November 29, 2016

The Dark Side of Populism

We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents.
Justice Scalia -- not a reflexive libertarian by anyone's measure -- got it right in Texas v. Johnson. And I am sad to say that President-Elect Trump has it very, very wrong.

I said that I would support Trump where he was right and oppose him where he is wrong. And I will admit to being wildly impressed with many of his personnel selections and his general demeanor in the transition. Brother jg started the Trump Revolution category, to which I have contributed.

But, this day, this November, I start Trump Agonistes to document where he struggles with liberty versus populism.

He is on the wrong side here and Scalia is right.

Trump Agonistes Posted by John Kranz at 10:28 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

I agree that flag burning should not be illegal, even though it is apparently so in both Germany and Italy.

I am also 100 percent certain that it will never become illegal. There is no appetite for such in Congress.

So, why does he say this? Bully pulpit. Change the climate of anti-Americanism in, of all places, America. That's the best mansplaining Trump apology I can offer.

Posted by: johngalt at November 29, 2016 1:02 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I think the most likely explanation is that Trump was just being a loose cannon, but I wouldn't entirely rule out the possibility that he knew Clinton co-sponsored a bill to ban flag burning and is trolling the progs.

Posted by: AndyN at November 29, 2016 8:45 PM

November 28, 2016

Our Margaret


Cuba Posted by John Kranz at 3:21 PM | What do you think? [0]

November 27, 2016

Thucydides, Book Six: Projecting Power

The same winter the Athenians resolved to sail again to Sicily, with a greater armament than that under Laches and Eurymedon, and, if possible, to conquer the island; most of them being ignorant of its size and of the number of its inhabitants, Hellenic and barbarian, and of the fact that they were undertaking a war not much inferior to that against the Peloponnesians. [6.1]
"Do not think of elephants," goes an old saw. I see from a search it has spawned a couple of self-help, career guidance books. I thought it was just some form of toddler torture, but it seems the franchise has expanded. Likewise, the modern American reader is challenged to read the final few books of Thucydides' Peloponnesian War without thinking of Iraq.

Book Six presents the democratic arguments for and against War in Sicily. Those who have read ahead know it is a military disaster that ends the Athenian Empire.

I do not want to digress too much on my personal, unfinished journey of American involvement in the Middle East, but the short version for new readers is that I supported the actions fulsomely, through good times and bad. Yet William Easterly's "Tyranny of Experts" [Review Corner] provided a Hayekian objection which I cannot refute, and subsequent developments have not proven Easterly wrong.

This not a Freshman paper suggesting the end of America -- I'd have to proofread it better if it were -- but the parallels are difficult to ignore. It is difficult to project power. Our technological advancement has reduced half the world to the difficulty Nicias and Alcibiades faced waging war across the Ionian Sea. Yet the same difficulties of supply and logistics remain. More importantly, the Easterly-esque difficulties of understanding the region's scope, politics and culture are nearly insuperable.

Per the introductory quote, most of the Demos who would be voting for or against war did not know the location of Syracuse, the area of Sicily, or the disposition of cities on the island and southern coast of the Tyrrhenian mainland. Nicias, whom Thucydides admires, speaks first -- advising caution:

And yet the latter, if brought under might be kept under; while the Sicilians, even if conquered, are too far off and too numerous to be ruled without difficulty. Now it is folly to go against men who could not be kept under even if conquered, while failure would leave us in a very different position from that which we occupied before the enterprise. [6.11]

You're thinking of elephants, aren't you?
The Hellenes in Sicily would fear us most if we never went there at all, and next to this, if after displaying our power we went away again as soon as possible. [6.11]

Nicias closes with a swipe at the youthful who seek riches and glory without fully comprehending the potential downside.

The youthful, vainglorious Alcibiades takes umbrage at this attack on youth and vainglory. He addresses the crowd, warning of Syracuse's growing power (c.f. The Thucydides Trap) and dangers of a potential alliance with the Peloponnese. But his closing argument is "We will be greeted as liberators!"

The states in Sicily, therefore, from all that I can hear, will be found as I say, and I have not pointed out all our advantages, for we shall have the help of many barbarians, who from their hatred of the Syracusans will join us in attacking them; nor will the powers at home prove any hindrance, if you judge rightly.

Sensing that things are not going his way, Nicias elects to agree, but attempts to subliminally frighten the populace by enumerating the requirements. We'll need to bring grain and our own bakers and more ships that have ever been arrayed, and carpenters and machinists because we will be too far for repairs. But, rather than being subdued, Nicias's ruse backfires. Clearly, think the Athenians, this is going to be the greatest enterprise ever -- less a war and more of a moonshot. Carthage will fall next and we will rule the world.
The Athenians, however, far from having their enthusiasm for the voyage destroyed by the burdensomeness of the preparations, became more eager for it than ever; and just the contrary took place of what Nicias had thought, as it was held that he had given good advice, and that the expedition would be the safest in the world. [3] Everyone fell in love with the enterprise. The older men thought that they would either subdue the places against which they were to sail, or at all events, with so large a force, meet with no disaster; those in the prime of life felt a longing for foreign sights and spectacles, and had no doubt that they should come safe home again; while the idea of the common people and the soldiery was to earn wages at the moment, and make conquests that would supply a never-ending fund of pay for the future.
With this enthusiasm of the majority, the few that did not like it feared to appear unpatriotic by holding; up their hands against it, and so kept quiet. [6.24]

Was that an elephant?

The great fleet sails. Cities along the route come out just to see the historic array. "Alcibiades sailed to Syracuse -- and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt!" The Syracusans are brave and numerous but fall initially to Athens' superior technical skill and modern naval techniques. In a short time Athens holds commanding heights; Syracuse is defeated and demoralized and discussing terms of surrender. This Athenian adventure will be quick and successful.

Stop me if you've heard this, but things deteriorate from there.

November 26, 2016


The Dakota Pipeline protests pit everyone who has read Ludwig von Mises against those who have seen "Dances with Wolves."

We are so completely, totally screwed.

UPDATE: A ray of hope! This post was shared from an unexpected source, tagging his son! Maybe the truth is pulling its pants up after all.

Before traveling, [St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg] Champagne admitted he had the wrong impression about the pipeline based on what he called sensational news reports that the pipeline was to run directly through the Standing Rock Reservation and disturb ancient burial grounds.

"I quickly learned and saw for myself that this was untrue."

But jk thinks:

Yes, that is a problem. I feel that way about North Carolina's infamous transgender bathroom law. I've never felt I got a truly accurate appraisal of the law and ramifications. And I lack interest to take a week off work to clarify.

But, you almost have to hand it to the bad guys here. "Defiling Sacred Indian Burial Grounds!" "Poisoning the Water!" "Big Oil!" "Climate Change!" "The Infield Fly Rule!" They truly have all the emotional weapons on their side. Cue Eric Cartman: "You don't hate Native American Children, do you?"

Our side has property rights and rule of law. Yawn. But for those of us who prefer a heated condo with WiFi and hot showers to a buffalo skin by the fire -- and are willing to admit it, those are the difference. It is a difficult fight I have largely shrunken from.

Posted by: jk at November 28, 2016 1:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not me! Emboldened by the election of Trump and the death of Political Correctness which that represents, I let my inner "Deplorable" show in comments to the same form-letter type FB post about "I know I've posted a lot about the Dakota Access Pipeline but..."

The lament was, "water cannons are being used against unarmed, peaceful protesters in winter! They are subject to death from hypothermia!" (No mention of death from hyperbole.)

I replied: "Maybe they should just go home."

Poster: "They are home."

I replied: "They are camping. They can be charged with trespassing if they don't leave. That's a strange definition of "home."

Then silence. Until last night, when another woman chimed in ... on MY side!

Posted by: johngalt at November 28, 2016 2:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I just went back with this, in as "undeplorable" a tone as I was able:

I agree with you Andrea that water should be protected from contamination, but I also believe we need to be reasonable. We can't eliminate all risk. And I disagree that a few get rich while the rest of us pay. All of civilization is richer, safer and more prosperous because of inexpensive, reliable energy and the many byproducts of oil and gas.

Some people and special interest groups want to reverse all of the gains from carbon-based energy. Even worse, they work to prevent...

Continue reading

third world countries and their people from ever having those gains. What about their children? I have compassion for them too.

Posted by: johngalt at November 28, 2016 2:39 PM
But jk thinks:


Typing this, I realized I was wrong to be pusillanimous. I have striven for a politics here, cute kittens on FB split. But I break it for "important" things where I feel I might offer perspective many of these people might not otherwise encounter.

This is the definition of that -- I just know that it will upset many.

Posted by: jk at November 28, 2016 2:46 PM
But jk thinks:

The post I mentioned in my update attracted one meticulously-researched response:

Sorry, Xxxxx. But this is wholly untrue. Sacred burial grounds have already been disturbed by bulldozers and the Sioux are most concerned about their water supply being affected. The natural gas pipeline that exists already does not threaten water supply.

But when I went back to share this with y'all, I find yet another person has shared a couple links. In addition to mine.

Pulling up pants. Perhaps there was some value in letting them "own the space" for a couple of weeks.

Posted by: jk at November 28, 2016 2:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here is a summary of the treaty disputes with native tribes in the Dakotas, much of which took place before the territories became states, and which was finally resolved in 1980 with a billion dollar payment to the tribes by federal taxpayers. It appears to be objective and unbiased.

While none can suggest that all of the historical dealings were fair, although the contemporary murders of white settlers are rarely spoken of with as much sturm and drung, it does appear that the tribes have been fairly compensated and the matter is resolved at the highest possible levels of our federal government.

The tribes do not own the land being crossed by the pipeline. That they once did is immaterial. What would the environmentalists have instead - dynamite the dams on the Mississippi, drain the ancestral lands "once hunted and fished" by generations long since gone, and let the entire central United States suffer seasonal catastrophic flooding once again? Please.

Posted by: johngalt at November 29, 2016 3:21 PM

wither going, GOP?

I found RStreet during some perusing of articles on the inside baseball angle of energy markets (Josiah Neeley is quite a find), but THIS guy knocks it out: Business Not-As-Usual you beltway boys! He helps remind us of what Speaker Ryan said over a year ago:

[If] there were ever a time for us to step up, this would be that time. America does not feel strong anymore because the working people of America do not feel strong anymore. I’m talking about the people who mind the store and grow the food and walk the beat and pay the taxes and raise the family. They do not sit in this House. They do not have fancy titles. But they are the people who make this country work, and this House should work for them

Congress Posted by nanobrewer at 1:48 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Of the people.
For the people.
By. The. People.

