The subtlety of #FakeNews

At 7:46 AM EST this morning, CNN’s New Day was running a story about black Americans joining gun clubs in increasing numbers, when I spotted the caption under the visual: African-Americans are only 19% of US Registered Gun Owners. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that that number was low. Fortunately, I did know better: in the United States, only 12.6% of the population is black!

Had the blurb omitted the adverb “only,” it would have conveyed only information, and not added a bias. By including the adverb, it conveyed not only a bias, but inaccurate information, #FakeNews if you will.

If the 19% figure given is accurate, then African-Americans are over-represented among registered gun owners, not under-represented. That part does not bother me in the slightest: people may choose to exercise their constitutional rights any way they choose, and if some people choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights in the negative, that’s fine with me. If black Americans choose to own firearms at a greater rate than whites,1 that is the result of free people taking free decisions, and I do not object to that in any way.
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  1. The possibility exists that the racial breakdown of firearm ownership, as opposed to registered firearm ownership is different. It is my position that Americans have a right, as long as their rights have not been individually suspended by felony conviction, to own firearms without having to register them, but the Supreme Court has said otherwise.

Republicans and Democrats on economics

We noted, last September, an article by Heather Long stating that, “The general public has ‘extremely little factual knowledge’ about the job market and labor force,” and:

The U.S. unemployment rate is only 4.9%, but 57% of Americans believe it’s a lot higher than that, according to a new survey by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

The general public has “extremely little factual knowledge” about the job market and labor force, Rutgers found.

It’s another example of how experts on Wall Street and in Washington see the economy differently than the regular Joe. Many of the nation’s top economic experts say that America is “near full employment.” The unemployment rate has actually been at or below 5% for almost a year — millions of people have found jobs in what is the best period of hiring since the late 1990s.

But regular people appear to have their doubts about how healthy America’s employment picture is. Nearly a third of those survey by Rutgers believe unemployment is actually at 9%, or higher.

Republican candidate Donald Trump has tapped into this confusion. He has repeatedly called the official unemployment rate a “joke” and a even “hoax.”

Since the election, economic conditions have only gotten better. While the official unemployment rate remains very close to what it was before the election, the stock market has soared. On Monday, November 7, 2016, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18,259.60, up 371.32 points, or 2.1%, in what Market Watchwriter Sue Chang called the “Clinton Relief Rally.1 On election day itself, the Dow rose slightly, 72.83 points, or 0.4%, in what Quincy Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential Financial, called markets “pricing in a Hillary Clinton victory.”

Well, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t win, and Dow futures fell a whopping 750 points as Donald Trump took several ‘battleground’ states Mrs Clinton had been expected to carry, but, as Matt Egan of CNNMoney wrote, after the markets closed on Wednesday, November 9th:

That didn’t take long. An overnight panic in global markets evaporated as Wall Street gave an emphatic welcome to President-elect Donald Trump.

The Dow soared 257 points and brushed up against lifetime highs on Wednesday, in defiance of those who predicted Trump’s election would bring about a plunge in the stock market. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose 1.1% apiece.

The impressive market performance represents a dramatic reversal from the knee-jerk panic in global markets overnight as the results were coming in. Dow futures plummeted nearly 900 points at one point as investors expressed fear that no one would emerge victorious and concern about the inherent uncertainties brought on by a Trump White House.

Since election daySince the election, the market has only gone up. The Dow closed at 20,821.76 on Friday, up 2,489.33 points, or 13.58% since election day, while the broader market indices are also up by double digit percentages.

And that is what makes the following article so strange. From CNNMoney:

‘Unprecedented’ divide: Democrats fear recession, Republicans see a boom

by Matt Egan @mattmegan5 February 24, 2017: 3:09 PM ET

How’s the economy doing? The answer may depend on who you voted for.

At first glance, Americans appear to have gained significant confidence since the conclusion of the deeply-polarizing election of Donald Trump.

The University of Michigan said on Friday that its index of consumer sentiment was higher during the past three months than at any time since March 2004. Trump has been quick to take credit for the confidence boost, tweeting about it late last year before he even took office.

But those headline numbers mask a stark divide among Americans based on party affiliation.

The recent bump in consumer sentiment is the result of an “unprecedented partisan divergence,” according to Richard Curtin, the chief economist of the University of Michigan survey.

