February 29, 2016

Not Hitler nor Jackson -- Trump is WJC!

I linked to tgreer's excellent essay, though I found a few areas of disagreement. There are some historical parallels which I do not find exactly parallel.

Driving home from Starbucks, it hit me. We do not have to dust off too many history books -- Trump is William Jefferson Clinton. In the flesh.

Both are charismatic. I can be counted as a political opponent of both, but after an interview, even I tip my hat to their raw people skills. Lovable rouges -- Giles suggested "a rakish uncle?" in Tabula Rasa. At their best, they are rakish uncles.

Both are men of larger than life appetites.

Neither fears bombast. Either can say something patently false with conviction and aplomb.

Both play the game as it is laid out. Not Marquess of Queensberry rules nor as imagined platonic ideals. Both make the best play on the hand they were dealt.

tg's point which I had more trouble refuting was whether both Jackson and Trump were transcendental figures that would redefine the party. I don't think I am the only libertarian giving up on the GOP if it chooses Donald Trump to lead us. I would be offset numerically by some disaffected Democrats, but the party would change.

Trump would change the party, I'll continue, like President Clinton and for similar reasons.
Clinton "betrayed" his party by doing many things that Dr. Art Laffer and I like: welfare reform, NAFTA, GATT, China in the WTO, lip service to "safe legal and rare" abortions, Sister Souljah. The DLC was a moderate Democrat party wrestled away from those Vietnam hippies and McGovern liberals.

Why did President Clinton do all this? The art of the deal, my friends, the art of the deal. Neither he nor Trump bring ideological fervor. The seek power qua power. And share equivalent endowments of self-doubt, guilt and shame.

Trump could provide the same 20-year change to the party for the reasons I admitted. But a complete realignment? Those require underlying principles.

But johngalt thinks:

But without the swooning appeal to the fairer sex, to be sure.

Posted by: johngalt at February 29, 2016 5:35 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd call them equal. Power is the great aphrodisiac.

Posted by: jk at February 29, 2016 6:34 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'd argue that Clinton's changes were merely temporary and the DLC's march to the hard left that started in 1968 has continued downward.

Lastly, I think a Trump ascendent's bomb throwing will prompt big-L LIBs, possibly SICs, and small-gov't conservatives to form their own party.

Caldera is on the radio now citing the similarities of Trump's long-term record as a NY liberal... and just how close to HRC he is.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 1, 2016 10:55 AM

If political candidates were beer brands...

...this would be Donald Trump.

Pop a top and hear me out.

The rise of "sophisticated" craft beers has cut deeply into the market share of the "macro" brews, leaving them to find new ways to appeal to drinkers than "just" bikinis. Millions of dollars of professional advertising research and production later, we have - "Not Ponies", hard working blue collar men, big American brewing [owned by Belgians, I must admit] rock stars, sports champions, "Not Sipped", "Not Soft", "Not Imported", "Not a Fruit Cup", beautiful young women, "Not for Everyone" and ending with, "Not Backing Down."

The guy at the bar, who flicked the lemon off the rim of his beer glass, is NOT voting for a country club member for president - unless that guy OWNS the country club and talks like a Teamster.

Politics is at least as much about message and marketing as it is about ideas, if not more, unfortunately. Whoever wants to beat Trump needs his own version of "America, f*ck yeah!" to compete with this. Just an observation.

But jk thinks:

Perhaps in a general election -- and Reagan's "Morning in America" comes to mind. Simplify and emotionalize to capture lower info voters in a general (without talking down to true believers).

But Brother nb captures my wistful ennui below by saying "Damn, a Cru-Bio showdown could have been so good for liberty...."

Amen. And a Rand Paul -> Scott Walker -> Bobby Jindal -> Cruz -> Rubio even better. I think if you are selling your candidacy to Republican Primary voters as a beer brand then you are doing it wrong. Or, much worsely and matching my darkest fears, the polity is wrong. Maybe Republicans are as stupid and racist as my lefty friends have been trying to tell me.

Posted by: jk at February 29, 2016 3:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Some are, 'tis true, but no greater percentage than are Democrats.

Picture the man at the bar in this commercial though. Would you call him stupid? Does he look stupid, and not thoughtful? Or anyone else in the commercial? And yet you can easily imagine them pulling a lever for a potty mouthed billionaire because they think he will fix what needs fixing.

I dunno, I guess I just think the "stupid racist" crap gets thrown around way too casually. Guys who carry lunch pails to work have as much right to their opinion as anyone else. God bless America!

I also meant this as an anti-snobbery play. I have friends and relations who deride me for drinking Coors and Bud. "Life's too short for cheap beer" sez they. When I grew up this beer was plenty expensive and plenty tasty. Liking craft beers now doesn't mean I also have to stop liking the beer I loved first, sez I.

This Bud's for you, unless you're too good to drink with me. And there's Donald's true appeal, is it not?

Posted by: johngalt at February 29, 2016 4:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I do wish I could summon Jonah Goldberg to the blog. He could admire my Buffy reference and critique my bold Trump == (WJ) Clinton claim.

He could also pontificate here. He is an unabashed fan of Budweiser, no less abashed ridiculer of elitism and fruit beer style frumpery in all things. But. He opposes Trump in a way that side by side comparisons make me look like " a leaner."

No, your beer drinking friend is not stupid -- but he is choosing a product which is not tied to reason. Choosing a candidate in a primary is a more intellectual endeavor.

Posted by: jk at February 29, 2016 5:24 PM

CO Caucus

Thanks, JG, now I see how our caucus has become a preference or straw poll:

From the COGOP Bylaws, Article XII, Section C:
4. b. No preference poll of any kind shall be conducted if it dictates or requires the binding of delegates chosen to any higher assembly or convention. The participants at each precinct caucus, or at any caucus , assembly, or convention of any county or district, alone shall determine if the results of any preference poll are to be a factor in the selection of individual delegates or alternates to any higher assembly or convention, and no candidate for delegate or alternate for any higher assembly or convention shall be compelled or required to identify the candidate he or she is pledged to support, but may do so at his or her option.
as a historical note; was this imposed by RNC, or voted on by CO GOP?

This requires delegates be unbound (meaning legally uncommitted, I'm assuming), therefore, we're just straw polling for would be delegate(s) - let's use WBD for now - who think like us right? Can they at least be vocally/visibly committed?

I have to agree with JG's suggestion that supporting a WBD who leans towards Kasich or Rubio provides the best chance of a delegate that won't go to Trump, since one of Cruz's biggest shticks was being the anti-establishment guy which is being quickly assimilated by Trump's guttural garrulousness. Damn, a Cru-Bio showdown could have been so good for liberty....

And, since Ochs didn't explain this bit of insider politics, can any here?

vet delegates they do vote for to assure they will undervote their ballot rather than be counted as a delegate for Trump
seems to me to beg the questions (more at the end); What results are published? If I'm going to help make an anti-Trump statement, it seems unbound WBD's could just feed the fire that's feeding Trump's momentum and an undervoted WBD would add even more fuel. I think we need to visibly for Cruz, or Rubio and a vote outside of Ohio for Kasich is wasted.

Now, joining forces with JK in agreeing that Rubio is quite acceptable, but to differ: I don't think a "poTRUMPus" would spark an outright trade war, I think he'd continue on with his verbal diarrhea from a bigger podium such that:
[a] any good ideas by the likes of Laffer wouldn't get very far, mostly b/c smart guys will only pamper the doofus for so long even if they're not threatened with litigation,
[b] he'd destroy any low-level good will with other nations that is the necessary starting point for "better deal" negotiations, especially given our weakened current state.

I believe Trump lacks the character needed to listen to good ideas, or to inspire others: chief comparisons would be to BHO and to Jesse Ventura. God knows, we're in desperate need of character! I think he'd do lasting damage to the GOP (which surely needs a shakeup, anyway), leading to a DP-lead Senate in 2018, who would easily find ways to stroke his ego to get their idea of a better deal. We'd be back to the situation in 2014-2015 with a democratic senate and a POTUS beating hammer and tongs on a GOP-held house. I'd much rather listen to Shrillary bleat about obstructionism than hear The Donald, with the GOP moniker, lambasting them as liars and losers... well, Shrillary would also call them liars which is a brush that taints both accused and accuser.

HRC would be bad for liberty, but TRUMPus would be worse. While I note Hugh Hewitt disagrees with me, I still can't see voting for him, hence seeking advice on the best anti-Trump vote. Hoping for a brokered convention, and now seriously considering chatting up the Rubio guy, even if he's barely beating Cruz in FLORIDA! Here's the most hopeful point from Hewitt's six:

Donald's daughter and Svengali Ivanka is a smart, smart, smart lady with an extraordinary intellect and influence on her father. We get the GOP's own Valerie Jarrett, only this one with a sense of America's role in the world and the same resolve to succeed as Jarrett possesses.

Not exactly a shiny scenario: Rubio looks much, much better. So, how much of these insider dealings with unbound vs. undervoted WBD's can I expect to be discussed at my gathering at Angevine middle school in Lafayette? What does it take to become a WBD?

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:29 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I expect there will be LOTS of presidential primary discussion at the caucuses. It will be largely dependent upon how much and how long caucus attendees, i.e. your Republican neighbors, want to talk about it.

Becoming a WBD is simple - nominate yourself and stand for election. Each delegate candidate should get a few moments to say something about why he is running. Be prepared for a 30 second speech. Make a personal list of all the delegate names and put checks or x's or circle the one's you like and don't like. If you don't like as many as you are able to vote for, then under vote.

I'm still giving Trump the benefit of much doubt. I prefer Cruz but the system will give us the candidate we, as a party, deserve. Unless of course the D.C. power brokers manage to sway a divided convention in favor of Marco? Rubio! That is one explanation, by the way, for why Kasich is being called on to suspend but Cruz is not. Without Cruz on the ballot Trump might reach 50-plus percent of delegates on the first ballot.

Posted by: johngalt at February 29, 2016 2:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I must revise and extend my prior remarks.

Once the winner-take-all primaries begin on March 15, splitting the "not Trump" vote can actually help the New Yorker. Pressure will increase for a change of circumstances prior to then, I suspect.

Posted by: johngalt at February 29, 2016 6:52 PM

All Hail Jonah!

Jonah calls "shenanigans" on Donald Trump's claim that he faces frequent IRS audits because of he is "a strong Christian:"

Anyway, all of this public religiosity is fairly new. Before he ran for president, if you played the word-association game with 100,000 Americans, I'd venture that not one of them would have said "Christian!" when asked, "What first comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump?"

Apparently, according to Trump, that's only true of normal Americans. The IRS is different. It's like the eye of Sauron searching the land for "strong Christians." When its cruel gaze landed upon the failed casino magnate, beauty-pageant impresario, thrice-married and confessed adulterer who's talked about how his own daughter is so hot he'd date her if she wasn't his daughter and bragged about how it doesn't matter what critics say about you so long as "you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass," and who told Howard Stern that his ability to avoid getting the clap while sleeping around was his "personal Vietnam," the IRS immediately saw the truth of the matter.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Something is completely amiss about his claim he gets audited repeatedly... I smell more "Donald" than truth, and the Christie endorsement only reinforces my thought that these are NY liberals banding together.

Sessions, OTOH, did disappoint.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 29, 2016 12:29 PM
But jk thinks:

I was going to ask when gloating could commence on Sen. Sessions conversion to Trumpism.

I'll let you off easily, but I do think it reinforces my belief that a huge majority of Trump supporters want restricted immigration firstly and foremostly. Sessions and Trump are birds of a feather to me.

Posted by: jk at February 29, 2016 3:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But they can't have it, right? "Get with the program, little racist." Thus paraphrased Noonan, but not until after this:

Many Americans suffered from illegal immigration - its impact on labor markets, financial costs, crime, the sense that the rule of law was collapsing. But the protected did fine - more workers at lower wages. No effect of illegal immigration was likely to hurt them personally.

It was good for the protected. But the unprotected watched and saw. They realized the protected were not looking out for them, and they inferred that they were not looking out for the country, either.

Before concluding, "I don't know if the protected see how serious this moment is, or their role in it."

Posted by: johngalt at February 29, 2016 4:34 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Sessions wants illegal immigration stopped. Trump just wants a trumpet to toot. If y'ask me, Jeff stepped off the correct platform onto the wrong train. Peggy's comment on the collapse of the rule of law and thereby the elites not looking out for the country (a la Merkel) is closer to the mark for prioritizing trump voters.

Too many trumpers want "their" bully, IMO. I've been listening to talk radio and not that many of them are really that wrapped around immigration. He's become an article of faith, and they believe he'll make America great (grate, is more likely) or at least stop the PC nonsense. What's most alarming is his (and theirs) mere passing familiarity with importance of the rule of law.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 1, 2016 1:12 AM

February 28, 2016

While We're Trumping

Charles C W Cooke unearths a 1990 Playboy interview with some umm, uncomfortable views on authoritarian regimes.


Trump as Jackson

An interesting take on Donald Trump from blog friend tgreer.

But jk thinks:

Let the recond show I am not 100% in -- though I enjoyed it. COmmenting on a facebook link to it:

I enjoyed the essay. Jackson, however, though indeed outside the elite, was not outside politics. He was a Senator and he won a commanding plurality for President in 1824. His opposition to the bank was ideological ad straight on the mold o Jefferson, was it not?

Trump and he share populism, but Trump is outside politics and outside the belief system of his own party. That is where I am unsure of the comparison. I fully agree with eschewing "argumentum ad hiltlerium;" when he gasses 12 million, let me know.

Now, TR...

Posted by: jk at February 28, 2016 3:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nice article TG. Some weeks ago I did recognize some similarities with my limited understanding of Andrew Jackson. And there are several points here that buttress assertions I've previously made on these pages, and in private messages with family members. But let me pose a question about your charge that Trump will only make worse the situation of the over bloated, dangerously unbalanced national government, too involved in the life of the common man.

With an imperious chief executive of the opposition party, might not Democrats in Congress and the Senate find new willingness to reign in executive power? And in cooperation with the fraction of Republicans who believe in limited government, succeed in doing so?

I understand this is attempting to predict the future, and playing with fire at the same time. I'm not suggesting it as an intentional plan as much as a contingency, should hoi polloi succeed in their storming of the gates.

Posted by: johngalt at February 29, 2016 11:34 AM

February 26, 2016

Otequay of the Ayday

Without action, Americans' anger will not subside. Most Americans face a narrower set of options today than in past years, and reforming higher education will help rekindle economic mobility. Entrepreneurs, universities, and other organizations must work to create new lifelong learning opportunities. We need more information on the different links between fields of study, employment earnings and, just as importantly, skills. Most of all, we need public and private leaders who appeal to aspiration rather than anger, and can inspire Americans to a new era of education.

- Ross Baird and Dane Stangler, 'Why Are Americans Angry? Maybe Education's Doing the Opposite of What We Think'


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February 25, 2016

For those not on Facebook

A desperate cry for help:

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 6:02 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

'scuse me, while I kiss the sky!'

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2016 7:19 PM

Trump: The Barbarian at the GOP Gates

He doesn't look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 'Conan the Barbarian' but in many ways he acts the same. He swaggers in and takes what he wants, says what he wants, does what he wants - with impunity. It's not at all becoming of the de facto Leader of the Free World, but as a rebuke to those who have husbanded power and influence to make history's greatest nation less free and less great - it is a sight to behold.

