September 29, 2016

Dueling Transition Teams

ThreeSourcers are well familiar with my reminders that the presidential election is about who is in the candidate's potential administration, more than who sits in the big chair of the Oval Office. And my equally frequent reminders that Trump's economic team is lead by Kudlow, Moore and Laffer.

Today I found another big clue as to who will play roles in other aspects of the Trump Administration, as well as - perish the thought - the Clinton II Administration. This Politico article about the differing approach of the two transition teams reveals that Chris Christie leads the transition team and Forrest Lucas, of Lucas Oil fame, is a leading contender for Interior Secretary in a Trump cabinet. Meanwhile, Hillary's White House would consist of a rogue's gallery of progressive statists, drawing heavily from the Center for American Progress and even a specific ally of "Fauxchahantas" herself.

Almost as interesting as who Trump is considering is who he is not -

Despite the Trump transition's efforts to reach out to key Republicans, some former administration officials are still waiting by the phone.

"There are lot of W people who are looking forward to working in another Republican administration," said Republican strategist Ronald Langston, referring to his former colleagues in the George W. Bush administration, where he worked in the Commerce Department and helped with Bush's much-lauded outgoing transition effort. Langston keeps track of a broad network of former appointees from both Bush presidencies in person and over social media, "and I know they haven't been contacted."

The piece makes no mention of the Gary (another "Aleppo moment") Johnson transition team - for an obvious reason. Equally obvious is that the US federal government will be in the hands of one or the other of these two teams next January.

2016 Posted by JohnGalt at 2:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

September 28, 2016

can a dirty goverment make clean energy?

I can't resist echo'ing that one around! The article is here, the bon mot comes from the bottom part of Goodwin's column that is highlighting the very good article by Ken Girardin, and notes

questions arise after upstate companies, including an energy company, allegedly paid bribes to Cuomo associates to win state business and approvals.

Clean energy with dirty money? Ivanpah, I say! (yes, gesundheit).

And I've been dying to get this gem into a post (yes, me the "wind weenie") about how egregious over-subsidizing spanish solar trashed the economy, slashed jobs and near-bankrupted a utility. In other news, the biggest RE subsidy program in this hemisphere, Ontario's FIT, is now gutted (according to a source in the know), whereby the only story I could find would only say

Contract prices offered today reflect the Province's commitment to drive down costs and are lower than forecasted in Ontario's 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan.

Oh, and Ivanpah caught on fire? When Wired piles on a "green" energy project owned by Google... theyz a losin' it. Wow, reminds me of the joke from the Holy Grail about the castle that

burned down, fell over, THEN sank into the swamp!

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:46 PM | What do you think? [0]

Today's RCP Electoral College Map - "No Tossups"

With Colorado now at "Trump +0.5" in the RCP polling average as of 9/25 (likely, among other state races changed as well) Trump's path is becoming less perilous. A change as simple as flipping Florida puts him in the Oval Office.

It's looking more and more like 2000 every day.

2016 Posted by JohnGalt at 2:18 PM | What do you think? [0]


Blog brother jk's analysis [fifth comment] may be more accurate than he imagines.

The first 30 minutes were focused and Trump was in great command.

It is difficult to imagine that a lot of "undecideds" tolerated much more, so Mister Trump may have won the debate by winning the first half hour.

Newt Gingrich sez:

Secretary Clinton is also a Yale-educated lawyer. She combines Ivy League polish and arrogance with verbal smoothness and four decades of political speak.

Trump is a blunt, let's-make-a-deal, let's-get-the-building-built, let's-sell-our-product businessman.

The first debate showcased a blunt, plain spoken businessman and a polished professional politician.

Of course the Intellectual Yet Idiot insiders would pick Hillary. They share her passion for words without meaning, analysis without facts, and promises without performance. They are more than for her. They are her.

In fact, it is worth looking at a list of online polls to understand the gap between the elites and the vast majority of Americans. This list is long because I want to show you how willfully out of touch and dishonest the Intellectual Yet Idiot class is:

Time: Trump 55 Clinton 45

Fortune: Trump 53, Clinton 47 (New Jersey): Trump 57.5, Clinton 37.78

CNBC: Trump 68, Clinton 32

WCPO Cincinnati: Trump 57, Clinton 37

Variety: Trump 58.12, Clinton 41.88

Slate: Trump 55.18, Clinton 44.82

WKRN Nashville: Trump 64.58, Clinton 35.42

Las Vegas Sun: Trump 82, Clinton 18

Fox5 San Diego: Trump 61.45, Clinton 33.69

San Diego Tribune: Trump 65, Clinton 35

If you go to the Daily Mail, you can see that the list goes on and on.

Clinton won a handful of liberal sites with liberal audiences but she lost virtually everywhere else.

This isn't the only such analysis, including Scott Adams saying that Clinton won the debate while at the same time, Trump won the election.

UPDATE: Add New York Post's respected Michael Goodwin to this list:

In a change election where both candidates have historically high negative ratings, many voters could make their choice for secondary reasons.

Voting against the other candidate is the most likely option, while voting against the media as a proxy for voting against the establishment is emerging as another.

In that case, the news media could be more than part of the story. They could be the story.

2016 Posted by JohnGalt at 1:38 PM | What do you think? [0]

September 27, 2016


I'll let two quotes describe my reaction:

Such a Night! -- Mac Rebennack

The other is from former State Senator Shawn Mitchell, one of the best Facebook follows out ther:

Strongest lingering perception of last night is how many blown opportunities, with just a modicum of preparation, Trump, could have blown Hillary off the stage.

"Did you just say you're very concerned about cyber security? And you won't let foreign nations go after our sensitive intelligence? Really? Do you think we all slept through the last year? Have you no shame?"