The survey shows “Democrats expecting recession and Republicans expecting robust growth,” Curtin wrote.

In reality, economists don’t think the U.S. economy will either contract or boom in the near future. Much depends on the fate of Trump’s agenda of massive tax cuts, infrastructure spending and deregulation.

There’s more at the link.

Mr Trump’s victory was won despite the opposition of the investor class,2 yet, here they are, the investor class, pushing stock prices to record levels. At least among investors, whom one supposes pay much closer attention to economic indicators and facts, Clinton supporters though they might have been, recession doesn’t seem to be much of an immediate worry.  We have noted that it has been a long time since  the last recession officially ended, but that, despite what the Democrats said was a good economy, 2016 saw the slowest growth in real Gross Domestic Product since 2011.

What all of this tells me is that people are taking economic decisions based not on what they know, but what they feel.  The Federal Reserve anticipates real GDP growth to be only 2.1% this year,3 something which hardly justifies investors sending stock prices up by over 10% since the election. The Democrats thought that the economy was doing just fine, yet the economy was growing more slowly than it had been.

It’s not just the Democrats who seem to be guided by their feelings concerning President Trump. Republicans and independents are seeing boom times ahead, but little of that appears to be based on economic facts. That 1.6% real growth rate is a hugely important number, because it means that the economy’s performance has to change, and change significantly, to approach anything close to an economic ‘boom.’ President Trump’s tax plans, if they pass at all, won’t pass until August, according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and his infrastructure spending proposals haven’t been submitted yet. Whatever effect Mr Trump’s policies will have on the economy aren’t likely to be very large in 2017.

The credentialed media are absolutely up in arms over President Trump’s hatred of them, of him calling them liars and producers of ‘fake news,’ but if the American people are mostly uninformed about the economy — and I believe that they are — it is because the professional media do such a poor job of informing them. Other than the official unemployment number, U-3, which is released the first Friday of every month, the media simply do a poor job in getting economic information out to the public, in a fashion that the public will actually see. CNNMoney is a good website, but other than Christine Romans hosting the very early edition on CNN — she’s off the air at 6:00 AM — CNN presents very little economic information during the day. Fox and MSNBC do a similarly poor job. The Wall Street Journal is a great newspaper, but far too few people read it, and you have to be a subscriber to see most of the articles on their website. Even CNBC is something of a problem, concentrating more on market news than economics.

The American people need more economic news, and they need it in a fashion which isn’t going to be based upon the media’s political biases.
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  1. The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.15% rose 46.34 points, or 2.2%, to finish at 2,131.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.17% climbed 119.80 points, or 2.4%, to end at 5,166.17.
  2. An e*Trade poll of 1,000 active investors indicated that 60% favored Mrs Clinton to only 40% for Mr Trump.
  3. Even that low number should be taken with a large grain of salt: the Fed also projected, in December of 2016, that 2016 would see 1.9% real growth, but the real number was only 1.6%. They couldn’t even get right what had already happened with 11½ of 12 months having elapsed.

The credentialed media setting the terms of the debate is fake news

Alisyn Camarota interviewed “Gavin” Grimm on CNN’s New Day this morning, and Miss Camarota treated Miss Grimm like any other boy. Trouble is, Miss Grimm is not a boy. From The New York Times:

Bathroom Case Puts Transgender Student on National Stage

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg | February 23, 2017

WASHINGTON — The bespectacled teenager in the gray A.C.L.U. hoodie and cargo pants stood, back pressed against a chain-link fence on Pennsylvania Avenue, under a sign saying “No Trespassing, Authorized Personnel Only.” The White House, illuminated at night, cast a glow over well-wishers who, having just wrapped up a protest against President Trump, waited in line to pay homage to 17-year-old Gavin Grimm.

Mr. Grimm looked a little flustered. “Absolutely humbled,” he pronounced himself, as his admirers thanked him for being brave.

With Mr. Trump’s decision this week to rescind protections for transgender students that allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, the next stop is the Supreme Court, where Mr. Grimm — an engaging yet slightly awkward young man — is the lead plaintiff in a case that could settle the contentious “bathroom debate.”

