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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Monday, April 30, 2018

Finland Turns Against “Basic Income”

April 25, 2018 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

I’m conflicted.

I’ve repeatedly expressed skepticism about the idea of governments providing a “basic income” because I fear the work ethic will (further) erode if people automatically receive a substantial chunk of money.

Moreover, I also fear that a basic income will lead to an ever-expanding burden of government spending, particularly once net beneficiaries figure out they can vote themselves more money.
Given these concerns, I should be happy about this report from the New York Times.
For more than a year, Finland has been testing the proposition that the best way to lift economic fortunes may be the simplest: Hand out money without rules or restrictions on how people use it. The experiment with so-called universal basic income has captured global attention… Now, the experiment is ending. The Finnish government has opted not to continue financing it past this year, a reflection of public discomfort with the idea of dispensing government largess free of requirements that its recipients seek work. …the Finnish government’s decision to halt the experiment at the end of 2018 highlights a challenge to basic income’s very conception. Many people in Finland — and in other lands — chafe at the idea of handing out cash without requiring that people work. …Finland’s goals have been modest and pragmatic. The government hoped that basic income would send more people into the job market to revive a weak economy. …The basic income trial, which started at the beginning of 2017 and will continue until the end of this year, has given monthly stipends of 560 euros ($685) to a random sample of 2,000 unemployed people aged 25 to 58. Recipients have been free to do as they wished… The Finnish government was keen to see what people would do under such circumstances. The data is expected to be released next year, giving academics a chance to analyze what has come of the experiment.
The reason I’m conflicted is that the current welfare state – both in the United States and other developed nations – is bad for both taxpayers and poor people.

So I like the idea of experimentation. There has to be a better way of alleviating genuine suffering without trapping poor people in dependency or punishing taxpayers.

Indeed, one of my arguments for radical decentralization in America is that states will try different approaches and we’ll have a much better chance of learning what works and what doesn’t.
And maybe we’ll learn that there are some benefits of providing a basic income. But, as reported by the U.K.-based Guardian, it’s unclear whether the Finnish experiment lasted long enough or was comprehensive enough to teach us anything.
The scheme – aimed primarily at seeing whether a guaranteed income might incentivise people to take up paid work by smoothing out gaps in the welfare system…it was hoped it would shed light on policy issues such as whether an unconditional payment might reduce anxiety among recipients and allow the government to simplify a complex social security system… Olli Kangas, an expert involved in the trial, told the Finnish public broadcaster YLE: “Two years is too short a period to be able to draw extensive conclusions from such a big experiment. We should have had extra time and more money to achieve reliable results.”
I will be interested to see whether researchers generate any conclusions when they look at the two years of data from the Finnish experiment.

That being said, there already has been some research that underscores my concerns.

The OECD is not my favorite international bureaucracy, but its recent survey on Finland included some sobering estimates on the cost of a nationwide basic income.
In a basic income scenario, a lump-sum benefit replaces a number of existing benefits, financed by increasing income taxation by nearly 30% or around 4% of GDP. …the basic income requires significant increases to income taxation. …Financing a basic income at a meaningful level thus would require considerable additional tax revenue, and heavier taxation of income would at least partially undo any improvement in work incentives.
And in a report on basic income last year, the OECD poured more cold water on the idea.
…large tax-revenue changes are needed to finance a BI at meaningful levels, and tax reforms would therefore need to be an integral part of budget-neutral BI proposals. …abolishing tax-free allowances and making BI taxable means that everybody would pay income tax on the BI, and on all their other income. Tax burdens would go up for most people as a result, further increasing tax-to-GDP ratios that are currently already at a record-high in the OECD area. …There are also major concerns about unintended consequences of a BI. An especially prominent one is that unconditional income support would reduce the necessity for paid work.
Indeed, it’s difficult to see how work incentives aren’t adversely affected. Why go through the hassle of being employed when you can sit at home and play computer games all day?

P.S. Given the option of voting on a basic income in 2016, Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected the notion.

P.P.S. Former Vice President Joe Biden actually agrees with me about one of the downsides of basic income.

Texas Voter ID Law Upheld

Timothy Meads

The Associated Press reports that a Texas voter ID law has been upheld by a US Court of Appeals. From the AP: “Texas' voter ID law that was twice blocked over findings of discrimination can stay in effect for the 2018 elections, a U.S. appeals court ruled Friday. It was the second major ruling over voting rights in the U.S. this week after an Arkansas judge on Thursday blocked that state's voter ID measure as unconstitutional. But in a 2-1 decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, the Texas law that critics have slammed as one of the toughest voter ID measures in the nation was seen as a suitable replacement for the original 2011 law that a federal judge had likened to a "poll tax" on minority voters.

The biggest change to the Texas law — which accepts handgun licenses as sufficient identification to vote, but not college student IDs — is that voters without any acceptable photo ID can still cast a ballot so long as they sign an affidavit.

Opponents and a federal judge in Texas balked at the revisions, saying criminal penalties tied to lying on the affidavit could have a chilling effect on voters.” Democrats have long argued that state voter ID laws are racist because in their view minorities are less likely to be able to obtain identification. Republicans argue that since identification is required for nearly everything these days, it would make sense that arguably one of the most important civic duties would also require ID. According to CNN, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the decision.

