March 31, 2016
Of Interest to Coloradans
I am a huge proponent of disproportionate representation in the Colorado Legislature. For all our positives, we have a structural problem in the balance between rural and urban polities. The best solution I have heard was to give equal representation to each of her 64 counties.
Enacting that would face intense political hurdles from those losing power, plus the "sacred principle of 1-man, 1-vote" would be contravened.
Ilya Somin has a great piece in the Volokh Conspiracy examining the principle, obvious contradictions like the US Senate, and case law and legal challenges going forward.
Before Reynolds, the most common form of unequal apportionment was one in which rural districts got greater weight relative to urban ones. But urban areas have relatively greater concentrations of celebrities, intellectuals, academics, journalists, lobbyists, unionized public employees, and others who wield disproportionate political influence by means other than voting. Giving extra voting power to rural areas may, at least in part, simply counterbalance these advantages of city-dwellers. Other types of unequal apportionment might also help offset non-electoral forms of political inequality. Inequalities in apportionment might also, in some cases, help diminish the negative effects of widespread political ignorance by giving greater weight to areas with higher proportions of relatively well-informed voters.
Short, informative, and interesting -- I think all would dig it.
Quote of the Day
Keep in mind that Trump had no winning hand to play for abortion. He could either offend his base and not get nominated or he could poison his chances in the general election. He had two losing options. So what did he do?
"It's all just a little bit of history repeating"
A line from the chorus of The Propellerheads 'History Repeating' came to mind as I read RCP's Caitlin Huey-Burns piece on Cruz and the Convention Chess Game.
Kasich might hope that Cruz is a mere vehicle and not a galvanizing force. The Ohio governor's only hope of becoming the nominee rests at the convention, as it is now mathematically impossible for him to secure the requisite delegates before then. His campaign argues that both Trump and Cruz would be unelectable in November, which would also have consequences for down-ballot GOP candidates.
Well okay, mister campaign spokesman, the perceived most electable candidate... according to the well-known conventional wisdom. The well-known historical parallel here is the 1976 primary contest between the incumbent President Gerald Ford, former vice president of Richard Nixon, and a little known governor of California named Ronald. The "electable" Ford won the nomination over Reagan and then went on to give us President Jimmy Carter. Certainly we wouldn't repeat that mistake. Would we? Huey-Burns continues:
Kasich recently hired operatives Stu Spencer and Charlie Black, both former Ronald Reagan advisers, to guide his convention strategy. Spencer aided Gerald Ford in the contested party gathering of 1976. The campaign is eyeing unplugged and unbound delegates to the convention.
You can't make this stuff up.
Headline of the Day
Maybe headline of the campaign:
Hillary Clinton's entourage blocks up traffic in New York as she gets $600 haircut at luxury Bergdorf Goodman salon before heading to Harlem on the campaign trail -- Daily Mail
March 29, 2016
The "Hidden Primary"
That's the name given to the political endorsement "game" that is a major part of electoral politics. Aaron Bycoffe at fivethirtyeight blog has a weighting formula that gives ten points to an endorsement by a governor, five from a senator, and one from a lowly congresscritter. Using these point values, Hillary Clinton is swamping Bernie by a score of 489 to 7. No surprise there. The surprise is on the GOP side, where "frontrunner" Trump has less than half the points of Cruz, and a mere 4 points more than John (who's he) Kasich.
In the book "The Party Decides" (2008), the most comprehensive study of the invisible primary, the political scientists Marty Cohen, David Karol, Hans Noel and John Zaller evaluated data on endorsements made in presidential nomination contests between 1980 and 2004 and found that "early endorsements in the invisible primary are the most important cause of candidate success in the state primaries and caucuses."
Another interesting observation - in the GOP half of the chart above, at this point in the campaign, "invisible primary frontrunner" Ted Cruz has almost the same number of points (91) as did Ronald Reagan when he led the endorsements race, late and grudgingly, in the 1980 primary campaign (96.)
All Hail Taranto!
The president "delivered a forceful critique on Monday of politicians and the journalists who cover them, lamenting the circuslike atmosphere of the presidential campaign and declaring, 'A job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone,' " the New York Times reports.
Stop! It hurts.
March 28, 2016
take a vote on balancing the budget
I will probably post this on FB as well. It's terrific if nothing else than laying out our federal budget on one easy page with decent graphics for a snap-shot view.
Help balance our budget, TS'ers!
Rarely, One Story Has it All.
Got some WHO fans, got some guitar lovers, got some free-traders: we may even have a few Trump opponents 'round these parts. No matter, Chris Edwards at CATO has everyone covered.
Watching Pete Townshend wailing on his Fender Stratocaster last night at the Verizon Center reminded of what I'd read about Fender's history. Part of the Fender story regards how the firm got hammered by Japanese competition in the 1970s, but then bounced back by refocusing on quality. So while I was listening to "Won't Get Fooled Again," I'm embarrassed to say I was pondering Donald Trump's misguided statements favoring protectionism.
Apologies to those who saw this on Facebook. But it is worth a read in full. Twice.
Maybe They'll Listen This Time!
Prof Mark J. Perry reprises his 1995 essay "Why Socialism Failed." His biggest regret is his use of past tense. In the shadow of the fall of the USSR, he wrote that it was "the Big Lie of the 20th century [...] that it would be forever considered only as a discredited system of the past, and never as a viable option going forward into the future."
As Nelson would say: "Ha Ha!"
Given the recent resurgence of socialism, especially as it is now being embraced by young Americans, I thought it might be a good time to re-visit my 1995 essay to review why socialism: a) failed in the 20th century, b) is failing in the 21st century (e.g. Venezuela, see photo above), and c) will always fail. And that's because it's a flawed system based on completely faulty principles that aren't consistent with human behavior and can't nurture the human spirit.
It is a good read and a better share for those who might be #feelintehbern.
147 FBI Agents
One hundred forty-seven FBI agents have been deployed to run down leads, according to a lawmaker briefed by FBI Director James B. Comey.Says the right wing nutjobs at the . . . wait for it . . . Washington Post:
From the earliest days, Clinton aides and senior officials focused intently on accommodating the secretary's desire to use her private email account, documents and interviews show.
Anybody else, I'd think this person was in trouble.