Amid a thicket of conflicting state laws and local school policies on bathroom use, the suit, which pits Mr. Grimm against his school board in Gloucester County, Va., could greatly expand transgender rights — or roll them back.

Mr. Trump has portrayed the issue as one of states’ rights, and already the country’s transgender students face differing realities depending on their school. Some are restricted to the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate. Others are not. Then there are the students like Mr. Grimm, who have had separate facilities set aside for them.

At issue in Mr. Grimm’s case is whether Title IX, a provision in a 1972 law that bans discrimination “on the basis of sex” in schools that receive federal money, also bans discrimination based on gender identity. President Barack Obama concluded that it did. Despite Mr. Trump’s action, lawyers for both Mr. Grimm and the school board said Thursday that they expected the case to go forward, with oral arguments set for March 28 and school officials across the country awaiting the result.

There’s more at the original.

Miss Grimm, who was born female, decided that she was really a boy as soon as she became “aware of the difference between boys and girls,” and told Gloucester High School when she was 15 and starting her sophomore year. At first, the school let her use the male bathroom, but local parents and students protested, and following two tense meetings, the school board decided that Miss Grimm would have to either use the female restrooms or any of three single-user restrooms made available for her. Two of those single-user restrooms are in refurbished utility closets, according to the Times, which means that the school incurred additional expenses in this case. In effect, the school provided Miss Grimm with a special accommodation.

But, that’s not good enough, not for Miss Grimm and the transgender lobby. To provide single user unisex bathrooms for their use is to state, inter alia, that Miss Grimm is exactly what she is, which is female, and that hurts her feelings, that makes her feel different. If it is a matter of what she believes she is, the 0.3 to 0.03% of the population which apparently believes that they are a different sex than what their biology indicates, it’s pretty obvious that far more than 0.3 to 0.03% of everybody else knows that they are what their biology makes them.

President Trump and his team have made a great deal about “fake news,” something the credentialed media claim exists only amongst the wicked right-wingers. However, if you had seen Miss Camarota’s interview, or read the Times article, you would see that the credentialed media are attempting to persuade their audience that Miss Grimm actually is male. The Times used the male honorifics throughout, and both the Times and Miss Camarota used male pronouns to refer to Miss Grimm. Even the supposedly conservative Washington Times went along with that silliness, using the masculine pronouns to refer to Miss Grimm. Of the sources I researched, only the Daily Caller used the feminine pronouns and presented the article in a fashion which indicated that Miss Grimm is female:

At least one physician has diagnosed Grimm with gender dysphoria, which means that Grimm insists she is actually a boy even though she was born with — and lived her life with — female reproductive organs.

The left used to claim to be the ‘reality-based community,’ but referring to a girl who claims to be a boy in terms accept her claim is the epitome of unreality, of accepting the delusions of someone who is mentally ill as being real. I can understand people having sympathy for someone with Miss Grimm’s problems, but having sympathy ought not mean lying to yourself.

Conservatives must not allow the media to frame the terms of the debate, and allowing the credentialed media usage of false identification of sex lets them frame the argument in both leading and unreal terms.
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Cross-posted on RedState.

President Trump’s tax policies

From The Wall Street Journal:

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Sees Tax Overhaul by August

Economic growth at 3% or higher is also among Trump administration’s ambitious goals, he says

By Rebecca Ballhaus and Nick Timiraos | Updated Feb. 22, 2017 9:37 p.m. ET

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin laid out ambitious goals to secure a U.S. tax-code overhaul by August and to deliver economic growth at rates not seen in more than a decade.

Mr. Mnuchin, in his first interview since his confirmation last week as Treasury secretary, said slower economic growth since the financial crisis had primarily been an anomaly and a result of Obama administration policies that can be reversed. He said the Trump administration is aiming for a sustained 3% or higher annual growth rate, a projection not widely shared by other forecasters.

“We think it’s critical that we get back to more normalized economic growth. More normalized economic growth is 3% or higher,” Mr. Mnuchin said.

Sustained growth at rates above 3% could be difficult to achieve. The Federal Reserve projects a long-run annual growth rate of 1.8% and the Congressional Budget Office has a similar view.

The U.S. faces slower economic growth in part because the labor force is expanding less briskly than in the past as baby boomers retire. Slow worker productivity growth has also held back the economy. Output has grown about 2% on average annually over the past decade, and other wealthy economies facing similar demographic challenges have seen slower growth rates.