From CNN:..............To Read More......

Brent Bozell: The Can't-Do Republicans

By L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham | April 27, 2018

Back in '92, the late Paul Weyrich and I held a press conference during the Republican National Convention to make two announcements.

First, we were endorsing George Bush 41's re-election. Second, we'd just made the most meaningless endorsement in history. He had so thoroughly bungled his first term that there was nothing to be done to save him. And we were right.

The Republicans are now facing the same future in November. At this point, they will certainly lose the House and quite possibly the Senate. Worse, they've so botched their opportunity that only they can save themselves now. Their $1.3 trillion omnibus bill was not just the most reckless spending bill in history, it was an abject surrender on every single political and policy pledge made to those who put them in office, save helping the military.

It's been this way from the start. First, they asked for control of the House and its appropriations authority to right the fiscal ship, and as importantly, to end Obamacare. In 2010, they got it — and immediately stated they could do nothing without the Senate. In 2014, they were awarded that, too — and just as quickly declared they could do nothing without the White House. So, in 2016 they were handed that, and with it complete control of the legislative process, but now with no more excuses available............To Read More.....

The Scott Pruitt Show Trial

His “crime” is that he won’t allow leftists at the EPA to use green ideology to harass business.

George Neumayr

The attacks on Trump cabinet officials intensify in direct proportion to the effectiveness of the policies they advocate. Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA administrator, is Exhibit A of this phenomenon. Because he is preventing green ideologues at the EPA from harassing businesses, because he is at the forefront of Trump’s deregulatory successes, the Sierra Club and other left-wing groups organized a smear campaign against him. That campaign has culminated in the show trial of grandstanding Congressmen who feign outrage at Pruitt’s lack of “ethics.”

All of this noise is just an attempt to “derail the president’s agenda,” as Pruitt said to the badgering pols at Thursday’s Congressional hearing. David Horowitz, long a student of the left’s tactics, notes that whatever the left claims is the “issue” represents nothing more than a pretext to advance the real issue, left-wing policies. In Pruitt’s case, this tactic takes the comically ironic form of prodigal Democrats, who spend the public’s money like drunken sailors, faking up outrage at Pruitt’s “spending habits.” ...........To Read More.....  

But Mueller is an honorable man!

Jeez, I wish American politics would stop imitating William Shakespeare already. Now we have Robert Mueller acting like a Roman assassin, and I just heard Victor Davis Hanson on YouTube say, "Mueller is an honorable man."

Hanson knows where that phrase comes from. It's from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, all about the assassination of Caesar by Brutus and the other conspirators in the Roman Forum. Shakespeare lived in and around the Court of Queen Elizabeth, where traitors were routinely sent to the Tower of London to be executed. Some of the traitors were real, some victims of paranoid court politics. 

The queen and her counselors made up their minds about Walter Raleigh, for one, and decided he had to die. The survival of the monarch was all-important, and killing the wrong guy was just too bad.........Today, the United States is seeing its first real coup d'état, plotted by Hillary and the Democrats along with the top swampies. 

While half the country believes that Donald Trump conspired with Vladimir Putin to steal the last election, the sane half keeps watching this lynch mob behavior. The long knives have been out for POTUS Trump for the last 18 months or longer. This is unprecedented in U.S. history, with the exception of the Civil War after Lincoln's election caused the South to secede. 

More than half a million people died then, and today, the tinfoil hat brigade is led by the Big Media (which are mostly owned by foreign billionaires like Carlos Slim)....................More

The Democratic Party's abandonment of truth

By Samuel E. Tolley III

Truth is not arbitrary, relative, or subjective. It isn't determined by gender, ethnic, or social status. It is not subject to changing morals, customs, or laws. Truth cannot be true for you and untrue for me, nor can what is true become untrue. The essential characteristic of truth is truth. The Democratic Party would have us reject truth and embrace error, because a large segment of the party's constituents has done so. Their leaders seem to be more interested in pacifying aberrant behavior than in correcting it. Their lust for power tolerates what has always been intolerable; therefore, the 21st-century Democratic leadership has become both the megaphone and the procreator of a false reality........To Read More.....

Islam contra the West: Surrender is not an option

By Amil Imani

Who are we? We are individuals dedicated to expose Islamic tyranny for what it is. There are not many of us.

I am going to name just a few who have been on the front line to stop the incursion of the Islamic ideology in the West: Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Dr. Ali Sina, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Brigitte Gabriel, and Geert Wilders come to mind, along with many others who have sacrificed the comforts of life just to sound the alarm, only to be mercilessly attacked by elements of the global left.

All of us have to constantly look over our collective shoulder to make sure the knife of an Islamic zealot doesn't slash our throats as he aims to secure a posh place for himself in Allah's paradise.

 Not a good feeling to have to live with, is it?

