‘Shithole countries?’ Terribly expressed, but the President was right.

From The Washington Post:

Trump derides protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries

By Josh Dawsey | January 12, 2018 | 7:52 AM

President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt that they help the United States economically.

In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.

“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.”

There’s more at the original.

The Democrats were gleefully, self-righteously aghast, of course, and the left has piled on with the obvious claims, ‘Donald Trump is a raaaaacist!’ Thankfully not-President Hillary Clinton tweeted:

NBC News dug up another story, which supposedly confirms that the President is a racist. There are so many that to link them all would be a waste of time.

Two things are very apparent:

  1. President Trump has no ‘filter;’ and
  2. President Trump was right.

President Trump says what he thinks, without seeming to worry or care how others will take his words. He is very, very different from past politicians, in ways that the Washington elites — of both parties — still cannot grasp, but in ways his base very much appreciates.

And in describing Haiti, in particular, as a ‘shithole,’ he was telling the truth. Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniopla, the second largest island in the Caribbean, but they are very different.

The U.N. ranks the Dominican Republic 90th out of 182 countries on its human-development index, which combines a variety of welfare measurements; Haiti comes in at 149th. In the Dominican Republic, average life expectancy is nearly 74 years. In Haiti, it’s 61. You’re substantially more likely to be able to read and write if you live in the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola, and less likely to live on less than $1.25 a day.

The reasons are varied: different cultures, different languages and different political histories. Both countries are majority non-white, though the racial demographics are different: Haiti is 95% black, and 5% either white or mixed race, while the Dominican Republic is 73% mixed race, 16% black and 11% white. Because of this, the President’s comments were immediately attacked as racist. When Mr Trump asked about having more immigrants from Norway, a very ‘white’ country, there was simply more fodder for the left.

The cited Time article states that the island’s terrain gives less rainfail, but Port-au-Prince’s annual 54 inches is not significantly different from Santo Domingo’s 57. There is little physical reason why the two nations should have such disparate economic results, but there certainly is a cultural one.

Haiti is poor, and getting poorer. When Haitians immigrate to the United States, they are unlikely to have the employment skills that would fit well into the American economy. More Haitian immigrants means, to put it bluntly, more welfare recipients.

Norwegians? Norwegians, and Europeans in general, are far more likely to be decently educated, share Western cultural values, and be able to fit in to the American economy. Obviously there will be differences among individuals, but, in general, immigration from European countries would be far more beneficial to our economy and our society.

The United States ran a wryly ironic deficit in FY2017, $666 billion, and we’re looking at yet another half-trillion deficit for the current year; how does it make any sense at all to allow the immigration of people who will more probably wind up on some form of public assistance? The President expressed it poorly, but he was still right.

The Success of Socialism: Part 13 — Venezuelan oil production drops again

From CNNMoney:

Venezuela is inching closer to collapse

by Patrick Gillespie | January 9, 2018 | 1:02 PM ET

Venezuela has more oil than any other nation in the world, but it keeps pumping less and less.

Oil production fell in December to one of its lowest points in three decades, further depriving the cash-strapped country of its only major source of revenue and adding to the suffering of its people.

Venezuela produced 1.7 million barrels of oil a day, according to S&P Global Platts, which polled industry officials, traders and analysts and reviewed proprietary shipping data.

That’s the lowest since 2002, when a failed coup temporarily took hold of the government-run oil company, PDVSA.

Other than that, oil production is the lowest in 28 years. It’s down 27% just since 2014, when the country’s economic crisis took hold, according to OPEC and S&P figures.

There’s much more at the original.

Petroleum exports make up 95% of the Bolivarian Republic’s export revenues, and the country has become desperately poor; people are losing weight due to malnutrition, and medical care has been plagued by chronic shortages. The country has already defaulted on $1.2 billion in debt, and Venezuela and PDVSA, the nationalized oil company, owe around $60 billion in outside bond debt. Repudiation of the debt, the kind of thing one expects from socialist nations and dictatorships would simply mean that no one else would lend Venezuela more money, and money is what the country so desperately needs.

This is what socialism does! Socialism brings formerly prosperous countries to their knees, leaving the vast majority poor, with only the men with guns retaining any wealth.