This is the viewpoint of Chicago's John Kass who, like me, would have nominated Rand Paul if the decision were up to him. But the party leaders didn't want a principled president, according to Kass:

I thought he had a chance to attract young voters and realign the Republicans away from their war-party impulses and toward some semblance of fiscal sanity.

As a result, Paul was savaged early on by the GOP establishment as some kind of dangerous "isolationist," which means he didn't want American kids to fight wars in the Middle East.

Back then the GOP establishment didn't mind Trump, when he was sucking up all the TV media oxygen on Fox News and thereby asphyxiating the Paul campaign. In the establishment mind, Trump must have been a useful idiot.

He'd take attention away from candidates who threatened the establishment, and when it finally was time, the wise men would unleash Jeb! and his $100 million and cruise to victory.

It was a great plan except for one thing: reality.

Now that the Trump genie is out of the bottle, he isn't easy to put back. And the "wise men" are in utter panic because they've lost control of the process that provides them control of the government machinery.

The common wisdom is that if Trump continues on and wins the Republican nomination, he'll be trounced by Democrat Hillary Clinton, who recently announced that she always tries to tell the truth.

But I'm not so sure. Still, if you read the bleating op-eds, you get a sniff of the GOP establishment panic. They weep about disaster at hand.

What they don't say is that they'd rather have Democrat Hillary Clinton in there -- the true establishment Wall Street candidate -- than Trump.

And that's why I will vote for Trump, if he is the Republican in the race: Not because I'm convinced he'd be a good president, but because the people who have come to have leadership positions in the GOP are not republicans. And it almost certainly will require a barbarian to dump them into the streets.

But johngalt thinks:

This morning I asked dagny to ignore Trump's personality and consider everything else about him, objectively. That was the way I attempted to watch him in last night's GOP debate in Houston. She said, "I can't. He's too rude and obnoxious."

To which I replied that I think that's one of the things his backers like about him. They think he is least likely of the available candidates to go to Washington and be co-opted by the old boys club and its "please" and "thank you" and "my distinguished colleague from the great state of cronyist bullshit."

In short, a barbarian.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2016 11:54 AM
But jk thinks:

I can. In spite of his rude and obnoxious behaviour. (Wonder where I could have built up the immunity?)

From last night's debate "I like a trade war when we're losing 56 Billion." I am not certain that Art and Stephen will be able to reel him in.

Also in the debate, but a frequent soundbite "I'm not going to have people dying in the streets without health care. Maybe you [Sen. Cruz] would." We're in to President George W Bush at best here and President Obama at the worst. All of you are my children and I will see to it you feel no pain when I sit at the Resolute desk.

From last night's debate "The wall just got ten feet higher."

Add large doses of eminent domain abuse or at the very least failure/pretend failure to differentiate between public and private uses of eminent domain.

We've had back on forth on Sens. Rubio & Cruz and agree each has some black marks against. But neither are anywhere in this league.

What beliefs he has -- if any -- are in no way in-line with mine. Yes I am happy he cheeses off some people I don't like. But that is not qualification for the Presidency.

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2016 3:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There is no doubt that Trump is a loose cannon. Where there is doubt is whether a more measured man can succeed in a popularity contest versus Mr. or Mrs. Candy Man (Sanders or Clinton.) I think this is what Chris Christie is thinking when he says, "no other Republican candidate is a more formidable challenger to Hillary Clinton."

Bonus Christie quote: "We don't need Washington politicians to come in and fix it."

Christie campaigned on his executive experience as governor. That's what he says Trump has in spades, and the senators lack.

Did you catch Trump's comeback to the "you hired illegal workers" charge? He said, "You've never hired ANY workers!" I think that comment has merit.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2016 4:17 PM
But dagny thinks:

I'm afraid I'm with JK. If the Republicans in this country nominate Donald Trump, I'm voting for Gary Johnson.

Posted by: dagny at February 26, 2016 6:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Donald Trump is not Lady Liberty's knight in shining armor, riding in on a white steed to defeat Leviathan. Instead he is, as Glen Reynolds explains, experimentation on the part of hoi polloi.

It used to be, of course, that the lower and middle classes were stuffy and constrained by social convention while the freethinkers at universities and in the ruling class got to experiment with unconventional ideas. If their experimenting got enough success, then it might eventually filter down to ordinary people. (The sexual revolution worked this way, more or less).

But now it's our ruling class that is hidebound by political correctness, and it takes movement by the masses to give it permission to express a controversial view. That's a major change, and it's one that the ruling class isn't likely to appreciate much. But having subjected itself to the chains of "acceptable" opinion, what can it do?

And this idea of "acceptable" opinion is one that applies to nearly all of what Peggy Noonan today called "the protected" folks. Not just those who are entrenched in GOP power roles, but those in the liberty movement too.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2016 7:09 PM

Democracy and such

Democrats should be, if nothing else, democratic. Good or bad, that's their gig, right? The people should choose our political office holders, and the members of the several parties should choose their nominees for those offices, right?

Well, one major party is doing a better job of adhering to that ideal than the other.

PRIEBUS: Come on. That's not my job. My job is to put forward the fairest process that we can put forward, to not put my hand on the scale, to allow our delegates to make the choices that they want to make and then accept the decision that the delgates make, unlike on the Democratic side where they have superdelegates and could give a darn about what the grassroots are telling the party. That's not how we operate our party on our side.

Caucus Strategy

Friend of Liberty Adam Ochs posts this on Facebook:

Do you hate Trump?

Then join me at caucus on Tuesday March first and employ the following strategy:
1) Only vote for delegates to higher assemblies who:

A) Will if running for an RNC delegate slot will be running as an unbound delegate
B) Will only vote for a delegate to higher assemblies who will be unbound.
C) Will vet delegates they do vote for to assure they will undervote their ballot rather than be counted as a delegate for Trump

If you need help finding your caucus location, contact me.

But nanobrewer thinks:

I know where to go, but I might need a translation into plain english: "unbound" means those who'll vote for 'whomever' when the convention comes? How does that defeat The Trump? Undervote??

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 25, 2016 4:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps caucus wizard jg will help out. We're picking the folks who will pick, so we have some discretion, but they may vote any way they choose when they get there.

And I know I have been a bit grouchy, but the immediate flaw in this plan is that there are generally about as many candidates as there are slots in my precinct. I remember more coaxing to accept than rejecting on philosophical purity.

I had convinced myself that the Senate nomination was worth fighting the snow, but yes, the primary will be the play.

Maybe it will snow a lot.

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2016 5:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Delegates are not officially "bound" until they fill out the intent to run for national delegate form. And even then, they are not required to commit to a candidate. What is important is to know who the delegate candidates would vote for as the nominee if we had a caucus night poll. If you want to vote against Trump, vote for delegates who say they like Rubio or Kasich. This is just my opinion again, but if a delegate supports Cruz or Carson he's more likely to support Trump in the long run rather than to oppose him.

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2016 6:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

From the COGOP Bylaws, Article XII, Section C:

4. b. No preference poll of any kind shall be conducted if it dictates or requires the binding of delegates chosen to any higher assembly or convention. The participants at each precinct caucus, or at any caucus , assembly, or convention of any county or district, alone shall determine if the results of any preference poll are to be a factor in the selection of individual delegates or alternates to any higher assembly or convention, and no candidate for delegate or alternate for any higher assembly or convention shall be compelled or required to identify the candidate he or she is pledged to support, but may do so at his or her option.

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2016 6:50 PM

Hillary!

In a very smart piece for The Federalist (someday, we will discuss what gives with that site's mixing clickbait crazy-stupid memes with crazy-smart commentary) Tom Nichols discusses the unthinkable. Sec. Clinton over Donald Trump.

The jewel is replacing "The Buckley Rule" with "The Hamilton Rule."

In other words: Better to lose to a true enemy whose policies you can fight and repudiate, rather than to a false friend whose schemes will drag you down with him. This is a painful choice, but it also embraces realism while protecting the possibility of recovery in the future. The need to live to fight another day is why conservatives should adopt a Hamilton Rule if, God forbid, the choice comes down to Hillary and Trump.

Sad to say, I think I am in. In a Trump-Sanders, I would likely leave it blank and vote down-ticket, but looking at China's jitters, plus the Hamilton Rule I think I would pull the lever for Madame Secretary.

Out whole nation has basically become Louisiana (without the fine food and coffee) and we adopt their battle cry: "Vote for the Crook, It's Important!"

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:13 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

I disagree. This would be my position if Jeb were the nominee, however. If it is Trump I will take the bad with the good, and look forward to what may be possible after the cycle of establishment L or establishment R has been broken, at least for a time.

Let's go for free enterprise.

...where and how do we organize the party of free-market, free-enterprise, small business entrepreneurs? It would seem an easy thing to do inasmuch as it's membership includes over four-fifths of the entire electorate. And yet, we are brought to heel by the established, entrenched, neo-mercantilist statists.
Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2016 1:18 PM
But jk thinks:

I find myself dreaming of Jeb!

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2016 2:36 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

On this, I'm in the JK orbit. I canNOT vote for that ignorant, crass, crony capitalist who is at heart a New York liberal, and in reality a Republican only when the price is right. He'll nominate NY liberals, he'll cut deals with NY liberals and if he makes it 4 years in the oval office the words "conservative", "buffoon", "republican", "bigot" will become synonymous.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 25, 2016 4:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Nor is it about the future of the GOP. I think his ideas, like Sen. Sanders's, are truly dangerous. A trade war over Mister Trump's perception of the value of the Renminbi could easily throw the world into global depression, as did Smoot-Hawley.

That's my reason for picking Senator Clinton -- not some partisan bank shot setting up the 2024 race. Global. Frickken' Depression.

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2016 6:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Trump's "Political Kitchen Cabinet"

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Political Consultant Roger Stone

Former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Gen. Michael Flynn

Former Secretary Of Education William J. Bennett

Heritage Foundation Chief Economist Stephen Moore

Former Reagan Administration Member Art Laffer

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton

Pollster Pat Caddell

Do you really think Stephen Moore and Art Laffer are going to help architect a trade war?

Roger Simon, PJ Media, says The Republican Establishment Needs to Stop Worrying and Love the Donald.

And listen to what Trump is actually saying. He's for lower taxes and a strong defense and he's not really against free trade. He just wants a better deal. Who wouldn't and who wouldn't assume he'd get a better one than the Obama crowd? Or the Bush crowd for that matter, on just about anything.
Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2016 6:32 PM

thars a caucus a comin'

Before I toss my hat into the maelstrom, a short, quick question: has any candidate caught the eye of any active TSer in the race to overturn Bennet's senate seat? I heard from Robert Blaha on the radio and was not terribly impressed, save for his commitment to self term-limit. Our independent summarizes while barely noting the pallet is not monochrome!

How best for a resource-limited GOPer to influence this race?

Now, to the big "Cru-bio!?!" news:
I don't see JK and JG as entangled at the quantum level, but more like comets, on very similar trajectories, or perhaps a binary star. I vote gravity (in our case, provided by Liberty), and we're all more enlightened for it!

JK says he's all in for Senator Rubio, who “had a nice interview with Chris Wallace “ Sure, he's a basically nice guy, completely unlike Trump; Cruz? I'm not so sure... but I'm also pretty sure that we're not particularly well served with a nice guy as the country's CEO in the next decade... that was one of Romney's problems, IMO. Our prolific leader continues:

Sen. Rubio is young and likable -- a great contrast to either fossil coming out of the DNC this year. Down deep, I think he has good ideas on immigration. He is sublimating those to get the nomination.

For the record, he's only a year younger than Cruz. I agree that he's being borderline disingenuous on immigration, b/c The Trump is making mountains of hay with the “Deport 'em, baby, deport!” strategy. If the GOP were serious, it would sponsor a thorough and in-depth poll of likely voters broken into the 3 big groups (R, D, I) to identify the top 3-5 voter concerns. My hope is immigration is down the list and thereby Trump's ammo dump runs dry and he's only left with insults and bluster. Hey, hey, ho, ho... ACA has gotta go anyone? Bueller?

For disclosure, I'm still more in line with JG on immigration as far as any near time legislative fixes go. Late actions by a very partisan and autocratic DOJ in trying to tank an EAC policy decision for positive voter ID, noting They want non-citizens to vote in order to help elect a Democratic president further bolsters my case that our country and world is far, far removed from any semblance of a sensible open borders policy: even Denmark is backing away... I feel compelled to once again channel one of founding fathers:

America is a friend of freedom everywhere, but a custodian only of our own.

Returning again to JK's sage comments:

His tenure as Florida's Speaker of the House impressed many. I find that better executive qualification than being one of 100 senators. … he was a new wave Tea Party candidate in 2010

Agreed, but I think Cruz's time as AG is just as important in establishing him as more than just a senator. Furthermore, Marco's actions since can and should be evaluated to see if the speaker-act was a prelude or a stepping stone now covered with rotting moss. He was a huge TP favorite and GOP rising star, and still has a 94% conservative rating from Heritage. Yet “amnesty” could be the albatross of 2016, much as Romneycare was in 2012. I heard a prominent lawyer from the RMLP on Ross Kaminsky's KHOW show who was part of the TP gang that helped get Rubio the speakership. This very sharp guy feels 100% betrayed and zero remaining trust for Sen. Rubio after the Gang o'8 deal.

PL's Paul Mirengoff breaks this down argument in lawyerly detail, asking the important question:

His support was critical if comprehensive immigration reform was to pick up the bipartisan steam it needed to get through the Senate. What meaningful concessions did Rubio extract from Schumer and company in exchange [or even seek] for his support? ... Cruz [ammendment]’s purpose is a matter of dispute, but his amendment did highlight that the Gang of Eight was totally committed to its extreme, uncompromising vision of immigration reform. It was able to get away with this extremism because Schumer and company had Rubio in their pocket.
Not a good sign, nor was his tacit complicity with Schumer's smearing of good guys like Mark Krikorian. Still, even Mirengoff opines that he sees Rubio pretty handily defeating HRC, whereas he has doubts about Cruz pulling that off.

Rubio is recently quoted as now spouting the line “if America could trust that immigration wasn't broken, they'd support some reform” is a very good – dare I say third way? - approach. Mike Rosen claimed that Rubio discovered that Dems weren't serious on border security, which caused him to bail off the Schumer express... the rookie mistake he may have made was going public with vocal support before he'd ironed out the real details. Hmph, Democrats running to the press while the bill's still being written; shocking!

> Rep. Trey Gowdy, Gov. Nikki Haley, and Sen. Jeff Flake <
and Tim Scott and, Dean Heller (RINO-NV), and Santorum... Yes, Rubio has become the establishment candidate, and I'd love to see that QE debate, if someone could force laryngitis on Trump. Cruz, to his credit, happily pushes being the “establishment candidate” as a put down.

I am more impressed by Cruz all the time and for now will shun the “electable” guestimation, am not particularly moved by A.Armstrong's assertion that a Prez. Rafael would move for a personhood policy to stop abortions, but do note the Weekly Standard article that Cruz owns opposition to Obamacare, which should be top three.