The potential killers take all the advantages this benign society and culture offer to implement their dastardly schemes, while people like us are virtual prisoners. We have been challenged. They say, "You want us to go to war with 1.5 billion Muslims? Is that what you're proposing we do?" Not at all. We are peaceful, non-violent individuals. We despise wars and killings – the favorite activities of Muslims the world over and ever since the birth of their faith.............More

Pew's Dubious Results on Faith in America

By Tom Trinko

Pew is at it again, producing a dubious poll that tries to "prove" that Americans are becoming less religious. Previously, Pew invented the group called "nones," who constitute about 23% of the population, which Pew tried to portray as being people without faith.

The reality is that of that group, only 3% said they are atheists, 4% said they are agnostic, and the remaining 16% are those not aligned with any particular denomination. One has to question the motivation for grouping the tiny fraction of Americans who reject God with the much larger group that is simply not associated with a specific faith tradition.

It seems to make sense only if one is pushing the narrative that faith in America is rapidly declining. In fact, it might make one question whether or not Pew is unbiased vis-à-vis the issue of religion in America. The big point of the most recent poll is that supposedly only 56% of Americans believe in the God of the Bible. But the actual poll data give us many reasons to doubt the conclusions Pew is pushing.............. More

Losing Patience with the Rollup of the Rogue Ruling Class

Clarice Feldman

More information came to light this week about the extensive, illegal operations of Obama’s rogue bureaucratic corps. Like the Attorney General, the President, Professor Alan Dershowitz, Joe DiGenova, former Clinton pollster Mark Penn and millions of others, we think this is taking far too long, and the Mueller investigation needs to close its bunker door and fade away.

I’m with them.

Moreover, if indictments of the Obama Bureaucrats who confected this nonsense and tried to cover it up don’t follow quickly on the release of the Inspector General’s report -- now due May 8 -- it is hard to imagine how much more contempt we will have for claims that we must respect the judicial system.

Having seen the criminal justice system misused as a vicious political weapon against Lewis Libby, Ted Stevens, and now General Michael Flynn while manifest lawbreakers, including both the Clintons, McCabe, and Comey waltz home free, inspires depths of distrust that only the enemies of a democratic state could hope to accomplish, Here are some of the highlights of this week’s many disclosures............. More

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Thomas Sowell's Last Word?

Sowell's title, if employed by a member of the leftist intelligentsia, would doubtless imply a causal link between statistical disparities and some form of discrimination – usually racial. Sowell, by contrast, marshals an abundance of evidence to show that this automatic assumption isn't justified

Focusing simply on statistical probabilities, Sowell notes that if five prerequisites are needed for success in a particular field, and if the chances are two out of three that any person will have each characteristic, the chance of possessing all five characteristics are still only one in eight – a calculation that helps explain why most pro golfers have never won a PGA tournament while Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods have collectively won over 200 times.

Consequently, "[g]iven multiple prerequisites for many human endeavors, we should not be surprised if economic or social advances are not evenly or randomly distributed among individuals, groups, institutions or nations at any given time."............Read more

Will the Supreme Court Grant States Extraterritorial Tax Powers?

April 23, 2018 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
On April 17, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., a case dealing with whether states should have the power to levy taxes on companies in other states.

Internet Tax Shark Cartoon

Most observers see this issue as a fight over taxing the Internet, taxing online sales, or a battle between Main Street merchants and Silicon Valley tech firms. Those are all parts of the story, but I’ve explained that this also is a contest between two competing approaches to taxation.

On one side are pro-market people who favor origin-based taxation, which is based on the notion that sales should be taxed where the merchant is based.

On the other side are pro-government people who want destination-based taxation, which is based on the notion that sales should be taxed where the consumer lives.

Needless to say, I’m not on the pro-government side of the battle. Here’s some of what I wrote when I was at the Heritage Foundation way back in 2001.
Requests to establish this destination-based tax authority should be denied. Such a regime would create an anti-consumer sales tax cartel for the benefit of profligate governments. It also would undermine privacy by requiring the collection of data on individual purchases. And it would violate important constitutional principles by giving state and local governments the power to impose their own taxes on businesses in other states.
All of that is still true today, but let’s look at some more recent analysis of the issue, all of which is tied to last week’s hearing at the Supreme Court.

