September 30, 2015

just can't stop it

Like a late night comedian during the "Hey!" days of Clinton, I can't stay away from Socialism bashing...
This item from CATO highlights a man making a chicken sandwich... from scratch. 6 months later, he had his sandwich, and was $1500 poorer (but wiser!) for it.

The author dryly notes

There was a time when everyone grew their own food and made their own clothes. It was a time of unimaginable poverty and labor without rest.

And this delightful blast from the past courtesy of Steven Hayward, who notes:

One of the first pre-requisites for being a socialist is having no sense of humor.

From The Onion:

“We were creating an exciting new model for living,” said Dorff, stubbing his cigarette into an ashtray that had not been emptied in six days. “It was like we were dismantling the apparatus of the state right within our own living space.”

Dr. Hawyard then shortly relates the dying throws of Pacifica Radio; schadenfreude on steroids! The sweetest part was discovering that Pacifica owes Amy Goodman over $1M! For what, I have to wonder!!

But jk thinks:

The Pacifica radio stuff is pretty enjoyable. Banks have to be regulated more, but they can't pass an audit.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2015 10:20 AM

The Education Plantation

The title is a term I made up, rather than an excerpt from this pointed William McGurn piece in Monday's WSJ. Unapologetic content theft follows:

Good charters offer part of the answer. In New York, Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy charter schools are arguably the best. Yet the mayor, his schools chancellor and the teachers union all apparently prefer maintaining the present inequality rather than allow Ms. Moskowitz to open more of her charters in poor minority neighborhoods.

The Success Academies are 58% black and about 27% Hispanic. Even so, these children regularly outscore their counterparts in wealthy suburban areas. So while each year the Success Academies prove that black kids can compete as equals with white kids so long as the bar is set high and teachers are held accountable, in the schools run by Mayor de Blasio the achievement gap between black and white has widened.

Welcome to progressive New York. Where black and Latino children in poor neighborhoods are condemned to failed schools with almost no possibility of escape. While the schools where kids are treated equally and black lives really do matter get the back of the mayor's hand.

Whether de Blasio can get away with this for long remains to be seen. And whether he's gotten away with it up to now because of his progressive politics, or because his wife and son are black - really, at this point, what difference does it make?

Bonus: Here is the TV ad that Families for Excellent Schools will run in the NYC market.


Is Berkeley Breathed going full Doonesbury?

But nanobrewer thinks:

.... and you were expecting what, exactly? I stopped reading Breathed a looong time ago, long before he quite.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 11:28 PM

All Hail Remy!

Straight Outta Homeroom!

Education Posted by John Kranz at 4:03 PM | What do you think? [0]

Trey Gowdy!

Okay, I'm clearly just trolling now. But it's pretty good trolling. Here's Jim Geraghty:

What's the point of deposing a Speaker if you don't have an alternative you like better?


He just said he doesn't want the job.


He doesn't want that job, either. He periodically reminds people that he already has a big job that's unfinished on the Benghazi committee.

If conservatives really want to change the leadership in Congress, they need to--

No, wait, I just said he''


Now you're just yelling his name for no reason.


114th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:33 AM | What do you think? [4]
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'm all for a 21st century clarion call for Trey to answer the call of his country.... He wouldn't necessarily be a good Speaker, but apparently make a good Majority Leader (acc. to Dreier), but only if he wants it!

I think better is a guy who said he wants it: Tom Price has stepped up. Unless we know him to be lacking.... hmm, perhaps I should post this at NRO...

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 2:17 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I sympathize with the people who want Mr. Gowdy as the Speaker, but you can't force a job on a man who has other plans.

I mean, serving as Speaker might take away from his other duties as Attorney General in the next Administration.

I may have made that last part up, or it may represent wishful thinking.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 30, 2015 2:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm. Is Trey Gowdy even an empty nester? Something tells me, no.

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 2:45 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Sowell speaks up about the recent bru-ha-ha:

Nothing epitomized Boehner’s wrong-headedness like an occasion when he emerged from the White House, after a conference with President Obama and others, to face a vast battery of microphones and television cameras. Here was a golden opportunity for Speaker Boehner to make his case directly to the American people, unfiltered by the media. Instead, he just walked over to the microphones and cameras, briefly expressed his disgust with the conference he had just come from, and then walked on away.

This dovetails with a lot I'm hearing (yay! being on the same page as Sowell): Boehner was a good guy, lousy communicator (thereby, I suppose, the predilection for backroom deals?). Hewitt and Dreier are echoing this theme as the first big needed "change:" one who is a good communicator. [Think Newt]

McCarthy is judged "good" for several things:
- a good deal maker & fundraiser (helps his rapport with members),
- being telegenic,
- being willing to go public (which he's sticking to)

I am hopeful....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 4:16 PM

Simple Stories

jk sharing a TED talk? This must be serious.

I like Tyler Cowen so much. He calls for some serious introspection in this TED talk. I highly recommend it.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:26 AM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:

The only TED talk I can remember liking was by Matt Ridley. But I don't see them very often. I wasn't terribly moved by the non-story that-didn't-tell-a-story.... or tried to un-tell a story? Care to expand or expound?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 4:43 PM
But jk thinks:

The greatestest TED talk ever is Hans Rosling's Washing Machine. That is a joy and underscores everything in which I believe.

In toto, they're like NPR to me -- a lot of them are very good, but the sum seems to subtract from knowledge rather than add.

Nope, nothing to add to the Cowen vid. I love to rail about the cognitive biases of my teeming Facebook contingent. Watching Cowen gave me uncomfortable internal rumblings of my own acceptance and predilection to confirmation bias.

Plus the meta bit at the end where he describes you telling your friends that Tyler Cowen told this wonderful story on how to not accept stories. Cowen has a friendly inquisitive-but-not-combative style I'd like to emulate. (Brother Bryan once said I remind him of Cowen, but that might be more hairline than intellectual chops.)

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 5:04 PM

September 29, 2015

Otequay of the Ayday

"If you want moral credit for caring about the poor, when, oh when, do you ever have to take responsibility for what happens to the poor when leftists take over?"

-Mona Charen, Redistribution: The Unconquerable Delusion

Thither Corporatism

This time last year I was learning that more Americans approve of "free enterprise" than "capitalism." Now I'm learning that the modern mixed economy in most of the nations of the world is not "neo-mercantilism" - a term I coined myself in the linked post from last year - but one variant or another of "corporatism."

Corporatism is not, as I previously believed, 'rule by corporations' and their influence over corrupt governments. It's meaning comes from a prioritization of the body, or "corpus", of a population, rather than the individual persons. In essence then, it is a variation of collectivism.

This term--Corporatism--is fraught with perils, mostly because it is now commonly used to label aspects of the current world economic order, almost always incorrectly. Understand that Corporatism proper has nothing to do with modern corporations at all, neither how they function, nor their dependence on or independence from the state. The confusion in this regard--all too common throughout the internet--is largely due to the similarity of the two words: Corporatism and corporation. Both have the same root word, the Latin corpus meaning body, but that's about it.

Corporatism actually refers to an economic (and political) system wherein the people in a society are organized into various groups, based on what they do, on how they make a living. The underlying idea here--and the reason for the name--is that society should be viewed as an organic whole, like a living organism or body, with every person having a distinct role to play in order for society to properly function, to metaphorically live and grow. Thus, one segment of the population should never be--figuratively or literally--under the heel of any other segment. None have primacy in this regard, except of course for the state itself, which is tasked with leadership and control (more or less the head of the body).

And the origin of corporatism dovetails with the objection of bygone commenter Silence Dogood: "He liked Capitalism just fine -- but not "unfettered capitalism." As for corporatism, "They [the doctrine's creators] opposed wide open free trade and free markets because they assumed greed would dictate activity, first and foremost."

What was once old is new again, and humanity continues to repeat past mistakes. Why? I'm not sure. Let's ask Silence Dogood.

H/T: brother nanobrewer [second comment] for inspiring a closer look at Argentine "corporatism."

But jk thinks:

I'll play (per Jonathan Haidt, what distinguishes us is our ability to pass a "Turing Test.")

"I don't want complete collectivist control of the economy, jg, that is a strawman. I agree with you 98% on the wonders and advantages of Capitalism and free markets.

"But I don't share your love of the wild west, lasseiz faire economics of the Guilded Age. Government trust busting, enforcement of worker safety, child-labor, minimum wage, maximum hour, clean water, clean air, ozone protection regulations created a much better world.

"You may be right that there is too much regulation. I don't want more -- I want better. We can have growth and freedom and still protect people and the environment."

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 12:22 PM
But jk thinks:

"Are you going to eat the rest of those fries?"

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 12:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

True enough, TG.

And jk, "complete collectivist control of the economy" is a strawman but I didn't raise it, you did. I'm advocating complete free enterprise. I'm advocating, "let people engage in what they want, and not engage in what they don't, freely and voluntarily."

Let me take your points one by one:

Trust busting - Resistant yes, but not impervious to competition.
Worker safety - Why, because employees aren't smart enough to recognize unsafe jobs and conditions when they see them? And demand higher wages or quit?
Child labor - Okay, I'm willing to accede to protecting children from their parents bad choices up to a certain age. You got me on this one.
Minimum wage - Who are you, and what have you done with jk?
Clean water, clean air - We can agree on sensible restrictions here, but the clean air and water acts have become bludgeons of business destruction through environmentalist lawsuits and administrative law restrictions in pursuit of impossibly low contaminant standards.
"Ozone protection regulations created a much better world?" Maybe. Maybe not.

The data shows a lot of variability and no real trends after the Montreal protocol banned CFCs. The models had predicted a partial recovery by now. Later scientists adjusted their models and pronounced the recovery would take decades. It may be just another failed alarmist prediction.

Remember we first found the ozone hole when satellites that measure ozone were first available and processed (1985). It is very likely to have been there forever, varying year to year and decade to decade as solar cycles and volcanic events affected high latitude winter vortex strength.

The reality is, there needs to be limits on these things. The cure is, more and more often, worse than the original problem. But corporism knows know bounds whatsoever.

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 2:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But again, we digress. I asked about the corporatist fear that "greed would dictate activity, first and foremost."

You have focused on some well known negative externalities that are popularly ascribed to greed, but could as well be explained by ignorance or a breakdown in the market mechanism. But the author I linked did not mention pollution or labor abuse by name - he mentioned greed, which I take synonymously with selfishness. A dictionary definition of greed includes "an excessive, extreme desire for something, often more than one's proper share." But who defines excessive? And who defines proper share?

As motive for corporatism, I identify Tall Poppy Syndrome, or a fear of competition.

Laboratory studies lead to the formation of the competitive exclusion principle (no two species can long occupy the same niche), while field observations suggest that niche differences, while sometimes subtle, are invariably found between co-existing species. Field experiments provide strong evidence of competition in nature. Often, one species is the superior competitor, the other is better able to withstand certain environmental extremes.

I postulate that in the human specie corporatists are the superior competitors, while individualists are better able to withstand certain environmental extremes.

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 2:42 PM
But jk thinks:

To be clear, I agreed with nothing I said (oh boy, I hope this quote never shows up out of context...) I was answering as I expected Silence would have. But if I did fool you, that proved Haidt right.

Maybe Mister Dogood would have been better focused, but the "fetters" he wants bolted onto capitalism's flanges would be to protect workers, "fair play," and the environment. Each would be needed to counteract greed.

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 3:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh yes, you did fool me, or I fooled myself - I completely forgot my own premise!

So Silence would, we surmise, fetter capitalism with measures "to protect workers, 'fair play' and the environment. Each would be needed to counteract greed."

And I would ask Silence, is it to counteract greed, or to counteract competition?

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 3:23 PM

Stupid Party Mounts Circular Firing Squad

Jim Geraghty shares my concern that the endgame was not really in place before grassroots started chopping heads. He links to Allahpundit:

Which brings us to an important question that's being overlooked in the chaos of Boehner's resignation: Why do House conservatives need extra time to organize? Why don't they already have their own candidate lined up? Rumors that Boehner might resign or be ousted have been circulating for at least 18 months now. Boehner himself acknowledged last week that he was prepared to quit last year before Cantor was upset in his primary. The threat from Mark Meadows and his supporters to depose Boehner this fall if he caved on defunding Planned Parenthood and the debt ceiling has been percolating for months. And yet, somehow, House conservatives seem to have been caught off-guard. Jeb Hensarling, whose name always comes up when conservatives start talking about their wish list for leadership, has already said he won't run. Jim Jordan said repeatedly earlier this year that he doesn't want to be Speaker. "What we need is real leadership," conservatives liked to say about Boehner. Okay, here's our big opportunity. Where is it?

We have Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R CA), but Allah points out all is not happy in grassrootsville. Mark Levin calls him "Eric Cantor with ten less IQ points."

Not a Levin fan -- that should be "Eric Cantor with ten fewer IQ points."

114th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:44 AM | What do you think? [11]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Let me 'splain why not having an immediate successor to Boehner was a good thing. First, let me say that I really like Geraghty... but well to remember his stock and trade is invective and conflict.

Having a successor in the wings changes the argument from we want our guy! which is Machiavellian to begone with you, for all the non-good you've done! which is, in this case, Cromwellian (in the good way -- hey, good enough for Milton....).

Word is (driving a lot today: Hugh Hewitt is sooo connected) that we are probably getting as good as we can with a Speaker McCarthy, as Speaker needs an uber-majority so he has to be the wheeler-dealer type (the second most 'qualified' is thereby Scalise - I worry would be the second coming of Tom Delay?!?). Also, that Tom Price is in the top five of the ones us liberty-loving constitutionalist-clingers crave and has a shot (thus spake David Dreier)!

I heard that Buck endorsed McCarthy on KHOW or KOA morning news... I'm happy to hear HFC has decided that their strategy is to get one of "ours" and not a RINO into the Leader position (another positive, Dreier confirmed).

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 12:59 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Ah, poop; I mis-typed: NOT having a successor in the wings ... is what I meant.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 1:02 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I also see it a positive that Jordan won't run, as it again turns this into a procedure that maintains the appearance of principle over power. I'm sad that Ryan won't run ("job for an empty-nester" is what I heard him say), but Gowdy might!

Hewitt is urging Gowdy to run, saying wait until he shouts a Shermanesque dis-positive before giving up on him!

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 1:12 AM
But jk thinks:

Well, you can bad mouth Speaker Boehner all you want. But I'll not stand still while you impugn Machiavelli! More seriously, wasn't the gripe with Boehner's Reign that he was not Machiavellian enough?

Hugh kind of hits my point: the position demands a wheeler-dealer (Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams, Schuyler Colfax, Sam Rayburn, Newt Gingrich ...) Not sure Trey Gowdy is the right fit and I'm prepared to take him at his word that he's not running.

John Boehner built a substantial majority in a fractious party and unprecedentedly cut spending as a share of GDP. WSJ Ed Page:

In the Tom DeLay-George W. Bush era a decade ago, we often lambasted Republican overspending. But amid all the conservative denunciations of the John Boehner era, a key political fact is typically ignored. To wit, the GOP takeover of the House in 2010 has led to a marked decline in federal spending.

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 10:07 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That's rich! The congress that follows Democrat control of House, Senate and Presidency - which gave us the "stimulus bill" - cut government spending! George McGovern would have cut spending under the same circumstances.

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 11:32 AM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps -- but Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Botox - CA) would not have.

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 12:00 PM

September 28, 2015

Carly at the Plate

And delivers another extra-base hit. At least a triple.

We mused a bit last week about how Carly would handle an attack like this on her HP record. On Sunday, she was given the opportunity by NBC's Chuck Todd. Picks up at the 6 minute mark:

Basically, Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton may criticize me but they've never created a job and their policies destroy jobs. "There were many jobs that left California and you know where they went? The state of Texas."


But Jk thinks:

I taped the replay last night I had heard so much about it. But some Denver Broncos special preempted it and it cut in the middle.

I still think she's the best at answering the media that I've seen since President Reagan.

Posted by: Jk at September 28, 2015 9:33 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

She's good and getting better. She shot back at Todd's jobs-moved-overseas canard with "not true!" and properly folds back the WaPo's attempt to deflect the PP issue back on to the messenger (in all honestly, even sympathetic media has noted her recount of the CMP videos aren't perfectly congruent).

I think I would have gone with "the DC media is famous for inserting their own opinion into their reports, and The Post is no exception." Still, picking the 3 Pinocchio's example was a very good move as well.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 29, 2015 2:31 PM

Four Out of Five Popes Abjure Socialism

Mark Perry: What four previous popes had to say about socialism

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 6:09 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Related: 'The Mystery of Pope Francis: Was There a Vatican Coup?'

My instinctive reaction is, "Duh." Prior to Benedict XVI, when was the last time a sitting pope "retired?" Isn't it generally a post for life sorta thing?

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2015 6:57 PM
But jk thinks:

For a clean, close, comfortable shave, I recommend "Occam's Razors," now with Teflonguide™ technology. Ask for them by name wherever fine products are sold!

I don't know man, surely there's still much intrigue in the college of cardinals, but the current Pope Emeritus was a very sick man. I don't think his predecessors had access to medical treatments which enable an occupant to outlive his vigor.

Related: I'd think more highly of the PowerLine link if the back button didn't send you to a site demanding you go to an ATM right now and withdraw as much as they'll let you. Everybody needs ad revenue, but it does not underscore credulity.

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2015 7:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I give more weight to the author than the site - our old friend Steven Hayward.

I didn't know the conservative pope was ill. Perhaps something he ate or drank...

Naah, that never happens!

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2015 2:31 PM
But jk thinks:

I actually like PowerLine -- I thought it rather funny that I got that as a follow up. (It's clearly too late now, that was last night; your money is gone.)

I think he has Parkinsons. Is the Illuminati that good? Chemtrails? Chapter five of The DaVinci Code?

I think Pope Francis to be a mortal man who really loves the adoration. Kind of a David Frum with his own Popemobile.

Posted by: jk at September 29, 2015 2:50 PM

All Hail Taranto!


Artchay of the Ayday

From Cato's Ian Vasquez, via Powerline's Steven Hayward-


It shows that in 1896, income per person in the United States and Argentina, two of the richest countries in the world, was about identical. Argentina subsequently eschewed the free market, replacing it with trade protectionism and other corporatist policies intended to help the poor by redistributing wealth. By 2010, Argentine income was a third of that of the United States.

To which I'll add - imagine if, over the same period, the United States had not sought some sort of "enlightened middle path" of compromise between free markets and "corporatist policies intended to help the poor by redistributing wealth."

But jk thinks:

Don't cry for me, Pope Francis...

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2015 3:25 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I saw this too; I recall being taken aback that the study called the Argentinian way "Corporatist" (it's used in another place in the article). I think of that approach as social-central planning, or socialism-light. And yes, it surely produces a stratified society, just as I postulate socialism (and communism) always do - an oligarchy, even if they don't consider themselves industrialists.

The wiki page isn't helping me, showing it to be an equal-opportunity enslaver:

Corporatist types of community and social interaction are common to many ideologies, including—absolutism, capitalism, conservatism, fascism, liberalism, progressivism, reactionism.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 28, 2015 11:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Very interestin'. I had thought "corporatism" meant 'rule by large corporations' as our Progressive friends seem to always explain it. But according to this scholar, tain't so:

Some members of the intelligentsia, particularly the Catholic intelligentsia, decided to formulate an alternative to socialism which would emphasize social justice without the radical solution of the abolition of private property. The result was called Corporatism.