The left have been successful in controlling the terms of the debate

From the Ace of Spades:

Of Course: Straight Singer Accused of Being “Transphobic” For Refusing to Entertain Dating, and Refusing to Kiss, Trans “Woman”

Look, if you were comfortable in your heterosexuality, you wouldn’t mind adding some Vitamin Dick to your diet.

From BET. I have changed the pronouns to reflect actual reality rather than polite indulgence of fantasy self-conception.

Singer Ginuwine has sparked a heated debate on Twitter after a recent episode of Celebrity Big Brother UK. In the latest episode, Ginuwine seemingly rejected fellow housemate India Willoughby.The controversy stems from a conversation between Willoughby and the “Pony” singer, in which [he] asked whether he would date a trans woman. “You would date me, yeah,” Willoughby, who is a trans woman herself, asked.

“Not if you were trans,” Ginuwine replied. After Ginuwine replied that he would not date a trans woman, Willoughby attempted to plant a kiss on the singer. When [his] advance was rejected, Willoughby stormed off.

See Twitchy (the first link above) for the Twitter reaction, of people claiming this was “transphobic” on “Ginuwine’s” account, and other people noting, quite rightly, that this guy specifically told this other guy (who claims to be a woman) he was not interested in a sexual relationship with him, but then the guy tried to forcibly kiss him anyway.

You know — like men are losing their jobs for in Hollywood. But I guess here, a man is allowed to attempt to forcibly kiss another man because Trans “Women” have special rights to commit Sexual Assault for Equality.

There’s more at the original.

If a heterosexual man even looks sideways at a woman, it’s practically sexual harassment these days, if not actually sexual assault. But, for the left, people of ‘minority sexual orientation‘ are protected groups, so their sexual behavior is not quite as constrained, as viewed by the left. I note that Kevin Spacey’s defense on the accusations against him was to come out as being homosexual, and the left were quick to say that Mr Spacey using the homosexuality ‘defense’ should not be used to smear all homosexuals. There were plenty of articles published stating that men who refused to consider male-to-female transsexuals as romantic partners were bigoted.

And, of course, some colleges are falling in line with ‘gender inclusive language,’ attempting to require people to use the gendered pronouns that the person referred to prefers, rather than what the speaker may see as reality.

The problem is simple: transsexuals believe that they are the opposite sex from the sex they were born, and believe that they have a right to require other people to accept their definitions. To refuse sexual activity, even so little as a kiss, due to someone being transsexual, is to refuse to accept transsexuals’ definitions of themselves, and that’s something the transsexual community simply cannot abide. To ‘misgender’ by using the pronoun associated with the person’s actual sex rather than his perceived one is seen as an injury, and cannot be tolerated.

If there is one area in which the left have been enormously successful, it has been in the control of the terms of the debate. Whether it has been cutting taxes being referred to as stealing from the poor to substituting the word gay, which means happy and carefree, for homosexual, conservatives have been too willingly accepting of such terminology. For conservatives to win the debates must mean taking back the language of the debates.

The death of civility?

From The Wall Street Journal:

‘White-Informed Civility’ Is the Latest Target in the Campus Wars

The rules of collegiate debate are also coming under attack as racist and patriarchal.

By Steve Salerno | January 2, 2018 | 7:19 p.m. ET

From the land that irony forgot—which earlier gave us microaggressions and trigger warnings—comes a new and surprising movement, this time to combat civility. Civility, you see, is a manifestation of the white patriarchy. Spearheading this campaign are a duo of University of Northern Iowa professors, who assert that “civility within higher education is a racialized, rather than universal, norm.”

Their article in the Howard Journal of Communications, “Civility and White Institutional Presence: An Exploration of White Students’ Understanding of Race-Talk at a Traditionally White Institution,” describes a need to stamp out what they call “whiteness-informed civility,” or WIC. The pervasiveness of WIC, it seems, erases “racial identity” and reinforces “white racial power.”

Their thesis can be a tad hard to follow, unfolding as it does in that dense argot for which academia is universally beloved. But their core contention is twofold: One, that civility, as currently practiced in America, is a white construct. Two, that in a campus setting, the “woke” white student’s endeavor to avoid microaggressions against black peers is itself a microaggression—a form of noblesse oblige whereby white students are in fact patronizing students of color. Not only that, but by treating black students with common courtesy and expecting the same in return, white students elide black grievances, bypassing the “race talk” that is supposed to occur in preamble to all other conversations. Got it?