"Did you really just blame the 2008 crash on free markets and deficits from tax cuts? That's not serious. The 08 crash was financial, driven by bad government policy pressuring banks to make bad loans that people couldn't repay. And then government agencies Fanny and Fred bought those loans and bundled them up like dynamite and held them till they blew up. That wasn't free markets. That wasn't Bush's fault. That was your husband's fault for pushing banks to make bad home loans. The crash had nothing to do with deficit spending, or your administration's much bigger deficits would have incinerated America long ago."

"You think the economy's not working? And inequality and lack of opportunity are big problems? Well whose fault is that? Who do you think has been in charge for 8 years? I know your boss has been on the golf course,but did you support his policies or not? Did you give him input about your big ideas to reform the economy? "

And on and on all night. She led with her jaw a dozen times and he was too busy talking about himself and all his properties and what a great, fantastic businessman he is, and how Sean Hannity will vouch for him that he really, really wasn't for the Iraq war. Sean, Sean, wherfore art though?

Among the disturbing -- and I'll confess there's a lot of disturbing on both sides -- things about Mr. Trump is a questionable work ethic. His business success does not necessarily disprove this.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:10 AM | What do you think? [8]
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, I will admit to being slow-witted but I'm not stupid. I just realized how jk and my darling bride have manipulated me into becoming such a tireless Trump promoter - by repeatedly exclaiming how deplorable, err, "embarrassingly" awful he is! This forces me to think about all of the ways that he is actually the best candidate - probably ever - for Republicans, albeit with plenty of work left to do. And that's the sort of reframing that diffuses political tension.

And you two are persuasion geniuses.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2016 11:17 AM
But jk thinks:

We planned it weeks in advance.

The insipid lefties on my Facebook feed and in media have had the same effect on me. Watching their false attacks fail would ameliorate my losing forever the party I have spent lo, these three decades and four supporting.

I am not backing down on work ethic. He likes flying State to State and feeding off the roaring crowds. As the great political strategists, Atlanta Rhythm Section said "Lovin' the life we're livin', playin' that Georgia Rhythm. Makin' music and movin' on down the line..."

But debate prep is more like practicing your scales in the basement. A lot more guys have the ethic to play than to practice.

(To complete the autobiographical arc: on the Quinella album, they have realized "Rhinestones lose their glitter, cowboys let you down. And Luckenbach is just another town.")

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2016 1:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Bad news, nb, you saw the crème d'la crème of the debate. The first 30 minutes were focused and Trump was in great command.

It is difficult to imagine that a lot of "undecideds" tolerated much more, so Mister Trump may have won the debate by winning the first half hour.

He became a bit more disjointed for the last 60.

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2016 1:19 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Oyy, he got more disjointed?!? The guy I was watching couldn't put 3 linked sentences together. Gawd, his speaking style is so awful, it's downright ugly... a "disaster" some would say ;-) 'Course I was also horribly put off by the disjointed, dysfunctional and dystopian slant taken by all three liberal Nor'Easters when they tried to discuss matters of economics.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 28, 2016 11:38 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

My last comment: I was distressed by reading Mr. Adams's column. God in Heaven; if HE can't make a joke of this we're all doomed....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 28, 2016 11:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And I was listening to Trump's economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, on Ross Kaminsky's show this morning. Ross asked him what he thinks of Trump's economic plan and he said, "It's very good, if I say so myself."

Kudlow has a new book out that I think we'll all be interested in: 'JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity.' Follow the link above for a link to the book.

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2016 11:36 AM

September 26, 2016

Debate Greatst Hits

We shall run out of "Oll" by 2011:

Hat-tip: Miss Liberty

September 23, 2016

All Hail Taranto!

I shared the übersmug Joss Whedon "Important" PSA on Facebook. Tsk, tsk...

James piles on:

Television Posted by John Kranz at 5:47 PM | What do you think? [0]

September 21, 2016

Trump is a WHAT?

A political revolution is an inspiring, yet disorienting, thing to live through. It is a powerful force that creates all sort of unpredictable events, like a former Republican POTUS planning to vote for a Democrat successor, rather than the nominee of his own party, or yours truly quoting Piers Morgan:

Hillary Clinton, as she normally does, tried to be all calm and collected.

This is not a war against Islam, she insisted. We can't blame all Muslims for what's happened, she declared.

She's right, it's not and we can't.

But what neither she nor Obama offers the American people is any kind of plan to combat such attacks.

They talk of how awful it all is, but studiously avoid advocating any real action for fear of upsetting or offending people.

The President doesn't even like using the phrase 'Islamic terrorism', which is utterly absurd given that's plainly what it is.

In the face of such apparently weak, insipid, mealy-mouthed and frankly meaningless rhetoric, it's hardly surprising that Trump emerges as a non-PC, no-nonsense voice of reason to many Americans.

His anger is THEIR anger.

It's real.

I've been down to places like Florida and Texas recently and heard with my own ears many people ranting about the abject failure of their government to tackle ISIS.

In Trump, they see someone at least prepared to say the unsayable, even if it ruffles a few feathers.

Just another reactionary loon, that Piers Morgan. As is anyone who would conclude, or even suggest, that Trump has become "a non-PC, no-nonsense voice of reason to many Americans."

But johngalt thinks:

For readers whom "voice of reason" doesn't get the job done as a description of Donald Trump, what follows might be more to which you're accustomed (and, by now, comfortably assume to be true):

Donald Trump's a monster.

A vile, hideous, bigoted, nasty, ignorant, deluded, psychotic, ruthless, preposterous, demented buffoon on a collision course to steal the White House and destroy the planet.

Oh, and he's a sexist, racist, homophobic, misogynist pig too, and every other word ending in '–ist' you can think of for that matter.

Actually he's even worse than that; in fact, Trump's the new Hitler – a man who, you may recall, ordered the slaughter of six million Jews.