Releasing an alternative should benefit Cruz. Obamacare is not only the number-one thing that needs to be overturned from the Obama presidency; it is both the embodiment and symbol of nearly everything wrong with this presidency: runaway spending; Main Street economic woes; elitism; cronyism; the consolidation and centralization of power; the deprivation of liberty; attacks on religious freedom; government incompetence; naked lawlessness.

Anybody remember the ACA alternative than nearly got Ed Gillespie an amazing upset victory?

All that being said, I'm planning to caucus for Cruz... might even make some phone calls if I can keep my anti-Trump anger from flaring.

But jk thinks:

Thanks to the RNC ("only we can make the Democrats look Democratic!") we are not to "caucus for" or even have a straw poll for President, so we may cool our heels.

For Senate I'm keen on Ryan Frasier but have not exaustively examined many new entrants. Very important to pick which person loses to Bennett by 20 points.

And, it's going to snow. Have a nice day.

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2016 10:27 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That's because Colorado Republicans don't want a democratic, i.e. simple majority, process. We want something closer to what the Founders established - informed, interested and active delegates making wise decisions. Remember that it was democracy that destroyed the ancient Roman empire.

A detailed discussion of the Colorado caucus from a national perspective can be found here.

Rather than being a state with no preference vote that no one pays attention to, Colorado becomes a real delegate prize for the campaigns who are able to organize there. Those that gain an organizational advantage -- and that is much more likely in a low turnout election without the incentive of a presidential preference vote -- have a real opportunity to get something out of the Centennial state. It will not necessarily entail candidates coming into the state over the course March and into April (because forcing delegate candidates through to the county assembly level is the true mark of winning there), but it may make the media outlets pay continued attention to Colorado as the process there resolves itself. And since there is no preference vote guiding the delegate allocation process from step to step, a candidate could dominate in Colorado and come out on April 9 with a significant majority of delegates.
Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2016 2:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As for the Senate nomination, I'm aware of fourteen different folks who plan to seek it. There are two paths - via caucus, or via petition. Then we will choose by statewide primary in July, I believe.

Posted by: johngalt at February 25, 2016 2:56 PM

February 24, 2016

Words Have Meanings

Did Republicans "define socialism down" by calling every left wing proposal "socialist?" Now, how do they call out Senator Sanders (Socialist - VT)?

So asks Paul Starr in Politico who fears Senator Ice Cream because of his effect on Democrats:

Socialism and Sanders have their heart in a different place--economic equality before all else. Socialism is still the dream of those who don't worry about concentrating power in the state or about the perverse effects of making goods and services available at a zero price. To bring socialism back from the dead wearing New Deal liberalism as a mask is no service to either. Socialists should know the difference, and liberals should too. After feverish right-wing accusations that every liberal proposal is tantamount to socialism, the last thing liberals need is a Democratic presidential candidate blurring that line.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:05 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 23, 2016

Life Imitates ThreeSources

I'll give my blog brother, and all the Cruzites around here, some ammunition and an appeal to authority I find appealing: Rep. Justin Amash (HOSS - MI) endorses Sen. Cruz.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) [sic] has consistently been in Sen. Rand Paul's corner both in Congress and during the senator's run for president. Now that Paul's out of the running, who does Amash think libertarian conservatives should look to in the race?

Amash answered that question today in an opinion piece at the Independent Journal. He is throwing his support to Sen. Ted Cruz, noting that while he doesn't agree with Cruz (especially in civil liberties and foreign policy), the senator treats limits in government authority more seriously than some other candidates. Here's some of his reasoning:


Spoiler alert -- many of his points will sound familiar.

But johngalt thinks:

Wow. I didn't know any of that about the cyber bill.

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2016 3:15 PM
But jk thinks:

One hand giveth, one hand taketh away...

Ari Armstrong is less enamored.

Posted by: jk at February 23, 2016 5:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, but...

Ari gives examples of Cruz' appeal to NED as the source of man's rights, but never an example of his connecting it to capitalism. (And aren't we supposed to stop using that Marxist word anyway?)

Most people take "endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights" to be a reference to religion, rightly or wrongly.

Can Ari lay his finger on the Republican or Democrat candidate for president who doesn't believe man's rights come from either God or the state? And Libertarian unicorns don't count.

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2016 7:28 PM
But jk thinks:

After Nevada, I have a different plan: A coin toss:

"It is important to keep a small government conservative voice in the Republican Party. Therefore, one of us will bow out. Heads or Tails Amigo?"

Posted by: jk at February 24, 2016 2:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What are we, Democrat Precinct Captains?

Here's a better idea - The Koch Brothers (TM) and their $889M war chest may be starting to lean in a specific direction.

Posted by: johngalt at February 24, 2016 3:38 PM

This is Important

I try to use those words sparingly, but I think this concise article by "Dissident Prof" Mary Grabar is very important, illuminating, and worthy of a complete read: 'School is About Freedom, Marco Rubio, Not Just Money'

The other part of the progressive vision for education is to produce graduates who adhere to the state's status quo. Students are trained to work collectively, focus on emotions, refrain from making independent judgments, and read in a way that does not go beyond ferreting out snippets of information. They are not asked to read an entire Platonic dialogue or novel. They do not get the big picture, from the dawn of civilization.

Our current educational methods are a far cry from the Founders' robust views, of preparing citizens who are literate, logical, and knowledgeable; citizens capable of voting intelligently.

Because I think it is so important, and not to save you from reading the whole article, I have an extended excerpt after the jump.

Our presidential candidates should consider what philosophy, rightly understood, could do. Indeed, by studying Aristotle's "Rhetoric" students would be able to distinguish between different rhetorical appeals and learn the legitimate arts of persuasion--those that allow us to live in a civilized manner, where we resolve our differences through debate, not violence.

Were students to study Plato’s "Republic," they might understand the dangers of a popular democracy and why the American Founders rejected one. They would consider Thrasymachus's contention that justice is synonymous with strength, with being a "winner," regardless of the methods. They might decide to evaluate such rhetoric carefully when it comes from a political candidate, like Donald Trump.

They would consider whether it is good for the government to put people in certain classes, as craftsmen or "guardians," instead of allowing them to choose for themselves, or whether government should raise children rather than parents. What has been the historical outcome of such societies with centralized government, five-year economic plans, government-assigned jobs, and child-rearing from infancy? Are there any similarities to what Sanders is proposing?

But jk thinks:

It is important enough, I'll read it twice. And I will attempt to circle back and compare it to this NYTimes piece on STEM-versus-humanities.

Three friends posted this on Facebook. One favorite lefty under the rubric of "OMG Rethuglicans hate science but want to make us study it."

Blog friend (and Mister Humanities) tg posted it and said "This is the humanities' own fault. I sorrow to say it, I am a humanities man. But it is true nonetheless."

Blog friend (and Mister Humanities Runner Up) SC posted it as an interesting take on education. The three different comment chains would make a superb master's thesis.

Posted by: jk at February 23, 2016 4:05 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Well, I'd say the Dissident Prof is our answer to any of the credentialed, pychobabble spewing leftist academic icons, except that I've more or less forgotten what the question was!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 25, 2016 1:21 AM

Limbaugh's advice for Cruz

Not that Limbaugh, but the other one - Rush's brother David, who has publicly endorsed Rafael "Ted" Cruz for president. David thinks he sees the reason why Ted is losing momentum in the 3-way race with Trump and Rubio - talking too much about Trump and Rubio.

Ted Cruz has everything it takes to be an extraordinary -- even historic -- president and lead the nation out of its current quagmire.

He just needs to say what he's going to do, in concrete terms, and underscore why he can be counted on more than all others to do it -- because of his record, his commitment to action and his demonstrated courage in fighting establishment power brokers who will resist him.

The more Ted Cruz talks about issues the more he soars above his competition. Like no one else in modern times, he has an incomparably uplifting vision to restore America's exceptionalism. I pray that going forward his campaign will radiate that vision.



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February 22, 2016

You Good Folks Might Dig This

(HT -- my biological brother via email, sorry no attribution).

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 5:53 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Good one!

But it's a little out of date, since college professors are quite well paid. Perhaps as a result of all the government efforts to make college "affordable" the wages paid to faculty don't seem to be the butt of jokes that they once were.

For the first time in 2012-13, the average full professor's salary at the best-paying institutions -- all private research universities -- topped $200,000.

Maybe the joke should refer to high school math teachers now.

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2016 12:35 PM

The Munger Rule

I'll join my blog brother in wishing a respectful Happy Birthday to dear President Washington.

But -- and I am thinking out loud here, I reserve the right to revise and reinterpret my remarks -- I think he is responsible for all that is wrong with this great nation.

Our first President was a Unicorn! Who cares about executive power when it will be handled by a man above avarice and graft? My new favorite economist is Michael Munger. Listen to any of his EconTalk appearances with Russ Roberts -- he's a great wit and gifted thinker.

One of his great riffs is "Unicorns;" everybody loves them, but they don't exactly exist. His FEE article addresses those who view the State as a Unicorn. To be fair, he has argued elsewhere that "the free market" can be the right's unicorn. But enjoy:

But they may not immediately see why "the State" that they can imagine is a unicorn. So, to help them, I propose what I (immodestly) call "the Munger test."
Go ahead, make your argument for what you want the State to do, and what you want the State to be in charge of.

Then, go back and look at your statement. Everywhere you said "the State," delete that phrase and replace it with "politicians I actually know, running in electoral systems with voters and interest groups that actually exist."

If you still believe your statement, then we have something to talk about.


This leads to loads of fun, believe me. When someone says, "The State should be in charge of hundreds of thousands of heavily armed troops, with the authority to use that coercive power," ask them to take out the unicorn ("the State") and replace it with "George W. Bush." How do you like it now?

If someone says, "The State should be able to choose subsidies and taxes to change the incentives people face in deciding what energy sources to use," ask them to remove "the State" and replace it with "senators from states that rely on coal, oil, or corn ethanol for income." Still sound like a good idea?

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 3:50 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

Hey! No fair making me laugh! Yes a big hunk is my perception of "likeability." Not quite hair and smile, but I'll admit to its being difficult to measure.

I gave Sen. Cruz well deserved props for opposing ethanol when and where it counted -- and I have beat up Sen. Rubio for his affiliation with the bloodsucker cronyists at the sugar lobby.

So Sen. Cruz deserves some points for having the seeds of small government. But he shows little inclination to stay in the box with his hawkishness on war, Trump-Lite immigration policy, reflexive opposition to gay marriage and abortion, and flip-flop on drugs. I'm not sure I trust the guy who opened -- opened! -- his campaign at Liberty University to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's."

Marco has multiple flaws. We're both picking from the bottom of the barrel and I respect those making a different pick. I'll not ask either to leave the race. They both have a path to victory and the game theory can get out of hand. I rather wish some of the others were still in.

Try this line on: "Now that all the extremists for MY cause are gone, I'm looking for a moderate."

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2016 5:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Vis-Ă -vis hawkishness - Rubio excoriates Cruz for voting against (two, I believe) defense authorization bills. Can we compromise at "shoestring budget hawk?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2016 12:58 AM
But jk thinks:

He's playing to a crowd that hungers for more American leadership -- a crowd that includes me. But the carpet bombing, sand-into-glass rhetoric concerns me.

I'll push back a little on the shoestring comment. Dan Mitchell at CATO is correct that the real tax rate is the spending rate. Sadly, we learned this from President George W. Bush: cutting the rates and goosing up the spending is not fiscal conservatism.

Posted by: jk at February 23, 2016 11:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That should have been shoestring-budget hawk, or hawk on a shoestring budget. He was against approving the defense authorization bill, after all. The one Rubio is proud to have supported - GWB-like. Still like him better?

There seem to be a couple of ceilings at play here: The uber outrageous outsider (I won't call him anti-establishment) seems capped at about 1/3 of the primary electorate. And as D.C. McAllister pointed out in my Otequay of the Esterdayay, "establishment" candidates are only drawing about another 1/3 of the primary electorate. And those two factions are not just oil and water - they are gasoline and match. So why isn't the guy in the middle - who has at least some appeal to both evangelicals and atheists, reformers and compromisers - the wise compromise to "unite the party" and win the _*cking election? Why try to force either extreme down the throat of the other two-thirds?

Limbaugh has called Cruz "the closest thing we've seen to Reagan in our lifetime." I could "settle" for that. Anyone else?

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2016 12:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Mr. Limbaugh is not my go-to guy for endorsements, but I'm open. Do you happen to know whom he supported in 2008 and 2012?

Posted by: jk at February 23, 2016 2:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It wasn't an explicit endorsement, but I took it as a covert one. He says enthusiastic things about Trump too, but never compared him to Reagan.

I don't recall specific "hints" like that from 4 or 8 years ago.

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2016 2:19 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

How many more primaries will it take to get this through our heads? Combine the numbers, and we get significant support for outsider candidates: 67 percent in Iowa (Cruz, Trump, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina); 54 percent in New Hampshire; and 62 percent in South Carolina.

Why then should people compromise and vote for someone who stands athwart that movement? [Rubio] Why not support the candidate [Cruz] who understands that impulse and also has the conservative values and experience to fight the real enemy: the Democratic Party and its goal to dismantle the American Republic?

-D.C. McAllister in Rubio Needs to Move Aside for Cruz, not Vice Versa

But jk thinks:

We are bound by an imperceptible tie, you and me. Gravitational waves? More like quantum entanglement -- as soon as I come to a position, I usually find you to be full-on against it.

I came to the realization yesterday that I was all in for Senator Rubio. He had a nice interview with Chris Wallace on FOXNews Sunday (To be fair, so did Mr, Trump.)

-- Sen. Rubio is young and likable -- a great contrast to either fossil coming out of the DNC this year.

-- Down deep, I think he has good ideas on immigration. He is sublimating those to get the nomination, but c'est la guerre.

-- His tenure as Florida's Speaker of the House impressed many. I find that better executive qualification than being one of 100 senators.

-- He can play in the establishment pool, but -- and I am sorry short memory folks -- he was a new wave Tea Party candidate in 2010 against Gov. Crist.

He has attracted endorsements from Republicans I do like, including Rep. Trey Gowdy, Gov. Nikki Haley, and Sen. Jeff Flake. A Facebook post in a group said "Trey Gowdy is dead to me now!" Gotta love that unity. But that's a good and diverse group.

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2016 3:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And despite endorsements from South Carolina's governor, Senator and most popular Congressman, Rubio could only tie for second place.

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2016 12:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

RE: "Fossils."

"I promise not to make my opponent's youth and inexperience an issue in this campaign. - R. Reagan"

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2016 12:53 PM

Happy Birthday President Washington!

Native born, on February 22, 1732, you would be 284 years young today.

And thanks to government meddling and the ubiquitous three-day weekend, fewer and fewer people know that you were America's first president, or any of your other actions and accomplishments related to the birth of our great nation. Why, I ought a write my congressman! Take it away, RCP's Richard Benedetto:

Each presidential election, Americans go into their voting booths hoping -- consciously or subliminally -- in search of someone who will lead us with the honesty, integrity and good judgment exemplified by Washington. He is the gold standard.