The linked piece is a good (short) read. I'm curious what our own favorite scholar has to say about it.

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2015 3:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As an update to the previous comment, the page I linked looks an awful lot like it was plagiarized from another article. The more rigorous version is the second link in my latest post.

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2015 5:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And I just added the hat tip that I didn't have time to complete as I rushed this post to press. Thanks nb!

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 11:21 AM

Quote of the Day

Jack Kemp shook things up--but with dramatic ideas about policy, not by pitting outsiders against insiders. The Republican establishment resented the gall of a backbencher's butting into tax policy. Democrats hated tax-cutting, even though Kemp kept reminding them that President John F. Kennedy first proposed lowering the top rate to 70% from 90%. Special interests were furious when Kemp proposed reducing their tax breaks. He once wrote Reagan's deficit-hawk budget director, David Stockman, demanding to know why Mr. Stockman wanted to raise taxes on working people and cut food stamps, Medicaid and Head Start, but keep subsidies and tax breaks in place for Boeing, Exxon and Gulf Oil. -- WSJ Ed Page

Was there ever a plan?

The problem with adding a "GOP Self-destruction" category is that there are certainly some data constraints on the MySQL database which underlies this blog. I don't know whether it could handle the stress.

Jim Geraghty [subscribe] makes me look rather cheerful, but he asks the same question:

Okay, grassroots conservatives, here's your chance.

You wanted John Boehner out as Speaker, and now he's on his way out. Right now the buzz is that House majority leader Kevin McCarthy is a slam-dunk to replace him.

If grassroots conservatives want one of their own to be Speaker, they have to unite quickly behind an alternative . . . and one who wants the job.

If there is some grand plan underlying this, it is better hidden than any 9-11 conspiracy. I suspect the scalp is good enough. My Facebook feed (the right half) is listing who's next: McConnell, McCain, Graham, Flake &c. I get on each and comment "Umm, guys, how about some Democrats?"

We'll get rid of all those bleeping RINOs and have five brave defenders of liberty left in Congress. Hell, I could join the Libertarians if I wanted that.

114th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | What do you think? [3]
But nanobrewer thinks:

I hope you're right that the scalp is good enough. The focus needs to switch to 'throw the bum(s) out' to "what now?"

Comment threads on other conservative blogs are far too often focused on more defenstrations (love that word!), instead of progress. This, sadly, fits in with a prevailing view of humans that it's easier to destroy than create. However, the history of the USofA and even that shown by happily point us away from the negative view being dominant.

Likely that the new speaker needs to be a collaborationist type (too bad Ryan won't run!). Red State claims that McCarthy has a history of working with conservatives (I like everything I've heard about this young gun), unlike the current speaker, but with this warning

If Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) [63% Heritage rating] and Rep. Cathy M. Rodgers (R-WA) [58%] move up NOTHING can change

Soo, TP'ers should probably keep their powder dry and prepare all their favors and cajoling for the votes for Majority Whip and Leader.... so, we should soon see if the really is a plan... the best ones, btw, do NOT make the Sunday morning talk shows.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 28, 2015 1:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Plan? I've got yer plan right here. (It's throwback Monday.)

"We have what they want, but they don't know it. Sometimes I wonder if we know it."
Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2015 2:52 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

This is awesome. "Broaden the base" = blur the lines b/w us and the other party!

Bold colors! Three are enough for me...

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 28, 2015 5:57 PM

September 27, 2015

house freedom caucus; a recipe for GOP dysfunction?

Brother JG notes:

The whole thing is moot, is it not, unless Senate Majority Leader McConnell changes the filibuster rule the same way as his predecessor, Senate Majority Leader Reid.

I would agree that the Iran deal would seem the time and place to go with this, but note that so far even Dingy Harry only sought to circumvent filibuster for judicial nominees. Invoking it for legislation would, in many ways, dramatically change the Senate in many ways, likely permanently. This should be daunting to any leader. A more incremental approach is (and has been) proposed along several lines, yet perhaps doomed by this interesting issue.

Tom McClintock announced Wednesday he was resigning from the House Freedom Caucus, saying the group’s hardball tactics had undermined conservative goals rather than advancing them

He provides specific examples in his resignation letter to Jim Jordan. who leads HFC:

House Republicans attempted to pass a three-week stop gap bill so we could avoid a catastrophic shutdown of our security agencies while continuing to bring public opinion to bear to de-fund the ["amnesty"] orders. At the behest of its board, most HFC members combined with House Democrats to defeat this effort, resulting in the full funding of these illegal orders for the fiscal year.

Last week, the House was scheduled to adopt the Resolution of Disapproval of the disastrous Iran nuclear agreement – the only legally binding action available to Congress under the Corker Act. Once again, the House Freedom Caucus leadership threatened to combine with House Democrats to defeat the Resolution, forcing the House leadership to abandon it in favor of a symbolic and legally meaningless vote.

For several months, Harry Reid and Senate Democrats have threatened to shut down the government on October 1st unless Congress unleashes another unsustainable cycle of tax increases and borrowing. Last week, the House Freedom Caucus formally vowed to shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood.
A common theme through each of these incidents is a willingness – indeed, an eagerness – to strip the House Republican majority of its ability to set the House agenda by combining with House Democrats on procedural motions. As a result, it has thwarted vital conservative policy objectives and unwittingly become Nancy Pelosi’s tactical ally.

So, what has been perceived - certainly by me! - as lack of backbone and/or initiative in the GOP, could be a result of this group blocking many a common sense, procedural-based approach to stopping the Obama train. Why? I would like to know.

Example of common sense approach (from Prof. Steven Hayward):

12 separate appropriation bills for the major government departments, as Congress is supposed to do under the modern budget process. If Congress were doing its job properly, they could threaten to shut down just the Department of Health and Human Services, and/or they could attach Planned Parenthood defunding to all 12 appropriation bills and make Obama issue 12 vetoes ... That would transform the politics of any shutdown radically.

So, we've got Jordan and Mark Meadows [wingnut?, NC]; who are the other eight, and WHAT DO THEY WANT besides defunding PP? I can only guess it's about power. Are they Tea Party-driven or "social issues conservatives"? Still, as Dr. Hayward notes above,

the real failure of GOP leadership in both houses—is that we’re once again looking at passing yet another omnibus continuing resolution

So, HFC could be demanding some sort of idealogical purity, or perhaps just trying to move leadership away from what I've see as a surfeit of what "Beltway Syndrome" aka, we insiders will do as we (incumbents, all) and our lobbyists deem necessary.

I'm puzzled by the backroom deals, and not unhappy to see Boehner leave, but would like to know what's going on: I certainly know that the word "conservative" only meaning when published in the MSM is "them." To me, it means mostly the limited gov't, "Liberty" agenda; is that only me? Certainly Boehner's 1st Lieutenant, Eric Cantor, was defeated (deservedly so, from what I could tell) with Tea Party support as being way too steeped in the ways of Beltway Syndrome.

I'm hoping this is the start of a Gladstonian revolt, and not one leading to a Handmaid's Tale...

But nanobrewer thinks:

538 blog has an article on HFC, not answering my questions, but nods at the Gladstone approach, noting

The Freedom Caucus members aren’t homogenous demographically, politically or in their attitude toward Boehner.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 27, 2015 2:33 AM
But jk thinks:

Very interesting stuff, thanks.

I've been Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell's biggest defenders here (or anywhere else, as near as I can tell). I am willing to admit somebody else could do better, but I watch too much Jon Caldara and his Rule #1, Republicans will mess everything up, will likely unfold here.

Somebody else could be better but will get somebody better? It's not going to be Justin Amash (HOSS MI) or Trey Gowdy (HOSS SC); they don't have the votes and I doubt they have the temperament. And, while I don't want the Tea Party shut out of power, I'm not sure I want them driving the train either. We might miss our internal gridlock, mark my words.

And I strongly oppose any efforts to damage the filibuster. It's our final remaining protection from Democracy. The knowledge that "our guys" would have it a couple years is not worth discarding republican government.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2015 11:16 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Initially worried by the depiction of the HFC (not by the MSM - they will always be shouting "fight! fight! fight!") but from McClintock's letter.

Still, the we can't work with this dude does make sense now that I pause to remember too, too many stories of Boehner being downright nasty to what seemed to be as basic conservative causes (Hugh Hewitt was also a defender, yet could only come up with "Why?"), and quite vindictive to some of the young bucks. I clearly remember him being ... just ugly when trying to force a vote on immigration reform [comprehensive, of course!]

I've forgotten how many times in the last 12 months, even a centrist GOP like Hugh would say things like 'why hand the opposition this ammunition?'

Here's an example of him being the man that doesn't get it, on Face the Nation.

Our founders didn’t want some parliamentary system where if you won the majority, you got to do whatever you wanted. They wanted this long, slow process. And so change comes slowly. Obviously too slowly for some.

Seems oblivious to it's Obama who's been ushering change in avalanche by executive order, in disregard of the founders system. He apparently believes that it’s members of his caucus who are at odds with the founders’ vision.

Or, he's just saying what he thinks needs to be heard to stay on the cocktail circuit and be in line for the next juicy lobbyist post. Time may tell. Good riddance, and here's hoping anew, that next is better!

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 28, 2015 12:13 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

The "him" I refer to in the Face The Nation appearance was Boehner, not Hewitt.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 28, 2015 2:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm on record as a defender of republicanism, however, the Republican party shows no sign of doing anything to prevent Democrats from eschewing the filibuster again, or for broader purposes.

Hayward's department by department budget idea is a good one. One can only wonder why the previous leadership passed omnibus spending bills for the last 6 years. Hardly the doing of the House Freedom Caucus.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2015 3:14 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JG: Heh, pick your whinge: [then] We need the Senate! [now] We need the presidency! [soon] We need veto-proof majority!

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 28, 2015 5:54 PM

September 25, 2015

Bernie Fan is Spittin' Mad

Uhh, because he couldn't afford two bucks to buy his own sticker?

Maybe 'Bernie fan' would feel better if the federal agency ISS - Internal Sticker Service - had audited his car and, finding him with more stickers than the sticker poverty level, forced him to scrape it off and mail it in for redistribution himself. Under penalty of law, of course!

Quote of the Day

Huma Abedin, a longtime confidante of Mrs. Clinton's, was somehow allowed to work, simultaneously, at the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and as a consultant to Teneo--a consulting firm run by Clinton loyalist Doug Band. All three of Ms. Abedin's hats come into play in an undisclosed email exchange regarding a 2012 dinner in Ireland. As the Washington Examiner reported in May, Mrs. Clinton received an award at the dinner from a Clinton Foundation donor. The ceremony was promoted by Teneo. Mrs. Clinton attended in her official capacity as secretary of state. Sort through that. -- Kim Strassel
Dem2016 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 10:36 AM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Strassel is always awesome. Also good is:

Under FOIA, by contrast [with congressional subpoenas], the agency is required by law to provide plaintiffs with a complete inventory and broad description of every document it has that pertains to the request—but is withholding. This is known as a Vaughn index. The State Department on Monday handed over its Vaughn index to Citizens United

We find many undisclosed email chains in which State Department officials talk with Clinton Foundation officials about Bill Clinton speeches and Bill Clinton travel, including to events in North Korea and Congo. ... the Clinton Foundation was the State Department and the State Department was the Clinton Foundation. All one, big, seamless, Clinton-promoting entity.

If there's one time to be happy to see the slow bleeding of Obama's 'enemies' strategy, it's to see it used on one, corrupt and selfish YKW with the initials HRC.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 27, 2015 1:11 AM

September 24, 2015

a vote against administrative rule

is a vote for liberty, n'est pas? Good article from The Hill on the REINS act.

H.R. 427, the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015, known as the REINS Act passed the house in late July. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has introduced the companion legislation, S. 226, in the Senate. Time to fire up the phone lines! Who else in the GOP sweet sixteen will also sign up for support?

The Judiciary Committee's report on the bill explains that back in 1996, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) was implemented as an attempt to get control over the large number of regulations coming from the federal government. But only one regulation has been undone using CRA, while 60,000 regulations have come into being. Major regulations accounted for 1,000 of them. These regulations are costly. According to The Economist, the Competitive Enterprise Institute reported that in 2013, the compliance cost of federal regulations was $1.86 billion, or $15 billion per household.
I think that should be $15 per household?
The regulatory process has become a way for presidents to make an end run around Congress by legislating from the White House. The REINS Act is a way to put Congress back in the game of being a check and balance on executive action.
Posted by nanobrewer at 11:57 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

I wish they were less sloppy (says teh guy who can't type "the"). I cannot believe it is as low as $15. Every household that bought a washing machine paid ten time that. I guess that is 6.20 per person, so that sounds right.

I don't think you'll get the pitchforks out over the cost of a couple cappuccinos.

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2015 9:55 AM
But AndyN thinks:

I'd urge them to vote against it for no other reason than the fact that I'm fed up with the legislature forcing absurd names on legislature just so they can spell cutesy acronyms.

More substantively though, it's just another redundant law that the executive branch will ignore and the GOP, when in control of Congress, will be afraid to enforce. Redundant because Congress already has the power to stop regulations if they think the executive branch is overstepping its authority. Simply pass a budget without funding for any of the agencies to implement their (allegedly) unconstitutional agendas.

When you can demonstrate that you've made an honest effort to use the tools at your disposal and found they're not up to the task, then I may approve of your request for new tools.

Posted by: AndyN at September 25, 2015 11:45 AM
But AndyN thinks:

I need more coffee or an edit button. The second "legislature" should be "legislation."

Posted by: AndyN at September 25, 2015 11:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The whole thing is moot, is it not, unless Senate Majority Leader McConnell changes the filibuster rule the same way as his predecessor, Senate Majority Leader Reid.

And what's up with that anyway? Does McConnell think taking the high road will somehow prevent the Dems from taking the low road, again? Or is it just a convenient excuse to do nothing?

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2015 2:31 PM

The Most Boston Thing You'll Ever See

And the most NSFW language.

You've been warned.

Hat-tip: Ed Driscoll @ Insty

You'll be tempted, after five minutes, to not watch the second one. Disregard that impulse..

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 7:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

One More Thing on VW Emissions

Orwell was right about language. We live in a world where the phrase "carbon pollution" is thrown about to describe CO2 emissions. I don't have to tell ThreeSourcers that CO2 is a natural product of combustion and that it deserves to be called a pollutant about as much as the other product: H2O.

The WSJ lead editorial has some interesting points.

Two decades ago GM had to cough up $45 million for installing defeat devices in nearly half a million cars that overrode carbon monoxide controls. In 1998 seven U.S. manufacturers of heavy-duty diesel engines, including Caterpillar and Volvo Truck, settled federal charges of implanting devices that disabled NOx controls for $1 billion.

What regulators don't ever explain is that these defeat devices serve a functional purpose, which is usually to increase performance and fuel efficiency. They want to pretend that emissions regulations are a clean, free ride. Until now, VW--which advertised its environmental friendly and powerful engines--was in on the charade.

Good point and it plays into brother jg's Irish Democracy suggestion: give the people the cars they want. Related: "VW Owners Aren't Going to Like the Fixes for Their Diesels."

But I came to talk chemistry and politics (you're welcome). If regulation has ever succeeded at anything in the US it has been the reduction of real automotive pollution: Sulfur, Lead, and particulates have been drastically reduced. These compounds a bad stuff to put in the air and true economic externalities. No doubt manufacturers would rather spew them, and public choice theory questions how effective consumers could be at influence.

So I will again come down on the good folks at Hitler's AutoVerks VW/Audi. Government has a compelling reason to limit NO emissions and the Fed's have a legitimate purpose in "regularizing" those standards.

Bad manufacturer -- no biscuit!

UPDATE: Shikha Dalmia goes to bat for VW.

But blaming greed for VW's actions is like blaming gravity for someone falling off a cliff after a good shove.

The fact is that EPA's crazy emissions mandates shoved VW off a cliff and, if its regulatory authority is not curbed, more companies are going to follow suit, I note in my morning column at The Week.

Drivers want cheap, safe, powerful cars. That is exactly what the EPA's NOx standards made it very difficult for VW to produce. Meeting the agency's aggressive 2008 edict would have required the company to install a urea tank to neutralize the nitrogen oxide before release. But that would have not only bumped the prices of cars in a mid-range category, it would have diminished fuel economy, and made the cars far less zippy (since the engine is forced to divert power to the tank).

Man, I love Dalmia and I hate the EPA. She goes into CAFE standards and the many legitimate ways that gub'mint is a co-villain in this sordid tale. But I will get three bonus objectivism points and ask her to check her premises. Sorry VW cannot provide affordable and well performing diesel autos under the current regime. Umm, so build gas cars or solve the challenges without chicanery.

I'm sticking with my original premise of a legitimate purpose to regulate Nitrogen compounds.

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 9:52 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Does it alter your calculus to consider the difference between limiting harmful emissions or virtually eliminating them? The first half dozen emission caps were fine - it's when they try to get below a thousandth of a percent that the trouble starts.

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2015 11:47 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Dalmia calls America a "diesel-unfriendly country." We can agree it is also a "nuclear-unfriendly country" and a "coal-unfriendly country" and a "hydroelectric-unfriendly country." How long does anyone suppose it will take to also become a "natural gas-unfriendly country" and a "gasoline-unfriendly country?"

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2015 2:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, you're correct. Same deal as mercury emission that must now be 1/10,000 the dose of a tuna sandwich and not 1/1000. That is a favorite EPA play.

I confess I don't know the proportions, but speaking to your second point, we have a divergence of the right to or need for diesel passenger autos. If they are inherently dirtier, then the manufacturer must engineer them to meet specs. I'd be happier to quibble were there not a substitute for diesel cars.

Perhaps I'm a diesel-unfriendly American (hell, I don't even like soccer!) My opinion was cast with the HORRID 1970s GM diesels. Man you got behind a two-year-old Olds you needed a shower. We were told that those inventive and industrious Germans (ich bin ein österreicher) had "solved" this with their clean TDI tech. Cool, but the actual cars you sell must meet the specs.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2015 10:47 AM

Worst Tech CEO?

Wanted it to be so, but it doesn't even rate in the "Rant" category. I write this as a Fiorina fan and a serious (possibly dangerous) technophile who grew up 9 miles from the garage where Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started that California, "silicon valley" icon.

I judge JK's instinctual dismissal of the resounding-sounding Politico article by Dr. Sonnefeld (yawn, a L/W prof disses a GOP'r) to be spot on. Boldly titled “Fiorina was a terrible CEO” and following with

she was one of the worst technology CEOs in history

It quickly loses steam.

1. Analysis of the article:
His biggest stick is how the company "lost over half its value" by which he means stock price. OK, the stock went down, as Carly has noted, pretty much on par with NASDAQ. It recovered. Next, the overblown rhetoric starts to flow, as always, downhill:

It was Fiorina’s failed leadership that brought her company down
Down where, exactly? They're Fortune's #55, and kicking IBM's butt! See below to see how they fared during her tenure (2001-2005), and since.


(numbers are gross revenue, in $B)

Lastly, he sneers at her explanation for the stock price dip, comparing Hp's drop to mostly non-comparable companies like Apple (totally different), and Google (which is another universe). I think Bloomberg's Justin Fox 'CEO Carly in one Chart' is better as business analysis when he compares' HP's performance to IBM, Dell and Sun Microsystems.