Posted by: johngalt at November 26, 2016 10:35 AM

November 25, 2016

c Deniers!

Really people, the science is settled.

The assumption that the speed of light is constant, and always has been, underpins many theories in physics, such as Einstein's theory of general relativity. In particular, it plays a role in models of what happened in the very early universe, seconds after the Big Bang.

But some researchers have suggested that the speed of light could have been much higher in this early universe. Now, one of this theory's originators, Professor João Magueijo from Imperial College London, working with Dr Niayesh Afshordí at the Perimeter Institute in Canada, has made a prediction that could be used to test the theory's validity.

Clearly, some Koch Brothers funded outfit trying to bring down Big Relativity.

Science Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 23, 2016

Allison for SecTreas

Well, I did not get Michelle Rhee for Secretary of Education, but I understand the new pick to be highly pro-school-choice.

The next kiss to build a dream on comes from Reason

Bloomberg reports that John Allison, a former president and CEO of the Cato Institute, is on Trump's short-list for Treasury Secretary. Allison ran the Washington, D.C., based libertarian think tank from October 2012 until April 2015 and continues to sit on the organization's board today. He is also the former CEO of BB&T, a North Carolina-based investment bank, which he ran from 1989 until 2008.

Allison is well thought of 'round these parts [Review Corner]. Plus he was John Galt in Don Luskin's "I Am John Galt," [Why in this video]

But johngalt thinks:

Whoot! Go JA! Go JA!

But let's not get too optimistic about how far and how fast government can be scaled back. Chucky Schumer says he'll fight "tooth and nail" to block repeal of both Dodd Frank and Obamacare.

I suspect Trump will find ways to negotiate the Washington legislative swamp without resorting to "a phone and a pen" but it's going to be frustratingly, mind-numbingly slow, at least to begin with.

Posted by: johngalt at November 23, 2016 6:44 PM

Trump "softening" on climate change?

In case you were worried that President Elect Trump is already sinking in the swamp muck, don't.

JAMES BENNET, [NY Times] editorial page editor: When you say an open mind, you mean you’re just not sure whether human activity causes climate change? Do you think human activity is or isn’t connected?

TRUMP: I think right now … well, I think there is some connectivity. There is some, something. It depends on how much. It also depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies. You have to understand, our companies are noncompetitive right now.

They’re really largely noncompetitive. About four weeks ago, I started adding a certain little sentence into a lot of my speeches, that we’ve lost 70,000 factories since W. Bush. 70,000. When I first looked at the number, I said: ‘That must be a typo. It can’t be 70, you can’t have 70,000, you wouldn’t think you have 70,000 factories here.’ And it wasn’t a typo, it’s right. We’ve lost 70,000 factories.

We’re not a competitive nation with other nations anymore. We have to make ourselves competitive. We’re not competitive for a lot of reasons.

That’s becoming more and more of the reason. Because a lot of these countries that we do business with, they make deals with our president, or whoever, and then they don’t adhere to the deals, you know that. And it’s much less expensive for their companies to produce products. So I’m going to be studying that very hard, and I think I have a very big voice in it. And I think my voice is listened to, especially by people that don’t believe in it. And we’ll let you know.

FRIEDMAN: I’d hate to see Royal Aberdeen underwater.

TRUMP: The North Sea, that could be, that’s a good one, right?

As for the big enchilada, the Paris Accord (the world's most expensive treaty, estimated to cost $1 trillion - $2 trillion per year) Trump remains cool.

SHEAR: Just one quick clarification on the climate change, do you intend to, as you said, pull out of the Paris Climate …

TRUMP: I’m going to take a look at it.

November 22, 2016

Otequay of the Ayday

While I do not think we should legitimize the remarkable fear those on the Left profess, I do suppose I can understand why they are afraid. In a way, it is even rational. The Left expects the Right to do to them what the Left's political philosophy would demand the Left do to the Right: hunt down any dissenting voices and silence or hurt them.

David Danford in The Federalist - Here's Why Progressives Lose Their Minds When They Lose Elections

They do not understand the Right's view of government and what the founders of America had in mind. The founders understood that government could only provide limited justice. This could then be used to enable the individual pursuit of happiness in a free country. As Washington put it, the object of our politics is "the benign influence of the good laws of a free government."

In other words, the goal is to make the rule of law and the power of government as gentle and as unobtrusive as possible. Errors in politics, then, are deviations from being benign and are themselves fairly harmless. If the system of government you live under is limited, then you can take a breath when things do not go your way and continue to have a conversation and hope that next time you might win.

The end of all of this is to say that what you are seeing is the logical result of incoherent, utopian progressive political thought. Our society is full of those confused about the purpose of American government, and something changed with this election.

Before, there were two conceptions of justice competing under the surface, but only one knew that it had to destroy the other. Now, the other one has realized it has to fight to exist, and fighting it is. Until one wins out, this war of ideas will continue, the Left will embrace hysterics, and political correctness will reemerge.

War on Science

John Tierney -- as in New York Times's John Tierney -- has an incredible column in City Journal: "The Real War on Science." Spoiler Alert: it ain't the eeevil Republicans.

My liberal friends sometimes ask me why I don't devote more of my science journalism to the sins of the Right. It's fine to expose pseudoscience on the left, they say, but why aren't you an equal-opportunity debunker? Why not write about conservatives' threat to science?

My friends don't like my answer: because there isn't much to write about. Conservatives just don't have that much impact on science. I know that sounds strange to Democrats who decry Republican creationists and call themselves the "party of science." But I've done my homework. I've read the Left's indictments, including Chris Mooneys bestseller, The Republican War on Science. I finished it with the same question about this war that I had at the outset: Where are the casualties?

Where are the scientists who lost their jobs or their funding? What vital research has been corrupted or suppressed? What scientific debate has been silenced? Yes, the book reveals that Republican creationists exist, but they don't affect the biologists or anthropologists studying evolution.

Conversely, the left's retrograde antics destroy careers, terminate funding, and -- oh yeah -- kill people.
Mooney's brief acknowledgment that leftists "here and there" have been guilty of "science abuse." First, there's the Left's opposition to genetically modified foods, which stifled research into what could have been a second Green Revolution to feed Africa. Second, there's the campaign by animal-rights activists against medical researchers, whose work has already been hampered and would be devastated if the activists succeeded in banning animal experimentation. Third, there's the resistance in academia to studying the genetic underpinnings of human behavior, which has cut off many social scientists from the recent revolutions in genetics and neuroscience. Each of these abuses is far more significant than anything done by conservatives, and there are plenty of others. The only successful war on science is the one waged by the Left.

This is a City Journal piece, so clear a bit of time and get some coffee, but do please read the whole thing.

If you want a taste, read my Hat-Tip: Ronald Bailey: Liberals Don't Really F***ing Love Science

But johngalt thinks:

Love it! Another excellent entry in the blog's "Junk Science" category.

It reminds me of this one.

Posted by: johngalt at November 22, 2016 3:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Hey, that is a nice one. And good tip, I did add this to "Junk Science."

I think Tierney, being science writer at the Times has some good cred -- though many are probably annoyed with his appearances on Penn & Teller BS. I also dig the explicit references to liberty and control.

Posted by: jk at November 22, 2016 4:18 PM

November 21, 2016

All Hail Taranto!


2016 Posted by John Kranz at 3:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

The subjectivity of "free trade"

The election season back-and-forth over protectionism, free-trade, and what constitutes each of them, is underscored by "analysts" responding to the just ended APEC meeting.

APEC's 21 members from either side of the Pacific offered their own staunch defense of free trade as the annual summit ended, pledging to "fight against all forms of protectionism."

In addition the group vowed to refrain from competitive devaluation of their currencies, after Trump repeatedly accused China of keeping the yuan undervalued to boost exports and threatened to declare Beijing a currency manipulator.

But analysts were not convinced by the APEC statement, with senior analyst Jeffrey Halley at forex broker Oanda saying it sounded like "empty rhetoric."

"Most participants have very different definitions of what constitutes open markets and protectionism," he said.

Helps explain the internecine 3Sources debates.

But jk thinks:

Free Trade? We don't got no free trade!

Russ Roberts has taught me to admit that there are some losers from trade; no "Unicorns" to quote his favorite guest, Michael Munger. Perhaps we should mitigate harm to those affected.

But the net benefit from trade is so strong that Presidents should champion it and let the Representative from Youngstown, OH complain about the Chinese factories.

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2016 3:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nice article. And no, I'm not the least bit surprised that America's mixed economy and overreaching federal government currently impose over 370 "special protective duties on a wide range of products." Now, I don't recall candidate Trump suggesting that American trade policy was too free - what he said was that our "free trade agreements" benefit other nations more than the U.S. Perhaps if they were better we would not need as many "special" protective duties?

And who is responsible for this - not just the bad agreements, but the special duties? Not Donald Trump. Roughly one fourth of them have been instituted by the current administration, under President Barack H. Obama:

According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the United States as of October 31 imposes 373 special protective duties on a wide range of products, more than 90 of which came in the last three years alone (i.e., since chart above on U.S. protectionism was produced)
Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2016 7:30 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

We'll try this again - sounds like the topic is ripe for debate. One can sure be suspect about the TPP; 5600 pages and 30 chapters (written in secrecy) can only 'free' the lawyers billable timesheets is a good assumption. FEE's aritcle cited by JG is excellent, and I love the sidebars, like

TPP is about control not free trade, but WaPo says it's honkey-dorey.

HRC opposed it, but was that her public or private face?

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 26, 2016 12:58 AM
But jk thinks:

Point of Order: nb, your longer comment is in the spam filter. I (or you) can "publish" it if you'd like (comments with more than one or two links ge flagged).

The trade agreement I'd like is "we'll trade with everybody for every thing with no tariffs!" The TPP, like virtually all trade agreements is a slobberload of mercantilist crap dressed up in a pretty bow. SO, I will be happy to pile on.


When President Bush moved -- bravely -- to partial privatization of Social Security, do you remember where the libertarians and arch-conservatives were? A-F-WOL, that's where. "Shouldn't have Social Security at all!" "This is waaaay too little!"

A bad deal that gives you a little is better than no deal. If I believed for 40 nanoseconds that the opposition was entrenched to ensure freer trade, that would be one thing. But they are not -- they are lines up to get NO trade "Gonna make those goddam eye-Phones in Youngstown, by Union workers, we are!"

It's insincere but effective to bring a bootleggers and Baptists coalition together.