Without his firm and steady hand at the helm in those early uncertain days of the fledgling republic, the United States of America might have foundered and sunk. The fragile flame of liberty that inspired, and continues to inspire, millions around the world might have flickered and died.

George Washington deserves his own special day of commemoration, and not be relegated to the role of pitchman for automobile, clothing and furniture sales. Happy Birthday, Mr. President.



February 21, 2016

Thinking of Sharansky

"During my long journey through the world of evil, I had discovered three sources of power: the power of an individual's inner freedom, the power of a free society, and the power of the solidarity of the free world." -- Natan Sharansky, "The Case for Democracy"

A Natan Sharansky kind of day, today. First I posted a QOTD from a David Bernstein WaPo column. It seems the tender little SJWs at Brown University are disturbed that classwork is infringing on their Social Justice Warrioring. And that the warrioring in question was opposing Sharansky. He survived the Soviet Gulags. Our little snowflakes could not survive his respectful presence. I'll expand the except:

So there you have it; a group of Ivy League crybullies worn out from the emotional toll of protesting Natan Sharansky, a former dissident and survivor of years of confinement, including solitary confinement, in harsh Soviet prison camps. Is there a better indication of the decline of American higher-ed culture than a bunch of Ivy Leaguers at risk of emotional breakdown due to the presence of one of the great, stoic heroes of the Cold War on their campus?

(Sharansky, by the way, not only managed to weather the protests without needing "emotional support," but took questions, including hostile ones, from the audience, and even tried to have a conversation with the protesters, who responded by shouting slogans at him.)

The second Sharansky entry in the Internet Segue Machine™ is this not-very-embed-able Reason video on the Cuban punk group. Porno para Ricardo. The description of the name at 2:40 is a piece of inspired genius, but the "power of the solidarity of the free world" at 4:00 gives one hope.

But AlexC thinks:

I really hate those people.

Posted by: AlexC at February 21, 2016 8:21 PM

Quote of the Day

Is there a better indication of the decline of American higher-ed culture than a bunch of Ivy Leaguers at risk of emotional breakdown due to the presence of one of the great, stoic heroes of the Cold War on their campus? -- David Bernstein
Education Posted by John Kranz at 4:43 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Natan Sharansky has the fortitude to endure a Soviet gulag, but American college kids need protection from words they don't want to hear. Nice. I'm glad other American kids are not so... "sensitive" and are capable of defending freedom.

Speaking of which, here's what I would say to the "sensitive" kids:

"Cool it. You're being unreasonable. You don't get to control my behavior."

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2016 3:26 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

A good summary of Dr. Smith's excellent (a Denverite!), but long article would be:

you can't control other people, you can only control your reaction to them

The danger to us all is that one political party is willing to ride this wave for disingenuous purposes, get in between the two people (offender & offended) like someone is trying to get between us and our doctors.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 23, 2016 12:43 PM

February 20, 2016

it's official, I'm a hater

I officially hate The Donald. When he embraced the '9/11 truther' angle during the debate coming up to SC I got mad, when he pimped the "Bush said there was WMD, and there weren't so he lied" line I turned into a hater. Ridiculous. Pathetic. I can see it was part of some cynical calculation to get Dems to show up and boost his numbers for the SC primary, but it was ugly and nasty, and .... just Trump.

Note that I'm any ardent lover of the legacy of Bush 43 (though I think it was overall positive), but I believe that the "lie" about WMD is one of the most pernicious and corrosive lies ever pimped on We the People. Not to relitigate this, but it's pretty clearly proven that some were indeed found in Iraq. I guess the WSJ story I saw many moons ago about roughly 70 tons discovered to have been moved through Syria, some landing in Jordan even was never substantiated. Still, the Duelfer report and David Kay were crystal clear that Iraq had nascent programs ready to kickstart in a heartbeat. So, while it's agreed there were never the mass quantities of WMD's as were claimed by the W administration, it's not remotely acceptable to say it was a lie.

What I would say, in a cocktail party setting, would be: well, if W actually lied about WMDs in Iraq, did John Kerry, Al Gore, Albright, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton and HRC herself lie when they said there were WMDs in Iraq, or was it only George W. Bush that lied? If W manipulated the CIA and NSA, how did he manage to manipulate MI6, DSGE, FSB, Mossad and the UN?

Harrummph. We hates it, my precious.... hates him forever

But jk thinks:

I hate what he has done to this election. My special hate-decoder-ring test is "would I be happy to hear he has terminal cancer?" and no, I suppose I do not hate him.

I was, however, reflecting how he cleared the field of all small government candidates months before a vote was cast. How great would it be to have a debate with Govs. Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal again? On stage with Sen. Rand Paul taking on -- respectfully -- the big-gubmint conservatism of Gov. Bush and Sen. Rubio. Sen. Cruz might strategically split the middle.

No, sorry, clown car and those who can tolerate its wake (does a car leave a wake, jk? You're not mixing metaphors again I hope...) He despoiled the whole enterprise. I wish him a long life but on TV and not in politics.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2016 1:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Many of the small-government candidates are gone, but their voters are not - according to D.C. McAllister in my Otequay of the Ayday.

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2016 3:20 PM

February 19, 2016

All Hail Insty!

Heh:

insty160219.gif

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:45 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

But not the BEST 8th graders.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2016 5:02 PM

Y'all get the Day Off!

The enemies of liberty are destroying themselves. Don't get complacent or anything, but take a well deserved holiday.

1. Thanks to Donald Trump, (never thought I'd type that!) the WSJ Ed Page has renewed attacks on Pope Francis. They were respectfully critical posting their disagreements over Laudato Si [Review Corner], but they are all in today:

So much for "who am I to judge?" In its place we now have Pope Francis suggesting that Donald Trump, a Presbyterian, is not a Christian.
[...]
To start with, Americans naturally resent a foreign leader who uses his office to introduce a religious test into American politics. We say this even though on the substance of immigration and Mr. Trump's proposed wall along the Mexican border, we are much closer to the pope than to Mr. Trump.

Even better news comes from local liberty friend Paul Hsieh in Forbes. Progressive economists are coming out against Sen. Sanders's proposals.
Four left-leaning economists who have all held high positions in the Obama and Clinton administrations penned an open letter sharply critical of Sanders:

You'll want to whole the thing read, but here's a taster:
Austan Goolsbee, one of the co-authors (and former chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers), told the New York Times that, "The numbers don't remotely add up" and "they've evolved into magic flying puppies with winning Lotto tickets tied to their collars."

This from the brilliant but partisan Chicago Professor who designed President Obama's economic plans. "Magic flying puppies with winning Lotto tickets" is particularly rich coming from the architect of "Cash-for-Clunkers."

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

It's the opportunity, stupid.

Thirteen hours ago, jk Tweeted "Sanders tops Clinton in a national poll for the first time." Hillary must be having Deja vu. It's 2008 all over again, as the man with a plan overtakes the stalwart Machiavellian who has seen her "turn" come and go more than once already.

Barack Obama's plan was "Hope and Change." What kind of change didn't matter, because it was hopeful - says so right there on the label. Bernie Sanders' plan is more concrete - fairness.

Democrats and Republicans have too often favored policies and regulations that pick winners and losers. This helps perpetuate a cycle of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty in the United States. These are complicated issues, but it's not enough to say that government alone is to blame. Large portions of the business community have actively pushed for these policies.

Consider the regulations, handouts, mandates, subsidies and other forms of largesse our elected officials dole out to the wealthy and well-connected. The tax code alone contains $1.5 trillion in exemptions and special-interest carve-outs. Anti-competitive regulations cost businesses an additional $1.9 trillion every year. Perversely, this regulatory burden falls hardest on small companies, innovators and the poor, while benefitting many large companies like ours. This unfairly benefits established firms and penalizes new entrants, contributing to a two-tiered society.

Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit. This pits individuals and groups against each other and corrupts the business community, which inevitably becomes less focused on creating value for customers.

Those are not the words of Bernie Sanders, but they do address the perception that our economic system is rigged to benefit the already successful, at the expense of those on the bottom who are trying to get ahead. Many, but not all, will be surprised by who wrote those words, given the scorn heaped upon him by the left. None other than the - evil - Charles G. Koch. Brother of David. Together, the "Koch Brothers" although there are four all together. What does Charles want? Sounds a lot like what our parents used to describe as "the American Dream."

It is results, not intentions, that matter. History has proven that a bigger, more controlling, more complex and costlier federal government leaves the disadvantaged less likely to improve their lives.

When it comes to electing our next president, we should reward those candidates, Democrat or Republican, most committed to the principles of a free society. Those principles start with the right to live your life as you see fit as long as you don't infringe on the ability of others to do the same. They include equality before the law, free speech and free markets and treating people with dignity, respect and tolerance.

It's not just Democrats who are rallying around Bernie's "fairness" message. A February 18 Quinnipiac poll has every Republican except Trump beating Hillary head-to-head, but those very same candidates all losing to Sanders by four to ten points each. One of the Republicans had better start emphasizing this part of his campaign - if any of them has it as part of his campaign - perhaps after the savagery of the GOP primary has concluded, if there is to be a Republican successor to President Obama. Or, Hillary may still manage to gerrymander her way to the nomination and we can endure politics as usual and still have our Republican Supreme Court justice picker - but not the real "hope and change" that America needs and deserves.

But jk thinks:

Koch Rochs!

That WaPo column is inspired -- and a very good thing to share with friends afflicted #withthebern

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2016 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged.

He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness.

He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.

I agree with him."

-Charles Koch

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2016 3:11 PM

February 18, 2016

Motherhood

Still socially acceptable in most circles - barely.

Adele:

Adele tells interviewer Hamish Bowles about how her life has been completely transformed by becoming a mom. Her son, she says, "makes me very proud of myself. When I became a parent, I felt like I was truly living. I had a purpose, where before I didn't." Later on she adds: "My main thing is Mum, then it's me, then it's work."

The Federalist's Mollie Hemmingway:

But what's the problem with what she said? And how out of touch are feminists to wrestle with this? We're constantly told that feminism doesn't hate motherhood or bristle against children, but it has the most unconvincing ways of demonstrating that.
Feminism Posted by JohnGalt at 6:43 PM | What do you think? [0]

The case for Cruz

The family debate over Cruz versus Rubio rages on. I found these 5 reasons to appreciate Ted Cruz' "divisiveness" by The Federalist's Georgi Boorman. They explain my point of view nicely.

1. Cut through the spin-

Cruz doesn't have the soaring rhetoric of candidate Obama that leads to fainting supporters, but unlikability can be overcome with good ideas and powerful persuasion behind them.

2. You know a man by his enemies-

So some media pundits are complaining that Cruz doesn’t get along with some establishment types in an extremely unpopular branch of government? He doesn't want to shake hands over business as usual? Heck, yes, sign me up.

3. The base wants heads to spin-

There's some hunger out there for a mover and shaker. Many perceive that in Trump. Many voters want someone who won’t just make heads spin, but will knock 'em together. We don't want a pleader like John Kasich, or a middle-grounder, establishment partner like Marco Rubio has been on immigration and foreign policy.

4. Cruz' personality lends itself to executive office-

A good poker face and the will to dig your heels in lends itself well to the office of the president, and Cruz has those qualities in greater supply than any of the other candidates do.

5. Great leaders aren't nice guys

Cruz's stubborn principles lead him to push against the flow and walk upstream when more moderate types, weak at the knees and eager to please, are swept toward even bigger government.

But nanobrewer thinks:

I'm moving towards Cruz as my backup choice, now that ele primero is out. Check out Cruz's shining and vastly undersold power, I daresay unique amongst the contenders. Taking on hecklers, quietly, thoroughly and completely. He took on Code Pink last summer (aka, with no caucus or primary looming).

Here, Ted Cruz Has a Thoughtful Conversation With An [Angry] Iowa Ethanol Farmer and crushes it. The video is completely worth it; this guy is different, and 100% for real.

My view on energy is simple: We should pursue an “all of the above” policy. We should embrace all of the energy resources with which God has blessed America: oil and gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, and biofuels and ethanol. But Washington shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.

That’s why my tax plan ends all energy subsidies and mandates. No Washington favoritism for oil and gas, for wind, for solar, or for anyone else. The lobbyists’ sole focus is on the RFS, because as long as there is a federal government mandate, Washington remains front and center.


Oh, and there's that thing about him probably being decently qualified to serve on the USSC, and
Famed Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz ranks Sen. Ted Cruz among the school’s smartest students... "He didn’t strike me as a social conservative, more of a libertarian.”
Posted by: nanobrewer at February 19, 2016 11:36 PM

Disney Does Ayn Rand

Maybe there's hope. I've long been disappointed that Walt Disney's company became the leading voice of luddism and opposition to commerce. On the one hand, it sells... But we just purchased the Starz® addition to Amazon Prime and have been enjoying a lot of movies we missed. There are some partial spoilers ahead, but both movies are old enough that the statute of spoilage has expired.

Two Disney flicks stand out. The first is Walt Disney Animation Studio's Big Hero 6. (Surprising I missed this). The plucky kids are asked early on whether to trust academic Professor Callahan or businessman Alistair Krei. Krei is voiced by Firefly's own Alan Tudyk and -- I swear to Ms. Rand and all that is holy -- is derisively described by Callahan as "a man who who pursues his own self interest."

The classic Disney villain is set up. The businessman is always the Disney villain. It is set up for the bulk of the 1 hr 42 minute running time. But what transpires is a little more ambiguous -- I almost fell off my chair.

The second, and I'd recommend both, is Kevin Costner in McFarland, USA. To be fair, I wanted ThreeSourcers to view this as part of our continuing immigration discussion, but I will set that aside for now.

Costner plays a real character named "Jim White." The name causes much mirth because White is a high school football coach so down on his luck he must accept a job in McFarland, California, coaching children of Mexican-American produce pickers. White is the only white guy in town. He is hired for football and PE, but the smaller, wiry students are not cut out for football. White sees that they each run miles to school and fields and back and starts a cross-country team where they have comparative advantage.

They excel in this "country club sport" (did I mention it was Disney?) and White is offered a prestigious position at a wealthy school with safe neighborhoods and state of the art facilities. This position was always just a launching pad for him to rehabilitate his career. Spoiler Alert (ahem, Disney): he stays.

The tie-in and cause of my Rand reference is "self-interest." He values the challenges and achievement opportunities of helping "the pickers." His family values the community which embraced them over affluence. It is helping without slavery or duty. One great grace note reminds me of Dickens's "Bleak House." Early after his arrival, an earnest young female teacher suggests a laundry list of charity opportunities. He demurs. Yet, he truly helps long term.

If you have not see them yet, I would highly recommend both..

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 9:53 AM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:

Nice. I remember being interested in McFarland, from the previews. Big Hero 6 however, had big zero appeal to me. I'll give them both a watch, given the chance.

I have intentions to connect my smart TV to the internet. I haven't made the leap yet, partially because my ISP has a monthly usage cap, with fees for going over. And I'm limited in my ISP choices being a rural customer. [Hey Algore, are you listening?] Dish has on-demand services too, and I'm already paying for unlimited data through that pipe.

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2016 11:33 AM
But jk thinks:

I confess I like blockbuster animation movies. I liked Big Hero 6 but if it does not appeal, don't rush to watch on my account. Perhaps hearing a Disney film use the term "self-interest" is worth data overage charges, perhaps not.