I know all this because I've been reading those exact descriptions about Trump for weeks in the US media, from a whole phalanx of intelligent, experienced journalists, broadcasters, politicians and pundits.

That from the same Piers Morgan piece. You're welcome.

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2016 5:56 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Heh, that's the Clinton News Network chiming in with what they term "news" eh? don't buy it!

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 22, 2016 11:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not just CNN, nb, but "a whole phalanx of intelligent, experience3d, journalists, broadcasters, politicians and pundits."

And they MUST be right - they're on the TEE VEE.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2016 4:09 PM

September 19, 2016

All Hail Taranto!


Too Close to Home

Well, it is the Western Slope, so this is not geographically close. But it is Colorado where this insidious den of iniquity is located:


I mean -- look at that dilapidated crackhouse! Why they clearly have not applied their late-summer feeding to the lawn yet -- and it's freaking September!

I irritated my blog brothers with multiple posts of SWAT raids where great damage and terror were done, but little or no drugs were found. The parents and children of this lovely home were woken at 5:30 AM by 15-20 armed officers crashing into their home.

"As is standard protocol when probable cause has been developed that illegal or dangerous activity is occurring, and armed with the signed search warrant, officers forced entry into the home, using a breaching tool," the press release says. "During entry into the residence, several windows of the home were broken." Fortunately, the cops did not toss any flashbangs while entering the house, but they terrified the occupants, who included five children ranging in age from 3 to 12. "Ultimately," the cops say, "officers contacted the residents inside the address, and determined that they were not the suspects that officers were looking for."

The phrase "contacted the residents" is an anodyne description of a much scarier reality. "Waking up to guns in my face, I consider that the beginning," the father of the family, Sean Armas, told KJCT, the ABC station in Grand Junction. "That's how it was, all my kids had guns on them. It was out of line....It's a dangerous situation they put my family in, and for my kids, it just keeps playing through their minds."

Five kids terrorized -- mistakenly -- in a well groomed suburban home on a "tip from an informant." How would you feel if those were your kids?

War on Drugs Posted by John Kranz at 3:14 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, this thread is entirely too quiet. Our regular blog communitarians must be busy this week so I'll start the row.

Once in a while police make a mistake. From time to time one of them even shoots someone. Sometimes that gunshot victim is a black male. Nobody seems to have much concern for policing errors that fall outside of that narrow category, at least between now and November 8th.

Posted by: johngalt at September 26, 2016 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

You'll be happy to hear then, that I have a libertarian-utopia solution for both.

Before I get there, where they differ is scale. Statistics are wide ranging for both, but not on a log scale. There are an estimated 20,000 - 40,000 no-knock raids a year and 400 - 1140 people killed by police (first page of both in Bing®)

The two magnitude difference is the problem. An officer firing a weapon has limited number of choices in a volatile situation. The alternative includes great harm to law enforcement and bystanders.

The SWAT raid is always a choice. The gear and tactics were developed for instances where they are preventing harm in a hostage or shooter situation. But there are not 100 of those a night. These tactics are routinely used to "catch" a lawbreaker. I say the risk is too great for any purpose but amelioration of grave danger to innocent parties.

My solution to both? Promise to let this one sit awhile -- it is odd if you have not heard it. I have been thinking much about it and ask a fair hearing.


We change the police model to match the Fire Department: they come when called. If your boyfriend (or your neighbor's) is threatening you (or your neighbor), if a car is driving so recklessly as to be a present danger -- you get the idea -- you call the cops and they show up.

What the constabulary does not do is set up checkpoints for DUI, pull over a car on suspicion, or flash grenade a toddler's room to find painkillers. If a taillight is out, the officer takes a photo and it is processed like red-light cameras and HOV lane violations. If a car is pulled over the officer asks whether they would like assistance.

This is libertarian utopia overnight, even with he same stupid-ass rules in place. And how many protests have you seen against the Fire Department?

Posted by: jk at September 26, 2016 4:45 PM

September 18, 2016

What's the Word? Johannesburg!

Look who just elected a Libertarian mayor.

Herman Mashaba is a millionaire tycoon, an ideological libertarian and self-proclaimed "capitalist crusader" who lectures his listeners about the evils of big government and minimum wage.

He is also, shockingly, the newly elected mayor of South Africa's biggest city. That's a revolutionary phenomenon in a nation dominated for 22 years by a left-wing ruling party, whose cabinet ministers tend to be communists and union leaders.

Less than a month after winning office as Johannesburg's mayor, Mr. Mashaba is already energetically putting his free-market ideas into action. He is distributing thousands of title deeds to impoverished residents, trying to create a new class of landowners. He is plotting with private developers to turn the city into a vast construction site, and he is pledging to use small businesses to slash the unemployment rate.

But johngalt thinks:


The DA supports a minimum wage, for example, while Mr. Mashaba scathingly denounces it as "an evil system to deprive poor uneducated people of the opportunity to advance."

His highest value, he says, is "individual freedom." He rails against the "culture of dependency" and excessive regulation in South Africa. "I'm just asking the government to leave us alone," he says.

Mashaba for President! Of the USA!

Seriously though, this is what will ultimately sink him:

He has even cancelled the ANC's plan to create new bicycle lanes, seeing it as a middle-class luxury and preferring to spend the $5-million (U.S.) on housing for poor people.

NOBODY messes with the BIKE lanes.

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2016 2:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Uh-huh. You need a Boulder-libertarian-guy who champions heroin legalization and bike lanes.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2016 4:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Except the Boulder-libertarian-guy wouldn't champion capitalism, small government and market wages. At least not consistently.

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2016 4:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I almost forgot - props on the title of this post.

To this day whenever anyone asks me "What's the word?" My reply is "Johannesburg."