Something similar is happening in collegiate debate, where historically high standards of decorum are under siege as manifestations of white patriarchal thinking. So are the factual and logical proofs that debaters are normally expected to offer in arguing their case. Some participants are challenging the format, goals and ground rules of debate itself, in some cases refusing even to stick to the topic at hand.

Again the driving theory is that all conversations must begin by addressing race. As one top black debater, Elijah J. Smith, writes, debate must, before all else, “acknowledge the reality of the oppressed.” He resists the attempt on the part of white debaters to “distance the conversation from the material reality that black debaters are forced to deal with every day.”

There’s more at the original, but I’d raise a point the author didn’t include. The author, a journalism professor who lives in Las Vegas, was setting up an argument decrying the loss of civility based on race, on campus, even among black students who are, one supposes, trying to become part of the educated ‘elites’ in our society, but are rejecting the ‘rules’ of the elites in academia.

The most obvious examples of success among black Americans, outside of professional sports and rap ‘music,’ would be former President Barack Obama, entertainer Oprah Winfrey and several Hollywood figures. (There are many successful black businessmen, such as Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co., Inc, Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, and Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, but they simply aren’t that widely known about.) These are examples of successful black Americans who fully maintained civil relations with larger society. By rejecting traditional civility, these college students are rejecting the path of most successful people, white or black, in our society. If you happen to be 6’11 and can dominate on the basketball court, you have a different success path ahead of you, but very few people happen to fit that mold.

Nevertheless, the elephant in the room is President Trump. He succeeded, when no one thought he could, by not being civil, by refusing to abide by the norms of political discourse expected of political candidates. He baffled ‘Lying Ted’ Cruz and ‘Little Marco’ Rubio and ‘Crooked Hillary’ Clinton, he attacked Carly Fiorina’s appearance and implied that Megyn Kelly’s hostility was due to “blood coming out of her whatever,” presumably meaning that she was on her period, he survived a tape of him saying that he could just grab women by their genitals, and he still won.

The lesson seems obvious: when you opponents are playing by restrictive rules, and you refuse to go along with those rules, you can gain an advantage that you opponents may not be able to overcome. It worked for President Trump, and, to judge from Dr Salerno’s article, it’s working other places as well.

Getting a Fair Divorce Settlement in Arizona is Easier than Ever

Getting a Fair Divorce Settlement in Arizona is Easier than Ever

If you are thinking of getting a divorce in Arizona, your options are good. It’s up to you to do everything in your power to get the best possible settlement for your divorce. You can do this by hiring a Scottsdale Divorce Attorney to represent your case. If you have assets that were yours before you signed on the dotted line, you certainly don’t want to sacrifice them when you separate permanently from your current spouse. Hiring the right divorce attorney for the job is the best way for you to make sure that all of your property will still be yours when your marriage ends.

A Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer is Your Best Bet for a Fair Settlement

The most important priority on your list should be to make sure that the settlement you receive is a fair and just one. If there are any children that came from the marriage, you will certainly want to make sure that your rights as a parent are fully respected. You may wish to file for primary or sole custody of the children so that you can be recognized as the legitimate caregiver. You will need the help of a qualified Scottsdale divorce lawyer to have yourself certified in this fashion. There may also be other issues that your lawyer can help get resolved on your behalf.

Your Divorce Lawyer Will Help You Make Your Point in Court

There are many reasons why most divorcing couples do not represent themselves in court. The main reason is because you want to make sure that your side of the story is presented in the most compelling and convincing manner possible. This is a tall order for the average person to fill, especially because the average man or woman on the street is not a trained legal professional. It’s always best for you to hire a fully qualified and experienced divorce attorney to handle your case and present your argument to the court.

Your Divorce Attorney Will Know What Evidence to Present on Your Behalf

One of the most important things that your Scottsdale divorce lawyer can do on your behalf is to present all of the necessary documents and other evidence that you need to prove your point. If you are in possession of assets and property that predate your marriage, you certainly don’t want to surrender it. In order to keep it, you will need your attorney to help you produce the necessary proofs of ownership so that these bits of property don’t end up being allocated to your soon to be former spouse. This is definitely a task that should be left to a qualified divorce attorney.