March 25, 2016
I'm going to select the Rant category in case I lapse into all caps.
The scolds. The scolds. The Scolds. I swear if see that lady with the voicebox one more time, I'm taking out a second mortgage and buying a carton of Marlboros.
But today's topic is the Epidemic Scourge of Texting-while-driving." Nossir, I'm at home at my desktop. No worries that I'll -- "STAY IN YOUR LANE ASSHOLE! WHERE'D YOU" -- oh. where was I?
A 12th degree black belt scold posts this "everybody must watch this and pass it on" video. I bet you've seen it: Hong Kong movie theatre shows driving video then sends a text to all the theatregoers (invasive little bastards) [oh yes, definitely "Rant"]. As they all peek down at their phones CRASH! the film driver hits a tree. DON'T TEXT AND CINEMA, KIDS, YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!
Then it says (1:15) "Mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel." I am calling shenanigans. (Maybe in Hong Kong, three of their five annual fatalities involve a phone.) I called my friend Google up to ask if she thought this was true. And it gets interesting. Whom to believe?
Up top: The No. 1 Cause of Traffic Fatalities? It's Not Texting by Philip Cohen Oct 8, 2014
The article says some researcher estimates "more than 3,000 annual teen deaths from texting," but there is no reference to a study or any source for the data used to make the estimate. As I previously noted, that's not plausible.
His first hint was when the texting deaths exceeded the total deaths by 40%. Hmm, maybe these numbers a little shaky? We counting Cook County ballots or something?
Then there are a few that say yeah right it sure is. But three out of four are from tort lawyers. Hmmm.
How about some gub'ment stats? For all my libertarian whining, I do credit a Federal imprimatur on data. The NSC admits it may be low, but the headline is underreporting.
This is some serious Gospel among my friends. And I do not know why but it correlates to left wing beliefs. Any strong feelings, wisdom, or random speculation from ThreeSourcers?
Happy Easter and Holy Week
I am not endorsing the theology, economics, politics, or propriety of posting this on Good Friday. But I got a laugh -- hope I'm not the only one.
Hat-tip: The Statist Idiot
Libertario Delenda Est
Way past quota on "All Hail Tarantos" this week, but he noticed an item I noticed.
On my Facebook feed, it was a triumphant boast: "Gary Johnson Now in Double Digits!" I almost blogged that his amazing 11% seemed a bit short of a majority in the maths systems I was taught. James is a bit more blunt:
This is a shock: Johnson only gets 11% against such weak opposition? He should just drop out.
I had been thinking more than usual about possibly pulling the lever for Governor Johnson and I will not rule it out. But it remains unlikely. Yes, perhaps it sends a message of sorts to the GOP, but The LP is not the answer and I'd hate to provide any encouragement.
Seriously Big-Ellers, this is your golden year -- yet your most promising candidate polls less than a tenth of Trump's and Clinton's combined disapproval ratings. You don't have to be Nate Silver to find some answers in those numbers.
Libertario Delenda Est. Yes, even in 2016..
Carly for america
Has relaunched; anybody know why?
Her eBlast said:
That's why I'm proud to announce that our team has relaunched Carly for America with a new mission: using our resources and our experience to help conservative outsiders win in November, restoring citizen government at every level.
I think political action has become an independent life form, constantly morphing, like Dilbert once postulated (gads, Dec. 15, 2001 for those who care to do the research!).
March 24, 2016
All Hail Taranto!
I do not have a Best of the Web problem; I can stop anytime...
March 23, 2016
Three Cheers for President Obama
Stir things up on a cold day -- and provide a sad reminder that if election directions persist, we will soon be calling the Obama years "the good old days."
But seriously, I call on ThreeSourcers to reevaluate the President's Cuba Speech. Not from some Facebook post but either watching it in its entirety or reading Ron Radosh's honest review. It seems our President deviated from the prepared text in several places.
These are, of course, things that all people share, and say little about the real differences between the U.S. and the Castro regime. But Castro must have been shocked when Obama praised those Cubans who had fled to America on planes and makeshift rafts "in pursuit of freedom and opportunity, sometimes leaving behind everything they owned and every person that they loved." (Castro's term for such people are "gusanos" or worms.)
How about it friends? Freedom on the March?
...and the First Lady's Dress
The two floral dresses that first lady Michelle Obama sported in Cuba this week would not be affordable for the wide majority of individuals living in the repressive country.Well, duh! In Capitalism, second class citizens who face discrimination their whole lives because of skin color can raise themselves up to wearing $4000 dresses. And in the developed world, free trade provides opportunities for artists and designers to command these prices.
Pacé The Devil Wears Prada, these beautiful looks will filter down to the American Hoi Polloi. If you people would discard your socialist overlords, you could play too.
Scientist Chooses Science!
STOP THE PRESSES! Steve Savage, "an agricultural scientist (plant pathology) who has worked for Colorado State University, DuPont (fungicide development), Mycogen (biocontrol development), and for the past 13 years as an independent consultant" chooses not to buy organic foods. It is notable because of his background.
By all rights I should be an enthusiastic advocate and consumer of organic. I was a child of the generation influenced by "Silent Spring." I was a dues-paying member of the Wilderness Society in high school. I grew up helping my beloved grandfather in his organic garden in the 1960s. Some of our best friends in the late 1970s were pioneers in the development of the commercial organic industry. I've spent a significant proportion of my career developing biological and natural product-based pesticides which are applicable to organic.
But it is also notable because he lays out very clear reasons for his choices, each couched in language that would appeal to a lot of Whole Foods Shoppers. I still think Penn & Teller have the last word, but Savage's language is Safe For Work (SFW)
March 22, 2016
If Only the Republicans did not Stop Them!
Oh, let's have a bit of fun in this dreary political season. This was posted on Facebook by a very nice if hopelessly leftist woman I used to work with. I cannot taunt her beliefs over there (maybe when Trump is President I will...)
But -- jeeburz!!
March 21, 2016
March 20, 2016
The Spirit of St. Louis was based on an existing model, the Ryan M-2, but many adjustments were necessary to make a plane suitable for an ocean flight. The inordinately heavy fuel load meant Hall had to redesign the wing, fuselage, landing gear, and ailerons, all major jobs. Of necessity, much of what the Ryan workers did was based on improvisation and guesswork-- sometimes to a startling degree. Realizing they had no clear notion of how far it was from New York to Paris by the great circle route, they went to a public library and measured the distance on a globe with a piece of string. By such means was one of history's greatest planes built.I remember the gasps in the theatre when, in the middle of Apollo 13, all the engineers whipped out their slide rules. And we all realized these guys went to the moon without calculators.