George Will opines on South Dakota’s revenue grab for the Washington Post.
South Dakota has enacted a law contradicting a 26-year-old court decision concerning interstate commerce, and a law Congress passed and extended 10 times. It wants to tax purchases that are made online from vendors that have no physical presence in the state. South Dakota wants to increase its revenue and mollify its Main Street merchants. …In 1992, in the Internet’s infancy, the court held that retailers are required to collect a state’s sales taxes only when the retailers have a “substantial nexus” — basically, a physical, brick-and-mortar presence — in the state where the item sold is purchased. Such a nexus would mean that the retailer benefits from, and should pay for, local government services. Absent such a nexus, however, states’ taxation of sales would violate the Constitution, which vests in Congress alone the power to impose such burdens on interstate commerce. …Internet commerce…could not have flourished if vendors bore the burden of deciphering and complying with the tax policies of 12,000 state and local taxing jurisdictions, with different goods exempted from taxation. …the Internet Tax Freedom Act…is intended to shield small Internet sellers from discriminatory taxes and compliance burdens. …South Dakota is seeking the court’s permission for its extraterritorial grasping. …Governments often are reflexively reactionary when new technologies discomfort established interests with which the political class has comfortable relations of mutual support. The state’s sales-tax revenue has grown faster than the state’s economy even as Internet retailing has grown. …Traditional retailing will…prosper or not depending on market forces, meaning Americans’ preferences. State governments should not try to prevent this wholesome churning from going where it will.
The Wall Street Journal also has opined in favor of limits on the ability of states to impose their laws outside their borders.
The Supreme Court’s landmark 1992 Quill decision protects small businesses across the country from tax-grubbing politicians across the country. …At issue in South Dakota v. Wayfair is whether governments can tax and regulate remote retailers that don’t enjoy the state’s representation or benefit from its public services. …Fast forward 25 years. States complain that online commerce is eroding their tax base. Brick-and-mortar stores grouse that remote retailers are dodging taxes, putting them at a competitive disadvantage. …Politicians would prefer to soak out-of-state retailers rather than their own taxpayers. But America’s founders devised the Commerce Clause to prevent states from burdening interstate commerce and making long-arm tax grabs.
Here’s a troubling tidbit from the WSJ editorial. The Trump Administration is siding with South Dakota politicians, using the same statist rationale as the European politicians who are trying to grab more money from high-tech American companies.
The Justice Department has filed a brief supporting South Dakota… Seriously? According to Justice, businesses that operate a website have a “virtual” presence everywhere. The European Commission has invoked the same argument to impose a digital tax on Silicon Valley tech giants, which the Trump Administration has denounced as an extraterritorial tax grab.
Wow, the incompetence is staggering. The Stupid Party strikes again.

Veronique de Rugy explains in her Reason column that state governments want to overturn Quill because they don’t want tax competition.
If you think internet companies aren’t paying any taxes for online sales and that’s killing bricks-and-mortar retailers and states’ budgets, you, my friend, have been duped. Nothing could be further from the truth. …Most state lawmakers want to see Quill overturned, allowing them to force out-of-state companies to collect sales taxes on their behalf. This argument was just heard by the Supreme Court If the states were to win, they would be able to reach into the pockets of that mom selling her paintings on Etsy, even though she may live on the other side of the country, didn’t elect other states’ officials, and never agreed to those states’ tax laws. …tax competition among states would also be lost if Quill were overturned. Under the new regime, online consumers—no matter where they shop or what they buy—would lose the ability to shop around for a better tax system. Without the competitive pressure and the fear of losing consumers to lower-tax states, lawmakers would not feel the need to try to rein in their sales tax burden. It’s that pressure, which limits their tax grabbing abilities, that these lawmakers resent and want the Supreme Court to put an end to. …There is a lot to be lost in the Wayfair case. If Quill were to be overturned, compliance costs could skyrocket for many retailers, and good principles of taxation would be thrown out the window. Healthy tax competition is at stake. Let’s hope the highest court in the land makes the right decision.
In a column for the Wall Street Journal, Chris Cox, former Congressman and former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, debunks the notion that states are suffering for a loss of tax revenue.
‘Our states are losing massive sales-tax revenues that we need for education, health care, and infrastructure,” South Dakota’s Attorney General Marty Jackley told the U.S. Supreme Court… His state’s Supreme Court opined that sales tax revenues have “declined.” The state Legislature, citing its own “finding” to this effect, enacted a law requiring out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax on purchases shipped to South Dakota.
Here’s the data debunking Jackley’s claim about South Dakota “losing massive sales-tax revenues.”
…the law is based on a false premise. The state’s own data show that sales and use tax revenue grew from $787.7 million in 2013 to $974.7 in 2017—considerably faster than the state’s rate of economic growth. The governor’s budget for 2018 projects the state’s sales and use tax revenue will be more than $1 billion, 4% higher than last year, with no change in rate. That’s 29% higher than five years earlier. Sales-tax revenues have been booming in other states, too.
In other words, politicians are greedy and they’re willing to prevaricate. They want more and more revenue and they don’t want to face competitive pressure that might limit their ability to extract more money that can be used to buy votes.

Is anyone shocked?

P.S. The fight between “origin-based” and “destination-based” approaches to consumption taxation is very analogous to the fight between “territorial” and “worldwide” approaches to income taxation.

P.P.S. Given that it arguably has the best (or least-destructive) tax system of any state, it’s disappointing to see South Dakota politicians taking a lead role in an effort that would undermine tax competition.

Caruba's Corner: Just Another Race Riot

By Alan Caruba Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ Warning Signs

When you’ve lived over seven decades in America, the news about another race riot is really not news. It’s just another race riot.

The latest is Baltimore and the theme for this one is police violence against an unarmed black youth. This was the theme of the Ferguson, Missouri riots last year and has been a fairly common theme since the arrival of the new century fifteen years ago. Such events included riots in Cincinnati in 2001, the Oakland riots in 2009, and the two most recent.

A December 2014 article in Real Clear Politics by Jack Kelly put the statistics in perspective. “Young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than are young white males, Pro Publica said. But because more than two-thirds of police officers are white and blacks commit about half of violent crimes, it stands to reason most police shootings would involve a white cop and a black suspect.”