All moot now that Senator Smoot has been elected President.

Posted by: jk at November 26, 2016 2:51 PM

Say Something Nice

Jim Geraghty -- and I confer:

Trump is already proving he's capable of surprises. His willingness to meet, and perhaps hire, formerly critical voices like Mitt Romney, Nikki Haley, and Rick Perry suggests a magnanimous spirit and mission-focused philosophy that was almost entirely missing from his persona on the campaign trail. If you had said to me months ago, that a Trump presidency would have Romney, Haley, and Perry in top positions, perhaps Ted Cruz on the Supreme Court, Bobby Jindal in the mix for Health and Human Services, Michelle Rhee as Secretary of Education, David Petraeus coming back into government service, perhaps John Bolton as Secretary of State, James N. Mattis as Secretary of Defense... and Reince Preibus keeping the plates spinning and running the daily schedule... man, that's a lot more appealing than just the man himself.

I don't want to get my hopes up, but Michelle Rhee as Secretary of Education would make the whole Trump enterprise worthwhile. And, yes, I would be forced to admit that none of the candidates I supported could or would have pulled that off.

My blog brother started and named the category "Trump Revolution." I'm skeptical but will give it a chance.

But AndyN thinks:

My favorite name on that whole list is David Petraeus, for no other reason than I'd love to watch the progs try to make a big deal out of his mishandling of classified information.

Posted by: AndyN at November 22, 2016 4:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Ow. That's gonna leave a mark.

Posted by: jk at November 22, 2016 4:38 PM

November 20, 2016

Thucydides, Book Five: Halftime

Indeed it so happened that directly after the battle of Amphipolis and the retreat of Ramphias from Thessaly, both sides ceased to prosecute the war and turned their attention to peace. Athens had suffered severely at Delium, and again shortly afterwards at Amphipolis, and had no longer that confidence in her strength which had made her before refuse to accept the offer of peace, in the belief of ultimate victory which her success at the moment had inspired; [5.14]
The "Ten Years War" is complete. J. E. Lendon's Song of Wrath [Review Corner] covers only this period. And Thucydides himself spends a small section defending his decision to consider the entire "three times nine years" period a single conflict, getting a dig in at the superstitious of his time:
So that the first ten years' war, the treacherous armistice that followed it, and the subsequent war will, calculating by the seasons, be found to make up the number of years which I have mentioned, with the difference of a few days, and to provide an instance of faith in oracles being for once justified by the event. [5.26]
But if the play-by-play, battle-by-battle coverage takes a small break in Book Five, there's some time for extended commentary (and highlights from other conflicts).
I lived through the whole of it, being of an age to comprehend events, and giving my attention to them in order to know the exact truth about them. It was also my fate to be an exile from my country for twenty years after my command at Amphipolis; and being present with both parties, and more especially with the Peloponnesians by reason of my exile, I had leisure to observe affairs more closely. [6] I will accordingly now relate the differences that arose after the ten years' war, the breach of the treaty, and the hostilities that followed. [5.26]
Sparta and Athens indeed complete a truce, essentially establishing a "status quo ante" distribution of territory with a few small exceptions. But Hellas does not become Hundred Acre Wood, and they do not spend these years in idyllic pastoral repose. Both combatants drag their heels at completing requirements of the treaty. "Oh, we'll give them the hostages from Pylos someday..."

The peace is uneasy to begin with, and not all the allies are on board with the idea of armistice or with its terms. This gives Argos an opportunity to restore her empire by picking up affected city-states for a side alliance. The Argives can rival wounded Athens and Sparta with a few key allies.

The persons with whom they had communicated reported the proposal to their government and people, and the Argives passed the decree and chose twelve men to negotiate an alliance for any Hellenic state that wished it, except Athens and Sparta, neither of which should be able to join without referring the issue to the Argive people. [5.28]

Though this "peace" lasts seven years, it's more of a repositioning. One expects they're analyzing film, taping up ankles and listening to coaches' speechmaking. Commentator Thucydides gets to elaborate on "Fear, Honor and Interest," which is shorthand for his strategic realism.
In a dialog with Melians, the Athenians eschew the eloquent speeches and peans to liberty common in the other books, and a small delegation sits down to hear the stronger power dictate alliance terms to the weaker.
Athenians: "For ourselves, we shall not trouble you with specious pretenses-- either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong that you have done us-- and make a long speech which would not be believed; and in return we hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that you did not join the Spartans, although their colonists, or that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." [5.94]

The Melians trust in "the gods" and possible Spartan protection and turn the Athenians away. Spoiler Alert: they "suffer what they must."

November 19, 2016

On Crying Wolf

Why am I harping on this?

I work in mental health. So far I have had two patients express Trump-related suicidal ideation. One of them ended up in the emergency room, although luckily both of them are now safe and well. I have heard secondhand of several more.

Like Snopes, I am not sure if the reports of eight transgender people committing suicide due to the election results are true or false. But if they’re true, it seems really relevant that Trump denounced North Carolina’s anti-transgender bathroom law, and proudly proclaimed he would let Caitlyn Jenner use whatever bathroom she wanted in Trump Tower, making him by far the most pro-transgender Republican president in history. Scott Alexander

Nice defense of nonsense charges from a guy with many other critiques.

A Bone for the Protesters

Call your attention to a great Thucydides quote: Athens and Sparta are in an uneasy truce, but many key provisions have not been honored. A separate truce is being negotiated with other cites (itself a breach), when the "gods and heroes clause" is invoked.

"[...] it had been explicitly agreed that the decision of the majority of the allies should be binding upon all, unless the gods or heroes stood in the way."

Lest you think "gods and heroes clause" is another example of my flippancy, it actually occurs in Robert B. Strassler's footnote, directing readers to an Appendix where it is discussed in detail.

Those guys blocking I-5 should latch on to this.

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

November 18, 2016

All Hail Jonah

A Clinton Sendoff:

Among Hillary's greatest problems wasn't that she was a liar, but that she was so bad at it. When Bill lied, it was like watching a jazz impresario scat. You could pull him off an intern, slap him in the face with a half-frozen flounder, and he could, without missing a beat, plausibly explain that he was just a gentleman trying to help push the young lady over a fence.

But when Hillary lied, which was often, it was like watching a member of the Politburo explain to a hungry mob of peasants that food-production targets exceeded expectations. Hillary never seemed to fully grasp that Bill's lying skills did not become community property when they got married along with his collection of back issues of Juggs and that shoe box full of used pregnancy tests. There was music to Bill's lying while Hillary deceived the way Helen Keller played the piano.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 6:01 PM | What do you think? [0]

verlassen schadenfreude

OK, it's been fun, but now I'm inspired to help a GOP-led country flex some, flaunt a little and get down to the gritty business of governing for the people. I'd like to collect some strategy tips, and some ideas about what's to be done early/first. I like the idea of doing something popular, while more quietly doing something important. Love to hear TS'ers ideas on what's popular, and what's important.

My draft list of popular: build the wall (sorry JK, the welfare state is not going away - but VDH's idea below in bold is better), refloat the military, gut the ACA (smiling all the way), reform the VA.
My initial take on important: expose the Clinton Foundation's racketeering (to stop the Obamanites from doing same), block the Revolving Door, break the crony capitalist piggy bank, realign NASA, which has been promised and the IRS. Repeal Dodd-Frank.

The eminent Dr. Hanson has some ideas: foremost an "optics" approach or strategy described as in mediis rebus that's Trump's style, and could be used for powerful effect.

If in the first 100 days Trump can push through tax reform, deregulation, Keystone, clean coal, new leases for fracking and horizontal drilling on federal lands, an end to the crony-capitalist Solyndra-like subsidies, a cut-off of federal aid to sanctuary cities, support for school vouchers, the wall, deportations of those illegal aliens who committed crimes or have no work history, plans to rebuild the military, a freeze on federal hiring, trade renegotiations — then surprising things will follow.
VDH, PhD, further states that Social Security should be left alone - did Trump promise that?

But jk thinks:

No sir. I was a subscriber to NR ("on dead tree") when Mexifornia came out, and they did a cover story which was a lengthy summary. So, I've read the Cliff's Notes.

Note that I did not call him a racist; I called him a nativist. He yearns for the Central California of times past. It is a conservative magazine, and we should all mourn what decades of California politics has done to it.

I'm imaginative enough to envision A Central Valley that prospers with lots of Hispanic residents but few ruinous EPA/Jerry Brown/Tom Steyer regulations and usurpations of property rights.

To my blog brothers' continual annoyance (sorry), I do not really distinguish between illegal and illegal immigration. If there were actual opportunities to come here legally I would be happy to differentiate.

I want more legal immigration and would supplement it with "undocumenteds" rather than starve the economy. VDH and "AG Jeff Sessions" (ehrmigawd) disagree. That is their right,

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2016 2:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Let's talk about "nativist."

I had an introductory conversation on the immigration issue with my squishy sister-in-law yesterday. It prompted some deeper introspection on my part.

"Demography is destiny." I and the North American Indians may not like it, but it is fact.

"La Raza is hell bent on reclaiming California as part of Mexico." Well, not really part of Mexico, but ruled by Mexican people.

"How many immigrants should the USA allow to enter the country legally, each year?" Well, this is the crux of the "comprehensive reform" issue, is it not?

Hey jg, I thought you wanted to talk about nativism? Yes. The term is a bit harder to define than the word "is" is. [Take that "end a sentence with a preposition haters. I ended with two, back to back!]

If by "nativist" you mean a straight white male who wants America to be dominated and controlled in every manner by the traditional values of straight white males, I can see why you would recoil at the supremacy of nativists. But if you mean someone who believes America's constitutional republic was the greatest political economic creation in the history of man and it should be preserved in its original form - perhaps I might coin the term "neo-nativist" then opposition to this agenda would have to be recognized for what it is - democratic, tyrannical, socialist, and ultimately Unconstitutional.


Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2016 11:05 AM
But jk thinks:


"Nativist" to me is a semi-pejorative for a person who choses preservation of existing cultural norms over the economic advantages offered by trade and immigration.

I'm preemptively rejecting any assertions that limited government cannot be perpetuated by people with more melanin than Thomas Jefferson. I highly recommend Michael Barone's "New Americans" and expect it's a-penny-plus shipping these days. Every twenty years, our teeming shores are invaded by a group that -- unlike the last -- shows no hope of assimilation and Americanization. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

If the only means of preserving liberty is to entrust it to the exclusive purview of a shrinking demographic, then we are in pretty bad trouble. I'd tell you and Professor Hanson to look less at California and more at Texas.

