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October 19, 2017

All Hail Harsanyi

In the extremely unlikely event that I join Brother Keith in boycotting the NFL, it will not be because of pink shoes, or horrible relay decisions, or anthem kneeling. It will be to avoid the teaser commercials for "60 Minutes."

Without football, I can pretent that 60 minutes doesn't exist. I know it does, it's not denial. It's like "The View," or "Judge Judy," or whatever vehicle Dr. Oz is using to spread pseudoscience this week. It's there but it does not affect me.

With football, especially Denver Broncos / AFC football, the story is hyped all through the game. When I heard about the forthcoming exposé on Big Pharma fueling the opioid crisis, I knew <southparkvoice>we were gonna have a bad time.</southparkvoice>

Of course I did not watch. But Reason and now David Harsanyi have filled me in.

A number of reporters in my social media feed were especially enthusiastic about the article. The purity of the drug czar seat had been saved! This, they explained, was why journalism still mattered. One hopes not, considering how the article illustrates that a trumped-up non-story can drive coverage on important issues.

People "curing the opioid epidemic" by denying medication to the people who need it should get their own special place in hell -- I'd free the usurers to make room if needed!


Won't Get Fooled Again!

Oh, whom am I kidding? Of course I will. But it's good to know I have a compatriot in Jim Geraghty:

Evan McMullin? I didn't realize that when I voted for him, I was helping pass the "Evan McMullin-Eternal-Presence-in-Media-as-a-Trump-Critic-Who-Never-Sounds-All-That-Conservative Act." Unsurprisingly, McMullin's entire Twitter feed since the election has been relentless criticism of Trump, a general credulity of claims of election collusion with Russia, and denunciation of GOP leaders for being insufficiently opposed to Trump.

When McMullin appears on television, do you ever hear him arguing for a larger defense budget, tax cuts, originalist judges, or any other conservative priority?


I would not have used the "C" word, but agree with every word. Thankfully, I don't follow Mister McMuffin* on Twitter, but what a huge disappointment he has been.

*Intentional name misspelling jokes are the lowest and least intellectual form of political humor. I hate them. When other people do it.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:04 AM | What do you think? [0 comments]

more winning

... as the gents at Power Line like to say (for the record, only halvsies on Trump... Paul nearly hates him, John is OK and Steve will take a poke whenever it'll make for a good joke).

On the EPA, one key monster in the swamp has been slain on Monday, by GodEmperor (I wish!) Pruitt:

Administrator Scott Pruitt pledges to put an end to the controversial practice of settling lawsuits with special interest groups behind closed doors, often while paying their attorneys' fees.
The Obamanites pulled this trick 100+ times, even happened under W.
[Pruitt] said the practice "risks bypassing the transparency and due process safeguards enshrined in the Administrative Procedure Act and other statutes." He also called it "regulation through litigation" and an "abusive" policy, in part because it excludes state involvement in any settlement between the EPA and private litigants.
According to PL, in the footnotes to the memo he cites the Federalist Papers.

In other news (what I don't like): his tweets, hands-off the IRS, his speeches, and I don't think I've heard him say anything close to right on trade.

But jk thinks:

Yes, these are great things. And to be fair, they have been replicated across the Executive departments. One cannot imagine a person with thinner skin pulling off these appointments.

Posted by: jk at October 19, 2017 10:18 AM

October 18, 2017

Book Recommendation

If you're looking for an entertaining trip of historical fiction through multiple cultures -Imperial Japan and the British Isles during the Middle Ages - may I suggest 'The Rose and the Crane' by Clint Dohmen. The manuscript has been in development for several years and the finished product has gone on sale, today!

Rose%20and%20the%20Crane.jpg

I haven't read the whole book but I did review an early draft of one chapter. It was captivating and adventurous - exotic and worldly. I look forward to embarking upon the complete journey.

Full disclosure: Clint is my brother-in-law. To that end, multiple early book sales and online reviews are greatly appreciated. Tell all yer friends!

But jk thinks:

Is a Kindle® version in the works?

Posted by: jk at October 19, 2017 10:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Available now in paperback, and Kindle!

Posted by: johngalt at October 19, 2017 11:13 AM
But jk thinks:

Excellent! By the way, when you're on the Paperback page the Kindle version does not show up in "Show Other Formats."