Still, a strong reversal of weak productivity growth or an upturn in labor force growth could send output growth higher. The Trump administration is betting tax and regulatory reform could spark such changes.

There’s much more at the original.

My concern, briefly glossed over in the article, is whether any tax changes are essentially revenue neutral. I like the idea of tax cuts, as long as they are accompanied by spending cuts, and not just the promise of future cuts in spending; we’ve seen that before, and the spending cuts never seem to get made. Our deficit is way, way, way too high, and as of February 21st, the national debt stood at $19,935,316,186,835.78.1 I am just as concerned about President Trump’s proposed spending policies as I was by the profligate spending under President Obama. I do not believe that economic ‘stimulus’ works any longer, and the notion of increased ‘stimulus’ to reach the economic growth goals of the President seems more likely to inflate the national debt more than to increase growth.

  1. Interestingly enough, the national debt has actually declined by $11,988,368,376.71 since inauguration day, from $19,947,304,555,212.49 to $19,935,316,186,835.78. However, such fluctuations are normal, and don’t really reflect Trump Administration policies yet.

The downstream effects of illegal immigration

From the Allentown Morning Call:

Rape investigation leads to arrest of undocumented workers in Palmerton

By Dan Sheehan | February 22, 2017 | 8:03 PM EST

A sexual assault allegation against two undocumented immigrants in Palmerton led to the arrest of three other men who were also in the country illegally, officials said.

Jose Antonio Corripio Martinez, 36, of Jim Thorpe and Rafael Alberto Escobar Garcia, 29, of Palmerton, were charged Wednesday with assaulting an 18-year-old woman at a party in mid-December.

Police said the men had acknowledged they were undocumented, so Immigration and Customs Enforcement joined the investigation.

ICE agents visited the men’s workplaces — borough restaurants Tony’s Pizza and Papa Al’s — and determined three of their co-workers were undocumented, Palmerton Police Chief Randolph Smith said.

“These gentlemen were there, couldn’t provide proper ID…They were run through ICE’s system and all found to be illegal,” Smith said.

ICE took the men into custody, Smith said. Martinez and Garcia were arraigned and committed to Carbon County Prison, each on $150,000 bail.

The arrests came a day after the Trump administration rolled out tough new immigration rules, but Smith said his department isn’t targeting immigrants. He called the three co-workers were “collateral damage” from the rape investigation.

“This was not an ICE raid,” Smith said. “We weren’t targeting any illegal people other than the two who were the focus of our investigation. We’re not going to be going out looking for illegal immigrants. We have a lot of other important things to take care of.”

There’s more at the original.

Now, just how did ICE determine that a total of five employees of those two pizza restaurants were “undocumented?” To hire a worker, an employer must have the prospective employee fill out an immigration Form I-9. The I-9 requires that the employee produce documentation demonstrating his eligibility for employment, normally a photo ID issued by the state, such as a driver’s license, and a Social Security card. If ICE did not find copies of those documents in the employers’ files,1 or if the copies in those files were obvious forgeries, then, on the surface, it would seem that the employers broke the law by hiring the illegal immigrants.2 If this is the case, the employer should be prosecuted, and if convicted, imprisoned for the maximum time allowed under the law.

The only way that we can combat illegal immigration is to penalize the people who give them jobs!

Now, it’s possible that the employees provided forged documents which would have passed normal inspection. In that case, the arrested employees need to rat out the forger who provided the documents; if they refuse, then they should get the maximum time allowable in prison before being deported.

This case demonstrates what we have pointed out previously: illegal immigrants cannot survive in the United States without breaking the law on a continual basis.  If the Morning Call story is accurate, then there were five people working illegally, along with two restaurants illegally employing them, and (possibly) someone illegally selling forged documents. Illegal immigration has downstream illegal effects, and will always have downstream illegal effects.

But, as usual, there’s more. Had these five illegal immigrants not been able to support themselves in this country, they wouldn’t have been here, and the 18-year-old woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted in December would not have been raped!3 We cannot know, in advance, which immigrants will commit crimes beyond those directly linked to them being here illegally, but doesn’t allowing people to commit those immigration-related crimes with impunity encourage the belief that the laws simply do not apply to them?