"La Raza is ..." strikes me as parallel to "The KKK likes Trump!" We cannot lower the capital gains tax because it would please the KKK? By the same token, we can't keep all Hispanics out because they might join La Raza. I purport that a more open immigration policy would admit more entrepreneurs who would be too busy for identity politics; the current system admits uncles and cousins who might have the time and inclination.

How many to admit? More. Admit enough legal ones to allow us to keep out the "bad hombres." Admit lots from everywhere, those who will pack up and move are by definition risk takers and workers.

I watched much of the "Teen Jeopardy" tournament in the last couple weeks. It's better than "McFarland!" Brilliant young men and women of many races give me confidence in the future. And proof that is safe in non-white hands.

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2016 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Whoa! I didn't mean to imply that "only white people" can maintain the republic - quite the opposite. I was trying to bifurcate between opposing immigration on cultural grounds and being wary of immigration on republican principles.

Cutting to the chase - if the republic felt secure, much more secure, from threat by democratic takeover (principally native, white, democratic takeover it must be said) then much immigration resistance could be relaxed. At least by yours truly. But one major strategy of that native white democratic takeover effort is more immigration.

The bottom line is that more immigration favors Democrats; there is no prediction of Democratic electoral ascendancy that doesn't rely on demographic factors as the main engine of the party's dominance.

It is not the immigration that I oppose, it is the concomitant Democrat electoral ascendancy.

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2016 1:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Huh. There's an Internet Meme going around with your picture and the text "Only white people can maintain the republic!" Guess I should have checked it on

You're plugged in -- can you compare the results of immigrants to Millennials? I suspect they're fairly close, and I have warmer feelings about possibly educating the immigrants someday.

Majority support for Republicanism is a difficult -- I hope not insuperable -- problem. Closing the doors doesn't strike me as a solution.

Import on Miami Cuban for every other immigrant and we'll be fine.

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2016 2:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If it's as impactful as the meme I created last week, nobody will see it.

Millennials were about 56/35 Clinton/Trump.
Hispanics were about 65/29.
There aren't enough Cuban immigrants to offset that bias.,_2016#Voter_demographics

Here's the most telling breakdown I found - "Gender by marital status"

Of the four groups, married men, married women, unmarried men, unmarried women - only one broke for Trump (by a wide margin.) Two were narrowly for Clinton and one other was overwhelmingly for Clinton. I won't even bother telling you which were which. It is self-evident.

Is the Trump vote a proxy for preserving the Republic? I think so, yes.

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2016 4:21 PM

November 17, 2016

21st Century Democrats

Dan Henninger, on fire, in the WSJ Ed Page:

This generation of Democrats doesn't even know what the economy is anymore.

For the Democrats, America's daily life of work, profit and loss across 50 states is essentially an alien phenomenon that sends them revenue, the way a pipeline transmits natural gas. This pipeline fuels their "economy," which is the thousands and thousands of spending and line items in the $4 trillion federal budget.

Some would call this redistribution. The Democrats would call it their life's work. Truth is, it isn't working for them anymore.

Trigger Warning: the column carries a very unflattering photo of Sen. Elizabeth Warren ("Wampum out of Politics!" - MA) which will be disturbing to most viewers.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Long ago, perhaps even before it had an OnLine venue, I clearly recall a very good article titled "Doughnut Hole Democrats" which outlined how the middle class had deserted that party - it was all uber-rich or under-class poor. Now, MY experience hasn't been that way, but I've lived in Boulder County (desperately seeking Palo Alto) for ~30 years now.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 21, 2016 12:11 AM
But jk thinks:

Middle class is pretty broad. I suggest most Boulderites are in the upper half of the middle. They might not be tech billionaires, but they buy a Lexus SUV because of its Consumer Reports® safety rating.

The rest moved to "The L's*" in the 80's and 90's and are now headed to Erie, having brought their bad policies outward.

* That's Louisville, Lyons, Longmont and Lafayette to you out-of-staters.

But the real and very sad example of your doughnut hole (mmmm, donuts...) is my birthplace of Denver. They cannot dream up tax increases quickly enough to pass them. The skid rows of my youth are now littered with million dollar lofts and Porches. But the workers are pushed out by high taxes and bad services.

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2016 9:52 AM

November 16, 2016

If Elon Musk were in 'Atlas Shrugged'...

... he would be Oren Boyle.

It has been widely reported that among SolarCity, Tesla, and the rocket company SpaceX, Elon Musk's confederacy of interests has gotten at least $4.9 billion in taxpayer support over the past 10 years.

This is almost half of Musk's supposed net worth - taken from the pockets of American citizens and put into companies that can survive only by cannibalizing each other, spending without end, and promising that success is always just beyond the horizon and yet never arrives.

The American people are being taken on a ride by SolarCity, Tesla, and Musk. The ride is fueled by a cult of personality in Musk. And it costs billions of taxpayer dollars as he promises us not only the moon, but to harness the power of the sun and send us all to Mars.

In the cases of Enron and Bernie Madoff, in the end the cheated victims wished to have woken up sooner to the hubris that enabled such a downfall - or that at least regulators had pulled their heads out of the sand before the full impact of the collapse was realized.

We've seen this story before and we know how it ends.

But one of the good things about changing regimes in Washington D.C. is that cronies often get uprooted.

The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have launched a probe into tax incentives paid to solar companies, according to The Wall Street Journal. The committee probes, led by their respective Republican chairmen, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, have found an appropriate and disturbing target to begin this work.

SolarCity, a solar installation company set to be purchased by Tesla Motors Inc., is one of the seven companies named in the initial investigation.

A Reagan-era "do over"

From an important article in Townhall by Brion McClanahan - The Beginning of the Trump Revolution:

If you don't like the establishment, pay attention.

Ronald Reagan cruised to office in a landslide victory. He rode a wave of anti-establishment sentiment that also helped put Jimmy Carter into the White House in 1976. When Carter failed to produce, blue-collar Americans turned to Reagan and his promises of a robust economy, a smart foreign policy, and limited government. Reagan paid attention to the forgotten man, the same forgotten man that propelled Trump to victory yesterday.

Then he forgot the forgotten man, mostly because he chose to "work" with establishment Republicans.

The Reagan Revolution also gave us Bill Kristol, George Will, the Bush dynasty, Bill Bennett, and a host of other current "never-Trumpers" who should now be ignored, not pandered to.

Whole thing. Now. Read it. It's important. (And it's brief.)

November 15, 2016

It's a Mean Old World

It's the title of a great blues song, but it is also true: It's a Mean Old World.

I'm a (rational) optimist but no Mr. Buckley, we have not "immanentized the eschaton;" man remains imperfect.

I cannot and will not defend a single hate crime. They are tragic for the victim, the perpetrator, and society at large. But I will point out statistics and beg my fellow men, women, and other genders to practice sound risk analysis.

An AP story in the Denver Post leads with a startling statistic:

Hate crimes against Muslims up by 67 percent in 2015, according to FBI

ATLANTA -- Reported hate crimes against Muslims rose in 2015 to their highest levels since those seen in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to FBI statistics released Monday.

Tragic. But can we look over the rest of the story? Yes, what we want will be near the bottom:
In 2015, there were 257 incidents of anti-Muslim bias compared to 154 incidents the prior year, an increase of 67 percent. The total is second only to the surge in hate crimes following the 9/11 terror attacks, when 481 incidents against Muslims were reported in 2001.

I want to tread lightly here. I am making a mathematical comparison and not a moral one. If 1000 people a day die with bee stings or drown in the bathtub, a single hate crime is still a tragedy, But the CDC says ten drown in non-boating accidents every day. So, you are far more than ten times likely to drown in the bathtub and die than have some ignorant buffoon call you a name.

And, because the numbers are so thankfully small, a 67% rise is pretty meaningless. Some reports are false, many are not reported. These stats are not accurate enough to draw trends from.

But I would draw one trend:

Overall, the number of reported hate crimes increased from 5,479 in 2014 to 5,850 last year, and religious-based hate crimes increased by 23 percent. Jews and Jewish institutions remain the most frequent target of religious-based hate crimes, representing 53 percent of all those reported. Crimes against Jews increased about 9 percent.

Huh? What was that? Fifty-three percent of religious based are against Jews? The "epidemic" of Islamophobia that warrants a breathless Denver Post headline is 4.3% of the reported hate crimes?

It does not seem like we are focused on the correct problems.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 3:20 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

3srcs ombudsman here - Your "more than ten times likely to drown in the bathtub" comparison assumes that 100 percent of the population is Muslim. Ten drownings per day over the entire population may be more rare than one anti-Muslim hate crime per day in the U.S. directed toward an actual Muslim.

But going back in the other direction, is calling someone a name really a "hate crime?" What is that called, exactly... hating the First Amendment?

Posted by: johngalt at November 15, 2016 5:36 PM

"I will stop the unstoppable"

In what is reminiscent (to me, at least) of John Galt's "I will stop the motor of the world" President Elect Trump is not backing away from his campaign pledge to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Trump's advisers are considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord, according to the source, who works on Trump's transition team for international energy and climate policy.

"It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election" on Tuesday, the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Paris accord won enough backing for entry into force on Nov. 4, four days before the election.

"So where's the John Galt reference, johngalt?"

I'm projecting just a bit, in response to French President Hollande, who said the agreement is "irreversible." And to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon who said,

"What was once unthinkable has become unstoppable," Ban said at a news conference of the landmark Paris deal, agreed by almost 200 governments last year after two decades of tortuous negotiations. The accord formally entered into force on Nov. 4 after a record swift ratification.

A "record swift ratification."

The Trump source said the president-elect's transition team is aware of the likely international backlash but said Republicans in the U.S. Congress have given ample warning that a Republican administration would take action to reverse course.

"The Republican Party on multiple occasions has sent signals to the international community signaling that it doesn't agree with the pact. We've gone out of our way to give notice," the source said.

The source blamed Obama for joining up by an executive order, without getting approval from the U.S. Senate.

"There wouldn't be this diplomatic fallout on the broader international agenda if Obama hadn't rushed the adoption," the source said.

(What was the mood in Washington on November 4 that had the Administration so anxious to rush this through prior to Hillary's coronation? Hmmm.)

But former French President Nicholas Sarkozy has a warning for Trump if he doesn't stand by his predecessors promises.