Posted by: jk at October 19, 2017 11:30 AM

Hypocritcially Whistling Past the Schadenfreude

The cognitive dissonance is somehow not disabling to those on the left who, with no choice but to denounce the sexploitation of Harvey Weinstein, completely ignore the same by their political heroes. George Neumayr sums it up in the American Spectator:

[The New York Times' Michelle] Goldberg, desperate to absolve the Democrats of the taint of Weinstein, works hard to inflate the misdeeds of figures such as Roger Ailes and equate criticism of feminist policies with misogyny. Fox News was "like his personal sadomasochistic brothel," she writes. (Ailes was accused of asking subordinates out and making leering comments, but he wasn't accused of sexual assault. There is a long way from his asking Megyn Kelly to twirl to the "sadomasochistic brothel" of Goldberg's imagination.)

All is better now on the liberal side, she declares, now that Weinstein's "impunity has come to an end" and he has been stripped of all his power:

He has lost his job and been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. France has taken steps to strip him of his Legion of Honor Award, the country's highest civilian distinction. He is being repudiated for violating progressive ideals about sexual consent, workers' rights and the fundamental equality of men and women.

Imagine her writing that last sentence about a long line of sexual goats in the Democratic Party. Or calling for the Edward Kennedy Institute to be renamed. Or demanding that Bill Clinton's honorary doctorates be taken away from him. It would never happen. And it never will happen. The obituarists of Harvey Weinstein will keep the progressive memory of Bill and Teddy alive forever.


October 17, 2017

Unicorns Are Awesome!

But, there are no unicorns.


CANBERRA, Australia--The Australian government returned coal to the heart of its energy policy, after blaming blackouts and rising power bills on a too-aggressive rollout of renewable sources and a surge in gas exports.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday junked a plan promoted by the country's chief scientist, Alan Finkel, to require power producers to generate a minimum portion of their energy from low-emission sources by 2020.


I wish they would not include the exports among reasons, but a bit of reality is good for the national soul.

But nanobrewer thinks:

PL posts from a powerful: "Daring to Doubt" speech by Abbot.
First, he waxes philosophic:

There are laws of physics; there are objective facts; there are moral and ethical truths. But there is almost nothing important where no further enquiry is needed. What the “science is settled” brigade want is to close down investigation by equating questioning with superstition. It’s an aspect of the wider weakening of the Western mind which poses such dangers to the world’s future.
then gets down to it.
Palaeontology indicates that over millions of years there have been warmer periods and cooler periods that don’t correlate with carbon dioxide concentrations. The Jurassic warm period and the ice ages occurred without any human contribution at all. The medieval warm period when crops were grown in Greenland and the mini-ice age when the Thames froze over occurred well before industrial activities added to atmospheric carbon dioxide.
I'm still reading...

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 20, 2017 12:38 AM

October 16, 2017

Not my favorite topic...

I said something reaaaaaally nice about the President late last week. So I'm owed one.

I had deluded myself to believing that Nafta was safe, save for a lot of bluster. But the WSJ Ed Page has some bad news for free tradin' Republicans:

Mr. Trump's obsession with undoing Nafta threatens the economy he has so far managed rather well. The roaring stock market, rising GDP and tight job market are signs that deregulation and the promise of tax reform are restoring business and consumer confidence. Blowing up Nafta would blow up all that too. It could be the worst economic mistake by a U.S. President since Richard Nixon trashed Bretton-Woods and imposed wage and price controls.

Well then.

But johngalt thinks:

True, "it could be." Alternately, that could also be an assumption based upon "the loud conventional wisdom of the past."*

* I know you read it - I'm just linking these two posts for posterity.

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2017 4:55 PM

Potato, Potahtoe

Last week we engaged on these pages in fairly strident internecine dialog about Trump and Bannon and the Republican party, such as it is. None of us is wrong per se, so there was no chance that anyone might "see the light" and change his position. But perhaps we can all better understand each other's perspective. With help from the inestimable VDH, Victor Davis Hanson. Perhaps too much of a "nativist" for some, but hear him out.

In his latest column "It's 1968 All Over Again" Hanson succinctly describes two perspectives on the open warfare in Washington D.C.:

Is the problem too much democracy, as the volatile and fickle mob runs roughshod over establishment experts and experienced bureaucrats? Or is the crisis too little democracy, as populists strive to dethrone a scandal-plagued, anti-democratic, incompetent and overrated entrenched elite?