McFarland, however, is a very good movie, I'm more comfortable pushing that.

While we're on movies and politics, here's one more: Matt Damon and George Clooney have been derided by the Right for anti-Americanism. Yet "The Monuments Men" is the most patriotic movie Hollywood has made since 1945. Mercuh! plus one Brit, risk life and limb to preserve art. Russia looks to steal it, The Third Reich looks to hoard it, France looks to weaponize it to some extent. The good guys all speak English.

Posted by: jk at February 18, 2016 12:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Reconsidering the title of your post, neither film is the equivalent of 'Anthem' but one takes what one gets from Hollywood. Or from the art community in general.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2016 11:07 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I was wildly impressed with BH6; the polyglot team surrounding the hero was a bit of fluff that could have gotten far less screen time, IMO, but the kids loved it. Otherwise, it was excellent.

I liked what I saw of McFarland... will have to go back and see the whole (heh) enchilada.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 19, 2016 2:58 PM

February 17, 2016

Bring it on!

Donald Trump threatened Ted Cruz, in writing, that he would sue if Cruz doesn't pull a campaign ad that, apparently, harms Trump politically. How do you beat a bully? Call his bluff.

"I have to say to Mr. Trump you have been threatening frivolous lawsuits for your entire adult life," Cruz said at a press conference in South Carolina. "If you want to file a lawsuit challenging this ad claiming it is defamation... file the lawsuit."

"That lawsuit will be frivolous, and it will result in both Donald Trump and any lawyer that signs his name to the pleadings being sanctioned in court for filing frivolous litigation."

But nanobrewer thinks:

I heard Cruz say (not directly) that he would not seek outside counsel if the complaint is ever heard in court, as the subtitle on the embedded video shows, because: "I Look forward to deposing Trump myself"

Wuh-hoo!!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2016 9:36 PM

It's all about the Delegates

A guide to counting delegates from Jay Cost:

Importantly, states that hold their primaries or caucuses before March 15 must allocate their delegates proportionally (although they are allowed to mandate a minimum threshold of support). A candidate might therefore rack up a significant number of primary "wins" without building up much of a lead in delegates. That could give the trailing candidates a strong incentive to hang around (assuming they still have enough money to campaign) in the hopes of surging when the contests largely switch to winner-take-all. The opportunity for huge delegate bounties really begins on March 15: At that point, more than half of the delegates will still be unallocated, so a late-breaking candidate could increase his delegate count quickly.

In other words, "Don't start making Oval Office decorating plans, Mr. Trump."

In fact, there's an excellent chance that the nominee won't be decided without a heapin' helpin' of pig wrasslin' at the GOP Convention in Cleveland, July 18-21. Politico:

As a true political outsider, Trump, despite his history of business deal making, would likely find himself at a disadvantage after the first ballot in Cleveland, even if he enters with more delegates than any single rival.

"Donald Trump would get smoked at an open convention," said the Southern state party chairman, who said he had seen little evidence that Trump is courting the 150 national committee members and state chairs who will serve as automatic delegates to Cleveland and unofficial leaders of their state delegations if the convention turns into a floor fight. "If they were smart, Donald Trump would call every state chair and strike up a friendship."

A person intimately involved with Trump's political operation confirmed that the businessman's campaign is not courting RNC members and lamented that omission as a mistake. "Somebody's got to be talking to these pricks and at least taking them off the accelerator and making sure they're not working against you," the person said.

But jk thinks:

Colorado was severely marginalized by the RNC. I shrugged at the time because we usually do not have large influence. But now I am pretty cheesed off.

How dare they not let my choose which suck-ass, big-government, neocon protectionist will represent me in the general!

Posted by: jk at February 18, 2016 9:48 AM

Wall Street.

A serious Sen. Bernie Sanders (I - VT) candidacy would at least focus the mind. I have long wanted a stark contrast and would relish the thought if the GOP had some candidate to oppose him.

So, against the risk that he'll actually prevail, I am all in for #Bern. Sec. Clinton would probably be the best President of all remaining and viable candidates, but watching her lose to Sanders would be great entertainment. And she would not be that much better.

Already, we have some thoughtful articles about Wall Street. Two from the *ahem* Wall Street Journal.

Today, Joseph Epstein pens a guest editorial which is polemic but still important: "Bernie and the 'Lunatic of One Idea'." Epstein compares Sanders to Freud because as the Doctor explained everything with sex and repression, the flinty Vermoter can invoke "Wall Street" and every flaw in life is explained. (Instant Replay wouldn't be so slow if it did not serve "Wall Street and the Billeeonayuh class!")

Mr. Sanders's synecdoche for his idea is Wall Street. Everything wrong with American life can be charged up, in his telling, to a small neighborhood in lower Manhattan. Something old-fashioned there is about blaming Wall Street for all the country's deficiencies. But, then, lunatics of one idea, basking in the pleasure of Manichaeism, like to focus all their enmity on one target.

As always, bonus points for using "synecdoche."

A softer column ran last week by Bret Stephens, who dared to suggest that these people are human beings, not devils with horns and forks. They bring prosperity to the nation. And, in the unfortunate case of David Wichs, perish if a crane falls on them.

The next day the papers told the story of his life: a Jewish immigrant from Czechoslovakia; a math whiz with a degree from Harvard; a thoughtful neighbor and husband; "the nicest, most trustworthy person that I have known," according to his boss, Mark Gorton, of Tower Research Capital. Mr. Wichs was just 38 when he died.

I never met Mr. Wichs, but reading about him reminded me of so many people I know in his industry--prodigiously bright and slyly funny, reasonably wealthy but rarely ostentatious, family men of the type who show up at school auctions and United Jewish Appeal dinners. Maybe they voted for Barack Obama the first time, probably not the second. They're the people who, even now, make American finance the envy of the world.

They're the most demonized people in America.


I guess we are living in "The Merchant of Venice" full time now, and the quality of mercy is not Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. (And yes, that line was borrowed from Buffy). Always the Wall Streeters are evil and the "victims" suffer "plight." Here's Jim Geraghty:
Back on January 26 of last year, the Washington Post wrote a lengthy profile piece presumably meant to be a heartbreaking portrait of victims of the housing bubble in Prince George's County. The article showcased Comfort and Kofi Boateng, legal immigrants from Ghana, who "struggle under nearly $1 million in debt that they will never be able to repay."
Wait for it...

"on the 3,292-square-foot, six-bedroom, red-brick Colonial they bought for $617,055 in 2005. The Boatengs have not made a mortgage payment in 2,322 days -- more than six years -- according to their most recent mortgage statement."

These folks have lived in a six-bedroom house and haven't paid a dime for six years, and we're supposed to believe they're the victims here? The Post continued, "Their plight illustrates how some of the people swallowed up by the easy credit era of the previous decade have yet to reemerge years later." Wait, living in a house for six years for free is a plight?


Well, Jimmy, there are only six bedrooms in that free house. It's about gorram time those evil financiers pay!

But nanobrewer thinks:

And their bible is already out per my highly educated and highly excitable L/W friend; Michael Lewis (author of _The Big Short_) has just pushed out _Flash Boys_ who in the words of my old friend's ever colorful and histrionic verbiage shows "how the whole Wall Street is completely corrupt."

Hmm, I've already countered with 'well, Wall Street is not a single, homogeneous entity' and will soon need a decent definition and example of 'corruption.' My first take would be either Head Start (zero results for several $B spent) or the Oregon health exchange. Any other nominees?

Odd thing about this guy: he's been a budding socialist-liberal voted for ages (of the "we need just the right, smart people in there") and is well on his way to being a very successful entrepreneur!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2016 9:47 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

To save TS'ers, here's a good article ripping the veil off Lewis' fanciful meanderings.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2016 9:54 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I can't let this go; even Newsweek captures what I'd gleaned:

[the book & film] leaves out any discussion of the main culprit behind the financial crisis, which was not Wall Street “greed” but bad monetary and credit policies from the Federal Reserve and the federal government.

The article calls out the excellent
White Paper from FEE.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2016 10:08 PM

February 16, 2016

Ten minutes of safe space hilarity

Give it at least four minutes if you want to learn the PC term for "frat boys."

H/T: AEI's Carpe Diem blog


February 15, 2016

Harsanyi - Most Worthwhile Battle GOP has Faced

All hail.

Whatever precedent says, if Republicans truly believe Obama has displayed a contempt for the Constitution, they have a moral obligation to reject his choice -- whether it's someone who argues in favor of book banning or enables abusive power. Because we're not talking about good-faith disagreements over what the Constitution says anymore, we're talking about a party that believes enumerated powers stand in their way.

And while Senate Republicans have talked a decent game, during at least the second term of the Obama Administration, they don't have many courageous moments to celebrate. This could be the moment of moments.

They will have to argue that a lame duck president should not be empowered to change the composition of the Supreme Court. After all, Republicans won both Houses making an argument against Obama's overreach.

Voters seem less inclined to be moved by idealistic arguments these days, so Republicans may suffer the short-term consequences. But if conservatives truly believe their rhetoric on constitutional values -- all that stuff about the First and Second Amendments, about religious freedom and checks and balances -- this might be the most worthwhile battle they've faced.


But nanobrewer thinks:

Sigh, another opportunity for salemanship missed:

no one is contending Obama can’t send a nomination
which is EXACTLY the way it's being portrayed.

However, a statement like: we require, as Sen. Schumer has in the past, that the nominee be suitably "mainstream" would have made it harder to paint the GOP as extreme, rigid, etc. while leaving them free to use any color litmus paper they chose.

Everything else is Harsayani's very erudite emission is way too high brow/inside baseball for this season of The Trump IMO.

A piece from NBC is already openly postulating a SCOTUS win for an outgoing BHO: "If Democrats win back the Senate and lose the White House in November, they would control both branches of government for about two weeks before Obama leaves office."

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2016 1:40 AM

Quote of the Day

The virtue of a democratic system with a First Amendment is that it readily enables the people, over time, to be persuaded that what they took for granted is not so, and to change their laws accordingly. That system is destroyed if the smug assurances of each age are removed from the democratic process and written into the Constitution. So to counterbalance the Court's criticism of our ancestors, let me say a word in their praise: They left us free to change. The same cannot be said of this most illiberal Court, which has embarked on a course of inscribing one after another of the current preferences of the society (and in some cases only the countermajoritarian preferences of the society's law-trained elite) into our Basic Law. Today it enshrines the notion that no substantial educational value is to be served by an all-men's military academy--so that the decision by the people of Virginia to maintain such an institution denies equal protection to women who cannot attend that institution but can attend others. Since it is entirely clear that the Constitution of the United States--the old one--takes no sides in this educational debate, I dissent. -- Justice Antonin Scalia, United States v. Virginia (1996)
Requiescat in pace
SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 12:24 PM | What do you think? [0]

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

What Now My Love?

Gilbert Bécaud and lyricist Pierre Delanoë. (English lyrics Carl Sigman) ©1961

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


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February 14, 2016

Review Corner

I contend that economic institutions-- property rights, legal systems, political regimes-- are often a collection of just the kinds of games for which higher average IQ pays off, games that are played day in and day out by judges, bureaucrats, politicians, and citizens. If I’m right, then countries whose citizens do well on standardized tests will tend to create more secure property rights, have judges who are more honest, and create political regimes in which the key players tend to find win-win solutions to problems rather than descending into a Hobbesian war of all against all.
I received a rather presonal recommendation for Garett Jones's Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own. I believe Jones is one of Brother Bryan's professors at GMU. And yet, I must confess that I almost did not complete it. The Kindle sample is rather stingy, and I was less than hooked when $14.99 was demanded.It stuck around on my suggestion list and I finally broke down.

It would have been a huge mistake to overlook this book.

I'm not sure the subtitle sells the book either. It explores the dynamics of collaboration and the role of human intellect in teams, companies, industry sectors, nations and classes of nations. Yes, Steve Jobs's creative spark might have been wasted had he been born among the Yanomami. But would we have iPhones and Macs if he had been a farm lad in East Jesus Arkansas? (Sorry to slander The Natural State, but you drew the live round in analogy roulette today.) Our departments and teams matter. Even, in an experiment at Google, whom we sit next to.

The joy of this book is that it begins with a celebration of human reason qua reason: abstract thought, pattern recognition, and the ability to imagine different futures based on present choices. This is the conceptualized IQ he is discussing. For the sake of brevity, I've omitted the copious disclaimers: scores are averages and he is not saying that somebody in country A is stupider than a peer from country B. IQ can be quease-inducing; trust me he does a good job of ascribing boundaries to not include overly sensitive assertions.

Paul Seabright makes this point in his excellent book, The Company of Strangers:
Nowhere else in nature do unrelated members of the same species-- genetic rivals incited by instinct and history to fight one another-- cooperate on projects of such complexity and requiring such a high degree of mutual trust as in the human species. 2

He then builds individual theory into group theory using the tools of economics: Game Theory, Comparative Advantage, Coase Theorem, and Division of Labor are all employed to investigate the dynamics of collaboration. Spoiler Alert: the more intelligent people, teams, and countries are better suited to take advantage of all of these powerful tools. A good team can lift an individual up; a bad team bring them down.

I can feel some heads nodding, and less patient readers yelling "Duh." But there is an elegance of assembly. Like deriving the Ideal Gas Equation from Newton's Laws, one appreciates the constructed theory and learns about the component parts. Bryan Caplan's colleague then delves into The Myth of the Rational Voter to see how this informs democracy.

People with higher test scores tend to hold more pro-market attitudes and are more likely to see their way through a mass of complicated, ambiguous facts to the core insight. But are they more likely to actually vote? Are they more likely to actually influence policy by showing up on election day? Or instead are they more likely to come to the insight of economist Gordon Tullock, who stopped voting once he learned that he was more likely to die in an accident on the way to the voting booth than he was to change the outcome of the election?

Jones then describes a fascinating distinction between "the O-Ring Economy" in which one mistake destroys the entire project and the "Foolproof Sector in which less-skilled workers are just about as useful as top-of-the-line staff." You can substitute ten average lawn care workers for six of the best, but you don't want to see three below-average brain surgeons washing up as you're wheeled in.

Jones builds each of these concepts on the previous and ends with a pretty startling and original defense of immigration: additional low skilled workers might lift marginal native workers out of the Foolproof into the O-Ring. I hate to end with an argument and understand that my phrasing lacks the underpinnings in "Hive Mind." But you would not expect me to omit it.

After a suddenly-getting-long career of working with and assembling teams (not to mention enjoying politics and immigration arguments with my blog brothers), I found the description of the team dynamic elegant and compelling. It works both for day-to-day understanding and as a foundation of larger comparisons between countries and regions.

Five stars and an Editor's Choice Award.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:09 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 12, 2016

Gaga for the Anthem

It was a pretty good Super Bowl for this Bronco Fan. I walked the dog and missed most of the halftime show. I enjoyed several of the commercials, and there was that 24-10 thing.

I really dug Lady Gaga's national Anthem rendition. I collect them and enjoy both contemporary individualized and traditional versions. The lyrics are sublime and exhibit a nuance and subtlety for which Americans are not especially renowned. I didn't understand them until I was 40.