Bill Bryson's One Summer: America, 1927 takes us back to, shockingly enough, 1927. Quite a few things happened that summer which are still remembered today. Bryson weaves them into a narrative but starts with Charles Lindbergh and his solo flight across the Atlantic. "Lucky Lindy" (he hated the name and the song) was a skilled aviator -- a tremendously skilled aviator -- but lacked interpersonal skills and struggled badly in school.
Charles attended eleven different schools before graduating from high school, and he distinguished himself at each by his mediocrity. In the autumn of 1920, he entered the University of Wisconsin, hoping to become an engineer. Charles survived in large part by having his mother write his papers for him, but ultimately even that wasn’t enough. Halfway through his sophomore year he flunked out and abruptly announced his intention to become an aviator. From his parents' perspective, this was a mortifying ambition. Flying was poorly paid, wildly unsafe, and unreliable as a career -- and nowhere were those three unhappy qualities more evident than in the United States.
'Twenty Seven was also the year of the great flood, Babe Ruth's home run record and the race with Lou Gehrig, Sacco and Vanzetti's execution, Dempsey -Tunney's boxing match with the "long count," Al Capone's arrest, President Coolidge's surprise announcement to not seek another term, and Fed rate increases which Bryson credits with the '29 crash and recession.
Here we must pause. This is an interesting and well written book. My brother recommended it, but warned "(alas) dripping with liberal ooze. Well worth the slog." I pride myself that I read a lot with which I disagree. A hard core polemic from the left is somehow much easier than this. Bryson writes the whole book with the smug assumptions of today's Zinn/Schlesinger imbued academic. Harding was corrupt, Coolidge napped when he should have expanded the scope of government.
Sigh. Again all presented as "known fact;" everyone who has taken a college history course knows these. And they creep in pretty constantly. Bryson ties the different items together nicely, even with some incidental references just to keep the calendar square. He refers incessantly to Coolidge's Siuth Dakota vacation (where Mount Rushmore was dedicated). Every time something bad happens in this great nation in 1927, we are reminded that the President was in South Dakota -- on vacation!
Clearly, to Bryson, he would have stayed Sacco and Vanzetti's executions would it not would spoil his vacation. He cannot for a moment imagine that law enforcement and punishment were State matters to this federalist, strict Constitutionalist, and former Governor. It becomes exasperating. One wishes to ask the author: "have you read your own book?"
Sacco and Vanzetti were prosecuted under Wilson's Espionage and Sedition laws. Bryson describes the Palmer Raids without using name Woodrow Wilson.
Crazily, it became riskier to say disloyal things than to do them. A person who refused to obey the draft law could be imprisoned for one year, but a person who urged others to disobey the draft law could be imprisoned for twenty years. More than a thousand citizens were jailed under the terms of the Espionage Act in its first fifteen months. It was hard to know what could get you in trouble. A filmmaker named Robert Goldstein was imprisoned for showing the British in a bad light in a movie about the American War of Independence.
Now that's some energetic government! And, government lovers, how is that Prohibition-thingy working out?
Nothing, however, was stranger than that it became the avowed policy of the United States government to poison a random assortment of citizens in an attempt to keep the rest of them sober. Wilson Hickox was unusual only in that well-off people generally weren't the victims, since they were careful to get their booze from reliable suppliers. That was why people like Al Capone did so well out of Prohibition: they didn't kill their customers.
And, lacking an overly-energetic executive, had America "gone Somalia" and lapsed into libertarian dystopia? No. Unemployment and inflation were minimal, industry, innovation and culture (Jerome Kern's "Showboat" was released in 1927, and "The Jazz Singer" launched talking pictures) were booming like the capital markets. Without the shackles of government, America was blossoming into a world power, exemplified by Lindbergh.
For Americans, there was also the gratifying novelty of coming first at something. It is a little hard to imagine now, but Americans in the 1920s had grown up in a world in which most of the most important things happened in Europe. Now suddenly America was dominant in nearly every field-- in popular culture, finance and banking, military might, invention and technology. The center of gravity for the planet was moving to the other side of the world, and Charles Lindbergh's flight somehow became the culminating expression of that.
At the central bankers' meeting, which he describes as being a bit nefarious, the european bankers are in a position of despair and America is booming -- after six years of those non-Wilsonian layabouts!
Double sigh. But I will close in agreement with my brother. It is an interesting time and Bryson expertly brings it to life. If you can check in your love of liberty at the front cover, you'll be enthralled. Three-point-seven-five stars.
March 18, 2016
What'll I do?
Irving Berlin ©1923Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com
In the spirit of Senator Reed Smoot, Representative Willis C. Hawley and President Herbert Hoover, I give you today's Republicans.
What happened to Harding, Coolidge & Dawes?
Stories are abounding that Rubio's political career is over, if (which seems extremely likely) he ends up dropping his presidential bid. If the GOP is smart, they will not let a man of such obvious political talent go. Here Mike Ciandella of MRC's NewsBusters squad summarizes the way the GOP as a whole should avoid the 99/97% of scientists follow the consensus* slippery slope argument:
What there’s no consensus on is how much of the changes that are going on are due to human activity, in essence it's a sensitivity argument. ... these people pushing this are acting like it’s some sort of a religious tenet they want us to admit.and when
(Mario Cuomo's brother, btw) CUOMO: You get painted denier, though, senator.
RUBIO: Is the sea level rising? You can measure that. You can measure whether sea level is rising. That's not the question you should be asking a policymaker.
The question you should be asking a policymaker is: what can we do in government to affect the rise of sea levels? And the answer is “oh, pass these laws we want you to pass.” So I asked the environmentalists and others who are supporting those laws, “well, how many inches of feet of sea level rise will that law prevent?” And there answer is, it won't prevent any.
* stupendous review here of the 99% / 97% ruckus that gets toted around and used as either a club or a shield against rational discussion.