The real test of President Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration will be whether the managers of Tony’s Pizza and Papa Al’s restaurants in Palmerton will be investigated for their complicity in the illegal employment of the immigrants in question, and whether they will be criminally charged for any crimes they may have committed. If the crackdown does not include criminal penalties for employers who knowingly hire people ineligible to work in the United States, the problem of illegal immigration will persist.
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Cross-posted on RedState.
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  1. The employer is not required to send the completed I-9 into Washington, but to keep it in the employee’s permanent record, to be available for examination by ICE.
  2. The First Street Journal does not use the mealy-mouthed term “undocumented,” other than for prosaic concerns, because “undocumented” has been meant, by those who use the term, to obscure the fact that illegal immigrants are here illegally, are in violation of the laws. The First Street Journal does not go along with obscuring the fact that “undocumented” immigrants are here illegally.
  3. This assumes that the Morning Call story is accurate. The First Street Journal takes no position on whether the alleged crime actually occurred, or, if it did, whether the two men charged with the crime were actually the perpetrators. That remains for the justice system to adjudicate.

Why can’t every illegal immigrant do things the way Adriano Espaillot did?

Alisyn Camarota interviewed Representative Adriano Espaillot (D-NY13) on CNN’s New Day this morning. It seems that Mr Espaillot first arrived in this country at age 9, with his parents, and they overstayed their visas, making them illegal immigrants.1 Then, for reasons not brought up in the interview, Mr Espaillot’s parents returned the family home, to the Dominican Republic, from which they then applied to become legal immigrants to the United States. Miss Camarota then asked Mr Espaillot, President Trump’s supporters would ask why every illegal immigrant can’t do it that way?2

There was an implicit bias on Miss Camarota’s part, including the part about President Trump’s supporters would ask, rather than asking the question directly, but at least the question did get asked. Mr Espaillot is an American citizen, now, and a legal immigrant; there are few conservatives who have any objection to legal immigration.

Mr Espaillot’s parents did things the right way,3 and that’s how immigration ought to be handled.

The left and the Democrats are already complaining about President Trump’s immigration plans, which would (supposedly) greatly expand the number of illegal immigrants subject to deportation. However, as we have noted previously, illegal immigrants don’t commit just one crime. Survival requires food, clothing and shelter, and the illegal immigrants are breaking the law every day to obtain those:

  • If the illegal immigrant is working at a ‘regular’ job, one in which his employer checks immigration status and withholds required taxes, the immigrant must have provided a false Social Security number, for such taxes to be withheld; this is a felony!
  • If the illegal immigrant is working an irregular job, for cash under the table, he is evading income taxes; this is a felony!
  • If the illegal immigrant has no job, but is living on welfare, he has obtained welfare illegally.

This was the problem of recent cause célèbre Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, a long-time illegal immigrant recently deported. Mrs Garcia had been convicted of a felony for providing a faked Social Security number, which is why she was under an existing deportation order from 2013. The New York Times reported that her husband was also here illegally,4 which means that he was also breaking the law, continually, to support his family.

The Democrats and the left would like for us to think that the illegals break the law only once, when they cross the borders, and that only a few become criminals in other ways, but that is not true. Modern life in the United States requires money, and bank accounts, to live within the law. The illegal immigrants have no choice but to keep breaking the laws in order to survive here. Perhaps Mrs Garcia, and her illegal immigrant husband, were not violent criminals, but they were criminals nevertheless. We could, and really should, forgive those illegal immigrants who return to their home countries, and then apply for legal immigration, as did Mr Espaillot’s parents, but if they are unwilling to do things legally, they should be deported, period.
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Cross-posted on RedState.
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  1. The First Street Journal does not use the mealy-mouthed term “undocumented,” other than for prosaic concerns, because “undocumented” has been meant, by those who use the term, to obscure the fact that illegal immigrants are here illegally, are in violation of the laws. The First Street Journal does not go along with obscuring the fact that “undocumented” immigrants are here illegally.
  2. This is a paraphrase on my part; neither the video nor the transcript of the segment is yet available on line.
  3. At least, they did things the right way after they returned home from overstaying a visa.
  4. The Times used the terms “unauthorized immigrant” and “undocumented immigrant” in reference to those here in violation of the law, using the term “illegal immigration” only in description of President Trump’s policies, and not in reference to individuals.

