as centrists, yet their ideals skew toward one end of the political spectrum. Or maybe your left-wing family member is a pro-life Catholic and your right-wing acquaintance promotes expanded entitlement programs. While not all-inclusive, most people fall into one of two categories: Republican/conservative or Democrat/liberal. But you’re right if you think this delineation doesn’t always put you at odds with a superficial political rival.

The Washington Post dissects this phenomenon. Using two studies as a foundation, the Post found, “Political identity does not mean the same thing from place to place.” It continues: “Not surprisingly, people who call themselves ‘conservatives’ tend to have more conservative issue positions. Similarly, self-described liberals tend to have left-leaning views. And moderates tend to be somewhere in the middle. As is well documented, ideology and issue positions are highly correlated. But it turns out that the strength of that relationship depends on where people live.”

Of course, we already, perhaps subconsciously, know this. A hardcore liberal from California or New York is most assuredly on the extreme end of the spectrum when compared to most Mississippi or Louisiana liberals. Yet a Mississippian or Louisianan who considers himself a liberal is probably much more akin than they think to Republicans in California or New York. The Post attributes this to “what we call ‘the political reference point.’ The basic idea is that where we live, and the people around us dictate what’s seen as politically ‘normal.’”

The authors conclude by saying “the complex social geography of the U.S. makes it difficult to accurately reduce Americans' political views down to positions on a scale, or binary labels of ‘liberal’ vs. ‘conservative.’” But maybe that’s the problem. Elitists have been playing this game for a long time. Politics has devolved to the point where friendships and even emotional behaviors are based entirely on how people label themselves. This form of identity politics has done more than anything in recent times to divide the nation over ideological differences — even when those differences are often conceptual. Yes, Americans do have fundamental disagreements. But cynicism doesn’t have to be included, especially when labels aren’t always so clear-cut and often depend on personal environments.

That’s why this statement from Donald Trump’s inaugural speech is so powerful: “It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag.” What matters is the truth. And the truth is that we live in a nation afforded unparalleled Liberty. And millions of Americans defied their political labels and voted for Trump because they don’t take it for granted.



Russians, Hackings and Allegations

The favorite conspiracy narrative peddled by Democrats and their Leftmedia allies after Donald Trump's historic election victory was the baseless theory of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia in order to throw the election to Trump. After months of the intelligence community conducting investigations, no evidence has yet been found to substantiate the Left's claims. And the narrative seems to be quickly dying. On Thursday, Barack Obama's former CIA director, Mike Morell, threw more cold water on the collusion narrative, stating, "There's no little campfire, there's no little candle, there's no spark. And there's a lot of people looking for it." As Trump has been saying, there is simply nothing there.

But there also appears to be little evidence to support Trump's claim last month that Obama "wiretapped" his Trump Tower headquarters during the campaign. This bomb shell announcement was effective in that it brought back to light other instances in which Obama targeted journalists and others for surveillance. It also served to effectively counter the mainstream media's meritless accusation against Trump and his supposed Russian connections. While there seems to be little evidence in support Trump's claim, questions still abound as to whether Obama may have ordered some sort of surveillance of Trump or of his associates. Trump hasn't backed off his accusation.

This week, a much more substantive Russian spying story came to light. Four Russians were arrested and charged for the massive criminal hacking of Yahoo in 2014. Two of the Russians are agents of the FSB — the successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB, equivalent to our CIA. These agents were part of Center 18, which was a unit that had been working with the FBI in helping to catch cyber criminals. The creation of this cooperative cybersecurity task force was Obama's brain child.

But here's the rub. A report from the Justice Department states, "Instead of working with the FBI and CIA to catch hackers, the FSB officers were actually working with hackers themselves." Isn't that what one would expect spies to do? To put it bluntly, Obama wanted to play nice with Moscow and foolishly invited the foxes into the hen house. This is the real story that should have Americans seriously worried, not some unsubstantiated story of Trump colluding with the Russians.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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, March 19, 2017

Stefan Molyneux is a libertarian who believes that values matter

In the video below he says that Europe has betrayed Western civilization.  He is a powerful speaker and has a considerable following. Worth hearing.