Some killer movie recommendations:
Poverty, Inc: an outstanding, not a quarter as polemical as it sounds, look at the failure and harm of the current, NGO foreign aid model. ThreeSourcers will weep at the universal human nature to be productive. Cheap rental or purchase from Amazon digital.
Tim's Vermeer: How, how how did I miss this? Tim Jenison is a regular guy save for three things: 1) he made enough money in the dotcom boom to pursue eccentric pastimes; 2) he is buddies with Penn & Teller, so his eccentric pastimes can be recorded in film; 3) he is bright enough to discern the method he believes that the Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer used to create his paintings.
With engineering skills but no particular art skills he first recreates a copy of Vermeer's studio in a warehouse in San Antonio Texas. Then, he paints one of Vermeer's famous works. It's a stunning celebration of the great heights of humanity. Currently available om Starz®, which I have added to my Amazon account.
Mrs. Clinton would have us believe that the 31,830 emails she deleted from her server pertained to yoga and weddings. And yet look at what the press has gleaned even from the few emails and foundation details that were released.
Foundation cash after Russian mining approvals. More than a dozen speeches by Bill to corporations and governments with business pending before Hillary’s State Department. Dozens more donations to the foundation from companies that were lobbying the State Department. Checks to the foundation from a Swiss bank after Secretary of State Clinton solved its IRS problem. An email to Ms. Abedin, while she was at State, asking for help winning a presidential appointment for a Clinton Foundation donor. -- Kim Strassel: Hillary's Other Server
The internet segue machine kicked out a gem today. In last night's GOP presidential debate I heard candidate Trump defensively state that he has used the H1B visa system many times, and profited handsomely as a result, but that the program "is unfair and should be ended."
Most of the news stories on this are in the Indian press, including this story in the India Times financial section:
Donald Trump's comments are the latest in a sling of attacks on the Indian IT industry and India in general. The real estate mogul, who is favourite to win the Republican presidential nomination, has blamed India and China for stealing American jobs.
Trump's oppotential [sic] Democratic presidential nomination Hillary Clinton, doesn't discuss the H-1B visa. Instead, she has been talking of naturalisation of citizenship by waiving fees for more immigrants eligible to become US citizens.
And in related sporting news, the Miami Dolphins are outsourcing - cheerleaders to foreign lands.
"The Dolphins started auditions last week, and is targeting soccer-crazy countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. Although few of the Brazilian candidates knew much about the sport... Ah heck, I'll just cut to the chase.
Doing the jobs that American swimsuit models won't do?
from Gary Kasparov's article published by The Daily beast (excellent article, but the flash pop-ups are awful) of all places! Of course, the publishers had to splash up a contrary video of voters hemming, hawing and how Iowa Dems were much more socialist.
"It's capitalism that brought billions of people out of poverty in the 20th century. It's socialism that enslaved them and impoverished them. Of course Senator Sanders does not want to turn America into a totalitarian state like the one I grew up in. But it's a valuable example of the inevitable failure of a state-run economy and distribution system. (Check in on Venezuela for a more recent example.) Once you give power to the government it is nearly impossible to get it back, and it will be used in ways you cannot expect."
He notes two other interstings
1. My [FB} post on the nature of socialism was 113 words long, a quick response to critics of a cartoon I had posted ... A week later and it has over 3,000 comments, 57,000 shares, and a 9.3 million reach that is in the category usually reserved for photos of pop stars and kitten videos.and
I often talk about the need to restore a vision of America as a positive force in the world, a force for liberty and peace. The essential complement to this is having big positive dreams at home as well, of restoring America's belief in ambition and risk, of innovation and exploration, of free markets and free people.He's a TS'er... we need to let him know!
Now, how would they possibly know how the people of the state had been helped? Sounds like another case of "who you gonna believe, your own lying eyes, or the ever-trustful media!"
The full study is here, commissioned by NPR, which will probably get airplay.... ohhh, right after the next Kardashian photo shoot!
Shows the ACA to have played the socialist song like a fine violin: promise 10 things, deliver one, promise more "on the way" and charge us for five. Even more egregious is the modern, cynical trick of saving the charges for things 11-25 down the road 5-10 years). Figure 6 shows that the portion of Americans satisfied with health care has dropped to nearly 70%, which was widely reported at 85% prior to the ACA.
Oddly, the study has about 4-5 versions of the data presented in Figure 6 (including figure 6a), but I couldn't find any clarification of what was different in their sample groups for the "an alternative view of the data from Figure 6." If they wanted to bury that data, why even put up the graphic?
Very good posts and comments over the last couple of days. Rather than respond individually, I'll give an elevator-talky post on my current Trumpian "feels."
First, props to brother jg for the awesome "Why I Support Trump" link. Kluge (rhymes with "Yuuuge?") is truly a "well-spoken" supporter who cannot be dismissed. It is well worth a read in full. I'll cop that I've been dismissive. So let me promote his and attempt a well spoken response. Grab a cup of coffee, his is long but worthwhile.
First point of discussion is "Conservative" as a scalar quantity: is x more conservative than y? Kluge has his own, well thought version of conservatism that sounds Kempian and right up my street in many ways. But it is always difficult to traverse conservatism, big-R Republicanism, and appreciation for liberty. Almost anybody would find huge swaths of agreement with Kluge.
First, I spent the last 20 years watching the conservative media in Washington endorse and urge me to vote for one candidate after another who made a mockery of conservative principles and values. Everyone talks about how thankful we are for the Citizens United decision but seems to have forgotten how we were urged to vote for the co-author of the law that the decision overturned.
No, we should not oppose Trump because he is rude. We should not oppose him because he isn't PC. We should not necessarily oppose him because he is "not conservative." Kluge says conservative and small government are not on the menu. And that once you accept that, Trump doesn't look so bad. Maybe he's right, though Sen. Cruz has done well in an unusual year with -- albeit imperfect -- overtures to small government.
I'll return to trade (surprise!) and link another great WSJ editorial, but there is one every day: Trade Tutorial for Trump. Kludge might accuse me of fetishizing free trade and free markets; It's a fair cop. But it undercuts his "you can't have liberty, you might as well have a good businessman and strong dealer" argument.
It's not for boorishness or bad hair that I oppose Trump. I think he fundamentally misunderstands liberty and economics. And that his misunderstandings are potentially catastrophic to world prosperity. Herein lies the problem with my being a serial exaggerator -- I don't know the secret word to make you think I am serious about global extended depression. Not good.