2. Analysis of the author
I looked the guy up, since my gut reaction was the guy wants to sell books, and you don't get buzz by going after Gilmore. His Hero's Farewell is all about non-tech, eastern companies and Firing Back shows he reveres people like Jimmy Carter, Donald Trump, Martha Stewart, John Scully (more on him below) & Dan Rather. That made me think, he'd hate someone like her, and furthermore, I like her even more, via the faint praise of being defined by one's enemies. One of his 7 keys for future success from HF is managing your reputation. I think her “so you think?!?” departure from Hp surely grates.

Wrap this up with Yale's reputation as having dissed the Fedex business plan and his status as an NPR contributor, and I feel fully confident rating this as a Hit Piece that smells really awful. Want more proof? The NYT's Andrew Sorking could do nothing but parrot it, in his column "Fiorina’s Business Record: Not So Sterling" (for completeness, it's not worth reading). His article about her time with Lucent is more troubling, but I didn't really see a smoking gun there.

This took some time, let me tell ya... from Scully nearly scuttling Apple, to the bozos at IBM that passed on owning their own Disc Operating System yet did not make the list (but that decision probably wasn't on the CEO level)!

The article 10 Catastrophic CEO Decisions is a much better start down an interesting road. Dovetailing nicely with Tom Perkins' "The Truth About Carly" (taken as an ad in the NYT),

Carly was hired at HP because it was struggling. Revenues were down, quarterly earnings were missed, innovation lagged and growth stagnated“ ... [Hp had an] ineffective and dysfunctional board
HP appears in the article of 10 worst flops three times!

I was thinking Perkins (who was on Compaq's board), was butt-kissing for a spot in Treasury until I looked up his byline. Even tech-loving geeks like me know about Kleiner-Perkins-Caufield successful history of backing silicon valley startups [updated; I see CNN now is sniping at him].

The HP-Compaq merger is one of the list 10 Worst, but it really pales compared to
- Dale Osborne, google The Osborne Effect,
- Steve Case's mighty crash at AOL ($200B to $1B),
- the death of SUN Micro (Scott McNealy gets my vote!);
- Yahoo! ($47B and rising, down to $17B and coughing blood all over), and
- John Scully's nearly deadly tenure at Apple getting the Miss Congeniality award.

As the numbers above attest, HP is going strong and is now bigger than IBM, the company Fiorina wanted to catch. HP was going down the tubes and nearly did again (dysfunction!), under CEO Leo Apotheker. A Forbes' article on SUN mentions HP about four times as doing right what SUN got wrong (all during her tenure). The Compaq merger is now judged to be a success
- by my analysis, since HP had longed (for a loooong time, according to many old classmates who worked and interned there) to be big a player in the PC market, became the top seller from 2006-2011;
- by complicated analysis from Robert Burgelman, of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, who said

What Fiorina was attempting to do was extremely complicated. She was trying to change the culture of HP without really understanding what that culture was like in the first place

I think Fiorina's statements to date about her time at HP are appropriate for the sort of audience (aka, low information) on the talk shows she's been on. I'll bet she can trade dukes with the likes of Sonnefeld any day! It would be nice for her to hone her points, though. Hp's financial picture is very complicated (50%+ of the printer market, now into IT "Enterprise" services in a big way....) and should be properly represented, and the craziness of the board, containing a Hewlett who can't manage to get into the big chair, deserves some attention.

Then again, she could just say: I started behind IBM, took 'em down, and HP has stayed ahead! I think she'll box the ears back and dance circles around any/all media types trying to discern, with suitably concerned tones and glittering eyes: "but does she care?"

But johngalt thinks:

That's the part that will draw blood: "But does she care?"

I've been anticipating this post nb. Thanks for your thorough treatment. One thing missing, however, is a discussion around the issue of gross revenue versus net income. Sonnenfeld made a big deal about that, saying that a merger of two companies automatically spikes gross revenues, but that is not a good measure of performance and leadership.

But in electoral politics none of this really matters as much as the "Does she care" question. Which she should (and has, I think) answer with:

Unlike government, a private company doesn't have the luxury of hiring, or retaining, more employees that it needs to meet the needs of its customers. Unlike government, a private company has a bottom line, and if it spends more than it earns it will eventually run out of money and die. Of course I care! About the 272,000 hard working employees of Hewlett Packard whose jobs would also have ended, had I not made the difficult decision to lay off the one tenth of our workforce that the company could not afford to keep.

And since Donald Trump seems to think repeating the same explanation is not sufficient, she can also try it this way:

To say that I somehow "don't care" about employees because I ordered a layoff requires an intentional ignorance of the care I showed for all of those who were not laid off. Do my critics not care about them?
Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2015 3:20 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Thanks for your kind words, JG.

Agreed that revenues aren't necessarily the be-all from year to year (in the way harvard Biz School wants you to think) but, over the long run the table clearly shows Carly didn't "kill" anything, and enabled it to grown far beyond the $20B merger. Key point: now bigger than IBM and holding.

electoral politics none of this really matters as much as the "Does she care" question

Only if spineless types like Jeb! or endless-agitators like Berie are running. They tried to smear Reagan with this brush and got it thrown back in their face. She can do this, and you showed us how!

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 25, 2015 4:48 PM

September 23, 2015


Never heard of it, or Charles Cook, but he's published a Manifesto!

Internecine Posted by nanobrewer at 11:54 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Some bald dude on the Internet gave it five stars!

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2015 10:22 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

And since writing this, I've seen his name twice and even heard him mentioned on the radio! My mind, it seems, is not in the game at times....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 24, 2015 11:53 PM

People in Glass Houses

From a fair, balanced, and pithy article on Donny Trump's pledge to 'stop those hedge fund guys getting away with murder' by Cliff Asness:

Trump hopes that by taking on his own friends - the "hedge-fund guys" - he will be seen as courageous by the angry subset of the Republican primary electorate that has fueled his rise. Instead of addressing that often-valid anger with reasonable proposals, he throws out red meat about "hedge funds." If Trump were truly courageous, he'd tell us about how tricky tax arguments, and a fair amount of cronyism, have motivated so many big real-estate transactions. He'd tell us about the wide range of local tax credits, generous depreciation laws, and the 1031 exchanges that provide real-estate tycoons like him with a loophole they can use to defer paying capital-gains taxes. He'd mention real-estate moguls' propensity to extract tax-free income from their buildings by refinancing loans. He'd tell us about those of his colleagues who literally pay zero taxes and sometimes monetize tax credits.

If he were truly courageous, that is. If he really wanted to "tell it how it is."

Otequay of the Ayday

Vice President Joe Biden, who may hop into the race, is 72. Biden has a compelling personal story, but he also is gaffe-prone and must carry the baggage of an administration that has many voters clamoring for change.

--San Francisco Chronicle's Debra Saunders' column yesterday

Gee, where have we heard that before?

"Substance does not matter to the right wing base. Only how tough they sound when they spew garbage"

Like my blog brother I am "still in" on Carly...

The reason she remains such a bright spot to me remains her ability to express principles. When his layoffs were shoved in his face, Gov. Romney wilted and sniveled. Fiorina explains reality. I'm still in.

... but does Dick Morris (and Thom Hartmann) have a point?

In an email commentary, Morris said essentially that "Carly would be a great president, but would be a disaster as the Republican nominee" because of her weakness on this issue.

But jk thinks:

A Yacht? A Yacht???

There is a concern. Disney movies have, perhaps, poisoned the electorate so much that a businessperson would never get elected. She failed in California against an incumbent Senator, so I am not quick to write her off because of "failure" to unseat Boxer -- that's a difficult assignment.

Saw but cannot locate a story about how she actually did something. For better, for worse, with Compaq or without, she made decisions and reaped the consequences. The Senators have no such baggage.

If Hartmann is correct (he may be but I don't care for his tone) we are resigned to mediocre politician candidates forever. I hope he is not.

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2015 3:23 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Sigh, Dick Morris is still trying be relevant. Anybody here remember anything with which to agree with this charlatan?

I see Carly's yacht and raise with John Kerry's $7M 'house boat'

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 23, 2015 3:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Looking at the comments, from which the post's title was a direct quotation, this sort of thing has great traction with at least a segment of the population. Hopefully a very, very, small, Progressive communist segment.

But this seems to be the focus of jk's approbation - as a candidate for POTUS, Carly should have ample opportunity to "explain reality." If she does so effectively and still loses - well, pass the ammunition.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2015 5:51 PM

September 22, 2015

Beards of the Week

ADDENDA: CommodoreBTC noticed that last night's Monday Night Football game, between the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets, offered the best matchup of Civil War-appropriate beards in many years, with Andrew Luck taking on Ryan Fitzpatrick: -- Jim Geraghty

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 5:48 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

I might've put Indy in grey, but that's a nit.

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2015 7:10 PM

Our friend Putin

I'm inclined to agree with this assessment by Patrick J. Buchanan:

Indeed, the problem in Syria is not so much with the Russians -- or Iran, Hezbollah and Assad, all of whom see the Syrian civil war correctly as a fight to the finish against Sunni jihadis.

Our problem has been that we have let our friends -- the Turks, Israelis, Saudis and Gulf Arabs -- convince us that no victory over ISIS can be achieved unless and until we bring down Assad.

Once we get rid of Assad, they tell us, a grand U.S.-led coalition of Arabs and Turks can form up and march in to dispatch ISIS.

This is neocon nonsense.

Those giving us this advice are the same "cakewalk war" crowd who told us how Iraq would become a democratic model for the Middle East once Saddam Hussein was overthrown and how Moammar Gadhafi's demise would mean the rise of a pro-Western Libya.

When have these people ever been right?

He concludes:

In making ISIS, not Assad, public enemy No. 1, Putin has it right.

It is we Americans who are the mystery inside an enigma now.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Ahh, good ole' Pat; as addled as ever.

same crowd who told us how Iraq would become a democratic model for the Middle East once Saddam Hussein was overthrown and how Moammar Gadhafi's demise would mean the rise of a pro-Western Libya

They were two _very_different_ crowds...

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 22, 2015 3:25 PM
But jk thinks:

"Two wings of the same bird of prey!" That's what Mr. Buchanan would say.

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2015 5:55 PM

Thomas Sowell on Capitalism

I'm not bashing the leader of a large world religion. Thomas Sowell is bashing the leader of a large world religion.

A scholar specializing in the study of Latin America said that the official poverty level in the U.S. is the upper middle class in Mexico. The much criticized market economy of the U.S. has done far more for the poor than the ideology of the left.

Pope Francis' own native Argentina was once among the leading economies of the world, before it was ruined by the kind of ideological notions he is now promoting around the world.

UPDATE: And for those who come to ThreeSources for balanced and objective commentary [what the hell is the matter with you people?] you are in luck today. The WSJ Ed Page has a great editorial, hoping that America and The Pope can learn from each other. It is a respectful look at the benefits both of capitalism and "a Christian example that Americans of all faiths might emulate with his modest life-style and manifest concern for the poor and least powerful." Well, I call it fair -- capitalism gets 85% of the column inches.

*********** COMPLETE EDITORIAL (Forgive me, St. Rupert, I know not of copyright infringement )***************

The Politics of Pope Francis

Perhaps America and this pope can learn from each other.
Sept. 21, 2015 7:17 p.m. ET

Pope Francis arrives Tuesday on his first visit to the United States, and the welcome event illustrates his unique and paradoxical appeal. The Argentine pope is being celebrated more for his embrace of progressive economics than for the Catholic Church’s moral teachings.

Millions of American Catholics will of course welcome the pope as a spiritual messenger and the head of a religion of some 1.2 billion world-wide. As a pastoral shepherd he has set a Christian example that Americans of all faiths might emulate with his modest life-style and manifest concern for the poor and least powerful. His public American itinerary—to a Harlem school, a Philadelphia prison—reflects this pastoral mission. He is a man of God who avoids the ostentatious trappings of man.

Yet the pope will also visit the White House and speak to Congress, and this is where his tour takes on an extra-religious resonance. Pope Francis has overtly embraced the contemporary progressive political agenda of income redistribution and government economic control to reduce climate change.

President Obama, who shares both ambitions, is therefore giving the pope the kind of hearty embrace we can’t imagine him giving to his predecessor Pope Benedict. Secular progressives who disdain the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion, same-sex marriage and divorce are ignoring all of that catechistic unpleasantness and claiming the pope as an evangelist for their agenda. You might call them cafeteria progressives, after the old line about Catholics who are selective in which church teachings they follow.

There is some risk for the pope and his church in this progressive bear hug. One is that the pope will come to be seen as a seeker of political popularity more than a speaker of hard and eternal truths. Another is that politicians may use the pope to serve their own political and cultural needs, as with the official White House guest list to meet the pope.

The Journal reported last week that the Vatican was upset that the presence of prominent dissenters from Catholic teaching will make it appear that the pope endorses their views. We doubt the White House intended any offense, but the oversight reveals how little secular liberal elites understand about traditional religious mores. You can bet the protocol office would not make such a mistake with a Muslim cleric of similar importance.

Our own hope for the papal visit is that he has a chance to better understand America and the capitalist roots of its prosperity. Like many Argentines of the left, Pope Francis seems given to suspicion about American wealth. But liberty and not coercion is the source of our strength and of the wealth that has lifted millions out of poverty.

Cuba, where Francis arrived this weekend, has denied its people economic freedom—and religious freedom—for the six decades of its revolution and remains poor and unable to develop the “new technologies” that Pope Francis has said should be available for all.

The U.S. has prospered by respecting property rights and relying on the voluntary decisions of individuals. The rule of law here means that unlike in countries such as Argentina, an American can build a large, successful business even if no one in the government likes him. And unlike in Argentina, capitalist success creates millions of jobs that allow men and women without political connections to support their families and live in dignity.

In Washington, D.C., the pope will visit a homeless program run by Catholic Charities. But he should know that Catholic Charities can do its good work because of the contributions from lay Catholics who succeed in a capitalist economy. The pope may also be surprised to learn that individual Americans voluntarily do far more than any government to assist the world’s poor.

A 2013 report from the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Prosperity found that nearly $31 billion of annual U.S. government aid to developing countries was eclipsed by $39 billion of private charity, plus another $108 billion of private capital flows. Americans also sent more than $100 billion of remittances to the developing world, often from immigrants working in the U.S. Nobody goes to Cuba to earn money to support relatives in America.

As for the environment and climate change, Pope Francis is sometimes given to an almost Malthusian, anti-modern pessimism. In his recent encyclical, “Laudato Si,” Francis wrote that “the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

Well, he should have seen East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the air in Beijing today. Coercive governments are the worst befoulers of the environment. Democratic capitalism has created the wealth and electoral consent to clean the air and water, and only continued economic growth will create the resources to deal with climate change if it does become a serious threat to the Earth.

Catholics understand that while the pope speaks for God on matters of faith and morals, his infallibility does not extend to his economics or environmentalism. We hope he enjoys his visit to the land of the free, and that the education goes both ways.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:25 AM | What do you think? [10]
But jk thinks:

Nossir. I can hear it in my best Yaron Brook voice: the correct amount you should be giving is "more."

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2015 3:09 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I liked the WSJ article more than Sowell. It had some good zingers as well:

Pope Francis seems given to suspicion about American wealth. But liberty and not coercion is the source of our strength and of the wealth that has lifted millions out of poverty.

It unearths one set of stats I've long been interested in (which the Left assiduously denies):

nearly $31 billion of annual U.S. government aid to developing countries was eclipsed by $39 billion of private charity, plus another $108 billion of private capital flows.

Tithing is a christian thing (and is most distinctly non-coercive), but even the Wiki page suggests it's much more recent than the bible, (Tithe = 1/10 in olde English) though the term is mentioned in modern interpretations of Leviticus and formal giving was recognized in 700 AD or so.

The OT Book of Ezekiel says 1/6th of wheat, 10% of oil, and 1/2% of sheep (long I'd wondered about that....)

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 22, 2015 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Interesting -- I stand corrected. It does seem, though, to have more currency in the evangelical community than in Catholicism. Any Catholics remember tithing as being a big thing?

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2015 5:19 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


more currency [heh] in the evangelical community than in Catholicism

Yes, the evangelical's helped show the big church how getting the faithful to pay for their walls and candles was a more successful model (in all ways, including spiritual) than the top-down approach into which the Catholic Church had apparently developed. My church, Greek Orthodox, apparently had many of the same problems (yes, there are enough rich Greeks... or were).

Tithing was perhaps re-emphasized a decade or two back, but I'm fairly recent to the inner-circles of church finance.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 23, 2015 12:04 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Under the "I knew it!" category, I see (thanks to Prof. Steven Hawyard)

upcoming Vatican appearance of Gustavo Gutierrez, the radical Peruvian theologian who was a big celebrity of the left in the 1970s and 1980s for his “liberation theology.”

And worth remembering that Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI were harsh critics of liberation theology. This was big in Latin America for a decade or so, providing wind under the Sandinista's wings. It invaded US catholic parishes for a spate as well... clearly the barbarians are again knocking at the gate. The article makes it pretty clear the current Pontiff is an eager revoltarian.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 23, 2015 3:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

According to this, Gutierrez has been credited for "liberation theology" but was not its creator.

"I recently glanced through Gutiérrez's book, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation, and I had the feeling that it was written at the Lubyanka," Pacepa told the Catholic News Agency, referring to the KGB headquarters at Lubyanka Square in Moscow. "No wonder he is now credited with being the founder of liberation theology."

Let's remember an open mic moment for President Obama, speaking to Russian President Medvedev: "This is my last election. And after my election, I have more flexibility."

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2015 6:31 PM



Thinking Out Loud

My friend Tyler sang this at his mother's wedding and killed it. I had the misfortune to follow him. In spite of that brutal upstaging, I was quite taken with the tune. Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge ©2014

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


conservatism, briefly

A $20,000 prize for short writing of published articles (three published articles or posts), but < 800 words.

Canee do't, JK?

The prize goes to the author who best captures the spirit and style of the thirtieth president and the ideals Coolidge favored, some of which were: independence, thrift, balanced budgets, a restrained federal government, active state government, perseverance after hardship, appreciation of commerce, stable money, support for international law, competence at work, meticulous respect for the Constitution, civility and respect for religious faith (and brevity!).

Last year's winner was Don Boudreaux.

September 21, 2015

Papal Contentment

When I said "last one I promise" I meant on Facebook. Things could be rough on this pages for a few days.

James Pethokoukis has a nice piece on Deirdre McCloskey today -- of course well worth a read. Looking at his accompanying graph:

I deduced the universal; law of papal happiness:

f(t) = -Kd(GDP/capita)/dt

But johngalt thinks:

See how unfair Europe is, and the USA even worse? They're taking a bigger share of the pie for themselves! Pope is here to make things fair.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2015 3:23 AM

All Hail Taranto!


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:57 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

The left is most definitely nervous about a Republican candidate who could neuter (spay?) Hillary's chief campaign slogan: [nasalvoice] "Isn't it - about time - we had a woman - president - of the United - States - of America?"

Another example was in this John Fund article from last week - Does Carson's Rise Mean Trump's Fall?

Politico surveyed its anonymous panel of top GOP operatives, activists, and strategists in Iowa and New Hampshire. An astonishing 60 percent of those surveyed said Fiorina was the biggest winner of the night. Even a New Hampshire Democrat weighed in with this: "Fiorina drops the mic. Her closing argument was Jeffersonian. She handled Trump like the junior high schooler he is. Holy s***."
Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2015 2:28 PM
But jk thinks:

My Facebook feed is filling with anti-Carly memes (and a lengthy rant from Sec. Robert Reich); she has clearly caught somebody's attention.