Largely unreported is that “Black cops shot black suspects at essentially the same rate as white cops…” 

For those of us outside of the black community and living in safe suburban zones surrounding our cities, the riots might as well be taking place on Mars. Why anyone would, as is often the case, destroy their own neighborhood, loot and burn down businesses (often black-owned) defies an answer.

Because riots offer television news dramatic images of violence and destruction, one can depend on coverage for a long as it lasts. Being photographed looting or engaging in violence against police and others seems to be one of the “perks” of rioting. Baltimore’s riot dominated the news on every channel Monday evening to the point one might conclude that nothing else of any importance was occurring anywhere in the world. The earthquake devastation in Nepal had to fight for the very few minutes of coverage it received.

It is astonishing to recall that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was able to lead many civil rights marches with so little violence, but it was the years concurrent with and following the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts in 1964 and 1965 that saw large riots such as several in 1964 in Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York. There were three just in New Jersey that year.

Having achieved the goals of the civil rights movement, historic federal laws, one might have concluded that rioting was no longer needed to call attention to the ills of the post-civil rights era.

You would have been wrong. The one that got national attention was in the Watts area of Los Angeles in 1965. The pattern continued with riots in 1966 and 1967. In April and May 1968 after Dr. King was assassinated, there were riots in 125 cities. The 1980s and 1990’s had their share of riots.

Just add Baltimore’s Freddie Gray’s name to the list of those who died either during an arrest or in police custody, sparking a riot. In the past the public generally backed the police, but now they are being depicted as undisciplined killers. The reality is that the police are the thin line of defense between us and the criminals whose job is theirs to arrest and detain. That occurs all the time. Police have more reasons to act in their own defense in a week than most of us will have in a lifetime.

As we learned from Ferguson, the original allegations against the police officer were totally false. Let it also be said that is not the only reason riots have

The grotesque record of Democrats and the press of smearing the blameless

"Which office do I go to get my reputation back?"

Democrats' outrageous charges against former VA nominee begin to unrave

April 28, 2018 By Rick Moran

To hear the Democrats tell it, Ronny Jackson, the nominee for secretary of Veterans Affairs who withdrew his name from consideration last week, is a drunken, lecherous, abusive boss who hands out opioids like candy.  In the immortal words of Albert Nimziki, "that's not entirely accurate."

The United States Secret Service has issued a statement disputing the allegation that White House physicianRonny Jackson, President Donald Trump's pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs before Jackson withdrew his name, drunkenly banged on the door of a female colleague.
CNN reports that on an overseas trip in 2015, Jackson got drunk and very loudly knocked on a female colleague's door. Secret Service agents allegedly had to calm him down so he wouldn't disturb President Barack Obama.  However, the Secret Service says it has no record of such an incident ever occurring........... Read more

The ex-husband of Barbara Bush-basher Prof. Randa Jarrar speaks out

Feminist Politics: Theater of the Absurd

April 28, 2018 By William Sullivan

The ease with which the left corrupts history and preys upon the young and dim never ceases to bother me.

Take this example.  Emily Zanotti at The Daily Wire reminds us of a popular movement during Trump's presidential campaign, with the hashtag (because any modern sloganeering requires such things) #VoteTrumpGetDumped. The idea was expressed in a way that today's enlightened feminist, with attention spans measured by nanoseconds, might grasp the gist of before taking the first sip of her skinny, organic skim milk-infused caramel macchiato. "Join us by wielding your influence," the marketing asked of its female readers in 2016. "Until Trump is defeated, we don't date, sleep with, or canoodle with Trump supporters."

That "influence" is...well, you don't need it spelled out.  But just in case you do, there's an image of a woman's defiantly crossed legs emblazoned.........There's an inherently sexist implication in assuming that the greatest power a woman has lies between her legs.

Think of your wife, your mother, your sister, or any woman that you know and respect. Does her greatest gift to the world lie in her sexual potency, or in her other values, as we human beings appraise them?

Her mind, her talents, the other intangible things which should demand her respect beyond what the feminists believe her greatest bargaining chip to be – don't those things matter more? ........Read more

Rich New York City liberals don't want their kids to integrate

Cuba Dealt Diplomatic Defeat at the UN Human Rights Council

By Maria C. Werlau

The Cuban missions to the United Nations in New York and Geneva are among the largest and their work, mostly carried on by intelligence officers fronting as diplomats, is very active and effective. But sabotaging the UPR pre-session on Cuba unmasked the regime’s true face in the most flagrant of ways. Untold hours and millions of dollars of hard work by Cuba’s influence and propaganda apparatus were undone in 90 minutes by the regime’s own hand.  Although Cuba is one of 47 Member States serving on the United Nations Human Rights Council, Cuban diplomats on Friday................ .............To Read More.....

My Take - The hypocircy of the UN is unbelievable.  Cuba is on their Human Rights Council?  You just can't make this kind of stuff up.  So who are the members?  Here's the list! A big portion of whom have no business determining what constitutes Human Rights, including Venezuela. Imangine that, expecting the most incompetent and corrupt organization that ever existed to aviod being incompetent and corrupt. 

What Leftists Stand For

Historically, both sides of the political spectrum in America have supported the rule of law and the Constitution. Additionally, other than the Democrats' longstanding racist oppression of black people, the positions held by both sides were generally differences that people of goodwill could hold. For example, good people can disagree on just what the tax rates should be.