I am a little perturbed at his use of "we".  He uses "we" to refer to contemporary society as a whole, which is OK in its way but he is really referring to the strong Leftist influence on current political thinking.  So I would have said "the Left", where he says "we". As we see in the rise of Trump, however, conservatives values are still there in the community and are now rising to the surface again.  So there is some hope that the weak-kneed response to challenges from Muslims and others might be reversed soon.

He is however right to be amazed that socialist policies are still popular -- when we see how gory they become when socialists get unrestricted power -- as in Stalinist Russia and Mao's China.  When will people learn where such coercion-based policies must lead?  Taking money off people who earned it and giving it to people who have not earned it requires a naked exercise of power -- and that power tends to grow and find more targets as time goes by.  It's a slippery slope


Trump: ‘The Democrats Will Always Vote Against Us. The Hatred Has Been There for Years’

President Donald Trump says even if the Republican health care bill were perfect, Democrats' hatred for Republicans would prevent them from voting for it. (Screen grab from Fox News)
( – Asked if he is satisfied with the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Donald Trump said if he could get 60 votes in the Senate, things would be different – “but we will never get a Democrat vote.”

Trump told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson on Wednesday:

To get 52 people is very hard. If we had 60 votes, we could do something differently, but we’re never going to get a Democrat vote. If I had the greatest bill in the history of the world, they would not vote for us because they hate the Republicans, probably hate me, but they hate the Republicans so badly that they can’t see straight.

So they’re always going to vote against us. It's really a shame – and that's one of the problems that we have when people come into my office about lowering drug prices, lowering other things. The Democrats are always going to vote against us. It’s been simmering for years. The hatred has been there for years. Not just with me.”

Trump said the “incredible” hatred from Democrats dates back to the Bush and Obama years. And because of that, the only way to pass the Republican health care bill is with Republican votes.

Trump said President Obama was a “smart guy” to leave office just as Obamacare imploded. And he said Democrats know Obamacare is imploding, but they are being “very selfish.”

“If we had the greatest health care bill ever in history, and we needed eight votes from the Democrats to get us up to the 60 number that you would need? They wouldn’t vote for it. So it’s a very selfish thing. They are doing a very, very bad disservice to the country.”

Trump said it will take “some negotiating” to pass the Republican bill, and he described his role as that of an “arbitrator” among Republicans:

“We have the conservatives, we have the more liberal side of the Republican Party, we have the left, we have the right within the Republicans themselves -- you got a lot of fighting going on. We have no Democrats – again, no matter what we do, we’re never going to get a Democrat. Maybe we’ll get one along the way. Now, if we could get … some Democrat votes, we could change the bill.”

Trump predicted that Republicans will get some Democrat votes in phase three of their repeal-and-replace plan, when they start passing stand-alone bills. Trump said a bill aimed at lowering prescription drug prices will be part of phase three.

Trump also told Carlson:

-- He had some “run-ins” with House Speaker Paul Ryan initially, “but “I think he’s on board with the American people. I do believe that strongly. I think he is on board with my presidency, I think he wants to make it very successful.”

-- The White House did not release Trump’s 2005 tax return. “I have no idea where they got it, but it is illegal if you are not supposed to have it. It's not supposed to be leaked,” he said.

-- He’s aiming for a corporate tax rate of 15 percent. “I think we’ll probably be a little bit higher than that we will try to get the 15 percent level,” he said.

 -- He really likes Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), with whom he met recently in the Oval Office, and he will work with Cummings to bring down the price of prescription drugs.

-- He believes “it’s not easy” to assimilate large numbers of Muslims into western culture.



Just What the Doctor Ordered at the FDA

As frustration only grows regarding the Republicans' continued wrangling over how best to repeal and replace ObamaCare, Donald Trump’s choice to head the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, is a needed encouragement. Gottlieb, a physician who has been described as a pragmatist and a policy expert, has a striking resumé and a has written extensively as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute on both the need and the how to reform the FDA’s drug approval processes. Gottlieb is well versed in both the medical needs and the business end of the drug industry. He’s also a cancer survivor, so he knows the personal side too.

A lack of genuine competition within the drug market, specifically regarding production of generic drugs, due primarily to FDA regulations has prevented low cost drug availability. Dr. Gottlieb wrote last year, “Of the more than 1,300 branded drugs on the market, about 10% have seen patents expire but still face zero generic competition. … New regulations have, in many cases, made it no longer economically viable for more than one generic firm to enter the market.”