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2015 3:36 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'd offer the following defense of her cuts at Hp (or more dramatically, what's been referred to her "destroying the culture"): better than what happened to Sun Microsystems!

hereis her lighter side:

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 21, 2015 4:37 PM
But jk thinks:

Breitbart has a letter that Tom Perkins ran as an ad in the NYTimes:

RESPONSE TO: Andrew Ross Sorkin
August 17, 2015
"Carly Fiorina's Business Record: Not So Sterling"

The consensus is clear: Carly Fiorina won the first Republican Primary debate. As a result she is climbing the polls and into the top tier of candidates. Her rise has led pundits to speculate about her tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

I was a member of the HP Board of Directors much of the time Carly was the CEO. I was in the room for many of the decisions she made. I can attest to the strength of Carly's leadership, the accuracy of her vision and the quality of her management.

Carly was an excellent CEO. She led HP through one of the worst economic times in decades. Less than two years into Carly's leadership, the dot com bubble went bust. Silicon Valley was in chaos. Companies were shedding jobs almost daily. There were so many layoffs The Associated Press ran weekly announcements regarding layoffs at tech companies. And The San Francisco Chronicle declared 2001 "The Year of the Layoff."

While other Silicon Valley icons like Sun Microsystems disappeared, Carly's vision and execution not only helped to save HP but made it a strong, more versatile company that could compete in the changing technology sector.
Posted by: jk at September 21, 2015 5:40 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I will consider a response to Dr. Sonnenfeld's letter about Fiorina... I believe he also overstates the record (hey, he's got a book to sell!) and engages in a few apples-zebras comparisons. I grew up in the area, know quite a few HP'ers (and Agilent...) no time now....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 21, 2015 11:27 PM

George Will in NR about Pope Francis

As the world spurns his church's teachings about abortion, contraception, divorce, same-sex marriage, and other matters, Francis jauntily makes his church congruent with the secular religion of "sustainability." Because this is hostile to growth, it fits Francis's seeming sympathy for medieval stasis, when his church ruled the roost, economic growth was essentially nonexistent, and life expectancy was around 30.
I give folks props for publishing this. It's about as close as George Will gets to a "Rant," and it is probably the most critical piece to a sitting pontiff as has ever appeared under the imprimatur of National Review.

If it had a few typos and disconnected metaphors, you'd think I had written it: growth, Matt Ridley, Galileo, capitalism's role in bringing people out of poverty. I struggled to decide on an excerpt. It is short and you'll wish to read it all. Twice.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:14 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

And I give my blog brother props for blogging it.

It's either-or. If capitalism's befuddled, guilt-ridden apologists do not know it, two fully consistent representatives of altruism do know it: Catholicism and communism.

Their rapprochement, therefore, is not astonishing. Their differences pertain only to the supernatural, but here, in reality, on earth, they have three cardinal elements in common: the same morality, altruism - the same goal, global rule by force - the same enemy, man's mind.

-Alisa Rosenbaum, in 'Requiem for Man
Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2015 3:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In the same chapter, Alisa also had something to say about American "conservatives" like Will, and the modern "liberals" who mock them.

So much for those American "conservatives" who claim that religion is the base of capitalism - and who believe that they can have capitalism and eat it, too, as the moral cannibalism of the altruist ethics demands.

And so much for those modern "liberals" who pride themselves on being the champions of reason, science, and progress - and who smear the advocates of capitalism as superstitious, reactionary representatives of a dark past. Move over, comrades, and make room for your latest fellow - travelers, who had always belonged on your side - then take a look, if you dare, at the kind of past they represent.

Horses, of the faith and altruism carriage, here is your water. All you need do is DRINK.

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2015 3:06 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

My favorite was the 1st paragraph:

Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert's indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false, and deeply reactionary. They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak

and this:

The church that thought it was settled science that Galileo was heretical should be attentive to all evidence.

Pope Francis is to modern religion what Bernie Sanders is to the US political ecosystem (or Corbyn is to the UK's or Tsipras is to Greece's).

A brief fever that will soon be over: fluids, rest and all will be well....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 21, 2015 4:30 PM

popus scrotus

*gasp* do we need a Category for Religion? Leaving that (and my blogging rights) aside, I wanted to point out again, what a pompous little boy who's unfit for the shoes handed to him by the electorate is.

I'm no fan of this Pope, but believe he deserves a modicum of respect, which, of course, is too much for the Crybaby in Chief. "invited guests for Pope Francis ... include transgender activists, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, and a nun who criticizes church policies on abortion and euthanasia" so much for her convent!

The Washington Post does a solid job of staying on the list of respectable publications with this:

What struck us as we read about this small controversy is the contrast between the administration’s apparent decision to risk a bit of rudeness in the case of the pope and its overwhelming deference to foreign dictators when similar issues arise.

When Secretary of State John F. Kerry traveled to Havana to reopen the U.S. Embassy recently, he painstakingly excluded from the guest list any democrat, dissident or member of civil society who might offend the Castro brothers.

And when Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to the White House next week, shortly after the pope leaves town, it’s a safe bet that he won’t have to risk being photographed with anyone of whom he disapproves. Chen Guangcheng, the courageous blind lawyer, for example, lives nearby in exile, but he probably won’t be at the state dinner. Neither will Falun Gong activists, democracy advocates or anyone else who might, well, give offense.

But jk thinks:

I don't know at which group to throw this accusation, but what becomes so tiresome for me is the lack of courage. Je suis Charlie! -- as long as nobody will get offended or write more than a stern letter to the editor. Dictators enjoy complete fealty by the left, along with every aggrieved group ever. Comfort the afflicted!

But when Mormons or Catholics or Evangelicals show up it's suddenly time to show how brave they are. Afflict the comfortable!

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2015 10:02 AM
But jk thinks:

By the way -- there is a "Theology" category under "Philosophy." No objection to adding Religion if it's wanted.

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2015 10:16 AM
But AndyN thinks:

When I saw this story I was immediately reminded of the pictures of the Dalai Lama exiting the White House past piles of garbage bags after a visit which drew the ire of the Chinese dictatorship.

Posted by: AndyN at September 21, 2015 11:45 AM

September 19, 2015

Untruth in Engineering

I was a fan of Audi automobiles even before their "Truth in Engineering" marketing slogan, with its natural appeal to yours truly. Now, the automaker has admitted, they have added 'cheating government regulators' to their list of attributes.

Only after the agencies threatened to withhold certification for VW's 2016 model-year diesels - which would have kept them from going on sale - did the automaker reveal the presence of the software switch.

That switch had two modes, which VW calls "road calibration" and "dyno calibration." Only in "dyno" mode, which monitored for the precise conditions EPA and other agencies would use to test emissions, do the engine's full emission controls go into effect. At all other times, the diesels' software uses the "road" mode.


Okay, well, there is still the principle of a level playing field.

U.S. emissions rules for diesel passenger cars and light-duty trucks were the toughest in the world around the time VW sold these engines. While other automakers rely on an expensive system known as urea injection to manage the pollutants from such cars, VW has long maintained it was able to meet U.S. rules for its 2-liter turbodiesel engines without that setup; it does use them on its larger diesels.

So VW-Audi "cheated" in order to economically bring the turbo diesel to smaller, cheaper vehicles? What elitists!! Put the CEO in a country club prison!

Or, perhaps, harmonize U.S. emissions rules for diesel passenger cars and light-duty trucks with those in Europe? Nah, too logical.

UPDATE: Not just VW-Audi

When I was an engineer at a Major North American Car Company, my supervisor who was expert in all things engines-and-emissions spoke of something called a "hay sniffer." Specifically, the car met emissions when it was driven according to the EPA Federal Test Procedure, but when the software detected that you were cruising down the open road at speeds in excess of that protocol, the software "sniffed the smell of hay" that you were far beyond the city limits where smog was a problem, and it reverted the engine to a more fuel-efficient operation.

UPDATE: I went looking for a more editorialized take on this story (like my own, above) and found Jazz Shaw taking a whack:

None of that changes the fact that the emissions were within the required limits at the time of testing.

Of course that's a horribly transparent dodge in terms of legal tactics, but the law is generally held to and enforced based on how it is written. Volkswagen was obviously gaming the system here but if it's going to come down to 18 billion in fines I can't help but wonder if they won't make a run at a defense like that in court.

But jk thinks:

I suspect this to be a good Rorschach test for industrial policy and political views. I'm badly outclassed in Star Trek allusions, but didn't Captain Kirk cheat in the "impossible" situation in his final examination at Starfleet? I'm more at home describing the Black Adder Christmas Special. In a reverse-Dickens, the ghosts show the good and altruistic descendant all the chicanery of his ancestors. The good one sees the benefits of blurring the lines and becomes a reformed patsy after the three visits.

Most ThreeSourcers are likely to celebrate the Belichickian outwitting of Fed regulators, but the dark side is the reinforcement of anti-corporate, pro-regulatory behavior. My biggest hurdle is to convince my friends that Kroger won't sell rancid meat to save an extra 4¢ a pound. This feeds the idea that Corporations are out to get us.

See what would happen without a well-funded and empowered Federal regulatory apparatus?

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2015 3:14 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

"celebrate the Belichickian outwitting of Fed regulators" I don't. It's the same pitfall that Instapundit alluded to when a society devolves into Irish Democracy, or Greek Social-Democracy.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 21, 2015 4:16 PM
But dagny thinks:

Belichickian is my favorite new adjective of the month!

Means: just on the line between legal and not. Some people admire you for your guts and ingenuity and others think you are a cheating scumbag.

Captain Kirk gets the former. Belichick himself the latter.



Posted by: dagny at September 22, 2015 5:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Very good Holman Jenkins column in the WSJ today: "Green Illusions Fell an Auto CEO."

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2015 12:44 PM

September 18, 2015


Free commentary on the Internet:

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:20 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Well, he did ask the Cuban people to "Overcome ideological preconceptions and be willing to change." Maybe he really is channeling Alisa Rosenbaum.

[Don't forget to duck when the swine fly overhead.]

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2015 2:42 PM

Jonah's "Best Newspaper Headline Ever"

Hard to argue:

Honorable mention: Flying brisket whacks woman amid beef at barbecue festival

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:07 PM | What do you think? [0]

iran linked to 9/11

Holy smokes this judgement, Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden from Dec. 2011 is still not understood, or cited?? Apparently, the 9/11 Report noted suspicions on this, but no one followed up, except victims' families.

[Judge] Daniels agreed that Iran, Khamenei, former Iranian president Ali Rafsanjani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS), Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah and various Iranian government departments, government-owned companies and the central bank, had all provided direct and material aid and support to al-Qaida in carrying out the 9/11 attacks.
[on the] website of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York under “rulings of special interest.”

There is a website for this case, but Webroot watchguard is telling me it's got cooties; this JP article is clear of nastiness. The families are owed $7B in damages... chump change for the amount of money held up for sanctions. A different judge upheld the ruling (Iran didn't answer) but ordering the seizure of a $500M manhattan tower block.

What in the world is the GOP doing not using this for leverage against the nuke deal?!? Oh, I see, they're still playing 50's era nice-nice politics.

McConnell believes by hammering home the point again on Tuesday he is making the partisan contrast between the two parties even brighter for voters in 2016.

Some things just can't wait, but losers never see that. Per Scott Johnson at PowerLine on the second attempt at the same cursed vote, filibuster .... prevent a resolution of disapproval:

I think this is for losers. It is demoralizing. It represents sheer futility. It is not only for losers, it aggravates the loss.

Good grief, McConnel can't even get a vote on a resolution of disapproval?!? The keystone cops need another captain. I think I'll post the JP article to Cory Gardener's website... heck, Tom Cotton too!!

Iran Posted by nanobrewer at 3:12 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Are you saying that our government and its media "watchdogs" swept an inconvenient truth under the rug so that the public might never connect Iran with 9/11?

I have zero difficulty believing that.

I hereby retract my prior assertion [second comment] that Iran has not been linked to 9/11 legally or militarily.

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2015 11:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I also shared the article on the Weld County Repulicans FB page. Thanks nb!

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2015 11:58 AM

September 17, 2015

Fiorina Ascendent

How do we know that Carly Fiorina is now an existential threat to a Hillary Clinton presidency (or any other Democrat for that matter?) Because the left is rushing to call her a liar:

To be sure, Fiorina wasn't the only person lying about Planned Parenthood on stage. The claim that Planned Parenthood sells fetal body parts was stated as fact by multiple candidates. It's simply not true, and repeating it will not make it more true. But describing such a vivid and grisly scene that never happened - that is taking it to another level.

But the trouble for them, and for Hillary and the other Democratic presidential hopefuls, is she's not lying:

As for Fiorina's quote, she is likely referring to the entirety of the 10 videos, including the seventh video released by the Center for Medical Progress. Watch the full video for yourself. It does, in fact, show a fully formed fetus, heart beating and legs kicking. And it shows this while Holly O'Donnell, a former organ harvester who worked for StemExpress at a Planned Parenthood affiliate, graphically discuss the harvesting of a brain from a baby whose heart was beating.

WARNING: This video contains graphic imagery of an aborted child and descriptions of harvesting a brain from a male baby whose heart was beating. It also shows a baby born alive at the same age as the baby whose face and head was cut open to harvest the brain.

But jk thinks:

Ms. Couric gets up early and stays late to provide the footage for the commercial jg describes. Pobrecita, her prey does not play along.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2015 4:33 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

She does handle Katie "manfully," swatting away one after another, after another shot at getting a "Macaca" moment.

Innovation, not regulation ... brilliant. Her answer is a decent one (clean coal), but the phrase scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by human activity was drawn from her Wiki page, which is very well written (no LW nonsense or snipe). I suppose that's her calibrated approach?

Works for me. I shuck titles, but generally say that I haven't seen systemic, GLOBAL warming that's outside of statistical norms. G'head and clean up coal... as long as it still rolls up the conveyor to the burners!

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 20, 2015 11:28 PM
But dagny thinks:

In true devil's advocate fashion, this doesn't sound too crazy:

Posted by: dagny at September 21, 2015 4:28 PM
But jk thinks:

No, dagny, but there are a couple of crazy bits in it.

Pointy-head Yale Business School prof disses GOP Candidate (yawn). But at the end He thinks the GOP should look to its great women leaders like Sen. Lisa Murkowski ($$$ - AK). Oh, 'scuse me, I coughed up a big piece of pork when I read that (Sen. Ayotte and Gov. Haley were netter choices but...) Her real sin was not listening to the wise Professor "Fiorina can attack me all she wants..." who "has written a book how great leaders rebound." Interesting, but not dispositive.

The bits and pieces of whether the Compaq deal was good can be argued. But I am comparing her record to the sterling accomplishments of Sec. Clinton who flew a lot and a bunch of Senators, and a NY real estate mogul who never went bankrupt ever (...but four of his companies did...)

She may inflate her qualifications. But she has had to face real consequences that the political types have not.

The reason she remains such a bright spot to me remains her ability to express principles. When his layoffs were shoved in his face, Gov. Romney wilted and sniveled. Fiorina explains reality. I'm still in.

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2015 6:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I had missed this link until dagny pointed it out to me. Now, having read it, I can only conclude that Sonnenfeld is a sexist woman-hater.

But (more) seriously, if Nikki Haley were the sole female in the GOP presidential primary I expect he would write something like, "If the Republican Party seeks great women leaders with proven track records of accomplishment and character for national office, I could recommend many, including the first woman to lead a Fortune Top 20 Company, Carly Fiorina."

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2015 11:35 AM
But johngalt thinks:

On the other hand, we have this to look forward to.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2015 11:43 AM

Must See GOP

The problem with high expectations is that one is often left wanting. That was my condition at the start of last night's second GOP presidential debate. My high expectations were for Carly Fiorina, who I thought did extremely well, but even I was taken aback as the talking heads who followed made her their unanimous "winner" of the debate.

But more than the success of a candidate I favor, I was proud of nearly everything that was said by nearly all of them. The GOP is definitely moving toward liberty and smaller government rather than away, if these candidates are any indication. I found the full 3 hours quite compelling and was unable to do anything else that took me out of earshot of what Chris Christie hollowly called, "this childish back and forth." I'm sorry Governor, that back and forth is the reason we all came here in the first place!

And for his part I found Donald Trump actually, at times, humble and thoughtful. Mostly after the debate when, after saying in his close it was an honor to be on the stage with the rest of this field, he declined multiple invitations to declare himself the winner and suggested that others did "very well." He even gave me the optimistic impression that he could eventually decide to withdraw gracefully and endorse someone else. Perhaps it was the 3-hour format, but I saw what looked like the beginning of a "this is boring" state of mind in the body of the billionaire with a supermodel wife.

I did appreciate Rand Paul's caution that meddling in foreign wars has unintended consequences, and Ben Carson's suggestion that a thoughtful approach might have been better in Afghanistan in the months after 9/11. (Although I must admit that wouldn't have been enough to satisfy my bloodlust at the time. One wonders if even the staid Dr. Carson could have chosen that strategy in the moment, rather than in retrospect today.) And then the impressive young senator from Florida pounced:

And when Carson suggested the United States should explore avenues other than military force to confront terrorists around the globe, Marco Rubio shot back: "Radical Islam cannot be solved by intellect."

While I understand where this reflexive attitude comes from, having watched President Obama take America out of "the leadership business" for the last 7 years, a more studied conclusion is that intellect is exactly what it will take to "solve" radical Islam. What must be defeated, in order to achieve a lasting peace, is not its momentary militancy but its timeless ideology.

But jk thinks:

I may try to listen a bit this afternoon. My lovely bride started playing the YouTube at dawn's early light today.

Watching the first 20 minutes or so, the humble Donald Trump had yet to make his appearance. Not becoming involved until he flames out seems like a good strategy.

Appreciate the post very much.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2015 5:29 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

The Mike Rosen show had a great recap in his first hour, and I no longer feel the need to watch the debate. I think this is the podcast....

My favorite was Rubio's comeback to the question about the nay vote on AUMF for Syria: 'the american military goes in to win; not to administer pinpricks....' (about 16:00 on the cast)

And his comment on Putin was perfect: he's trying to displace the US as a strategic partner in the ME! Carly's was even better: "I'd not talk to Putin at all!"

All in all, a good day for the GOP. Kudos to all to avoiding Tapper's attempt at forcing a (or several) catfights.

Trumb humbled, is Trump fumbled.... btw.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 18, 2015 12:33 AM

September 16, 2015

That Haidt Paper

I know I am tiresome in my appreciation for Jonathan Haidt. Sometimes the answer to a fundamental behavior or political question is "Have you read The Righteous Mind?"

His latest paper is causing a lot of buzz. And I thought I would write up a lengthy, well balanced and scholarly piece describing the paper, placing it into historical context, and connecting it to relevant passage in the great classic works of literature.

Hahahaha -- I do slay myself! Of course I'm not going to do that. I am instead, going to pimp a blog post from blog friend tgreer. His is a piece of art. Make yourself some coffee and clear some time for a serious read.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 7:36 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Fascinating. This requires much thought. Stay tuned.

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2015 11:52 AM

Bitcoin, Blockchains, and Papal Infallibility

Kids, do not try this at home. This is a professional segue artist -- and there might still be blood shed.