Kluge is a bit disingenuous in one segment. I do not think that it is unpardonable or overtly-unRepublican to attack President Bush or even the war in Iraq. Trump piled in with the "truthers" that he "lied us into war." That's a different level of ungenerosity than suggesting an end to nation-building. Kludge has a bad taste having served in theatre which I will not begrudge, but I think it colors his judgement.
Also fair to say that Sen Rubio will continue Bushian, neocon policies. Looking at the choices still on the menu a third Bush term sounds like the best case scenario.
On that cheery note, I'll leave you to your Friday -- don't forget to set your clocks over the weekend!
The real mystery isn't why the neocons would return to the Democratic Party if the GOP were to nominate a skeptic of foreign intervention. Given the profound tensions on the right between the statist neoconservatives, and the small-government movement conservatives, the wonder is that they stayed in the GOP so long.
If the neoconservatives do bolt the GOP, a new conservative foreign policy might congeal around prudence, self-reliance and restraint. And if the neocons seek to fasten themselves once again to the GOP in four or eight years, after having helped elevate Hillary Clinton to the presidency, no one should be surprised if Republicans aren't anxious to let them back in.
-Cato's Christopher Preble in 'Marco Rubio: The Neocon's Last Stand?'
This morning I suggested to dagny that Donald Trump has already told us who his running mate, or mates, will be - Smoot and Hawley. But Trump voters aren't completely ignorant on trade and economics, they've merely been misled. They see (or think they see) job growth and prosperity in China, Mexico, et. al. and wonder why if trade is so great for them, why isn't it great for us too? The answer, of course, is that it is great for both of us. But demagogues like Trump and Sanders tell eager listeners that trade is to blame for the damage done by big government, through tax and regulatory expansion, not to mention mandates to do things less economically.
Red-blooded, patriotic attorney and combat veteran John C. Kluge explains six reasons why he is a Trump voter, and resents those who tell him not to be:
1- Trump isn't a "conservative."
What Republican presidential nominee in the last 25 years has been?
2- What has "conservatism" become today, anyway?
"Conservatives have become some sort of schizophrenic sect of libertarians who love freedom (but hate potheads and abortion) and feel the US should be the policeman of the world. The same people who daily fret over the effects of leaving our society to the mercy of Hollywood and the mass culture have somehow decided leaving it to the mercies of the international markets is required."
Kluge seems to be conflating "conservative" with "establishment" or more precisely, neoconservative. But he has a good point here.
3- Mismanagment of the war on Islamic extremism:
"I fully understand the sad necessity to fight wars and I do not believe in "blow back" or any of the other nonsense that says the world will leave us alone if only we will do the same. At the same time, I cannot for the life of me understand how conservatives of all people convinced themselves that the solution to the 9/11 attacks was to forcibly create democracy in the Islamic world."
4- Donald Trump's vulgarity, combativeness and incivility are virtues, not vices:
The standard Democrat playbook is to lie, slander and mislead voters about their Republican opponents. "And now you tell me that I should reject Trump because he is uncivil and mean to his opponents? Is that some kind of a joke? This is not the time for civility or to worry about it in our candidates."
5- "I do not care that Donald Trump is in favor of big government."
This one is a swing and a miss. "That is certainly not a virtue but it is not a meaningful vice, since the same can be said of every single Republican in the race. I am sorry, but the "We are just one more Republican victory from small government" card is maxed out. We are not getting small government no matter who wins. So Trump being big government is a wash."
Ted Cruz' message* is not reaching this man.
6- Help us Donald Trump, you're our only hope:
"Trump offers at least the chance that he might act in the American interest instead of the world’s interest or in the blind pursuit of some fantasy ideological goals. There is more to economic policy than cutting taxes, sham free-trade agreements and hollow appeals to “cutting government” and the free market. Trump may not be good, but he at least understands that. In contrast, the rest of the GOP and everyone in Washington or the media who calls themselves a conservative has no understanding of this."
And this is where one might ask, "But what about Ted Cruz? The establishment hates him. The Senate hates him. He constantly harps on Constitutional limits - doesn't he offer at least as much a chance to "act in the American interest" as Trump?"
"Marco Rubio would be nothing but a repeat of the Bush 43 administration with more blood and treasure spent on the fantasy that acting in other people’s interests indirectly helps ours.
Ted Cruz might be somewhat better, but it is unclear whether he could resist the temptations of nation building and wouldn’t get bullied into trying it again. And as much as I like Cruz on many areas, he, like all of them except Trump, seems totally unwilling to admit that the government has a responsibility to act in the nation’s interests on trade policy and do something besides let every country in the world take advantage of us in the name of "free trade."
* Click "continue reading" for a snippet of Cruz' message last night when interviewed by Megyn Kelly.
Now, let's focus on the third area which is where you want to go, which is legislation. Legislation is the hardest lever to use because right now Congress is fundamentally broken. It is dysfunctional. I am campaigning based on two big legislative policy initiatives. Number one repealing every single word of ObamaCare.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And number two, passing a simple flat tax and abolishing the IRS.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
KELLY: Control of the House and the Senate and the Republican Party if you want to get that done.
CRUZ: Now, listen, you are right. And neither of those are easy. I am not remotely naive or Pollyannaish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're behind you, Ted.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CRUZ: That's actually the key. Listen, could I get either of those done in this current Congress? Not a chance. Because right now the Washington cartel, all of the lobbyists, all of the special interest, they depend on the status quo. The IRS tax code, the reason it's so long is that's where all the carve outs, all the subsidies, all the handouts are buried in that tax code. How do you change it? You know, if you look at the last time we broke the Washington cartel, it was 1981. It was the Reagan revolution where Reagan took it to the people and there was a tidal wave from the people. The way we get that done is I intend to make 2016, the general election against Hillary Clinton they referendum on repealing ObamaCare and abolishing the IRS.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
No. Donald Trump is not Hitler. But Trump could be a horrid amalgam of Presidents Nixon and Hoover. Feeling Better?
A scene from a future Donald Trump presidency? Actually, it's what Richard Nixon did in 1971.