Post Election Stress Disorder: Psychologists actually have a term for the crybabies who can’t accept the election results

From Fox News:

‘Post-Election Stress Disorder’: Vets Take Issue With New Term for Upset Liberals

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | 0845

A state of depression among Democrats has been a nationwide theme since the election of President Donald Trump.

And now, doctors are treating this crippling anger as an unofficial medical condition.

Post-election stress disorder” is the new term created by mental health professionals for what some liberals are experiencing. However, some see this name as a slap in the face to veterans suffering from actual post-traumatic stress disorder.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) joined “Fox & Friends” Tuesday to discuss the creation of the term.

Mast is an Army veteran who lost both of his legs and a finger during an improvised explosive device accident in Afghanistan.

“There was a big missed opportunity in naming it ‘Post-Election Stress Disorder,'” he said. “I would have preferred they name it ‘Post-Inauguration Stress Disorder,’ that way they could have called it ‘PISD.’

“There’s a big difference between being pissed off about things and what happens on the battlefield.”

Personally, I prefer #TrumpDerangementSyndrome as the name, but whatever!

The video is below the fold, because it plays automatically. Continue reading ‘Post Election Stress Disorder: Psychologists actually have a term for the crybabies who can’t accept the election results’ »

This is why President Trump says the media are enemies of the American people

I saw part — not all — of a segment on CNN’s New Day this morning, with host Chris Cuomo asking why President Donald Trump hasn’t condemned anti-Semitism. That whole question is designed to lead people to believe that the President might be an anti-Semite. The odious Think Progress website posted an article entitled All three times Trump declined to denounce anti-Semitism this week.

President Trump has one habit that just annoys the crap out of the credentialed media: he answers the questions he wants to answer, the way he wants to answer them, and isn’t the type to be baited into speaking the words the media try to assign him to speak.

Me? I am less interested in the words that the President utters than the deeds he has done. I look at who some of his close advisers are:

  • Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, is his son-in-law, and serves as a senior adviser to the President
  • David Freidman, a Conservative Jew, a bankruptcy expert and longtime Trump attorney, is now the US ambassador to Israel
  • Jason Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew, is longtime chief legal officer for the Trump Organization, is working as special representative for international negotiations focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, US-Cuba relations and American trade agreements with other countries
  • Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, served as Trump’s national finance chairman during the campaign, and is now Secretary of the Treasury
  • Steve Miller describes himself as a “practicing Jew,” was a Trump speech writer during the campaign and is now a senior policy advisor
  • Carl Ichan is serving as a special adviser on regulatory reform issues, in a private, non-governmental role
  • Gary Cohn, formerly president and chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs, heads the White House National Economic Council
  • Boris Epshteyn is working as a special assistant to the president
  • David Shulkin, formerly the undersecretary for health at the Department of Veterans Affairs under resident Obama, is now the Secretary for Veterans’ Affairs
  • Reed Cordish, a friend of Jared Kushner, serves as assistant to the president for intragovernmental and technology initiatives. President Trump has been a long-time friend of Mr Cordish’s father
  • Avrahm Berkowitz is serving as special assistant to Trump and assistant to Jared Kushner

Would an anti-Semitic President have put these people in positions of power? Note that some of these people were friends of President Trump long before he ran for President, when he didn’t ‘need’ to include Jews for reasons of ‘diversity.’

Of course, there’s more. President Obama said that “there’s not a smidgen of evidence” to back up the charge that he was anti-Semitic, but it was under his Administration that the nuclear deal with Iran was negotiated, and he, personally, ordered then Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, to abstain on Security Council Resolution 2334, a resolution condemning Israeli settlements. Mr Trump, by then elected but not yet in office, condemned the move. Did the left ask if President Obama was anti-Semitic over that?  No, of course not, though the right certainly did.

Through his deeds, President Trump has proved that he is not anti-Semitic in any way.

 

#WeWillReplaceYou

From The Washington Post:

New progressive PACs warn Democrats to oppose Trump — or get primaried

By David Weigel | February 16, 2017

Last April, working the rope line after a campaign visit to Pittsburgh, Hillary Clinton stretched out her hand to greet Yong Jung Cho. The Democratic presidential candidate was walking into a familiar ambush — a shouted question from a climate change activist, with a camera set to record.