Hiring an Attorney for Your Divorce is Easier than Ever

If you are ready to put an end to your marriage, the time to hire a qualified divorce lawyer is now. Don’t wait until your soon to be former spouse hires their own lawyer. The sooner you make a proactive stand, the better. A divorce attorney can help you get your case ready in advance so that everything you need is in order at the moment you actually file for divorce. This is the best way to make sure that you will win a fair settlement.

Kim Jong-un: Forget the crazy image in the media, because this man is both able and dangerous

From The Wall Street Journal:

South Korea Wants to Talk Olympics (And Nuclear Weapons) With North

Seoul seeks to meet next week at DMZ

By Andrew Jeong | Updated January 2, 2018 | 9:03 a.m. ET

SEOUL—South Korea proposed talks with North Korea over its possible involvement in next month’s Winter Olympics—and Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program—a day after the North Korean leader said Pyongyang would be open to sending a delegation to the Games.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said Tuesday that his country seeks to meet North Korean officials Jan. 9 at the Panmunjom truce village, an enclosed area within the demilitarized zone on the inter-Korean border that has been a venue for previous talks. The Olympics will be held Feb. 9-25 in the South Korean ski resort city of Pyeongchang.

“The North will have its own objectives for coming to talks, if it accepts our proposal,” Mr. Cho said in a press briefing. “But considering Kim Jong Un mentioned the possibility of North Korea participating in the Winter Games, we expect the North to be prepared for that topic, and although we will seek to discuss other topics, the Winter Olympics will be the priority.” .  .  .  .

With tensions on the Korean Peninsula high a few weeks out from the Pyeongchang Games, South Korean officials appear to be using the Olympics as a way to reduce the likelihood of a military provocation from Pyongyang. A Unification Ministry spokeswoman said Mr. Cho believes the North’s participation in the Winter Olympics would lower the probability of a clash.

Mr. Kim on Monday appeared to demand that in return for sending a North Korean delegation to the Winter Olympics, Seoul must suspend its participation in annual military exercises with the U.S.

There’s more at the original.

Naturally, Kim Jong-un wants something. The idea that he’ll get the Republic of Korea to suspend or cancel its military exercises with the United States seems far-fetched, but the North almost certainly has a fall-back position. The real question is: what does he want that he reasonably thinks he can get?

I have said previously that Kim Jong-un might be crazy, or he might be crazy like a fox, and I was leaning toward the latter:

Kim Jung-un might be crazy, or might be crazy like a fox, but one thing is certain: he is a very able man. He wasn’t part of the succession plans at all until his half-brother, Kim Jung-nam fell out of favor, and his elder full brother, Kim Jung-chul wasn’t considered forceful enough. His father could see his own end coming, and rapidly promoted his favored son, but still Kim Jung-un took power when he was only around 28, and he managed to not only secure power, but consolidate it very swiftly; his authority is unquestioned at this point, and we should not underestimate him.

Crazy like a fox. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has even kept the birthdays of both him and his wife, Ri Dol-ju, confidential, drumming up speculation and sowing confusion in the West. There’s little reason to keep those things secret, other than to create an air of mystery, and it has worked that way.

From The Washington Post:

Why North Korea succeeded at getting nuclear weapons — when Iraq and Libya failed

Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer

Dr Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer, from her photo with the Wilson Center.

By Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer1 | January 2, 2018 | 6:00 AMNorth Korea was considered too poor, authoritarian and vulnerable to succeed with its nuclear and missile programs. And yet Pyongyang has acquired advanced nuclear weapons capabilities — and, at the end of November, tested an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Why has North Korea succeeded when other countries such as Iraq and Libya have failed?

Three factors are central to North Korea’s success. This analysis draws on findings about the North Korean program from a recent New York Times article, as well as my recent book on the Iraqi and Libyan nuclear programs.

Yes, Dr Braut-Hegghammer is promoting her book, but she posited three good reasons why President Kim succeeded where others have failed:

  1. Mr Kim made nuclear weapons his top priority, where Moammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein did not;
  2. Mr Kim shielded scientists from political penalties, and promoted science education in ways the other dictators did not; and
  3. Mr Kim made North Korea’s nuclear program as self-reliant as possible, reducing problems stemming from having to import material and technology.