As Mr. Trump closes in on the Republican presidential nomination by promising voters he'll crack down on foreign competitors, the rest of the world should take stock of the extraordinary power a president has to take the country in a protectionist direction.
Mr. Trump says he's for free trade and not a protectionist. Nonetheless, he has threatened steep tariffs on imports from China and Mexico and disparages trade pacts, from the North American Free Trade Agreement to the signed but unratified 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Smoot-Hawley was largely the product of horse trading between individual legislators to protect favored industries. As a result, in 1934, Congress decided to forgo "the business of tariff logrolling," as trade historian Doug Irwin writes, and delegated most authority over tariff negotiations to the president.
This division of power has insulated the world trading system from Congress's parochial tendencies. By the same token, it puts the world more at the mercy of presidents whose latitude over trade has steadily expanded.
Remember the "Midwestern Beachhead" that was going to give Kasich this awesome bargaining position at the Cleveland convention? Kasich finished third in Michigan last night, 8,000 votes behind Cruz. He won less than 6 percent in Minnesota. He was eighth, with less than 2 percent, in Iowa. He was fourth in Kansas, with 11 percent. Kasich is a rare example of a regional candidate who can't win in, you know, his region. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
Three Sources apologizes for not posting enough of the awesome work of IBD's Michael Ramirez.
The champion Garry Kasparov considers Parties, Pledges and Principles from a chess-board layout. Letting us know (actually, far down the article) where he sits It’s never too late to fight for principles. The values of conservatism, of individual freedom, of small government, of an America that is a positive force in the world, these values matter and must be defended. then gets rolling.
We say in chess that you have to attack when the position suits it, and that failing to do so will inevitably hand the initiative to your opponent. Here is an excellent case of life imitating chess! Declining to attack Trump for months was a tactical decision made by the entire Republican field, as well as the GOP establishment. This allowed him to get a free ride on the huge wave of media coverageHe then parries the fear - which I shared - that Trump would go rogue with his own party (rightly concluding Trump would not blow his own dough to play spoiler) and moves on to note
After finally [unleashing harsh attacks on Trump], especially Rubio, who had been the only major candidate to present a positive vision of change, Cruz and Rubio still promised to support Trump should he win the nomination! This embarrassed admission made all the valid criticisms of Trump sound hollow.
Lastly, he shows how strategic thinking works
The last GOP debate was an ideal time for Rubio and the others to say that their consciences would not allow them to support Trump after all he and his supporters had said and done. Perhaps breaking the pledge would have hurt them with some voters, but the answer would have been that this pledge was to the GOP and Trump does not and should not represent the GOP, and that it was a pledge to party loyalty that Trump has not displayed himself, not a suicide pact for the party and country.
From Star Trek to chess, no run of the mill analysis on TS! Hat tip: PowerLine.
Ed Driscoll on the opening credit sequence for "The Prisoner;"
What an awesome piece of Bond-era twangy electric guitar music and opening title sequence. As James Lileks once wrote, "Life rarely provides the Number Six Resignation Moments. Not that I want to resign from anything, no -- but one of the reasons the TV show 'The Prisoner' had such a hold on my imagination in college was the resolute assertion of principles displayed by Patrick McGoohan in the opening credits. The walk down the corridor with a look of steely resolve. The passionate denunciation. The resignation, slapped on the table, the leaping tea-cup... What made him resign? You really hope it was a matter of high principle, like assassinating a dictator's children, and not over his parking space being moved to the other side of the ramp, away from the elevators.”
Feminist and postcolonial theories enrich and complement each other by showing how gender and colonialism are co-constituted, as well as how both women and indigenous peoples have been marginalized historically (Schnabel, 2014). Feminist glaciology builds from feminist postcolonial science studies, analyzing not only gender dynamics and situated knowledges, but also alternative knowledges and folk glaciologies that are generally marginalized through colonialism, imperialism, inequality, unequal power relations, patriarchy, and the domination of Western science (Harding, 2009). -- University of Oregon paper: "Glaciers, Gender, and Science--A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental climate change." hat-tip: Reason
"Grampa, where were you when they fought the peeled orange wars in 2016?"
I was particularly bemused by the unfolding of this story. One of my überleftist Facebook friends had asked why they don't sell pre-sliced cucumbers. It was a self-effacing slap at her own laziness, but my father used to say "many a truth is spoken in jest." She has three sons and a full-time job. I'd be the last to deny her modern convenience.
The same day, I saw Whole Foods's being bashed for selling oranges:
I rushed to share it with my sliced-cucumber friend but, alas, was too late. It was not only shared by had attracted several comments.
I thought about posting it here to break the monotonous din of Donald Trump news. The rubric was to be "artificial scarcity." People are so certain that we will run out of plastic and landfill space to dispose of it; it is a pernicious lie. I have read that the creator of the Keurig K-cup wishes he had not -- because of all the trash produced. That each little bit of polywhateveritis trash represents a delicious cup of coffee enjoyed is lost.
But the better segue arrived this morning and hits very close to home. Convenience means quite a bit to the disabled.
Preparing food with limited mobility is both hugely time consuming and potentially dangerous. While adapted cooking tools do exist to help offset those issues they are really expensive (I wrote about that here).
Anything that helps make my regular acts of daily life safer and more convenient is always a plus. So I was one of a number of disabled people who pushed back against the wholesale shaming of preprepared foods. The responses I got were informative in looking at how nondisabled people disregard and try and shut down discussions of accessibility. Rebuttals to inserting disability and accessibility into the conversation included what I consider the most ridiculous attempt to maintain the moral high ground.
So. This is a superb defense -- but why is one required? If you think it a waste, don't buy it! So tiresome to have the Orange Social Justice Warriors (OSJWs) tell Whole Foods what they may sell -- and Whole Foods buckle to their anti-disabled hate speech.
The Republican in Compton, take note: You are suddenly the most important person in America! A lonely nation turns its eyes to you! -- Megan McArdle
"Bernie Sanders Isn't Pro-Science (and Neither Are Most Progressives)"Lawdy! Self-described Progressive Jenny Splitter <3s her some of Sen. Sanders's (I- Ben&Jerry's) positions on Climate Change, but she sees the truth:
But Sanders isn't as pro-science as that tweet suggests. While his position on the existence of climate change is certainly in line with most climate scientists, his agricultural and climate change policies, as well as his views on alternative medicine, aren't really informed by science as much as they are by Sanders' Vermont hippie vision for America. When it comes down to it, Sanders is as erratic in his belief in science as everyone else and, yes, that includes progressives. Progressives love to cast themselves as the smarter, more forward-thinking, science-minded wing of the electorate, but they’re as inconsistent in their regard for science as the so-called "anti-science" right.