Since Roe v. Wade, that has changed, and the change has accelerated rapidly in the last eight years. The left in America has openly embraced evil, rejected the rule of law, and denied that Americans they disagree with have constitutional rights.

That's why 2016 was a Flight 93 election: the political fight in America is no longer among people of good will, but between evil fascists and the American people. Most of the people who vote for the Democrats have no idea what the left actually stands for due to the actions of the media, who hide the truth. Here are some of the evils perpetrated or supported by large numbers of leftists so you can convince those Democrat voters to switch sides:............ Read more

The War on Reason

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Caruba's Corner: Obama's Make-Believe Life

By Alan Caruba  (1/2/10)

I have this theory about Barack Obama. I think he’s led a kind of make-believe life in which money was provided and doors were opened because at some point early on somebody or some group took a look at this tall, good looking, half-white, half-black, young man with an exotic African/Muslim name and concluded he could be guided toward a life in politics where his facile speaking skills could even put him in the White House.

In a very real way, he has been a young man in a very big hurry. Who else do you know has written two memoirs before the age of 45? “Dreams From My Father” was published in 1995 when he was only 34 years old. The “Audacity of Hope” followed in 2006. If, indeed, he did write them himself. There are some who think that his mentor and friend, Bill Ayers, a man who calls himself a “communist with a small ‘c’” was the real author.

His political skills consisted of rarely voting on anything that might be deemed controversial. He went from a legislator in the Illinois legislature to the Senator from that state because he had the good fortune of having Mayor Daley’s formidable political machine at his disposal.

He was in the U.S. Senate so briefly that his bid for the presidency was either an act of astonishing self-confidence or part of some greater game plan that had been determined before he first stepped foot in the Capital. How, many must wonder, was he selected to be a 2004 keynote speaker at the Democrat convention that nominated John Kerry when virtually no one had ever even heard of him before?

He outmaneuvered Hillary Clinton in primaries. He took Iowa by storm. A charming young man, an anomaly in the state with a very small black population, he oozed “cool” in a place where agriculture was the antithesis of cool. He dazzled the locals. And he had an army of volunteers drawn to a charisma that hid any real substance.

And then he had the great good fortune of having the Republicans select one of the most inept candidates for the presidency since Bob Dole. And then John McCain did something crazy. He picked Sarah Palin, an unknown female governor from the very distant state of Alaska. It was a ticket that was reminiscent of 1984’s Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro and they went down to defeat.

The mainstream political media fell in love with him. It was a schoolgirl crush with febrile commentators like Chris Mathews swooning then and now over the man. The venom directed against McCain and, in particular, Palin, was extraordinary.

Now, nearly a full year into his first term, all of those gilded years leading up to the White House have left him unprepared to be President. Left to his own instincts, he has a talent for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. It swiftly became a joke that he could not deliver even the briefest of statements without the ever-present Tele-Prompters.

Far worse, however, is his capacity to want to “wish away” some terrible realities, not the least of which is the Islamist intention to destroy America and enslave the West. Any student of history knows how swiftly Islam initially spread. It knocked on the doors of Europe, having gained a foothold in Spain.

The great crowds that greeted him at home or on his campaign “world tour” were no substitute for having even the slightest grasp of history and the reality of a world filled with really bad people with really bad intentions.

Oddly and perhaps even inevitably, his political experience, a cakewalk, has positioned him to destroy the Democrat Party’s hold on power in Congress because in the end it was never about the Party. It was always about his communist ideology, learned at an early age from family, mentors, college professors, and extreme leftist friends and colleagues.

Obama is a man who could deliver a snap judgment about a Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer who arrested an “obstreperous” Harvard professor-friend, but would warn Americans against “jumping to conclusions” about a mass murderer at Fort Hood who shouted “Allahu Akbar.” The absurdity of that was lost on no one. He has since compounded this by calling the Christmas bomber “an isolated extremist” only to have to admit a day or two later that he was part of an al Qaeda plot.

He is a man who could strive to close down our detention facility at Guantanamo even though those released were known to have returned to the battlefield against America. He could even instruct his Attorney General to afford the perpetrator of 9/11 a civil trial when no one else would ever even consider such an obscenity. And he is a man who could wait three days before having anything to say about the perpetrator of yet another terrorist attack on Americans and then have to elaborate on his remarks the following day because his first statement was so lame.

The pattern repeats itself. He either blames any problem on the Bush administration or he naively seeks to wish away the truth.

Knock, knock. Anyone home? Anyone there? Barack Obama exists only as the sock puppet of his handlers, of the people who have maneuvered and manufactured this pathetic individual’s life.

When anyone else would quickly and easily produce a birth certificate, this man has spent over a million dollars to deny access to his. Most other documents, the paper trail we all leave in our wake, have been sequestered from review. He has lived a make-believe life whose true facts remain hidden.

We laugh at the ventriloquist’s dummy, but what do you do when the dummy is President of the United States of America?