Being interested in Libertarian thought and monetary policy, I've met no shortage of Bitcoin enthusiasts. I have withstood them all, remaining interested in the technology and the liberty influence but not interested enough to dive into this too-volatile storage of value.

Wences Casares makes the best case I have heard. Don't invest what you cannot lose, but have some as a Taleb-esque, high beta play to catch a possible 40x appreciation and hedge against societal failure. He may or may not sell you, but he is a smart guy:

Another blogger on Bitcoin . . . where is the "Yawn" button?

I've two interesting asides. One: technophiles will enjoy this article in InfoWorld: Blockchains Beyond Bitcoin. While Bitcoin has grabbed the spotlight, there are a bunch of applications for the distributed ledger system provided by block chains. Very thoughtful article.

Two: watching Casares made me think of this disappointing story. Both Pope Francis and Caseres were deeply impacted by Argentinian politics. Yet Casares sees the damage inflicted by government -- and lauds Bitcoin as an opportunity that would have protected his family's property rights from rapacious government.

Pope Francis is older, but saw a similar history and cast the merchant and the capitalist as the villain in his tale.

Today it replays in the Mideast. Millions have been destroyed by government. But Pope Francis sees the enemy: Capitalism.

"This is the tip of the iceberg. We see these refugees, these poor people who are escaping from war, escaping from hunger, but that's the tip of the iceberg. But underlying that is the cause, and the cause is a socio-economic system that is bad, unjust, because within an economic system, within everything, within the world, speaking of the ecological problem, within the socio-economic society, in politics, the person always has to be the center. And today's dominant economic system has removed the person from the center, and at the center is the god of money. It's the fashionable god today. I mean, there are statistics. I don't remember very well, but -- this is not exact and I could be making a mistake-- 17% of the population has 80% of the wealth."

Yes -- clearly the poor refugees escaping Syria and Iraq need more government and more religion looking out for them.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 10:34 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps if Blockchain had an automatic tithe function...

But (more) seriously, consider this from the first linked article:

Only the person who holds the corresponding private key can decide what happens next to their coin.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this comport with "the person always has to be the center" as the Holy Father insists?

But knowing Holy Fathers the way I do, what he really means is that persons collectively have to be at the center, not individual persons.

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2015 2:19 PM

September 15, 2015

On Trump and Carly

RCP's Heather Wilhelm is a Trump skeptic, but still somewhat impressed by what he's doing, and how he's doing it:

Trump is, in a sense, walking testosterone. He does not care that your women's studies class says gender is a social construct. He is fearless, and as such, he is the perfect foil for America's growing victimhood obsession. Show Trump a trigger warning and he’ll give that trigger warning a painful wedgie. In a proverbial sense, Trump himself is a trigger warning, but one that he has easily defeated, then inverted, and then bedazzled with a set of terrific, one-of-a-kind diamond spikes.

For this, to be frank, I give him one and a half - maybe even two - cheers. Sure, Trump acts like a jerk, but I'd rather have dinner with him than with some hyped-up, tortured university administrator insisting that I use "gender-neutral" pronouns like "ze" and "zir." Like many Americans, I'm weary of the grievance culture, and even wearier of the constant offense parade that swallows up so much of our discourse. Heck, I'm even tired of the word "offended." Who isn't offended these days?

And while we hoot and cheer over Carly's "Look at This Face" spot, Heather sounds a cautious note:

Unfortunately, Fiorina has flirted with victimhood before, calling questions about her potential as a future VP candidate "sexist." This week, she's also promoting a new video, "Look at This Face," which plays off of Trump's remarks with a "rah-rah women" feel - and on Sunday, she told a New Hampshire rally that she would challenge "the entertainer who's running for office" in Wednesday's debates.

Let's hope she does so as an equal, not as a victim. Fiorina knows her policy, and she's an impressive speaker. She belongs on that stage. If she goes after Trump for sexism, or "offensive" comments - and not things like his magical three-minute Syrian flip-flop - she'll have lost a golden opportunity.

a shift at Labour

I agree with JG's comment on there being a massive political shift in action. Certainly, BHO's unlawful acts have paved the way for the new Alinskey's to try to take by force what they could never win by election.

Here is a Telegraph article from American-born Janet Daley about UK Labour electing the Trotskyist Corbyn as their leader that I've found fascinating. It makes me think of what might happen should Sanders win the Democratic nomination. of two things will happen. 1. Either the Parliamentary Labour Party will go momentarily quiescent while it regroups, refusing cooperation … Jeremy Corbyn will be isolated and vulnerable in his inexperience, and likely to be cautious. This will hasten the tendency of the wildly naive “idealists” who believed in him to become disappointed – which will happen inevitably at any rate since no mortal man could possibly maintain the purity that idealised Leftism demands. Or 2. the Corbyn crew will be brought down within months by a Labour assassination squad. This will result in a decade of division within the party

Many, many things in this very well-written article make me think of the Progressives tugging the Democrat party around by the nose, which surely is partly represented by the Sanders story of success.

the dogma that is espoused has been discredited everywhere it has been tried: the insistence on purity of principle quickly degenerating into either totalitarianism (the Soviet model) or a shambolic failure to come to terms with reality (as more recently in Greece).

Shambolic failure... Taranto would be proud!

Seriously, does this not sound like the crazy man from Vermont?

Instead of dealing with these questions (How should we regulate free markets? What is the proper role of government intervention?) in ways that most adults know they must be addressed, Labour will be pushed into presenting a prospectus of state control, punitive taxation and a command economy which would scarcely appeal to anyone outside the zealous enclaves of the far Left.

And this reminds me of a long-ago WSJ article about the Doughnut-hole Democrats (no middle; now that unions have shrunk so far)

Without a commitment to the basic Marxist creed … there was no identifiable centre to the movement. [“ordinary] working class people... fallen away, and it is their absence that has allowed these tiny activist minorities to take control of the abandoned entity formerly known as the Labour party. That is why the real story of this leadership election has not been the triumphal march of Corbynism – which simply rushed in to fill a vacuum – but the uninspiring mediocrity of all the other candidates.

I have to a cautionary note from another Daley post:
Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are not interested in the compromises required to win an election

But jk thinks:

I've been following Corbyn with mortal terror.

There's been a peculiar synchronicity between the UK and USA: JFK and Macmillian, Reagan and Thatcher, Clinton & Blair. Seems like when a new strain of politics shows up, it manifests on both sides of "the pond." Sanders and Corbyn could reek unthinkable havoc on the world economy.

But both are unelectable. Right?

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2015 10:12 AM
But jk thinks:

Bret Stephens at the WSJ Ed Page is also disquieted:

Jeremy Corbyn's election as leader of Britain's Labour Party is being cheered on the right as a gift--as close as you get in politics to a guarantee that your side will win an election that's still five years out. Mr. Corbyn leans so far left that he might not be able to assemble a parliamentary shadow cabinet, never mind a governing majority.

That's one way of looking at it. Another is that the political ascent of a man who admires Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and keeps company with Holocaust deniers is another milepost in Britain's long decline amid a broader unraveling in the West.

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2015 12:40 PM

September 14, 2015

Look at This Face!


Hat-tip: Reason (video at the link if the embed fails)

But nanobrewer thinks:

Now THAT'S one stolen from the DT playbook! Take a rude comment, and turn it to powerful commercial!

This, my brothers, is class in action; I may just change my mind at watching the debate...

"Instead of shutting him down, there's a way to pat poor Donald, the chauvinistic pig, on the head," said Rob Stutzman, a Republican strategist in Sacramento.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 15, 2015 12:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Can I get a hell yeah!

I hope she is this sassy at the debate. I love the little head waggle. It says, "Bring it on, boys."

I've been meaning to blog this article, sent to my by my biological sister. She's a Ben Carson fan but was electrified by what Carly said herein. A tease-

"I hope you don't feel too uncomfortable, but I'll see you at The Board Room."
Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2015 2:29 PM

How can this guy not have a chance?

I am used to being ridiculed for my fashion choices. But I am not used to patronizing for my political projections. I'm a cool realist: a devoted and disciplined student of the possible. I even am slowly accepting that Donald Trump's candidacy might last longer than the slow news month of August.

When I suggest that Senator Sanders has the same potential at least, I receive tut-tuts (or is the plural tuts-tut?)

I don't pretend that my Facebook feed is a perfect statistical sample, but I am astonished at the homogeneity of my lefty friends in supporting the steely-eyed Socialist Vermonter. All my Democrat friends, all my lefties are #feelingthebern. An almost apolitical teacher acquaintance took an online "what candidate do you support?" quiz, got the Sanders verdict, and is now a die-hard supporter. #feelinthebernyet?

I struggle to find a single thing on which we agree, but he is authentic and he speaks to some deep seated beliefs in the party. And I'm dishing out props today for courage. Like Sen. Rand Paul's tour of Howard University, Sanders is reaching out with a speech at Liberty University (video at the link).

To the consternation of Objectivists, Sanders is (rather deftly) exploiting the philosophical overlap between religious altruism and socialism. Up front: let's agree-to-disagree on abortion, but saddle up and ride to conquer unjust income distribution! Just as I have suggested Trump could find a swath of support in the populist wing of the Democrats, Sanders could peel off some disgruntled populist GOP voters.

No way they tell me. Watch.

UPDATE: On the other hand, John Hinderaker @ Powerline calls, er, Shenanigans.

Dem2016 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 12:45 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

I think we are witnessing the start of a very large political dislocation. The traditional ideologies and interest groups are playing musical chairs between the two major parties. Where they'll land, nobody knows.

But I do think its good that there are two major established parties to sort this all out prior to a general election between the two. Although it may take more than one cycle to eventually resolve to stability.

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2015 1:40 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

All my Democrat friends, all my lefties are #feelingthebern.

I'm coming to the conclusion that modern Progressives (FB friends with one, waaayyy too
acquainted with another during the Bush years) are driven to appear avant-garde and (in their weird way) "ahead of the game." Personally, I just see it as aging BB's becoming tragically hip. Certainly Obama's election warns that I discount the power of that movement at great peril.

So, the T/H Prog of the day needs to flock to something (most notably, to be seen moving away from a Clinton). Sanders does fit a certain schtick; while elected, he's stayed fairly true to his activist roots and appears to be untouched by corruption. Like BHO and unlike M.O'Malley (or Gore, or Kerry...) he's unsullied by failure, which is mainly b/c he hasn't tried to do anything notable.

I, too, judge him unelectable in a general... heck, he couldn't even handle a couple of BLM haters....

The Dem candidate we should fear, I fear, is Jim Webb. Luckily, his campaign is also suffering from dearth of O2.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 15, 2015 12:18 AM
But Jk thinks:

Heck, on the right day I might vote for Webb.

But his party has moved waaay too far leftward. Nominate a white cis male with a rudimentary grasp of economics? I doubt it.

Posted by: Jk at September 15, 2015 7:18 AM

September 13, 2015

club for growth speaks up

Donald Trump is not a pro-growth conservative.

Can't get any clearer than that. They have a nice summary page for most of the important candidates here: apparently staking the claim that only Bernie Sanders is outflanking on the left of Mr. Trump (whom, I should remind all has not won a single delegate). One must read CFG's white papers (I scanned a few) to see, but Paul Mirgenoff of PowerLine posits:

Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio come off the best, with Scott Walker not far behind.

Certainly Rubio's paper is 6 pages long and cites powerful achievements like

- FOR repealing the Death Tax
- FOR repealing the tax credit for ethanol

The CFG's paper on Trump is one page long. Trump - besides being a pig - is for Trump, and that's pretty much it. The paper on Cruz is four pages, has this interesting note "[Cruz] has suggested that the Texas model of tort reform could be a model for the country" (see Robinson v. Crown Cork & Seal Co.). Apparently, even Huckabee is liked more by the CFG, but oddly, they have no listing for Carly as yet.

The CFG's president David McInstosh, has an op-ed that mirrors what I assumed was Thomas Sowell's thesis:

the Trump phenomenon is an expression of deep anger and frustration at Washington’s lack of leadership.

McIntosh's letter cites their record: The Club for Growth has also built a reputation on being anti-establishment, especially when it comes to fighting against the Republican Party for failing to cut taxes and shrink government.

September 11, 2015

Still missing the forest for the trees

On this 14th sad anniversary of 9/11, as the President of the United States prepares to deliver to the ideological creators of Islamism not bombs, but billions of American taxpayers' dollars, I was inspired by a Facebook meme to revisit Leonard Peikoff's 'End States Who Sponsor Terrorism' advertisement from October 2nd, 2001 edition of the New York Times.

I recalled we had discussed that essay on these pages, and that it was not well received. I see now that much if not all of the blame for that falls on my shoulders. I foolishly suggested that the war against Islamism could be won with superior firepower. It cannot, and Peikoff knows that. He said as much in his essay. It can only be won by the equivalent of the "de-Nazification" of Iran. To my credit, I did at least excerpt that portion of his essay in my 2005 post.

Eliminating Iran's terrorist sanctuaries and military capability is not enough. We must do the equivalent of de-Nazifying the country, by expelling every official and bringing down every branch of its government. This goal cannot be achieved painlessly, by weaponry alone. It requires invasion by ground troops, who will be at serious risk, and perhaps a period of occupation. But nothing less will "end the state" that most cries out to be ended."

The whole piece is worth re-reading, as I did, with nine more years of experience under our belts. Please do so and see if perhaps your judgment of Peikoff's conclusions was as mistaken as was my proposed way forward.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, I seem to recall commenting one time, if not two, that regime change was the only real solution. Sadly, the slow and rocky road to the Arab Spring sort of quashed any momentum we might have had (tho' it didn't stop Hillary from nudging Libya into anarchy).

As a point of order: were the Iranians positively tied to 9/11?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 12, 2015 11:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Iran was not linked to 9/11, legally or militarily. Peikoff's point, however, is that they are linked to it ideologically:

If one were under a Nazi aerial bombardment, it would be senseless to restrict oneself to combatting Nazi satellites while ignoring Germany and the ideological plague it was working to spread. What Germany was to Nazism in the 1940s, Iran is to terrorism today. Whatever else it does, therefore, the U.S. can put an end to the Jihad-mongers only by taking out Iran.
Posted by: johngalt at September 13, 2015 12:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Two great things about having a blog of such longevity:

-- The fame, income, and influence it affords;
-- I do enjoy reprocessing an old discussion.

I'm going to be a bit stubborn on this one and postpone my rapprochement with Mr. Peikoff for another year. I first am going to push back on his selection of Iran as a singular locus of evil. Evil, yes, but we could hand out a lot of plaques in their neighborhood.

He dates the start of Islamic extremism to the '79 revolution and places Iran at the root node. I do not share that. I remain heavily influenced by Lawrence Wright's "The Looming Tower." Wright lays a historical, ideological foundation on Sayyid Qtub (a man about whom, Jonah Goldberg says "desperately needs to 'buy a vowel'"). Wright documents Salafist, Sunni origins leading directly to Osama bin Laden.

My second new datum is discussion with blog friend tgreer. We don't always agree but he is steeped in diplomatic/strategic thinking on foreign policy, and is exceptionally learned in that area. Throughout the contretemps over the Iran Deal, he has railed against conservatives, right wingers, republicans and nascar retards in general over Iran hate.

Our friend looks at ISIS, and Saudi Arabia, and Syria, and wonders why Iran has been singled out. I pushed back on this and won't rehash all the arguments here. But he did plant a seed. If we had a long alliance with Iran and I suggested that we should switch sides and support Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, you'd rightly tell me I was out of my mind.

Ten years ago, I thought I had the answers and I tread a bit more cautiously. But sand into glass does not seem the moral or efficacious way out.

Posted by: jk at September 13, 2015 2:16 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:
If we had a long alliance with Iran and I suggested that we should switch sides and support Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, you'd rightly tell me I was out of my mind.

I'm trying see to which mind you're in; the sentence doesn't make sense to me....

"Iran Hate" is based on their ideological bent, and their $400B economy, with solid reserves of oil and NG and a sophisticated arms industry. Still, I'll wait to hear more from someone well versed in the highly-touted Looming Tower. Yes, the Saudis do fund Salafists, but they don't allow them to get ICBMs, nor to topple other governments.

Syria? You've got to be kidding (I think LT is now out of date on them...); even before their recent donnybrooks they had the economy of New Hampshire, no navy and the Turks leaning over their shoulder... all they can create is refugees. I'm not even that worried about the Norks (49th GDP-wise, were they to be a state); and they HAVE nuke-tipped, ICBMs.... wobblier than their mentally-IL leader.

Sand into glass? No, no, when I say regime change I mean an orange, pink or puce revolution...

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 14, 2015 11:30 PM

What a Libertarian Democrat Looks Like

I know, I should let it go. But I have watched Reason Magazine and the sadly-cancelled Libertarian Hour of Power "The Independents" on FBN heap constant and effusive praise on my old Congressman, Jared Polis (Owner - CO). Poor folks, they cannot bear to be aligned with the GOP, so they must hunt mythical Democratic Libertarians. Polis accepts campaign donations in Bitcoin (oooo!) and supports gay rights. Clearly, a Libertarian.

I have documented, with similar whining, all the reasons he does not fit the bill. But in case of lingering doubt:

We're just expelling them from school without due process! What are you all so worried about?

But nanobrewer thinks:

The quote I heard cited on the radio was something like "if there's 10 accused, even if it's likely only 2 or 3 were guilty, it's better to expel them all."

Better only for an entrenched bureauRAT who never has to worry about where his next Tesla is coming from. Was he High, I wonder?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 12, 2015 9:59 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Imagine if a Republican congressman suggested that all accused illegal immigrants be deported, even without conclusive proof they were illegal immigrants. We would hear more than crickets from the fourth estate.

Posted by: johngalt at September 13, 2015 12:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I did not know if I could get away with a segue into another hobby-horse, but this also reinforces my arguments against anarcho-capitalism.

This blanket removal of fundamental rights is extremely popular! That's why you're not hearing about it. It did not sound odd to Congressman Polis to say it and it probably did not sound odd to most people to hear it. "Yeah, Better three innocent men get expelled than one rapist goes free. Didn't Voltaire or Jesus say that?"

Nobody will ever enforce bill-of-rights rights except the US Government -- and no, they are not perfect at it. But pile this against opposition to Citizens United v FEC and throw in flag burning amendments if you want to be non-partisan.

It rocks to have a 5th and 14th Amendment to stop the Polises of the world. Maybe someday, some rights will extend to college campuses.

Posted by: jk at September 13, 2015 2:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm in a FB row with a distant cousin who repeated insists, "Driving is a privilege, not a right!" For my part I think it's definitely a right. Or at least if it isn't, it once was and should be now.

I found this very interesting compilation on the subject. Much of this legal-constitutional reasoning seems applicable to liberty generally.

The upshot seems to be that driving a.k.a. "travel by private conveyance" is a right until an individual "converts it to a privilege" by consenting to a state-issued drivers license. Presumably cancelling said license (or having it revoked) returns one to drive-by-right status.

An exception is commercial travel or "trafficking" which can be regulated by the state. But in one's private automobile one may not be prohibited from peaceful free travel. Compelling.

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2015 1:28 PM

All Hail Taranto!