Nobody knows what I'm talking about, except you.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2016 4:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"The revolution will not be televised."

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2016 8:16 PM

A brief history of revolutions - France and USA

The "Le Mis" episode in this year's election is picking up steam, no thanks to the establishment media who seem dead set on burying the story, and burying Trump himself.

From a nice article by Breitbart's James Pinkerton:

Here again we see the difference between the US and France. Through our history, for the most part, the American elite has been willing to accede to reasonable demands, if only to stave off revolution. In other words, the system can work.

Jackson ran for president again in 1828; it was the "revolt of the rustics" - a peaceful revolt. The campaign was bitter: It's fair to say that the Eastern elite of that era were as horrified by Jackson as the Eastern elite of our time are horrified by Trump. Indeed, hard as it might be to believe, the elite were more appalled by the insurgent Jackson back then; in the widely circulated coffin handbills, he was accused of everything from adultery to mass murder to cannibalism.

Yet despite all this establishment vitriol, Jackson won in a landslide, and the first political era of America, a time of aristocratic leadership, was ended. Indeed, in many ways, our modern political system - that is, two-party politics, with the winner needing the mass-mobilization of the electorate to win - originates from 1828.

And though the first aristocratic era of America came to an end, a second aristocratic era - that is, two-party politics - ultimately rose to replace it. Now, Trump has executed an unlikely hostile takeover of one of the two parties, and the aristocrats are nervous.

But jk thinks:

We're embracing Jackson Now? Root node of the Democrats, perpetuator of slavery, villain of the trail of tears? Founding architect of Executive overreach?

I think he was right n the bank, and I'll applaud his heroism in the War of 1812. But this shows to what extent Republicans will disavow all the party has stood for. Still waiting for the tribute to Bull Connor.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2016 1:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I read it not at all embracing Jackson, but an historical warning to the aristocrats of our age. Too much imposition of your will upon the people, the economy, the law, can result in a populist rebellion featuring a chief executive who you find horrifying.

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2016 6:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair. But I searched in vain for some text -- even a small disclaimer -- suggesting that Trump might actually be Jacksonesque. And that is exactly what some of his GOP detractors fear.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2016 9:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Stop me if you've heard this before, but the reason it doesn't matter if Trump has big government or executive abuse tendencies is that all of his pedigreed predecessors had those failings too - even the ones we were promised would not have them.

The nature of revolution is that the leader is rarely a font of restraint. Democrat and Republican co-(mis)rule has brought us to this moment.

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2016 2:51 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm sentimental. I miss being lied to.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2016 5:51 PM

Review Corner

Thucydides understood that a realist theory of international relations, a theory narrowly grounded in power, did not describe the world in which he lived. Thucydides had seen that states' histories were often more powerful drivers of their actions than was their power. He had seen prickly pride make states strive beyond their strength and exhaust themselves with little regard for its limits. He had seen that not only the power of a foe but the spirit, too, had to be conquered. He had seen that states and men often acted on the basis of wrath and revenge rather than sober calculation.-- J. E. Lendon Song of Wrath: The Peloponnesian War Begins
The most pertinent and germane question I have yet heard on the study of the Peloponnesian War comes from my sister. I described my enthusiasm for my upcoming study group and reread of Thucydides' classic Peloponnesian War. She replied "Why would anyone read that?" (This from the person who taught me to read, as baby brother was chosen to play "pupil" in the school of her friends.)

I was drawn to it knowing that many of my heroes would have read it. There were likely few men ratifying the Constitution who would fail to recognize an allusion to Pericles' Funeral Oration. More modern readers are likely drawn by War games and Strategy (this encompasses the rest of the readers in my upcoming group). It's perhaps the earliest extant history of statecraft and tactics.

Part of Thucydides' purpose in writing was, after all, to arm his reader with useful know-how, in case some later student of great affairs found himself in a similar situation. Here, then, is what to do if surrounded by barbarians at the extremity of the world:

Form a square, give a good speech... Did I mention that strategy was really not my thing?

The non-strategic reader can become a bit nonplussed. There's a paucity of political philosophy. The Athenian Democracy is compared to the grim totalitarianism of Sparta and her grim allies. The Lacedaemonian contributions to modern language include spartan and laconic.

The Spartan authorities had expected their men to behave like Achilles, to choose a noble death. But Spartans had not brought up their sons to act like Achilles; they had brought them up to obey orders. Never does the strange contradiction at the heart of Spartan society show so clearly as here: Spartans were expected to live the Iliad, but an Iliad set in totalitarian Sparta.
Yet choosing whose cause to champion is more difficult than picking between the Fascists and Communists in the Spanish Civil War -- or even Trump and Clinton in 2016.
The kindly terms [Brasidas] had given at Amphipolis urged along this movement, as did the earnestness of his proclamations that he had come to free the Greeks from empire rather than simply to replace Athenian rule with Spartan. For he pledged to leave the constitutional arrangements of the rebels unchanged and to impose no garrisons or governors. After a seven-year pregnancy, Sparta seemed finally to have brought to birth a son who was in earnest about freeing the Greeks from Athens, the slogan under which Sparta had gone to war in 431 BC and that had brought Sparta such goodwill at war's beginning.

As I read it, it pretty well sucks to be under either system. This could be more economic than libertarian. These were modern humans with language, tools, art, and trade. But millennia separate them from the Industrial Revolution and Deirdre McCloskey's 'Great Fact.' Human life has little value. There is little opportunity cost to joining the Athenian Navy as a rower. Your farm will just be burned down by Peloponnesians anyway.

Lendon's book explains a lot. Covering only the first ten of the 37-year conflict, he fleshes out Thucydides' descriptions and chronologies, but he also provides modern context, describing the conflict as one of establishing rank. The epilogue even concludes Thucydides' "evolving" as described in the opening quote.