In closing, he poses the following observations:

Is the instability less a symptom that America is falling apart and more a sign that the loud conventional wisdom of the past -- about the benefits of a globalized economy, the insignificance of national borders and the importance of identity politics -- is drawing to a close, along with the careers of those who profited from it?

In the past, any crisis that did not destroy the United States ended up making it stronger. But for now, the fight grows over which is more toxic -- the chronic statist malady that was eating away the country, or the new populist medicine deemed necessary to cure it.


But jk thinks:

Yes, Professor VDH is too nativist. But, after enjoying several of his lectures in Hillsdale's Athens & Sparta MOOC, and his magisterial introduction to the Landmark Edition Thucydides, he is a superb choice for appeal to authority.

I enjoyed the piece, but am prepared to "embrace the healing power of and:" Trump's supporters and critics can both be wrong. I know many in both camps and am not at all startled by the rigidity on the left. Yes, if he's Hitler and likes lemon in his tea, we must not ever use lemon.

I will not lie; I have been surprised by the stridency of his defenders. Zero politicians are perfect and the President is not the closest I've seen. Healthy skepticism of gub'mint and the people what people it seems well warranted.

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2017 5:10 PM
But Terri Goon thinks:

It's hard to see, but if you squint your eyes, the skepticism exists, it's just that da other side is so very much over the top that even fence post sitters are almost required to defend the man.
I see a lot wrong with him, but I will defend him in conversation so that people can at least hear another version of whatever new outrage is current.

Posted by: Terri Goon at October 17, 2017 9:58 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I with Terri: I don't like the guy and agree with him perhaps half the time but my FB feed has gone from Outrage Theater to Kabuki Theater (over and over) in less time than POTUS can thrice tweet about NFL idiocy.

I've even taken to knee-capping my opponents at times; picking on the picayune to denigrate their threads... *sigh* it's just so much easier than lengthy debate (and I'm too irregular on FB).

What's my pick of the 50+% "good"? I've been told his picks for judges are outstanding, and I can attest that DOE & EPA are both going strongly in good directions.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 17, 2017 11:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Ummmm, yeaaaaahhhh, sortof, he said hesitatingly...

I frequently find myself defending him. He has done some fantastic things and exceeded my expectations in many areas. I agree the opposition is unhinged.

But, where would you good people admit he was wrong?

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2017 12:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

He's wrong on many things. "Afflicting the comfortable" in Washington D.C. isn't one of them.

I want to push back on your "healthy skepticism of government" position. That was fine when Barack Hussein O was president, or George W Bush, or Bill Clinton or ... But Donald John Trump was elected for one reason more than any other (in my humble opinion): To wrestle government power away from the political elite. Trump is the present embodiment of voters' skepticism toward politicians.

There is no chance - zero, none, nada - that the administrative state will become a nationalist police power under the charismatic leadership of President Trump. Any weakening of the president strengthens the liberty-sapping Leviathan.

I know that's not a very nuanced analysis but statism thrives in the gray area between liberty and government power. The power of our free society goes up when the power of the administrative state goes down.

Posted by: johngalt at October 18, 2017 7:25 PM

October 12, 2017

The Trump Connundrum

Alternate title: "Why President Trump is so Great!"

I would join the President's critics -- if I had time -- in condemning his tweet "challenging" NBC's "license." In fact, take it away Matt Welch. Surely Reason will not let this stand!

Is it a day ending in the letter "y"? Then yes, President Donald Trump has said something flippantly authoritarian, made a wholly empty threat, and blasted the media, all before lunch. Helpfully, he accomplished this all with just one tweet:

There is no license; there is no mechanism for the executive branch to challenge. I find it distasteful and banana-republic-ish. Will he approve or deny every episode of CSI?

But the Republic limps along. Nobody is harmed, the base is fired up, his opponents howl, but nothing bad is going to happen. Why? Because this same man put a stellar pick in the FCC, the great Ajit Pai, who has been lauded by, well, Matt Welch in the same article:

The #NeverTrump Republican political consultant Rick Wilson is fond of saying that Trump ends up ruining everything he touches. That's more sour than my take--after all, Trump has decisively touched his own regulatory state, with such salutary picks such as Ajit Pai. But I think we may soon conclude that just when conservatives were inching tantalizingly close to the free-speech high road, their hero led them down a Culture War highway to hell.

Ajit Pai == important; The President's tweet != important.