Blog friend Terri invokes Kim Strassel in a comment, and I reserve the right to post on that. But this bon mot of Mister Taranto is Friday-worthy:

Actually, the Mail headline overstates matters a bit. The story reports that some 200 people showed up for the Columbus, Ohio, Women for Hillary event: "The modest-sized ballroom was half empty . . ., with supporters herded into a cordoned-off area to give the impression of a packed crowd." A pessimist would say the room was half-full. -- James Taranto

what to do vs. a lawless state?

Richard Samuelson starts writing at the Federalist about Kim Davis but moves quickly downfield.

He does bolster her case with one caveat:

the logical reaction is not simply to resign, but to resign and to campaign for re-election

Her name doesn't appear in the second - the more interesting - half, when he pushes forward with the case for Civil Disobedience (say what you want about Mrs. Davis, but she did employ the civil disobedience process), and urges us to fight intelligently.

When [civil disobedience is] applied at the edges it could be, as [Glen] Reynolds suggests, a salutary reminder to those who wish to tell us what to do that we will not pay attention. But it also puts more and more Americans in potential legal jeopardy if the government chooses, selectively, to enforce the law

He cites Volokh, Madison's "Report of 1800" and references Three Felonies a Day before pitching

That is why it is important, as much as possible, to resist the usurpation of our legislative rights and our personal liberties through the regular legal process, as our ancestors did in the age of the American Revolution. They acted similarly in the years leading up to the Civil War.

Also noting Too Much Civil Disobedience Destroys Law. Irish Democracy, anyone?

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Soap box, then ballot box, then jury box. Got it. There IS a fourth box.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 11, 2015 10:03 AM
But jk thinks:

There is a lot to disagree with in Samuelson's piece.

I am not down with Reynolds's "Irish Democracy" pitch. I see that it might be the ultimate solution to a loss of liberty but I want very badly to go in the opposite direction. Bastiat warned of too many laws and capricious enforcement. If everything is illegal but nobody is prosecuted, then the policeman or prosecutor has ultimate authority.

My vision is the exact opposite. Almost everything is legal, but Singaporean enforcement on what is not. Irish Democracy is a relief valve, but (jk is being the millenarian today?) I'm not sure that's a good idea. Elites and most middle class folks will ignore laws like they drive over the speed limit. The residents of Ferguson get the $25 jaywalking ticket and the $100 late fee if they can't get off work to go to court and $500 if they can't pay the late fee. Or the guy that blows the whistle on Lois Lerner gets audited.

It's a bad road. The rule of law is a pretty groovy thing.

If Davis is reelected as a queer-free license provider, then Supreme Court decisions are null and void? If a pro-slavery Sherriff is elected in Loudon County, the people have spoken? Sorry Leroy, you belong to Bill now.

The 14th Amendment is a friend and a foe to liberty. Lord Acton saw it as the dissolution of American Federalism and was right to a point. In return, we acquired a regularization of our bill-of-rights liberties (Digression of "The Slaughterhouse Cases" and the Privileges and Immunities clause is an extra $3).

But the best part is that a local group cannot elect a Kim Davis to take rights away. She may decide whether other work suits her.

Posted by: jk at September 11, 2015 10:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Well said, jk. For my part I will add this - Ms. Davis (I'm sure she would shudder at being called Ms.) is engaging in civil disobedience as "a salutary reminder to those who wish to tell us what to do that we will not pay attention." Instead we, or she, will... go right ahead and tell the citizens of huckleberry county, Kentucky, what to do.

Izzat about right?

Maybe they should also engage in civil disobedience? Oh, wait.

What Davis and her defenders don't get is that disOBEDIENCE is about disOBEYING. Not about retaining some bygone power to rule over others.

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2015 12:43 PM

September 10, 2015

War on Cops?

Boy, did I step in it on Facebook. I had a new anarchist friend who seems quite bright, and I was looking forward to engaging. Every comment I have made so far has whipped him into a lathering rage. I know I'm not for everybody, but jeeburz.....

I would like to start over, over here. Prof. Mark Perry, whom I admire greatly, is calling shenanigans on the "War on Cops." Jesse Walker at Reason picks up on it.

The proof is a graph of gun related deaths per 1M population, from 1870 to today. Perry admits that 2013 was lower than this year, but that 2015 might be the second-lowest. Walker summarizes "It's a funny sort of war that produces a lower body count than there was before the war began."

I referenced Steven Pinker and Michael Shermer -- every occupation has become safer. I'd be interested in the last ten years' august numbers. Did they change post Ferguson? I'm also interested in cold-blood executions versus killed on the line of duty. My FB spat escalated before I could question the denominator -- I'd use the number of police, not citizens.

As I said, I am sympathetic to the suggestion that it is whipped up media frenzy. I'm always sympathetic to that. But I'm undecided. ThreeSourcers?

UPDATE: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial has statistics and I ran a series I thought more interesting; the last five years' July and August. These are all deaths, but show no post-Ferguson trend:


Perhaps my insufferable friend is right (I yelled and we're doing better...)

But johngalt thinks:

Can we agree that there is, at least, a rhetorical war on cops. It is analogous to Iran's rhetorical war on Israel and the United States. The trouble is, one is wise not to completely dismiss the threats as idle ramblings.

Posted by: johngalt at September 10, 2015 6:51 PM
But AndyN thinks:

This is one of those things that has bugged me for a while but that's hard to complain about openly because it's too easy to be accused of being pro-crime. People always talk about how dangerous it is being a police officer, and how they put their lives on the line every time they walk out the door, but the raw numbers for those killed in the line of duty just aren't that high. The totals are even so small that it's hard to really trust the validity of anything that looks like a trend over time.

I absolutely agree with you about changing the denominator, but I've never been able to find a solid number for total law enforcement officers working in the country.

Posted by: AndyN at September 10, 2015 7:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes. My Cardinal Sin was to suggest that Reason might *gasp* be wrong. I think there is a point in there but the data presented are not compelling. I was called a . . . "FOX News Viewer!" (scurrilous charge -- I don't have cable!)

Even if fatalities are down (and I'd suggest they're inconclusive), I am pretty disturbed by cold blood executions and the threats. There is a very grisly 911 call making the rounds from my ex-hometown of Aurora, Colorado, threatening more.

That said, it has the faint aroma of a media-generated crisis, does it not? We are speaking of single digit occurrences in a country of 300,000,000. It is hard -- nay, impossible -- to call a trend. Or to disprove one.

Posted by: jk at September 10, 2015 7:14 PM

Trump-Sheen '16

It even rhymes!

"The Donald" is Forked

I've been called a Trump "fanboy" but really I'm mostly just an apologist. Nothing he's said or done has diminished my opinion of his character and judgment. Until yesterday.

"Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president," Trump said, according to the publication. "I mean, she's a woman, and I'm not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?"

On Thursday, Trump repeatedly denied that he was talking about Fiorina's appearance, saying that he was instead discussing her "persona."

"I'm talking about persona, I'm not talking about look," Trump said on Fox News, where he also said that his comments were made in a "jocular manner."

Yeah, it always works when a man tells his wife he was only joking about her being fat. Whether one thinks Fiorina is attractive or not, and I do, is irrelevant. Physical appearance is not an appropriate factor for hiring an employee, or a president.

I suggested that Trump is done, i.e. "forked." That is because, according to this article I saw yesterday but wasn't inclined to read until today, more than half of Trump's support comes from women. Older women. Like Carly. If this gaffe gets wide coverage, I predict it will be the one that sticks.

UPDATE: Chris Stirewalt-

Given the strong favorable views of Republicans voters towards Fiorina and Carson, Trump’s attack-dog approach with his fellow outsiders looks to be a much riskier gambit than his ceaseless trolling of the beleaguered Bush.
But johngalt thinks:

If he did mean "are we serious" that a woman could be our next president, isn't that even worse?

But that's not how I read his mention of her fairer sex. He knew he had just insulted her, then made a half-baked attempt to acknowledge that it is boorish to disparage a woman's appearance. "...she's a woman, and I'm not supposed to say bad things, but really..." This view is bolstered in his walk back the next day: He said he was talking about her "persona" not her "appearance." (Or her gender.)

And if I am unfortunate enough that you should happen to be persuaded by my expression of a different conclusion than your own, I most fulsomely apologize. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2015 1:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, y'know, he is an entertainer...

Posted by: jk at September 11, 2015 1:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's the deal - Trump said he stopped doing The Apprentice because he wanted to run for president. Fine. I wiped my slate clean and imagined him starting over, as a concerned citizen intent on doing his civic duty, and discounted nearly everything he'd said in the past. He portrayed a new attitude. A new serious and sober approach to his positions and (chuckle if you must) his ideas. But he can't have it both ways. His serious stuff was all fine with me. Lapsing back into "entertainer mode" jumps the shark. That excuse only works for things you said in the past.

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2015 2:06 PM
But Terri thinks:

I was just thinking she is obviously so NOT ugly, he couldn't possibly have meant her "looks" but only the fact that she IS a woman. I mean - look at him. Do we want to see THAT face on TV?
Don't you worry JG, I am insulted plenty by pretty much everything he says. Kim Strassel hits it out of the park today when it comes to Trump. I still don't believe da people will keep up this charade for much longer.

Posted by: Terri at September 11, 2015 2:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, the glazed domicile from which he hurled geologic projectiles did occur to me as well.

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2015 6:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Interesting post on Friends of Best of the Web (who says I don't hang with the cool kids?)

Trump: "I was speaking as an entertainer when I insulted Fiorina's looks"
Great. We already have an entire generation that gets its news from comedians (Here's looking at you, Jon Stewart). When Stewart got it wrong his excuse was "I'm a comedian. The mistake is yours, for taking me seriously." Do we really need a President who will do the same thing?

Posted by: jk at September 11, 2015 6:51 PM

September 9, 2015

Quote of the Day

Germane to current discussions -- all hail!

The political reality is that the real GOP problem isn't John Boehner or Mitch McConnell. It's James Madison, who designed a government of checks and balances that is hard to overcome without the White House. GOP leaders have made mistakes in the Obama era, but the party simply doesn't have the votes to pass most of its preferred policy outcomes, much less to override a Democratic President. -- WSJ Ed Page

Mea culpa. The first post attributed this to James Taranto. ThreeSources regrets the error.

But nanobrewer thinks:

I read a comment on PowerLine that speaks to this thread

if they don't have the votes for a measure, they move on to the next...

(and further paraphrasing):
McConnel & Boehner are [deal makers] who quite often have a go-along2get-along philosophy. These days, the reigning philosophy in DC is bigger government will eventually solve problems (by assimilation, if nothing else), and let's just stand, Buckley-like, athwart shouting "stop!" yet wispering 'as long as it doesn't upset things too much...'

To this mindset, Carly and Cruz are the revolutionaries.... vive la revolucion!

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 10, 2015 4:03 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

And here is Steven Hayward noting in his PowerLine column:

Republican majority in Congress does not mean there is a conservative majority

Noting some GOP accomplishments, and quoting Charles Howard McIlwain’s Constitutionalism Ancient and Modern:

A constitutional government will always be a weak government when compared with an arbitrary one. There will be many desirable things, as well as undesirable, which are easy for a despotism but impossible elsewhere. Constitutionalism suffers from the defects inherent in its own merits.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 10, 2015 4:16 PM

Doing the Work American Bloggers Won't do

Well, I would, but Matt Welch did it for me. "I thought it might be useful to catalogue some of the vituperative and often entertaining arguments thus far into one place."

Vituperative, indeed -- on their way to rebarbative! But I was three quarters down the page and I still have not seen a word with which I disagree.

someone check the Kool-Aid drawer

I think it's been snitched. All of it, from everywhere....

Check out the site: collective ownership of means of production

Funny how the What We Support page is completely blank.... just like Progressives everywhere, they can't be open about what they really think. I suppose it's possible that what they really think, if fully expanded would sound like complete jibberish; like a speech from Senator Sanders!

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:02 AM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

What could possibly go wrong? It's about time we started caring fro each other instead of competing for the almighty dollar!

(& the blank page for "What We Support" is pretty classic.)

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 9:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Dropping the "mmun" from the middle, the name has been changed to protect the guilty.

I was able to find the What We Support page, however.

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2015 11:55 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Here is my favorite, by far, from the Coism Economic Bill of Rights:

Right to freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad

What competition is "unfair?" Any that is better than me. This is the ultimate in selfishness.

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2015 12:02 PM
But jk thinks:

The "Anti Dog-eat-dog Act" would be most efficacious.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 3:27 PM

September 8, 2015

We were warned

Arutz Sheva - Europe Fearful ISIS Set to Invade Europe, Via Refugee Ships

General Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan army, warned that Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists running rampant in the north African state are set to infiltrate Europe and expand their reign of terror into the West. ISIS will "spread in even the European countries if (the West) does not offer real help to the Libyan people, especially the Libyan army," he told the Associated Press. He warned the ISIS terrorists "will head with the illegal migrants to Europe, where corruption and destruction will spread just like Libya. But there it will be hard to confront them."

That quote originally appeared in a March 20th news report.

Maybe they're already there.

Quote of the Day

That last phrase is a tell. Have you noticed journalists never need to tell you "there is overwhelming scientific evidence" when there actually is? -- James Taranto



Unforgettable - What a Wonderful World

I played these tunes at a friends' wedding.

Unforgettable -- Irving Gordon ©1951
What a Wonderful World -- Bob Thiele and George David Weiss © 1967

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


"Preening pretenders who let us down, again"

My blog brother agrees with Jonah Goldberg that Trump has neither ideas nor principles. Calling it "The Bonfire of Principles" Goldberg writes,

Conservatives have spent more than 60 years arguing that ideas and character matter. That is the conservative movement I joined and dedicated my professional life to.

To which I'll reply, "How's that working out for you?" Conservative Treehouse's Sundance gives you a fairly detailed accounting of the recent record of "Washington D.C. conservatism" and it isn't pretty - unless you're a Democrat. To tide you over until you have time to read the link, I'll gyp the close:

The last federal budget was passed in September of 2007, and EVERY FLIPPING INSUFFERABLE YEAR we have to go through the predictable fiasco of a Government Shutdown Standoff and/or a Debt Ceiling increase specifically because there is NO BUDGET!

That's a strategy?

That's the GOP strategy? Essentially: Lets plan for an annual battle against articulate Democrats and Presidential charm, using a creepy guy who cries and another old mumbling fool who dodders, knowing full well the MSM is on the side of the other guy to begin with?


Don't tell me it's not, because if it wasn't there'd be something else being done - there isn't.

And don't think we don't know the 2009 "stimulus" became embedded in the baseline of the federal spending, and absent of an actual budget it just gets spent and added to the deficit each year, every year. Yet this is somehow smaller fiscal government?

...And you're worried about what Donald Trump might do?


[no emphasis added]

But johngalt thinks:

My and Sundance's point is not to "throw away" the conservative movement because of Boehner and McConnell, but that those two have thrown it away so we must change horses.

Every single candidate, with the possible exception of Rand Paul, has a flawed mixed philosophy. It is filled with contradictions. That is why I can throw them all over the side and go with a non-politician - a businessman. After all, the businessman is a member of America's most persecuted class.

America’s industrial progress, in the short span of a century and a half, has acquired the character of a legend: it has never been equaled anywhere on earth, in any period of history. The American businessmen, as a class, have demonstrated the greatest productive genius and the most spectacular achievements ever recorded in the economic history of mankind. What reward did they receive from our culture and its intellectuals? The position of a hated, persecuted minority. The position of a scapegoat for the evils of the bureaucrats.

"Make America Great Again - Reward Businessmen"

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2015 12:12 PM
But jk thinks:

As long as the businessman is Carly Fiorina, I suppose we're okay. But I sense a huge disconnect.

I sez: "Ideas and principles is important and Mister Trump has got none."

You sez: "Who cares? People with ideas have failed us, let's put all our chips on a megalomaniacal blowhard and see if things come out better!" (Okay, I'm paraphrasing a bit...)

And a quick factual correction while my typing fingers are warmed up: The 60 year conservative movement you denigrate took us from Rex Tugwell, New Deal, World Communism (or is that Coism?) as a desirable and inevitable to Reagan, the defeat of the Soviet Union, and a solid if too-small foundation of think tanks and scholarship based on liberty. How's that working out for me? pretty good -- thanks for asking.

There's much work to be done victory is by no means certain -- but I'm very certain it will not be moved forward by Mister Trump.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 12:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did you choose the Silver, Gold, or Platinum health plan? There are only three coverage choices anywhere in the wide, wide world of America now (and Bernie Sanders is smiling.)

Trump's idea is "Make America Great Again." You likely dismiss it because of the ways he's talked about doing so, but any recipe will work as long as it includes 'less regulation.'

Trump's principle is "Don't be a loser." I can think of worse words to live by: "Don't do stupid stuff." "Ain't gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent." "Don't misunderestimate me."

But for all the value the WSJ opinion page places on the presidency, this preview of President Trump's first hundred days suggests that it doesn't matter who is in the White House - nothing will change. At least, not much, and not quickly. But I suspect the author gives Donald too little credit. The man loves a challenge and loves to win. I can see him, eventually, becoming the most effective capitol hill negotiator in history.

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2015 4:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm going to take the cyanide pill now. But a few words first...

I'll start at the end: yes, the best negotiator in history! Okay, but what is he negotiating for? Nobody knows, and increasingly his fans don't even care. Just win baby! Get that universal care you always wanted! Expand eminent domain! Yaay! Us Republicans are riding on top of the bus now!

I'll stop. I don't get it. Jonah doesn't get it. And there does not seem to be a Rosetta stone.

Obamacare is indeed awful. But I see it as a warning of what happens when you give the other side too much power and a good reason for eternal vigilance. If you think things could not be worse had the New Dealers been in control since Truman, I suggest you lack imagination.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 4:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You may or may not agree with them, but there are quite a number of ideas here. Although we are left to wait for ideas about something besides immigration.

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2015 5:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahaha! That is hilarious. Thanks for sharing. When the web guy gest back, he will change it to "Position."

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 5:36 PM

Road Trip Index

We've discussed the "younger/hipper" candidate always winning.

PJ O'Rourke clarifies it a bit. He finds the Democratic establishment at fault for not supporting VP Biden:

You're the Democrats' best choice because you're so far ahead of every other candidate, from either party, in the "Road Trip Poll."

"With which presidential candidate would you rather go on a road trip?"

He goes back to Truman-Dewey and recaps them, PJ O'Rourke style.
George H.W. Bush or "I have to go take a Dukakis"? (A word-for-word off-the-record quote from Bush 41 obtained on deep background.)

George Bush or Bill Clinton? "Toga! Toga!" to quote Bill's Washington colleague, Senator John Blutarski.

The guy in the Viagra ads or the guy getting his food laced with saltpeter by Hillary?

Al Gore--nickname "Albert"--or the frat boy from Yale's DKE Animal House?

Fun, and probably a better voicing of what I've tried to communicate.

Politics VP Biden Posted by John Kranz at 11:58 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well, when you put it that way -- if I'm stuck in a car for a four-year road trip with someone that I hope doesn't turn out to be John Candy in "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" (did I just give you nightmares?), and I'm not allowed to show them the back of my hand and shout out "don't make me pull this car over and come back there!" then yeah, that's a good way to put it.

I definitely do NOT want to spend four years on a Magical Mystery Tour with Hillary, wandering from Chipotle to Chipotle in search of one with a liquor license.

And I sure as hell do not want to have to play Tom Cruise to Joe Biden's Dustin Hoffman.