And, although the attractive characters in Thucydides (men like Pericles of Athens and Archidamus of Sparta) are usually not made to speak in the language of power but are, rather, allowed to speak in the language of conventional Greek ethics, Thucydides briefly has Pericles himself profess a mild, fatalistic realism. "Your empire," Pericles says to the Athenians, in the phrase that Thucydides deftly turns to poison in Cleon's mouth, "is, to speak somewhat plainly, like a tyranny. To take it perhaps was wrong, but to let it go is unsafe."

Lendon's theory is that the struggle was to establish rank -- first that of parity with Sparta after their alliance defeated Persia, but then after success in battle and statecraft, seeking Athenian superiority.
In an ideal Greek war, the total amount of honor in the system was conserved, and the winner of a hoplite battle gained the same amount of honor as the loser lost. But the Ten Years' War had not worked like that; much honor had been lost and little gained. In the eyes of the other Greeks, the same defeats that had reduced both Athens and Sparta to a mutual willingness to accept equality had also driven down the rank of both in comparison to that great, proud, well-rested power that had sat out the war: Argos.

I'm looking forward to a denser trip through Thucydides. "Song of Wrath" was an accessible and beautifully written super-commentary which could be enjoyed on its own.

Five stars.

September 17, 2016

Do you hear the people sing?

In yesterday's 'Les Deplorables' post the "soundtrack" I linked was one I chose. I hadn't read far enough into the article (the second sentence, as it turned out) to learn that it was the same song the Trump campaign selected.

He took the stage, introduced by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as the 'Les Mis' anthem 'Do You Hear the People Sing' blasted through loudspeakers.

The article includes a brief video of the introduction, but it only captures the end of the intro and the beginning of the speech. I am so moved by the synergy of the spectacle I am left only to attempt a recreation of it myself.

This moment is reminiscent of Barack Obama's "Hope" poster, created by a supporter and then going viral. The 'Les Deplorables' imagery was created by pro-Trump blogger Keln, whose blog post on its creation and adoption features a commenter writing, "You are a genius......the trump movement has its logo."



And here is a nice version created around the video game 'Assassin's Creed.'

Some see the rebellion being against "the rich." It wasn't. It was against the aristocrats. More specifically, the monarchists.

The June Rebellion or the Paris Uprising of 1832 (French: Insurrection rpublicaine Paris en juin 1832), was an anti-monarchist insurrection of Parisian republicans on 5 and 6 June 1832.

Long live liberty.
Long live republicanism.
Long live the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.

And like Trump and his "Deplorables" the June Rebellion was largely a movement of the working class:

Subsequent identification of rebels revealed that most (66%) were working-class, a high proportion being construction workers. Most others (34%) were shopkeepers or clerks.
2016 Art Politics Posted by JohnGalt at 11:15 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 16, 2016

Les Deplorables



Click here for the soundtrack.

News story here.

Liberté! Fraternité! Trump!

2016 Politics Posted by JohnGalt at 7:54 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Your heart will be warmed to learn that I have joined the Facebook group. A very funny, ribald crew if not the most intellectual. I have the softest spot for people who accept their pejorative names as badges of honor (I once suggest that tea partiers should do the same with "teabaggers," but that was a bridge too far.)

The Deplorables thing has a great deal of energy.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2016 1:21 PM

Email from Sec. Robert Reich

I hope you all are on the mailing list. But just in case:

Dear MoveOn member,

Five weeks ago, Hillary Clinton was up by 8 points. Now, the race is tied, according to today's The New York Times.

And if that's not enough to worry you, consider that during this time period, Clinton has been outspending Trump on TV ads by a margin of 10-to-1.

This election is going down to the wire, folks. And like all close elections, it will be decided on the ground by volunteers going door to door getting out the vote.

My friends at MoveOn were a crucial part of President Obamas legendary get-out-the-vote successes in 2008 and 2012. And they're hiring 100 organizers to mobilize tens of thousands of volunteers to do it again to beat Trump in 2016. Will you chip in $2.70 now?

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 1:27 PM | What do you think? [0]

September 15, 2016

Guess what was named after Obama?

Under the title Feel Good Story of the Day byline, the indefatigable Dr. Hayward finds a true gem.
The story reads.

Other presidents have mountains named after them. Theyre the namesakes for high schools, boulevards, space centers, libraries, airports, and elk. George Washington has the capital of our country named for him, for crying out loud.
Dr. Hayward says:
Seems fitting to me. After all, Obamas economic policies have slowed the pace of the American economy to that of a turtle.

No, it's not a turtle; read it and see! He finishes off strong:

Question for further research: Which extinct lizard will be named for Hillary?

But johngalt thinks:

And what trapdoor spider will be named for Trump!

Posted by: johngalt at September 16, 2016 6:15 PM

September 14, 2016

My First Wargame of 2016

Here's a plausible path to throw it to the House: (and, no, I really was not trying)


2016 Posted by John Kranz at 7:10 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Terri Goon thinks:

Wait - you are giving her all 4 in Maine. Give Trump 1 of those votes and there you have it!

Posted by: Terri Goon at September 15, 2016 11:59 AM
But jk thinks:


My problem is that I like the House scenario.

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2016 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think we can see here why The Donald is spending so much time in the Keystone State.

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2016 2:47 PM

The Centrist versus the extremist

It is a curious discontinuity that the Republican nominee whom party loyalists deride as "not a conservative" or "without guiding principles" is, at the same time, portrayed by the domininat media as an agent of the "alt-right" and as extreme an ideologue as has been seen in presidential politics in our lifetimes. All while the Democratic nominee campaigns on more and bigger leftist government programs than were proposed or delivered by the two-term predecessor from her own party. Which of them then is really the "extremist" and which the centrist or "mainstream" candidate? Conrad Black concludes:

Both nominees did the necessary to keep their parties out of their own end zones, but to capture the center that always decides American elections, Mr. Trump has only to modulate the polemics, not really change course. Mr. Clinton has to walk backwards on her hands toward the center while dragging a cartload of ethical and legal baggage and ardently praying for a Trump relapse into reactionary gaucheries -- exacting acrobatics, even for a lady in a neon pantsuit.