Maybe the greatest challenge facing Dr. Gottlieb will be changing the FDA culture that, as he has described it, sees itself as the “lone bulwark standing between truth and chaos when it comes to prescription drugs.” This has resulted in the FDA’s drug testing trials becoming increasingly “longer, larger and harder to enroll.” The current average length of a clinical drug testing trial has expanded to 780 days from what was already 460 days in 2005.

Should he be confirmed, Gottlieb would be in a position to roll back these competition-stifling regulations, which can only prove to lower the cost for brand-name and generic drugs. Reforming the FDA would go a long way in helping to cut down on rapidly growing medical costs.



Trump's Budget Axe Falls on Discretionary Spending

Leftists go apoplectic over about 1% of the federal budget

Beltway bureaucrats can’t say they weren’t warned about the number of cars that would be uncoupled from their taxpayer-funded gravy train. As President Donald Trump alluded to in his campaign and promised prior to his address to a joint session of Congress, there are a number of federal agencies that will be subjected to large-scale cuts and 19 that will be shuttered entirely if Trump has his way with the budget.

On the chopping block: The favorite conservative targets of the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Corporation for Public Broadcasting. As the Washington Post screamed, this budget is the “worst-case scenario for arts groups.”

Instead, the Trump proposal is a budget that’s heavy on certain core government issues — you know, constitutionally enumerated powers such as defense and immigration. As previously noted, Trump calls for a $54 billion increase earmarked for defense spending and billions set aside for border security and combating illegal immigration. Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney was tasked with producing a budget “that emphasizes national security and public safety,” and the OMB head has delivered.

It goes without saying that major media outlets, which still buy ink by the barrel, have gone off the rails with angst regarding the Trump budget blueprint — in particular, the aforementioned Washington Post, which caters to the bureaucrats who may soon find themselves in the position of seeking an honest living in the private sector.

But the Post and other media outlets aren’t writing to deliver the facts about the budget; they’re writing to warn Congress about derailing the gravy train that’s in place. Why else would these relatively modest cuts in the grand scheme of a $4 trillion budget be compared to the plans Ronald Reagan had when he first took office? (All we’re missing is Tip O'Neill and his fellow Democrats vowing the budget will be “dead on arrival” in Congress.)

But when a candidate runs on a platform that puts America first, it should surprise no one that defense wins out over foreign aid. Thus, the State Department is subject to a 28% cut. Trump wants to put $1.5 billion into a down payment on a border wall as well, along with funding additional judges to deal with deportations. While the Department of Education as a whole will be leaner to the tune of $9 billion, Trump allocates an extra $1.4 billion to school choice programs.

These are all things the voters who supported Trump demanded. As is the call to bring the Environmental Protection Agency to heel with a cut of almost one-third of its current budget. Addressing so-called “climate change” won’t be a priority item for the Trump administration, and EPA apologists are already claiming Trump’s reductions will make it “easier for polluters to get away with breaking the rules.”

Lefty columnist Eugene Robinson laments, “Trump budgets for a dumber, dirtier America.” Trump probably even hates puppies.

Yet since much of Congress will face the voters before President Trump does, members seem to have a cool reception to the budget proposal. “The administration’s budget isn’t going to be the budget,” noted Senator Marco Rubio, adding that all any president can do is give a suggested blueprint to Congress.

Rubio’s reminder is made evident by the fact that over the last six years Republicans in Congress routinely ignored Barack Obama’s budget proposals. His 2012 offering won exactly zero congressional votes. That gridlock led to government by continuing resolution, with attempts to control spending such as the sequester eventually falling by the wayside along with the debt ceiling. A compromise continuing budget resolution passed last December spared us the prospect of a government shutdown just before Christmas, but that temporary fix will expire at the end of April. So this Trump budget proposal may simply be the opening point of negotiations to deal with that as well as an increase in the debt ceiling.

The overarching question in all this talk about the budget, though, is similar to the one bedeviling congressional Republicans who campaigned for the last eight years on their opposition to ObamaCare only to punt on full repeal after voters put the GOP fully in charge of government. Now that they have a president who’s willing to eliminate many of the agencies the GOP vowed to dismantle if they were put back in power, will they stand up to the media and lobbyists to do so? The answer to that question may dictate whether Trump’s presidency will be a difference-maker or simply the latest in our nation’s drift from freedom and prosperity toward a European-style mediocrity.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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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