Man, I am just full of bad analogies and pop-culture references today.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 8, 2015 1:09 PM
But jk thinks:

"I'm a excellent driver."

I really believe this is an actual problem for Sec Clinton either in my formulation or PJ's. I think we are too close to it, I can actually see what people like in Joe Biden. If you don't come from a partisan perspective his goofy bonhomie could be charming. Much better car tripper than Sen. Santorum.

Off topic but funny: I saw a meme on Dr. Ben Carson today -- complaining that "he's a divider!"

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2015 1:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Yes, Carson IS a divider - for which Benjamin and Patrick Binder are grateful.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 8, 2015 3:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at September 8, 2015 4:16 PM

Deepak Lal Libertarianism

Bret Stephens could have the title "Chief Hawk, WSJ Editorial Page," so it is a strange appeal to authority. But he hits it out of the park today in an editorial "Farewell to the Era of No Fences."

As I've moved more of my positions toward libertarianism, the most difficult has been embracing an inward looking foreign policy. The Constitution does not make us World Police (only Trey Parker & Matt Stone can do that). Yet projecting American power has frequently been a force for good, a force for freedom and, as Professor Lal would point out, a force for prosperity.

Stephens's thesis is that without an American guarantee of stability in Europe, the current refugee crisis will produce more fences, less trade, and less freedom of movement of people and capital. The world will be poorer.

Is there a way out? Suddenly, there's talk in Europe about using military power to establish safe zones in Syria to contain the exodus of refugees. If U.S. administrations decide on adopting Kant, Europe, even Germany, may have no choice but to reacquaint itself with Hobbes by rebuilding its military and using hard power against unraveling neighbors.

Europeans will not easily embrace that option. The alternative is to hasten the return to the era of fences. Openness is a virtue purchased through strength.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

And the irresistable force of philosophy runs face-first into the immovable object of practical reality. This is where open-borders immigration puts on display the side of itself that is a utopian fallacy: unhindered immigration is a wonderful thing, if everyone in the world is good. But everyone is not, and an arguable percentage of those seeking to cross borders are bad actors (and since you've brought up the Parker and Stone reference, let me justify that I don't mean to use "bad actors" in the Ben Affleck sense). Some segment of those immigrants intend mischief, and in the face of a human wave of hundreds of thousands of souls, there's no sure or convenient way to sort the sheep from the goats.

It occurs to me that there is no overarching principle by which we govern ourselves regarding borders and immigration. In a truly free practical society, to what extent does a free country have a right to secure its borders and choose who comes in? Can we simply state our guiding principle as a nation regarding our place in the world?

What I'm saying is, once upon a time, we had a policies that could be condensed into an elevator speech. For instance, Manifest Destiny: a guiding principle that the clear future of the American nation was to govern from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific. 21 words: a national policy in a tweet. Or the Monroe Doctrine: the European powers were to not meddle with the Americas. Whether they were right or wrong, they were clear, and universally understood.

We don't seem to have any such universal guiding principles at present. Different segments might: the Chamber of Commerce Republicans (the GOP elite) seem to have a simple immigration policy of importing cheap labor, no matter what. The far left seems to have a simple immigration policy of importing reliable voters, no matter what. As for foreign policy, this Administration's role in Arab Spring, ensuring that the world hugest state sponsor of Islamic terrorism becomes a nuclear power, the immigration crisis both here and in Europe, Russia's power play in Crimea and their growing intrigues in the Baltic States and in Poland, it would appear that our foreign policy is simply wanting to watch the world burn.

Some would say that our general foreign policy of the middle of the Twentieth Century was to be the world's policeman. That's not a policy of which I'm a fan; if for no other reason than the fact that policemen are respected by civilized people on their beat, and the policemen gets paid by the community he polices. Another part of that policy was the belief that we have some great moral obligation to, at our expense, provide for the whole rest of the planet. America wasn't built to be the great check-grabber of the planet; our treasury is not a charity for the rest of the world, and our being altruistic to our own detriment is a bad policy. We are under no obligation to feed and clothe the rest of the world just because they have less than us. We were poor once too; we worked our way to prosperity.

Before I launch into a diatribe on my thoughts of what our guiding principles should be - which is to say, the policies that will be put into effect when you all elect me to the Presidency - let me throw it out there: if I had to call upon you to give me your idea of what should be America's (or any free, civilized nation's) policies on foreign relations and immigrations, what would you want to see put in place?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 8, 2015 12:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I can't answer your direct question at present, but I will say that I believe Barack Obama relishes the mass migration that his withdrawal from the Middle East has provoked. And, I am heartened to see the suggestion that Europe might take up arms to police its own neighborhood for a change. Not that the latter is what our current President intended, but it is the predictable and natural response by a world without the American "umbrella of civilization" protecting it from chaos and mayhem.

And it's about damn time.

Posted by: johngalt at September 8, 2015 2:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I've publicly evolved, if you want to call it that, but feel I have alighted on a consistent and defendable position.

Like the Ron Paul Crowd, I think the military exists solely to protect US interests, and that that is its sole constitutional use. But, pace Deepak Lal, I have an expansive and inclusive view of US interests.

Turmoil in the Mideast and border insecurity in Ukraine and the Balkans threaten US supply chains and the global commerce which the US requires to be prosperous. Have I given the Commander-in-Chief broad license? Damn straight, Skippy.

I rarely have much nice to say about President Theodore Roosevelt, but "speak softly and carry a big stick" was and is a good foreign policy. Reagan's "peace through strength" if you prefer a better messenger. I feel that an America which projects a determination to defend her interests will be infrequently called on to do so.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 10:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I like where jk is going, I'll just add that I want my president to get our troops out of allied countries and tell them to defend their own borders. This also includes policing the lawless areas in their own backyard. Read: Libya, Syria, Northern Iraq.

My overarching foreign policy is perhaps best explained as "Be the sheepdog." Protect the sheep from the wolves, with our own flock being first priority. Support and encourage "sheepdogism" around the world.

My immigration policy would be, if you have a family with children, you may come in. If not, you may come to our protectorate in Mexico. If you behave there you may come to the US. And all of this is predicated on the dismantling of the welfare state.

Welfare should be subsistence level, not a career path. The "welfare cliff" must be eliminated - not by raising benefits on the upside of the cliff, but by lowering them on the downside. And public pensions, if defined benefit plans are permitted at all, must never be allowed to promise more than half of one's salary at retirement. If you don't have your house paid for by the time you retire, you aren't ready to retire. And no more 20-year pensions.

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2015 12:23 PM

September 4, 2015

On Trump

I cannot disagree with a word of Jonah Goldberg's G-File today. And while I am rather cheery. Mister G is morose.

We have not, for awhile, talked much about the next President of America if it is not VP Joe Biden, Mister Donald Trump. I stopped talking about him figuring that he would fizzle out. If he did not -- a rare but non-zero possibility -- then I would just give up on electoral politics for all time and hope this great nation remains resilient.

Jonah's ready to say goodbye to The Conservative Movement if it abandons principles in favor of celebrity. So am I but it is not my livelihood. It is to be posted to the website tomorrow, but let's get to some excerpts:

The Bonfire of Principles

If I sound dismayed, it's only because I am. Conservatives have spent more than 60 years arguing that ideas and character matter. That is the conservative movement I joined and dedicated my professional life to. And now, in a moment of passion, many of my comrades-in-arms are throwing it all away in a fit of pique. Because "Trump fights!"

How many Republicans have been deemed unfit for the Oval Office because of comparatively minor character flaws or ideological shortcomings? Rick Perry in 2012 saw his candidacy implode when he couldn't remember the third item on his checklist of agencies he'd close down. Well, even in that "oops" moment, Rick Perry comes off as Lincolnesque compared with Donald Trump.

This is my problem. I thought we were the party of ideas and principles and Trump has neither. He truly is Bill O'Reilly but O'Reilly has better hair.

I had been looking forward to the primaries and the debates. We as a nation were going to discuss the proper role of government for the first time in 100 years. Govs. Christie and Bush may make their case for compassionate conservatism. Sens. Paul and Cruz can espouse libertarian ideas, Sen. Graham's muscularism, Sen. Santorum and Gov Huckabee's traditional values . . . bring it baby, we are going to argue and decide.

Umm, no.

I understand the Noltean compulsion to celebrate anyone who doesn't take crap from the mainstream media. But when Newt Gingrich brilliantly eviscerated the press in 2012, there was a serious ideological worldview behind it. Trump's assaults on the press have only one standard: whether the journalist in question is favorable to Trump or not. If a journalist praises him, that journalist is "terrific." If the journalist is critical of Trump he is a "loser" (or, in my case, a loser who can't buy pants). Not surprisingly, Hugh Hewitt is now "third rate" because he made Trump look bad. I'm no fan of Arianna Huffington or Gail Collins, but calling them "dogs" because they criticized you is not a serious ideological or intellectual retort. (It's not even clever.) I think Trump did insinuate that Megyn Kelly was menstruating during the debate. He denies it. Fine. But what in the world about his past would lead someone to give him the benefit of the doubt? This is the same man who said, "You know, it doesn't really matter what [the media] write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass."

I have been concerned that the GOP may soon go so anti-immigration that I will not be able to stick around. It's a winning issue and the Democrats are going all in on the other side (I think Martin O'Malley might recommend sending armed troops down to Mexico to drag unwilling emigrants into Arizona where we'll build a new wall to keep them in).

Likewise the Planned Parenthood videos will inspire the pro Life wing. I'll "Stand with Rand" to defund the horrid publicly funded lobby organization that is Planned Parenthood. But that wing is not dormant (nor should they be -- I understand the timbre of their argument even though I do not subscribe), and success will breed enthusiasm.

I wonder who will join Gov. Christie in promising to shut down Colorado's (blindingly positive) experiment in drug freedom? That will be very popular at the SW Weld County GOP breakfast. They think Amendment 64 is an abomination and I'd surmise the GOP caucus goers in Iowa and primary voters in South Carolina agree.

I'm a pragmatic, half-a-loaf guy. But I can see these three falling against me and my not having a home in the party. If we get that and Trump . . .

Adam Smith reminds:

If a nation could not prosper without the enjoyment of perfect liberty and perfect justice, there is not in the world a nation which could ever have prospered.

Smith, Adam (2015-01-26). The Wealth of Nations

I'll have given it my best shot.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 5:58 PM | What do you think? [8]
But jk thinks:

Sagacious counsel, nb. But if I may point out the dark cloud in that solver lining, yes Trump may be a distant bad memory, but the massive number of Republicans ready to support him will remain.

I'm a big boy and proud blog pragmatist. I am totally used to disagreeing with a large swath of my beloved "stupid party," but I had so hoped to see a new birth of appreciation for liberty in 2016. Not. Gonna. Happen. The type of candidate I'd like to see would get wiped out.

On the other hand, I am really enjoying Ms. Fiorina.

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2015 10:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The type of candidate we'd like to see DID get wiped out. His name was Rand Paul.

I've been thinking about this "he has no principles" charge against Trump. Well, to the extent any of the other career politician candidates have principles, I don't trust them to hold them inviolable. I fully expect political expediency to trump those "closely held principles." So really we are left with, "What difference, at this point, does it make? Were they well-meaning but rudderless patriots trying to 'Make America Great Again' or were they preening pretenders who let us down, again?"

Posted by: johngalt at September 8, 2015 11:54 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

The main problem, I'm afraid, is the awful contest of preening-ship that politics have become. Face it, DT has not won a single vote that goes towards the nomination... not a one. Even the media pundits (our beloved Jonah included) admit: while we are still debating the effectiveness and direction of all this, this is fun!

I thought we were the party of ideas and principles and Trump has neither
Both parties' sausage-factories are too invested in self aggrandizement (a developed form of self-preservation) to get too wrapped up in principles, IMO.

Against this dark backdrop - which has ever been the case, when you get right down to it, even for the majority of enlightened despots in history - is the bright, shining light of (to cite a meme) "the power of a free society."

The only types still heeding Obama are the haters, and luckily this class-envy approach (of which Sanders is captive) is self-destructive. Goldberg is even less sanguine
on the Dems' next white hope.

Obama's ego will not allow any oxygen into the political tent (which has held the GOP's weak leadership at bay), as Hillary is discovering, but as Jonah notes above, neither she nor Bernie can ride the horse that BHO has set loose.

On a brighter note, I think that Carly and Ted Cruz are having a lively debate; I just hope they don't run out of O2 before the primaries begin. Trump would make a decent (a china shop, long in need of a bull, IMO) Sec. of Treasury, methinks!

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 8, 2015 11:58 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm going to go with nanobrewer on this one; I think I've mentioned before that a Cruz/Fiorina ticket would get my vote. Putting Trump in Treasury with a mandate to inflict some "creative destruction" (hey, I wouldn't mind seeing a SecTreas who's read Schumpeter) would be an interesting bonus.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 8, 2015 1:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Quick point of order: does anybody really think Mr. Trump has read Schumpeter? Anything?

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 2:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, it's certainly possible given that he earned a B.S. in Economics at Wharton. It is a state school though (UPenn) so I'm not betting the farm on it.

Posted by: johngalt at September 10, 2015 1:51 PM

Emmanuel Goldstein

The bible exhorts us to "love thine enemies" and I am down with that. But it's getting harder and harder to put up with my friends.

I have long stood for gay rights and gay marriage. One of my first activities was opposing Colorado's Amendment 2. It passed -- my perfect record remains intact -- but was struck down by the courts.

I will be performing at friends' wedding tomorrow where there ain't a Y chromosome betwixt 'em.

And, I think Kim Davis, the KY County Clerk, wrong to deny licenses authorized by the State. I consider it a potential firing offense.

Enough bona fides for ya?

I got queasy yesterday to see the two minute hate on the Internet directed not at Emmanuel Goldstein, who deserves it for his scurrilous spy work with Eastasia, but at Ms. Davis. She's as wrong as pants on a trout. But the indignation machine is truly frightful. One FB friend started it with "oh what a glorious day! each meme about this horrible bigot woman is better than the last!" Y'all know I love memes -- but the ones I saw included "How did anybody this ugly get married three times?"

Keepin' it classy, as they have done since President Clinton needed to denigrate some detractors.

David Harsanyi is at risk of losing all hail status for some recent work with The Federalist, but he hits it out of the park on Reason's blog:

As far as I can tell, there are only three unassailable constitutional rights left in the United States: the right not to be "discriminated" against, the right to have an abortion and the right to have a gay marriage. In the eyes of liberals, nothing--not the freedom of association or religion or anything else mentioned in the First Amendment or Second Amendment--will ever supersede these consecrated rights.

The rest? Well, it's malleable, depending on the situation.

This is after saying "After all, it's not a clerk's job to ascertain the constitutionality or practicality of a law . . . There are hundreds of other vocations she is free to pursue if this one doesn't suit her."

The lack of proportion on these people astonishes. This is one person in a great big country. I'm sorry for someone denied their license -- but this is the worst thing that happened all week? No dentist killed a lion?

UPDATE: Ehrmigawd! All Hail Taranto!


Rant Posted by John Kranz at 1:19 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

What Harsanyi doesn't say is that the Democrat Christian Kentucky clerk chose to go to jail. Many of the other clerks in Kentucky who would have issued the licenses are in her own office. All of her deputy clerks, in fact, except for her son. She could have simply stood aside while one of them did his or her job and would not have been in contempt of court.

And there is the reason she was jailed. While it's true that much law breaking goes unpunished, contempt of court is always met with consequences.

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2015 3:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Did not know any of that, thanks.

Again, I'm not recommending she be appointed Commissioner of the NFL or get free milkshakes at Chick Fil-A for life. I'm offended by the lack of proportionality among her detractors.

Another friend (rhymes with Satay Dipper) retweeted today:

Mike Huckabee is deliberately stirring up fear & hatred among Christians toward LGBT people. It's anti-Christian & inexcusable. -- Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans)

I come to bury Huck, not praise him. But my Conservative tweeps are all a-twitter about some rather visible famous people who have called for executing Americans based on the color of their skin. The Governor's defamation of LGBT to Christians seems rather tame.

I'd respond to both that it's a big crazy country with 300 million partially-crazy people in it. Some crazy is guaranteed. To fixate -- or worse, legislate -- on single digit, random events in unhealthy and unproductive.

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2015 4:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It still isn't clear to me with whom you are the most disappointed - Kim Davis' supporters or detractors. I expect over the top vitriol from the gay marriage "happy" warriors, so I don't even really notice it when they follow script in this case. To her supporters I say, "I agree with you that there is a "war on Christianity" and evidence of it is all around us... but this ain't it."

I was rather pleased when I first heard this clerk had picked this battle. I felt it would serve to highlight how public employees may not discriminate, but private ones have every right to do so. Hasn't quite been cast that way publicly yet, but I remain hopeful.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2015 1:39 PM
But Jk thinks:

Dee Tractors got me down.

Posted by: Jk at September 6, 2015 11:35 PM

politics viewed through Star Trek

I was always a huge fan of TOS, and more diligent fan of TNG, but have to admit to agreeing with Timothy Sandefur as he takes a grand sweep through this seminal, SF franchise as published at Claremont of all places.

From the The Original Series (TOS) through the The Next Generation (TNG) and a goodly sampling of the movies, he convincingly argues, "the development of Star Trek’s moral and political tone over 50 years also traces the strange decline of American liberalism since the Kennedy era."

After accurately summarizing many examples of Captain Kirk clearly channeling JFK as a bold culture and cold-warrior, and even his ventures through a Hamlet-like conundrum faced in Conscience of the King, he then moves on to the erosion of this moral center with the Kirk/Spock film (the mostly well received) ST VI: Undiscovered Country. This is pretty devastating, and then he moves on to the real meat: what a wimp JL Picard was, continually turning the Prime Directive over and over until it's complete moral mush.

Where Kirk pursues justice, Picard avoids conflict. Just as Kirk’s devotion to universal principles goes deeper than politics, so does Picard’s sentimentalism.

As much as I like Mr. Stewart's acting and enjoyed his portrayal of the captain of NCC-1701-D, I have to agree with his thesis. He does limit the article to politics, leaving aside for now the amusing historical note on how all the odd-numbered ST movies were critical (and sometimes commercial) flops.

I do take some schadenfreude over how the franchise's moral nadir is shown to be the flop, ST:Insurrection. I'd heard it was so bad, that I never bothered to see or rent it. It apparently features a bucolic race who turned back from warp-driven exploration to tend potatoes (in hair shirts, I wonder?), that Picard defends then admits to admiring, to which Sandefuer replies: what is this absurd fetishizing of manual labor—for the fundamentally childish notion that you “take something” from people when you create tools and techniques that feed the hungry and liberate people to explore the galaxy.

What, Kirk would have demanded, could the Federation possibly learn from this village?

How not to "live" I would answer. This bears in mind how the current Progressive zeitgeist idolizes the bucolic (as they see it) past; I seem to recall posing a rejoinder to a long-lost issue: if manual labor is so great, why stop with forgoing backhoes; take their shovels too and make them use spoons! I think it's more an affectation to be seen in opposition to technology, a way of standing out from the rest of the Progressives by attempting to outflank on the left.

I guess I now know why ST:DS9 or the Enterprise series never really grabbed me (I could write my own post of where DS9 jumped the shark), but these offshoots are not addressed. My take is they simply circled the drain that TNG opened.