Black then proceeds to paint the Clinton campaign as Humpty Dumpty, which all the left's horses and men can't put back together again.

Mr. Trump has no further need of the tactics the Democrats assumed would drive the moderate majority into their arms.

There is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton yet realizes that she can't rely on her opponent to discharge a verbal blunderbuss into his own cloven feet. Her vast train of bearers and beaters and cheerleaders and silent helpers, Bushies, Cruzites, the Sanders Left, the Hollywood claque, the largely leprous press corps, President Obama (in one of the most hilariously cynical professions of affectionate continuity in American political history) - all have only eight weeks to escape oblivion. It certainly could happen, but it is not now likely.

2016 Politics Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | What do you think? [9]
But johngalt thinks:

The trend his direction needs to continue, that's for sure, for him to pull it out.

I heard that he's up to 88% support among Republicans now. Still room for more improvement there, as the reality of President HRC grows ever closer.

But this is all possible, according to Black, because compared to HRC, Trump appears the practical and realistic and fair choice. Because she's so extreme.

Let's talk about that "basket of deplorables" comment: Why would she say such a politically risky and inflammatory thing if she thought her position was already comfortable?

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2016 5:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Also, perhaps thanks to Gary "the Johnson" Johnson, maybe Colorado.

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2016 5:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Not counting Colorado out, but I am thinking it is part of a surprise rout, not inching him over 270.

Posted by: jk at September 14, 2016 6:30 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I think you're Lucy football analogy is apt when it comes to PA, but there's one reason I'm holding out hope. Before the 2012 election I was driving back and forth across PA several times, and I remember seeing a lot of "vote like your job depended on it" kind of billboards sponsored by fossil fuel interests. Back then those signs were just campaigning against rhetoric. Now that trying to bankrupt an industry and throw thousands of people out of work seems to be the one promise that the current Democrat president seems to have been able to keep, those kind of campaign ads will probably drive a lot more people to the polls.

That said, I'm not entirely sure there are enough votes in all of flyover PA to cover the margin of fraud in Philadelphia.

Posted by: AndyN at September 14, 2016 9:27 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Oh dear God. Your not you're.

Posted by: AndyN at September 14, 2016 9:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahaha! I could fix that for you, but now I am enjoying it too much.

Trump talked about redrawing the map and I think PA and WI are worth watching (Madison is no doubt a subsidiary of Philly in corruption).

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2016 11:09 AM

September 13, 2016

Some might call them "RINO"

Not me though. I know better. There's no such thing as someone who calls himself Republican, works as a campaign professional on behalf of Republican candidates, but who actually prefers when Democrats are elected if the Republican alternative doesn't have truly Democratic tendencies at heart.

"I've heard a lot of conservatives voicing frustration, like, 'How fucking hard is this, Hillary?'" said Ben Howe, a conservative ad-maker and an outspoken Trump detractor. "That's the only reason I'm panicked these days I'm losing faith in Hillary's ability to win this easy-ass election."

Many more quotes along these lines here, mostly unattributed.

But jk thinks:

[Point of order: Microsoft's new Edge browser will not let you go back if you mistype the password. Harsh! Be extra cautious.]

Mr. Trump is far enough outside the "GOP Mainstream" that I am not surprised to see Republican hoping he loses. He will certainly take the party in his direction if he wins.

I don't like that from a trade and immigration standpoint, but no doubt many feel that way on abortion or traditional marriage. He is not your typical Republican (c.f., "Paid Maternity Leave).

Posted by: jk at September 14, 2016 4:13 PM

All Hail Taranto!

But if Mrs. Clinton has pneumonia, her touching that little girl outside daughter Chelsea's apartment building was the act of a sociopath. It reminded us of "The Dead Zone," the 1983 film in which (spoiler alert) an ambitious politician played by Christopher Walken uses a baby as a human shield to deter an assassin. Though Mrs. Clinton was attempting to shield herself only from exposure of the truth that she was sick. -- James Taranto
2016 Posted by John Kranz at 2:26 PM | What do you think? [0]

September 9, 2016

When You've Lost The Denver Post...

I stole the headline from Laura Carno on Facebook. But I wholeheartedly agree -- great to see the Denver Post break formation in the media phalanx defending Sec. Clinton:

We worry that [Rep. Jason (HOSS- UT)] Chaffetz is right on this one. Something about this story feels whitewashed -- or maybe bleached out is the better term for it now.

Tough talk from an unexpected source. Whole Thing the Read.

But nanobrewer thinks:

How long did it take you to find that one? What was the headline that day? I'm not holding my breath, but that is good to hear....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 11, 2016 12:23 AM

I'm a True Coloradan Now

I took a friend to a dispensary. Speaking of "True Colorado," it was right next to the JAX Feed & Grain store in Lafayette -- now that's Colorado!

I was pretty impressed with a few things:

-- not only open at 8:00 am, but doing a brisk business. Dang, stoners have grown far more ambitious since I was a young man. No, seriously, it was a good crowd, some young professional people. If they're up at eight I am guessing they are on their way to work.

-- the staff was friendly and professional. Young at tattooed: I knew I wasn't a Goldman Sachs, but helpful and professional.

-- there is much Kabuki around safety. You need a zipper bag which locks to remove your purchases. I presented an ID in the lobby to be allowed into the room "with product." Then my ID was checked again at purchase. (They scanned the stripe -- does that get sent to AG Loretta Lynch?)