I flirted with having Francis Scott Key narrate my ill-fated book on Dred Scott v Sandford (he was Chief Justice Roger Taney's Brother-in-law and childhood friend). Alas Key died long before any of the interesting events. Key's ghost was a bit too much even for historical fiction.

But I retain a tie with Key and the lyrics are marvelous. Thanks to Penn Jillette, I can recite the second verse from memory. It is seriously magical:

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
'Tis the star-spangled banner -- O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

But the tune is garden-level martial pablum with a difficult range. Sorry patriots. Ergo, a little (or even a lot) of individualization fails to offend me. I wish we'd follow the Constitution as written, but a lead sheet for the Star-Spangled Banner is a living document full of emanations and penumbras.

I thought Lady Gaga played both sides and I remain captivated be her performance. I have listened a dozen times. ThreeSourcers might dig her comments after:

..."I just thought about the lyrics and what they really mean," said Gaga. They've been around a long time, so I thought about what they mean now, I just sang from my heart."

"No matter what you go through, the same as our country, that metaphor of 'but the flag was still there' is so powerful for me every time," said Gaga.

"I'm really singing it from the heart and I'm also singing it very true to the way it was written because that's when I think it sounds its most majestic.

There's no greater honor than standing next to the Color Guard, the Flag, the Army and the Military and singing the National Anthem."


Propsworthy.

But johngalt thinks:

And she didn't wear the meat suit, which was a plus.

Seriously, I agree completely. I was impressed with the respect and emotion she showed. It struck me as 100 percent genuine and heartfelt. And the vocals were fantastic.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 6:28 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeh, the meat suit made a poor first impression on me. The lovely bride had been rehabilitating her with me, based predominantly on her Duets with Tony Bennett. The anthem performance put her over the top.

Still not sure about those red heels, but no man was deprived his dinner over them.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2016 6:45 PM

Free Traders for Trump!

Got yer attention, didn't I? The author of this RealClearPolitics piece can't be considered a free trader, being the president of an industry trade group (read: lobbyist) but he cites a couple who are, including Art Laffer, who "...have estimated that currency manipulation is behind all of that job loss" to China. I'm of the opinion that the jobs we're losing to China are low-skilled jobs that we shouldn't want anyway, and should be replaced with higher skilled (and higher paying) jobs in a much less taxed and regulated economy. But I'm a college graduate and it's easy for me to say that. Blue collar workers aren't willing to wait the better part of a decade for the government shackle to be taken off the economy - if it ever happens at all. Enter Trump:

The takeaway should have been this: Specifics be damned, Trump believes retaliatory trade measures are necessary to combat mercantilism in Asia. And while he's the only Republican candidate to regularly say so in 2016, he wouldn't be the first Republican president to do so.

(...)

Yet, save for the occasional John Kasich comment, there is no trade debate among today's GOP candidates. The only one regularly raising the issue is Donald Trump.

I find that notable. Trump isn't proposing a flat tax, or widespread deregulation; voters aren't buying most of those ideas any more now than they did in 2012.

And they aren't coming to Trump solely because of his hard-line immigration stance; he's not the only candidate to spout similar rhetoric.

Instead, he's drawing an army of first-time voters, less-than-affluent Americans, and self-identified Republicans who are registered as Democrats. They're backing him, in large part, because he's tough on trade. And he's the first front-runner to do that in a long time.


But jk thinks:

Et tu Arte?

He did not provide a citation, but I think I found The Laffer Paper quoted. It's interesting and pretty accessible. I am NOT through all 29 pages but I will do my best.

Dr. Laffer would love the purity of a Bretton-Woodsey gold pegged currencies for world trade to truly get the best benefits of comparative advantage. Any imbalance contributes to distortion.

He's pushing for TPP and suggesting it include currency controls. I confess this surprises me. I will update upon completing the whole paper, but I'm tempted to agree with another favorite economist, Brother jg: do we really want to make chotskies? Are those jobs worth having everyone pay higher prices at Walmart?

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2016 1:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The people will get what they deserve, if not what they want.

All you and I can do is try to explain it beforehand. Plus, support and defend the Constitution to make sure that we don't get what the people deserve too.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 3:22 PM

Fascinating Digital Archive

Saving the world through data storage: there are some amazing things to keep.

David W. Niven (not the British actor, a High School teacher with a Jersey accent) recorded 650 Cassette tapes of great jazz artists, together with his own commentary on the history of the tracks and artist, when each was recorded, and which musicians appeared. The 1000+ hours, and scans of his setlists and notes ae available on Archive.org: The David W. Niven Collection of Early Jazz Legends, 1921-1991

This is an extraordinary collection. It has been Mr. Niven's life's work. It represents the very finest American music of the twentieth century, and because Mr. Niven took the time and care to record these commentaries, he has produced a library that is accessible to everyone from jazz aficionados to jazz novices. This is all made even more remarkable by the fact that, had Mr. Niven not had the foresight to contact Steve Massey in 2010, this entire collection may have disappeared. How many collections of jazz like this get junked after estate sales every year? Thank you, David--your devotion to jazz will enrich the musical education of hundreds of students!

I take the archivist's point that too many great resources are lost, yet I doubt that there are too many this large and comprehensive.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 11:41 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

I have been listening to these all day.

Like the truthful claim that the smartphone in your pocket includes thousands of dollars of goods for free, anyone with an internet connection has access to this guy's collection spanning thousands of LPs and rare tapes. Niven probably spent 90% of his schoolteacher's salary on records. You can just click.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2016 5:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Check out Django Reinhardt's 'Exactly Like You' at 20:00- https://archive.org/details/Django_Reinhardt_Tape_1_1935-1937

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 6:56 PM

so long, for now Carly

I was a big fan of Carly the candidate, but she never had an office in CO.

In the public interest, I forward a note from her Campaign Ex Dir:

While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them.

- Carly Fiorina, Wednesday, Feb. 10

He says: "In the end the race was unsuccessful, but it was really just the beginning. Carly will never back down from a fight and she will not exit quietly. Yesterday she announced that she would continue to travel the country to fight for our principles. I hope that you stay with us for that fight."

He offers an eMail address to leave messages. I hope she continues to speak, as I think that's a great strength of hers.

for now, the least we can do is caucus.


But johngalt thinks:

National Review is also impressed with Mrs. Fiorina.

Rather than a congressional seat, Republicans should entrust to her the media hot-seat the next time Debbie Wasserman-Schultz accuses the GOP of this or that outrage. A fearless, rapier-tongued Republican woman? Democrats will tremble.

Some have suggested she would be a good VP, or Ambassador to the UN. I'm thinking of a new cabinet position - U.S. Ambassador to the U.S.

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2016 12:52 PM

February 11, 2016

IT'S THE EGALITARIAN SOCIALISM, STUPID!

I was hopeful for greater insight from this article. I think I have found it.

"Dear Older Women Insisting All Women Vote For Hillary,

(...)

Because of you, we promise never to let anyone take away or compromise the freedom we have today... not even you.

(...)

But understand that based on the principles you've taught us, we know having a female presidency is less important than gaining true gender equality.

(...)

Our experience following in your footsteps has taught us what real equality means and we will not be distracted by sexist attacks, even from you. With the strength you gave us, we will refuse to be guilted or shamed into voting for Hillary based on gender alone. Because of you, we will vote for policy, for mind and heart, not genitals because we know that to do anything less would undermine everything you've fought for, everything your mothers and your mothers' mothers fought for and won.

Thank you for everything you've taught us and know that we won't let you down. We've got your back, even if you don't have ours.

Love,

A Millenial Woman Feeling the Bern."

A curious mixture of principled independence, emotion, and hypocrisy.

Apparently, in the name of the principle "real equality" today's young Democrat woman abandons the guilt or shame of traditional "women's issues" for Bernie's socialist equality policies. Coincidentally, infringing the freedom and property rights of every American taxpayer is somehow divorced from "compromising the freedom we have today." (I suppose because she believes she will come out on the long end of the redistribution stick, revealing that it isn't really about the entire "we" - even the entire female "we" - after all.)

Just when I was thinking this was some sort of gender discrimination issue I am to dense, and too male, to recognize or even understand - the mask comes off: IT'S THE EGALITARIAN SOCIALISM, STUPID!


Beyoncé, Arnold Kling, Kevin Williamson

Kids, don't try this at home -- the segue sensei is going to try a difficult demonstration.

The halftime show at Super Bowl 50 has escaped comment. I think Beyoncé an extremely talented young lady. She was super in "Dreamgirls." I loved her portrayal of Etta James in Cadillac Records. Her pop oeuvre is less enthralling to me only because I don't care for the genre. As the halftime show was a lot more pop than Etta James. I yawned.

The Black Panther / Malcolm X / Black Lives Matter all went straight over my Wonder Bread, white boy head. I perhaps paid more attention to what the young ladies were not wearing than what they were. The contretemps was something to read about the next day.

I cannot endorse the endorsement of the Black Panther Party but I can no more work up a lot of righteous indignation. They're going to protest outside the NFL? Well, "have fun storming the castle." On my list of things to worry about, it's pretty low.

Kevin Williamson has a super smart piece in National Review that needs to be read. "These Are Not the Good Guys."

Is it really so difficult to believe that there is widespread wrongdoing, and widespread lying about it, among U.S. law-enforcement agencies, particularly those in big, Democrat-run cities infamous for the corruption of their other municipal institutions? Why do conservatives find it so plausible -- obvious, even -- that the IRS and the EPA and the Atlanta public schools are corrupt and self-serving, but somehow believe that the Baltimore police department isn't?

The right needs to accept this. Eric Gardner was choked to death for selling loose cigarettes in New York. You can back law enforcement all you want -- that is unconscionable.

Where Williamson fails is understanding the why. He is ten times smarter than me, but I know this one.

It is possible that what is really at play here is an emotional response to protest culture. Seeing the Black Lives Matters miscreants and Baltimore rioters on one side of the line, conservatives instinctively want to be on the other side of the line. The same thing happened with the Iraq-war protests: When the dirty hippies take to the barricades, conservatives are drawn to the other side. That led to some bad thinking and poor decision-making about Iraq. Are we making the same mistake with regard to police misconduct and allegations of police misconduct?

Williamson misses the difference between Libertarians and Conservatives in Arnold Kling's Three Languages of Politics [Review Corner]. C's view things on the scale of civilization vs. barbarism. It is very clear cut. Many of my libertarian freinds on Facebook are rabidly anti-cop. Radley Balko at Reason has made a life work out of exposing bad behavior and corruption.

I'm a big fan of civilization. I wish BLM was a libertarian movement -- I really think that is the answer to most all their issues. You cannot fix men's hearts, but you could restore liberty -- which is far more color-blind than government.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Agreed that I think BEYONCE was really trying to goad opponents more than bouy supporters. Where was the BP moment, anyway?

there is widespread wrongdoing, and widespread lying about it, among U.S. law-enforcement agencies

Here's where libertarians need to amend the core GOP structure with education and better SALESmanship: the BLM movement (which has been coopted by anarchists, IMO) could and should be turned just as naturally into an anti-IRS movement.

Still, all this anti-anti stuff will fail before someone with a positive message, which I think is currently best represented by Marco.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 12, 2016 3:59 AM

Prosperity's Dark Side

*Rant Warning*

Indoor plumbing and the washing machine may have heralded a longer, happier and healthier life for all mankind, but these labor saving advances come at a price - detachment.

We tend to think of youth arriving in waves by generation, every twenty years or so. In reality, the waves are five times as frequent - every four years another class of know-nothings matriculates from the academy. So while the naïve waifs who elected President Obama may now actually, for the most part, recognize their error, two more waves have washed over top of them. And since nothing has been done to correct their curricula, the tide of egalitarian socialism is on the rise, making each successive wave that much stronger than before.

Witness the rise of Senator Socialist, the Independent-In-Name-Only from Vermont, who offers nearly everything as reward for one's vote, deftly stopping short of promising to outlaw war and neckties and long pants. One wonders how his followers might change their thoughts and attitudes and priorities if they had to wash their own clothes, by the river, by hand. Or if they had to defend their village from armed invasion by hungry hoardes from beyond the horizon.

I'm for making the viewing of History Channel's 'Vikings' a mandatory precondition for voter registration. All four seasons. The fourth of which, begins a week from tonight.

(Either that or they have to charge their iPhone with a bicycle generator for a month or so.)

But johngalt thinks:

"Already paid for? Certainly. May I see your receipt?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahaha -- now I have to try twice as hard to find it so I can steal your joke.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2016 4:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Seriously! I hope you do.

Is he/she suggesting that government is some kind of "subscription shopping service?" Pay a nominal monthly fee and you can come in and pick up whatever you want or need whenever you want? I hear they're doing that in Caracas right now.

Here's how "paying for" something works:

1) Look at price tag.
2) It's worth it, here's my money, take it away.
or
3) It's not worth it, negotiate or shop around at competitors.
then
4) Find the lowest price is higher than you are willing to pay, decide to pay it after all, here's my money, take it away.
or
5) Live. Without. It.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 5:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

HOLD THE PHONE-

According to this, youts are the problem after all.

It is safe to say that billions of dollars have been spent over the past two decades promoting and educating the public on the benefits of capitalism and free markets. There are publishing imprints, media companies and new conservative news sites everywhere. Yet, something has gone horribly wrong.
Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 5:42 PM
But jk thinks:

A problem. The problem?

I think the meme was posted by my biological brother -- perhaps just "liked" because it does not show in his feed. I like your quaint and classical concept of purchase as well. But the word we're looking for is "entitled."

They flipped burgers in high school and took unglamorous jobs out of school. Had the greedy capitalist bastards paid them what they were worth and not cheated them, they would all have nice cars and live in mansions.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2016 6:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

From paragraph 2: "No other age or ethnic demographic preferred socialism over capitalism."

Other than Millennials, that is.

Now re-read the excerpt two comments previous, followed by nb's excellent 'Socialist Schooling' post.

The problem. Worse than ISIS.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 6:17 PM

Socialist schooling

I think I need to add a new category for Socialism... I've done so for my bookmarks. Sanders' rise seems to be good time to blow the dust off this old canard.

KHOW's excellent new morning talk host who is also a serial columnist (including NRO, Am. Spectator...), has a Denver Post Column titled What the Iowa Caucus Says starting off in classic InYoFace mode:

Iowa caucus point to the destructive effects of educational institutions that have turned so many young Americans into naïve socialists whose fundamentally harmful policy positions should not be forgiven due to claimed good intentions or youthful exuberance.

Then follows with good news about how DEM turnout was down 27% while GOP turnout was up 50%, and then segues back to his main theme:

How can it be that throngs of our youth dislike and distrust our nation's most successful people, looking at millionaires in the same way that a leech looks at your ankle? How can it be that after years of "higher learning," millennials have learned nothing from the many lessons of history showing that Sanders' ideas are not only destined to fail if implemented but would also impoverish and enfeeble a once prosperous, proud and mighty nation?

He notes on his KHOW blog that the comments show that the vast majority of readers display massive ignorance on economics. So, as a service to our dear readers, I repeat some of last night's readings: the "gravity" of (Seattle CEO) Dan Prices' equal-pay gambit [pun intended], and inspired by the imitable Dr. Boudreux a Google Search on economic beliefs; the best being from RealClearMarkets. I'll wager that the good doktor is correct in that many economists still believe some really wacky stuff (esp. about minimum wage), but I couldn't find any easily.