But Terri Goon thinks:

I like what you did there. :-)
What's more I continue to be pleased as punch that this is the president we got out of the 2. People are on the lookout for all sorts of misbehavior. I no longer have to dig deeper and deeper for source material.
Clinton levels of deception were too much for mere mortals to sort through. Trump levels of whatever, much less so. Yay democracy and transparency. Go Trump.

Posted by: Terri Goon at October 12, 2017 2:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ummm, yes... there is a license.

But the only ones who believe such a review is a serious possibility are Progressive "lib-tards" (I think that's the clinical term), have no sense of humor, or both. Meanwhile, they caterwaul about this through the whole news cycle. Until the next Tweet to end all Tweets comes out. Usually the next morning.

Posted by: johngalt at October 12, 2017 4:34 PM

October 11, 2017

jk vs. Bannon

Steve Bannon to Sean Hannity this week, discussing efforts to recruit primary challengers to incumbent Republican senators: "Nobody's safe. We're coming after all of them." If every Republican senator is going to get a primary challenger backed by Bannon, no matter what, then what's the incentive to vote Bannons way between now and Election Day?
From Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt newsletter (now linkable!), subtitled "Trump Doesn't Need Different GOP Senators, He Needs More of Them."

Perhaps Mr. Bannon has indeed captured the TEA Party essence. But I suggest he has captured the worst parts. He will give us a Slate of Christine O'Donnell and Ken Buck candidates, who will *ahem* lose to Democrats. You can possibly elect a Roy Moore in Alabama, but his is not the ticket to a majority party.

It would be a moral victory to get rid of Susan Collins but the James Conrad PAC would not help repeal Obamacare or complete tax reform.


TEA Party v. Bannon

What does the TEA Party stand for? What does Steve Bannon stand for? There is not a single answer to either question but I submit that there is one "big idea" for each, and they go hand in glove. Hunter Lewis zeroed in on that idea in his criticism of a Weekly Standard piece on Bannon:

Mr. Caldwell gets to the essence of it when he writes: "Steve Bannon has the same idea that tea party activists have: a class of regulators in the government has robbed Americans of their democratic prerogatives. That class now constitutes an 'administrative state' that operates to empower itself and enrich its crony-capitalist allies."

Yep. That's why I marched on my state capitol with my "Enemy of the Statist" sign so beautifully hand-lettered by my dear blog brother.

Mr. Lewis then adds, "He also notes that Bannon thinks that "capitalism ought to rest on a Judeo-Christian foundation."

I can think of worse ideas than this. So, really, where are Bannon and the TEA Party now "debased?" Immigration? Trade? Bath water. The baby Republic is in desperate need of a washing. We'll throw out the dirty water later.

But johngalt thinks:

I respectfully suggest that when contemplating anything attributed to Steve Bannon, one should consider the imaginary universe where the protagonist is not this individual white male, so readily villifiable, rather any one of the Forgotten men or women of every race and faith who want merely to not be disadvantaged in the name of "equality" or "compassion." Or "national prosperity" as a result of erasing all distinctions between the nations of the world. Cui bono?

Posted by: johngalt at October 12, 2017 12:32 PM

October 10, 2017

Gipper on Trade

Republicans. Makes you want to weep with pride.

Hat-tip: Don Boudreaux

But johngalt thinks:

Yes, of course. Trade good. Protectionism bad. Are we done?

Posted by: johngalt at October 11, 2017 2:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Let me apologize for my flippancy. I just don't see international trade agreements as either black and white or the most urgent issue of our day.

Posted by: johngalt at October 11, 2017 5:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Building the party on a foundation of the prosperity and liberty produced by a dedication to free trade versus, well the Don Boudreaux link phrases it less delicately than I:

Twenty-nine years later, in stark and sad contrast, today’s G.O.P. president proudly flaunts his seemingly bottomless ignorance about trade.  Truly, the contrast on this matter between the wise and knowledgeable Reagan and the knavish and stupid Trump could not be greater.

Posted by: jk at October 11, 2017 7:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I would love to see how the 1980s era Ronald Reagan would interact with today's Congress, and today's media. Somehow I don't think it would be pretty.

Posted by: johngalt at October 12, 2017 4:43 PM

The "Forgotten Man" declares "war" on Republican Senators

When was the last time we used the "TEA Party" category? I think this fits.