-- There is a steam-punky, 1890s vibe because all products are from new and small companies. They attempt slick and corporate but fail. Nor is it hippie-ish. Just an obviously inchoate industry, which I liked very much.

Thanks to the Feds, all purchases are cash. That is probably the freakiest part of the endeavor. I hope this is repaired. But my friend said "Thank God we live in Colorado!"

I had to agree, even though I left empty handed.

September 8, 2016

Who Cares What Their Interest is? They're a Minority!

A direct quote (~53;00) and good summation of the anti-republicanism on this week's EconTalk. Wow

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 5:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

September 7, 2016

Democrat, Republican, or American?

These are our choices in this presidential election cycle. I have attempted to explain why I think that a Trump presidency is not only better than a Clinton II presidency, but better than any of the other GOP nominees would have been. It has to do with what the Republican party has largely become - self-censoring, self-neutering leftist enablers.

Today, my spirit is buoyed by this explanation of the "interesting times" in which we live. Wherein the geopolitical embodiment of Gulliver must decide whether to accede to the bonds of the world's Lilliputians or, conversely, to stand on his two feet and keep living free. And among the Lilliputians are both Democrats and Republicans.

But for the [Republicans], this priestly grace comes at the direct expense of their worldly interests. Do they honestly believe that the right enterprise zone or charter school policy will arouse 50.01% of our newer voters to finally reveal their "natural conservatism" at the ballot box? It hasn't happened anywhere yet and shows no signs that it ever will. But that doesn't stop the Republican refrain: more, more, more! No matter how many elections they lose, how many districts tip forever blue, how rarely (if ever) their immigrant vote cracks 40%, the answer is always the same. Just like Angela Merkel after yet another rape, shooting, bombing, or machete attack. More, more, more!

This is insane. This is the mark of a party, a society, a country, a people, a civilization that wants to die. Trump, alone among candidates for high office in this or in the last seven (at least) cycles, has stood up to say: I want to live. I want my party to live. I want my country to live. I want my people to live. I want to end the insanity.

Yes, Trump is worse than imperfect. So what? We can lament until we choke the lack of a great statesman to address the fundamental issues of our time - or, more importantly, to connect them. Since Pat Buchanan's three failures, occasionally a candidate arose who saw one piece: Dick Gephardt on trade, Ron Paul on war, Tom Tancredo on immigration. Yet, among recent political figures - great statesmen, dangerous demagogues, and mewling gnats alike - only Trump-the-alleged-buffoon not merely saw all three and their essential connectivity, but was able to win on them. The alleged buffoon is thus more prudent - more practically wise - than all of our wise-and-good who so bitterly oppose him. This should embarrass them. That their failures instead embolden them is only further proof of their foolishness and hubris.

Which they self-laud as "consistency" - adherence to "conservative principle," defined by the 1980 campaign and the household gods of reigning conservative think-tanks. A higher consistency in the service of the national interest apparently eludes them.

You know where I stand: The "alleged-buffoon" is the most American candidate any of us saw or heard or read this cycle. Is not national interest - national survival - more important than the vanity of our deeply-held, yet fully unrealized and popularly ignored, "principles?"

Yet we may also reasonably ask: What explains the Pollyanna-ish declinism of so many others? That is, the stance that Things-Are-Really-BadBut-Not-So-Bad-that-We-Have-to-Consider-Anything-Really-Different! The obvious answer is that they don't really believe the first half of that formulation. If so, like Chicken Little, they should stick a sock in it.
2016 Posted by JohnGalt at 3:11 PM | What do you think? [0]

l'Affaire Kaepernick

Brother jg shared a very handsome and very European-looking staircase on Facebook last week. It was for the benefit of a relative of his who enjoys the expression "L'esprit de escalier" or staircase wit. I wish I had said this when the Colin Kaepernick was roiling. The only people talking about it now are crazy partisans. And yet, I had a keen-if-tardy insight that well describes my opinion.

One of my five favorite SCOTUS decisions is Snyder v Phelps. It makes me proud to be an American, defines "Republicanism," and forever makes me leery of anarchism.

In this decision, we say that our most despised, slime-mold, troglodyte, bass-ackward citizens have the right to share their bad ideas -- even at the expense and irritation of our most beloved and heroic. This is heady stuff. The litigants are:

-- Fred Phelps: he "and his followers at the Westboro Baptist Church believe that God punishes the United States for its tolerance of homosexuality, particularly within the military. To demonstrate their beliefs, Phelps and his followers often picket at military funerals. "

-- Albert Snyder: his son, Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, "was killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2006. Westboro picketed Matthew Snyder's funeral displaying signs that stated, for instance, 'God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11,' 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers,' and 'Don't Pray for the USA.'"

The court ruled that the slime-mold citizens could not be prosecuted for or prevented from sharing their speech. This is correct and up there with protection for flag burning as a symbol of real respect for rights. Likewise, our intrepid young second-string overpaid quarterback cannot be prosecuted for or prevented from sharing his opinions. That is correct and admirable.

But, the court never said I had to like Westboro Baptists. No Justice held that I had to buy their game jerseys or put them on my fantasy protest team. They are free to speak and we are free to dislike them.

Mr. Kaepernick has a fan base whose demographics skew heavily toward the patriotic and law-and-order crowd which venerates both police and soldiers. His protest targets those fans -- who pay his salary. He commits no crime, but a sin of "branding." He is free to accept the consequences on principle and receive my general admiration. But he is not free to insult a majority of his fan base and avoid consequences "because of the First Amendment."

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 3:03 PM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Okay, the linked article has its charms but I threw up in my mouth a little at:

"Dick Gephardt on trade, Ron Paul on war, Tom Tancredo on immigration."