Speaking to French broadcaster TF1, Sarkozy said late Sunday: "Donald Trump has said - we'll see if he keeps this promise -- that he won't respect the conclusions of the Paris climate agreement. Well, I will demand that Europe put in place a carbon tax at its border, a tax of 1-3 percent, for all products coming from the United States, if the United States doesn't apply environmental rules that we are imposing on our companies."

Whoa! Who's the trade warrior now?

Would Bernie Have Won?

Here's what happened. Do we have racists and sexists in this country? We do. On the other hand, I think what happened is Trump touched a nerve on the part of millions of people that media doesn't often talk about. And that is, you’ve got a middle class for the last 40 years that has been shrinking. You've got people working two or three jobs. You've got a single mom who can't afford $12,000 a year for child care. You've got a worker who's seen his job go to China. You've got a parent who’s wondering how in God's name when I make $40,000 a year am I going to be able to send my kid to college. -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I - VT)
Hypothetical much? It's crazy to ask, but I suspect that there is a great chance Sen. Sanders would have beaten Donald Trump. Wargaming the states, he would have ruined Trump's audacious flipping of the Democratic Rust-Belt States ("Umm, jk, we like to call ourselves 'Oxidized-Americans'"). If one thing is certain it's that I'm a pointy-headed elite who does not understand the working class Pennsylvania voter. But I cannot see Trump's taking Michigan and Wisconsin and I see Pennsylvania and Iowa in great jeopardy.

Perhaps some of the purple states ("Indigo-Americans, jk") would be turned off. Virginia, Nevada, and Colorado might come out of the blue column. Certainly, I think he's have made it much closer race.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 11:36 AM | What do you think? [0]

Dodging Six Bullets

Dodging six bullets is what I call a pretty good game of Russian roulette.

T. J. Brown at FEE points out six bullets the nation dodged by not electing Sec. Clinton.

Anyway, while Trump's impending reign isn’t anything to be ecstatic over, a relief of what America avoided in a Clinton presidency is definitely warranted. So let's take a moment to examine some avoided disasters that likely would've happened had Hillary Clinton won.

Brown captured my sentiments well. I get very nervous when I see stories that China might ban iPhone sales, I am not sure about Steve Bannon's role. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that detractors will not, but Breitbart did not comport itself well through the election cycle.

Yet I must share the overwhelming joy I felt on election night as I felt the momentum going his way. Brown is right for six out of six.

UPDATE: Thomas Sowell "We Dodged a Bullet"

UPDATE II: I meant it; I will give Steve Bannon benefit of doubt. Those who have attacked him are untrustworthy. In that spirit, though, I clicked on a link defending him:

All we have learned from the sewage-storm directed at Bannon is that the Establishment plays dirty and that the formerly Republican #NeverTrumpers aren't just misguided ideologues, but also yellow-bellied, gutter-crawling, backstabbing, bushwacking liars. Hell hath no fury like a self-designated elite scorned. All the existential rage of the defeated and humiliated elite is now focused against the architect of Trump's victory, the media genius who won the battle with less than a fifth of the financial resources at Hillary Clinton's disposal.

Okay then, your local elite signing out! Glad the healing has begun.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:26 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 14, 2016

All Hail Taranto!


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:58 PM | What do you think? [0]

November 13, 2016

Thucydides, Book Four: Declare Victory and Move On

The Spartans accordingly invite you to make a treaty and to end the war, and offer peace and alliance and the most friendly and intimate relations in every way and on every occasion between us; and in return ask for the men on the island, thinking it better for both parties not to hold out to the end, hoping that some favorable accident will enable the men to force their way out, or of their being compelled to succumb under the pressure of blockade.

Indeed if great enmities are ever to be really settled, we think it will be, not by the system of revenge and military success, and by forcing an opponent to swear to a treaty to his disadvantage; but when the more fortunate combatant waives his privileges and, guided by gentler feelings, conquers his rival in generosity and accords peace on more moderate conditions than expected.

Okay Athens, you win!

It is the ninth year (out of 27) of the war of which Thucydides was the historian. We could tie this baby up at the top of Book Four. jk could devote more time to studying Nick Lucas's Guitar Method. Ain't gonna study war no more -- it is not healthy for children and other living things and...

The Athenians dramatic victory at Pylos stuns the Spartans. A bit of pluck and a bit of luck gives Cleon command of an island right in Sparta's backyard and many of her most prominent citizens are captured. All the things Lacedaemonians truly fear are held against them; this defeat could be the domino that starts a helot (slave) uprising.

and now took the unusual step of raising four hundred horse and a force of archers, and became more timid than ever in military matters, finding themselves involved in a maritime struggle, which their organization had never contemplated, and that against Athenians, with whom an enterprise unattempted was always looked upon as a success sacrificed.

Sparta sends Herold -- excuse me a herald1 -- with generous terms for peace, essentially Sparta offers Athens equality in rank. In J.E. Lendon's "Song of Wrath" [Review Corner], this is held to be the reason for war.

The existence of books five through eight is a spoiler alert. There is much speechmaking, but, having the upper hand, Athens decides to press for more generous terms. Hence books five, six, seven and eight. Just as Pylos breaks Spartan ambitions, Athens goes on to be routed at Delium2 and exposed weakness of her less-than-solid alliances in the Chalcidice.

The modern line is "Take 'Yes' for an answer" and I frequently complain about political groups' failures in this area. Most recently, I see the gay rights movement in America enact a national right to marry after Obergefell. Eight years ago, neither Senators Clinton nor Obama would dare suggest it in a Democratic primary. The groups that existed to lobby, however, were staffed by their own Cleons and kept the movement alive to found the National Cake Police. They should have put up a trophy and let the Christian Right recover their dead under truce.

Indeed, there seemed to be no danger in so doing; their mistake in their estimate of the Athenian power was as great as that power afterwards turned out to be, and their judgment was based more upon blind wishing than upon any sound prediction; for it is a habit of mankind to entrust to careless hope what they long for, and to use sovereign reason to thrust aside what they do not desire.

1 -- jokes like these and I still wonder why they won't approve any of my comments at the Roundtable.

2 -- I already was able to use this in a stunning piece of pedantry. Somebody asked if such-and-such was "the worst idea ever?" I replied "oh, I don't know. The Athenian attack on Delium was rather ill advised..."

But johngalt thinks:

After vanquishing Hillary electorally, Rep. Chaffetz says the emailgate investigation must proceed, lest the denial of justice become an invitation to others. House majority leader Rep. Kevin "the investigations are politically motivated" McCarthy says, "We'll leave the matter to law enforcement and keep politics out of it."

Somewhere in there is the right answer - declare victory and use it to achieve the objectives you promised.

Posted by: johngalt at November 13, 2016 4:28 PM

And He's Baaaaack

Blog friend tg, on fire:

The problem is not that Clinton lost this battle. The problem is that no one had any idea that the loss was coming. Or that the loss was possible. Or even where the battle would be fought. Clinton, her team, the vast media apparatus that had grown up around it--all were soaking in the same cesspool of self-deceit. The election has shown them all for what they are: an insular network of operators and opinion-makers charmed by their own cleverness and enthralled with their own moral certitude, more comfortable exchanging clever quips and flattering platitudes than confronting the world outside of their carefully constructed echo-chamber.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:47 AM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for linking jk. I enjoyed this tg piece as well as the previous one. You really are an excellent writer, tg. And your insights are spot on in this piece in particular. I only wonder if you felt the same way about what what my ilk calls "the Orwellian media" before you were taken by surprise in this election?

This is more than an academic curiosity, because there are other critical realities being distorted by "factiness." The security benefits of restricting private gun ownership. The economic benefits of omnibus multinational trade treaties. The economic sustainability of myriad "alternative" energy paradigms. The racism of American police departments and officers, and the citizens who support them. And of course the Big Kahuna, the "settled science" of anthropogenic global climate change.

Our civilization could make evolutionary progress in prosperity and cohesiveness if the popular media would reject the narratives fed it by selfish "green" billionaires and treat the news business with the scientific rigor they purport to hold as their only absolute.

Posted by: johngalt at November 13, 2016 2:05 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

I have been pretty critical of the media before today. Especially Vox.


This is one of the ironies I've noticed about this election: everybody agrees something country changing has happened, but at the same time everybody blames the error on whatever they most hated before the election results were in. SJWs blamed all of America's problems on race, and so of course Trump was elected 'cuz everyone so racist; Berniebros wanted socialism, so of course what's wrong is Hillary was too far to the right; social conservatives hate liberal smugness, so of course that's the lefts critical error, and so forth. As for me--well I hate Vox. So of course Vox is the problem.

The election did not change my feelings for the media so much as it provided overwhelming evidence than media narrative-massaging has destructive real world consequences.

Posted by: T. Greer at November 14, 2016 11:12 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Well, clearly I've been slacking if TG didn't know how destructive this media-narrative game has gone. I've known for 20+ years that most of media gets most of it's stories wrong. Just wrong. From energy to telecommunications, they are unbelievably jacked up.

Exception was (and I've not followed them closely) was the WSJ, which wasn't 100% veritas, but at least got more right than wrong.

Vox I'd not heard of, and now I'm going to have trouble un-seeing what I just saw: "The real reason we have an Electoral College: to protect slave states" OMG - USA Today has reincarnated itself as Artificial Inability in a constant spewing of ignorance!

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 15, 2016 12:11 AM
But jk thinks:

Clearly, the Designated Hitter is to be blamed for for this election and the Tribe's loss.

I might mediate between tg and nb. Yes, there have been problems with media for many years (Bernie Goldberg wrote two serious and important books, "Bias" and "Arrogance") before he went off the deep end of partisanship.

And yet, the smug "factiness" of sites like Vox, Salon, an Slate do represent a new level of awful. Rather than USA Today, I'd compare them to Jon Stewart. They're cool, they know they're right, and all their readers know they're right.

Posted by: jk at November 15, 2016 10:15 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Buuuuut, it's not just Vox, tg. Or even Vox, Salon and Slate, jk. It's the New York Freaking Times. *

The bigger shock came on being told, at least twice, by Times editors who were describing the paper's daily Page One meeting: "We set the agenda for the country in that room."

* Edited to delete dual exclamation marks. I regretted the invective.

Posted by: johngalt at November 15, 2016 2:21 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

That is a chilling read, JG; thought I new that old gray lady...

It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 17, 2016 11:39 PM

November 11, 2016

Blog Friends Like These...

Drop everything and read blog friend tg's take on the election.