Okay, here's my best idea ever. Nothing to do with politics except that it was partially inspired by "approval voting."
The new SAT test will not deduct for incorrect answers. I have a much better idea for scoring multiple choice exams. Allow multiple selections but discount for the number. Imagine a question with four choices, and the correct answer is 'C'
-- If you chose C you get 100% credit
-- If you chose A and C you get 50% credit
-- If you choose A, C, and D you get 33%
This matches real-world problem solving much more closely. More importantly, it demonstrates knowledge of the material. "Well, it can't be negative if its the square root of a real number..."
Much that will be appreciated 'round these parts.
Man, I do not care where you stand on the topic of abortion, and I suspect we cover much spectrum at ThreeSources, Chuck Donovan's guest editorial in the WSJ today is interesting.
Donovan is "the president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the education and research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List. The List is a nonprofit organization that supports pro-life politicians." The timing of the piece is predicated on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. But the most interesting bit for me is a dispassionate look at the "retail economics" of the provider network.
Demand for abortions has been falling for years and is now at pre-Roe levels ("safe, legal, and rare, one might say...") The Wendy Davis's of the world decry the number of providers which are closing in the Lone Star State. Obviously, the fault of those knuckle-draggin' Rethuglicans, #amirite?
Donovan is pretty convincing that it is more driven by declining demand and consolidation as Planned Parenthood goes all Sam Walton on the market:
This is merely one of 21 mega-clinics--typically able to see more than 17,000 patients a year, versus 5,000 in an average clinic--Planned Parenthood has opened or planned nationally since 2004. Three of these were in Texas, including two that opened after the passage of the 2013 bill that is the subject of litigation. This increased capacity affects the competition no less than when a Lowe's or Home Depot moves into an area and the local hardware store closes, or when locally run stores are unable to compete with national box-store giants like Wal-Mart.
The co-founder of a clinic that closed in Washington state in 2010 said, "We would not be closing today if Planned Parenthood had not started providing abortion services in the same town." A June 23, 2008, article in The Wall Street Journal quoted clinic operator Amy Hagstrom Miller saying "This is not the Planned Parenthood we all grew up with . . . they now have more of a business approach, much more aggressive." Ms. Hagstrom Miller, whose network of Whole Women's Health clinics is now the plaintiff in the case against Texas that the Supreme Court will hear this week, told the Journal back then that Planned Parenthood "put local independent businesses in a tough situation."
Sen. Rubio Out? The jk kiss-of-death endorsement lives on!
UPDATE: Randy Barnett has revised and extended his remarks. He now prefers a Dos Hermanos Cubanos alliance to a 3rd party.
UPDATE II: And this could be rumor -- I have not seen it elsewhere.
UPDATE III Either the greatest scoop in the history of Journalism or a complete fraud: I call "heads."
Big news in l'Affaire Clinton Server is hidden in the detritus of election news, but Andrew Napolitano is on it!
He directed the Judicial Watch lawyers to ascertain whether there was a conspiracy in the secretary of state's office to violate federal law. If those lawyers find evidence of such a conspiracy, they may then seek the oral examination of Clinton herself.
This search for a conspiracy will take Clinton down the road to perdition--to the end of her hopes. Along that road are instructions to a subordinate to divert all her government emails through her private server. On the side of that road are emails instructing her aides to remove "secret" markings from documents and resend the documents to her via a non-secure fax machine.
On that road are emails revealing the names of secret undercover intelligence assets, the locations of North Korean nuclear facilities, the transcripts of telephone conversations among foreign intelligence agents, and the travel plans of then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in the days before he was murdered.
Democrats who indulge in Clinton's false hopes will do so at their peril. Don't they want to know of her potential status as a criminal defendant before they complete their nominating process? Or do they, like her, think that they can just hope that all this will go away?
The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2016
@realDonaldTrump, Bless your heart.— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) March 1, 2016
Hat-tip (and further backstory, if required): Matthew Stevens Fox28
Now, I am not a geography wiz, but I think it is clear that Sen. Cruz's victories in Alaska, Texas, and Oklahoma put him out front, providing that delegates are apportioned pari passu with surface area.
Nice graphical summary here c/o Google. Glad to see Rubio win one, have to wonder if Carson's wasted 6% could have netted VA for the young Floridian, or at least a handful of delegates in TX (PL reports that 20% floor is necessary in many primaries to get any). Thank you, Doktor, now please exit stage right!
One thing I noted was the allotted delegate counts not accounting for most the states' totals (VA and MA being the exceptions).... ahh, it's b/c the numbers aren't final. Shoot, more than half of TX's are still uncommitted; .
Assuming these totals are final (AK still not reporting as of this writing, Cruz up by 2 points), this leads to the math of there being 189 uncommitted delegates, including all of CO's 37 (thanks to our goofy status). That is heartening; while (Cruz + Rubio) is only 70% of Trump's total, Trump only has 65% of (Cruz + Rubio + UNC.). [updated: UNC is now down to 160, but I'm off to bed!]
I can report that my little caucus packed out the middle school's cafeteria, with many, many seated on the floor or standing. Precinct 305 had 12 voters present (up from four in 2012!) from nearly 170 on the roll call sheet and our tiny straw poll (shhh...) came out: Rubio - 5; Cruz - 4; Carson - 3. Heh.
Sounds like the non-run of Mike Coffman and Aurora prosecutor George Brauchler set the GOP a scrambin', hence the scrum we're seeing. Here is USA Today's take: “Right now the race is Bennet versus a cast of relative unknowns. “ B has $8M, only Glenn has reportable cash ($40k).
Roll call says there's no consensus, establishment pick yet. I'll say....
