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.
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.
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.
Thanks, JG, now I see how our caucus has become a preference or straw poll:
From the COGOP Bylaws, Article XII, Section C: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 Trumpseems 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:
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?
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?"
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.
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'
February 25, 2016
For those not on Facebook
A desperate cry for help:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Friend of Liberty Adam Ochs posts this on Facebook:
Do you hate Trump?
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!"
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:
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 <
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.
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.
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?
Spoiler alert -- many of his points will sound familiar.
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.
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?
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.
February 22, 2016
You Good Folks Might Dig This
(HT -- my biological brother via email, sorry no attribution).
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."
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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
February 19, 2016
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
February 18, 2016
Still socially acceptable in most circles - barely.
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.
The case for Cruz
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.
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..
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."
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.
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 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."
Well, Jimmy, there are only six bedrooms in that free house. It's about gorram time those evil financiers pay!
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
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.
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
February 14, 2016
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:
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.
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 deepBut 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 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."
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
Prosperity's Dark Side
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.)
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...]
Colorado to SCOTUS: F*** OFF!
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.
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?
February 10, 2016
That'll Catch Millenials
Gramma's AOL ad:
Hat-tip: Weekly Standard
"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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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!"
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.
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.
February 3, 2016
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?").
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 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.
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."
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.
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
UPDATE: An early version misattributed this to James Taranto.ThreeSources regrets the error.
The University of Oregon's Campbell House is finding out just how well its anti-capitalist rhetoric pans out in reality.
[Insert witty and poignant commentary here]