I hate to excerpt because I cannot decide where to begin or end, but give this a little taste:

Amid all this walks in a woman who embodies it all, Davos Man in the flesh, avatar of establishment orthodoxy. She is the author of one war, supporter of two others; devoted to the poor of other nations but aloof to the poor of her own; friend of the banks, paid by Wall Street when not in government service, and financed by it when on the campaign trail; undeserving darling of a slavish media, uncrowned queen of a slavish party, beloved by all the institutions Americans have grown to distrust and hate; unable to keep rules she demands of her subordinates, and excused for failings that would crush the careers of the less connected. Onto this stage walks this ghoul, and you expected America to be excited about voting for her.

It is time to destroy the lies.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 3:14 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:
"Look folks, I am no Democrat. I'm much more comfortable in an America where the court leans 5-4 to the right than the other way around. But I'm also an honest checks-and-balances sort. The prospect of Trump unchecked is unnerving. Many of you go further—you express abject terror."

Meanwhile, my biological brother laments, quoting some news report or another, "Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced," Mr. Trump said. - "Singing a different tune already" my brother observed.

So it would seem that Trump is not as unchecked as some imagine. There's this Congress thingey, and this wonkish Speaker of the House who spent a lot of time and brain sweat on something he calls "A Better Way." He says this about Healthcare reform. [Click Frequently Asked Questions]

Q: How can this plan be explained in 30 seconds? (an elevator speech!)

A: This is a step-by-step approach to give every American access to quality, affordable health care:

- Lower costs. Helps people get better health care at a lower cost by ending expensive mandates and getting rid of over $1 trillion in taxes on health care.

- More choices. Provides patients with access to financial assistance to choose a plan that fits their needs, as well as more pooling mechanisms, coverage options, and access to wellness programs by getting Washington out of the way.

- Peace of mind. Protects those with pre-existing conditions and the most vulnerable, while ensuring every American has financial support to buy the coverage of their choice.

- Reforms Essential Health Security Programs. Strengthens and secures Medicare for current and future retirees, and provides Medicaid flexibility for the states.

"Abject terror?"

Posted by: johngalt at November 11, 2016 7:16 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

JG, I have been optimistic this entire season that neither the victory of Trump or Hillary would bring about the apocalypse their detractors suggested. Trump may turn out to be another President Taylor.


But that feeling of terror is real. I'm not terrified---but people out there are. And if we can't guide them to a better place, they might start doing something dangerous.

Posted by: T. Greer at November 11, 2016 8:15 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@tg: if we can't guide them to a better place, they might start doing something dangerous.

Agreed; I think the 1st step is to challenge assertions, theories and base-cases. Here's the punch line:

Everything the media has been telling you is wrong. On ACA, on debt, on DAGW, on low-fat foods, on the economy...

then again, I could be horribly, awfully wrong, and what should be said is what JG's brother laments: DJT is not going to export the illegals while slamming the door on China's fingers.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 12, 2016 9:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh I do understand that the terror of the fearful is real, I'm just saying it is in response to media and DNC created bogeymen.

As for the dodged bullet of Hillary's election ushering the apocalypse, consider what Thomas Friedman reportedly proposed - "Thomas Friedman wants to abolish all corporate taxes and replace them with a carbon tax, a tax on bullets a tax on sugar and a small transaction tax." Imagine what he'd be proposing if Trump LOST.

And then there's SCOTUS.

Posted by: johngalt at November 13, 2016 1:11 PM

November 10, 2016

What does it all mean?

Matt Purple - Do You Hear the Deplorables Sing?

The Orange Revolution is now victorious, and everything will have to change. The reality is stark: many of our fellow countrymen were so desperate to force political change that they detonated a neutron bomb. It’s a Jacobin impulse - burn it all down and start anew - and it will compel a response from our leaders. Our foreign policy, shipping soldiers overseas to fight in futile wars, is no longer tenable. The protectionist volumes of yesteryear have been reopened in a puff of dust. The Wall Street Journal's flavor of conservatism, with its loosey-goosey borders and free flow of capital - whatever its merits - has been repudiated. Perhaps we won't see that change reflected in policy, but our politics will be transformed - they'll have to be.
But jk thinks:

Brother jg [pointed out that dagny's and my opposition to Trump drove him to defend him.

The leftist butthurt on my feed is likewise turning me into Ann Coulter.

Posted by: jk at November 11, 2016 10:18 AM
But jk thinks:

I do respect true believers. A good friend from my youth is an animal masseuse and psychic. She writes:

The Animals say: "What you are experiencing as humans is the natural death of your individual and individual group consciousness. This is reflective of the Earth's own evolvement and life cycle. Death must come before birth. If you identify as an individual or with your perceived group first before your entire species you are part of the resistance to this cycle. And what is resisted only continues -- this is the natural way of energy on our planet. Your best option is neutral inclusion regardless of difference. The collective awaits your mindful presence. We have much work to do together."

I knew you'd all enjoy it.

Posted by: jk at November 11, 2016 10:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Telling that she felt the need to include the word "mindful" in the sentence, "The collective awaits your - presence."

I suspect your mind will not be so prominently featured when it comes to the next sentence, "We have much work to do together."

As for leftist butthurt on my feed, there are unexpected benefits to being an outspoken anti-Progressive 365 days a year - it seems that they really have all unfriended me! ;)

Posted by: johngalt at November 11, 2016 4:14 PM

November 9, 2016

I'll take a victory lap

I must take my schadenfreude while I can, B4 POdtUS kills the ride by hectoring republicans for not bringing the steel industry "back," all the sanctuary cities to heel, and creating a new Trump-Caid medical entitlement.

Here's a hint:

Krugman's column provides a textbook case of a once-brilliant mind destroyed by bromides and kindness that can kill. My god, but becoming Liberal is so destructive!

I find it hard to care much, even though this is my specialty. The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of things to fear. Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.
Right, who cares about professionalism, objectivity, faith, and what this election meant; go whinging back to your snug mansion that can't fit your ginormous smugness because I didn't get my way!

Slate is nearly melting off my browser screen: Victory Proves that American Hates Women.

I Am a Gay Jew in Trump’s America. And I Am Afraid for My Life.
and “Trump Won the Election By Promising a Resurgent White Supremacy.”

PowerLine (back to having those awful pop-ups)'s Paul wonderfully sums up the group-freak at WaPo

A glance at the home page of Real Clear Politics shows where I think and hope journalism is headed.
1. WaPo's Marc Fisher keeps his head: Trump Ignored the Rules of Modern Politics--and Won
2. The American People Said No to Oligarchy & Ruling Classes - Joel Kotkin, City Journal
3. Trump's Win for the Little Guy Turns World Upside Down - Michael Goodwin, NY Post
4. Trump Didn't Split the Republican Party--He Strengthened It - Fred Barnes {clearly a toadie...}
plus a half dozen other Liberal's freaking out...

Hayward publishes a PL article that read my mind....

The head of the Joint Center for Political Studies, which the Washington Post describes as a “respected liberal think tank,” reacted to the landslide thus: “When you consider that in the climate we’re in—rising violence, the Ku Klux Klan—it is exceedingly frightening.” Castro, said right before the election: “We sometimes have the feeling that we are living in the time preceding the election of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany.” Claremont College professor John Roth wrote: “I could not help remembering how economic turmoil had conspired with Nazi nationalism and militarism—all intensified by Germany’s defeat in World War I—to send the world reeling into catastrophe… It is not entirely mistaken to contemplate our post-election state with fear and trembling.” Esquire writer Harry Stein says that the voters who supported the Republican were like the “good Germans” in “Hitler’s Germany.” Sociologist Alan Wolfe is up in the New Left Review: “The worst nightmares of the American left appear to have come true.” And he doubles down in The Nation: “[T]he United States has embarked on a course so deeply reactionary, so negative and mean-spirited, so chauvinistic and self-deceptive that our times may soon rival the McCarthy era.” The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, keeper of the “Doomsday Clock” that purported to judge the risk of nuclear annihilation, has moved the hands on the clock from seven to four minutes before midnight.

... all of which was said (per professor Hayward) not about Trump, but about Ronald [Honorius Magnus] Wilson Reagan!

Lastly, on an even better note, Michelle Malkin quotes Peter Thiel at the National Press Club last week:

The lie behind the buzzword of diversity could not be made more clear," Thiel noted. "If you don't conform, then you don't count as diverse, no matter what your personal background. "No matter what happens in this election, what Trump represents isn't crazy and it's not going away.

But johngalt thinks:

Love the schadenfreude nb. It's as if, when Democrats win, NOBODY is sad. Well, at least nobody who anybody that is "smart" or "important" has ever met.

But I can't tell if your open is serious or sarcastic. I'll just pick on two items: Wouldn't you welcome federal action to require city governments to uphold immigration law? And on health care, what I've heard Trump say repeatedly is "Health Savings Accounts" and "coverage sold across state lines." Ain't no entitlement talk there, bubba. Now, by the time Paul Ryan has his say...

Posted by: johngalt at November 10, 2016 11:03 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'm cautiously optimistic. Let's not quibble over what DJT may have said or implied (he's had many, many stances). Hopefully, the GOP will be wise enough to direct his temperament toward the media, let him have modest success, and do the hard work of undoing all of BHO's excesses.

Thank god USSC is saved from a liberal majority; Roberts was bad enough! But, yes, let's revel in the victory over the smug, insular, inbred media and build a wave for action! First I'd choose is overrule the ACA, reign in the EPA and ask for Comey's resignation, nicely, but poste haste.

Good cop, Ryan-Rubio, anyone? Good bean-counters Moore + Kudlow for sure!

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 11, 2016 1:45 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I must take my victory lap because I cannot write as well as Will Rahn: The unbearable smugness of the press is terrific. Who knew that literate, self-aware folks are still employed at CBS?

modern journalism’s great moral and intellectual failing: its unbearable smugness. Had Hillary Clinton won, there’s be a winking “we did it” feeling in the press, a sense that we were brave and called Trump a liar and saved the republic.
The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate, it turned out, was rather limited. This was particularly true when it came to voters, the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time. And can you blame them?

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 11, 2016 3:06 AM
But johngalt thinks:

This seems a good place to mention my surprise this morning when I heard a respected (by me) foreign policy voice, KT McFarland, say [paraphrasing] "It's not about the people (around him) it is about the President. He is the smartest person in the room. His instincts are incredible."

As one who has said, "It's okay, he'll have good people around him to keep him from doing dumb things" I found this surprising.

KT gave an example - "When Donald said the US should get out of NATO because the other members aren't paying their share, everyone shrieked 'we can't say that' but then, after they thought about it, most people realized 'hey, he's right, they should pay a larger share for their own defense. And now Germany has responded by increasing its defense budget. He doesn't owe anybody anything and he isn't beholden to anyone. He has a clean slate and he can really take a fresh look at a lot of things."