These are not the policies of a crazy man, but an able one. Dr Braut-Hegghammer noted, in particular, how Mr Kim “shielded scientists from (key institutional) purges, and has given them exclusive privileges, including better food rations and new apartments.”

Kim Jong Un has reportedly not killed scientists and has even developed a reputation for tolerating failures as part of the scientific learning process. He appears to have adopted a meritocratic approach to hiring scientists into the military programs and to selecting the new generation of scientific leaders. These efforts may have helped accelerate the missile program’s success in recent years.

Click to buy on Amazon.

Considering the (sometimes overblown) reports concerning how President Kim has purged those he believed to not be completely loyal, to have protected scientists in this way would appear to be completely out of character, at least for someone frequently portrayed as half-crazy. But adapting his techniques and management style, in ways he might not personally prefer, to further a particular goal is a sign of a very able man, not a nutcase. He’s working for what he sees as his country’s, and his, best interests, and is, if anything, overachieving.2

This guy is sharp, and we’d better not forget it.

  1. Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer is an associate professor of political science at the University of Oslo and the author of “Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya failed to build nuclear weapons” (Cornell University Press, 2016).
  2. I have previously noted that I love it when the only fat kid in North Korea wastes another missile shooting at an empty spot in the Pacific, and I love it when he wastes hard-to-produce weapons grade fissile material blowing up empty holes in the ground. Every missile expended, every weapon tested, is something removed from the North Korean arsenal. The North Koreans know this, and they are using these things to provoke a Western response, knowing that such a response will be yet another torrent of words.

Good news from The Washington Post! President Trump is keeping another promise.

The exodus probably hasn’t been enough to return Virginia to the ranks of red states, but it’s a good start!

How the Trump era is changing the federal bureaucracy

By Lisa Rein and Andrew Ba Tran | December 30, 2017 | 1:00 PM EST

Nearly a year into his takeover of Washington, President Trump has made a significant down payment on his campaign pledge to shrink the federal bureaucracy, a shift long sought by conservatives that could eventually bring the workforce down to levels not seen in decades.

By the end of September, all Cabinet departments except Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and Interior had fewer permanent staff than when Trump took office in January — with most shedding many hundreds of employees, according to an analysis of federal personnel data by The Washington Post.

The diminishing federal footprint comes after Trump promised in last year’s campaign to “cut so much your head will spin,” and it reverses a boost in hiring under President Barack Obama. The falloff has been driven by an exodus of civil servants, a diminished corps of political appointees and an effective hiring freeze.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

I really wish that I could reproduce the entire article, but that would be plagiarism! But there’s one more short paragraph that is of paramount importance:

Federal workers fret that their jobs could be zeroed out amid buyouts and early retirement offers that already have prompted hundreds of their colleagues to leave, according to interviews with three dozen employees across the government. Many chafed as supervisors laid down new rules they said are aimed at holding poor performers and problem workers to account.

What? Heaven forfend! Holding poor performers and problem workers to account? That’s what should have been happening all along! If an employee cannot or will not do his job, he should become a former employee.

There are some unfair comparisons in the article. It notes, for example, that 71,285 career employees either resigned or retired during the President’s first six months in office, compared to 50,000 during his predecessor’s first six months, but private sector employment conditions were horrible during President Obama’s first six months in office, while the economy is doing very well right now. Employees who weren’t retiring, who needed to keep working, simply have more options now than in 2009.

But here’s a statistic that is not misleading: at the end of FY2017, the federal government was down about 16,000 permanent employees, while the government had grown by 188,000 permanent employees under Mr Obama. Under President Obama, the federal government’s career workforce grew by the equivalent of the entire city of Newport News, Virginia.

Not all of the news in the article is good news: the Senate has not taken confirmation action on 79 political position nominees, and far more than that have not even been appointed by the President yet. For some departments, this is a good thing: overgrown bureaucracies in the Departments of Education, Commerce, Labor and Housing and Urban Development being throttled into doing nothing leaves too many career people still employed, but at least the bureaucracy is doing less harm than otherwise. I don’t like the idea of paying for idle paper-pushers, but it’s better to pay them to do nothing than it is to give them the chance to harm the country.