Steve Bannon had a long interview with Sean Hannity last night. I missed most of it but this RCP piece excerpts a host of hard-hitting quotes from the heir to the Andrew Breitbart battlements.

Bannon said that establishment Republican senators exemplified by Tennessee's Bob Corker have committed "economic hate crimes" against working Americans.

When you want to talk about why there's no repeal and replace, why there's no tax cut, why there's no tax reform, why there's no infrastructure bill, you saw it right there. Corker, McConnell that entire clique of -- establishment globalist clique on Capitol Hill have to go. If we need any more proof about what they think, you heard it tonight. It's an absolute disgrace...

They have total contempt for the forgotten man. They have total contempt for the base.

His strategy is to take Mitch McConnell's donors away from him and to use their money against him and his cohorts. Kind of a two-for-one strategy that makes a huge amount of sense.

That's why I left the White House. Remember, I said I'm going after the Republican establishment. And we're going to go after them. We're going to go after them and challenge them.

HANNITY: Give me the states.

BANNON: There's a coalition coming together. It's going to challenge every Republican incumbent except for Ted Cruz. Whether it's Utah, Wyoming, whether it's in Oregon.

He's not mentioned by name, but that list of "every Republican incumbent except for Ted Cruz" would seem to include our friend Senator Gardner.

And what was that I said about TEA Party?

HANNITY: Does that mean the people that voted in 2010, and 2014, and 2016, now they have to wait to have a victory in 2018? That's a long time for the American people to wait.

BANNON: To take your country back it's not just going to happen in any one election.

This is something you have to grind out day in and day out for the next 5-10-15-20 years. It took us a long time to get here. There's no magic wand we can wave and drain the swamp, there's no magic wand we can wave and blow up this establishment.

I hate to tell people, you're going to have to work but the grit, determination, and courage of the American working men and women, we're going to win.

But jk thinks:

Not a fan of Mr. Bannon's. And rather surprised to find such kind words for him from my blog brother.

Yes, I'm sure Bannon would primary Sen. Gardner. And his first pick would be Tom Tancredo.

Bannon's dream is a slate of Judge Roy Moores in the US Senate. Does my brother want that? The man who gave all to keep the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Courthouse? He'll be a constant source of "Do you agree with your colleague, Senator Moore that ... " embarrassing gotchas and a halt to outreach.

Perhaps Bannon does carry the TEA Party mantle; that's how far it has been debased.

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2017 6:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I believe I reported this one straight. At least as straight as what passes for "journalism" these days. Where did you find "kind words?"

The success or failure of Mr. Bannon will be determined by a market test: Do traditional GOP big money donors want to continue supporting McConnell and his cohorts, or would they prefer a smaller government approach?

While you consider the possible debasement of the TEA Party, I'm with those who wish to do something productive about the long and deep debasement of the Republican party.

Posted by: johngalt at October 11, 2017 2:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, kind as compared to my formulation which would be "Known nut-job, dangerous theocrat, and incorrigible economic ignoramus Steve Bannon said..." So, yeah, kind.

Posted by: jk at October 11, 2017 7:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You left out doo-doo head.

Posted by: johngalt at October 11, 2017 11:07 PM
But jk thinks:

I did not want to appear unhinged. An active campaign to replace Luther Stranges with Roy Moores does not excite me. Do you really think that represents "a smaller government approach?"

I guess I'll play the goofy libertarian (stretching my roles a bit) but I see this great nation in danger of trading a left-wing authoritarianism for one on the right. President Trump is a significant step up, but the Bannon-faction is likely not.

Posted by: jk at October 12, 2017 11:01 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Roy Moore over Luther Strange is one example for a GOP primary choice. Ted Cruz over David Dewhurst, who was endorsed by Rick Perry, James Inhofe, and Michael Reagan, is another. Does my brother suggest the senate would better serve liberty had voters followed the advice of those proven, respected conservatives instead of the "theocrat"ic, economically ignorant "nut-job" Sarah Palin?

On the matter of theocracy, I see many more examples and dangers from the left than the right - environmentalism and Islamism being just two. Jesus Christ is not a prophet of absolutism, but of cautionary guidance to a man's own free will.

Posted by: johngalt at October 12, 2017 12:20 PM

It Comes With You...

A friend of mine chortled that he was finally moving out of Boulder. I cautioned him. "Careful," sez me, "it follows you."

NoNoPleaseGodNo.png


October 9, 2017

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