Posted by: johngalt at November 11, 2016 4:28 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hmm, yes, there are times for bold action and words - and, yes, American can and should throw it's weight around a bit (instead of rolling over for autocracies, and rolling on top of democracies).

Still, we surely know that Germany's increase is due to Putin, not Trump. I smell a nose getting browner.

what's key is his temperament and judgement - that ship has not even fueled up or scraped barnacles, IMO. He talks big, we can agree, might even think big. All else is unknown.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 12, 2016 9:36 AM

The Best News

"She's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead."

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Or, at the very least, not imminently able to grant herself a legal pardon.

Posted by: johngalt at November 9, 2016 5:37 PM


I have been wrong for 16 months now.

He won't last a few weeks, he won't win the nomination, he doesn't have a chance, I hope to be proven wrong about his skills and policy.

Props to the believers! Watching the results come in, I found myself strongly hoping he would win. Clinton tears and befuddled journalists are only a part of it.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 2:51 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

Some were surprised that he was more gracious after the election than during the campaign. I expected nothing less. But with magazine covers of Trump's head superimposed with a mushroom cloud, I can't blame voters for thinking his election represented the first step on a yellow-brick road to the apocalypse.

We have heard the people sing,
Singing the songs of angry men.

All they want is a revitalized economy and a fair price for stuff they have to buy, from healthcare to college educations for their kids.

The Obamacare experiment wasn't without benefit. Finding a way to cover pre-existing conditions is a value add, and anything congressional Republicans come up with is bound to be better than O-care. (famous last words)

Posted by: johngalt at November 9, 2016 5:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And I almost forgot... Once Arizona is called for Trump and now that Michigan's unofficial final tally has Trump in the lead by 12,488, Trump's electoral vote total is 279+11+16=306

Making my election eve prediction come true.

Posted by: johngalt at November 9, 2016 5:36 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I do not remember JG's election prediction, b/c mine was more like JK's:

He won't last a few weeks, he won't win the nomination, he doesn't have a chance
pretty much to a "tee"
I hope to be proven wrong about his skills and policy.
Amen, brother, amen!

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 9, 2016 10:35 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

And now IS the time for a dogpile. Some amusingly fun thoughts from Power Line:

Hayward: One great upside of this will be watching Democrats turn viciously on the Clintons. Long overdue.
Agreed; She went for the long ball and bombed all right!
Mirengoff: the African-American vote fell well short of Hillary Clinton’s expectations and needs. Obama’s legacy was indeed on the ballot. It lost.

Hinderocker: Obama’s persona as our First Black President is far more popular than his actual policies.
Like Bill Clinton, I'd argue!
[quoting from a Krugman column] Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never. Hinderocker: Great specialty you’ve got there, Paul. How long did it take markets to recover? The Dow opened down a whopping 15 points, and is now up 251 points.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 9, 2016 11:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My prediction. Second paragraph.

Not that I want to keep mentioning it or anything. I'm just here to keep 3Sourcers informed.

Posted by: johngalt at November 10, 2016 10:56 AM

November 8, 2016

Libertario Delenda Est

How shall we repair relations after the election? Perhaps there are things on which we can all agree. I'll let Jim Geraghty introduce my idea:

Can we just put away any talk of a "Libertarian Future" for a while? I'd love to live in it, but there's no sign it's coming, in either a capital-L Libertarian Party way or a small-L philosophical way. This was the year that the Democrats nominated a corrupt, longtime-insider, big-government, scandal-ridden statist, and the Republicans nominated a guy who wants government to get bigger -- more infrastructure spending, mandated maternity leave, opposes entitlement reform, cheers eminent domain, and a new 35 percent tax on companies that fire workers. Trump's focus was never freedom or liberty. It was about empowering government, run by him, to address grievances of working-class whites and return America to a golden past, undoing decades of changes to the country and the world.

This year was the golden opportunity libertarians -- capital L and little L -- had dreamed of for decades... and they fumbled it away.

I'm not giving up on the little-l stuff. But boy-howdy Geraghty is right about the Big-Ls. The worst nominees evah, and they're fighting to hit 5%?

Jeeberz, will the last one out please turn off the lights?

But johngalt thinks:

"...on companies that fire workers" is misleading and disingenuous. Empowering government to address grievances is completely off the mark.

If we are going to seek agreement can we at least start with a more objective statement of what's happening?

Posted by: johngalt at November 8, 2016 2:58 PM
But jk thinks:

And perhaps it is too soon for rapprochement. We might be better off stewing for a bit :).

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2016 6:27 PM

Leviathan be thy name

'Government Workers Now Outnumber Manufacturing Workers by 9,977,000'

The BLS has published seasonally-adjusted month-by-month employment data for both government and manufacturing going back to January 1939. According to this data, manufacturing employees in the United States of America outnumbered government employees every month for more than half a century. Then, in August 1989, government employees slipped ahead of manufacturing employees for the first time—taking a slim lead of 17,989,000 to 17,964,000.

Since then, government has pulled dramatically ahead of manufacturing as an employer in the United States.

In fact, the 22,235,000 who now work for government in this country, according to the BLS, is more than ever worked in manufacturing.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:32 AM | What do you think? [0]

November 7, 2016

One last attempt at electioneering

Hey, have you thought about what might happen to your federal tax bill depending on who wins the election? Tax Foundation has.

But johngalt thinks:

If I jiggered our itemized deductions lower, we save about $4k with Trump and $1.5k with Clinton. But the Clinton savings comes from a larger child credit for kids under 5. Only have that for 2 more years.

With my same income, if I were unmarried and childless but had the same itemized deductions, Trump steals $884 less from me while Clinton steals the same.

Posted by: johngalt at November 8, 2016 11:37 AM
But jk thinks:

I rock with the Trump plan: $2900 with no jiggling. Make my guitar collection great again!

Yet I don't really care for it. I am not by any measure a deficit hawk, but it is not part of a comprehensive plan to restore growth. Bush's cuts (the second, supply-side ones) were part of a growth initiative but failed to some extent because there was no spending discipline.

I don't hear Trump even pretending. We're building walls and instituting maternity leave and increasing entitlements. And cutting taxes!

Yes, his energy policy and regulatory reform might help growth, but magnitudes off.

I could use the $2900 to stock up on bottled water and ammo for the upcoming multi-decadal, global depression.

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2016 12:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Actually, it is precisely a comprehensive plan to restore growth. To a rate of 3.5-4% per year.

Posted by: johngalt at November 8, 2016 5:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The lack of specificity on spending controls and entitlement reform is part of a "get elected first" strategy, which is hard enough without raising the those issues during an election campaign.

Posted by: johngalt at November 8, 2016 5:49 PM
But jk thinks:

The comprehensive pal "Read Donald J. Trump’s Plan to Create 25 Million Jobs, here" to which you link seems to have been removed from the site.

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2016 6:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not removed, but the link is definitely redirected. The more general description is at this link.

Posted by: johngalt at November 9, 2016 11:41 AM

Happy Election Eve!

Polls open in Colorado in less than 15 hours and, perhaps more importantly, close in less than 27 hours. "Our long national nightmare is almost over" someone once said, and it feels like it applies again in this event. It's almost over except for the lawsuits and recounts and more lawsuits.

I predicted last week that Trump will win with over 300 electoral votes. I can't prove it of course, and I'm a partisan, but there's my marker.

For those who are convinced the Colorado is in the bank for Hillary due to the lateness of the Comey letter versus the start of early voting, here is some counter factual.

As of this morning, November 7, 645,020 registered Democrats have voted in Colorado.
In the same report, 652,380 registered Republicans have also submitted their ballots.

This is a net 7,360 advantage for Mr. Trump, if one assumes that D's and R's vote in equal proportion for their party nominee. That is consistent with the IBD national poll, but Colorado voters are, as they say, "weird."

The big wildcard is the unaffiliateds. a whopping half a million, 527,706, have voted early.

In every poll I've seen Trump leads Clinton with the uncommitted crowd.

And then there is election day. We shall see.

2016 Colorado Posted by JohnGalt at 6:19 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

24 hours later the GOP ballot advantage has grown from about 7k to about 18k.

Critical swing counties Arapahoe, Jefferson and Larimer are tight - 1960 D advantage. Bellweather Jeffco basically tied. (+505 R)

Posted by: johngalt at November 8, 2016 3:06 PM

November 6, 2016

Thucydidies Book Three: The Price of Human Life

"People who read Thucydides and Caesar on war, and Seneca and Ovid on love, are less inclined to construe passing fads as durable outlooks, to fall into the maelstrom of celebrity culture, to presume that the circumstances of their own life are worth a Web page." -- Mark Bauerlein quoted by Walter Williams
Why read Thucydides? The search results looking for the above quote are instructive. There is much on military strategy and "The Thucydides Trap" which is the subject of blog friend tg's superb Book II essay. I am riveted by what is timeless and what is modern. Pace Bauerlein, the good Athenian General/Historian will frequently lay down a riff that speaks clearly to today's events.
Indeed it is generally the case that men are readier to call rogues clever than simpletons honest, and are as ashamed of being the second as they are proud of being the first.
Then in the next section, he will describe an impoverished and pre-Hobbesian world which I cannot recognize. Form 3.67:
The number of Plataeans thus massacred was not less than two hundred, with twenty-five Athenians who had shared in the siege. The women were taken as slaves. [3] The city the Thebans gave for about a year to some political emigrants from Megara, and to the surviving Plataeans of their own party to inhabit, and afterwards razed it to the ground from the very foundations, and built on to the precinct of Hera an inn two hundred feet square, with rooms all round above and below, making use for this purpose of the roofs and doors of the Plataeans : of the rest of the materials in the wall, the brass and the iron, they made couches which they dedicated to Hera, for whom they also built a stone chapel of a hundred feet square. The land they confiscated and let out on a ten-years' lease to Theban occupiers. [4] The adverse attitude of the Spartans in the whole Plataean affair was mainly adopted to please the Thebans, who were thought to be useful in the war at that moment raging. Such was the end of Plataea in the ninety-third year after she became the ally of Athens.
"Bloody Spartans!" This massacre is not attributable to the heat of battle or fog of war; it is preceded by speeches both for mercy and for retribution (well chronicled in Pauline Kaurin's Book III essay. In the end, the Spartans decide to ask each resident what they have done to help Sparta. Without a good answer, it is death. The Plateans' speech points out that this is not actually a fair question for residents of an Athenian controlled and long blockaded city. But justice is swift, harsh, and generally not very just in the Peloponnesian War.