Editor's Note:  My friend Alan Caruba passed on June 15, 2015.   Alan's work is insightful, logical, factual, and has a timeless about them.   Alan had given me blanket permission to publish his work when he was alive.  I had intended to archive many of his articles, but like most of us, I got caught up in life.  Well, that effort is long overdue, so every week I intend to publish one or more of of his old articles from Warning Signs starting from the last one published as a tribute to my friend, Alan Caruba.

Please enjoy Caruba's Corner!


Caruba's Corner: Circumstantial Evidence

By Alan Caruba Thursday, April 30, 2015 @ Warning Signs

By Alan Caruba

Imagine that you are the former Governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, both sitting in jail after having been found guilty last year of public corruption for accepting golf outings, lavish vacations and $120,000 in “sweetheart” loans. Compared to the Clintons they are just two failed bit players.

Writing in the May issue of Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin, a senior editor, noted the lack of a “smoking gun” in the case of just the latest Clinton scandals. “But what Democrats and all Americans should be asking about this argument is why some people get prosecuted for corruption on such circumstantial evidence while others are considered likely to be elected president.”

“Just because a prosecutor isn’t likely to haul the Clintons into court over all these astonishing coincidences (or at least not so long as the Democrats control the Department of Justice), that doesn’t mean their behavior doesn’t smell to high heaven,” said Tobin. “The court in which the Clintons deserve to be condemned is that of public opinion.”

The Clintons have conspired and sometimes acted in direct contradiction of the law to rely on the concept of circumstantial evidence. Hillary’s use of her own private email server and her later destruction of that server is a classic example of this behavior. The high-paid speeches which Bill gave put him into a gray area of collusion, benefitting from the influence Hillary had as Secretary of State. Ultimately, the donations to their foundation by foreign governments rank far above a mere misdemeanor. It was too often just blatant bribery.

I fear that far too many Americans do not realize that our nation and its system of justice are on the cusp of encountering serious damage. Merely condemning the Clintons for what we know at this point is simply not enough.

What is needed is a widespread denunciation of their actions over recent years.

What is really needed is a decision by the Democratic Party to withhold the right to run in its primaries for the office of president, based on her actions deleting emails and accepting donation to the foundation.

The U.S. media needs to be more vocal that Hillary withdraw her candidacy.

Why would a media mute its criticism and a political party ignore the obvious revelations, even if deemed circumstantial evidence, of the corruption demonstrated by the Clintons?  The Clintons have been given a free pass from the day they entered politics.

As Peggy Noonan, a Wall Street Journal columnist, has said, “We are defining political deviancy down.” That degrades the process by which we select and elect the men and women who are given the role and responsibility of lawmakers.

As Noonan notes of Hillary, “The story is that this is what she does, and always has. The rules apply to others, not her.” As recently as 2012, the State Department forced the resignation of a U.S. ambassador for “in part setting up an unsanctioned private email system.”

“In 1992 the Clintons were new and golden. Now, so many years later, their reputation for rule breaking and corruption is so deep, so assumed that it really has become old news. And old news isn’t news.”

Except when it is. When old news is an unbroken succession of wrong-doing it is incumbent on everyone involved with the present “campaign” by Hillary Clinton to be the next President to not avoid the stink that arises from both the earlier and most recent revelations.

“A generation or two ago,” said Noonan, “a person so encrusted in a reputation for scandal would not be considered a possible presidential contender. She would be ineligible. Now she is inevitable.”

Those earlier generations have been replaced by those more intent on celebrity than substance. They have the attention span of fungus. They lack any vision for America, having never really learned about or absorbed the lessons that the Greatest Generation and others passed onto us.

Are there enough of them to plunge America into the Clinton cesspool by electing her President? One can only pray that the answer is no.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

(Editor's Note:   My Friend Alan passed on June 15, 2015.  This is part of my continuing series as a tribute Alan's work, and as you will see his articles have a timelessness to them.  Current events underline this.  RK

The Man Who Overdosed on Placebo

By Alex Berezow — April 23, 2018

Have you noticed that drug commercials always conclude with some ominous warning like, "This drug may cause headache, anxiety, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, and erectile dysfunction"?

There's a reason for that. To stay out of trouble, pharmaceutical companies list every possible thing that might ever go wrong with a patient. In reality, most people who take the drug will never experience those side effects. But if they do, it's probably not because of the drug. Instead, it's due to the nocebo effect.

The nocebo effect is the evil twin of the placebo effect. With the placebo effect, a treatment (even if ineffective) makes a person feel better simply because he got a doctor to prescribe him something. A person experiencing the placebo effect even undergoes measurable physiological changes.

At the opposite extreme, a person experiencing the nocebo effect feels badly, not because the drug (or placebo) has nasty side effects, but because the person literally makes himself sick. If a doctor tells a patient that a treatment may make him feel dizzy, the patient very well may report feeling dizzy. And there's a good chance that the patient manifested that symptom precisely because he expected it.

If all of this sounds too nutty to be true, rest assured that it is all extremely well documented. (This has even given rise to bioethics debates about whether doctors should prescribe placebos to patients for subjective conditions, such as pain.) One extremely unusual case demonstrates just how powerful the placebo/nocebo effect really can be.