“Will you reject money from registered fracking lobbyists?” asked Cho, who was working with the anti-fracking group 350 Action.

Clinton laughed. “Go read the articles!” she said. “I’ve debunked all of that.”

Clinton went on to win the Pennsylvania primary, and the Democratic nomination, and Cho went on to co-found We Will Replace You, a new PAC that’s warning Democrats of primary challenges if they don’t fight President Trump everywhere they can. Among the group’s demands: opposing “all Trump appointees” and “all of Trump’s legislative priorities”; “sing Congressional processes and rules of order to systematically bring all business to a crawl”; and “publicly supporting impeachment if Trump is found to have broken the law or violated the Constitution.”

“We were not happy to see some Democrats vote for so many of Trump’s appointees,” said Claire Sandberg, a co-founder of the group and the digital organizing director for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential bid. “Seeing two Democratic senators vote for Rex Tillerson was absolutely appalling. Seeing 14 vote for Mike Pompeo was absolutely appalling. It seemed that Democrats in Congress were not getting the message,” Sandberg said, referring to Trump’s secretary of state and CIA chief.

“And since then, we’ve seen [Sens.] Jon Tester, Claire McCaskill and Dick Durbin express the opinion that Neil Gorsuch deserves a fair shake, after Republicans refused to do that much for Merrick Garland,” she said in comparing Senate treatment of Trump’s and former president Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominees.

We Will Replace You is the latest of several projects designed to warn Democrats of consequences in their primaries — or in 2018’s general elections — if they make deals with Trump. Justice Democrats, launched last month by progressive commentator Cenk Uygur, issued a detailed progressive platform and hinted at primary challenges if Democrats ignored it. Last week, a small crew of Sanders campaign veterans launched Draft Bernie for a People’s Party, arguing that progressives needed to give up on the Democrats altogether and break the two-party system.

“Even the most progressive candidates for DNC chair do not oppose large campaign contributions to party politicians from billionaires and super PACs,” Draft Bernie co-founder Nick Brana wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed. “How can we free our government from the influence of the oligarchs without even challenging their mechanisms of political control? Our country was much more sharply divided over slavery than it is over present-day money in politics and inequality. Yet Lincoln’s Republicans replaced the Whig Party in four years.”

There’s more at the original.

Hey, this is how the TEA Party managed to push the Republicans to the right. We were told that the TEA Party was too far right, that it would doom the GOP to permanent minority status, and might even be the death knell of the Republican Party. The actual results were the conversion of 1,030 congressional, gubernatorial and state legislative seats held by Democrats at the beginning of 2009 to Republican this year.

Not every TEA Party candidate who ran against an incumbent Republican in the primaries won, and not every successful TEA Party primary victor won the general election, but enough did to make the GOP a bit more responsive to their base. If the Democrats want to follow the same path, I say fine, go for it, and let’s see where it gets them.

The problem for the left is that they have spent so much energy on anger, on protests and other silliness, that I have to wonder how they are going to sustain this outrage for the 1¾ years until the next congressional elections. It will all depend on one thing, really: how successful President Trump’s first two years in office are. If the economy gets better, the Democrats will have almost zero chance; if there is a recession beginning, they’ll have a great chance. The math favors the GOP in the 2018 Senate races, and it’s very difficult to see Republicans losing control of the House of Representatives, absent a serious recession.

Au nom du peuple! Will populism win in the Netherlands and France?

From the BBC:

Are Dutch voters really turning to populist Geert Wilders?

By Anna Holligan | BBC News, The Hague | 9 December 2016

Dutch voters choose a new government in March 2017 and if the polls are right, the right-wing Freedom Party (PVV) of populist leader Geert Wilders is surging ahead of his rivals and is set to win 35 seats.

A quick calculation suggests almost three million people would vote for Geert Wilders. Anti-Islam and anti-immigration, Mr Wilders was found guilty on Friday of inciting discrimination and of insulting a group of Moroccan immigrants, although no penalty was imposed.

So where are the PVV’s voters?

The traditional method for tracking down PVV supporters down generates zero results, says political scientist Andre Krouwel.