He left out Marx on Economics, Mao on Personal Liberty, Ray Kroc on fine dining, and Mark Sanchez on ball possession.

But, but, but. My blog brother will be happy to hear I am "evolving." Rewarding the lawlessness of Sec. Clinton is beginning to seem as dangerous as elevating the trog -- er, protectionist wing of the GOP.

Flight 93 indeed. But the field in Pennsylvania is covered with Kindergartens and orphan homes.

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2016 3:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I didn't reply to your comment because I thought you meant to apply it to the next post up, and was waiting until you fixed it.

I can't speak to "Dick Gephardt on trade" but do you disagree with Ron Paul on War?

Is war ever justifiable?

Sure. If you're attacked, you have a right and an obligation to defend (your) country. I do not believe there is ever a moral justification to start the war.

And as for Tancredo and immigration, we Coloradoans have debated that at length. It's a tricky issue, but I believe the article justifies the "anti-immigration" point of view:

Continetti trips over a more promising approach when he writes of "stress[ing] the 'national interest abroad and national solidarity at home' through foreign-policy retrenchment, 'support to workers buffeted by globalization,' and setting 'tax rates and immigration levels' to foster social cohesion."

Among the things on the decline in America, social cohesion is certainly on the list.

If conservatives are right about the importance of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character and so on in the individual; if they are right about sexual morality or what came to be termed "family values"; if they are right about the importance of education to inculcate good character and to teach the fundamentals that have defined knowledge in the West for millennia; if they are right about societal norms and public order; if they are right about the centrality of initiative, enterprise, industry, and thrift to a sound economy and a healthy society; if they are right about the soul-sapping effects of paternalistic Big Government and its cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions; if they are right about the necessity of a strong defense and prudent statesmanship in the international sphere–if they are right about the importance of all this to national health and even survival, then they must believe–mustn't they?–that we are headed off a cliff.

Let's pump the brakes and maybe, just maybe, turn the wheel back a smidge to the right.

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2016 6:22 PM

September 6, 2016

All Hail Taranto!

Apparently it's been some time since [The Atlantic's Peter] Beinart watched a football game. "Monday Night Football" was a big deal in the 1970s and '80s. But it started a long decline in the '90s. and in 2005 ABC ditched it and it went to cable (ESPN).

Nowadays it is often the lowest-rated nationally broadcast game in any given week. NBC's "Sunday Night Football" gets the marquee match-ups, whereas Mondays are often left for the worst teams--so bad, in fact, that the 49ers are to appear next week on "Monday Night Football." -- James Taranto

I can even pronounce Lacedaemonian

I am back to Thucydides [Review Corner]. This time, extracting much more from it. Two years ago, I eschewed the sagacious counsel of blog friend tgreer and plowed through the text on Kindle just to experience it like my intellectual heroes would have.

It was a good time. But reading Song of Wrath: The Peloponnesian War Begins by J. E. Lendon exposes lacunae (see what I did there, using a Greek-root word?) in my understanding wide enough to drive a trireme through.

Lendon contextualizes the 2500 year old events and decisions to render them more explicable to modern ears. And he walks the reader through the first ten years of the Peloponnesian War adding detail to make it more contiguous than the General's narrative-through-speeches. I enjoyed the lyricism of Thucydides, but find myself reading Lendon and saying "oh, that's what happened."

This October, I will be joining tg in a Thucydides Roundtable hosted by a Strategy Blog. (I will have to set all my seriousness knobs to 11). But I look forward to a reread (one chapter a week) with some gifted companions and having purchased the descriptive Landmark Edition which was originally recommended.

I'll do a full Review Corner soon on "Song of Wrath," but encourage ThreeSourcers to catch some of the excepts Tweeted in the meantime. This one might ruffle some feathers:

"In fact the Trojans, and the Greeks who fought them, may be as much to blame for the Peloponnesian War as Athenians, Spartans, or Corinthians. For with the story of the war against Troy, Homer also passed down to the classical Greeks the ferocious competitiveness of their forefathers. The transcendent cause of the Peloponnesian War was the culture of Greek foreign relations, which was deeply embedded in Greek competitiveness and the ethics of a heroic past. The principle that created the Olympic Games, the principle that inspired potter to outdo potter and poet to surpass poet, the competitive principle that drove so much of what is memorable about Greek civilization--that same principle drove Athens and Sparta to war."
― from "Song of Wrath: The Peloponnesian War Begins"

Greek to me Posted by John Kranz at 10:21 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

"One cannot simultaneously prepare for Olympic Games, and prevent, war?"

Seems that the ancients needed Gary "The Johnson, not one of the nuts" Johnson, more than we do. (Seven percent in the latest CNN Presidential Poll.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2016 2:48 PM
But jk thinks:

One cannot -- Lendon suggests -- strive to be the best athlete or the finest poet and then sit quietly by and allow a neighboring state to assume superiority (or Hybris).

The first question a modern asks is "what the holy hell were they fighting over?" They had no resource conflicts or obvious economic concerns. They were the same peoples with the same religion, no historic antipathy... World War One seems obvious in comparison.

They were allies in the conflict with Persia which gives us the tale of Leonidas and the 300 at Thermopylae. In Lendon's view, Athens thought itself the equal of Sparta after that; the hegemonic Sparta did not share that estimation. So Athens and the Lacedaemonians spent 37 years killing, destroying the property of, and harassing each others' allies in an ancient pissing contest.

His explanation is somewhat controversial I understand. But at least it is an explanation.

I was concerned that "tall poppies" would bristle (do poppies bristle?) at the suggestion of ill-effects of striving, competition, and achievement.

(Fun fact: the Olympic games continued throughout the Peloponnesian War. The athletes gathered under truce and even staged a few goofy political stunts. Colin Kapernick would be proud.)

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2016 3:18 PM

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