He does cite the latest "ST:reboot" iteration, the teenagy, popcorn-popping 'morals free zone' reissue under the guise of J.J. Abrams who admits about TOS:

“There was a captain, there was this first officer, they were talking a lot about adventures and not having them as much as I would’ve liked. Maybe I wasn’t smart enough.”

and he produces in true Hollwood-approved fashion, films w/o morals or much purpose through plots that move by "accident and force"

under Abrams’s direction, the fixed moral stars by which the franchise once steered have been almost entirely obscured. No longer the thoughtful, bold captain, the young Kirk (Chris Pine) is now all rashness and violence, taking and breaking everything around him.

It may not be a treatise for helping push the Liberty agenda past the lawless age of Obama, but it is a fascinating slant on the death of liberalism's deities.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Sandefeur's bio (ahh, a Chapman grad) is impressive:
"represented the plaintiffs in Merrifield v. Lockyer, a major economic liberty decision in the Ninth Circuit"

I might have to pick up one of his books!

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 4, 2015 1:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome post! Fun reading, great analysis, and I look forward to reading the linked article.

I was a huge fan of Star Trek. I won't call it "TOS." All the sequels can have initials but Gene Roddenberry's original work should not be sullied.

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2015 1:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Oops -- posted to the wrong thread before.

See if I can hold up under withering contempt. I missed the Star Trek thing rather completely, except for a brief bout with TNG close to its demise. I started to watch the last season and remember some exceptional episodes. Then it was gone. I saw a two or three of the movies.

A libertarian, a software developer and a Buffy geek who never got into Star Trek. I've learned to nod my head and smile acknowledgingly.

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2015 6:38 PM

September 3, 2015

Headline of the Day

Trillions and Trillions of Trees make that 'giant sucking sound' of CO2 from the atmosphere.
It seems it would matter to responsible climate models if the number of trees were discovered to be oh, say, eight times the previous estimate.

Too bad the science is settled -- this would seem an interesting datum.

But johngalt thinks:
"We've nearly halved the number of trees on the planet, and we've seen the impacts on climate and human health as a result," Crowther said. "This study highlights how much more effort is needed if we are to restore healthy forests worldwide."

So all we really need to do to counter the so-called man-caused global warming is plant more trees. How much less expensive would it be to double the world population of trees, compared to pretend-power boondoggles, energy austerity privations, and an ultra-regressive energy tax on mature energy infrastructures that already WORK? Peanuts, I'd estimate. Or maybe, pine nuts.

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2015 7:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Last week we were a magnitude off in knowing how many there are. Yet now we now with certainty how many there were before people came along. Science is indeed grand.

But let's not quibble: if we're going to grow back the other three Trillion trees, we will need quite a bit of CO2 in the atmosphere. Let's get crackin'!

On a more serious note, this is what the whole Matt Ridley vision is. We use GMOs and unabashedly exploit technology to support human life. This will allow us to return countless acres of organic farmland to animal habitat and forest.

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2015 10:10 AM

Quote of the Day

Ladies and Gentlemen, the next President of the United States:

The sanctions relief from this deal is the second piece, and it goes to the second issue mostly. "Well, Joe, even if, even if I believe that you were able to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, you’re going to give them a lot of money Joeboy. And there going to go out and do more of the bad things they are doing now, doing it more efficiently, and threaten our friends in an existential way, because they will have so much more money and capacity." Totally legitimate argument and concern. -- VP Joe Biden

Hat-tip: Taranto

But johngalt thinks:

You left out where he said, afterwards, "But it's still a good deal and I support it." Let it never be suggested that Joe Biden's mind is hobgoblined with consistency.

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2015 7:04 PM

September 2, 2015

"Progressives survey a flood and prescribe rain"

An unfortunate fact of life, drawn from a very important and well written article on the state of human sexuality in the western world. It is long, but well worth at least skimming.

We pick up after a prominent feminist denounced a nail polish that could detect date rape drugs in one's drink: "I don’t want to f---ing test my drink when I'm at the bar. That's not the world I want to live in."

Maybe not, but the world is what it is. It requires a fierce ideological rigidity and even imperviousness to reality to say "that's not the world I want to live in." None of us prefers to live in a world where we must lock our doors, either, or memorize a hundred passwords, or stay away from certain neighborhoods after dark, or pay more for clothing to compensate for the cost of shoplifting. But to proclaim that you will not take steps to protect yourself as a matter of principle is both juvenile and foolish.

There has never been a time when women were perfectly safe because society had "taught men not to rape." There has never been a time when men were perfectly safe because other men had been "taught not to fight." Both of those are clearly goals of all good societies, but as Emmanuel Kant observed in the eighteenth century, "Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made."

All the more important in light of the criticism being heaped upon the bravely honest statements made this week by rock legend Chrissie Hynde.

Philosophy Posted by JohnGalt at 3:28 PM | What do you think? [5]
But nanobrewer thinks:

I've always liked Ms. Charen (I'd have reviewed _Useful Idiots_ had I been a blogger at the time).

She is 110% correct in noting that college campuses are now the front lines in the conflict caused by the sexual revolution.

This is one of the things that greatly concerns me, as a father of two young girls:

The agonies college campuses are now routinely experiencing are the result of a hyper-sexualized culture that has robbed the young of romance, courtesy, privacy, and, yes, love. The feminists call it “rape culture” and blame “traditional masculinity,” but they forget, if they ever knew, that “traditional” men were never encouraged to behave like this.

If my girls ever go to a large, trendy college (more IFFY everyday), they will have been taught to hold men to traditional values...

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 2, 2015 4:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, agreed. But let's not forget the benefits that accrue to men who reject the hook-up culture. Women aren't the only ones who benefit from romance, courtesy, privacy and love.

"And try not to get attached." That is the unwritten code of the hook-up. Divorcing sex from love is one thing, but the hook-up culture is way past that. It has attempted to divorce sex from feeling.
Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2015 5:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Well said, jg. The emotional and economic benefits of *gasp* traditional virtue are under-appreciated.

My concern with Charen is her attachment to a far more traditional concept of relationships than I. The libertine|libertarian split amuses me on occasion. My hero, Penn Jillette, not only wants to talk you into permitting prostitution -- he wants you to recommend it as a career path. I think many distasteful things should be permitted but we needn't all adopt a carney lifestyle.

That said, I'm not onboard with her introctory assertion that "The proper response to the fraternity's vulgarity is not to condemn men, or 'rape culture,' but the sexual revolution itself." There's a lot of wiggle room interpreting that line, but I too have read her columns over the years -- and I am confident that she is turning the clock back a little farther than I would.

I reject hookup-culture as being a poor lifestyle choice. But I ascribe respect for gays, reproductive choice, acceptance of divorce or adult singleton-dom, and a broad reduction of shaming for non-Calvanist behavior all to "The Sexual Revolution." Defined thusly, Vivé!

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2015 6:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You're probably right that she overreached in her assignment of blame. It wasn't the sexual revolution per se, but the sexual revolution combined with the postmodern philosophies that deny that an objective reality exists. That was the central element of the excerpt I chose: The belief that rape and violence in general can somehow be eradicated through more and better education and law and social welfare programs.

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2015 7:20 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

She argues, to which I strongly concur, that postmodern philosophies and the sexual revolution and are rotten to the core b/c they are bereft of any moral foundation.

The foundation in question here is some form of commitment between two people, ultimately love, of oneself and each other. There were some benefits to the sexual revolution, but when it's combined with postmodernism, it heads down the wrong road: more and better education and law and social welfare programs only lead to more law and social welfare... not a healthy populace.

The Postmodernists need you to only love The State.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 4, 2015 10:37 AM

Libertario Delenda Est

Let's play the "Legislative Association Game!" What name jumps out at you from this list:


I'm going with Sen. Jon Tester of Montana. He was the 60th vote for ObamaCare® and now he's the 34th to scrub an Iran veto. Wonder the good people of Montana sent such a feller, is it not? Oh, wait:


Now, I'm a little sympathetic to the suggestion that the Iran deal may have some merit. I'm dubious because of PM Netanyahu's opposition, but I'll accept that there is a debate to have.

My issue is that this is clearly a treaty and clearly should be debated and should require a supermajority ("Advice and Consent of the Senate..."). Instead a Superminority is making law -- and when the time comes to stop it. Mister a-Libertarian-held-the-door-open-so-I-walked-in is there for another key vote.

Libertario Delenda Est!

And grow your own food, Weave own clothes

I thought we had a pejorative category for nonsense from Boulder already...

From the "too stupid to come from anyone without an advanced degree department:" new homes in Boulder will have to generate their own power.

Boulder County is eyeing changes to its building code that will require all new homes to produce as much energy as they consume by 2022, a move that could add $100,000 to $200,000 to the home's cost.

The proposal is being reviewed as part of the county's annual update of its building code and comes under the county's sustainability plan, adopted in 2013.

The rules, right now, apply to homes 6,000 square feet or larger.

If the county agrees to adopt this latest version, in 2016 it will apply to homes at or above 4,000 square feet with the goal of having all new homes meet the standard by 2022.

I'd ask if they had read their Adam Smith, but that would be insane.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

But God help you if you try to collect and store your own rainwater.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 2, 2015 2:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

With or without the proposed change, it is already worse than you think in Boulder County. Or at least, it's worse that I thought.

Rodwin believes that the proposed changes will have a small effect because of the already stringent nature of building codes in the county.

"For a typical house in Boulder County, you are required to build almost to net zero just to get a permit," he said.

[emphases mine]
Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2015 2:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Update: Boulder County staff recommends that only "homes 5000 square feet or greater" be required to include power plants.

Another public hearing is scheduled for September 22, with a County Commissioners vote expected in October.

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2015 2:58 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I don't see how it's such a big deal. All that's necessary for my house to produce as much power as it uses would be for them to approve my permit request for that nuclear reactor in my basement.

No problemo, right?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 2, 2015 3:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

HAHAHA! Yes, I can see it now: "Hello Sirs, Please find my attached mixed-use development plan for the Nuclear Acres subdivision NUPUD." Sincerely yours, Homer T. Simpson.

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2015 4:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Y'all are so negative. I'm sure that if you promise to use GMO-free, organic, gluten-free plutonium...

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2015 5:21 PM

china won't be buying us anytime soon

I know we more discuss free markets rather than finance markets here, but bear with me, as the freedom message rings out loud and clear from this column drawn off Yahoo's finance page by Rick Newman.

It's amateur hour in China

This is the next superpower? You’ve got to be kidding
Investors began to think stocks were close to a peak, so they sold to lock in profits. Not what the government was expecting. The government tried to stem the selloff by enacting stimulus measures, instituting new rules and even preventing some institutional investors from selling. Authoritarianism displaced capitalism.

and just like Pravda when the latest 5 year plan failed:

China’s government has now reverted to the ultimate absurdity: Blaming critics of the markets’ performance for the whole fiasco.

and, noting that our GDP/capita is seven times' China's:

That gap might widen rather than narrow if China keeps trying to force-feed economic growth while American capitalism continues to rely on market forces and innovation.

but enough about China:
Western markets also tolerate short sellers and others who bet against stocks because it serves as a check on the system: When there’s money to be made by stocks going down, it forces better diligence among those betting stocks will go up. Abuses? Sure. But unleashing market forces in every direction—not just the one you want prices to go in—generates confidence that prices will gravitate toward an equilibrium based on reality.

Tolerate? Hell, they get their own TV show....

We’ve got plenty of problems here—including our own variety of political ineptitude—but at least we let supply and demand determine most prices. When China’s leaders let that happen, maybe it will be time to worry.

Let's hope! Senator Sanders certainly thinks we can't choose our own products, or prices... please nominate him!!! Let freedom reign, and rain its benefits widely.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

I read an article last night - and I'd include a link if I could remember where it was, but somewhere reputable, I'm sure - in which the writer said he hoped the Chinese government continued with their economic shenanigans, for three reasons:

(1) Devaluing the yuan would reduce the value of America's debt;

(2) The commensurate reduction in the cost of Chinese goods would mean Walmart would have a lower cost of goods to sell, and could either reduce the price passed on to consumers, or increase the number of hours given to employees, to make up for the reduction recently, which was in turn caused by their new $15/hour minimum wage; and

(3) It would continue to force a correction on the Dow, which is currently hyperinflated; few American investors realize that a Dow today at 15,000 is equal to about 5,000 in real money. The inflated value comes from the Fed pumping Monopoly money into the marketplace.

In other international financial news, I see that ISIS has announced production of gold dinar coin money and has eschewed the use of fiat money. Now, if only it was based on wealth they were producing and not just stealing and extorting...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 2, 2015 12:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, great. Another black eye for the sound money movement. I can't wait to hear what the newsprint peddlers do with that unfortunate coincidence.

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2015 2:35 PM
But jk thinks:

I need a time frame to decide how much to disagree with DJIA's being 5000 when denominated in "real money." Civil War gold? 1912? 1950? 2010?

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2015 4:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You're right. Usually these statements include the phrase "in 19xx dollars" or something to that effect. So by "real money" does the writer mean, before Nixon took silver out of the coinage, or before FDR took us off gold, or before the Fed was invented? All three would produce, it seems to me, a "real money" value far lower than $5000.

I'll take a guess that he means since the start of QE - The Original Series.

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2015 1:47 PM

September 1, 2015

Whither Caucus?

May I reopen a topic? The non-inclusion of the straw poll at this year's GOP caucus? This is inside baseball in an inside game. I was compelled to accept my County Chair's suggestion that unbound delegates embody true, little-r republican spirit. I was disappointed, but did not dwell too much.

Some FB folks are quite peeved. And, to be fair, they are a sensitive lot. But the suggestion that power is being shifted from the grassroots to the establishment is extremely prevalent. One links to a balanced look from the Denver Post. (I'm surprised too -- hope everything's okay.)

At the end of the day, I must share my comment. I am a regular caucus attendee, but don't stand for election or seek to be a delegate. I'm a casual member of the engaged set. Taking that away -- especially this year -- sucks away the biggest purpose of my attending:

Like the Geico commercial, "I caucus, that's what I do." Yet, I have to admit, I was asking why this year. Unless there is some play in the Senate nomination, It's a long drive and a spent evening. Voting in the straw poll at least feels like something accomplished,

I may miss for the first time in many years.

In a year with an exciting presidential field, giving people less reason to attend seems a bad idea.

UPDATE: Lots of folks are friends of Rep. Shawn Mitchell (Laugh a minute - Evergreen) or should be. Here is his post with some excellent commentary.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:37 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In news you'll enjoy, Carly Fiorina is likely going to get a place among the other candidates at the next "debate." CNN has just announced it really is possible to change horses in the middle of a stream after all, if by "horses" you mean "biased and juvenile debate rules" and by "stream" you mean "volatile and dynamic campaign in which various candidates rise and fall based on voter perceptions."

Also, Ace of Spades HQ has just announced that Jeb Bush and the Dow are competing in a hotly-contested Race To The Bottom; bets are being taken on which one augers into the pavement first.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 1, 2015 7:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My previous answer to this question hinged on the principle of indirect democracy. I'll take a different tack (or two) here.

The Denver (com)Post asserts "and thus give up any role in selecting the eventual nominee..." but that is erroneous. And they admit as much themselves, 2 paragraphs later:

After all, it's been four decades since the eventual GOP nominee wasn't already decided before the summer convention, so it probably won't matter if state delegates are free to vote for anyone at that time."

Put differently, unbound delegates may play a pivotal role in deciding the eventual GOP nominee.

The question that nobody is focusing on, thanks to the Denver Post and Facebook loudmouths, is which delegates will be playing that role? The answer is, the ones elected at caucus. Those delegates can pledge themselves or remain unpledged, but all will have to be chosen by a majority vote of their neighbors at caucus. So if serious-minded "casual member[s] of the engaged set" stay home because (now let me get this straight) the non-binding preference poll of caucus attendees has been jury rigged by party bosses into a winner-take-all plebiscite that silences the voice of the grassroots delegates, then the ranks of the delegates will swell with the less-serious minded and the more rabid members of the engaged set.

Personally, I welcome the opportunity to be a part of a more select group, rather than just another tick mark on a statewide primary ballot.

Replacing the caucus and the delegate system and the nomination of candidates from the floor in favor of this 50-state primary movement is a direct parallel to replacement of the electoral college with a nationwide majority vote. Y'all think that's better too?

The Post and their ilk prefer primaries and binding referenda because it gives them one more thing "of substance" to put in their newspapers. And also because they prefer democracy over republicanism. And if Republicans won't stand up for republicanism in the face of a Constitution-defying march toward democracy, who will?

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2015 2:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Thank you. You do a much better job than the FB loudmouths of the other side. (A small but fun digression: loudmouths are complaining that the establishment is amassing power and shutting out the opinion of the grassroots. One guy gets on and says "I voted for that and it was the right thing and you little people have no idea what the hell you're talking about and should just let us take care of things for you..." Oh, okay, I feel better now.)

Do I have permission to be moderately peeved at the RNC for taking away the wildly-entertaining-if-somewhat-symbolic non-binding straw poll that we used to enjoy? A little miffed?

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2015 6:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, the RNC is the villain here. State party dodges to avoid a new RNC (read: establishment) rule and local know-it-alls start calling state party the establishment. I don't care for the "let us take care of things for you" construction but the "you (...) people have no idea what you're talking about" part appears to fit.

The non-binding straw poll was amusing, I agree. But at the time we complained, "Why do we bother holding a vote that doesn't affect anything?"

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2015 7:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair, fair and fair. And at the heart, it is very difficult for a state that does not rhyme with Pieowa, Pew Hamshire, or Pouth Carlina to affect the nominee. Residents of states that do rhyme claim the same republican ideals.

Posted by: jk at September 3, 2015 9:45 AM

Green "Pure Principle"

From "The Hood Robin Syndrome" article jk Tweeted:

And if you are someone saving the planet from imminent doooom and destruction, well, you are the man. There is no action that you shouldn't take if it is in the service of your noble cause. You know that you have right on your side, you're preventing disaster. You know you are fighting the good fight to cool the fevered brows of those sweltering in the 2050 heat by at least a tenth of a degree, and that it is a fight that has to be fought if we are to save the very planet. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure, and you have the moral high ground. As a result of all of that, there is no transgression you won't commit in order to have other people pay to make your beautiful Elysian (and slightly-cooler) dream come to fruition...

An almost word for word equivalence with the "pure principle of the prophet" I cited when Ayaan Hirsi Ali told us: "Boko Haram sincerely believes that girls are better off enslaved than educated." Carbon haters sincerely believe that the poor are better off with less energy than with more.

Quote of the Day

Italy is far more sophisticated and clever, that is, than the hot-headed Greeks. Syriza is a party of naifs who made the mistake of attacking Germany and Brussels head-on. Italy is savvier than that: it knows how to say "yes" and look busy while doing little or nothing. Italy has a long history of using that strategy. The Goths conquered Rome and did a lot of damage--but they didn't change Italy much. German emperors strutted through the halls of Italy's palaces and issued decrees to both princes and popes--and Italy kept on being Italian all the same. -- The American Interest
Hat-tip: Insty
But johngalt thinks:

Fascinating. Apparently, part of America's problem is that our bureaucrats have a little too much German in them. They aren't so much incompetent as they are too efficient.

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2015 3:02 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I think it was Friedman who said something like 'thank god government is as inefficient as it is, or we'd all be slaves.'

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 1, 2015 11:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm willing to admit I could live with less efficient government bureaucrats.

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2015 3:27 PM

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