Hugh Hewitt even picked up on this last night, while interviewing a novelist, noting the demonization of Billionaires (started by our current imPOTUS, for sure!) that seems to be sweeping popular culture. A quick pulse-check will see if this is more blatant demagoguery or a serious thread: do the names Soros or Steyer ever appear?

In sad news, my #1 choice has dropped out; good luck to her continuing to enliven the GOP zeitgeist!

Cafe Hayek readers, raise your hand!

[updated: found it under "Egalitarian Socialism" - should there be a category for Real World Socialism? discuss...]

But johngalt thinks:

Written before the NH primary, the piece could not allude to the much more widespread mind-warping that was revealed in the "Live Free or Die" state.

But really, what are higher taxes (on a job you can't find) compared to tens of thousands in debt for that college "education" in the first place?

"Seriously mom and dad, you just don't get it."

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2016 2:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Before reading this (and after reading this) I was trying to think of a grown-up interpretation of the "Feel the Bern" slogan.

Feel the naive righteousness?
Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2016 2:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:
Feel the Utopian Intrigue!

All hail.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 5:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If our universities turn out graduates who believe economic suicide is a nifty idea then they most certainly should not be made "tuition-free" - they should be outlawed. Or shuttered.

If there is one specific thing against which the American taxpayer should be "going Galt" it is our public universities. What a disgrace.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 6:42 PM

Colorado to SCOTUS: F*** OFF!

That stunning stay limiting the EPA's power grab? CDPHE says "Not so much."

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court stayed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan, a rule designed to reduce nationwide emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants by about one-third. The stay is a temporary measure while the federal courts review the merits of the rule.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has been working since last summer to develop a state plan to achieve the Clean Power Plan's carbon reduction targets for Colorado. The department will continue to coordinate with stakeholders to develop this state plan during the litigation. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear oral arguments on the rule in June.


I rarely stunned by governmental arrogance, but this strikes me as stunning. I got this from Amy Oliver's Facebook page -- are we missing something?

But johngalt thinks:

Colorado bureaucrats wasted little time getting this statement out after Tuesday's ruling. What are they afraid of? That their acolytes and sycophants might spook? Rarely does one witness such swiftness of action in government!

I'd like to offer my translation, paragraph by paragraph...

Yesterday a partisan majority of the Supreme Court overreacted and overreached to delay and discredit a noble act of our historic president.

Colorado bureaucrats and self-loathing environmentalists eagerly embarked on their mission to strangle efficient and economical energy production in our state, and won't let this legal technicality slow us down.

We're going to whistle as we walk past this graveyard because we can't bear considering the possible, or even likely, demise of our grandiose plan to make "alternative" energy the only kind available.

We and our partners in the fledgling alternative energy industry have already concocted a cover story for our goal that passes the giggle test. We're going to rush back to our smoke-filled room and try to find a way to get even with those racist troglodytes on the Supreme Court, and keep our plan alive.

Man-caused climate change is REAL! Science has settled that political question. We will never stop using that or any other excuse to transition to our favorite energy sources at any cost to citizens. And we'll use this excuse to further our other egalitarian utopia interests too. Rejoice, comrades!

No, we're not missing anything. SS. DD.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2016 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, we did miss one thing: The response of Colorado's senate Republicans.

Senator John Cooke (R-Weld County) called the stay "a great victory for Colorado ratepayers and the rule of law. This US Supreme Court decision should send a strong message to the Governor not to force Colorado working families into an expensive, likely unconstitutional EPA plan that will cost Coloradans thousands of jobs."

Senator Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) said he is very surprised by the White House and CDPHE statements defying the Supreme Court ruling. "Today the CDPHE said it is ignoring the stay and proceeding to implement the CPP. That is unacceptable, and Governor Hickenlooper needs to explain why his administration is not complying with the federal court order," said Sonnenberg.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2016 7:04 PM

February 10, 2016

That'll Catch Millenials

Gramma's AOL ad:

Hillary_AOL.gif

Hat-tip: Weekly Standard

But johngalt thinks:

"Vote for me girls, or you're going to HELL!"

And who said that the Dems ain't God fearin'?

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2016 3:40 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Is this for real or a meme? Damn... AOL still exists. It's newsfeed is saying this AM:

CRP's analysis.... reveals four of Sanders' top five donors are tech companies, with Microsoft, Apple and Amazon joining Alphabet.
but the story started like this:
Google invests millions of dollars in off-the-wall projects like self-driving cars
Heh. Still, if Sanders starts outraising HRC then he becomes a realistic possibility, and we all will desperately need to start translating Cafe Hayek into Millenial!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 11, 2016 10:25 AM

"Hey Washington: You shut the hell up. We'll save America."

Are we ready to take Trump seriously yet? We'd better be, because he is being thrust upon us by the Republican electorate. A plurality of that group is so completely and totally fed up with big government cronyism - the "Washington cabal" if you will - that it is willing to throw a grenade into the administrative branch in the form of a walking-talking comb over who "must be telling us the truth because who in his right mind would say those things unless he believed them?"

But that is only half of today's political story. The other half is that a plurality of the group called Democrats feels the same way. Except it is completely and totally fed up with big bank and big government cronyism, and the "inequality" that they are somehow responsible for.

Veteran Democrat pollster Doug Schoen penned the article that came to my mind this morning: Trump and Sanders win: We are witnessing a full scale revolt, America There's nothing particularly quote worthy, but it validates my observation that, well, I'll quote him after all:

And he may not be able to win a national election, but we are seeing an electorate so starved for an honest and trustworthy politician that they will make allowances for ideologies that they may not have considered before.

The most important result from New Hampshire's "first in the nation" primary election is not the attributes of the two candidates who won, but the attributes of all of the other candidates, who didn't.

UPDATE: Here's the back story on the "shut the hell up" meme.


February 9, 2016

Read and Weep

The kids love Bernie.

Abandon all hope for the future. Even the Atlantic covers the rally with an air of "Socialist SJWs in the Mist."

But johngalt thinks:

The girls may not be with Bernie because the boys are, but the boys are definitely with him because the girls are. The only thing Gloria Steinem got wrong was, who came first.

So why are the girls really there? I'm not certain, but I do think it largely has to do with this:

"Patriarchy is something I think about a lot," said Natalie Cooney, a 20-year-old English major. "Rape culture is something we have to fight against. The idea of women being blamed socially for their sexuality—it speaks to the greater sexism of our culture and it needs to be destroyed." Cooney said she considered Sanders "more pro-woman" than Clinton.

So, like I said, I'm not certain how or why, but I think this is the what.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2016 12:57 PM
But jk thinks:

Hear, hear.

As proof of Nash Equivalence, I could not excerpt or comment on one item in such a target-rich environment. But I was haunted last night with one paragraph:

"I try to get people to recycle, because I care about what happens to the earth," said Nicole Rode, a junior biology major, who wishes she could stop having political arguments on Facebook but can't help herself. "I hate water bottles--it's just pollution! I don't identify with a religion. I care about the earth more than anything imaginary."

What a stunning failure of education. You can argue about politics or policy, but I suspect this is exactly what "junior biology majors" are taught.

Sweet child, we dig stuff out of the ground, use it and put it back in the ground. While that might seem ultimately unproductive it is the "use it" part in the middle which counts. You see pollution; I see wealth, convenience and health. I went to a medical appointment today and grabbed a pollution of H2O out of the refrigerator (mine runs on Diesel...)

In spite of the text presented in junior biology, there is neither a shortage of stuff to dig up or places to put it after.

I know some bright and well educated Sanders supporters, but the swaying masses and their boyfriends and girlfriends would be diminished in number if biology students were exposed to, say, Science.

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2016 2:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hear, hear. Or "I, Pencil."

There was another breathtaking quote, since I have a few more lines here before the reader loses interest:

The kids believe in freedom, but only to a point. "Freedom of speech is valuable, but we also can't persecute people because there's something about them we don't like," said Joseph Stallcop, a 19-year-old sophomore at Keene State. "Those things have to be balanced. It can't be all one or the other."

The Founders made freedom of speech part of the First Amendment for a reason. And the words "except" or "but" do not appear.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2016 2:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Now back to my first comment - The 20-year-old coed, certainly she would object to that terminology, recoils against something she calls "rape culture." I would like to ask her opinion of it's predecessor - "hook-up culture."

But mostly, I think she really, really... really needs to read Atlas Shrugged. Or, as one Marc Fitch writes at Liberty Island, the '50s version of '50 Shades of Grey.'

h.t. to the Facebook Segue Machine for this one.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2016 3:37 AM

We're From the Government

... and we're here to help!

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a regulation to prohibit conversion of vehicles originally designed for on-road use into racecars. The regulation would also make the sale of certain products for use on such vehicles illegal. The proposed regulation was contained within a non-related proposed regulation entitled "Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles--Phase 2."

Ah yes, the CO2 emissions from the drag strip. Killing Mama Gaia.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

So much for my plans to take that Checker Marathon cab to the Demolition Derby. The government just hates me having fun.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 9, 2016 5:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"If it stops even a single knuckle-dragger from having fun, really, isn't it worth it?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2016 6:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Is it sporting to take a Checker to a Demolition Derby? Strikes me as worse than juicing at Le Tour de France.

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2016 7:06 PM

February 8, 2016

Dipping Toes in the Fever Swamps of the Left

I don't know the value of "Are you freaking kidding me?" posts. You can tell me to stop.

This was posted by my biological brother. He's probably a good deal smarter than I am. I'll say in his defense that he read Atlas Shrugged and pushed back on his friends that it is actually "subtler than [they] think" and of value.

He's a true believer. He put a "Jesse Jackson for President 1984" on his guitar and boasted that he is "a tax and spend" liberal. He feels the bern quite intently.

But. On what planet? "Senate Republicans To Flint Poisoning Victims: It's Too Expensive To Help You, You're On Your Own." All the tropes are present in this Occupy Democrats piece by Colin Taylor. Half a Trillion for the military, surely they can send half a billion to Flint. And best of all, this multi-decadal cesspool of disrepair and corruption is of course, the fault of Republican austerity.

"Given the fact that we have about $19 trillion in debt, I think it's fair to ask: Do we want to have the federal government replacing all the infrastructure put in place by cities and states all across the country?" demanded Corbyn (sic) [That's Sen. John Cornyn, they cannot even get the #2 Senate majority voice correct]. Well, its (sic) clear that somebody is going to have to do it, and most likely, it will have to be President Obama who cleans up yet another Republican mess because years of Republican neglect to local infrastructure has set the stage for more crises like the one in Flint.

Oh that bastion of GOP power that is Flint. Oh, that deep understanding of enumerated powers, Article I Section 8. And grammar.

But: Republicans: mean. We got it.

But johngalt thinks:
In summary, Flint's environmental regulators were asleep at the wheel, but nobody wanted to call them out, because bad things happen to people who criticize the government. The horribly mismanaged water system was the result of government planning born of economic ignorance. So far, relief has come in the form of private corporations donating millions of bottles of water.

Has there ever been a more compelling case for privatization of publicly-run government services?

https://reason.com/blog/2016/02/04/flint-water-hearings-how-this-government

Posted by: johngalt at February 8, 2016 3:25 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

No TS'er will stop you from venting... far from it.

> Republicans: mean. We got it.

Oh, no, you haven't yet, as a storm is coming in terms of sexist pigs who'd never vote for a woman... and besides we (speaking broadly) have poopy-pants pulled up over our doodey/heads. To share my point of order, I save my powder for when your brother actually writes something... ignore any memes than can't be clearly disproven with a sentence or two, or better yet; a simple graph.

MY vent would be against CO's Health Co-Op who was my 'health' insurance provider until they were decertified by the DOI. I expected this as some 21-23 others have gone the same way, but I didn't expect the butt-kissing screed I got from the Board President, Chuck Holum, titled "Putting People before Profits."

It featured the predictable dig at unnamed Big Companies, as well as Cory Garder (without saying how he didn't help) and kudos to Dems Bennet, Perlmutter, DeGette (w/o saying how they helped), and OF COURSE, zero explanation of why they couldn't make a profit, nor why they even should. Sheesh, what a butt-kissing exercise at the experience of the taxpayers!

I've already got my powder dry for Bernie's "Healthcare is a Right" with

I teach my kids that every right comes with a responsibility. If healthcare becomes a right, what responsibilities will be placed on us by the IPAB (aka, the death panel)?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 8, 2016 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

UPDATE: Global warming causing boredom and depression in UK dogs.

I take it all back.

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2016 3:35 PM

Coming to their senses?

Who says there's no good news in the papers anymore? Robert Bryce [Review Corner] has a guest editorial in the WSJ today Juxtaposing Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I - Venezuela) calls for renewal energy with opposition in his home state of Vermont.

If Green Mountain Staters have tired of windmills, I pronounce them dead.

Why are so many Vermonters opposed to wind energy? The Sanders presidential campaign did not respond to questions. But Sen. [John S.] Rodgers told me by email that the state must protect its tourism industry. "People come here from around the world for our scenic vistas and rural working landscape." Asked whether concerns about climate change should trump the concerns of rural communities, Mr. Rodgers was frank: "Destroying the natural environment in the name of climate change is moronic."

Bryce lists several wind projects which have been recently been rejected.
In July the town board of Somerset, N.Y., voted to oppose a proposed 200-megawatt project known as Lighthouse Wind. And the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a ban on large wind turbines in the county's unincorporated areas.

"Wind turbines create visual blight," said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. Skyscraper-size turbines, he added, would "contradict the county's rural dark skies ordinance which aims to protect dark skies in areas like Antelope Valley and the Santa Monica Mountains."


I've considered them visual blight for years, but the world -- particularly near Boulder, Colorado -- is not ThreeSources. Bryce is not an impartial observer, but it's good too hear the opposition is rising.


February 7, 2016

Review Corner

The engineers and the ecologists in their different ways embody the best of civilization. We do not have to side with either, but we can take the best of both. Our goal should be to eliminate big disasters, not small ones, to accept a bit more risk and instability today in return for more reward and stability in the long run.
To over-synopsize Greg Ip's Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe is to do it a great disservice. And Review Corner can be roughly categorized as OversynopsisRus.

Even my hero, Russ Roberts, in an EconTalk Podcast presents the book as an enumeration of items for which safety features have had unintended consequences: people drive more aggressively while wearing seat belts and take more chances in a bicycle or hit a football opponent harder with a helmet on. Oh, and banking and bailouts and moral hazard and stuff..

In the 1800s, with better statistical tools, insurers began to differentiate risks, for example, requiring medical exams for life insurance. The term "moral hazard" first appears in the 1860s, in The Practice of Fire Underwriting, wherein it was defined as: "the danger proceeding from motives to destroy property by fire, or permit its destruction."

All that is interesting. But the book really takes off when you realize he is intermingling those and playing them off each other -- where are they the same and where are they different?
As Alan Greenspan was fond of saying, "The optimal failure rate in banking is not zero. If we did not permit risk-taking, and therefore the possibility of failure, the banking system would not be in a position to foster economic growth." Aviation regulators suffer no such ambivalence about the optimal number of plane crashes: it's zero.