Tim Neville; small biz owner, staged shocking win in a 2011 State Senate in a race special election. claims to be an anti-establishment, no-compromise conservative (warning: Catholic!) willing to stand up and fight for his conservative principles and values. Didn't say anything about small gov't, but his blog says
no-compromise approach infuriated the Big Government crowd in Denver, who immediately redistricted Tim into a "purple" district where he'd have to face the powerful Democrat Caucus Chair.”Won reelection in 2012 even though outspent 3-1. DP says: “Neville is considered more akin to U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a strong conservative who lost to Bennet in 2010, and less like U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who cast himself as more moderate” Two Sons both did Army time and one runs his campaign.
Ryan Fraser: navy vet, small biz man, Senior Fellow of the Health Research and Education Trust. Two term Aurora city council. Website sez:
- achieve 4% economic growth by …. fixing our tax code and embracing energy independence.
- We must strengthen our military and national security capabilities as the growing threat of anti-American militant extremism expands its reach. Protect our people. …
- real fiscal responsibility
- improve education with local control and returning tax dollars to the states
- Criminal justice reform is needed for our community.
- Fixing the student loan crisis is a matter of great importance to our college graduates.
Peg Littleton former teacher and education consultant, in 2014 she was elected, (by 60%) as the Colorado Springs commissioner on the Board of El Paso County Commissioners. Her website has Jobs/Economy, Education, National Security, Military and Energy at the top of her thumbnails, saying
advocate responsible spending cuts that maintain a social safety network and protect our national defense. I am a fiscal conservative.
Daryl Glenn is an El Paso County commissioner & Colorado Springs City Council. He is a lawyer and graduated from the Air Force Academy. After 21 years of active duty, he retired as a lieutenant colonel. Running (as is Blaha) b/c of the Iran deal.
Robert Blaha, kind of brash entrepreneur type as I'd reported before. Runs Human Capital Associates, (leadership training stuff). Alan Keyes-ian stuff in white face.
John Keysner: Bronze Star recipient vet of Iraq and Afghanistan, now a corporate lawyer (Hogan Lovels) and willing to give up his seat in the State House (Neville isn't)
Also running: Greg Lopez, former Colorado director of the Small Business Administration, and Charles Ehler, a retired military computer programmer.
Neville's name is most familiar to me... and let's face it... that helps more than small-gov't cred! Too bad Gale Norton was so shafted....
Is it time for a new third party? Not yet. But if Donald Trump gets the Republican nomination, then a new third party will be an imperative -- and the time for organizing it is now.
I have long vocally opposed third parties as irrational in our two-party system. They inevitably drain votes away from the major party closest to them, thereby benefiting the major party that is even worse. But strategies must adjust to circumstances. If Trump wins the GOP nominations, one of two things will happen, either of which would be disastrous for the Constitution and for the country. -- Randy Barnett
Umm, I think you can put him down as a "no." But I link for the bonus Star Trek clip at the bottom.
Rising with the Inauguration of President Obama, the TEA Party said "We don't want to struggle to get by on our own earnings while some of our tax dollars are given to our neighbors to buy a bigger house." Since then, the message has been co-opted and distorted by various interests to mean "anti-gay marriage" or "anti-welfare" or, most despicable of all, "racist." But as a Slate columnist observes, the rise of "Trumpism" reveals the true nature of the TEA Party uprising -
One of the hallmarks of the Trump campaign has been his support for Social Security and Medicare, and his insistence that he would protect these programs from budget cuts. To many conservatives, Trump's defense of these old-age entitlements is his greatest heresy. What they fail to understand is that conservative voters are very fond of these programs, and their fondness can’t be chalked up to simple hypocrisy.
We saw this dynamic at play during the early days of the Tea Party, the last time elite Republicans faced a serious populist challenge. Many conservative intellectuals viewed the Tea Party movement as the realization of their fondest wishes: a grassroots rebellion demanding fiscal austerity. In fact, as Emily Ekins of the Cato Institute has observed, Tea Party members were chiefly motivated by a theory of economic fairness. They believed, in Ekins' words, that "everyone should be rewarded in strict proportion to their achievements and failings and that government should not shield people from the consequences of their decisions." This is why Tea Party conservatives are more favorably disposed toward programs like Social Security and Medicare -- to which workers contribute over a lifetime in exchange for benefits when they need them -- than they are to programs that lack this contributory element.
I confess that my appreciation for Trump's populist appeal runs counter to my unfettered free-market principles, and it is an unsettling cognitive dissonance. But as my blog brother often reminds me, the world is not Three Sources. Peggy Noonan reminded me that economic dislocations affect and frighten the "unprotected" with greater intensity than those of us with the time and inclination to bloviate on philosophy, politics, and government policy.
Reihan Salam, author of the Slate article linked above, makes many other suggestions for a populist reform of the GOP platform in the "post-Trump era." Some of them are palatable:
- A Pay-Your-Own-Way Immigration Policy Admit new immigrants based on earning ability, not family connections.
- Eat China's Lunch
"On more than one occasion, Donald Trump has said that "China's just eating our lunch," and that we ought to retaliate. He's not wrong."
- Defend the Safety Net
Accept the reality of Obamacare, but make it a safety net program and not a mandate on every American.
- Respect, Not Compassion
Reform the tax code to make refundable tax credits proportional to earnings, and other things to stop disincentivizing work.
I can endorse all of these things. What I can not abide is rent-seeking. Government favoritism for the well-connected. Corporate welfare. Cronyism.
I would rather not see a President Trump. I don't share the assumption that he cannot win a general election with Hillary. And perhaps Senator Cruz' principled opposition to many of these things is so strong that he could never compromise and let them happen, for the good of the country, for the good of the party, and for the good of the American people. But as Trump is so fond of saying, "Everything is negotiable." I can only hope that even that statement itself is also negotiable when it comes to issues like SCOTUS nominees.
UPDATE: Robert Tracinski's endorsement of "Rubio-ism"
Calling Rubio the only leading Republican with an aspirational message, a writer and thinker I admire greatly has just endorsed the "establishment candidate." He doesn't address my concern about routing the cockroaches of the Washington cartel, however.
But one thing I am coming to accept is that Cruz is probably the least electable of the three, due to his lack of positivity.
I have a hard and fast rule against responding to direct mail fundraising. You support something, you get more of it.
But Jon Caldera has sent a brilliant eight page letter warning of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's continued intrusion into Colorado politics. It begins with "Heeeeeee's back" and closes with this clever appeal:
You could do much worse with you money: www.i2i.org