“The PVV has no party organisation or local branches, no member or activist base, he is the only member of the party.”

A party source recommends a cosy pub opposite parliament to find supporters. But when the owners discover I am a journalist, they become edgy and are reluctant to talk politics.

The Twitter hashtag #stempvv (vote PVV) throws up plenty of anonymous profile pictures – a car, a sunflower and an angry cartoon character.

Many PVV supporters say they would prefer not to talk to journalists – a combination of distrust and fear of being stigmatised or misrepresented.

“It’s socially not acceptable to vote PVV, they’re considered extremist-right wing,” journalist Wierd Duk told the BBC.

“They would be excluded from their social circle, work, they’d lose friends, promotion opportunities. If you out yourself as a PVV supporter you’re seen as a threat to the dominant ideology of tolerance and consensus.”

To an American, that sure sounds familiar! If you supported Donald Trump,1 you were just a rube, a boor, and socially unacceptable. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be elected our next President in a landslide,2 and the Democrats had a very good chance of regaining control of the United States Senate.

The BBC article telling us just how much Mr Wilders’ supporters had to keep quiet was from December; has his support waned since then?

Will Geert Wilders win the Dutch election? Latest polls for the Netherlands election 2017

Geert Wilders is riding a growing wave of populism and appears on track to win the Dutch election, according to the latest polls.

By Alice Foster | 15:10, Wed, Feb 15, 2017 | UPDATED: 16:14, Wed, Feb 15, 2017

The anti-Islam leader of the Dutch far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) is on course to win the most seats at the general election in March.

Geert Wilders cuts a star, supposedly representing his country, from an European flag in 2014

Geert Wilders cuts a star, supposedly representing his country, from an European flag in 2014

His election would be the latest blow for Europe’s liberal order in the wake of the Donald Trump’s victory and the Brexit vote.Mr Wilders has pledged to close the Netherlands’ borders, shut down mosques and leave the euro and EU if he gets into power.

Rem Korteweg, senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform (CER), believes that there is an 80 per cent chance that the Mr Wilders will win.

He said: “We have to take the polls with a grain of salt, but Wilder has really been able to create a significant lead over the past two months.”

But Mr Korteweg said Mr Wilders will not become Prime Minister because the other Dutch parties are not willing to form a coalition with him.

He added: “The result of that is going to be a political mess after the election. Wilders will claim that he has the will of the people.

“But there are very few – if any parties – that will go into Parliament with him.”

There’s more at the original.

Hillary Clinton supporters stoically responding to the election results.

Hillary Clinton supporters stoically responding to the election results.

I’ve said it before: the only polls which count are the ones held on election day, and that is the one which left the Democrats in unexpected tears. The Dutch polls show a reasonable plurality for Mr Wilders, but the actual election has yet to be held.

Dutch parliamentary elections are very much unlike American elections; due to proportional representation, multiple parties have chances to win seats, and coalition governments tend to be the result. Unlike Mr Trump, Mr Wilders is projected as the plurality winner, but, very much like our new President, the Dutch politician’s support could well be undercounted, due to the social unacceptability of supporting him. Similarly, Marine le Pen is projected to ultimately lose the French presidential election, following a projected first round victory.

We have previously noted that the European Union, long an ideal, may well be unworkable in practice. The EU’s second largest economy, the United Kingdom, has already voted to leave, and significant percentages of the people in France, the third largest, support leaving both the EU and the eurozone common currency. The fourth and fifth largest economies, Italy and Spain, are both in significant economic distress. The European Union is simply not a homogeneous whole in anything like the United States is, and the US has its own internal economic disparities.3

The pre-election polls have produced some very wrong answers lately, both in the United States and Europe. Something has changed in the way pollsters are getting their data, and I suggest that it is in the answers they are getting to their questions. It appears to me that there is a greater reluctance among conservatives to answer pollsters’ questions truthfully, not only on candidate preferences but on whether they will vote at all.
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  1. I did not; I voted for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.
  2. The New York Times, on election day morning, stated that Mrs Clinton had an 85% probability of winning the presidency.
  3. There are 3,056 counties in the United States: the 472 carried by Hillary Clinton account for 64% of GDP, while the 2,584 carried by Donald Trump account for only 36%.