The politics and military strategy are still of interest today. One must search for recognizable economic ideas, such as Pericles (2.37) some 2100 years before Adam Smith:

while the magnitude of our city draws the produce of the world into our harbor, so that to the Athenian the fruits of other countries are as familiar a luxury as those of his own.

The lack of enlightenment economics and values differentiate the tale from modern times. Hemmingway reminds that "Que puta es la Guerra" and there is no paucity of butchery today. But in a Steven Pinker, Better Angels world it is an aberration. "And the women were sold as slaves." closes many a section. The victors set up a trophy, the losers recover their dead under truce, and, oh yeah, the women were sold as slaves.

Much is timeless. The lack of value for life is not. This value does not come from our being so much nobler or better than those of Fifth Century BCE Hellas, but without productivity gains, people are truly interchangeable. And interchangeable is expendable. A great leader like Pericles has leverage and cannot be easily replaced. The same for a great General like the Spartan Brasidas. But the rower, the hoplite, the olive farmer were each just another warm body.

The nobility of the Enlightenment proceeds from the economic value of productive people under specialization and comparative advantage. Seeing its absence underscores the connection.

SIDE NOTE: Some interesting 2450-tear-old crowdsourcing: Plateans, planning escape, average multiple counts to assess the height of the wall to scale (3.19).

Ladders were made to match the height of the enemy's wall, which they measured by the layers of bricks, the side turned toward them not being thoroughly whitewashed. These were counted by many persons at once; and though some might miss the right calculation, most would hit upon it, particularly as they counted over and over again, and were no great way from the wall, but could see it easily enough for their purpose. [4] The length required for the ladders was thus obtained, being calculated from the breadth of the brick.

But Jk thinks:

Donald Trump may be right -- the system is rigged!

Your hometown pedant has submitted a few comments on the official roundtable site. It is moderated and zero have been accepted for publication. There is a Facebook group I follow but to which I cannot post.

I am starting to know how the Plateans felt...

Posted by: Jk at November 6, 2016 10:42 PM

November 4, 2016

O.J. Rides Again

The news of last Friday's FBI decision, and the coverage of it over the weekend, struck me as the same kind of bombshell real-time news phenomenon as O.J. Simpson fleeing police in a white Ford Bronco. So naturally I wanted to read the Wayne Allen Root article by the same name - Hillary and the White Ford Bronco.

At any minute I expect to hear that every national TV news network is hosting live coverage of a police car chase. It will feature Hillary riding in the back seat of a white Ford Bronco, driven by Huma, headed for the Mexican border, with hundreds of FBI vans and police cars chasing behind. And of course Democrats lining the streets to catch the last glimpse of their former presidential nominee.

Hillary has had quite a series of October surprises. Just one would be enough to drive anyone into doing something strange. But Hillary has already suffered two devastating October surprises.

And rumor has it there’s another on the way.

But the real legacy of the Clintons, Hillary and William Jefferson, is far grander than a mere flouting of federal law regarding classified information.

What this new FBI investigation is not about is taking bribes (disguised as donations) at the Clinton Foundation from countries that fund ISIS. Wikileaks proves Hillary knew that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were funding ISIS, but took their money anyway.

What this investigation is not about is taking $1 million from Qatar to celebrate Bill Clinton’s birthday. What did that country expect in return? What did the Clintons promise?

What this investigation is not about is Hillary taking $12 million from the King of Morocco, who are our own government considers corrupt, while Secretary of State. What did the King expect? What did the Clintons promise?

What this investigation is not about is the crime of treason for running an organized criminal enterprise called the Clinton Foundation built around “pay for play” while Hillary was Secretary of State.

What this investigation is not about is running a charity scam called the Clinton Foundation that rarely pays out anything to charity and uses the billions it receives in "donations" to fund a billionaire’s lifestyle for the Clintons.

What this investigation is not about is funneling almost $700,000 in what looks like bribes (disguised as "donations") through Clinton’s best friend Terry McAuliffe to the Democratic politician wife of the FBI agent overseeing Hillary’s investigation.

All of that is still to come.

Unless she is pardoned by Barack Obama on January 19th, 2017.

But johngalt thinks:

Of course you know what is objectively right. And so does jk. He said, "She skates" not "She's innocent."

Your friend A people are lying to themselves to protect something. Or if not to themselves, then to you, but still to protect something. The more interesting question you should be asking is, what are the Clinton apologists protecting?

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2016 11:08 PM
But jk thinks:

And I suggest objective supporting evidence to B is to compare how less connected people were treated for the same offenses. Officers have lost their commissions for inadvertently doing what Sec. Clinton has done with mens rea.

General David Petraeus and Scooter Libbey must be wishing they had sent a million to the Clinton Foundation.

Posted by: jk at November 6, 2016 11:32 AM
But jk thinks:

Nope! Director Comey has spoken -- she is innocent of all charges, ever (that issue in the fourth grade with the fountain pen and her rival's dress? Exonerated!)

I really do not know what to say.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2016 9:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You could say the same thing my dear ol' dad said.

"Drain the swamp."

Posted by: johngalt at November 7, 2016 12:26 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


friend A people are lying to themselves to protect something

Their egos. I have the same issue writ large: my favorite is the one who's been telling me the GOP is done as a party... for, well, as long as we've been FB friends. Years. Long before DJT won a single primary. He's an entrepreneur (well, not really successful one) who's a dedicated Sanders guy. That HAS to be ego. He's also a bit of an arrogant prat, so the ego big holds.

There are some "type A" who are just long-time Dems who will listen to the whisper campaign about the nasty, poopy-headed GOP (even for a guy like Romney).

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 9, 2016 12:21 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:


Director Comey has spoken -- she is innocent of all charges

No, she skates. The weasiling used was there was no "intent" to cause harm or break the law. Charming. I can just see now that 'hate' speech will invariably be put in the intent column. The insanity has begun... perhaps even, as PowerLine postulates if Trump wins (he's won OH, WI and FL).

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 9, 2016 12:31 AM

Open Boulder?

Actually, I think Boulder SHOULD be accepting all manor and flavor of ME refugees: speak with your backyard, not your ballot!

Seriously, though, here is a thoughtful piece from Dr. Erler (from KaliFORnia!) who postulates:

a world without borders is a world without citizens, and a world without citizens is a world without the rights and privileges that attach exclusively to citizenship. Rights and liberties exist only in separate and independent nations; they are the exclusive preserve of the nation-state. Constitutional government only succeeds in the nation-state, where the just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed. By contrast, to see the globalist principle in practice, look at the European Union. The EU is not a constitutional government; it is an administrative state ruled by unelected bureaucrats. It attempts to do away with both borders and citizens, and it replaces rights and liberty with welfare and regulation as the objects of its administrative rule.
and my favorite idea that makes me weirdo in nearly every political discussion:
The idea that every right has a corresponding duty or obligation was essential to the social compact understanding of the American founding.

He states "tolerance" has displaced morality in the modern Prog's world, and claims that they must also throw reason out the door.
Over the past century and more, this morality grounded in the American founding has been successfully eroded by Progressivism. This erosion is manifested today in the morality of value-free relativism. According to this new morality, all value judgments are equal. Reason cannot prove that one value is superior to or more beneficial than another, because values are not capable of rational analysis; they are merely idiosyncratic preferences. In this value-free universe, the only value that is “objectively” of higher rank is tolerance. Equal toleration of all values—what is called today a commitment to diversity—is the only “reasonable” position. And note that it is always called a commitment to diversity. It is a commitment because it cannot be rational in any strict sense—it exists in a value-free world from which reason has been expelled.
and he answers one that has riddled me for a while:
Note that these leaders [Obama, Merkel] show no such enthusiasm for admitting Christian refugees from Middle Eastern violence, or even Yazidis, who have suffered horribly from the ravages of Islamic terror. These refugees, of course, represent no danger to America. Only by admitting those who do represent a danger can we display to the world “who we are as a people”—a people willing to sacrifice ourselves to vouchsafe our commitment to tolerance.

Lastly, he proposes a simple and effective rule to replace the vetting, which all agree is nigh impossible:
One condition for claiming refugee status in the Refugee Act of 1980 is religious persecution. This necessarily means that any applicant for religious asylum would have to submit to questioning about his religious beliefs and (presumably) the sincerity of those beliefs. Should asylum be extended to the adherents of religions that do not recognize the free exercise rights of other religions?

Good down to earth read, for such a heady start!

But dagny thinks:

Not sure if I'm misinterpreting but I think I disagree with your first pull quote. Rights do not come from citizenship. As so eloquently stated in our founding documents, we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.

The rights do not attach to citizenship, they attach to human beings. Then you can live in a country that either protects and defends those rights or infringes them.

I would have no problem with a world government provided that government was set up to defend individual rights.

Posted by: dagny at November 4, 2016 6:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Voting is an example of a right (or privilege) of citizenship. Of course, in a just system, voting would be more for amusement than for protecting against infringement of your rights. Unfortunately, nobody lives in a just system anymore.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2016 10:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I have huge respect for Hillsdale, but I am going with swing-and-a-miss here.

Continuing your right and privilege excerpt:

The idea that every right has a corresponding duty or obligation was essential to the social compact understanding of the American founding. Thus whatever was destructive of the public good or public happiness, however much it might have contributed to an individual's private pleasures or imagined pleasures, was not a part of the "pursuit of happiness" and could be proscribed by society. Liberty was understood to be rational liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was understood to be the rational pursuit of happiness--that is to say, not only a natural right but a moral obligation as well.

I don't think that paragraph is going to engender much affection 'round these parts.

The comparisons with Germany are specious. One could fairly could claim Germany to be a reduction ad absurdam to question my belief but it is not a model of what is proposed. Germany is smaller in area, population and GDP and is accepting overwhelming numbers without any opportunities for vetting or tracing.

Erler suggests refugee camps but we have experience with those in Palestine/Israel which make the German example look like paradise.

I think a nation of 300,000,000 can accept 10,000 human beings who have been displaced from their home by war. And I believe those 10,000 will cause the exact same amount of trouble as the next 10,000 babies born in Colorado.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2016 10:09 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@ Dagny:

rights do not attach to citizenship, they attach to human beings
As a practical matter, they are only upheld in pluralistic democracies. They may attach to humans, but they do not stick around for long in Venezuela, or the old USSR.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 7, 2016 11:35 PM

November 1, 2016

All Hail Taranto!


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

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