The Man Who Overdosed on Placebo
Several years ago, a published case study describes a 26-year-old man who was taken to the emergency room. After arguing with his ex-girlfriend, he attempted suicide by swallowing 29 capsules of an experimental drug that he obtained from a clinical trial that was testing a new antidepressant. When he arrived at the hospital, he was sluggish, shaking, and sweating and had rapid breathing. His blood pressure was extremely low at 80/40, and his pulse was 110.

Doctors were successful at raising his blood pressure. Over the course of four hours, they injected him with 6 liters of saline solution. His blood pressure increased to 100/62, which is at the lower end of the normal range, but his pulse remained high at 106.

What finally cured the patient wasn't anything the emergency room staff did. Instead, a doctor from the clinical trial arrived at the hospital. He told the patient that those antidepressant pills weren't antidepressants because he had been randomized into the control arm of the trial. Yes, that's right: He overdosed on placebos.


Within 15 minutes, the patient's blood pressure stabilized at 126/80, and his heart rate dropped to a perfectly normal 80 beats per minute.

The Placebo Paradox

The placebo/nocebo effect can be so strong that a drug meant to do one thing can make the patient feel as if it is doing the exact opposite. From the aforementioned case study:
Tension has been shown to increase in subjects given inert substances and even muscle relaxants if the subjects believed they were stimulants. Paradoxical responses have been demonstrated to bronchoconstrictors and bronchodilators in asthmatic patients who thought they were receiving the opposite medications. Allergic responses and decreases in allergic responses have occurred in subjects given saline injections, apparently related to the subjects’ beliefs about what kind of injection they were being given.
Understanding the power of the placebo/nocebo effect is necessary if we are to fully explain why alternative medicine remains popular. When so many people have been conditioned to fear Big Pharma, it's no wonder that many patients feel better after sniffing some scented candles and drinking homeopathic potions. Ironically, it's exactly what science would predict.

Mid-term narrative of a 'blue wave' building is bogus

April 27, 2018 By Rick Moran

Amy Walter of the respected Cook Political Report asks the question: "If Democrats Are Doing so Great, Why Don't They Have a Bigger Lead on Generic Ballot?"

Indeed, the Democrat's lead in the generic ballot has gone from double digits last year to less than 7 points, according to several polls. And the reason may surprise you:

Here’s my best guess.

First, we tend to spend too much time looking at the margin instead of the vote itself. For example, the Quinnipiac poll in March had Democrats up 10 points. In April, that lead was down to just 3 points. The headline: Democrats lose their lead! But, let’s take a closer look at what actually changed between March and April. In March, 48 percent said they’d like to see Democrats win control of Congress to just 38 percent who said they’d want Republicans in control. In April, 46 percent wanted to see Democrats in control (a slight 2 point drop), while 43 percent picked the GOP (a more impressive 8-point improvement).  What does this mean?............As disgusted as many GOP voters have been with the party, their voters are still far more likely to pull the lever for Republicans rather than the Democrats..............Read more

Syria bombs Palestinian refugee camp 220 times and nobody cares

Feel the Bern: How Millennial Socialists Endanger America

Friday, April 27, 2018

Christians Deceived by the LGBTQ Movement

For crying out loud, Lloyd -- another article about how the LGBTQ movement seeks to ban Christianity? Folks, I keep talking about this because too many fellow Christians still don't get it.  California pro-LGBTQ Assembly Bill 2943 threatens free speech and freedom of religion for Christians. It uses the state's consumer fraud statute to make it illegal to "distribute resources, sell books, offer counseling services, or direct someone to a biblically based model for getting help with gender confusion and homosexuality."

Meanwhile, Christians believe the LGBTQ movement's lie that they only seek Christian love and acceptance. The truth is the LGBTQ movement seeks to bury Christianity; bullying us into silence and extinction. Christians have told me to stop posting my articles about LGBTQ aggression on their Facebook pages. A Christian told me not to post articles on their Facebook page about Planned Parenthood illegally trafficking aborted baby body parts...........Read more

Hillary’s Money Laundering Scheme

Why is the media ignoring the DNC’s new $84 million campaign finance scandal?

Hillary Clinton's beaten wives of the press

Any cop can tell you the scenario: wife-beater beats up wife, bruised up wife calls the cops, cops come over, and then wife decides she really loves her abusive husband and turns on the cops instead of the wife-beater, refusing to press charges, wasting the cops' time.

Pathetic co-dependency works like this, and some states have actually made it a crime to back off from pressing charges and refusing to cooperate in the prosecution of obvious abusers. Then there's Hillary Clinton and her adoring co-dependent press, the relationship of whom was amply described by Amy Chozick in her fawning, unintentionally interesting new book, Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling..........

What stands out to me in this is how abusive and paranoid Hillary and her close circle of aides really were to the press.  Chozick gushed and gushed about how "luminous" the drunken, disheveled, clearly sick candidate was as she stumbled through her campaign stops, lost her shoes, fell into coughing attacks, had on-camera seizures, took long bathroom breaks during nationally televised debates, and occasionally got shoved into a van like a sack of potatoes by the Secret Service.  Something was way wrong with her, and the press covered for her, seemingly howling for the Hillary minions to "beat me again."............ Read more

Time to End the Resistance of the Swamp