It is a book about risk: how we approach it, the methods we use to mitigate it, proper cost-benefit analyses -- and where we fail.

The proper optimal plane crash is probably not zero. You are in hundreds of times greater danger choosing to drive, and the asymptotic pursuit of perfection makes plane travel more expensive and less convenient.

As [pediatrician and specialist in biostatistics at the University of California at San Francisco Thomas] Newman later told me, "When someone tells a story like that, you want to be on their side. You want to help. These are actual human beings. The statistical ones who might waste their money on a plane ticket or end up driving? I'm never going to meet them." But he pressed ahead, and concluded that the cost per death prevented [by legislation requiring infants to travel in their own seat] was a staggering $ 1.3 billion. Is a child's life worth $ 1.3 billion? That's the wrong question. The life of any child is priceless. The right question is, If society is to devote $ 1.3 billion to saving lives, what is the most efficient way to do it?

All fascinating, but the major focus of the book is finance and capital markets. I can put it on the virtual Kindle shelf of all works which seek to characterize the financial crisis of 2008. Ip is non-polemical and quite pragmatic. He accepts the Fed's role as lender of last resort and would not lose a lot of sleep over philosophy if a bailout saved a lot of livelihoods and heartache.

But he says you have to have a fire now and then to make the forest work and prevent worse conflagrations down the line. Everybody knows that and only the stupidest cannot see the financial metaphor (it's in the bushes behind the Collateralized Debt Obligations). But he interviews actual personnel at Yellowstone: Do you have a fire this year? what of the people nearby? What if it escapes containment? Did you see Bambi for cryin' out loud?

Save Bear Sterns and let Lehman fail?

It's a great book because it looks at risk and response in many areas and ties them together very effectively. ThreeSourcers will be interested that Ip takes climate change concerns at face value. But then he asks why we don't pursue nuclear power when other forms a hundreds or thousands of times more dangerous.

These are important things to keep in mind when considering the lessons of the global financial crisis of 2008. In its wake, governments everywhere have vowed never to have another. But is it necessary that there never be another crisis? Is it possible that preventing another crisis will suppress so much risk taking that we end up poorer as a result? And should another crisis arrive, will our fear of moral hazard stop us from doing what we can to minimize the consequences?

Outstanding -- five stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

All of the knowledge needed to make a world that is fully prosperous for all mankind is available to us today, and this is another example. Unfortunately, there are too many who still profit from the existence of poverty. They keep prosperity bottled up where it can't help others, and harm their own self-esteem.

Nice review. Thanks!

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2016 3:38 PM

February 4, 2016

If you think it's expensive now...

.... wait until they make if free, PJ O'Rourke famously said.

This comes to you courtesy of the tireless ones at PowerLine who found a Tufts study on the 5500+ page Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that was signed yesterday ... vewwwy quietly.

The summary is here, and highlights that the best results are

Widely cited projections suggest GDP gains for all countries after ten years, varying from less than half a percentage point in the United States to 13 percent in Vietnam.
Ahem, I'm not sure this sounds like a great idea, and will be digging deeper after seeing the title is Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Expect NPR to go with the first clause in that quote alone... and a convenient assum-er... preclusion:

[T]he CGE model used excludes, by assumption, TPP effects on employment and income distribution, thereby ruling out the major risks of trade liberalization.

While in the (slightly more) real world, Tufts employs United Nations Global Policy Model, which predicts
TPP would generate net losses of GDP in the United States and Japan. ... [increased inequality] and TPP would lead to employment losses in all countries, with a total of 771,000 lost jobs. The United States would be the hardest hit, with a loss of 448,000 jobs. Developing economies participating in the agreement would also suffer employment losses, as higher competitive pressures force them to curtail labor incomes and increase production for export.

Most alarmingly, in a presser, Jeff Sessions (not a friend of JK, AL) notes

the TPP also has a "living agreement" provision, guaranteeing that once implemented, Congress will have ceded its Constitutional authority to negotiate trade deals, permitting the negotiated TPP to be changed by a new international commission

whoops! living by rules not covered by our Constitution....I humbly suggest BHO sees himself and his similarly minded (if not credentialed) friends as the ones who'll be writing these new rules! Just might have to trade in my ARI institute card for a dirty, torn NATIVIST shirt from the Duck Dynasty folks!

But johngalt thinks:

I had to apply external pressure to help prevent dagny's head from exploding when Bernie Sanders said in the debate last night, "Of course I believe in trade but not unfettered, free trade. It has to be fair trade. I don't want American workers competing with foreign workers earning fifty-six cents an hour minimum wage. We can't have American companies shipping their jobs overseas."

I thought it might help if I paraphrased - "He wants to force American business to pay fifteen dollars an hour to people doing fifty-six cent per hour work. And he wants to force American consumers to buy goods made by overpaid workers, not the ones paid according to 'unfettered free trade."

Eventually she was fine, when we changed the channel.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2016 8:50 AM
But jk thinks:

Q: "Why can't we have nice things?"

A: Bootleggers and Baptists. The cause of liberty is easily attacked from multiple directions, and coalitions of wildly disparate thinkers frequently overwhelm laissez faire.

I'm pretty tepid in my defense of TPP, but energetic in opposition to those who would kill any trade deal ever. And, I dare say, that club would include Sen. Sessions (no friend of jk - AL) and the "Global Development And Environment Institute at Tufts University."

I feign surprise that none of the studies from the Global Development And Environment Institute at Tufts University on Climate Change and Sustainable development have qualified for a ThreeSources post. I know: only so many hours in the day.

There is of course every chance that this paper is serious and important. But as the same web has a collection of anti-nafta articles on the 20th anniversary of that incredibly successful trade agreement, I am going to stick with my hasty first impression.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2016 11:35 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Reading this [PDF] litany of the anti-environmental effects of TTIP I'm left to wonder... how can the most environmentalist-friendly President in US history be a party to this?

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2016 2:25 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Obama not noting potential environmental impacts to one of his pet projects? Ahhh, the Unbearable Lightness of being Liberal!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 9, 2016 12:16 AM

Not just a football game

Super Bowl 50 is more than just "Super." It will be an epic battle between good and evil.

"Use the force, Peyton!"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DCLjeJDOX90


All Hail Taranto!

taranto160204.gif


Never Gets Old

Bashing Elon Musk! An activity of which I will never tire.

The man is no doubt a genius. The Tesla cars are unquestionably works of aesthetic and engineering art. His past ventures include genuine entrepreneurship, most notably PayPal.

But the dude is an Ayn Rand villain -- and nobody but me and my friend Wendy notice.

Charles Lane of the Washington Post said: "Tesla owes its survival to subsidies from taxpayers, who are usually less well-heeled than its plutocratic customers." The average household income of Tesla owners is $320,000, according to Strategic Visions, a consumer research company.

Tesla buyers have also raked in $38 million in California government rebates (they receive a $2,500 rebate for each Tesla bought) and $284 million in federal tax incentives (they receive a $7,500 federal tax credit for each purchased Tesla).

The Los Angeles Times calculated that Elon Musk's three companies, Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and SpaceX, combined have received a staggering $4.9 billion in government support over the past decade. As Kerpen noted: "Every time a Tesla is sold . . . average Americans are on the hook for at least $30,000 in federal and state subsidies" that go to wealthy Tesla owners. This is crony capitalism at its worst.


I post items like this on Facebook, I get far worse pushback than any political post. "Dude's a genius!"

Well, so in his own way was Wesley Mouch.

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 11:54 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 3, 2016

Sad but Unsurprising Day

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Cloud, meet silver lining: Huckabee and Santorum are also out.

Jeb Bush is still in the running, but no one can explain why.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 3, 2016 6:11 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm going to be accused of trolling here, but I am serious: I thought Governor Bush was fantastic in the last debate. I said "if that guy's last name was Jones, he might be my guy."

Yeah, yeah, Common Core, Yeah yeah, no commitment to small government. They ALL got flaws, he was great.

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2016 6:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"The soft-bigotry of low expectations."

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2016 7:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh.

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2016 7:44 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

PL's prof. Steven Hayward states what my takeaway Rubio's big gaffe:

he screwed up big time on immigration, and isn’t likely to touch that hot stove again if he’s elected president. Politicians, especially candidates for president, hate to admit directly that they made a mistake. Their opponents will opportunistically pounce on any such admissions, but I think a lot of voters would find it refreshing. Done deftly, Rubio could turn it into a fresh attack on the bad faith of liberals.

Carly is still my first choice, and I've been hearing of some nasty tricksies coming from Camp Cruz. Any of the three would be better than HRC!!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 4, 2016 12:19 AM
But jk thinks:

Carly would be my first choice as well but I am not holding my breath for her rebound.

Yes, you are right. Sen. Rubio should look the GOP base in the eye and say "I'm sorry. I pursued smart, economically literate, liberty promoting, and morally correct policy on immigration. BUT I SWEAR TO GOD, I will not do it again if elected!"

Honesty would be refreshing.

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2016 10:55 AM

All Hail Jonah!

From a grumpy G-File [subscribe]:

Then there's the fact that D.C. handles snow about as well as Bernie Sanders handles questions about the Wu Tang Clan ("Mr. Sanders, how would you describe the totality of Ghostface Killah's oeuvre?").

Posted by John Kranz at 11:30 AM | What do you think? [0]

A Dozen People with Fax Machines

Jonah Goldberg suggests that this year is exposing the party apparatuses as "paper tigers." He asked his old boss, Ben Wattenberg, if he was afraid to buck the Democratic Party and heard this post's title: "What Democratic party? The Democratic party is a dozen people with fax machines."

Ben's point was that the image of the Democratic party as some formidable organization with legions of political henchmen and bosses capable of imposing their will on the rank-and-file was a leftover from a bygone era.

I think about my conversations with Ben a lot these days. Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, who isn't even a member of the Democratic party, is the runaway favorite of the party's liberal base. Donald Trump, an ideologically unmoored billionaire who has changed his party registration five times since 1987 and donated substantial sums to Democrats, has been the Republican front-runner since this summer.


I had attributed the decline of party power to campaign finance reform. With party money limited, 527s and SuperPACs become more significant. Goldberg says this is self-inflicted. Smoke filled rooms and patronage schemes were replaced by democracy and suddenly the Party lost control. I think you can dd the two together, and I don't know who sheds too many tears that the Tweeds, Pendergasts, and the like do not pick nominees any more.

But ThreeSourcers know the dangers of too much democracy better than most. This year I am longing for a bunch of cigar-chompers to give me a candidate.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

From At start of campaign, the last gasp of political parties?:

Parties for generations did welcome differing views and broader membership.

"The Republican Party, both in this state and nationally, is a broad party. There is room in our tent for many views," Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, said in 1967.

The parties now thrive by firing up the fringes. Republicans once had a strong bloc of abortion rights supporters, for example, but in 1976 the party formally included in its platform support for a constitutional amendment "to restore protection of the right to life for unborn children."

It's now unmistakably the anti-abortion party, the comfortable home for conservatives and therefore the party that dominates the South and the Rocky Mountain West. Democrats are the party of the Northeast and the West Coast.

My question is, can the GOP unmistakably be the anti-abortion party (and the anti-drug, anti-marriage revision, anti-cop hating, anti-underground immigration and anti-tattoo party) and not the government prohibition party at the same time? The problem is that politics is the business of guiding government, which is the realm of lawmaking. But there's this Constitution thingy that is (or was) meant to protect INDIVIDUAL liberty to do ALL of those things. Wuddn't it?

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2016 3:00 PM

February 2, 2016

Happy Ayn Rand's Birthday

Let's celebrate! It seems Gilead Sciences has "all but cured Hepatitis C," offering a regimen with minimal side effects. Yay team Humanity!

Yet, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is not at the party. Though Gilead's "cure" is similar in price to previous treatments which assuage symptoms with substantive side-effects. AG Healey thinks the price may violate some Massachusetts law she cannot locate.

The AG is careful to praise innovation, which she calls "incredibly important," and she says companies that develop breakthrough treatments "should be generously rewarded." But she adds that "especially in a case like this one where the breakthrough drug cures, a balance must be struck that allows the drug to achieve its intended purpose: the effective treatment--and achievable eradication--of a life-threatening infectious disease" (emphasis hers). Instead, "taxpayers across the country have been footing the bill for Gilead's record profits."

In other words, if Gilead had merely created another incremental treatment, no one would have cared: As recently as 2012, before Sovaldi, Hep C was a life sentence to take debilitating but ineffective immune-weakening drugs that didn't prevent liver failure and premature death. But because Gilead's medicine can cure the condition for 97% of patients, Ms. Healey says it deserves political harassment.


The WSJ Ed Page suggests this might contravene the Vice President's "Moonshot" efforts to cure Cancer. "Nice that you cured cancer and all, but we need to 'balance' that with something-something-something."

Happy Ayn Rand's Birthday.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"We only want one thing - stay out of our way."

Posted by: johngalt at February 2, 2016 4:23 PM

Props

Worthy of Props. Sen. Cruz's (R - Tim Horton's) victory last night augers well for liberty. Jim Geraghty:

The Cruz campaign earned applause tonight. The turnout was huge, and their man won, and won solidly, in the face of some withering attacks, with almost everything on the line. Take that bow, senator; you just won more votes in the Iowa caucus than any other Republican in history.

I'll only add that he hath slain the mighty Trumpmonster. Yea, in just one battle and yea haveth not commanding delegate totalth, but a win is a win. And how much sweeter that win to come in the duchy of ADM, by a young knight sworn against Ethanol.

Well done, Senator.

UPDATE: But what's Geraghty have to say about the other side?

Don't let any Hillary fan tell you this wasn't a collapse. She was ahead by twelve in mid-January. She came out last night for a not-quite-victory, not-quite concession speech decked out in blood red and glaring angrily and hard in her tone. If I were Bernie Sanders, I might call Ken Starr to see what's coming my way.


February 1, 2016

Quote of the Day

"The current administration has resurrected Nixon's weaponization of the bureaucracies against its opponents," says [Senator Ben] Sasse. "And I don't have great hope that a guy who brags, 'If someone screws you, screw them back,' is going to return to the rule of law." -- Kim Strassel

I hear they have closed the gun show Google loophole that allows non-subscribers to read WSJ, but this is a section of a serious and damning litany of abuses of government power and litigiousness by Mr. Trump.

UPDATE: An early version misattributed this to James Taranto.ThreeSources regrets the error.

But johngalt thinks:

#Like

Thank you, Google loophole!

I particularly like that Sasse issued "a statement announcing that he would campaign with Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and other "constitutional candidates." He's not siding with one candidate or another, just with a particular principle.

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2016 5:32 PM

#NOTTHEONION

"Anti-Capitalist" Club Desperate For Money To Pay Its Bills

The University of Oregon's Campbell House is finding out just how well its anti-capitalist rhetoric pans out in reality.

The hippies and artists who freely come and go, often without paying rent, have racked up a $17,000 debt. "If the clubbers can't scrounge this amount together by March 20, the co-op will be shut down by the Student Cooperative Association, its overseeing body," reported the Daily Emerald.


[Insert witty and poignant commentary here]

Posted by John Kranz at 12:12 PM | What do you think? [0]

Don't click this. Comments (2)